STAKEHOLDERS STILL WAITING FOR LNP POLICY ON RACING IN QLD

THE LNP are odds-on to win Government in October but stakeholders are still waiting to hear what plans they have for the basket case that is Queensland racing.

Less than three months out from the State Election, the industry and its stakeholders are still waiting to hear the LNP Racing Policy.

Most of all they want to know what plans the new Government has for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission. Will they dismantle the body established by the Labor Government and revert to stewards being employed by Racing Queensland which would again see no separation of powers which is needed to ensure there is no political interference in the policing of racing?

Are rumors correct which suggest there will be a return to control boards and individual staffing for the three codes? Separation of the gallops, harness and greyhounds would lead to a blow-out in costs which racing certainly cannot afford.

What will the LNP do about the embarrassment that is the new multi-million dollar Gold Coast track? Hopefully they might escape by the skin of their teeth with Racing Queensland hopeful the nightmare of recent months might be over in time to see a return to turf racing on the tourist strip by the spring.

The same should apply by then to Eagle Farm where the latest television news (can’t find any mention where it should be provided on the RQ website) that there will be no racing at headquarters for a month with meetings switched to Doomben. That should provide enough time to correct safety issues involving the apartment building site which saw jockeys refuse to ride in the last two races after a nasty fall involving jockey Robbie Dolan on Saturday.

Stakeholders and industry observers want to know why the LNP (specifically Shadow Minister Tim Mander) has remained conspicuously silent on all the above issues. Here’s hoping the LNP asks questions at the Estimates Hearings about the costs to the industry of the track problems at Eagle Farm and the Gold Coast.

 

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR WHEN IT COMES TO GOVT & RACING

A FORMER high profile and respected Racing Queensland administrator (and we’re not talking about the beloved Bob Bentley) texted LGHR during the week posing the following question:

‘Can you ever recall racing in Queensland being in a bigger mess than it is at present? Many of us can’t wait for the LNP to takeover responsibility for the industry.”

Our response was: ‘Be careful what you wish for and yes we can recall worse dramas than those confronting racing in Queensland at present. Most involved integrity and all were during the time that the LNP was in power.’

LGHR has made no secret that the best LNP people to right the good ship RQ Titanic at present are former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (as Chairman of the Board rather than the Thoroughbred Representative on it) and Ray Stevens as Racing Minister (he has forgotten more about the sport than some of his colleagues will ever learn but continues to be overlooked for the role. And we’re not including in that group the current Shadow Tim Mander. Our criticism with Tim is that he hasn’t jumped at the opportunity to question the Labor Government or Racing Minister Grace Grace on a number of contentious issues.

Some claim the LNP doesn’t want to rock the boat with ‘silver tail’ supporters running the Brisbane Racing Club and would be more interested in financing the rebuilding of a grandstand (long past its use-by date) which is for Members’ rather than Public use.

The LNP has been conspicuously silent as well on the embarrassment that has been the new Gold Coast track and the latest Workplace Health and Safety Issue involving Eagle Farm. It’s not as though they couldn’t be aware of it.

As one regular contributor emailed LGHR:

‘Is the Shadow Minister a regular at the races? The one we see there the most with his head firmly entrenched in the rear ends of some powerful BRC officials is being touted as the Racing Minister in the new Government. The bloke is a block-head and arguably would only be interested in assisting political mates more than racing stakeholders. By the way if you listen to some of his colleagues this is the same Pollie who was running around over a year ago telling everyone he would rather see Labor win than his current leader become Premier. Little Dave isn't silly enough to not know about this. Let's just hope his punishment isn't the poison chalice of portfolios - racing.’

 

AT LAST A TURF JOURNO WHO SEEMS PREPARED TO BE OBJECTIVE

LGHR was delighted to see the objective report by the latest Turf Editor at The Courier-Mail (Trenton Akers) on the situation that developed when the jockeys withdrew their services at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

It reminded us of a situation many moons ago when there was a major problem with the Eagle Farm track during the Winter Carnival and jockeys voiced their concerns to stewards about a safety issue.

It reached a stand-off where the jockeys were in consultation with the stewards over the issue when the Club Chairman of the Day burst into the room and warned them that if they withdrew their services the rich feature races would not be run on another day.

The racing media of the day that were covering the meeting included some hard-hitters unlike some of the suck up and survive merchants that ploy their trade for the print and broadcast media now and prefer to operate more as ‘spin doctors’ than protectors of the punters and stakeholders.

One jumped up little dictator, who was quickly creating a situation of ‘my way or the highway’ for turf scribes who refused to support his stand, stood in the doorway to the stewards' room and told the media pack they were not allowed in or to report on proceedings.

Sadly, that person changed the face of the racing media in Queensland. With a few exceptions those who didn’t jump aboard his ship failed to survive. One of them, a former top jockey, actually lost his job for calling Eagle Farm a ‘goat track’.

Others were either transferred from racing to other duties, like the courts or simply lost their jobs. Consequently, the racing media was transformed into a band of suck-up-and-survive yes-men.

Most of those, including the bloke who ran the show, were rewarded for their efforts with jobs elsewhere when they completed duties in the turf sections of newspapers which have dwindled alarmingly in staff numbers and readership.

Fortunately, it seems, Queensland has inherited Trenton Akers, via Hong Kong, where officials say he was highly respected for the way he wrote even though there were times they didn’t agree. Here’s hoping he continues the good work that caught not only our eye but also that of many others at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

And, BTW, LGHR wouldn’t know Akers if we ran into him. The above comments aren’t meant to be any reflection on the reporting of his News Ltd colleague Ben Dorries. We’re well aware of the objective job Ben tried to do early on with knives getting driven into his back – full marks to him for weathering the storm.  

 

PREPOSTEROUS SOLUTION TO EAGLE FARM SAFETY PROBLEM BY BRC

THE Brisbane Racing Club have to be kidding with their preposterous solution to the latest crisis in Queensland racing which has seen jockeys refuse to ride at Eagle Farm.

In a suggestion that smacks of self-interest, officials of the premier club raised the prospect of not allowing horses that have not raced at Eagle Farm to nominate in the future.

Not only is that a restriction of trade but it would also prevent all horses from competing for allocated prizemoney distributed from betting taxes. And just imagine the domination the Tony Gollan stable would then have considering it already enjoys a windfall at Eagle Farm.

Rarely does a week pass in Queensland racing when there isn’t another drama. In unprecedented scenes last Saturday jockeys withdrew their services causing the last two races on the Eagle Farm card to be abandoned.

They claimed the construction of an apartment block on the home turn was causing horses to shift out abruptly and to the surprise of many racegoers said the issue had been first raised in January.

The Queensland Jockeys’ Association claims there have been more than a dozen separate instances of horses shying at the new construction site and have refused to ride at Eagle Farm until the problem is corrected and the risk no longer exists.

Riders pulled their support in unprecedented scenes on Saturday, causing the remaining two races on the card to be called off. The issue came to a head after top jockey Robbie Dolan was involved in a fall when another horse veered out at the 600m mark and caused him to be dislodged from his mount, breaking his wrist in the process.

The Queensland Jockeys' Association say there are more than a dozen separate instances of horses shying at the new construction site since January, and will not support racing at the venue until something is done to mitigate the risk.

They argue that inexperienced horses are seeing the building for the first time on the home turn and taking fright. As one of our regular contributors suggested, ‘We are a laughing stock in Queensland. Don’t blame the jockeys. This is what you get when you build apartments on a racecourse. I shake my head at the suggestion by the BRC not to allow horses that have not raced at Eagle Farm to nominate in future.’

As Archie Butterfly reported on his subscriber-only website, peterprofit.com, jockeys have been concerned about the problem for months and made stewards well aware of it.

The Butterfly has questioned why the official Stewards’ Report from Saturday’s meeting made no mention of  a number of jockeys being called into the room after the fall suffered by Robbie Dolan.

“A safety issue such as this must surely be reported by the Stewards but the Queensland Chief (Josh Adams) stayed silent about it. Did Adams cover the problem up, presumably because of one reason or another he didn’t want to draw attention to a major safety issue with the Eagle Farm track on the eve of the Brisbane Winter Carnival?”

We agree with Archie that an independent inquiry should be launched into the failure of the Stewards, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, the Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland to act on this breach of Queensland Workplace Health and Safety.

It is no secret that LGHR does not believe Adams is up to the job as Chief Steward. This is another example of why we feel this way. He should be asked to show-cause why he shouldn’t be sacked.

It seems the most likely solution to the problem will see the construction of a sight screen, similar to those used in cricket but that could take months to construct. The reason being, according to a report by Trenton Ackers for the Murdoch Media, that the developer of the apartment block is currently in dispute with the construction union.

Full marks to Queensland Jockeys’ Association general manager Glen Prentice for rejecting the argument from the BRC that the construction was not causing the issue. If it isn’t, then what is? Surely it’s not another problem with the basket case that has been the new Eagle Farm track.    

 “We know it is the building,” Prentice told News Ltd. “We are lucky that it is a high standard of rider that has been riding here, otherwise it could have been a lot worse.

“At the end of the day, we don't want to stop racing here. This is our premier racetrack. Every jockey wants to come to Eagle Farm to ride, but they want to be able to go home to their family that night as well.

“We should be counting our lucky stars that Robbie (Dolan) is here today and walking around with only a broken wrist. It could have been a lot worse,” a statement that raises the issue if the stewards, the BRC or RQ are open to legal action should a jockey be more seriously injured.

The response to the problem and rejection of solutions by the BRC is nothing short of embarrassing for a major club and RQ CEO Jason Scott should intervene and remind officials of their obligations when it comes to safety.

Can you believe that when jockeys proposed (earlier this year) cantering their mounts by the construction site on the way to the barriers, this suggestion was met with strong opposition from the BRC due to wear and tear on the track?

And as all of these incidents have involved horses not from Brisbane, BRC officials raised the possibility of not allowing horses who have not raced at Eagle Farm to nominate in the future. This was quickly rejected. They had to be kidding!

“Money and time are secondary here, jockey safety is our number one priority and we need to try something to get racing back at Eagle Farm,” RQ CEO Jason Scott told News Ltd.

Racing is due to return to Eagle Farm on August 3. However, that meeting will almost certainly be transferred to Doomben as racing officials scramble to find a solution to yet another problem in Queensland.

 

 

WILL IT BE THE ‘TRAINING GENIUS’ OF WALLER OR ANOTHER MASSIVE FORM REVERSAL – IF SO WHAT WILL THE STEWARDS DO ABOUT IT?

TOP tipster MARK HUNTER used his preview of the Deane Lester Flemington Cup to voice a protest on behalf of punters, especially those who like to study the form.

A great mate of the legendary Lester, who lost his battle with cancer in February last year, Hunter said what most think but few are prepared to say about form reversals by horses from top stables.

Unlike some of his weak-kneed major racing media colleagues in Sydney, who continue to alibi form reversals from leading stables, Hunter went on the attack on the preview of tomorrow’s quadrella legs for the meeting at Flemington.

The enigmatic Chris Waller-trained Speycaster is an easing favourite for the Deane Lester Flemington Cup and here’s how Hunter precisely summed up its chances.

“I’ve reluctantly put him in the Top 4 but after two disgraceful runs he comes out and wins like Phar Lap. I don’t know how you follow his form.’

As so often happens with runners from the powerful Waller stable, Speycaster ran 11th in a Benchmark 88 at Randwick (beaten almost 16 lengths), then stopped like shot in the Listed Winter Cup at Rosehill (beaten over seven lengths) before finishing powerfully to win the Stayers Cup at Rosehill.

Hunter said the horse was so inconsistent that he wasn’t surprised to see bookmakers keen to lay him in tomorrow's Deane Lester Flemington Cup for which he had 24 hours out from the race drifted from $2.8 to $4.

Punters have preferred to back the more reliable Taramansour, to be ridden by Jamie Kah at her comeback after a Bali holiday. Despite a tricky draw he has firmed from $4.2 to $3.4.

Hunter has tipped $10 chance Hit The Road Jack as his roughie of the day. The former Kiwi found the trip too short when 4th to Wyclif at his Australian debut then bolted in with a Maiden Hurdle at Warrnambool. “He runs the distance strongly, is hard fit and gets the right run.”

Punters have had a gutful of form reversals from top stables like Waller and Waterhouse-Bott. It’s a minefield for those wanting to do the form and all the mainstream media, especially SKY Channel and News Limited arguably do is alibi it.

Sydney stewards, under the chairmanship of internationally experienced Steve Railton, did question the form reversal of Speycaster in the Stayers Cup. Here’s there report:

STABLE representative Mr D Fitton was questioned regarding the form improvement displayed by Speycaster in winning this event as compared to its two most recent starts.

Mr Fitton stated that Speycaster had previously performed well earlier in its current preparation. However, its two most recent starts had disappointed the stable although the horse had continued to work satisfactorily.

He added that since its last start the stable had freshened Speycaster and had varied its training, and, in his view, this was the primary reason for the horse performing as it did today.

Mr Fitton was advised that now that Speycaster had re-established form it would be expected to perform in a more consistent manner.   

It’s just another excuse from an endless list that the Waller stable continues to embarrass stewards with when they do decide to question a form reversal. Quite frankly, it’s become a standing joke with punters and stakeholders.

Here’s hoping the Sydney panel relayed that instruction to their colleagues in Sydney leading up to tomorrow’s Flemington feature run where all the bookies seem to want to do is ‘risk’ the one-time favorite. But who would blame them. Speycaster has been a nightmare for punters to follow.

For those who are interested Speycasting is a technique used in fly fishing. It is used for fishing large rivers for salmon and trout. Here’s hoping there’s nothing ‘fishy’ about its racing namesake tomorrow.

 

 

‘FEATHERS’ UNDER FIRE FOR DECLARING LEAP TO FAME ‘NOT IN THE CHAMPION CATEGORY JUST YET’

HARNESS media Hall of Famer, David Fowler, has created quite a stir with his refusal to put Queensland superstar pacer Leap To Fame in the ‘champion’ category – just yet.

‘Feathers’ was discussing the Albion Park Winter Carnival with Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott on Radio 4TAB when he dropped this bombshell.

‘He (Leap To Fame) keeps delivering these blockbuster performances. He could well be the world’s best pacer. I think people have to rally behind this potential champion – I don’t have him in the champion category just yet – and get there to the Creek this Saturday night for the Sunshine Sprint and Saturday week for the Blacks A Fake.”

To which Jason Scott replied: “You are a hard-marker David. Kevin Seymour (the owner) would argue he is already a champion and I would tend to agree.”

Scott went on to say that Leap To Fame had already done in 12 to 18 months what Blacks A Fake achieved during his career. He could not recall scenes to rival those at Albion Park last December when Leap To Fame won the Interdominion.

LGHR has known David Fowler since watching him call races standing on a box to reach the microphone at the Mingela Picnics when he was 11. There were no prouder people than his late mum and dad Max.

David loves a stir, especially if he’s at the centre of the drama and we suspect that’s what he was doing when declaring Leap To Fame ‘not in the champion category yet’. It was typical Fowler, tongue-in-cheek. He’s too smart not to recognise the champion qualities of this pacer.

LGHR has seen greats like Popular Alm, Gammalite, Village Kid, Preux Chevalier, Blacks a Fake and local idol Wondai’s Mate (forgive us for those we have left out) grace the track at Albion Park. So has David. But there has been none better than Leap To Fame.

We received numerous emails bagging David Fowler for his comments, some of which were below the belt and don’t deserve publication. There is only one concern out of what was said on 4TAB this week and we hope those raising it are wrong.

Kevin Seymour and David Fowler are both former Chairman of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club. Along that road they apparently had a ‘fall out’. During our time in the harness media, LGHR crossed swords on several occasions with King Kev but that hasn’t stopped us from recognising that without what he and his wife, Kay, have done for the sport in Queensland it would be on the canvas.

Here’s hoping the ‘not a champion’ snipe at Leap To Fame had nothing to do with any personal animosity between David and Kevin. LGHR does not believe it was but there are others that do and perhaps you should clear the air ‘Feathers’ to ensure there is no further misunderstanding.  

 

WOULD THE DEBACLE HAVE BEEN A ‘NO-RACE’ IF NOT A QUADDY LEG?

LGHR decided to let the dust settle on the latest black eye for racing in Queensland before weighing into the debate.

After listening to those with a vested interest – some who had an involvement with or backed the winner and others who simply took an objective view – we have come to one conclusion.

Stewards were influenced in their decision-making and would have declared a ‘no race’ had it not been the first leg of the Quadrella at Doomben on Saturday.

We reject as ludicrous the suggestion from some that the winner Liquor being from the powerful Tony Gollan stable had any bearing on the outcome.

But the start was such a debacle with more than half the field virtually not prepared or out of business when the barriers were released that stewards really had no alternative but to declare a ‘no race’.

It’s a conflict of interest for members of the racing media who backed the horse or have a vested interest in the Gollan stable to be declaring stewards made the right decision.

As one contributor suggested to LGHR, ‘These stipes in Brisbane are hopeless so God help the punters when it comes to decisions that should be made in all their interests’.

How the starter missed what was going on behind the barriers with a jockey tossed off a horse and most of the field not ready for a start remains a major mystery. Here’s hoping the off-sider to the long-time starter who retired on Saturday and was officiating for this race does not get the permanent job.

Too many jockeys and horses were denied a fair start. The overall decision making before stewards erred in not declaring a ‘no race’ seemed to take an eternity. And to make matters worse after all the late scratchings only two place dividends were declared.

The entire affair was a total disaster, another embarrassment for racing in Queensland and once again on the major day of racing for the week the Sunshine State was a laughing stock.

 

OVERHAUL OF TRAINING DEPARTMENT AT RQ A POSITIVE MOVE

REGULAR contributor GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST makes this interesting observation:

‘I read the story about the overhaul at of the Training Department at Racing Queensland and I think it's a positive move.

Teaching life skills as mentioned is a good thing as is the trust fund option.

In my opinion the Department has needed an overhaul for a long time.

I hope sometime in the future someone has the foresight to look at getting CRICOS to allow overseas kids into our Apprentice School and getting someone with the expertise to implement it.

Training is so important for the future so I'm glad to see the change. 

   

 

ANOTHER REMARKABLE SEASON CONCLUDES FOR HONG KONG RACING

A remarkable 2023-24 racing season concluded at Sha Tin on Sunday marking the close of one of the most extraordinary chapters in Hong Kong’s racing history.

“We had the best-ever season finale,” HKJC CEO Winfried Englebrecht-Bresges said. “We want to position racing as a world-class entertainment and sporting event.

“We couldn’t have planned a better season finale when the on-course atmosphere and response from our 30,000 racing fans, which included a record number of over 6,000 mainland visitors, was amazing.”

From a pool of only 1200 horses in training – or about 0.7 percent of the world’s racehorse population – Hong Kong achieved unprecedented success on the international stage with victories in 13 of the world’s top Group 1 races.

For the first time, all 12 of Hong Kong’s top-level races featured in the World’s Top 100 Group/Grade 1 Races for 2023, with four in the top 20. Also, for the first time, four of Hong Kong’s elite racing stars – Golden Sixty, Lucky Sweynesse, Romantic Warrior and California Spangle – featured in the top 15 in the 2023 World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (WBRR).

The world-class quality of Hong Kong horses was showcased at Hong Kong’s two international flagship events, the Hong Kong International Races and Champions Day. Competing against 32 overseas runners from five countries, Hong Kong’s equine stars swept to victory in six out of seven Group 1 features.

 As the flagbearer for Hong Kong, Romantic Warrior competed in three major racing arenas this season – Australia, Hong Kong and Japan – and emerged triumphant in all three.

He became the first Hong Kong horse to win the G1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October before returning to Hong Kong to claim the G1 , G1 Hong Kong Gold Cup and G1 QEII Cup. He followed this up in Japan, defeating the cream of Japan’s milers with a swift and decisive victory in the G1 Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse in June.

With five successive Group 1 triumphs, Romantic Warrior posted the most Group 1 wins in a single season by a Hong Kong horse.

Meanwhile, another elite horse, California Spangle, posted a record-breaking win in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai.

Hong Kong celebrated the victories of four up-and-coming horses - Voyage Bubble in the G1 Stewards’ Cup, Victor The Winner in the G1 Centenary Sprint Cup, Beauty Eternal in the G1 Champions Mile and Invincible Sage in the G1 Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

This season saw champion jockey Zac Purton seal a seventh Hong Kong jockeys’ championship with 130 wins, while Francis Lui was crowned Hong Kong champion trainer for the first time and Angus Chung won the Tony Cruz Award as the leading homegrown jockey.

“Our world-class racing is truly an international brand in Hong Kong. I am deeply satisfied to see the joy and pride our champion horses, jockeys and trainers bring to racing fans not just in Hong Kong but around the world,” Englebrecht-Bresges said

“These achievements are only possible because of the significant investment of our Owners. Collectively, these achievements are a wonderful endorsement of our strategy to develop our racing to become world class.

“In addition, we have long-term strategies to attract the best racing talent from around the world in combination with developing the best horses and the best home-grown talent. There is no better proof of this than the thrilling contest this season between Francis Lui and Pierre Ng for the trainer’s title.

“However, the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current challenging economic environment have brought significant challenges to the Club. In particular they have impacted the ability of our Owners to source good horses as well as adversely impaired interest in horse ownership.

“We have responded with a number of measures. In 2022-23 season, we introduced an enhanced PP bonus scheme to encourage owners to secure more quality horses to race in Hong Kong, boosting a higher level of performance. Under this new scheme, a total of HK$88.5 million has been distributed to 59 newly imported PPs in 2023/24 season, including the 2024 Hong Kong Derby winner Massive Sovereign.”

“In the upcoming season, the Club will invest HK$140 million to lower livery fees and extend additional financial support for the export of retired horses. In addition, under the Racecourse Master Plan, we have started to refurbish the stables at Sha Tin. I am confident that these measures will encourage owners to bring in more top-class horses to sustain and grow our horse population,” Engelbrecht-Bresges said.

Another important highlight is the Club’s strategic investment in the Greater Bay Area and Conghua Racecourse (CRC), with CRC being increasingly important in supporting Hong Kong’s racing as well as the National Equine Industry Development Plan 2020-2025 in the Greater Bay Area.

With its cutting-edge facilities and a strong pool of racing and equine professionals, including a top-class local workforce, CRC produced 243 wins by 186 horses from 18 stables this season, representing an increase of approximately 41% and 35% respectively on last season. Following the completion of new double-storey stables, CRC’s capacity has increased from 660 to more than 1,000 horses, which will further support the development of the next generation of world-class horses.

As regards the Club’s strategy to bring world class racing to the Mainland through staging international standard racing on a regular basis at CRC from 2026, the Club has achieved excellent progress. The construction of an iconic grandstand, which topped-out this season, is well underway. With a capacity of 9,500, it will provide an unparalleled customer experience for Mainland and Hong Kong fans, visitors and guests.

“I am pleased to see the enormous progress made by Conghua Racecourse in just six years since its opening. Not only is it providing world-class training to Hong Kong horses, but it is fast developing into an equine hub for the Greater Bay Area in support of the nation’s equine industry development.

“Preparations for the successful staging of international standard racing from 2026 are our current focus. In parallel, we are stepping up the recruitment and development of racing talent through partnerships with Mainland authorities.

“We have also acquired land for an equine transfer station, which will be equipped with international standard quarantine facilities to facilitate the import and export of horses in the future.”

In Hong Kong, the two racecourses in Sha Tin and Happy Valley continued to be the stages for world-class racing and vibrant live entertainment. A day at the races is becoming increasingly popular with Mainland tourists eager for a unique Hong Kong experience. This season, more than 93,000 Mainland tourists visited Sha Tin Racecourse with an average of 4,000 on major race days and a record 6,373 enjoying the season finale. Indeed, the total number of Mainland racecourse visitors was significantly up by 32% on the 2018/19 season before the shutdown of cross-border transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our famous Happy Wednesday at Happy Valley Racecourse continued to provide thrilling live music performances, with 11 different themed race-night parties. Coupled with free entry from September to December in support of the HKSAR Government’s “Night Vibes” campaign, this boosted total attendance for the season to more than 500,000, a 37.6% increase on the 2022/23 season.  At the thrilling season finale meeting at Happy Valley Racecourse last Wednesday (10 July), there was an exciting jockey parade with all our jockeys thanking our racing fans for their support during the season.

“With Hong Kong ramping up its capabilities to attract more tourists from around the world, I am glad to see that our world-class racing and racecourse entertainment has become a major tourist attraction for both Mainland and overseas visitors. The Club is striving to be a customer-centric organization and we will continue to invest in our racecourses and betting outlets, providing new and upgraded dining and entertainment venues as well as a new digital racecourse experience for the younger generation.”

In total racing fans enjoyed 88 race meetings this season, including seven twilight fixtures, comprising 831 Hong Kong races and 368 overseas simulcast races.

Total racing wagering turnover for the season was HK$134.7 billion, representing a 4.5% decrease on the 2022/23 season. Here, although the Hong Kong market has been impacted significantly by the economic downturn, the Club’s strategy to expand its customer base globally has partially offset the loss, with Hong Kong races attracting record commingling turnover of HK28.8 billion, a 13.7% increase on the 2022/23 season.

This strong trend reflects the high profile of Hong Kong racing internationally, with 26 countries and more than 70 partners now commingling on Hong Kong racing, including Malaysia for the first time.

Bringing overseas races via simulcasting to showcase the best races around the world to Hong Kong has always been part of our racing wagering offering. Overall turnover on simulcasting (including World Pool commingling) for the season was up by 8.7% to HK$12.8 billion.

Through the World Pool the Club is now transforming Hong Kong into the global hub for commingled wagering on the very best of world racing. This year the number of World Pool races increased from 175 to 258, with 83 races added, and the highlight being the expansion of the World Pool to Australia. World Pool turnover was up by 57.1% on last season.

Mr Engelbrecht-Bresges said: “Under such a challenging economic situation, our overall season racing turnover is satisfactory. While the Club will continue to grow and expand its overseas customer base, the decline in local racing wagering turnover underlines that it must constantly engage and re-engage with Hong Kong racing fans.”

* PHOTO, courtesy of HKJC, shows champion jockey JAMES MCDONALD, thanking fans for their support of Hong Kong racing on the final day of the season on Sunday.

 

BE CAREFUL OF WHAT YOU WISH FOR WHEN QRIC IS DISMANTLED

IT’S still four months to the State Election but the last rites are already being delivered on the much-maligned Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Stakeholders are still waiting to hear the LNP Racing Policy but it’s as certain as they are to win the Election that QRIC will be dismantled.

Sadly, in more recent years QRIC has degenerated into a joke but those who want to return to the days when Racing Queensland was responsible for policing the sport and employing the stewards, should be careful of what they wish for.

As bad as QRIC has been, those who have been around long enough to remember will tell you that the majority of controversy and corruption in racing in Queensland occurred when the LNP was in Government.

There has to be a separation of powers between administration of the three codes and the policing of them. History has shown when Boards employ stewards there can be too much political interference.

The mail is strong that an LNP Government will separate the three codes and each will have their own Boards and Stewards’ Panels which seems a costly exercise when racing, harness racing and greyhounds could be more economically run under the one umbrella.

 

NEED FOR SEPARATION OF POWERS WITH KIM KELLY THE GO-TO MAN

WHAT needs to happen to ensure Queensland doesn’t become the ‘go to State’ for the low-life’s in racing is for an Integrity Arm to be appointed to oversee the operation of stewards in the three codes.

This body, headed by a Commissioner and perhaps two other suitably experienced personnel in the policing of the gallops, trots and dogs, would be appointed independent of Government or political interference and operate without an interference from the respective Boards.

The ideal starting point would be for the Government of the day to entice Kim Kelly, the former Chief Steward in Hong Kong, now living in semi-retirement in Brisbane where his career started, to fill the role of Independent Commissioner of the new Panel.

Kelly has international experience, is highly respected and knows the Queensland industry. One of his former colleagues in Australia and Hong Kong – current Racing NSW Chief Stipe Steve Railton – recently used Kelly’s expertise during the Sydney carnival. Why the QRIC stewards didn’t do likewise during the big winter days remains a mystery.

For the purpose of discussion only, this new Panel, headed by Kelly, could use as part-time consultants former high profile stewards like Ray Murrihy and John Schreck. Let’s not get into who would best be suited as consultants to the Commissioner when it came to the trots and dogs because the latter appointment have been too political in the past with one bobbing up whenever the LNP is in power.

QRIC will be remembered as one of the Labor Government’s biggest stuff-ups in racing. Let’s see how much better job the LNP can do considering their abysmal record when it comes to protecting Queensland racing from repeats of Fine Cotton, the Caffeine Crisis and refusing to provide properly used police powers that stewards do not possess.

 

‘SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE ABOUT THIS RQ EMBARRASSMENT

GREG BLANCHARD, of the GOLD COAST, provides his regular report on the disgraceful number of starters that had to be scratched from meetings in the country and bush because there were insufficient jockeys available.

His email reads:

‘HERE I go again feeling like the Leo Sayer song, ‘I’m a One Man Band’.

The problem with a lack of jockeys continues. Here’s the latest scorecard:

June 8: Injune 5 & Moranbah 2.

June 15: Cunnamulla 2, Atherton 1 and unbelievably 3 at the Rockhampton TAB meeting.

June 22: Clermont 2 & Innisfail 1.

June 29: Home Hill 1 & Mt Isa 11

That’s an embarrassing total of 28 runners that missed a start during June because there was no jockey available to ride them.

Queensland country racing has been let down for too many years now. I hope the next Government in Queensland takes this problem seriously.”

 

‘THE SULTAN’ STRIKES BACK – HIS MOTTO – TRY, TRY, TRY AGAIN

FOR those who think we are sorting ‘The Sultan’ out for special attention when many other ‘expert tipsters’ are travelling just a badly, it’s only fair to report that he struck some pay dirt at Flemington on Saturday.

In his betting strategy on The Analyser on racing.com, David Strehlau, suggested his followers invest $25 the win on Steel Run (which started $2.7 FAV) & $10 the win on Cindy Falls (which returned at SP of $7.5).

Like plenty of others his Bet of the Day was Press Down (a $50 the win investment) which beat only one home at $2.4 FAV. His other losing tips were Rise at Down ($10 win, Starlight Scope $10 win (beat one home in race won by Cindy Falls) & $10 win on Pounding (ran 8th as $4.2 FAV in race won by Munhamek).

After two weeks of failing to find a winner, followers of ‘The Sultan’ should have won close to $40 for their $110 investment.

Here’s what Stewards reported on the woeful performance of PRESS DOWN:

Rider Neil Farley could offer no explanation for the performance. Trainer Peter Hardacre expressed disappointment with the performance, however could offer no explanation. Peter Hardacre advised that the plan would be to have the gelding undergo a further veterinary examination on return to the stable and he would notify Stewards if anything came to light which may explain the performance. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no significant findings. Stewards will follow up with the stable.

 

COULD PURTON CONTINUE HIS HONG KONG CAREER AS A TRAINER?

IF champion jockey Zac Purton’s wife, Nicole, gets her way his racing career in Hong Kong won’t be over when he finishes riding.

Purton has revealed to Edward Sadler of racing.com that it is Nicole’s dream for him to become a trainer and he hasn’t ruled that out.

"It's Nicole's dream for me to be a trainer. She loves the lifestyle in Hong Kong and everything that Hong Kong has to offer," Purton said.

"She's a horsey girl. She likes being around the horses, riding the horses in the stable and just really enjoys being here.

"That's the angle that she was looking at to try and keep us in Hong Kong for as long as she can!

"I'd never say never to anything but she's going to have to be fairly convincing to get that one over the line."

Racing.com reports that while the prospect of him becoming a trainer in Hong Kong might be a pipedream, Purton believes that he would be capable of making a successful transition from the riding to the training ranks.

"I think I would do very well, especially here," he said.

"I understand the system here very well, and I'd get a lot of support initially anyway. A lot of owners are already saying that they'd give me horses, so I'd have a full stable straight away but in reality, at this moment, it's just not even worth thinking about."

As the Hong Kong racing season enters its final week, Zac Purton can rest assured that a seventh premiership in the highly competitive jurisdiction is all his.

With just two meetings left before the off-season break, the top-class Australian jockey sits at the top of the table on 124 wins, 41 clear of Karis Teetan in second place.

"It's been another good season," Purton reflected.

"Anytime you can ride more than 100 winners, you've had a great season. Throw in another Derby, some other Group 1s, I had a couple of big meetings, riding six winners in a day again, so looking back, it's been a good year."

Purton is aware of his place in the Asian city with a rich racing history.

In claiming his seventh jockeys' title this season, he joins fellow icons of the sport like Basil Marcus and another Aussie in Gary Moore to have had that level of premiership success in Hong Kong.

"I've had a great career, I've been very lucky, it's been far better than I ever thought it could've been and it's very satisfying," Purton said.

There's another piece of Hong Kong racing history that looms for the Caulfield Cup-winning jockey next season; the honour of being the most-successful jockey to have ever ridden there.

That record is currently held by Purton's former rival Douglas Whyte on 1813 wins, while Purton is currently on 1734 career victories in the two-track jurisdiction.

Purton maintains though that a record like that isn't his prime source of motivation for the new racing season, which begins in September.

"The motivation is just to try and ride as many winners as I can, be successful and of course, I have that record at the end of my fingertip now," he said.

"I'll just keep grinding away.

"Ultimately, it comes down to the support I can get. If the owners and trainers are willing to give me opportunities, then it's realistic and hopefully I can just stay in good-enough shape to give myself that opportunity."

Purton's future has been the source of speculation for the past few years and, in this respect, he could end up emulating Whyte as well.

In 2019, Whyte called time on his illustrious career as a jockey to become a trainer in Hong Kong, something that Purton's wife Nicole is encouraging him to consider in the years ahead.

 

LNP SET TO INHERIT RQ BASKET CASE – HOW WILL THEY HANDLE IT?

THERE are growing calls for the LNP to declare what they are going to do about the basket case of Queensland racing when they inherit Government in October.

Labor has poured hundreds of millions of wasted industry and taxpayers dollars into the construction and upgrading of racetracks which continue to prove a nightmare for stakeholders.

Not that the LNP did much better when they were last in Government. In fact a promise by then racing spokesman that Eagle Farm would have a world-class track within 12 months proved to be an April Fool’s Day joke (it was announced on-course on the 1st April) and a decade later had not been delivered.

It would be nice to know what an LNP Government is going to do about Eagle Farm (which was arguably an embarrassment during the Carnival), the new track Gold Coast (hopefully it will be up and running again before the election), Townsville’s Cluden Park (reportedly the latest disaster zone) and to a lesser extent Ipswich, Rockhampton and the Sunshine Coast which undeniably have their problems, the latter due to over-use.

STAKEHOLDERS FAR FROM IMPRESSED BY OUR MAJOR TAB TRACKS

HERE are several emails we have received concerning the problem and the need for the new Government to declare what they are planning to do about it:

‘The racing industry cannot afford to continue to plough good money after bad into the Eagle Farm track. If the false rail had been any further out on two of the big days of the Carnival the runners would have been galloping down Nudgee Road. It was supposedly a Good 4 on Saturday but anyone who takes the time to have a look at a race replay will witness the kick-back.’

‘Interesting how the track issues just continue in Queensland. We have no grass racing on the Gold Coast; Eagle Farm is just holding together; Rocky racing on a Heavy 9 on Sunday without any rain and losing a meeting late last week. But don’t ask questions as all is good in RQ and QRIC. Wonder what the topics for the current High Level Review at RQ are going to be and if stokeholders will get a chance to have their say?’

‘Racing has been restricted to the Poly track until the end of August yet the Gold Coast Turf Club has its Spring Racing Carnival on sale indicating the turf will be repaired and ready to go by then. Their promo reads:

ELEVATE your heart rate and head trackside to feel the energy of the Gold Coast Spring Racing Carnival from September 21 to November 9.

It all starts with a splash of pink for the Sky Racing Pink Ribbon Raceday on Saturday, September 21 before attention turns to three of the biggest days on the Australian racing calendar - Caulfield Guineas Day (Oct 12), Caulfield Cup/Everest Day (Oct 19) and Cox Plate Day (Oct 26).
 
The Spring Carnival then reaches its crescendo for Derby Day presented by SeaFM (Nov 2) and the race that stops the nation, Melbourne Cup Day (November 5) before the ultimate finale in Champions Stakes Day on November 9.

It would just be nice if one of the head honchos at RQ or the GCTC told us when owners, trainers, jockeys and punters can expect to be racing on this multi-million dollar minefield without it resembling Birdsville on Cup Day.

Don’t expect to be told who will be the Racing Minister when the LNP wins Government. Tim Mander is the current Minister for Sport and Racing. One would hope he keeps the portfolio and has Ray Stevens as his under-study. If another boofhead, who has been at the races kissing arse of officialdom gets the job, God help the industry in this State.


WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE NOT A DROP TO DRINK UNLESS YOU PAY

COUPLE of issues involving racing in Townsville one of a personal nature regarding a former high profile trainer and columnist for the North Queensland Register which was republished by LGHR

Just wondering if a Carnival race will be run in his memory or will the TTC ignore his achievements (winning most of the major races in NQ) for political reasons?

One of his mates contacted us recently with this little gem: ‘Had Terry still been around we would have asked him to run this:

‘They’ve pulled a new trick now. A bloke used to donate water to the Townsville Turf Club for the trainers and strappers. And now they have told them they are not allowed to do it any more, they have to buy it at the bar.’

Anyone from the TTC who cares to comment on the above or below we would be delighted to run their response or clarification to the above issues.

 

CLUDEN AT AN ALL'TIME LOW WITH NO TAB FACILITIES AVAILABLE

AND this email just in concerning the meeting at CLUDEN yesterday:

'TOWNSVILLE Turf Club meeting on Tuesday had NO TAB FACILITIES available which meant punters had bet into the 200% markets with the on-course bookmaker. Not even the EBT were turned on.

No soft drinks other than Coke zero.

Pie, chips and pre-made sangers the only food option available. 

The place is at an all time low, for participants and the general public.'

 

GRACE FORGIVEN BUT ‘THE SULTAN’ PROVING A TIPPING DISASTER

 WE thought the contributors who did a ‘job’ on TAB Ambassador Grace Ramage and Racing.com tipping ‘guru’ Dave Strehlau might have provided follow-up emails this week.

As they didn’t LGHR can report that Grace bounced back but ‘The Sultan’ had what can only be described as another blackout.

Ramage on her TAB tipping shows declared Bella Nipotina, the heavily-backed $2 favorite, a ‘good thing’ in the last Group 1 of the season, the Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm on Saturday and suggested the VALUE BET was taking runner-up Semana $10 in the Quinella.

She urged punters to give the resuming Kin another chance and that mare duly saluted landing some big bets at $2.5 favorite at Flemington.

Grace also tipped Jabbawockeez, co-trained by husband Ben, which ran third but she missed the bus declaring favourite Baraqiel could be beaten but it saluted at $4.2.

Meanwhile, the poor old ‘Sultan’ continues to fail to live up to his reputation as a tipping genius. He found only one winner – Miss Roumbini at $2.8 – which every man and his dog thought could win at Flemington.

Strehlau’s losing bets on The Analyser included: Trosette, Golden Crusader, Torranzino, Mildford (which ran 2nd) and Chorlton Lane. Following his suggested staking plan punters would have lost close to $100. Last week was worse than that.

Hopefully, if we keep following ‘the Sultan’ he will lose the reputation of not being able to pick a winner with a pin.

 

 

KNIGHT'S CHOICE GENUINE SPRING CUPS HOPE WITH A NEW JOCKEY

MUCH has been made of how 2019 Melbourne Cup winner VOW & DECLARE broke track and class records when he won Saturday’s Group 3 Tattersall’ Cup at Eagle Farm for the second time.

In the process of beating stablemate Young Werther, the Danny-O’Brien-trained Vow & Declare smashed the track record set by Splendiferous in 2022 and class record of Incentivise from 2021.

What has been amazingly overlooked in highlighting the record times run by the rising nine-year-old, which hadn’t won for 580 days, was the effort of the third horse, Knight’s Choice, which arguably should have won.

As one of our readers observed, “If that’s the best Robbie Dolan can do he should focus on his other career as a singer”.

Dolan, a dual Group 1 winning jockey, once told The Sunday Telegraph: “I love racing and riding but I’m keen to see what I can do with my singing.”

Stewards were almost apologetic in their assessment of his ride, reporting:Leaving the 200m (King’s Choice) improved onto heels and was obliged to shift out to improve into clear running.’

What they should have said, in the opinion of many, was: ‘Jockey Dolan waited too long and missed clear running which cost his mount the race’. In other words the ride was bordering on a slaughter job.'

When you consider the records of Vow & Declare and Young Werther, co-trainers Sheila Laxton and her long-time partner John Symons have to be, at the least enthusiastic about the Spring Carnival in Melbourne.

Vow & Declare has won almost $7.4mn in prizemoney, highlighted by a Melbourne Cup. He has also won a G2 Zipping Classic and two G3 Tattersall’s Cup as well as finishing 2nd in a Caulfield Cup, 2nd in a Queensland Derby & 3rd in an Australian Cup.

Knight’s Choice, a rising five-year-old, has won five races and just over $600,000 from only 17 starts. His best win was in the G3 Winx Guineas at the Sunshine Coast this time last year. He has underscored his potential with placings in G2 and G3 company at his last two starts.

Laxon, who trained Ethereal to wins in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup, has long predicted a bright staying future for Knight’s Choice.

There are some good judges hoping her latest stable star can revive some magical Spring memories for the stable. But here’s hoping after Saturday’s disaster they find one of the many top Melbourne jockeys to partner their star.

EDITOR'S NOTE: LGHR tipped KNIGHT'S CHOICE as a SPECIAL to our LATE MAIL clients and can be accused of talking through our pockets. We salvaged something from the wreckage of a terrible ride when the horse ran third.

 

PUNTERS PREDICTED TO HAVE A ROUGH RIDE ON SATURDAY

PETER MAIR, a regular contributor, makes an interesting assessment on Saturday racing:

‘SATURDAY’S race fields, nationally, are cluttered with runners having no chance of winning but, being there, will compromise the fate of other runners.

The new Chair at RVL is calling for ‘cohesion’, promising to balance the interests of all stakeholders:

https://www.racing.com/news/2024-06-26/news-industry-eddy-its-time-for-cohesion

Punters would like to know what the RVL Board and Executive considers will be the likely race outcomes at Caulfield on Saturday -- to know what bets they placed.

Come Monday will the RVL review the race outcomes against criteria of the product-quality presented allowing a fair chance for all runners?

Most of the races scheduled for Saturday should only be run with the fields culled of ‘no hopers’.

.............. as is, the deck is stacked against punters.

If administrators and Governments know that ‘faithful’ punters have no chance of a fair run for their money, there is an obligation to make changes.’

 

TAB AMBASSADOR GRACE LACKS INSIDE MAIL FROM OWN STABLE

WOULD the likeable Grace Ramage have been anointed TAB Ambassador had she not become Mrs Ben Hayes and married into one of the leading training dynasties in Australian racing?

In the space of a few months the knives are out for Grace who has gone from being one of the most popular tipsters, very much in the background at Racing.com, to leader of the pack at the TAB with her own Friday and Saturday morning shows.

As some of the critics are keen to point out, Grace seems to have degenerated from a good tipster to an overnight disaster when it comes to finding the winners and some are quick to point out how bad she is when that involves those from the Team Hayes stable.

In the wake of last weekend when the Hayes brothers, led by husband Ben, celebrated their first quartet of winners on a Metropolitan Saturday at Flemington, Grace has found herself caught in the crossfire.

Here is how one of her lost fans MERLE from MELBOURNE summed up the situation:

‘Grace Ramage was once the best kept secret of the tipsters at Racing.com. Since she got married she seems to have lost the compass. There obviously isn’t too much pillow talk when it comes to the Hayes-trained horses.

Last Saturday was a good example at Flemington. I have been following the new TAB Ambassador’s tips on her Weekend Mail segment of a Friday and the Saturday morning program they created for her. With all due respects, her judgement appears to have gone downhill faster than an out-of-control roller-coaster.

‘In the Weekend Mail last Friday she declared it a tough weekend ahead but was quick to add: ‘I am rolling into Flemington tomorrow full of confidence – the most confident I have been in recent weeks. (She had to be kidding)!

“I think all of our horses can run well,” Grace said, adding that Sneaky Surprise, with the run on the board, should be hard to beat in the first. The $3.6 favorite duly saluted but that’s where her successful guidance for the punters ended.

She went on to say: “I am super confident about Appartus in the last (which finished fourth).”

Her Best Bet of the Day, Abereldie Boy, started favorite and went awful finishing eight lengths behind form reversal winner Born A King from the Chris Waller stable, adding insult to injury for punters who backed the stablemate Mirzann which loomed to win but dropped out like it got hit in the head with a mallet.

Grace said she was (somewhat surprisingly) staying out of the third race where Craig for the Busuttin-Young stable looked the good thing of the day and justified the odds-on plunge.

She was extremely confident tipping Extremely Lucky in the fifth only to see it run fifth to the Hayes-trained Crosshaven at $17 with Ben later telling RSN the stable expected it to improve coming back in distance.

In the seventh she was keen on Watadeel only to see it run a well-backed eighth behind (you guessed it) the Hayes-trained Le Ferrari which they didn’t miss in the betting.

Reminded that husband Ben had tipped Beour Bay, which pulled its ears off and ran last in the fourth, Grace preferred the Henry Dwyer-trained Electric Impulse (which ran third) after it had been backed early from $11 to $5.

She declared Sydney visitor King of the Castle, which ran favorite in the sixth, as the one to beat but it ran fifth to the in-from Munhamek. And by the time she got to trying to find the winner of the eighth Grace conceded “This is probably the No 1 race where anything could win.” She did admit ‘things didn’t co go plan’ for the Hayes-trained Aztec State at its previous start and that horse went on to win but she also gave 6th placed Burlington Gate a Value Chance.

Reminded that the stable had runners at Morphettville, Grace weighed in with: ‘Alchian in Race 3 is going well (it was beaten a 7-length 5th) and that Dunloe could win the fifth (he went like a mule and finished a 14lens 10th).

Just to top off a bad day in South Australia, Grace tipped Jaykayann, the heavily-backed favorite, as her Best of the Day, in Race 6. Trainer Patrick Payne also declared the horse before it ran a plain fifth (have to say I find it very difficult backing a winner from that stable especially when PP tips them).

So there you have it. As TAB Ambassador about the only thing Grace Ramage is achieving with her tips at the moment is more money into the coffers of the TAB and disastrous days for the poor old punters like me. If she deserves a tipping program of her own, so does the tea lady who doesn't however have the influence of the Hayes dynasty behind her.'

 

THIS PUNTER RECKONS THE ‘SULTAN’ ISN’T WORTH A ‘PEANUT’

SPEAKING of tipsters, the rising star of the Racing.com ranks – the man they call ‘The Sultan’ – copped a deserved backhander from MICK the MAD PUNTER from MELBOURNE.

‘His name is David Strehlau and he emerged from oblivion to claim fame as a great tipster with TVN (a legend in his own lunch-time). Here’s an example of how well this ‘peanut’ performed last Saturday at Flemington:

These were his PLAYS OF THE DAY (recommended bets on a show called The Analyser):

RACE 1: REGAL LOVER & WARPARTY - $10 each the win: They ran 10th & 7th.

RACE 2: ABERFELDIE BOY $15 the win & QUEEN TAKES KING $5 win. They ran 5th & 7th.

RACE 3: RISE AT DAWN $15 win. It ran 2nd to the ‘good thing’ of the day CRAIG.

RACE 4: BEOUR BOY $15 the win & $25 the place. It ran an inglorious LAST.

RACE 5: ALONG THE RIVER $5 the win. Ran 7th.

RACE 6: KING OF THE CASTLE $20 the win. It ran FAV & finished 5th.

RACE 8: BOGA LEGEND $5 the win. It ran 9th beaten 8lens.

This required an outlay on the day of $125 for a return of absolutely nothing.

Punters would go better trying to pick them with a pin – ‘the Sultan’ isn’t worth a ‘Peanut’ and should be relegated to the ‘sin bin’ until he shows he is actually capable of finding a winner. Please don’t remind me he tipped one at big odds last full moon.'

EDITOR’S NOTE: After reading the above gripes from punters we thought it might be an opportune time to offer an annual special of $300 for the LGHR LATE MAIL which includes Saturday, Sunday, Night Racing and Public Holiday meetings as well as our big CUP WEEK SPECIAL in the Spring. We promise to provide you with better results than Grace and ‘The Sultan’. If we tipped that bad we would be out of business by now. Interested? Just contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 0407 175 570.         

  

SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S LOSS HAS BEEN RACING QUEENSLAND’S GAIN

GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST has been kind enough to provide this update on a progressive move for the training of young jockeys in Queensland:

DURING seven years at Racing SA, Apprentice Academy Manager Briony Moore has helped guide the careers of countless young jockeys and developed an Academy that is regarded among the best in the country.

Known for her professionalism and unwavering support for the apprentices on and off the track, saying goodbye to start a new job with Racing Queensland has been one of the hardest things she’s had to do.  

“I feel I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t make the most of my opportunities when they come my way when I tell the apprentices to do it all the time,” Briony said.

“There’s no right time to do anything but it’s been particularly hard knowing that we’ve reached a point where I can honestly say we’ve never had the apprentices competing at such a high level across the board.

“I just think the way that we can get an apprentice to the track now has been the biggest achievement. We’ve always had our standout riders but to have them all racing competitively makes me very proud.

“Most of our apprentices tend to have a winner within their first 10 rides which means when an opportunity arises, they have enough ability to make the most of it – it’s not random and they’re getting rides from really good trainers early on.

“So just to know that we’ve put in that time and helped nurture them to reach such a point has been rewarding. And it’s one of those things when they are riding winners, they have self-confidence which gives them a greater chance of getting the most out of their career,” she said.

Briony’s new job at Racing Queensland is Apprentice and Workforce Development Manager.

Initially she’ll commute from South Australia – with children Cameron, 16, and Ava, 13, continuing their schooling in Adelaide.

“It is really exciting to take on a newly created role like this. I’m going from 27 apprentices at our peak in SA to 60 in Queensland, and I’m fully committed and really looking forward to the challenge.

“Racing Queensland is eager to enhance support and systems for apprentices. While there is currently coaching and mentoring in place, the aim will be to implement a more comprehensive, holistic approach to ensure riders not only sustain their careers as jockeys but also reach their highest potential,” Briony said.

The tight bond she’s developed with the current group of SA apprentices has made it difficult to leave.

Along with helping them navigate life off the track, Briony has led the group to four National Apprentice Race Series titles during her time in charge – an indication of the high standards the Racing SA Academy has set.

“I always knew that would be the one thing that would get me emotionally having to say goodbye to the apprentices.

“You see them at their highest, and you also see them at their lowest and you know you’re always there as that support any time they need that extra bit of help,” said Briony.

“Specifically in my role they come to me when they’ve potentially got a life problem or they need some type of support and it might not necessarily involve racing or on the track stuff.

“It has also been hard knowing that we have this new Apprentice Academy training facility close to completion, and for the past seven years we’ve had to stick it out in our transportable buildings where we literally had the paint out to try and fancy it up.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be involved from inception designing the new building, the gym, and all the aesthetics so I’ve been able to put my stamp on it and it’s now there for the next person to make it their own.

“I hope the apprentices know how lucky they are to have the support of Racing SA. The current board and CEO have been instrumental in the success of the Academy and are people that really want to support and help our apprentices to get the best out of themselves,” she said.

The search is now on for a new talent manager to take the reins from Briony and build on the world class platform she’s left behind.   

“Briony is so passionate about the industry and that has been evident in the success she has delivered with the South Australian Apprentice Academy,” said Racing SA CEO Vaughn Lynch.

“As a former jockey, Briony understands how best to support the apprentices in a wide range of situations and she is held in high regard across the industry.

“Briony’s leaving big shoes to fill, and we are hopeful the position and organisation will attract someone with the same passion and care who can continue to support the world renowned South Australian Apprentice Academy,” he said.

Briony’s last day at Racing SA was June 21.

 

WHY WAS NINE COVERING VIP TENT RATHER THAN RACING ACTION?

A great author once wrote that the racetrack is a unique place where pimps and prostitutes rub shoulders with priests and politicians.

That analogy came to mind after 9News ran an exclusive story showing the disgraced and corrupt former Ipswich Mayor mingling with one of Queensland's most high-profile police figures.

Nine reported that convicted sex offender Paul Pisasle ‘turned hairs’ on Ipswich Cup Day raising concerns about who else he is mingling with.

Pisasle attended the VIP section at Bundamba where he was filmed in the company of Police Union boss Ian Levers.

It should be noted that Pisasle is still a parolee and while he may be out of jail he is still serving a seven-year sentence after being convicted of more than 30 charges, including sexual assault, fraud, corruption, perjury and drug possession.

Nine filmed the disgraced former Mayor socialising (drinking and laughing) with the Head of Queensland’s Police Union Levers who represents more than 12,500 police officers.

Rightly or wrongly, it wasn’t a good look even if Levers was entertaining ‘guests’ – one would hardly call Pisasle a VIP any longer – as part of his duties as a committeeman of the Ipswich Turf Club.

Former Labor Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller was quick to deliver an upper-cut to Levers saying the President of the Police Union should know better than to be seen in the company of a convicted sex offender and a convicted corrupt Mayor. She said the Police Union itself should disassociate itself with this sort of behaviour.

The current Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, who also attended Cup Day, said she was disappointed to see Pisasle rubbing shoulders with civic leaders. “He has caused so much pain and damage for our city. Look, he is on parole and is allowed to be out but I just ask that some respect is shown toward the people of Ipswich.”

Nine emphasised that Levers is permitted to mingle with parolees if he wishes to do so. The Police Union boss issued a statement to 9News saying he is a Committee member of the Ipswich Turf Club so he was happy to be in attendance at the Ipswich races on the biggest day of the Ipswich racing calendar.

As for Pisasle, 9News was not allowed to interview him because of a strange law in Queensland that refuses the media permission to interview parolees while they are serving their time.

The response from LGHR contributors to this ‘exclusive’ has been mixed. Some have accused 9News of doing a ‘hatchet job’ on Levers and questioned why they would cover what was happening off the track instead of the action of Cup Day on the track.

Another suggested that Nine should have sought the thoughts of highly respected ITC Chairman Wayne Patch and long-serving committeeman Dan Bowden on the behaviour of colleague Ian Levers socialising with the disgraced former Mayor.

Another contributor questioned if there was any difference to the Brisbane Racing Club allowing convicted criminal Peter Foster to ‘pose’ as owner of a Stradbroke fancy some years back at the same time as club officials removed turf scribe and justracing publisher Phil Purser from the enclosure when he was an accredited journalist simply because he dared to criticise the Eagle Farm track.

That’s Queensland racing though – and little has changed – one rule for one and one for another. It’s a bit rich when one is a hard-working, highly respected gentleman and the other is a disgraced crook.

 

IPSWICH CUP DAY – SADLY WORST MEETING OF WINTER CARNIVAL

THROUGH no fault of hard-working chairman Wayne Patch and his committee at Ipswich their Cup and Eye Liner Stakes day has arguably degenerated into the worst of the Winter Carnival.

The crowd it attracts still rivals that of Stradbroke Day with 20,000 locals turning out annually (as evidenced by the Noel Pascoe photograph above) but the fields attracted for the feature races are the ‘scraps’ of the big Carnival days in Brisbane.

The Sunshine Coast can only dream of attracting a similar crowd to Ipswich but from a quality and punting perspective will win hands-down over Ipswich in a couple of weeks’ time. Perhaps it’s the bigger and better track.

Gone are the days when the Ipswich Cup and Eye Liner Stakes would attract some of the best gallopers in the country. Favorites for this year’s Cup, now a Listed affair, are the Kris Lees-trained Luncies which has contested some of the best staying races in the country but hasn’t won for over a year and Regal Lion whose last win was in this race last year. Third favorite Brookhaven has been getting beaten in restricted company.

Wategos, favorite for the Listed Eye Liner, is barely out of Benchmark company but did run a close second to the smart Yellow Brick in Listed class at Eagle Farm earlier this month. South Australian Fancify and the Victorian Jigsaw (which hasn’t won for 426 days) add some interstate flavour to the feature sprint.

The Ipswich Cup has a long history with the first running recorded in 1866. However, early records are obscure with the race's modern history dating from 1948 after being suspended from 1937.

Cup results include the unique occurrence of dead-heats for first in successive years in 1963 and 1964. Sometime, a Caulfield Cup winner, dead-heated with Confidence in 1963 and the following year the camera could not split Bore Head, yet another Caulfield Cup winner, and Isaacson.

There has been only one dual winner of the Ipswich Cup since 1948 with Our Lukas winning back to back in 2009 and 2010. Trainer Lee Freedman used an Ipswich Cup win in 2006 to catapult Sphenophyta to Turnbull Stakes success in the spring.

The race was marred in 2000 when half the field was brought down in a shocking incident up the back straight when one of the leaders put its hoof in a hole in the track. That was the same day that another fall ended the riding career of Gary Doughty.

Notable winners of the Cup since 1960 include Sharply, Striking Force, Prunda, Lloyd Boy, Golden Rhapsody, In Luck, Hussar's Command, Donegal Mist, Beachside, Oompala, Henderson Bay, Sculptor, Sphenophyta, Bianca and Shenzhou Steeds.

The Eye Liner Stakes has been a feature of the Ipswich Cup meeting since 1970 and is named after the outstanding Queensland filly who won nine successive races as a juvenile and 12 of her first 13 starts including the G1 Champagne Stakes at Randwick. She retired as the winner of 14 races that included two wins at Ipswich and was a great favorite of the late race-caller Wayne Wilson, who was a great fan of Cup day at Bundamba.

There have been three multiple winners of the Eye Liner Stakes. The John Morrisey-trained Pittance won the race in successive years from 2000-2002, Final Affair won twice in 1984 and 1985 and Adnocon twice in 2010 and 2011.

Other notable winners of the Eye Liner Stakes include Don't Rush, Starglow, Plush, Blue's Finito, Better Beyond, Mighty Kingdom, Mr Magic, Robian Steel, Lightning Bend, Barrosa Boy, Roman Senator, Masked Party, Impaler, Mitanni, Smokin' Joey, Man Booker and Holyfield.

Ipswich Cup Day brings back many memories for LGHR covering major races of the Winter Carnival. ‘Paceway Pete’, a colleague, always ensured the turf scribes were looked after. He lived not far from the track at the time and pioneered the arrival mid-afternoon of a seafood smorgasboard to the press box in the back of the stand courtesy of the club.

The ‘beer tent’ at the back of the main grandstand was another of his innovations and most remember the day that a cheeky little boy stuck his head into the tent and was told to ‘piss off’ by a high profile scribe who liked a drink. The kid did just that, bolting after shoving an ice-cream he was eating up the rear end of ‘Rodney’s’ nicely pressed suit.

Punters used to bet on how many ‘drunks’ would be arrested on Ipswich Cup Day and waited anxiously to see the police report in the Queensland Times. Few will forget the big inflatable stolen from the infield and found later on the southside of Brisbane. Other regulars talk of the days when they would say it was a challenge ‘just dodging the boomerangs’ getting to your car after the last – just joking of course (in these days of political correctness).

Cup day at Ipswich is different but to many will never be the same. The club has a colourful history from the time when the CEO bolted with hundreds of thousands which he punted at the Casino and later went to jail for.

The club has just appointed a new CEO and some are wondering why the job wasn’t advertised. Perhaps Chairman Patch knows of this bloke’s family background from the Joh era and thinks he might have some start when the LNP takes Government. Good luck there!

Nathan Exelby, who spent a decade covering Ipswich Cup Day for The Courier-Mail, is the new Chief Executive – not sure what his credentials or experience are in that field but he did work in racing administration at the Brisbane Racing Club for a short time.

Exelby will best be remembered by punters as a tipster on SKY Channel as the least said about his impact as a Turf Editor (compared to the great Keith Noud and Jim Anderson) the better.

He told the CM: “I reached a stage in my life where I wanted to delve into a different part of the industry and racing administration was something I had thought about doing for some time.

“I covered 10 Ipswich Cups for The Courier-Mail and I always found it a really fascinating day. It's exciting now to be looking at this event from the other side of the fence. I've been consulting to the club since September last year and I've got to know the team at Ipswich really well and it's a team that I'm proud to be part of.”

Good luck to him – he’ll need it!

 

SIR LUCAN FORM REVERSAL ANOTHER SAD SAGA FOR SYDNEY RACING

THE massive form reversal by SIR LUCAN in the Listed Winter Cup at Rosehill last Saturday was so unacceptable and disgraceful that we don’t know where to start expressing our sentiments.

Instead, we have left that to angry punters who backed the Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Boytt-trained stayer when it failed badly in the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup at Randwick only to see it improve half a furlong in the space of seven days.

Our mail box was over-flowing after Racing NSW stewards arguably handled the situation so badly and the stable failed miserably to explain the massive improvement.

Here’s what some of our contributors had to say (many emails we received could not be published for legal reasons):

SAM J of NEWCASTLE: ‘This is a classic example of why Sydney racing is on the nose and punters are deserting it in droves. Mr V’Landys can pour all the millions he likes into prizemoney but until they clean the joint up a dark cloud will hang over racing there.’

NEIL S of MELBOURNE: ‘The Sir Lucan form reversal win simply reaffirms the perception that leading stables in Sydney can do what they like. Questions are asked but no action is ever taken.’

GRANT A of SYDNEY: ‘One wonders what action would have been taken if Steve Railton had been Chairman of Stewards on the days that Sir Lucan performed badly or improved out of sight. We’ll never know but his deputy Tom Moxon has won few friends in the punting fraternity with his performance.’

ALBERT W of BRISBANE: ‘What makes the massive Sir Lucan form reversal even more unbearable is the pathetic performance of some mainstream racing media scribes, particularly Ray Thomas. Often referred to as a ‘spin doctor’ for Gai Waterhouse, Thomas went out of his way to track her down in England (where she is attending Royal Ascot) to try and excuse what has to be the biggest form reversal in Sydney in a decade. What was wrong with simply contacting co-trainer Adrian Bott, who was saddling up the stable horses in Brisbane? Of course it was left to the ‘stable clown’ to do the explaining at Rosehill. Caught in the crossfire, he simply blamed it on a horse that can mix its form. But back to Thomas and instead of protecting the punters, which one would have thought was his job, this bloke once again stepped up to the plate as an ‘excuse merchant’ for a horse from a top stable turning in a massive form reform reversal.’

There were over a dozen of these complaints from angry punters – not to mention the phone calls and texts. Sadly, for Sydney racing, they don’t expect anything to happen and most won’t be surprised if history repeats because they think there is a belief among the top stables that they are ‘untouchable’.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Full marks to Racenet columnist Richard Callander for writing the following item this week:

FOR THE SAKE OF PUNTERS MORE QUESTIONS NEEDED TO BE ASKED

AT Randwick on June 8, Sir Lucan started a $3.40 favourite over 2000m at Randwick and finished sixth of 11 beaten 13-1/4 lengths.

At Rosehill on Saturday, over 2400m, Sir Lucan turned in the form reversal of the year to win comfortably.

Obviously stewards queried the run and I quote their report:

"When questioned regarding the improved performance from Royal Randwick on Saturday 8 June 2024 stable representative Mr N (Neil) Paine stated that at his last start the gelding had to work hard from the outside barrier to obtain the lead. He said that with the genuine early tempo today Sir Lucan was able to obtain a favourable run with cover behind the leaders where the gelding was able to settle comfortably. He said that he believed this to be the main reason for the gelding's improved performance."

That was it. No more.

I am certainly not saying anything untoward happened but our customers would at least expect some further deep diving into the matter so they can understand how such a big form reversal occurred.

Horses are not machines and it may just be a box ticking exercise for the stewards and its boxing ticking the customers expect.

The punters who backed Sir Lucan on June 8 are absolutely spitting chips.

 

THERE SHOULD BE A RETROSPECTIVE INQUIRY INTO SIR LUCAN

IF Racing NSW Stewards are fair dinkum about rebuilding the confidence of punters in Sydney racing here’s what LGHR (and many others) think should happen.

When Rachel King returns from her overseas wedding and honeymoon, they should open a retrospective inquiry into the tactics she adopted on Sir Lucan in the Lord Mayor’s Cup compared to those Adam Hyeronimus successfully executed in the Winter Cup last Saturday.

We’re not suggesting anything untoward happened (a horse under the Rules has to be given every chance of winning) but it isn’t a good look when a stablemate wins the race in which the favorite was arguably ‘slaughtered’. They should also look at betting activities involving both horses in that race and Sir Lucan when he won on Saturday.

At the end of the day it is simply not good enough for top trainers to declare ‘it’s just one of those things in racing. He’s an inconsistent horse’. If that’s the case stewards should ban Sir Lucan from participating until he shows in trials that he can be consistent. Surely, from a punters perspective, that is not too much to ask regardless of who trains or owns a horse in question.

And in case you think LGHR is talking through our pockets. Yes, we did tip SIR LUCAN in our LATE MAIL when Rachel King failed to produce one of her better rides. But here’s what we advised our clients betting on the Lord Mayor’s Cup last Saturday:

ON exposed form HOPEFUL wins but we believe a SIR LUCAN form reversal is on the cards. After all it is SYDNEY RACING.  

         

STRADBROKE DAY REVIVES BAD MEMORIES FOR THOSE WHO CARE

LGHR might be a voice crying in the wilderness but Stradbroke Day revives memories of one of the most shameful acts ever perpetuated on a respected and objective racing scribe in Queensland.

It seems like only yesterday that Phil Purser, then publisher of the popular justracing website, was disgracefully escorted from the parade ring prior to the running of the Stradbroke while criminal Peter Foster and his crew were allowed to stay.

Purser was an accredited journalist who dared to photograph and write about the quality of the Eagle Farm track. Foster was pretending to be an owner of one of the favorites for the Stradbroke when in fact he wasn’t.

Stewards turned a blind eye to Foster’s presence and to a Brisbane Racing Club ‘boofhead’ frog-marching Phil from the enclosure for simply doing his job. One wonders where Racing Queensland was when this was happening.

In the days when the Racing Writers’ Association was a fair-dinkum group they would have boycotted coverage of the meeting. But once the ‘little master’ took control, it has been a ‘suck up and survive’ mentality from scribes and commentators and those who dared to be different soon lost their jobs. That sick situation continues to this day.

Which poses the question? How did a couple from the ‘Dad’s Army Media’ pretending to provide coverage of the Stradbroke meeting get accredited for Saturday? Here they were – some of them no longer journalists, others who never were – rubbing shoulders with the winning jockeys, trainers and owners, notebooks and mobile phone recorders in hand. And to think RQ and the BRC stood by and watched Phil Purser – who should be in the Racing Hall of Fame for his website pioneering work – treated as disgracefully as he was.

 

ANOTHER FARCE WITH JOCKEYS SCRATCHED FROM ROCKY TAB MEET

GREG BLANCHARD, a regular contributor from the GOLD COAST, never gives up when it comes to improving the sport he loves in Queensland & should be applauded for his continuing fight to overcome the shortage of jockeys in the country. Here is his latest contribution:

‘THREE starters had to be scratched from the Rockhampton TAB meeting on Saturday when no riders were available.

The situation is worsening as normally it’s the non-TAB’s having problems with horses being scratched.

I’ve banged on for a decade about overseas students in our Apprentice Schools. Maybe I'm just an eternal optimist.’

 

DOES FARM GRANDSTAND WARRANT $80mn PUBLIC PURSE SPEND?

ANOTHER regular contributor, PETER MAIR, has his say on a couple of interesting issues:

‘I attended Eagle Farm, once, a decade ago. I would never go there again.

Minister Grace .......... said the Government had not allocated specific money for the grandstand (that the BRC wants $80 million to upgrade)..............“We’re certainly working with BRC and Racing Queensland so we can start the renovations ........

Who goes to the track in Brisbane entitled to be in a ‘members’ grandstand’?

As for grandstand renovations hoping to be funded from the public purse, the ‘old’ members’ stand at Randwick probably has noisy claimants lobbying in the queue.

RNSW has had decades to deal with this obligation -- they have not.

 

WHAT IS THE REAL STORY BEHIND CORPORATES & TAXES THEY PAY?

AND this one from PETER:

‘I do not know enough to put the following in its proper context.

A story in the Sydney Morning Herald recently with the link below (https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/blow-for-bookies-nsw-government-mulls-betting-tax-hike-20240614-p5jluh.html) looks to be incorrect to me.

It says this:

Sportsbet is the biggest bookmaker in Australia and pays more than $300 million in taxes, levies and fees in NSW under the existing taxation model. Nationally, it pays $1.2 billion in taxes and fees to governments and sporting bodies each year.

As I see things, while Sportsbet may write the cheques for the transfer of funds to governments, the funds to pay the money come from punters via the reduced odds they get to cover increased tax levies.

On another tack, I recall reading that Sportsbet (and other corporates) make substantial profits in Australia but pay little if any federal income tax on the corporate profits. (This profit being bolstered by inflated-field racing reducing the chance of most punters placing winning bets .. as well as these bookies only accepting bets from non-winners.)

The SMH story also says:

Annual turnover across the wagering industry has plummeted by between 12 and 16 per cent over the past three years, and has fallen substantially in Queensland since it increased its betting tax to 20 per cent at the end of 2022.

............... that is a dramatic reduction!

(No wonder Peter Vlandys' is looking for a pot of gold to subsidise industry costs.)

You (or some of your readers) may know some experts that can tell the full story that I cannot.’

 

IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY FOR MAJOR RACETRACKS – SAME OLD STORY FOR DECADE AT EAGLE FARM & MORE GOLD COAST POLY TRACK MEETS

FORGET about increasing prizemoney, spending tens of millions on upgrading grandstands or dismantling QRIC, the greatest problem confronting racing in Queensland is its major tracks.

Eagle Farm has been a ticking time-bomb for almost a decade now and they still can’t get it right, the new multi-million dollar ‘super’ track at the Gold Coast is an absolute embarrassment and the Sunshine Coast is barely surviving the almost weekly workload.

Back in 2018, Nathan Exelby reported in The Courier-Mail that Brisbane’s premier racetrack had been the subject of ridicule and political poison for the best part of four years as the subject of one of the biggest racing bungles in history.

His report read:

What should have been a six-month project at Eagle Farm – announced in June 2014 – is still yet to be resolved, with the first reincarnation a flop and the second one suffering inexcusable delays.

Both sides of politics have copped a hammering over the seemingly never-ending list of blunders that have kept it sidelined.

In June 2014, then Treasurer Tim Nicholls announced that Eagle Farm would have its first major overhaul in 150 years. Racing stopped in August of that year.

It was to be a $10 million grant from the Racing Infrastructure Fund, with another $12 million loan to the Brisbane Racing Club to build tunnels to the infield.

However, the change of Government halted the approval of all the funds and it wasn’t until midway through 2015 that it was fully signed off.

Racing eventually returned to Eagle Farm in June 2016, but the surface was plagued by problems from the outset.

The new track was designed to have state of the art drainage in a sand profile. The chosen grass never fully ‘took’ to the profile and the surface was shifty and not desirable for thoroughbred horse racing.

Sound familiar. Fast forward to the last 12 months or so and it’s groundhog day.

There has been plenty of finger-pointing at Tim Nicholls, the long-standing Member for Clayfield, who has Eagle Farm, Doomben and Albion Park in his electorate. But from the Opposition benches what he could do concerning the problems confronting all three facilities has been hamstrung. Nicholls gets his chance to step up to the plate when the LNP takes Government later this year.

The need for something to happen at Eagle Farm in particular has been highlighted during the current Winter Carnival. Most would agree the major track has not been up to the required standard. The weather gods were kind on Stradbroke Day – rain leading up to or on the day would have created a major embarrassment with the national spotlight on Queensland racing.

Nevertheless, Eagle Farm still played below par. The rail was out – which is not good enough for the biggest day of the year – and as our accompanying photograph shows there was almost a goat track worn into the section raced on near the rail. At the end of the carnival urgent remedial work needs to be done to correct this unacceptable situation.

Fortunately, the problems that caused the Sunshine Coast to transfer some meetings to the despised Poly track, have been overcome in time for their big Carnival meeting. There will always be a ‘fast lane’ at Corbould Park but at least that track seems to be back to a level that is acceptable to stakeholders and punters.

The nightmare for Queensland racing is the Gold Coast where heads should roll. The fact that this track, which cost so much money, is still not able to be raced on because of kick-back is simply not good enough.

No other business bar racing would accept this sort of deplorable management. When the new track was declared unfit for the Gold Coast section of the Carnival not to mention the much-awaited launch of night racing, there were too many excuses made by Racing Queensland, the GCTC and backed by some sections of the racing media.

Steve Hewlett of Racing Radio 4TAB, was ‘poo-pooed’ when he dared to ask Gold Coast officialdom if it might be the Spring before problems with the new track were ironed out. Now some nervous Nellies are wondering if it will be right for the Magic Millions Carnival in January.

This week Racing Queensland announced that more race meetings planned for the Gold Coast turf would be transferred to the Poly track. They will be racing there right through to the end of August which is not good enough. Just imagine the money being lost in turnover.

It’s about time someone at RQ or the GCTC provided another of their updates about when the taxpayers of Queensland not to mention the industry will see a fair bang for their buck with this new track and when they will eventually get around to hosting the first night meeting.

But if all we get is more political crap-trap and spin doctoring from the mainstream racing media, then it’s a waste of time. One wonders what the local Members of the Gold Coast think of this embarrassing situation and whether the LNP will step in and stop the rot when they win Government.

 

IS THE GOVERNMENT PLANNING LEFT-FIELD REPLACEMENT AT QRIC?

RACING Minister Grace Grace was in the spotlight on Stradbroke Day amid rumors about a major appointment to QRIC and copping a pre-election backhander from Brisbane Racing Club Chairman Neville Bell.

The Labor Government has made some left-field appointments like Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeanette Young, as Governor following the major role she played during the COVID Pandemic.

Racing’s rumor mill and those close to the coalface are now tipping that Malcolm Letts, the Chief Biosecurity Officer in Queensland, will be appointed to a major vacancy with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Could Letts be the replacement for Shane Gillard who quit last week as Commissioner after a controversial time in the job? Some say Minister Grace is looking at a stop-gap appointment leading up to the election that Labor knows it is going to lose before the LNP dismantles QRIC and moves integrity back under the umbrella of the RQ Board.

Our research shows that Malcolm Letts is Deputy Director-General and Chief Biosecurity Officer at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. He was involved in the investigation involving the Meramist Abattoir at Caboolture where former racehorses were slaughtered in appalling conditions.

LGHR is not saying Letts will replace Gillard as Commissioner but simply reporting what sources that should know claim is about to happen when the Racing Minister decides to inform the industry.

According to a Murdoch Media report, Grace Grace was as the centre of an awkward moment that unfolded on Stradbroke Day when BRC Chairman Neville Bell – never backward in coming forward regardless of who is in Government – publicly criticized Labor’s failure to renovate the ancient Eagle Farm grandstand while both were attending an official function.

Addressing VIP guests, Bell switched the focus from horses and brought up the elephant in the room by saying the grandstand they were in was teetering on the brink of collapse and might not be functional next season.

Tensions peaked when, during Bell’s speech to VIP attendees including Minister Grace in the Guineas Room, a loud unexplained bang resonated from the depths of the six-decade-old structure.

“I didn’t set that up,” he quipped to Grace from the podium. “But it was good timing!”

The BRC has estimated the cost of renovating or rebuilding the grandstand at $80 million. Critics are questioning whether that sort of money can be justified considering the millions that have been poured into trying to get the Eagle Farm track right. Others say it could be better utilized on prizemoney.

Minister Grace dismissed the 'cringe' exchange as simple jest, and said the Government had not allocated specific money for the grandstand due to having other funding priorities.

“We’re certainly working with BRC and Racing Queensland so we can start the renovations, but there is a staged approach,” she said. “It will likely be two years or so of renovations.”

The LNP – which has always had a close association with the BRC – will no doubt fast-track the grandstand upgrade should they win Government.

Watch this space!

 

RQ & BRC SHOULD THANK THEIR LUCKY STARS THE WEATHER GODS HAVE BEEN KIND – IGNORE THE ‘SPIN DOCTORS’, EAGLE FARM IS ‘ROOTED’

THE weather Gods have been kind and the sun will shine for the biggest day of the year in Queensland racing enabling it to dodge what many believe could have been a major embarrassment.

Racing Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club can thank their lucky stars that rain won’t fall on Stradbroke day creating a continuation of the problems that confront the Eagle Farm track.

Forget what the ‘spin doctors’ on SKY Channel are saying, those who aren’t looking through rose-coloured glasses have declared Queensland’s premier track is ‘rooted’ and some would argue has been for a decade.

Let’s not go down the ‘blame game’ track like they did at the Gold Coast when their new multi-million dollar nightmare was declared one of the best tracks in the country on Magic Millions Day only to be consigned to the scrap heap since.

The ‘suck up and survive’ merchants in the mainstream racing media have already declared Eagle Farm in ‘sensational’ order for Stradbroke day and will dine out on that prediction if fine weather during the week allows it to play fairly on Saturday.

But the Eagle Farm form leading up to the biggest day of the year should be treated with caution as it played unpredictably when rain was around causing nervous waits when racing got underway for some major carnival meetings.

LGHR received an email a couple of days ago from a client of one of the most respected form students and track watchers in the business with his ‘take’ on the Eagle Farm track and it wasn’t very complimentary.

Here’s what it read in part. We at LGHR – and many other 'objective' analysts of racing in Queensland, absolutely agree with his assessment.

‘AS has been advised in recent times, the Eagle Farm track is ‘rooted’, and it was on display in all its glory last Saturday – and what a disgrace of a ‘Good 4’ track, the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) and Racing Queensland cumulatively dished up.

Oaks Day was bad enough, and sadly, on the biggest day of the racing year in Queensland - Stradbroke Day - next Saturday it will simply be a case of ‘the same s*** different day’.

Praise the Lord how at least fine weather is predicted for Stradbroke week - so we’ll have another ‘Good’ track. Imagine what an abortion the joint would have become last Saturday, and what an embarrassment it would have become both nationally, and internationally, to SKY Channel viewers, if heavy rain was to fall on the day? Maybe that will happen on Tatt’s Tiara Day on 29 June. 

The Eagle Farm course proper was ‘rooted’ in 2016 when …. I’d been the only photographer with enough testicular development to go down to the home turn, for the first few races on the day, to photograph the disgraceful volume of kickback …. the size of dinner plates joke that everyone else was covering up – and sadly, although eight years have passed since ….  nothing has changed.

I should contact the Oxford and Collins dictionaries and where the word ‘rooted’ appears in their publication, ask them to also include the four words ‘Eagle Farm course proper’. It’s my considered opinion that the Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland should issue a joint Media Release, apologizing to all thoroughbred racing participants and punters, for being unable to jointly fix the Eagle Farm course proper – even though they’ve had at least eight or 10 years to attend to the issue.

After winning race one, James McDonald was interviewed on SKY Channel by Bernadette Cooper. When asked what the track was like, he replied, “It seems alright. It rode alright. There was still a little bit of kickback. But it is what it is”. (Yeah, exactly – would that be ‘rooted’ James?)

And all the usual SKY Channel ‘urgers’ were out in force to talk up this wonderous Eagle Farm track last Saturday to boost turnover from hapless ill-informed punters. After Race 1 Ron Dufficy stated, in respect of the track, “Looks pretty good, looks pretty good. We’ll assess it after another race or two. Looks a good, fair track today”. (Don’t go the early crow Ronnie – it always pays to err on the side of caution around the thoroughbred racing industry).

Greg Radley after Race 2 stated, “This track’s much better today” (than it was the previous Saturday when it was a Soft 6, and a total disgrace on Derby Day, so naturally a ‘Good’ track would have to be better), to which Michael Maxworthy commented, “Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. After two races it looks extremely fair”.

Granted, horses could run respectable overall time on the day, but that degree of kickback on a Good track is ridiculous. Good luck if ‘they’ reckon the Eagle Farm course proper was all honky-dory. The eyes I was given at birth, gave me a completely different picture, and by the end of the day’s racing, they’d advised my brain that the Eagle Farm track is still ‘rooted’.

 Think it through logically. How many horses won taking the shortest way home – along the fence? Why didn’t jockeys want anything to do with the fence last Saturday, if Eagle Farm was so ‘extremely fair’ (as per Michael Maxworthy – as above), or ‘fair’ (as per Ron Dufficy – above).

I just shake my head – and it’s not because I have nits. Let’s ‘play it again Sam’ next Saturday.

LGHR can’t wait for the new Government to sweep to victory. They’ve got all the answers like dismantling QRIC etc and heading back to the ‘days’ when stewards came under the umbrella of RQ.

We received this interesting email from an observer of all things politics in racing: ‘Saw one of the great failures of the past who was responsible for the Racing portfolio at the track last Saturday shaking hands and kissing babies (that should probably read BRC bottoms) God help us if they make him Racing Minister – the bloke is a prize goose.’

 

IF RQ IS SO KEEN TO HAVE 'SLOT' RACES IT SHOULD PROGRAM SOME

THE general consensus of opinion is that if Racing Queensland wants to run a ‘slot’ race following in the footsteps of The Everest success story then it should program same but don’t cheapen Group One races by allowing places in the field to be bought.

A new Rule that has caused an industry furore permits connections of the winning horse in The Gateway, run at Eagle Farm in December, to negotiate a deal with owners of any horse inside the Top 40 in the Stradbroke ballot to ensure it secures a start.

Fortunately, some say, negotiations between connections of Gateway winner, Dream Hour and Stradbroke emergency Freedom Rally have fallen through and the slot will go untraded.

Australian Bloodstock, owners of Dream Hour, has now decided to run their $101 outsider, trained by Kris Lees, in Saturday’s $3 million Stradbroke. Ironically Dream Hour beat the Tony Gollan-trained Freedom Rally in The Gateway, which is restricted to four-year-olds.

After failing to secure ballot-free by a narrow margin in the BRC Sprint last month, Freedom Rally finished fourth in the G1 Kingsford Smith Cup and with only 51kg is rated a much better Stradbroke at $13 than despised outsider Dream hour.

 

CALL FOR OPEN DEBATE ON PROS & CONS OF BUYING BIG RACE SLOTS 

OPINION is divided among some long-time and respected racing followers on whether it is advantageous to allow ‘slots’ in big races to be traded. One of those is PETER MAIR a regular contributor to LGHR, who wrote:

‘ISSUES about buying and selling 'acceptances' in races warrant open debate.

As a starting point, publishing the price paid would be useful information for punters. Many may have already wondered if deals are done to substitute 'emergencies' for 'scratchings' -- they should not have wondered for long. The price should be disclosed.

Allowing open dealing in field positions would expose the systemic flaws in rules governing entitlements to an 'order of entry'. All too often the present rules can favour good past-performers now likely to be no-hopers on a future big-day. The open sale of these slots would lift the quality of good races. Even not selling long-priced slots would be a useful clue to having a proper crack at the race.

If open dealing in field positions is not favoured, administrators might outlaw the awarding of guaranteed-starts in major races to lift profiles of low-grade races where the winner is unlikely to be a credible contender later. Winning connections would at least get a bonus option worth having. Sadly, administrators can be complicit in generating promotional hype, and turnover, for the qualifying races.

Even at a day-to-day level, open dealing in acceptances may help shine a light on the consequences of administrators inflating fields. It is routine for connections to scratch credible runners drawing wide-barriers in cluttered fields.  It is insulting to connections to be levied with scratching fees when the problem lies with the administrators inflating fields. The fees may be well covered by selling a start to a hopeful, nominated for the race, valuing a chance of running tenth.

In short, open dealing in entitlements to a start in any race would be both a boon for punters -- and a clear message to administrators to substitute fair-go racing for practices likely to boost turnover but preclude fair outcomes.

 

 LISTED LORD MAYOR’S CUP  NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR SYDNEY RACING

PUNTERS were far from impressed when Sir Lucan paid the price for an aggressive ride from his wide alley in the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup at Randwick on Saturday only to see the stable import Eliyass storm over the top at finish.

We’re not suggesting anything untoward occurred but it’s not a good look when the well-backed favourite gets beaten out of sight by the stable second-string which attracted support at good odds.

On this occasion punters were far from happy with the Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bott stable but it’s not as though this is an uncommon occurrence. Second string runners often beat their more fancied stablemates trained by Chris Waller.

Perhaps Rachel King was a victim of circumstances saw Tim Clark – who enjoyed a far more economical run – beat her home by more than 13 lengths on a French import making his OZ debut.

Sir Lucan sat wide from a similar bad alley when a certainty beaten by Hezashocka in the Gosford Cup run at Newcastle. It was another heavy surface last Saturday, he had won at the track and distance previously and Hezashocka had franked the form winning in Brisbane. With any luck he looked a good thing but worked so hard early and tired so badly he beat only two home.

French import Eliyass was no slouch, having won six races and run two seconds from eight starts in France. He was unbeaten at the distance and had won three of four on soft tracks and three of four on synthetic surfaces. He had trialled well enough to win.

From a punters’ perspective it was more about the perceived ‘slaughter’ job of Rachel King on the favourite rather than the win by the stablemate. It wasn’t as though Stewards weren’t a shade concerned by the tactics adopted either. Here is their report:

SIR LUCAN: Rachel King reported that from the outside barrier she had to make some use of her mount to obtain the lead. She said that after obtaining the lead she was able to set moderate sectionals throughout the middle stages. She added, however, that once placed under pressure in the straight Sir Lucan was one paced and did not close off the race on the Heavy track. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

It was a HEAVY 9 track when he should have won the Gosford Cup at Newcastle but at his next start he lost a leg on the HEAVY 9 at Randwick. Go figure!

 

PUNTERS HAVE SAY ON FAR FROM HAPPY ENDINGS LAST SATURDAY 

SPEAKING of ‘slaughter jobs’ a couple of eagle-eyed punters have highlighted their dismay at a few rides last Saturday and whether they are talking through their pockets or not they make interesting observations.

Example 1: BRIAN from BEAUDESERT wrote:

‘I know Victorian visitor Moravia drew badly in the Queensland Day Stakes but he saw plenty of the outside fence. Was that the same ride we are accustomed to from Melbourne Cup winning jockey Mark Zahra? Surely he could have found some cover. Considering the ground Moravia covered he did well to finish only eight lengths from the winner Inhibitions. According to the Stewards’ Report Moravia pulled up with a slow recovery. Why wouldn’t he and so did those of us who backed him.’

Example 2: MELODY from BRISBANE writes:

‘Perhaps I’m a sore loser but I like to follow horses trained by Annabel Neasham and when the lightly-raced filly Aemelius drifted from odds-on to black figures I jumped on. During the race I was wondering how Jamie Kah felt when Nikita Berriman on Italian Dancer gave her no peace in front. It set the race up for a backmarker and along came JMac on the Waller-trained Imperialist to nail Aemelius on the line. I see where Italian Dancer dropped out to run 10th. Why should the punters worry about the ride when the only thing the stewards saw was Italian Dancer over-racing.’

Example 3: SID from SYDNEY posed this question:

‘WHAT happened to the strongly fancied Opal Ridge in the Moreton Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday? Was that the same horse that overcame a wide trip to win the Ortensia at Scone when resuming?

This is a very smart mare, the winner of seven races apart from her second to Front Page when favourite in a Kosciuszko. Her eighth behind Vilana on Saturday was completely out of character.

Did the Queensland stewards bother to query the poor performance? Of course note, it was the last on a busy nine-race card and by then they must have been too exhausted.’

Example 4: FRANK from NEWCASTLE can’t believe the result in the Queensland Oaks:

‘We know Ciaron Maher is a great trainer but winning the Oaks with Socks Nation looked a mission impossible.

The horse had been racing well but getting beaten in weaker races in Sydney and was up in trip. Little wonder he started at 100 to 1.

The Oaks did prove a point though – numbers aren’t everything. The ‘great one’ Chris Waller had five runners – the closest he got was fifth with Mare of Mt Buller. Don’t know what happened to the new star of his stable, Scarlet Oak, which was favourite and finished last beaten over 51 lengths.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is what Stewards reported after the OAKS:

SOCKS NATION: When asked to comment on the seemingly (bad choice of words) improved performance, trainer C. Maher reported that he wasn’t surprised with the forward showing and that SOCKS NATION benefited by how the race was run in the early stages. He added that the filly had pleased in her work leading up to the Oaks (why did she start at $101 then)?

SCARLET OAK – Underwent a post-race veterinary examination (undertaken after they sent a search party out to find her) which revealed the filly to be making an upper respiratory noise. Trainer’s representative Mr B. Killion was advised that the filly will require a veterinary clearance including the results of an endoscopic examination, as well as a satisfactory barrier trial prior to racing again (yippee!).

 

ANOTHER ‘BEAT-UP’ ABOUT BOOST TO RIDING RANKS IN QUEENSLAND

GREG BLANCHARD, a regular contributor, continues his fight for more riders at bush tracks in Queensland:

‘IN an ABC story on line last December, the headline suggested: ‘Racing Queensland riding ranks boosted by international riders at Rockhampton.’

It was about two riders, one a jockey and the other Mauritius track rider Prineesh Goordin.

In the article it mentioned that Prineesh would soon be going to the Racing Queensland Apprentices’ School. He started riding jumpouts on September 13 and since then has ridden 55 jumpouts, the last one on June 4.

In the RQ June Racing Magazine I checked trainees but his name was not there.

My question is: When will he be in our Apprentice School?  I hope soon because he and others like him could be such an asset to racing in Queensland.’

 

CAMPAIGN BEGINS TO DISMANTLE QRIC & RETURN STEWARDING TO  RQ UMBRELLA – WHAEVER HAPPENED TO SEPARATION OF POWERS?

A FORMER high profile administrator and stakeholder in Queensland racing (who prefers to remain anonymous because his ill-health will no longer allow him to retaliate as he once would have) has weighed into the debate about the future of QRIC.

Here’s what he had to say and it makes sense to those of us (in the racing media or elsewhere in the industry) who don’t have an agenda:

‘It comes as no surprise that sections of the racing media have already started a campaign to transfer a new-look QRIC to the umbrella of the RQ Board, supposedly taking it out of the control of politicians.

‘Who do these boofheads think has influence over the appointment of the Boards and for that matter should stakeholders have a say on those responsible for policing the three codes?

There has been no confirmation from the LNP on what their racing policy will be if they win Government but whatever happened to separation of powers?

Those of us who were around when the last LNP Government was in power won’t forget how a Chairman of the then Board would spend more time in the Chief Steward’s office of a day than with the CEO. He would also take that head of his Integrity Department on interstate trips. It wasn’t a good look.

Imagine a steward back in the Russ Hinze day attempting to be independent of what the ‘big fella’ wanted. Just ask John Cremin, a one-time driver for the private stable of the Racing Minister, what happened when he stepped out of line. By the way Cremin is now one of the few promising stewards on the RQ Panel.

Who can forget when stewards came under the control of RQ how a prominent turf writer would run messages from the jockeys’ room to the betting ring? That has been well documented. It was raised at Board level at one time and they spoke to the Chief Steward of the day (who just happened to be a mate of the journo) but nothing was done about it.

As LGHR has written most of the biggest controversies and scandals occurred in racing in Queensland when the LNP was in Government (Fine Cotton and Caffeine Crisit). Perhaps it’s a coincidence but is it little wonder that many of us are concerned if they dismantle QRIC and transfer control of stewards back to the RQ Board administration? It will be open season in Queensland racing.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: For what it’s worth I think there is light at the end of the tunnel for racing to be a much better place in Queensland under the LNP with a big ‘IF’. Firstly they need to have the right Racing Minister but for internal political reasons he’s been ‘benched’ from way back when – that is Ray Stevens (who has paid the price for loyalty to a fellow MP who was never the right choice to lead the Party). And the best man for the job as RQ Board Chairman is already there. It’s just a matter of ‘punting’ Steve ‘Whirlwind’ Wilson, who arguably only got the job because of his close association with Racing Minister Grace Grace and replacing him with the highly respected, hard-working Graham Quirk. The former Lord Mayor of Brisbane would never allow influence with stewards to occur under his watch and is too political savvy to have some of his associates at Deagon, who some say get into his ear, make him do something that isn’t in the interests of the industry. An insider close to the coalface at the boutique training centre suggested – tongue in cheek – recently that the change of political shirts had already began but the LNP models were so outdated and had been in storage for so long that replacements were needed. Sounds a bit like the prominent Opposition MP who was telling anyone who wanted to listen a year ago that he would rather see Labor win than David Cristofulli become Premier.

 

MANY IN RACING TERRIFIED CURE MIGHT BE WORSE THAN  DISEASE

SHANE Gillard has fallen on his sword as Commissioner but many in the industry are terrified that the ‘cure’ might be worse than the ‘disease’ for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission when the LNP wins Government.

Since news of the quick exit of Gillard broke, LGHR has been constantly reminded by those who have been involved in the industry for longer than they care to remember, that most things bad that have happened were on the watch of an LNP Government.

We’re all reminded of how great it was when ‘Big Russ’ was Racing Minister and threw truck-loads of taxpayers’ money at two of the three codes, especially harness racing. But in the eye of most that came at a cost – it isn’t called the ‘red hots’ for nothing.

Let’s not forget it was during the rule of an LNP Government that the infamous Fine Cotton ‘ring in’ was allowed to happen, that the caffeine crisis gutted racing and destroyed the careers of several fine trainers subsequently found to be ‘innocent’.

A contributor posed the question to LGHR: ‘Since the days of ‘Big Russ’ has there been an LNP Racing Minister or Shadow Minister worth feeding. There will always be reference to the unforgettable Steve Dickson who promised that after the first 12 months of the new LNP Government, racing in Queensland would be ‘a furlong in front of NSW and Victoria’ In fact it was a furlong behind.’

Even in the Shadow Ministry, Labor has at least had MP’s who knew something about racing, least of all Bob Gibbs, most remembered for controversially stripping the then QTC of control of the industry or Robert Schwarten who did a terrific under trying circumstances because he failed to see ‘eye-to-eye’ with Bob ‘my way or the highway’ Bentley.

The jury is out on current Minister Grace Grace but she deserves credit for ensuring that the administrative and integrity side of racing were separated to ensure the interference that occurred in the past did not continue. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t get it quite right with the new body, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, largely because of poor appointments at the top since the departure of the original Commissioners Ross Barnett who moved on to greener pastures and Mark Ainsworth who decided he could do without all the drama. Both were high profile policemen and that didn’t sit comfortably with some top stewards whose noses were put out of joint by the new framework. Shane Gillard, who has announced his retirement (some say before he was pushed), just wasn’t in the same league as Barnett or Ainsworth and QRIC arguably went backwards under him as Commissioner.

 

THE QUESTION IS: WHO WILL REPLACE SHANE GILLARD?

WELL-informed Archie Butterfly on his subscriber-only website peterprofit.com suggests Grace Grace has someone in mind – a female with ties to the Labor Government. With all due respects to whoever that might be and whatever credentials she may have, that is an appointment doomed to fail.

The problem for racing in Queensland is that no decent steward or respected integrity administrator wants to come near the joint. And there aren’t too many available anyway.

One of the reasons for that is the suggestion that an LNP Government would dismantle QRIC or return to the bad old days when Racing Queensland was responsible for the stewards. They never seem to learn from mistakes of the past.

The one standout who they should be chasing ASAP is Kim Kelly, who started his career in Queensland before graduating to Sydney racing and eventually becoming a long-time highly respected Chief Steward in Hong Kong. He was recently seconded by long-time colleague Steve Railton to help out during the Sydney carnival.

There was talk of Kelly being appointed to a consultancy role with QRIC when he returned home from Hong Kong to retire. Kim has too much ability to be wasted in ‘couch-land’ and even if he was to oversee a couple of Commissioner-prospects, his experience is needed by QRIC and they should be sending an immediate SOS to him.

If for costs or political reasons an LNP Government moved integrity back under the umbrella of RQ administration, it would open the door for a return to the ‘bad old days’ which poses the question: Is doing away with what little Labor has achieved with QRIC a worsening of the disease rather than a cure.

 

WHY NOT CHASE BAILEY – EVEN IF HE DOESN’T SEEM INTERESTED?

ONE of Queensland’s best stewards Terry Bailey will be back in town during the off-season in Hong Kong and perhaps it wouldn’t be premature for the LNP to have a fireside chat with him.

There will be plenty who don’t want to see Bailey return home or to Australia for that matter. They resent his tough, no-nonsense style and others claim he is damaged goods, blaming that on being thrown under the bus during the ‘Cobalt’ controversy in Victoria.

LGHR gets the impression that Bailey is content to stay in Hong Kong where he is far better paid, has far less dramas and achieves the respect that his integrity, experience and approach deserves.

But as one hard-headed former high profile stipe told LGHR this week: ‘There’s no room in racing in Australia for stewards like Terry Bailey any more.

‘Officialdom wants stewards who the industry regards as ‘Mr Nice Guys’ that will go about their business professionally but without making waves.

‘How long is it since you saw a major running and handling inquiry in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide? It just doesn’t happen anymore because there is an ‘unwritten law’ not to rock the boat or damage the image of the industry.’

LGHR wonders what that does for the confidence of punters who continually complain to us that Sydney racing is ‘on the nose’, Adelaide is even worse, the less said about Brisbane the better and the only place to bet with confidence is Melbourne.

That’s racing folks!

 

‘MEMO BIG RICHIE: WOULD YOU HAVE SAID SAME ABOUT SYDNEY?'

IT didn’t take long for big Richie Callendar to fire-up the Brisbane Racing Club supporters with his suggestion the Stradbroke should lose Group 1 status for allowing a spot in the race to be sold by those who have won qualification but don’t want to start.

Here’s what Richie wrote in his column in Racenet:

SELLING a spot in Queensland's premier race should not be allowed.

Imagine winning at Queens to secure a place in the main draw at Wimbledon or the Australian Open Golf which gives you a start in the British Open but you don't play in the major.

Instead, you inform the respective bodies you aren't lining up as you've sold your spot to another player.

It's ridiculous, other sports wouldn't allow it to happen so why have Queensland authorities allowed it for their biggest race?

Dream Hour won The Gateway at Eagle Farm back in December securing a spot in the prestigious Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in June.

Will Dream Hour line up on Saturday week?

Maybe, maybe not.

But guess what? If he doesn't the owners can sell their spot in the race to another Stradbroke hopeful.

Plain and simple, it cheapens the product and is nothing short of ridiculous.

I am and have always been supportive of races that give horses the chance to win and you're in, but to then be able to sell the spot doesn't make sense.

Dream Hour has a page full of owners and running in the Stradbroke is probably a dream so he will likely take his spot and in doing so save the race from a ridiculous clause.

The Everest still hasn't got Group 1 status as slot owners select the runners so Group 1 status now has to be taken off the Stradbroke.

HERE’S what one former Director of the Club (who asked not to be named because he is in retirement now) had to say in response:

‘MR Callander is entitled to his opinion even if it displays his ignorance of the situation.

Would he be suggesting the Stradbroke be stripped of Group 1 status if it was a major race in Sydney? Of course not! When was the last time he criticised Peter V’landys? It’s fine to have a crack at Brisbane or Melbourne racing but don’t you dare say anything bad about Sydney.

And for that matter when was the last time he wrote something critical of his mate Chris Waller? Sure the Hall of Famer is a champion trainer. But some of his well fancied runners perform woefully and you don’t hear ‘Big Richie’ questioning those. Why would he? Isn’t there a family interest in the ownership of horses trained by Waller?

MEMO Mr R Callander: Don’t be so selective in your criticism and you might earn some credibility for a change.’

   

CONTROVERSY OVER SALE OF ROSEHILL GETS MESSIER BY THE DAY

PETER MAIR, a respective contributor, weighs into the debate on the sale of ROSEHILL:

‘The (following) SMH editorial involvement of Nine Media in this saga is interesting.

Among other things, if the ATC is to sell Rosehill, it looks odd to then say that the ATC would be ‘also gaining a Metro station at Rosehill’.

More generally it is not clear what (Peter) V'Landys plans to do with the ‘$5 billion’ which he suggests may belong to RNSW (rather than the ATC). RNSW has an agenda not likely to include a new metropolitan racecourse.  

Apparently eschewing the otherwise long expected sale of the Canterbury track also raises questions -- not least about the intention of RNSW to massively upgrade other facilities where punters do not want to bet.

We need to know more about what will be done with the $5 billion.’

Here is the FAIRFAX MEDIA story under the headline THE RACE TO ‘SAVE’ ROSEHILL SERVES VESTED INTERESTS:

ONE of the most exciting and beneficial planning changes of recent times, the sale of Rosehill Racecourse, is under threat from vested interests with little apparent regard for the greater public good.

The sell-off was announced in December by NSW Premier Chris Minns and Australian Turf Club chairman Peter McGauran. It was hailed by the government as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity that could lead to 25,000 new homes being built amid skyrocketing concern about housing supply and an affordability crisis strangling Sydney.

The ATC would sell the prized 60-hectare site to developers in deals worth at least $5 billion, and spend some of the proceeds on massively upgrading racing and training, and member and spectator facilities at other NSW venues, while also gaining a Metro station at Rosehill.

But the proposal ran into trouble from the jump. Randwickbased trainer Gai Waterhouse used her significant influence within the industry to build opposition to the sale. She was quickly joined by Rosehill-based trainers Chris Waller, Lee Curtis and Richard Freedman, who made public comments criticising the sale. Then, in March, Parramatta councillor Michelle Garrard used crass hyperbole against the sale: ‘‘I’ll say it loud and clear: Rosehill will become a ghetto.’’

Now the Herald’s Michael McGowan reports that a coalition of powerful thoroughbred racing identities has signalled it may attempt to roll the board of the ATC over the sale proposal. Among well-respected racing figures, the new Save Rosehill group includes former ATC chair, life member Matt McGrath, previous board members such as ownertrainer Julia Ritchie and Winx owner Debbie Kepitis. Champion horse trainers Waterhouse, Waller and Anthony Cummings are also backers.

Save Rosehill group spokesman, thoroughbred owner Jason Abrahams, said the alliance had formed due to the ‘‘lack of transparency’’ perceived in the proposed Rosehill sale and concern that members ‘‘would not be given a vote on the deal’’.

‘‘A recent letter to members by the ATC chairman, saying members will be consulted on any sale, has not assuaged our mistrust in the ATC board and the senior executives involved in negotiations,’’ Abrahams said.

‘‘As members of the ATC, we demand full voting rights on the future of Rosehill. This process should not be taken over by politicians or unelected racing officials.’’

Members may well have felt blindsided by the decision to sell, especially as the Herald revealed in April that the ATC had told planning officials there was ‘‘definitely no plan’’ to sell Rosehill. Initially, the club had instead flagged a potential sale of Canterbury Park Racecourse. The waters were further muddied by another of our reports: that the head of Racing NSW, Peter V’landys, was believed by some members to have lobbied the government to divert funds from the proposed sell-off away from the ATC.

However, in a statement, a spokesman for the ATC dismissed any suggestion its members would not have final say on the proposal. ‘‘There will be a vote on the sale of Rosehill Gardens at the end of this year, when all ATC members will decide the issue with finality,’’ the spokesman said. ‘‘The ATC board is currently undertaking due diligence with Racing NSW to ensure members have all the facts and sufficient detail on which to make an informed decision. That is their right.’’

The Save Rosehill group prefers blinkers to looking at the sale with a wider vision. Of course, trainers and their friends have a legitimate right to be concerned about governance, but they also appear quite selfish in putting private interests above public good, and they risk blocking what is a needed and good development project that will have a real impact on Sydney’s housing shortage.

 

FROM THE DAY GILLARD ARRIVED STAKEHOLDERS COULDN'T WAIT FOR HIM TO LEAVE - AND NOW IT'S A RESOUNDING 'GOOD RIDDANCE' 

From the day he arrived as Queensland Racing Commissioner many stakeholders couldn’t wait for Shane Gillard to leave.

Their wish has been granted earlier than expected and it is fitting that the boys at Racenet were to announce the departure of the man that only wanted to deal with them.

After enjoying a good working relationship with Gillard’s two predecessors, LGHR found him to be not only non-co-operative because we dared to criticize but, in our opinion a failure at the job.

Like many others we won’t miss him. In fact he will be remembered by most in the industry as the worst performing Commissioner in the short life of QRIC.

The question many are asking is: Did he go before he was pushed or does he share the growing belief that when the LNP becomes the Government later in the year they will dismantle QRIC?

According to the Racenet story:

‘Queensland racing's integrity boss Shane Gillard has sensationally quit his post just weeks after a Government-ordered review put the Ccommission's workplace culture and management under the microscope.

In an email to staff on Monday, Gillard announced his decision, saying the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission requires a "full reset" with "refreshed leadership".

Gillard was contacted for comment by Racenet but reportedly did not respond.

It must have been the first time in his role as Commissioner that he had refused to talk to his mates at News Ltd who will now have to give his replacement a good welcome as though he or she is the best thing since sliced bread.

If the powers-that-be have any brains the first call they should be making is to former Hong Kong Chief Steward Kim Kelly and asking him to ‘get off the couch’ and make a comeback. He’s their only hope.

Some close to the coalface are adamant that QRIC, under the control of Commissioner Gillard, never survived their enforced ‘retreat’ on the high profile cases against Group 1 winning trainers Chris Munce and Desleigh Forster, who they had hit with bans which were sensationally overturned on appeal.

As controversy continued to rock QRIC, Queensland Racing Minister Grace Grace publicly announced the KPMG review into the organization but the industry is still waiting for it to be released. Perhaps it’s time for the LNP to chime in with their racing policy, if they have one.

Now that Gillard has gone – and once again we say good riddance – it’s time that Chief Steward Josh Adams jumped on the same bus. And as for some of Gillard’s ‘boot-lickers’ on the panel – especially ‘the I’ve been everywhere man’ – the writing is on the wall.

   

 

ROMANTIC WARRIOR CAPS GREAT SEASON WITH JAPANESE G1 WIN

By LEO SCHLINK in Tokyo for the HKJC

ROMANTIC WARRIOR completed an extraordinary season with G1 Yasuda Kinen victory at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday with a stunning performance which left jockey James McDonald almost speechless as Danny Shum’s globe-trotter snared a fifth successive Group 1 feature.

Underlining his status as one of the world’s premier gallopers, Romantic Warrior (photograph courtesy of HKJC) became Hong Kong’s third Yasuda Kinen victor, joining Fairy King Prawn (2000) and Bullish Luck (2006), while Voyage Bubble under Zac Purton finished a distant 17th of the 18 runners.

With elite level victories in the G1 Cox Plate (2040m), G1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m), G1 Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m), G1 QEII Cup (2000m) and Sunday’s success, Romantic Warrior clinched his eighth Group 1 overall, enhancing his career record to 15 wins from 20 starts.

Settling fifth, Romantic Warrior was angled into the clear in the home straight as the field climbed the sharp rise near the 300m mark before striking the lead. Driven out by McDonald, Romantic Warrior had half a length to spare on the line from Namur (Yutaka Take), while Soul Rush was a further nose further back under Joao Moreira.

Watched in steady rain by a crowd of 44,577, Romantic Warrior clocked 1m 32.30s.

“James McDonald is world-class and he gave him a great ride. He loves Romantic Warrior and Romantic Warrior loves him a lot. He always tries his best for James,” Shum said. “I wasn’t too nervous because I was confident in my horse, my team and my jockey.”

Composing himself after posting his first win in Japan in one of the nation’s premier races, McDonald said: “He’s a champion racehorse and it’s a very proud day for all of us – the whole team – because to showcase him to Japan was something very, very special in such a prestigious race.

“I’m almost lost for words when I ride this horse because he’s got a big heart and he tries his best all the time. It’s such a hard jurisdiction to race in. There’s such good horses and great jockeys so it’s an absolute privilege to be here and to be winning such a prestigious race is very, very special.”

Earning HK$9 million for the victory, Romantic Warrior – a Hong Kong International Sale graduate and Hong Kong Derby (2000m) winner – has now amassed HK$151 million in prizemoney, a figure bettered only by Golden Sixty’s HK$167 million.

In the post-race elation, Shum ruled out a tilt at the G1 Takarazuka Kinen (2200m) at Kyoto on 23 June and confirmed Romantic Warrior would return to Hong Kong with Voyage Bubble early this week to be spelled.

“I think the best thing for the horse is to give him a break and let him rest. He’s not going to race anymore this season,” Shum said.

 

 

THE REASONS FOR MICHELLE PAYNE DECIDING TO QUIT RACE RIDING

A SERIES of “random” head knocks during track work has convinced Michelle Payne to retire from race riding almost nine years after she rewrote the history books by becoming the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup.

DANNY RUSSELL reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Payne has informed Racing Victoria that she will not be reapplying for a jockey’s licence beyond this season, which ends on July 31, bringing to a close one of this country’s most inspirational sporting careers.

Payne, who had her first race ride as a 15-year-old in 2001, said she knew it was time to call it quits after suffering three successive black eyes from training accidents at the end of last year.

“I had three horses, one took fright and gave me a really decent whack in the head, another one did the same thing and it gave me a blood nose, and then another one of my young horses bucked me off, but with quite a nasty knock to the head again. So I got three black eyes all in a row,” Payne said.

“It was late last year, and it knocked me around a bit and probably shocked me into retirement a bit quicker than I was thinking. But it was on the cards anyway.”

While Payne, who has had a joint trainer-jockey licence since 2016, is intending to hang up the saddle for good come August, she has not ruled out farewell rides before the end of the season.

“I did a concussion test at Sandown on Saturday, because they were doing testing for jockeys for the new season, just to see if I could ride for the last couple of months of my licence, and I passed, so that was all good,” she said.

“It is a new era in my life and I guess a bit emotional, but things come to an end and I have been lucky to survive some pretty horrible injuries.”

Payne suffered a number of career-threatening falls across her 23 years in the saddle. In 2004, the then 18-year-old was sent head first into the turf after her horse fell 100 metres past the Sandown winning post and she suffered a fractured skull and bruising on the brain.

In 2016, just six months after her record-breaking Melbourne Cup win on Prince Of Penzance, Payne was trampled on and required pancreatic surgery after she fell from her brother Patrick’s horse during a race in Mildura.

At the time, Payne defied calls to retire even though she had achieved her life-long dream of winning the Cup, a feat that inspired a movie, Ride Like A Girl, as well as a new generation of female jockeys.

The on-going impact of her seismic win and her powerful post-race speech that women “beat the world” are still being felt today.

One of Australia’s leading jockeys, Jamie Kah, said at the VRC’s Melbourne Cup tour launch on Tuesday that Payne’s 2015 victory in the race that stops a nation was a “massive turning point” for women in racing.

“Probably from when I started riding (in 2012), it was already changing, but probably a good five or six years before that, the Clare Lindops of the world would never have imagined doing what Michelle did,” Kah said.

“It was just a really good turning point. Now trainers see good jockeys and they put the good jockeys on.

“It is not a good female jockey, or a good male jockey – it’s, if they are a good jockey and they ride well, they put them on. There’s no sexist people in this industry any more, and I think Michelle really helped that.”

During the past four months Payne has begun working more closely with her trainer brother Patrick, allowing her to find more time to balance speaking and charity engagements with the seven-day workload of training a team of 10 horses at her Miners Rest property, near Ballarat.

“It probably got to the point earlier this year when I didn’t know how I could keep managing it,” Payne said.

“With consistent management of staff, track riders, education of babies and grass gallops – I was very lucky to be able to lean on my brother for some support, he’s been amazing.

“What I have been able to do for him [in return] is head to Tasmania for the carnival with his horses, head to Adelaide for the carnival with his team, and fill in at the races where he needs a hand.”

She said it was too early to tell whether they would consider forming a training partnership.

Following her rise to national prominence in 2015, Payne is still very much in demand.

She helped launch the VRC’s Melbourne Cup tour at Flemington on Tuesday by announcing the Victorian destinations of Cowes, Melbourne, Alpine Shire, Mountt Wycheproof, Rochester, Nathalia, Woodside, Trentham and Lancefield. Earlier this month she unveiled new honour boards outside the VRC committee room to recognise past Cup winners and VRC chairpersons, secretaries and CEOs.

“Having a bit of relief from the training definitely helps being able to juggle all of those sorts of things,” Payne said.

 

CRITICS AN UNFORGIVING GROUP WHEN IT COMES TO RACE-CALLERS

OWNERS, trainers and punters can be an unforgiving group especially if you are a race-caller who gets it wrong.

Most will cop the occasional mistake BUT when that occurs more often than acceptable they are calling for the axe to fall.

Terry Bailey is the race-caller caught in the crossfire – twice he has called the wrong winner at the Victorian provincials in the space of weeks.

What made matters worse last Sunday at Ballarat when he mistook Air Defence for Aureate was that he kept waffling on about the performance of the horse that didn’t win when he had called the actual winner beating only one home.

The attempted ‘cover-up’ by his mates in the studio added insult to injury for punters not to mention those associated with the actual winner Air Defence.

It prompted trainer Shane Fliedner, whose stable saddled up the horses Bailey got wrong (which to be fair raced in similar colours), to quickly correct the mistake:

‘The caller got it wrong, Air Defence won,’ Fliedner told the on-course interviewer. Terry…do you want me to say it?’

TB, as he is affectionately known, was once regarded one of the best in the business. He was among the favourites to replace Greg Miles as No 1 caller in Victoria, when the job went to Matt Hill. Some close to Bailey say the disappointment of missing that job got to him. Others blame his interests being more focused on his greyhounds these days.

Whatever the problem someone, like Greg Miles, needs to sit down with Bailey and have a fireside chat with him. TB is a strong-willed guy who has openly stated he doesn’t care about criticism on Twitter and Social Media.

There are those of us who have long admired Bailey who hope he doesn’t commit Hari-Kari and discover that ‘Three Strikes And You’re Out’ now applies to race-callers in Victoria.

 

PUCKERIDGE PARTING WAYS WITH RQ OR HAS HELP BEEN CALLED IN?

THE mail is doing the rounds that the controversial Senior Track and Racecourse Manager Greg Puckeridge may be leaving Racing Queensland.

It follows the publication of this advertisement:

Available Jobs

Title

Summary

Employment Type

Location

Closing Date

   

 

 

 

 

 

   

Racetrack Specialist

The Racetrack Specialist has primary responsibility for ensuring all race and training tracks are maintained and presented in optimal condition.

FP - Full-Time Permanent

Racing Queensland

21/06/2024

   

Perhaps RQ feels Mr Puckeridge is under so much pressure that he needs an assistant.

Before the celebratory parties at his departure get into full swing perhaps RQ CEO Jason Scott should clear the air. If it is correct the cynics are going to have to come up with a different slogan for the tracks in Queensland being ‘puckeridged’.

 

LACK OF CONSISTENCY BETWEEN GOOD & NOT SO GOOD STEWARDS

HERE are some issues raised by Wednesday Whingers since the weekend:

COLIN G of BRISBANE gives us an example of how stewards in different states approach the same problem:

Here’s is the Stewards’ Report after TANGLEWOOD cost punters plenty in the Hi-Way at RANDWICK on Saturday:

WHEN questioned jockey Josh Parr stated that Tanglewood was particularly stirred up in the parade ring and then did not relax during its preliminary or behind the barriers. He said that after being forced to race extremely wide in the early stages he was able to find some cover rounding the home turn behind Big Opinion. He said, however, that soon after straightening, when placed under pressure Tanglewood gave no response and when the gelding commenced to lose ground he did not test it for the remainder of the race as he had some concern there may be something amiss with his mount. When interviewed trainer Mr T. Howlett advised that Tanglewood had done well and even though he was concerned with the wide barrier, the gelding had pleased him and he anticipated it to perform well. He said he agreed with J. Parr that Tanglewood was not as relaxed prior to the race and this may have impacted on the gelding’s performance. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be lame (2/5) in the near-foreleg. Mr Howlett was advised that a veterinary clearance will be required before Tanglewood barrier trials to the satisfaction of the Stewards before being permitted to race again.

NOTE: Tanglewood will require a veterinary certificate and has to barrier trial before being allowed to race again.

COMPARE that to the failures of these well backed runners at DOOMBEN:

STANDING ORDER: When questioned regarding the disappointing performance, jockey T. Berry reported that in his opinion, failed to finish off as expected. When asked to comment, trainer T. Gollan stated that in his opinion, the gelding resents racing to the inside of runners and after receiving pressure to the inside of SECRET PLAN, he wasn’t surprised to see STANDING ORDER not finish the race off as expected. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no apparent abnormalities. Trainer T. Gollan advised he would report back on the post-race condition of the gelding.

FORTUNEER: Bumped shortly after the start. When asked to comment on the performance, jockey T. Schiller reported that in his opinion, the filly resented the kickback and when able to get to a position wider on the track, it finished off well. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities. Co-trainer M. Hoysted was advised to report back on the post-race condition of the filly.

ENEEZA – When asked to comment on the performance after beginning poorly, he (no name of jockey published in report so we assume the stewards were referring to Damien Lane) was then obliged to pressure the filly to take up a position and ultimately settled on the worst part of the track. He added that he wasn’t overly disappointed with the performance. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities.

ZOE'S PROMISE: When asked to comment on the performance, jockey A. Mallyon stated that he wasn’t overly disappointed with the effort, but in his opinion, ZOE’S PROMISE is better suited to racing on bigger tracks. Trainer K. Lees reported he would report back on the condition of the mare in the days subsequent. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities.

NOT ONE of the ABOVE was required to barrier trial before racing again.

 

‘IT IS TIME TO ‘POO OUR PANT’S & PROGRAM ANOTHER ONE ON POLY'

ANDREW J of the SUNSHINE COAST poses an interesting question:

WHAT odds those responsible for programming poo their pants and transfer Friday's Sunshine Coast twilight meeting to the Poly track?

The weather forecast suggests quite a deal of rain is heading the way of south-east Queensland from Friday through to Sunday so why wait – that seems to be the policy these days.

About the only one who will be happy about a transfer to the Poly is top Sunshine Coast trainer Stu Kendrick whose horses have been enjoying a picnic on the surface that is despised by most especially the punters.

 

BAD DAY FOR TIPSTERS & PUNTERS, ESPECIALLY AT DOOMBEN

IF you think it was a bad day for the punters on Saturday, spare a thought for the tipsters.

Tom Waterhouse told his clients: ‘In six years of running this service, I have never seen a tougher day on paper.’ He bet down on units and despite the Best Bet biting the dust still provided a winning result.

A former bookies turned tipster in Queensland landed two winners from 10 races at Doomben and couldn’t stab the winner of the Doomben Cup in six tries.  

There were five double-figure odds winners at Doomben, including Maracana at $41 in the Drinkwise Mile (formerly the Pam O’Neill) and Bois D’Argent at $26 in the Group 1 Doomben Cup.

The form of horses from the Anabel Neasham stable is extremely hard to follow. After his win we were reminded that Bois D’Argent ran 4th in the Caulfield Cup (sure but this was weight-for-age and he carried 8.5kg more). At his last start he ran favorite and was beaten five and a half lengths by Bonny Ezra, a horse that arguably drinks milk.

Bonny Ezra’s much-hyped stablemate Kovalica again proved costly for punters. He hasn’t won for over a year but because he’s trained by Waller they keep dishing him up at shorter odds than he should.

On the subject of the Neasham horses, Numerian (a stablemate of Bois D’Argent) comes out and wins the Hollindale first-up at $31 then performs like a mule in the Doomben Cup finishing 11th. One of those it beat home was Vow And Declare whose poor performance was blamed on the state of the track.

And while we’re talking about Saturday’s racing having a look at a replay of the ride of superstar jockey James McDonald on the well-backed Rustic Steeel. Little wonder it beat only one home – had he got any wider there was room and time to visit the pie cart on the home turn.  

At Randwick only two favourites were successful in 10 races. Sandown (or Victoria) again provided the safest conveyances for punters were four of 10 favourites saluted.   


TOO LATE FOR ACTION WHEN IT COMES TO BUSH JOCKEY SHORTAGE 

GREG BLANCHARD from the GOLD COAST makes his regular contribution:

‘AS all of Australia struggles for track riders, especially in regional and country areas, Queensland continues to struggle with a shortage of bush jockeys.

Korea are not indenturing any more apprentices which means there is an opportunity for a country to train young Koreans to become apprentices.

What a great opportunity, just imagine the benefit here in Queensland of a long-term association with Korea.

BUT we can't because we don't have CRICOS (Commonwealth Register Institutions Courses (for) Overseas Students.

If only someone in the last 10 years that I've been pushing had got it done – what a shame on so many levels.’

 

WHAT HAPPENED TO DEAGON MULTI-PURPOSE TRAINING ACADEMY?

THIS was 2019 and industry stakeholders have heard nothing more about it. Perhaps RQ could provide an update:

RACING Queensland has recommenced concept master planning at Deagon Racecourse with a view to establishing a multi-purpose State Training Academy.

Under RQ’s proposal, the State Training Academy would deliver an enhanced training and racing facility including new and improved amenities for its Registered Training Organisation.
 
Importantly, the master planning process will also explore ways that could open up the Deagon Racecourse to the public and provide enhanced amenity to the community through a variety of uses.
 
As part of the master planning process, community engagement is pivotal to our plans, with Deagon Racecourse synonymous with the Sandgate region.
 
Racing Queensland will continue to work with the local community to gather ideas on what they would like to see as part of Deagon Racecourse.

Since then….nothing but deadly silence and even less action.  

 

 

LIGHTLY WEIGHTED ANTINO EARLY FAVORITE FOR THE STRADBROKE

EARLY markets on the Stradbroke Handicap to be run at Eagle Farm on June 15 following the release of weights on Monday:

Runner

Win

Place

Antino

5.50

2.13

Magic Time

7.00

2.50

Benedetta

8.00

2.75

I Wish I Win

10.00

3.25

Amenable

11.00

3.50

Schwarz

13.00

4.00

Stefi Magnetica

13.00

4.00

Bella Nipotina

15.00

4.50

Think About It

15.00

4.50

Espiona

17.00

5.00

Coeur Volante

21.00

6.00

Freedom Rally

21.00

6.00

Here To Shock

21.00

6.00

Nugget

21.00

6.00

Semana

21.00

6.00

Chain Of Lightning

26.00

7.25

Corniche

26.00

7.25

Gringotts

26.00

7.25

Opal Ridge

26.00

7.25

Steparty

26.00

7.25

 

MEERS SUBJECT OF INDUSTRY SCUTTLEBUTT AMID TABCORP INQUIRY

WHEN you hit a hurdle in racing you can count on the industry low-life’s to capitalize on your misfortune – LGHR can testify to that.

More often than not those lining up to destroy your credibility for some strange reason are those that way back when they needed help you dragged them out of the gutter.

Such is life. The latest victim of this character assassination has been a former high profile turf scribe and journalist from the Gold Coast in Daniel Meers.

Some of the garbage doing the rounds in the racing industry about Meers has landed on the desk of LGHR so we publish the following ‘exclusive’ from THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, a media organization he once had a close association with, to set the record straight.

TABCORP LAUNCH INTERNAL INVESTIGATION INTO DANIEL MEERS’ ALLEGED COMMENTS AFTER FEMALE COLLEAGUE LODGES TOXIC CULTURE’ COMPLAINT by Matthew Benns & James Willis

TABCORP has launched an investigation into allegations surrounding workplace language by a senior executive within the organisation.

Lawyers from King and Wood Mallesons were last week interviewing staff members in response to a complaint from an anonymous whistle-blower against General Manager of Corporate Affairs Daniel Meers.

The Daily Telegraph has seen emails from Tabcorp’s audit committee chair, Raelene Murphy, confirming the complaint against Mr Meers is being investigated.

A follow-up email from lawyer Annamarie Rooding at King and Wood Mallesons confirmed that “we have been interviewing witnesses and our investigation is progressing”.

The original complaint alleged a “toxic culture” in the organisation. It said a female member of staff moved to a different post within the organisation as a result of Mr Meers’ comments.

The investigation comes just months after former Tabcorp chief executive Adam Rytenskild abruptly stepped down following a separate Board investigation into allegations he had used sexually inappropriate language about a female regulatory official.

At the time Mr Rytenskild said he did not recall making the comment and that “it’s not language I would usually use” but that he had agreed to resign.

At the time Tabcorp chairman Bruce Akhurst, who took on additional duties to cover for Mr Rytenskild, defended the whopping $2 million salary and $3.36 million worth of shares trousered by the ousted CEO.

“The Board regrets that Mr Rytenskild’s employment has ended in this way and acknowledges his commitment to Tabcorp’s growth over more than two decades, including the last two years as MD and CEO and his contribution to the transformation of the company,” he said.

But his time at the helm saw a raft of senior members of the executive and management teams leaving the betting giant.

Among the few executives left standing at the betting behemoth is Chief People Officer Sharon Broadley.

The Australian Shareholders Association said at the time that the loss of talent from the company was the responsibility of the CEO and laid the blame for the loss of morale at his door.

Multiple sources from within the organization who spoke to The Daily Telegraph on condition of anonymity said it pointed to an ongoing “culture of toxic masculinity” that had destroyed morale at Tabcorp.

That has also been reflected in the company’s performance with shares hitting a record low of 64 cents today.

Mr Meers, who was previously an Adviser to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was unable to comment because the allegations had not been put to him.

It’s understood he denies any wrong-doing.

Tabcorp chairman Bruce Akhurst declined to confirm or deny details of the investigation. “We do not comment on employee matters,” he said.

Ms Murphy did not respond to requests for comment.

EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the emails we received concerning the above read:

‘Any report of this has been conspicuous by its absence from publication or broadcast by you (LGHR) and your mate Gleeso (4BC). How about doing your jobs for a change’?

LGHR can honestly say it’s been many years since we spoke to Daniel – around the time he was writing racing articles about the Gold Coast Turf Club.

 

 

WHO IS MORE IMPORTANT TO RACING – OWNERS OR THE PUNTERS?

SHOULDN’T anything that helps punters back a winner be embraced by the racing industry – from officialdom to stewards?

Comparing horse racing to football is farcical in the eyes of many and, whilst trainer and media personality Richard Freedman is entitled to his opinion, stables should continue to be forced to declare changes in tactics.

Not that it makes much difference to most of them. How many times do we see a leading stable declare a horse will be ridden differently, only to discover it isn’t and that is then blamed on the race not being run as expected?

To add insult to injury the present rule that requires trainers to notify a change in tactics is so poorly policed that many are not notified until the horses are on their way to the barriers which is of little use to punters who have already placed their bets.

The controversial topic has raised its ugly head after Richard Freedman declared racing is out of step with other sports that punters bet on, with an ‘ill-conceived Rule’ which forces trainers to publicly declare their hand with changes of tactics.

Freedman wants racing authorities to take a fresh look at the Rule where connections of a horse must inform stewards if their horse will be ridden differently to its usual pattern.

Freedman, who was part of the Melbourne Cup winning ‘FBI’ (Freedman Brothers Inc), compares it to a football team having to publicly declare the way they are going to play. But many believe that comparison is farcical.

“It is out of step with other sports that people bet on,” Freedman told Racenet. “The biggest growth area of wagering at the moment is sports betting – but no coach or captain reveals the tactics in sport before they go out on the field.

“Yet the punters still bet on it. Owners pay for horses and so they are basically paying for information about their horses – the punters aren’t paying for that.”

That might be right but without punters investment on horses there would be no prizemoney and no horse racing. Their interests need to be protected more than anything.

Freedman, who trains at Rosehill in partnership with son Will, argues that it should be the sole right of owners and connections to know how a horse is going to be ridden in advance. That might be the case but if the horse leads one week and settles back in the next then stewards are entitled to question what is going on. It would be impossible for punters to do the form if there was not some consistency in the racing pattern of horses which already happens with many leading stables.

Freedman feels the balance between owners and punters in racing has become too one-sided. “I understand the motive behind the Rule – it might have been noble – but in reality it is confusing and ill-conceived and it takes away what I think is the right of the owner. Give the owner a chance, the owner who is forking out for the horse and for training fees.

“The punters aren’t forking out for the training fees or for the horse. But someone who owns a racehorse, they have got it for a long time. You’ve got to keep a balance between looking after the punter – because they provide the funds for the industry – but you also have to look after the owner and the participants.”

One would have thought that is exactly what this Rule does that he wants eliminated. Go figure!

 

‘ONLY CONSISTENCY WITH RACING IN QLD IS IT’S INCONSISTENCY’

BRUCE from BLUEWATER in NORTH QUEENSLAND makes an interesting observation about flaws in the handicapping system:

HERE is another classic example of the tail wagging the dog in the Queensland thoroughbred racing industry and the lack of integrity and accountability for decision-makers from the various Principal Racing Authorities.

Golden Gorge, a Stephen Massingham-trained gelding was nominated, handicapped and accepted for with a jockey declared in a BM70 1400m race at Cairns on Thursday 16 May. In that race it was a 66 rated horse which it appears no one, trainer, owners or RQ handicappers had any dramas with. 

Unfortunately, the Cairns meeting was abandoned and Golden Gorge was saved for another day. Fast forward to Monday and nominations were released for Saturday’s meeting at Cluden Park where there is a Ratings Band 0-65 1200m race. 

Low and behold guess who is nominated for said race as a now 65 rated horse? No need to pick yourself up off the floor, but Golden Gorge is now a 65 rated horse after not having starting since it was accepted in a race last Thursday at Cairns as a 66 rater.

Someone needs to explain why the horse’s rating was reduced by the RQ Handicapping Department in view of the circumstances. Interestingly one of the part owners of (the Price Bloodstock) horse Golden Gorge is ‘Newscorpse’ racing scribe Trenton Akers.

Moral to the story is if you’ve got a horse that is a point above the threshold for a ratings band race, contact the RQ Handicapping Department complain and turn that ineligible horse into an eligible one. 

The only consistency with racing in Queensland is its inconsistency.

 

MOODY: ‘NEITHER NOLEN NOR I WISH I WIN ARE IN BEST OF FORM’ 

INTERESTING observation from no-nonsense trainer Peter Moody concerning I Wish I Win and long-time stable jockey Luke Nolen.

“Let's be honest, Luke's probably like the horse, he's not in the best of form either. Maybe we look for them both to reunite and get back into form in a Group 1 at Eagle Farm.”

Moody was commenting on reports that Nolen is favourite to regain the ride on I Wish I Win for the star galloper's next assignment, the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Stakes at Eagle Farm on June 1.

James McDonald controversially replaced then injured Nolen in the G1 T.J. Smith Stakes and controversially retained the ride for the Doomben 10,000, but is unable to ride next start due to being in quarantine ahead of partnering Romantic Warrior in Japan. Nolen was upset to lose the I Wish I Win ride last Saturday.

“It's always only been a race-to-race booking. Not confirmed yet but I would suggest probably Luke Nolen gets back on him," Moody told Ladbrokes.

Moody also said blinkers could be reapplied to the gelding after his defeat by Bella Nipotina in the Doomben 10,000. “I Wish I Win pulled up very well. I was disappointed he got beat. I thought he had the race in his keeping even though he probably raced in inferior ground.

“Looking forward to getting him to 1300m at Eagle Farm. I might look at putting blinkers back on him. I think he might've just got a little bit blase when he shot clear. He raced in them all his career as a young horse in New Zealand, just might give him that little bit more focus. We'll go back to the drawing board and we've got to get him back winning,” Moody said.

I Wish I Win is $4.20 Kingsford-Smith favourite and an equal $7 second favourite behind Antino for the Stradbroke Handicap on June 15.

 

FEMALE JOCKEYS RIDE NINE-RACE CARD AT MORPHETTVILLE PARKS

ANOTHER indication of the impact women are making in the racing industry occurred in South Australia on Saturday when lady jockeys rode the entire card at Morphettville Parks.

In an achievement that we can find no recognition of in the mainstream media, including the Sunday and Monday editions of the Adelaide Advertiser (perhaps we’re wrong), it was an all-female domination of the main meeting of the week.

Three female jockeys rode doubles: Kayla Crowther on Nicish and Episodic; Rochelle Milnes on the Michael Hickmott stablemates, Storyteller and Exalted Fire and Alana Livesey on the heavily-backed Esy Campese and Keep Reading.

Caitlin Jones was successful on Jenkins; Maggie Collett on Hot Off and Felicity Atkinson rode her first metropolitan winner on Peacemaker.

The success of Australia's leading lady jockey Jamie Kah, who hails from South Australia, has encouraged many young women to follow in her footsteps with a career in race riding. 

  • PHOTO above courtesy of RACING SA TWITTER.

 

WILL OZ FAMILIES BE FORCED TO PAY TO WATCH MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS?

SERIOUS questions are being raised about how long it will be before families are forced to pay to watch major sporting events like the Melbourne Cup, NRL and AFL Grand Finals, Cricket, the Australian Open Tennis & Golf, State Of Origin, Rugby League & Union Tests and the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

When Pay-TV was introduced in Australia, the Keating Labor Government promised it would be competitive, affordable and most of all would never restrict Free-To-Air coverage of the big ticket sporting events.

It is no longer competitive or affordable (for many families) and now access to major sport events on the major Channels like Nine, Seven, Ten or even the ABC and SBS in under threat.

While the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-siphoning) Bill 2023 claims to support future access to local TV services and free sports coverage, it will not achieve its aims without some essential changes. That situation will become much clearer after the issue is discussed by Federal Government this week.

 

CRUCIAL CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE TO FEDERAL BILL TO AVOID THIS

RATHER than LGHR try to explain this alarming situation, this story might explain it better:

MILLIONS of Australians will be unable to watch the biggest sporting events or find free TV services on their smart devices if crucial changes are not made to a Federal Bill, according to FREE-TV.

The peak body for free TV broadcasters, including Seven, Nine and Ten, said the Prominence and Anti-siphoning Bill must be strengthened to achieve its intended outcomes.

“In its current form the bill does not guarantee the availability of free sporting coverage for those who are reliant on the internet for their free TV viewing and sets an unnecessarily long timeframe to secure the availability of free local TV services on smart TVs,” said Free TV CEO Bridget Fair.

“These two major oversights must be fixed to protect the free universal access of local TV services and sport for every Australian.”

The Bill prevents subscription streaming services such as Amazon, Apple and Disney from buying exclusive terrestrial broadcast rights to iconic sporting events like the Olympics, AFL, NRL and cricket, but they can still acquire exclusive digital rights and lock out the millions of Australians who watch free sport on services such as 7plus, 9Now and 10 Play.

“As the proportion of households watching TV online grows to half by 2027, the anti-siphoning list will be fundamentally undermined if it does not apply to digital rights,” said Ms Fair.

“Bidding for sport will become commercially unviable if free-to-air broadcasters can only acquire a narrow range of terrestrial rights, leaving paid services to acquire all sporting events.

“This is exactly the nightmare scenario the government is trying to avoid with this bill – so it must be amended to reflect modern viewing habits.

“Many new homes do not even have antennas installed. All Australians deserve access to the great sporting events, trusted news and great entertainment programs that bring our nation together, regardless of their income or whether they have an antenna on their home.”

Meanwhile, the bill only requires the free apps of local broadcasters and a Live TV tile be available on new smart TVs that are manufactured 18 months after the legislation receives assent.

“This needless delay will mean millions of people who buy new TVs will unnecessarily miss out on the benefits of this bill. 

“There is no good reason to delay enforcing the rules beyond six months after they become law at the absolute maximum,” said Ms Fair.

“The government should also apply the new rules to existing TVs – not just new ones – with expert analysis showing software can easily be updated to benefit people who already have a smart TV. The problem of not being able to find local TV services is something people are experiencing already. If we wait until 2026 to even start addressing the problem it will simply be too little too late.”

Free TV is calling for the following changes to the bill:

Prominence

  • Reduce the implementation period from 18 months to a maximum of six months
  • Extend the rules to existing TVs that receive software updates
  • Ensure that viewers are presented with both free and paid options when searching for content
  • Require electronic TV guides to include local free TV services

Anti‐siphoning

  • Require that both the free broadcast and free digital streaming rights be acquired by a free broadcaster before the event can be acquired by a pay TV or subscription streaming provider
  • Do not extend the automatic de-listing period from six to 12 months as many sporting events are acquired within this timeframe

GOVERNMENT’S SOLE CHANCE TO MODERNIZE BROADCAST RIGHTS FOR BIG SPORT

GREG HYWOOD is chairman of Free TV Australia and former chief executive of Fairfax Media. Here is his take on the situation:

THE Government has one chance of modernising how broadcast rights are organised. Otherwise, iconic sporting events will be harder to find.

The Federal Cabinet has to make a stark choice. Does it want Australians to have long-term access to free sport or have it go behind expensive paywalls owned by the big international streaming services?

If it approves the legislation being put forward by Communications Minister Michelle Rowland that is what is going to occur. And soon – probably within the life of the next government, whoever that may be.

It goes without saying there will be a huge public outcry and a terrible mess to clean up. But by then it will be too late. The iconic sporting events Australians love so much, the AFL and NRL grand finals, cricket, Australian Open tennis – the list goes on – will inevitably only be seen by those who can afford multiple streaming subscriptions.

Already Amazon has hoovered up the rights to next cricket world cup.

A Labor policy, later adopted by the Coalition, to provide equity of access to these great sporting moments, will be dead. Why? Because the legislation heading to the parliament this week fails to acknowledge the reality of modern television – that while most viewers of free TV currently access the networks via an aerial the number using the internet provided apps is skyrocketing and within a decade will be the majority.

What networks need is to be offered first rights by the major sporting codes to both the broadcast rights and the free digital rights. At present, the legislation only requires the broadcast rights to be offered. But without the live-streaming component the networks can’t effectively bid because they will not be able to offer advertisers a total audience.

This has a huge knock-on effect. With less revenue from sport there is less to spend on the news. It will cascade through the industry reducing the ability of Australians to tell Australian stories to Australians.

Every government around the world is facing the problem on how to maintain their national culture through local media in the face of international streaming giants with deep pockets. In Britain, they get it – the government has made sure the local media have first crack at the broadcasts and digital rights together.

Now it’s the Albanese government’s time to step up and make sure that we have a strong and vibrant Australian media sector that can support our community with free services that provide trusted news and information.

Free trusted news underpins our democracy; free sport is a social connector, and encourages kids to be active; and free entertainment reflects what it is to be Australian.

And even more importantly, free TV services bring Australians together – every Australian who tunes in gets the same information, not something that might play to and amplify their existing world view. There has never been a greater need for the trusted services of commercial free-to-air TV networks, the ABC and SBS.

We are also at an inflection point for the Australian media industry, which is pitted against multinational tech companies with very deep pockets. It’s the global subscription streamers that have the power to buy up space on the home page of Australian TVs.

They can also afford to buy all the rights to stream the sports Australians have always watched for free and put them behind a paywall.

New data released by the government last week shows how important free TV is – and that we don’t really distinguish between whether it is delivered over the air or over the internet. Live and free sport is key – just over half of Australians watched sports in the last week, with 75 per cent of those people watching on free-to-air TV, the Television and Media Survey found. The data shows that free is the most important factor for Australians when it comes to sport.

More Australians are streaming free sport – in 2023 commercial free-to-air on-demand TV represented 20 per cent of sport viewing (growing quickly from 7 per cent in 2021). The fact that more people are watching free TV using an internet connection is no surprise given houses and apartments rarely come with an aerial these days.

While the Communications Legislation Amendment (Prominence and Anti-siphoning) Bill 2023 claims to support future access to local TV services and free sports coverage, it will not achieve its aims without some essential changes.

When it comes to sporting rights, the new laws must be amended to stop paid streamers buying up exclusive digital rights and putting sports behind a paywall. If not, the increasing number of Australians who watch their free sport on TV using the internet will miss out. The prominence framework ensures that local live TV and free streaming services are available and easy to find. But the Bill currently limits it to new sets, meaning people who can’t afford to upgrade their sets will miss out.

With only nine per cent of people buying a new TV in the last six months, fewer than one-in-10 Australians will get the benefit of the scheme if it is amended.

The question the Government needs to answer is whether it is truly committed to all Australians accessing free local TV services and sharing in the big sporting moments that bring us together. We’ve got one chance to get this right.

 

WHY DIDN’T STEWARDS QUESTION PRICE DRIFT OF PASSEGGIATA?

ONCE again the bookmakers’ crystal ball was spot on when hot favourite Passeggiata was beaten at Newcastle last Saturday.

Punters want to know the answer to one question the Racing NSW stewards’ panel that included internationally experienced Steve Railton failed to ask.

Why did Passeggiata drift so alarmingly in price – from $1.55 to $1.90 before firming to $1.85 – before running a well beaten second to Kote?

It was the obvious question to ask apart from why Passeggiata did not lead as she had at all of her previous six starts – not to mention this race was over only 900m.

Here’s what Stewards reported:

PASSEGGIATA: R King reported that with the speed that the horse has displayed throughout its career she had anticipated leading. She said, however, on jumping Passeggiata shifted out and made contact with Deep Rouge and Markwell Dreamer. She said that she was then reluctant to ride the horse along to obtain the lead as this may have caused Passeggiata to over-race. She said the mare, which was racing in earmuffs for the first time, was able to obtain cover behind Polylithic near the 700m, however, was inclined to lay out rounding the home turn. She added that Passeggiata closed its race off satisfactorily, however, is better suited when being able to lead and dictate its races. Lost its near-hind plate in running.

Richard Callander, writing for Racenet, posed the question whether the betting drift had been raised with Rachel King behind the barriers. It reminded us of a situation way back when Shane Gillard took over as Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner.

At the time favorites were blowing like a gale at the Sunshine Coast and running accordingly. Thought his Media Department we asked the new Commissioner if jockeys were being spoken to about these alarming drifts behind the barriers. He basically told us to mind our own business but time has shown that is par for the course with this waste of space who should be on the first boast out when the new Government takes over.

All LGHR was trying to do was protect the punters and that is similarly why questions are being asked about the Passeggiata situation in Sydney. Failure of any steward to address this is a smack in the face for punters who already have had a gutful of what has been happening on the track in Brisbane and Sydney for ages – but that’s another story.  

 

HUETOR & FIRESTORM PLAIN EFFORTS – LATTER NON-COMPETITIVE

PUNTERS will be pleased to hear that Tommy Berry wasn’t disappointed with the plain effort of HUETOR in the G2 Hollindale Cup at the Sunshine Coast last Saturday.

There wasn’t much else he could say after giving it no hope dropping back to last from a wide draw. He was quick to tell stewards it was dropping back from 2000m to 1800m and would derive benefit from the race. In the same race last year (albeit at the Gold Coast) only Zaaki finished in front of Huetor.

Although the first 1200m of the race was run in woefully slow time, Huetor was pathetic and couldn’t pick his feet up in the straight. If he comes out and wins a Group 1 next start, the punters are entitled to tear the joint down.

Now let’s look at the upset winner of the race Numerian which had previously record one win from 10 starts and never been placed over the trip. His only win in his previous 15 starts (and almost two years) was a G2 at Ascot in December. He drifted from $14 to $34 in the betting and bolted in – the form of some of these Neasham-trained horses is impossible to follow.

The other floperoo of the day was FIRESTORM in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet and James McDonald blamed that on the HEAVY track conditions at the Sunshine Coast. A post-race veterinary examination also revealed a slow recovery – something the punters that backed the filly were also suffering from.

Firestorm had run home strongly for 4th in the tougher G3 Carbine Club at Randwick on a Heavy 9 track – not much different to Saturday and showed no signs of being beaten before the turn as she did on Saturday. She should have won the Princess Stakes at her previous start on a Soft 5 at Eagle Farm.

Here’s what the Stewards Report from the Sunshine Coast read:

FIRESTORM (NZ) – Approaching the 1200m, had to be steadied from the heels of PIER PRESSURE. When asked to comment on today’s performance, Jockey J. McDonald stated that in his opinion the filly did not appreciate today’s track conditions. A post-race veterinary examination revealed a slow recovery.

Typical of Queensland racing, where similar to NSW the Chris Waller-trained horses can mix their form. IN the case of Firestorm to the eye of any form student she was beaten before the turn, proved non-competitive in the straight and should have been required to trial before racing again. The lack of protection for punters in the north continues to be non-existent under Josh Adams, the Chairman of Stewards, who also must have a cabin booked on the first boat out after the election.

 

 

NOW IT’S SOCIAL MEDIA TO BLAME FOR GOLD COAST TRACK DISASTER – THIS IS RACING’S VERSION OF THE TITANIC – COOK’S ENDEAVOUR

THE Chairman of the Gold Coast Turf Club Brett Cook (who we have always believed is one of the best in the business) rather than take one for the team wants to direct the blame for the disaster that has been the new track on the tourist strip at everyone bar those who are actually responsible.

With all due respects, the mainstream or social racing media didn’t create the problem that made the Gold Coast the laughing stock of Australian racing on Jewel Day when the track resembled Birdsville on Cup Day.

It was the GCTC CEO who told the racing media that the track would be right two weeks after the Jewel Day fiasco. The Chairman himself is now saying it might be up to 12 weeks or even the Spring Carnival before this multi-million dollar headache is absolute right to race on again.

In a Radio Interview, Mr Cook has denied any problems between his club and RQ over the best way to correct the track problems and says that work has been done with both sides in agreement.

So is he suggesting that the mail we are constantly receiving at LGHR, or Archie Butterfly has published on peterprofit.com or Ray Hadley has broadcast on his 2GB Morning Show is simply ‘mischief-making’?

Give us a break Brett. You would have to be living under a rock not to have seen or heard some of the remarks made by one high profile Track Curator blaming Racing Queensland or more to the point their supposed experts in this field.

Then to suggest that Navesh Ramdani left the Gold Coast because his job with the club had been completed and Peter V’landys at Racing NSW had a bigger chequebook, that’s a different story to what one of the best track curators in the land was confidentially telling those close to him before he left.

Even ‘Big Ben’ Dorries of The Courier-Mail took offence at Brett Cook’s reference to misinformation about the track in the print media. Dorries might not have missed social media in his response on radio but he was right when he referred to what has happened at the Gold Coast as taking too long to correct and not being good enough.

This has been a monumental disaster and there’s nowhere to hide for the GCTC or Racing Queensland. One wonders just how much it has cost industry stakeholders. In case you are interested here is what Chairman Cook sent to members briefing them on his club’s side of the Gold Coast track story:          

Dear Members,

On behalf of the board of the Gold Coast Turf Club, I write to you with an important update on the GCTC course proper.

Following a further track assessment conducted under lights last night, Racing Queensland and the Gold Coast Turf Club have made the difficult decision to reschedule the Silks Under the Stars Night Racing meeting scheduled for May 24.

As a result of the change, the $1 Million Magic Millions National 2YO Classic will now be run on Saturday, May 25 as part of the Doomben Cup program. The remaining races on the support card will be run as a GCTC Poly meeting on the same day.

Members with an existing booking for the Silks Under The Stars Night Racing meeting will receive a separate email in relation to this.

We are naturally disappointed we have had to move two feature racedays in recent weeks but following further course proper gallops and an independent track assessment, it has been determined the track could be raced on but the risk for potential long-term damage to the track is still too high.

However, on a more positive note, we will be allocated a number of additional Night Racing meetings which will be programmed later in the year.

Given the circumstances, I thought it was timely to provide members with some important context and the latest information on the course proper. 

Over the past week or so there has been a lot of misinformation being circulated throughout media and social media platforms so I thought it is important to keep everyone informed with some facts, not innuendo.

As most of you would be aware, there was a track renovation undertaken post Magic Millions in January this year to conduct sand slit drainage works which was a very important part of completing the drainage design to ensure the track can handle major weather events moving forward, something which the track has struggled with in the past.

Everyone has seen over the last few years how many race meetings have been lost throughout Qld and the Northern Rivers because of major weather events and the enhanced quality of drainage on our new course proper will dramatically improve that for a very long time to come and cannot be put at risk by returning to full-time racing on the grass too early.

Unfortunately, since the renovation, the weather gods have worked against us with high humidity and overcast conditions which is the worst thing for growing grass at this time of year. We have followed all Racing Qld procedures for the course proper to date but unfortunately, it is taking longer than RQ originally forecast for a return to racing. There has been a very significant investment by the Government and RQ, along with $5 million of our own cash reserves, into this infrastructure project, so it needs to be managed and returned to racing at the best possible time to protect our investment. We will reassess the course proper and conduct further jump-outs and testing as we progress and we will continue to keep you updated as we work through this process.

We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and thank members and all racing industry participants for their patience during this time and the club will update you if more changes to programming are needed as quickly as possible.

On a separate note on behalf of Myself, the Board, the Leadership Team and all the staff at the GCTC  we would like to thank Nevesh Ramdani for his time and dedication in helping us deliver the tracks and lights project, which is one of the biggest redevelopments on a racetrack anywhere in the world, all the while we have been able to continue to race. You will see when we return to regular racing on the course proper what a wonderful job he has done for us.

While we are disappointed he is not staying with us, he has received a fantastic opportunity to take up a senior role back at the ATC and we congratulate him on that. It goes to show how highly regarded he is, not only by us here at the GCTC but by our friends at the ATC, and we wish Nevesh and his family all the best in relocating back to Sydney.

Yours sincerely,

Brett Cook

 

HADLEY POINTS THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS FOR GOLD COAST TRACK DEBACLE – ‘A COUPLE OF BIG HEADS AT RACING QUEENSLAND’

FULL marks to 2GB Morning Show host RAY HADLEY for having the courage to do the job that a gutless racing media in Queensland isn’t prepared to.

On his show today (Thursday) Hadley pointed the blame where it belongs over the disaster that the new $60 million-plus track on the Gold Coast has degenerated into.

Hadley made it clear that the problem for the delay in fixing the track following the embarrassing meeting in March was not the fault of Nevesh Ramdhani who recently  resigned and returned to a key role in Sydney racing.

Here’s part of what Ray Hadley had to say:

THERE is a story being promoted on racing websites that the under-siege Gold Coast track has been stripped of the Two-Year-Old race that was to be run under lights with the track still not up the scratch. It followsd the transfer of the Hollindale Stakes meeting to the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast.

It’s been inferred that the person responsible for all of this is Nevesh Ramdhani who  went from Sydney to the Gold Coast to organise the new track but has since resigned and returned to Sydney. Nevesh is without peer in the racing industry and has been welcomed back with open arms in Sydney.

People who might not know a lot about racing and briefly read about Nevesh Ramdhani resigning would be forgiven for thinking the reason he resigned was because he buggered up the track. Let me assure you he didn’t. He was sidelined by Queensland Racing and a few of their big heads who thought they knew more about it than him. They overruled every decision he made making his life unbearable.

One wonders if these are the same people responsible for the track disaster at Eagle Farm in 2017 when that track was sidelined forcing racing to be held at Doomben.

Just a reminder if you are interested in Queensland racing don’t blame the bloke they paid to go up there and preside over the new Gold Coast track.

None of it is his fault. He was overruled at every opportunity by a couple of imbeciles at Racing Queensland. They don’t get the blame. They blame the bloke who is gone but they know who they are.

Hadley made the call in conclusion that many are hoping for – that when a new LNP Government takes over in October one of the first things they do is ‘put a fine tooth comb through Racing Queensland’.

In the meantime, the Racing Minister Grace Grace should instruct the Board of Racing Queensland and the CEO to put those really to blame for the track problems at the Gold Coast in the first boat out. What odds that doesn’t happen?

 

 

PROGRAMMING OF MORE POLY TRACK MEETINGS JUST ‘PLAIN DUMB’?

THE predicament confronting the powerbrokers at Racing Queensland when it comes to preservation or survival of turf tracks at the Gold and Sunshine Coasts has sadly left them with no alternative but to program more TAB meetings on the Poly tracks.

This shows a lack of respect for those owners and trainers who don’t want to start on these despised surfaces but will have no choice as they chase desperately needed starts and prizemoney with their horses.

As for the punters, well they can please themselves. There are plenty of other interstate when it comes to betting and adding more TAB meetings that they don’t want to bet on is just plain dumb and threatens decreasing turnover on the local product and less chance of major increases in Stakes money.

During an interview with Steve Hewlett on Racing TAB, RQ CEO Jason Scott had no sooner declared there would be more meetings scheduled on Poly tracks than he agreed that punters were the lifeblood of the industry. If that’s the case perhaps he should start listening to them.

They can blame root rot for the problems at the Sunshine Coast and Eagle Farm on major rainfall but we live in Queensland where this has happened before (perhaps not to the same degree) but the industry has to learn to cope and live with it.

Getting the tracks right is what some of these experts are paid plenty to do. Surely the answer isn’t to transfer meetings to the poly tracks until the root rot disappears. How long is that going to take?

As for the Gold Coast well that’s just an embarrassment for Queensland racing which no-one seems capable of correcting. Now they are saying it could be months before the multi-million dollar new track will be ready to race on. The question stakeholders are asking is: Was this problem caused by nature or man-made? Don’t expect RQ to answer that – as the CEO continually says: ‘I’m not an agronomist’.

 

IT COULD BE MONTHS BEFORE GOLD COAST TRACK IS READY TO RACE

IN an industry update with Steve Hewlett on Racing TAB on Tuesday, RQ boss Jason Scott admitted it might be two months before the $60 million-plus new track at the Gold Coast is ready to race on.

Scott confirmed that the $1 million National Two-Year-Old Classic planned to be run at the first night meeting on the Gold Coast on May 24 was likely to be added to the Doomben Cup fixture the following day. Talks have already been held with the Brisbane Racing Club and an announcement is set to be made (no doubt in the Murdoch Media) in the next 24 hours.

Hewlett asked Scott if it might be the Spring before the Gold Coast track was ready for use, to which he replied: “I wouldn’t say the Spring. I can see another two months off. But I am not an agronomist. I am no expert on tracks.”

Scott reiterated the problems being experienced with the Sunshine Coast and Eagle Farm after record rain this year. He said the immature track at the Gold Coast could not stand up to 100 horses racing on it at a night meeting later this month.

He explained that the roots aren’t consolidating quickly enough and although to the eye the track looks spectacular when a horse gallops on it, the sandy section below the surface creates too much ‘kickback’ and does more damage to the track.

 

STAKEHOLDERS WANT TO KNOW WHAT FUTURE HOLDS FOR SCOTT 

FULL marks to Steve Hewlett for asking the question on the lips of many stakeholders who are fans of the job being done by Jason Scott since he took over as CEO of Racing Queensland.

Hewlett raised what the future held for the industry – and that matter Scott – with the LNP at $1.17 to oust Labor at the looming State Election in February.

As expected Scott was very diplomatic and non-committal: “That’s not one for me to worry about. I am employed by this Government (Labor). We will work through that when it happens”.

Emails LGHR is receiving from those in the know suggest that Scott – being the smart operator he is – has a contingency plan and it doesn’t involve Queensland Racing.

He would have to be living under a rock – which he most certainly isn’t – not to have heard the stories doing the rounds in all three codes of the industry that the LNP plans to hoist a ‘media mate’ into his job once they are elected.

One prominent club official, who deals with Scott on a regular basis, told LGHR this on a confidential basis: ‘If the LNP is planning to get rid of Jason nothing has changed when it comes to racing. They are still as dumb as dog shit. Then again their policy has always been influenced more by arse lick than ability.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have to repeat what I have said before, the gentleman at the centre of this scuttlebutt – and that’s what it is –  wouldn’t be interested in the CEO job and I am told totally supports the work being done by Jason Scott.

 

 

TRACK CLOUD CONTINUES TO HANG OVER QUEENSLAND CARNIVAL

THE ‘Winter’ Racing Carnival kicked off on Saturday with uncertainty hanging over the ability of several major tracks in south-east Queensland to perform at the required standard.

The new multi-million dollar Gold Coast showpiece remains an embarrassing ‘no go’ zone with its major carnival meeting being held at the Sunshine Coast next Saturday where lead-up meetings have been transferred to the Poly track because there is a ‘fungus’ problem with the turf brought about by record rainfall.

Eagle Farm track also has a ‘root rot’ problem but got a ‘pass’ mark at Saturday carnival-opening Queensland Guineas meeting where some critics have pointed out that six of the nine winners were on-pace. They have forgotten to mention that Victory Stakes winner Antino came from last.

Who knows how Ipswich, host of today’s (Monday) Labor Day meeting will play. It’s good one meeting and horrible the next as the countdown begins to their biggest carnival day of the year.

Doomben, which continues to play second fiddle to the State’s leading track across the road at the Farm, seems to be the safest conveyance in the south-east these days and is expected to this week be announced as the new venue for the first night meeting on the Gold Coast that cannot be held there because the new track resembles Birdsville on a good day.

And whilst all of these problems exist – some of which are the subject of an on-going blame game between the Club Curators and the track ‘guru’ at Racing Queensland – the racing and punting public is being fed a truck-load of horse manure about the ‘Winter’ Carnival by the State’s leading fish and chip wrapper, dwindling in quantity and quality Courier-Mail.

We were sent this item, penned by a no-nonsense, veteran and highly respected racing man on Saturday. Not that he would shy away from being identified but we’ll spare him the crap associated with that and not name him.

Here’s what he had to say and LGHR could not agree more but sadly the mainstream racing media in Queensland is too busy playing politics and too gutless to write what is really happening – it’s called ‘survival’ – the more things change the more they stay the same:

‘VERBAL & WRITTEN DIARRHEA FROM A DELUSIONIST RACING MEDIA’

THE best bet for today (last Saturday) is that the thoroughbred racing industry (in Queensland) is full of verbal and written diarrhea. The following is the absolute and utter garbage that appeared on Page 3 of Queensland’s only statewide newspaper – The Courier Mail – yesterday (last Friday) in an article written by “Kate Stephenson”:

“Six weeks of world-class horse racing will begin this weekend with the opening of the Queensland racing carnival. The Star Stradbroke racing season kicks off on Sunday with Sky Racing Guineas Day at Eagle Farm racecourse.”

Later in the article the author quoted “Brisbane Racing Club CEO Tony Partridge as saying, “We are excited to be delivering world-class racing here in Brisbane over The Star Stradbroke Season and to promote our city as a desired destination”, later adding, “We look forward to welcoming both Queensland locals and interstate visitors to feel closer to champions…….”

My take on all the aforesaid is that the journalist obviously has no idea, as the meeting is on today (Saturday) – not tomorrow (Sunday) like she states, and (Sunday) is again advised as the day the meeting is to be held, in an accompanying photo on the article of “Apprentice jockey Cejay Graham with Vodka Martini in the stables at Eagle Farm ahead of Guineas Day this Sunday”.

As for Tony Partridge, he’s obviously best described as “delusional” if he thinks the garbage that is being dished up to punters, today (Saturday) at Eagle Farm, is “world-class horse racing”, or if we will see any “champion” there today, or in fact throughout the entire Carnival. But I don’t like bagging people without being able to back it up with some facts – so let me see what “facts” I can come up with.

The short-priced favourite in the main race, the Group 2 WFA Victory Stakes is Uncommon James. He’s won just one race in his last eight starts across the last 20 months – so what a thrill it would be to visit Eagle Farm today just to see him in the flesh. The second favourite in that race is Front Page. He had the Randwick branch of the SES out looking for him at his last start after getting beaten just six lengths at $2.15 at Randwick.

Then the other main race at Eagle Farm today (Saturday) is the Group 2 Queensland Guineas. What a buzz it would be to be able to see the following gallopers that are all in the market, from that race in the flesh. Kintyre – one win in his last 11 starts. Ducasse – ran his first placing forward of seventh in four starts when he won last start in Sydney, so what a little beauty he is? Café Millenium – he’s the top-rated horse in this race at 96, which is nine points clear of his nearest rival (Ducasse), so Café Millenium must be a good horse? No he’s not, he’s best described as “making audible e-orr, e-orr sounds as he’s come up the home straight in eight of his last nine runs”, as he’s only run one placing in his last nine starts, and that placing was a third.

“World-class horse racing” my foot. I just shake my head at how they get a job where the verbal and written diarrhea can flow so freely, and am filthy that I was stupid enough to pay “$3, incl. GST” to read such crap. Modern day newspapers have certainly even become very expensive fish and chip wrappers and/or toilet paper.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I had the privilege of working for the Turf Departments of The Courier-Mail and The Telegraph when they were ‘real’ newspapers run by ‘real’ racing writers. Jim Anderson was the Turf Editor of The Courier-Mail and Keith Noud of The Telegraph. Both were ‘legends’ in their field and despite connections with the then QTC and BTC would never dare try to influence or have members of their turf writing teams sidelined or even sacked for daring to criticize unlike the rot that set in and still exists since one specific Racing Editor, with too many ties to the racing and political hierarchy took charge and it became my way or the highway. But that situation pervades the Murdoch Media these days where they fail to protect and the punter and only seem to be interested in promoting the political and personal views of ‘King Rupert’ and his band of merry men. Just look at the political bias being served up every edition in their ‘rags’ across the country. In Queensland they’ve encouraged voters to oust Labor every election without success. The LNP is $1.17 for the October ballot and look the best of ‘good things’. The only thing holiding them back is that few people seem to take any notice of the Murdoch propoganda.    

 

GOLLAN ANNOUNCES EXPANSION OF STABLING TO THE GOLD COAST

IN some positive news – which the Gold Coast Turf Club needs after announcing that yet another Saturday meeting will be transferred to the POLY track – Queensland’s leading trainer Tony Gollan has confirmed an expansion of his training operations to the tourist strip.

After securing some of the most sought-after stables in the country, Gollan says the Gold Coast addition to his stables will complement his existing base at Eagle Farm providing owners with even great opportunities for success.

“We have been afforded the opportunity to train at the Gold Coast, and we thank the Gold Coast Turf Club and Committee for allowing us to train at the newly renovated training centre, with state-of-the-art facilities,” Gollan said.

“It will be a huge asset having the use of Eagle Farm and Doomben, as well as the tracks at the Gold Coast Turf Club – they are world-class. And with the addition of the lights to enable night racing, it will give us a big advantage being able to train out of both locations and place our horses to their best advantage.”

The GCTC said it was delighted to have Gollan Racing join the list of high quality trainers already based out of Aquis Park as the club embarks on an exciting future.

The Gollan Racing Gold Coast team will be headed by Shane Marr, who was a successful trainer in New Zealand, before relocating to Australia several years ago. Shane had Black Type success up to Group 1 level in New Zealand and rates Ombre Rose as his best horse. 

“We plan to have the stables operating on a limited scale from Monday 13 May before being fully operational within six weeks,” Gollan said. 

“The entire Gollan Racing team is very excited about this opportunity and we look forward to expanding on our success for our loyal ownership base and giving our clients even more opportunities for success on the racetrack.” 



IT’S TIME FOR LNP TO DECLARE PLANNED CHANGES FOR QLD RACING

IT might still be six months to the State Election but with the Liberal National Coalition at $1.17 to overthrow the Labor Government stakeholders want to know now – not in a few months’ time – what changes are planned for racing in Queensland.

Labor has failed miserably to correct problems with Integrity, have overseen the construction of botched tracks that have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and don’t seem to be able to find an answer to a suitable headquarters for harness racing in Brisbane.

In many areas change is long overdue but it needs to occur for the right reasons and not political ones. Critics are concerned that the majority of controversies in Queensland racing – the Fine Cotton ring-in, Caffeine crisis and corruption at the ‘red hots’ – occurred under the watch of LNP Government. Admittedly, the problem in harness racing, which started in the Russ Hinze era remains as rotten as when the grandstand bearing the name of the ‘big man’ was built but what the cynics call the ‘Lindsay Gallagher Betting Ring’ is now a ghost town compared to the heyday of the sport when the best bookies would make the trip from the gallops to be at the Albion Park trots.

Labor did the right thing by introducing a ‘separation of powers’ removing integrity from the control of the administration side of Racing Queensland. That overcame the problem where one Board Chairman would spend more time of a day behind closed doors with a controversial Chief Steward than with his CEO.

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission sounded great on the surface with independent high profile police inspectors brought in to run the show – the problem being they knew little about racing and its rules. The cost of QRIC ballooned, the appointment by Racing Minister Grace Grace of the latest Commissioner Shane Gillard has been an absolute disaster and the sooner he and his Chief Steward Josh Adams are fired out of a cannon the better. Change is on the cards when a new Government comes to office but rumours that they favour moving back to the ‘bad old days’ of bringing Integrity under the administration umbrella opens the door to political interference which cannot be tolerated if stakeholders and punters are to have confidence in the codes. What they need to do is bite the bullet, pay the money needed and get Terry Bailed back (that interstate rumble you just heard was one of our favorite sons, ‘Moods’ regurgitating his lucerne-hay breakfast). Combining top international stewards Bailey with his former HK boss Kim Kelly is the best way of cleaning up the joint and getting a better quality of panel on board.

The blame game is well in play with the tracks situation, especially in south-east Queensland, a major disaster. No sooner had the problems with the new Eagle Farm track been dispensed with than along came Gold Coast. What started so well on Magic Millions day has continued to prove an embarrassment for Queensland racing. Add to that meetings on the Sunshine Coast being continually transferred to the despised Poly track (as has happened on the Gold Coast) and punters are looking interstate to have their bets. There's something horribly wrong when RQ has to transfer Sunday’s Sunny Coast meeting to the Poly ‘to protect it’ for the Hollindale carnival day transferred because the new Gold Coast track is ‘unusable’. What happens with the planned big launch of night racing where the turf meets the surf remains a mystery but someone at RQ needs to make a decision now rather than later.

That someone is CEO Jason Scott, known for his hard-hitting, no-nonsense style since taking over from rank failures like ‘Pins’ Parnell (wonder how he’s handling his new gig in the UK?) and ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ Tuttle (who we inherited from the POMS when he came here to play soccer). LGHR received this interesting email from a high profile club administrator this week:

‘You guys in the media are so busy sucking up to Jason Scott that the latest news from the LNP bunker may have passed you by. It seems one of your colleagues is firming as favorite to take his job. The bloke jumped ship from the Labor Party after being offered the role of CEO at RQ by Anastasia Palaszczuk in the wake of Darren Condon being thrown under the bus as a scapegoat for the ‘live baiting’ controversy. Scott might have better credentials but he needs to be looking to greener pastures or keeping his head over his shoulder’.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Firstly, LGHR has had no dealings with Jason Scott who we think does a good job in trying circumstances but needs to act on this track situation even if it means heads should roll in his own administration. The guy you are suggesting is being tipped to take his job is a one-time colleague. He bolted when offered the RQ CEO job by Labor so why would he want it now. He would make a terrific greyhound representative on the Board but is probably angling for a top communications job in the new Government. Whatever happens when the LNP takes control, we’re tipping former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk to be the Chairman of a new Board  (the right move) replacing the one announced by Labor last week. The LNP could then get Quirk to do a ‘venues report’ for the three codes, similar to what he did on the Olympics for Labor but one that would be listened to. In terms of looking forward an RQ Board led by Quirk would be a much better option to what we have today’. One wonders why no-one has considered Boondall as a suitable venue for racing, harness racing or greyhounds – and for that matter for the main Olympics venue. It’s close to the Gateway Arterial Road, has a train station nearby, stacks of parking and from a racing perspective would make a great venue for race and training facilities, along with stabling.

Another issue that shouldn’t pale into insignificance if the LNP is to remember its roots is the on-going shortage of jockeys that continues to cause horses to be scratched not only from bush meetings but also TAB meetings in the country.

A new Government could do worse than talk to a fighter for a solution to this cause for over a decade now in GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST. Here is his latest contribution:

‘IF you go to the races in the big capital cities you will see many nationalities strapping horses, some even in higher positions. A lot of the big stables in the south especially have people from different parts of the world in key roles.

Throughout Australia there is a shortage of track riders also here in Queensland involving jockeys in the bush.

For a decade I've lobbied for overseas kids to alleviate the problem. Around five years ago I was invited to Racing Queensland by some officials who listened to my thoughts and figures on horses being scratched in the bush because no riders riders where available. I emphasised how important it was to look overseas, especially Asia.

Since then I’ve continued the fight and sent plenty of emails and letters over the years with  no result .So for the sake of the industry, as part of the solution, I say it's time to do whatever it takes otherwise I believe on this issue things will get worse.’

Questions have been raised about who would be Racing Minister in an LNP Government. Tim Mander currently holds that Portfolio in conjunction with Sport, Housing and Public Works. It has to be said he has done a far better job than a couple of his predecessors. And who can forget the last LNP Racing Minister (in the Newman Government), Steve Dickson, who subsequently jumped ship to join the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party where he proved just as big a dud? Dickson was the dunce who forecast that Queensland racing would finish a furlong in front of NSW and Queensland under an LNP Government. Enough said! Ray Stevens should be rewarded for his long wait with the Racing Portfolio. He has forgotten more about the sport than some of those being touted as candidates for the job will ever remember.

Premier Steve Miles has started to resemble the Black Knight from the Monty Python series (minus arms and legs) fighting to defend his fortress with sword in mouth. Why would his replacement in October, David Crisafulli, allow Miles to score cheap points by declaring the Opposition ‘grand-standers’ when all he needs to do is start declaring some policies, especially when it comes to racing?          

         

'BROLGA' SHINING LIGHT IN TIME OF OPEN SEASON ON GOVERNMENT

AT a time when the mainstream racing media regard it as ‘open season’ on the Labor Government, Rockhampton race-caller Russell ‘Brolga’ Leonard was an exception at the weekend.

Speaking after the running of the relatively new feature race at the Rocky Amateurs, Leonard paid tribute to the ‘great support of the Government and its Racing Minister Grace Grace’ to the industry in Queensland.

Conspicuous by their silence in giving credit where credit’s due, many of his racing media colleagues – especially some hard-hitting columnists and commentators – are too busy promoting the cause of the LNP.

The Rockhampton Bulletin (courtesy of a story written by Tony McMahon) provided the news that prizemoney for The Archer would increase from $775,000 to $1 million next year the coverage it deserved.

Being the hometown daily that was to be expected but the same coverage did not flow on to the Murdoch Media outlets in the south.

It was different on on SKY where Bernadette Cooper flew north to join colleague Michael Charge in hosting coverage of The Archer race day. Not unexpectedly they steered clear of the politics but were gracious in their praise of the big event and plans for the future. Sadly, anyone surfing the channels, who came across Bernie & Mikey could have been mistaken for thinking they had tuned into an edition of ‘Farmer Wants A Wife’.  

ON a serious note the winner of The Archer in future years will secure automatic entry into the field for the $3mn Stradbroke at Eagle Farm courtesy of a deal done with the Brisbane Racing Club.

CQ Amateurs chairman, Bill Reid, summed up the situation: “This is a sensational step, and this is something that just does not happen in regional racing. I am just so proud to announce that this is a game changer and will take The Archer to the next level it has to take.”

Reid also thanked Racing Queensland and its CEO Jason Scott for their assistance and backing of the Rockhampton Amateurs in this project. But whilst the likes of McMahon and Leonard did their job, some of their more high profile colleagues were a little slow out of the boxes.

We received an interesting email concerning this issue which read:

‘BROLGA Leonard must not have received the directive from his media mates in the south not to praise the Labor Government in the lead-up to the election. Full marks to Russell (whether he spoke independently or at the behest of Rockhampton Racing when he put politics aside and did the ethical thing). As for those who are accusing the Government of pork-barrelling by promoting The Archer to the level it deserves to be, put a sock in it’.

And on a disappointing note to finish – we have received several emails advising us that the cost of The Courier-Mail will soon rise as will that of their digital edition. As one reader suggested: ‘The newspaper gets smaller as does its readership but we are expected to pay more and all we get these days is a publication full of free ads for the LNP in Queensland. Is there any other outlet other than Murdoch and his biased columnists and SKY commentators who bag Labor more? Whatever happened to objectivity in the media?’

 

GLEESON REVIEW RECOMMENDAIONS IMPLEMENTED BY QRIC

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has actioned recommendations from Mr Desmond Gleeson, following his review of protest decisions from race meetings in March 2024.

Mr Gleeson reviewed two protest decisions, from Saturday 30th March 2024 Beaudesert Race 3: GLENFIDDICH FIRST WEANLINGS QTIS THREE-YEAR-OLD BENCHMARK 65 HANDICAP 1100 Metres and Saturday 23rd March 2024 Gold Coast Race 6: MAKITA AUSTRALIA QTIS THREE-YEAR-OLD MAIDEN HANDICAP 1200 Metres.

In the matter of Beaudesert Race 3, Mr Gleeson determined that, in the interest of transparency and fairness, any jockey whose horse may have a bearing, even a slight one, on the decision should be present for questioning during the protest hearing. This would enable stewards and connections to question that jockey and clarify if their horse contributed to any interference.

In the matter of Gold Coast Race 6, Mr Gleeson determined that the decision was open to the steward who observed the interference to lodge a protest, and that the Chairperson at the meeting should have led the hearing. The steward who lodged the protest should have attended the hearing as a witness only.

Mr Gleeson’s review outlined recommendations pertaining to AR219:

(2) A protest may be made by a Steward or the Starter in their official capacity, in the case of such a protest in relation to a matter referred to in Sub Rule (3) it must be made before correct weight is declared.
 (3) any protest by the persons authorised under Sub-Rule 1 (b) (Trainer/Rider) against a horse on the grounds of:
    (a) an interference in the running of a race as provided for in AR 130 (1) must be made to the
     Stewards at the scale before the riders of all placed horses are weighed in or at any time allowed
     by the Stewards prior to the signalling of Correct Weight.

Based upon Mr Gleeson’s recommendations, the following actions have been implemented by QRIC:

  • Any jockey mentioned in evidence during a protest hearing will attend the protest hearing to be questioned by QRIC stewards and other involved parties.
  • The steward who lodges the protest should be the person who witnesses the interference.
  • The steward who lodges the protest will not participate on the stewards’ panel at protest hearings and will attend the hearing as a witness only. Sufficient staff will be rostered at race meetings, ensuring the steward panel will not be depleted in the event of a steward’s protest hearing.
  • Continued training of all QRIC Stewards.

 

HOLDING A GUN AT HEAD OF AUSTRALIAN RACING WON’T WIN ANY FRIENDS FOR THE HKJC WITH THE PRIZEMONEY AT THEIR DISPOSAL

WHY are the star trainers of Australian racing – Chris Waller and Ciaron Maher – reluctant to take on the world’s best at the feature meetings in Hong Kong?

Is it that much easier for their horses to win Group races Down Under or, as one cynic suggested, don’t they want to risk tarnishing their images on the international stage?

If that was the case they wouldn’t venture to Britain for the Royal Ascot meeting. Or perhaps the answer is, as Peter Moody has declared, if the best from overseas want to beat us, then they should compete on our home turf.

LGHR has always been a fan of Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges but it’s a bit rich for him to put the gun at the head of Australian racing over the non-appearance in recent years of our best horses at the Hong Kong International or Champions Day meetings.

We owe Hong Kong nothing and don’t believe they are doing us a favour by allowing Australia to be part of the World Pool. His warning at the weekend that the lack of Australian involvement at Hong Kong’s international race meetings could negatively impact the amount of World Pool race meetings held Down Under.

Engelbrecht-Bresges’ comments coincided with no Australian-trained runners competing at Sunday’s Champions Day meeting at Sha Tin, while there were also no Aussies represented at the Hong Kong International Races last December.

The World Pool, which brings together several tote pools from around the world and is organized by the HKJC, has been a new source of revenue for racing clubs hosting these meetings.

It operated on 10 Australian cards in Melbourne and Sydney during the spring and autumn carnivals, but possible plans of expanding on that number could depend on Australian horses making the trip to Sha Tin for the HKJC’s flagship fixtures.

“Life is never a one-way street,” Engelbrecht-Bresges told Racing.com. “We would like to see more Australian horses here because it is not that we use this as our tool, but one of the reasons for justification we gave to our government is that it should enhance our international race meetings, and therefore when Hong Kong horses go overseas and overseas horses come over here, it makes the whole meeting a little bit more interesting.

“I want to see, to be very honest, a more dedicated effort. Life is never a one-way street and therefore, if we bring more World Pool races there, there should be more Australian horses coming here, because if not, I don’t think the benefits are fairly distributed.”

Engelbrecht-Bresges also noted that the number of options that Australian connections have on home soil was a factor in the lack of Aussie representation in Hong Kong, in addition to the fact that connections would have to sacrifice those options in order to make the trip to Hong Kong.

However, he suggested that the owners of valuable colts should look at competing at Hong Kong’s major meetings as a way of maximizing their value as future stallions.

“I only can say, if you have a horse who has the potential to become a stallion, I feel that Hong Kong racing definitely adds significant value,” Engelbrecht-Bresges told Racing.com.

“If you see horses who run here like Lord Kanaloa, Maurice, they get higher stallion value and if you look at dual hemisphere covering, where it’s easy to think about a horse going to Japan and to Australia and vice versa, when you look at stallion value, that is something one should consider.”

Romantic Warrior replicated his Cox Plate win in the Spring with an outstanding performance to win the $5.5mn QE11 Cup at Sha Tin on Sunday from an equally courageous Prognosis (reverse the riders and you might have seen a different result).

Rather than the Engelbrecht-Bresges comments being accepted as a wake-up call, perhaps the HKJC supremo should be reminded that given the ammunition in prizemoney at his disposal, Peter V’landys would do an as good, if not better job for Racing NSW or Australian racing if he was in a similar position.  

 

RACING IN QUEENSLAND – EMBARRASSING ONE DAY, A DISASTER THE NEXT – GOLD COAST TRACK DECLARED ‘UNFIT’ FOR WINTER CARNIVAL

RACING officials have been left with no choice but to declare the new multi-million dollar track at the Gold Coast will not be fit to race on for the Hollindale Stakes meeting next month.

In the worst-kept secret in Queensland racing they decided that the major Winter Carnival meeting, due to be held where the turf meets the surf on Saturday, May 11, cannot be held there because the track disaster cannot be resolved by then.

Heads should roll but they won’t – starting at Racing Queensland where the decision has been made in consultation with the Gold Coast Turf Club to transfer the G2 Hollindale Stakes day to the Sunshine Coast (here's hoing that track stands up) for the second consecutive year.

Insiders say those responsible for trying to have the Gold Coast ready were living in ‘dream land’ when they galloped a half dozen horses on the surface today (Friday) only to discover more sandy kickback like occurred when they last raced there on QTIC Jewel Day in March.

Letsgohorseracing learnt only days ago that it could be months before the Gold Coast’s new ‘state of the art’ track is suitable for racing. That certainly rules out any hope of the first night meeting behind held there next month on the eve of the Doomben Cup.

The new Gold Coast track was the ‘toast’ of Australian racing on Magic Millions Day in January but it’s been all downhill since. Track Manager Nevesh Ramdhani has quit and will move back to a new role with the Australian Turf Club amid rumours that it’s been ‘my way or the highway’ in his dealings with RQ ‘track boss’ Greg Puckeridge in trying to correct the problems.

If this is the case it’s time for the Racing Minister Grace Grace to step in and halt what has become an absolute embarrassment for the sport in Queensland. It’s also the first big test for RQ CEO Jason Scott but rumours continue to rumble in the industry that he is looking for an ‘exit’ door from his position and that a far more attractive role is calling.

If the sinking Labor Government isn’t prepared to do something about this it’s time for the LNP, especially its MP’s on the Gold Coast, to demand action.

 

HERE'S RQ & GCTC EXCUSE FOR LOSS OF HOLLINDALE AT GOLD COAST

RACING Queensland and the Gold Coast Turf Club have advised that the up-coming TAB Hollindale Stakes Raceday on May 11 will be transferred to the Sunshine Coast.

Staged as part of the Queensland Racing Carnival, the Hollindale Stakes was successfully run at the Sunshine Coast last year, establishing a new wagering record for the meeting while the Gold Coast course proper was being rebuilt.

Having conducted planned drainage works and sand grooving immediately following The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions in January, significant rain and humidity has impacted the return to racing at Aquis Park, with stakeholders committed to undertaking a cautious maintenance programme.

“The decision to transfer the Hollindale Stakes from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast is in the best interests of the course proper for the long term,” Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott said.

“Whilst we had every intention of returning the Hollindale to the Gold Coast this year, the climatic conditions have conspired against us.

“At the same time, it’s important that we provide certainty to our participants who can now target their horses towards the Sunshine Coast.”

As part of the Queensland Racing Carnival, the GCTC is also scheduled to host a night meeting for the first time on Friday, May 24.

A decision on whether the night meeting will proceed will be determined in the coming weeks.

“We’re obviously disappointed in losing our second biggest raceday on the calendar,” GCTC CEO Steve Lines said.

“However, having successfully worked hand-in-glove with the Sunshine Coast Turf Club last year, we’re confident that another highly successful Hollindale Stakes can be run at Corbould Park.

“We will reassess the course proper in a fortnight’s time mindful of the first ever Night Racing meeting on May 24 but given the significant investment that has been made on the course proper redevelopment, we will continue to do what is best for it in the long term.”

Further information in relation to ticketing and hospitality for the TAB Hollindale Stakes Raceday will be made in the coming days.

 

RHAMDHANI RETURNS TO SYDNEY – WHY DID HE THE LEAVE GCTC?

DID he decide to return to a new racing role in Sydney or was it a case of Nevesh Rhamdhani having a gutful of trying to do his job at the Gold Coast Turf Club where insiders say his attempts to correct the troubled new track were being overruled by Racing Queensland?

Time will tell but here’s a report on Nevesh from Racing NSW:

HIGHLY respected turf and racing manager Nevesh Ramdhani will return to the Australian Turf Club as the new Head of Racing and Wagering.

He takes up the role next month from James Ross, who has accepted a senior position at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Australian Turf Club CEO Matt Galanos said Mr Ramdhani was highly experienced and widely known to the Sydney and NSW racing industry.

“We are very pleased to be able to fill this critical role in Sydney racing with a person of the skills and experience of Nevesh," Mr Galanos said.

“This role involves not only the oversight of track management at each of our racecourses but also the racing and wagering department of the Australian Turf Club.

“Nevesh joins the senior leadership team at the Australian Turf Club as we continue to host and deliver world-class racing and spectacular Carnivals at four racecourses across 110 racedays for 52 weeks a year."

Mr Ramdhani was Royal Randwick Racecourse Manager from November 2010 to July 2019.

He was promoted to General Manager of Racecourses at Australian Turf Club in August 2019 before taking a new role at the Gold Coast in June 2022.

Mr Ramdhani begins as ATC Head of Racing and Wagering on 22 May 2024.

 

DOES RQ PLAN TO COMPENSATE STAKEHOLDERS FOR ABANDONED RACING?

STAKEHOLDERS want to know when Racing Queensland plans to compensate them for prizemoney lost due to 'abandoned' meetings because of wet weather.

They are asking if millions of dollars saved by not 'postponing' these meetings, especially in the south-east corner, is being used to overcome the drop in TAB revenue due to the abandonments and transfer of racing to despised Poly tracks.

RQ and major clubs are being accused of focussing too much on having their tracks perfect for carnival meetings when owners and trainers say the majority of the prizemoney on offer will be plundered by interstate invaders.

Anger has intensified in the wake of last Sunday’s Sunshine Coast debacle when stewards waited until close to 11.30 to abandon the meeting that most believed was in doubt from early in the day. They say the late decision meant that many had already arrived on track or were on their way.

Trainers and jockeys are far from happy at the inaction of their respective bodies in putting the heat on RQ to program more meetings before the carnival but no-one is prepared to speak out publicly.

Story goes RQ and major race clubs are reluctant to hold more meetings for fear of damaging tracks in the lead-up to the carnival. Gold Coast needs to have a race meeting on their much-maligned new track to prove it won’t embarrass racing in Queensland when their major Winter Carnival day is held early next month. But time is running out.

Sunshine Coast has returned to turf racing after far too long on the Poly – where turnover was markedly down despite many trainers being forced to race because owners could no longer afford to have them sitting in their stables on race days.         

One suggestion that has been made is a double-header day-night race meeting at the Sunshine Coast and some 12-race Saturday programs at Eagle Farm and Doomben over the next few weeks where the trial 10-race seems to have now, for some inexplicable reason, been reduced to nine.

Stakeholders have called for RQ to publicly declare how much prizemoney has been lost to the industry in recent months due to abandoned meetings.

They don’t need to know the effect moving to Poly tracks has had on turnover – that is there for all to see when anticipated dividends are declared leading up to a race. These are disgraceful.

 

BREAST CANCER DRUG CHARGES OPENS CAN OF WORMS FOR RACING

CHARGES laid against the trainers of Victorian stables after horses tested positive to a breast cancer drug has opened a real can of worms for Australian racing.

Racing Victoria has revealed that because the drug is not legally available for human use in Australia that the result of a 12 month investigation had seen 12 charges laid.

Trainers Smiley Chan, Mark and Levi Kavanagh, Julius Sandhu, Symon Wilde, and Ash and Amy Yargi will all face the Victorian Racing Tribunal at a date to be fixed. There are no set penalties for the presentation charges.

Amy Yargi also works as a mounting yard presenter for Racing.com. The industry’s broadcaster says her role will not be affected.

“We are aware of the charges that have been made and until such time those charges have been heard and a decision has been made, Amy will be considered for mounting yard analyst work with Racing.com,” the broadcaster’s chief executive, Peter Campbell, told DANNY RUSSELL of THE AGE.

Russell reports that each of the five stables had a horse return a positive urine sample to formestane (a steroidal aromatase inhibitor) and anabolic steroid 4-Hydroxytestosterone on different days at different racetracks within seven weeks between February and April last year.

Formestane is used internationally for the treatment of breast cancer, mainly in postmenopausal women, because it inhibits the production of estrogen. It can also lead to an increase in the body’s production of hormones and testosterone.

Racing Victoria said foremestane was not registered for either human or animal use in Australia. It is also on the WADA banned list.

“Formestane is not on the exempted list of therapeutic goods listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods,” Racing Victoria said in a statement.

“The ARTG is the public database of therapeutic goods that can be legally supplied in Australia. This means that formestane cannot be legally supplied for use in humans in Australia.”

The five positive horses – Chan’s gelding Lake Tai, Kavanagh mare Circle Of Magic, Sandhu’s gelding Alphaville, Wilde’s mare Sirileo Miss and the Yargi’s gelding Yulara – were stood down for a year under Racing Victoria’s mandatory suspensions for steroid positives. Their 12-month bans have now expired.

The five stables were charged by stewards under AR 240 – a prohibited substance in a sample taken from a horse at a race meeting.

In statements released in September last year, both the Kavanagh and Yargi stables pointed to contamination as a possible source of their positive swabs.

“Since the irregularity, she [Circle of Magic] has been tested multiple times and each time has returned a negative swab,” the Kavanaghs wrote.

“This then suggests that there could be a problem with contamination either during the collection of the sample or throughout the testing process.”

The Yargis said formestane was not a drug that “we’ve ever heard of, or our vets have ever heard of”.

“It is a contamination of some sort, and I think that it’s damaging to all trainers’ reputations, and it’s upsetting that we have to go through this,” they said in a statement.

While Chan, Wilde and the Kavanaghs have all been hit with two charges, Sandhu and the Yargi stable will face three charges because 6a-Hydroxyandrost-4-ene3,17-Dione – which is a metabolite of the anabolic steroid androst-4-ene-3, 6, 17-trione (6-OXO)was also detected in the urine samples of their horses.

Wilde told this masthead earlier this month that he had been frustrated by Sirileo Miss’ ban because “she has missed a whole 12 months in the prime of her racing life”.

A sixth horse also returned a positive swab last year, but no action was taken because the control sample also showed traces of formestane. A control sample, used as a quality assurance measure, is taken from fluid that is rinsed through the collection pan and sample bottles before a horse’s urine sample is collected.

Control samples from the other five horses did not show traces of the prohibited substances.

It took Racing Victoria stewards almost six months before they released details of the positive swabs to the public last year. There was no suggestion of how the mystery cluster had occurred.

WILL WORDS OF PRIDE OF JENNI’S OWNER RETURN TO HAUNT HIM?

PRIDE OF JENNI is an absolute superstar and her win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes was sensational but her owned Tony Ottobre needs to choose his words more carefully or they will return to haunt him.

Ottobre tweeted champion jockey James McDonald after the runaway win by his mare in the Group 1 at Randwick:

‘Hey Macca don't sook up because you got beaten by an Irish jumps jockey, he has more balls than you, waiting for a cart on a $5.5mill horse is pretty piss week, next time have a crack."

JMac was the first to admit his ride on the Chris Waller import Via Sistina was ‘embarrassing’. One wonders if ‘Irish jumps jockey’ Declan Bates had been beaten after adopting tearaway tactics on Pride Of Jenni, if Mr Ottobre would have hung him out to dry.

Racing can’t wait for a re-match of Pride of Jenni and Via Sistina – not can Waller who trains arguably the best import to hit our shores. Here’s hoping Mr Ottobre isn’t eating his words when that occurs in the Spring – hopefully in the Cox Plate.

 

STEWARDS NEED TO HIT TRAINER BEN HAYES WITH ‘PLEASE EXPLAIN’

BIG ‘Richie’ Callander posed an interesting question in his well-read column on Racenet.com, concerning comments made by Ben Hayes concerning Mr Brightside’s defeat in the Queen Elizabeth.

Hayes declared after the race: “Mr Brightside pulled up great and we were very happy with him. Pride Of Jenni was awesome. We didn't want to chase and we didn't so he had a nice easy run.”

Now if this was a trainer of less prominence than Ben Hayes he would have immediately been hauled before stewards for a please explain.

Punters who read the Hayes comment would be questioning whether he was given every chance to obtain the best position to win the race. Here’s hoping the panel of internationally experienced Chairman Steve Railton don’t consider it too late to have a fireside chat with Mr Hayes.

 

STEWARDS HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO UPHOLD THE KINTYRE PROTEST

PUNTERS questioning the decision of Sydney stewards to uphold the protest of Jamie Kah on Kintyre in the Frank Packer Plate are either talking through their pockets or living under a rock.

To anyone who watches races regularly had Tim Clark on Gold Bullion not laid all over Kah close to the finish, Kintyre would have won clearly.

Clark forced Kah onto the running rail which prevented her from using the whip on Kintyre.

“Tim’s horse has stepped back in and I’ve had to put the whip away,” Kah told stewards after the race. “I was leaning on the rail quite hard that last bit. The margin is very small, but I felt like my horse was going to go on and win easily. The interference has definitely cost me a good length, I think.’

Clark argued that Kintyre was already drifting towards the rail before Gold Bullion moved over, and that Kah had the chance to overtake him previously in the straight but failed to do so. “When Jamie shifts back to the inside the run is tight,” Clark said.

“That horse had a good 250 metres to get past my horse and was unable to do so. When my horse gets in on Jamie, it was right on the winning post if not past the winning post.”

Nice try Tim but you have to be kidding. As for it being a controversial protest decision, who cares – it was the right one!

 

WHAT IS THE REASON FOR REVOLVING DOOR OF RQ RTO MANGERS? 

GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST makes his regular contribution which we appreciate:

‘OVER the last decade or so we have had six RTO Managers at Racing Queensland.

Training is a very important part of racing in Queensland but I think most stakeholders and industry observers would agree that the turnover of RTO Managers is disturbing.

Would someone at RQ care to explain why there has been so many RTO Managers?

I applaud (former top jockey) Robbie Fradd for working as a mentor. I think getting the right people into this role is extremely important.’

 

UPPERCUT FOR MAJOR CLUBS NOT PREPARED TO RACE ON ANZAC DAY

OFFICIALS of the race clubs at SUNSHINE COAST, BEAUDESERT, CUNNAMULLA & WONDAI take a bow.

They are prepared to cop the extra cost of wages for racing on Anzac Day while many of their cashed up cousins are too lousy to do so.

Anzac Day racing was once a tradition at Eagle Farm where after the march old ‘diggers’ would congregate for ‘two-up’ games in the St Ledger.

Story goes that Anzac Day was one of the casualties when the Brisbane Racing Club (then QTC) decided against Public Holiday racing – some say because of the cost of paying extra wages.

There are plenty in the industry – especially the old-timers – who view the decision to dump Anzac Day racing as an insult to those who paid the ultimate price so that we could enjoy the lifestyle that we do today.

 

 

WHEN IT COMES TO WET TRACKS IT SEEMS NO-ONE AT RQ HAS A CLUE

WHEN it comes to decision-making in relation to the Sunshine Coast track during these wet weather times, it seems Racing Queensland and its Stewards are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

One week the 'rocket-scientists' at RQ are jumping the gun too early transferring meetings to the Poly track midweek only to see days of sunshine leading up to racing on the Sunday.

Then the industry is confronted by the farcical decision by Stewards to wait too long to abandon a meeting – as happened on Sunday – when it was obvious early in the day that the chances of racing were a million to one.

Can anyone get it right in Queensland where Sunshine Coast racing is concerned? And we haven’t even mentioned the farce that is happening down the highway at the Gold Coast – which will keep for another day.

Anger is at boiling point among trainers and jockeys who made the arduous trip up the Bruce Highway when it seems, everyone bar the Stewards, did not expect to be racing at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.

Why did they wait until close to 11.30 to call the meeting off – by that time most had already left to ensure they got through the traffic in time to be at Corbould Park. How many of them expected to be racing as the rain continued to pour? Zilch!

Sure the track may have been safe for at 10.30 but it had been raining throughout the night and most of the morning (so the locals tell us). Only the ultimate optimist would have expected the further heavy falls the radar predicted not to cause the meeting to be abandoned.

Think of the prizemoney lost, the cost to owners in getting their horses to the track, the inconvenience to trainers and jockeys who receive no compensation.

Sunday was an absolute embarrassment – and so are the decisions made on Wednesdays to transfer these meetings to the Poly track – that only the desperates want to race and bet on.

The Trainers' and Jockeys’ Association bosses should be banging on the door at QRIC today protesting the lack of foresight – that’s if the Commissioner can find the time to listen to them or they have the balls to front him.

And at RQ questions need to be answered about when some extra meetings or races are going to be run to compensate stakeholders for lost revenue in the past month. Even the 10-race trial seems to have been lost on Saturdays with nine the past two weekends.

What are the local owners expected to do – race on the Poly at the Gold and Sunshine Coasts until the big Carnival days when Waller and co arrive with their better horses to plunder the bigger prizemoney while the locals go home losers again?

And we haven’t even mentioned the TAB turnover that has been lost. It makes a mockery of Queensland racing when Sydney has raced on a bog during The Championships and only lost the last two races on Saturday for safety and visibility reasons.     

        

MAX JOINS THE KEYBOARD WARRIORS AFTER WRITING LAST COLUMN

BACK in the 90’s the publisher of Letsgohorseracing had the privilege of working for a decade alongside one of the greats of turf journalism in this country, MAX PRESNELL. He was a good boss, an even better story-teller and a great drinker (ask anyone who tried to go the distance with him). Max has written his last column for the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD and at 84 has decided to launch his own website which is fantastic because his horse racing tales will live on forever.

ANDREW WEBSTER of FAIRFAX MEDIA pays this tribute to the great man:

IN 1964, a young Australian reporter – and alleged punter – named Max Presnell boarded a train in Darlington, in County Durham in the north of England.

ANDREW WEBSTER of Fairfax Media reports that Max was headed to London to place one of the biggest bets of his life on an underrated horse in the Ascot Gold Cup (4014m), one of the world’s most prestigious staying races put on for kings and queens.

The horse had little weight on its back, and because it came from the north of England would receive scant respect in the betting ring. Better still, the nag loved the wet.

“On the train ride down, the rain was coming down,” Presnell recalls, rubbing his hands together. “I said, ‘How good is this?!’ I’d mustered all my financial reserves. It was going to be 10 to 1.”

Unfortunately, there was too much rain. By the time Presnell (pictured recently, courtesy of JESSICA HROMAS of FAIRFAX) arrived at Ascot, the race meeting had been called off for only the second time since its first running in 1807.

“Of course, with a pocket full of money, I went to a casino instead,” Presnell continues. “Then I was on the next train back to Darlington at midnight with no money. Three days later, I received a letter from John Fairfax asking if I wanted to come home. I had nothing and they paid my way back. If that horse had run at Royal Ascot, I would have won and I’d still be there.”

How lucky for those of us who value words, reporting, unflinching opinion, and the enduring romance of the track that Royal Ascot was too waterlogged for business that day.

Presnell returned and for the next 60 years, in newspapers, radio and TV, he brought the characters and colour of the track to life.

Sadly, it’s come to an end.

A month ago, the legendary Presnell, 84, wrote his last column for The Sydney Morning Herald. He’s too proud to write a final piece – “It’s like writing your own obit,” he grumbles – but his contribution is too significant to simply brush aside.

He started with Fairfax in 1954 as a 15-year-old copy boy with the now-defunct afternoon paper The Sun and served his cadetship the following three years before being graded in 1961.

That year, he backed Fine And Dandy to win the Doncaster into Sharply to win the Sydney Cup, won a thousand pounds and headed to England for three years. “I thought I was a punter of some substance,” he says. “That didn’t last long.”

In total, he has provided a staggering 67 years of service to Fairfax mastheads. For context, economics giant Ross Gittins earlier this year celebrated 50 years at the Herald.

“Ross had a great foundation in the Salvation Army,” Presnell says. “I was the son of a publican at the Doncaster Hotel. Ross was spreading the good word on the street while I was frequenting Bub Brown’s SP garage in the back streets of Kensington.”

Max Presnell was the man. Still is.

“I’m just a tabloid hack,” he says.

Really? Come on, Max.

“And proud of it! Those were the days, son. One of the more famous Herald sporting editors said I’m an old-time racing writer. I said, ‘That’s the best rap I’ve had. Banjo Paterson was a racing writer’.”

He adds: “Nobody could ask for a better deal than I’ve got. But newspapers have changed. I grew up in a different world. It’s now different to how I believe it should be done.”

Fox Sports boss Steve Crawley learned about writing turf alongside Presnell at The Sun and The Sun-Herald in the 1980s, listening on as he and his contemporaries would dictate 40 inch-perfect paragraphs down the phone line to a copytaker in the office straight after a race.

“Max is the last of the great Sydney turf writers,” Crawley says. “There was Bert Lillye, Les Carlyon, Bill Whittaker, Keith Robbins, Tommy Brassell, John Holloway, Ken Callander, Bill Casey – and now Max Presnell. Max had a different way of telling his stories; the same as he dressed a little differently and basically ran his own race. We’ll miss more than his words.”

It was his words, though, that made Presnell compulsory reading. Like the late Carlyon, you couldn’t get enough of him.

He had one eye on the present, while doffing his fedora to the past. In more recent years, he transported the reader to a time when Sydney and racing was ruled by characters who belonged in a Damon Runyon play.

A 2010 column about Perce Galea, the famous gambler and illegal casino operator, stands out. Galea was part-owner of 1964 Golden Slipper winner Eskimo Prince with his son Bruce.

“Following the official presentation, Perce threw a wad of notes over the fence into the crowd,” Presnell wrote. “Some say it was £150 in £10 notes, others a hundred in single pounds. The bundle is unlikely. It would have spoilt the cut of Galea’s suit.”

In the late 1990s, his weekly appearances on Sportsworld on Channel Seven each Sunday were compulsory viewing as he and Melbourne-based expert Keith Hillier went at each other with host Bruce McAvaney acting as referee.

“I was the ringmaster and I loved it,” McAvaney says. “Max had such a beautiful turn of phrase. We’d either have a huge laugh or we’d go to the dictionary and find out what he was talking about. What I remember most about Max is that he always had this clear definition of a ‘champion’. He was very reticent in declaring one. When he did, you knew it was special.”

Presnell has seen generations of “great” horses, but only a handful of “champions”.

“Two of the most overused words in sport are ‘champion’ and ‘luck’,” he offers. “I’ve seen too many great horses, but how do you say one is better than the other? It’s just a feeling. Most talented horses or humans are good for champion performances, but it’s where it’s sustained and you walk away and know that you’re in the presence of something outstanding here.”

He covered the biggest stories and the biggest scandals, from Fine Cotton to Jockey Tapes, and was respected for his unwavering ability to call it as it was.

“In our business, if you write something you can’t worry if it’s going to upset someone,” he says. “My greatest fallout was with George Moore.”

One of the greatest jockeys of all time, Moore often clashed with trainer Tommy Smith, with whom Presnell was close.

“I once called George a ‘Pitt Street farmer’,” he laughs. “Someone got in touch with me and said, ‘Iris Moore is gunning for you’. Iris was George’s wife. Did I ring up and take my punishment like a man? I took three weeks leave.”

When Moore died in 2008, Presnell delivered the eulogy – at Iris’s request.

His best story was one of his first. “The protest after the 1961 AJC Derby was the first big story I ever did,” he says.

Mel Schumacher on Blue Era had beaten Tommy Hill on Summer Fair in the shadows of the post, but Hill quickly fired in a protest, which was uncommon in those days because the use of film was in its infancy.

“Everyone thought Tommy Hill had gone mad,” Presnell says.

But Hill was adamant he’d been wronged when he fronted chief steward Jack Bourke.

“Mel Schumacher leant over and pulled my leg and pulled me back near the post,” Hill said. “I got beaten by a head, that cost me far more.”

“Are you sure?” Bourke asked.

“Mr Bourke, I would know if a snake bit me.”

Schumacher was incredulous.

“Preposterous,” he told the inquiry.

Then they showed the grainy footage and the head-on shot consigned Schumacher to his fate.

“He was given life, walked off the course – and we had the story in the paper,” Presnell recalls. “When you’re a 21-year-old cadet, it’s not easy spelling ‘preposterous’ to a copytaker.”

Presnell might have filed his last column for the Herald but they won’t be his last words. He’s going to start his own website. He draws inspiration from his great mate Les Bridge, who earlier this month won his second Doncaster Mile with Celestial Legend – at the age of 85.

“I don’t believe in the word ‘retire’,” Presnell says. “It’s never been work. It’s a way of life. I’ll still go to the races, still have an opinion.”

In recent years, I was blessed to cover some big race meetings with Presnell. What stood out was how the big-name trainers, jockeys and owners would approach him to talk, rarely the other way around.

But my enduring memory of Max isn’t a story he’s written, nor a question asked. It’s not his myriad tales of the track and newsrooms, which I could listen to for days.

Sitting in the tiny press box at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day in 2013, I noticed him get up and make his way for the door.

The horses were about to be brought into the mounting yard, which is located at the back of the main grandstand, so I decided to follow him. It was my first time covering a meeting at the Valley.

I watched in awe as Max weaved a magical path through the crowd of sloshed racegoers like he was Clive Churchill, the fullback of his beloved South Sydney, jinking and weaving around women wobbling on high heels and men swaying back and forth, staring at the TV screens. He’d set a cracking pace and it was hard to keep up.

Suddenly, he took off down a ramp, then some stairs, through a door, before popping up in the betting ring, a wad of hundreds in one hand, race book in the other and both eyes on the tote boards.

Max Presnell was the man. Still is.

 

RQ PUT ON NOTICE TO LOCK SCOTT IN AS CEO BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

IT is almost a year since Jason Scott was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Racing Queensland and the industry regards him as a breath of fresh air after suffering for so long with Brendan Parnell in the job.

Sadly for Queensland, the rumour mill has Scott among a group of high profile candidates being considered to replace Adam Rytenskild as CEO of Tabcorp, one of the best jobs on the Australian wagering landscape.

Stakeholders want to know what RQ is doing to extend the contract of Scott now (not when it is due for renewal) to lock in his services for as long as possible.

Scott took over as RQ CEO in early May last year after serving as the CEO of Ladbrokes Australia from 2017 to 2019 before being based in the United States as Vice President Trading, VIP and Retail Operations for BetMGM.

Some of those being touted as front-runners for the Tabcorp job – apart from Scott – are Lachlan Fitt (CFO & CEO of Entain Australia and New Zealand), Andrew Vouris (COO for Entain Esports), Cormac Barry (Sportsbet CEO from 2011-2018), Sam Swanell (Managing Director & Group CEO of Pointsbet) & Gillon McLachlan (the former AFL CEO) but he has been linked to the vacant role of Racing Victoria Chairman.

Those close to the coalface are adamant Scott would take the Tabcorp job if he was head-hunted for it. They say this should not be any indication that he isn’t happy at RQ but like the industry as a whole confronted by the uncertainty of a change in Government.

 

SOME LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL FOR QLD TO ACCEPT HK APPRENTICES

ONE of those keen to see Jason Scott remain as RQ CEO for as long as possible is GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST whose fight for Queensland to accept overseas apprentices to overcome the lack of riders for bush racing has been well documented on this website.

Here’s is Greg’s latest contribution:

‘I read article about getting Hong Kong apprentices (on Racenet) thought, God I hope so.

I acknowledge this sounds promising and hope it can be sorted out. Queensland was once the shining light for overseas students. About 20 years ago we had many Japanese students.

We also had two Hong Kong apprentices about a decade ago in Queensland - Shenny Chan and Geoffrey Leung. Around 2007 Gold Coast-based Traintech had HK trainees. One was Vincent Ho. This was able to occur because they had CRICOS.

We don’t have CRICOS now so we can't have trainees. I know another Asian country is now looking for trainees now. In the past two Korean apprentices came out to Craig Smith at Roma and also some years later to Brett Bellamy and Sue Grylls in NSW. So let's look to Korea also.’

 

TIME RUNNING OUT TO GET GOLD COAST TRACK RIGHT FOR CARNIVAL

IT seems to be taking longer to get this new multi-million Gold Coast track ready for racing again than it does to paint the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

And sadly, the industry fears this could be an on-going problem. The blame game continues behind the scenes with those at the coalface on the Gold Coast confidentially blaming those responsible for racetracks at Racing Queensland.

RQ confirmed during the week that the Gold Coast Turf Club race meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 27, has been transferred to the Polytrack ‘to allow for works to be completed on the course proper.’

It is less than a month to the major carnival day on the Coast – featuring the running of the Hollindale Stakes – on Saturday, May 11. Here’s hoping the track is ready for a dress rehearsal ensuring the ‘rocket scientists’ responsible for racetracks at RQ don’t put all their eggs in one basket on that big day.

 

SEATS ARE FILLING FAST FOR THE FIRST BOAT OUT AFTER ELECTION

Here’s a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek email that we received during the week, entitled: ‘WHO’S ON THE FIRST BOAT OUT?’  

‘THERE are so many things wrong with racing in Queensland that the story goes the LNP already has a small boat moored in Cabbage Tree Creek not far from RQ Headquarters at Deagon and waiting to set sail soon after the election.

Seats have already been reserved for Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Shane Gillard and a couple of his boot-lickers (one from North Queensland), the RQ Board Chairman Steve ‘Whirlwind Wilson’, Chairman of Thoroughbred Stewards, Josh Adams and RQ Senior Track & Racecourse Manager, Greg Puckeridge.

One wonders who will join this motley crew between now and the Election – there are a few candidates but we’ll save their names for another day.’

 

 

GOING TO THE ‘WELL’ ONCE TOO OFTEN WITH CHAMP MR BRIGHTSIDE

MR BRIGHTSIDE is one of the best horses in the land; TEAM HAYES are among the best trainers; CRAIG WILLIAMS is a champion jockey and the SYDNEY STEWARDS are of international standard.

But none of them seemed prepared to accept the inevitable when an inquiry was held into tactics adopted on Mr Brightside when he was beaten over eight lengths into third place behind the brilliant Pride of Jenni and world class stayer Via Sistina in the $5mn Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

Stop blaming Williams for the failures of Mr Brightside. With all due respects, Team Hayes have been to the well once too often with the multiple Group 1 winning superstar.

This was the fifth run this campaign for the six-year-old winner of more than $13 million in stakes. He resumed winning the Group 1 Orr and Futurity at Caulfield then had a gut-buster in the All-Star Mile coming from last to finish a three-length third to Pride of Jenni.

But the writing was on the wall that he was racing on tired legs when Mr Brightside pulled up showing signs of soreness when favorite and fifth in the Australian Cup.

Arguably that is when connections should have pulled up stumps instead of blaming the hard track at Flemington and heading to Randwick for the Queen Elizabeth. Give him a break now and head to the Spring and hopefully the Hong Kong International in December.

Here’s what attracted the attention of Saturday’s Stewards’ Panel at Randwick headed up by former Hong Kong ‘hot-shots’ Steve Railton (chairman) and Kim Kelly (seconded from retirement):   

MR BRIGHTSIDE: Co-trainer Ben Hayes and jockey Craig Williams were questioned regarding the tactics adopted on Mr Brightside, specifically in relation to the gelding settling in a forward position after connections had reported to Stewards that the horse was to be ridden conservatively. Hayes explained that at its last start in the Australian Cup, when ridden in a prominent position, Mr Brightside had not finished off its race when required to take the field up to the breakaway leader, Pride Of Jenni, which also was engaged in this event. He said that in the parade ring Williams had sought some flexibility, identifying that if he were to settle at the rear of the field, Mr Brightside might be required to make up too much ground. For this reason, connections agreed to Williams’s request. However, the overriding requirement was for the gelding not to be ridden out of its comfort zone. He said that he was surprised Mr Brightside had settled so far forward but not critical of Williams’ riding, given that the gelding jumped extremely well. Williams explained that in assessing the make-up of the field he identified a number of runners that generally settle in a rearward position and he was concerned that if Mr Brightside was positioned at the tail of the field, it might be detrimental to its chances, and he was hopeful of being in front of at least some of those runners. He said that after Mr Brightside began well, he took the option to roll forward without making any use of his mount, and Mr Brightside raced comfortably in the early stages. When questioned regarding his riding in the middle stages when Pride Of Jenni established a significant lead, Williams reiterated that at its last start Mr Brightside’s chances had been hindered by being pressured prematurely to take the field up to the leader and he therefore was hopeful that another runner would improve to his outside to assist his mount in closing the margin. He said that when Place Du Carrousel improved to his outside near the 1000m, that runner did not continue to press forward. He said that he was aware Pride Of Jenni had established a significant lead but felt that if he were to have placed his mount under pressure midway through the race, this would have been to the gelding’s disadvantage, and he therefore allowed Mr Brightside to increase its tempo between the 800m and the 600m and felt that the horse was able to finish off the race as best it could. Having considered all the evidence, Stewards accepted the reasons for Mr Brightside being ridden in a more-forward position than had been notified. Stewards also formed the view that Williams’ riding in the middle stages was not unreasonable given the circumstances.

PLACE DU CARROUSEL: When questioned regarding his riding in the middle stages and whether there was an opportunity to improve to be positioned closer to the leader, Pride Of Jenni, jockey Tom Berry advised that Place Du Carrousel generally races in a midfield position or worse. He said that when travelling in third position behind Mr Brightside along the back straight, he was comfortable initially to maintain cover behind that runner. However, from approaching the 1000m he allowed Place Du Carrousel to shift out from behind Mr Brightside to improve to that runner’s outside, hoping that the tempo would quicken to reduce the margin on the leader. He said, however, that when he commenced to niggle at Place Du Carrousel from the 800m the mare gave no response. Therefore, he was not able to improve his mount’s position any further. He said that Place Du Carrousel then came under heavy pressure prior to straightening, gave no response to his riding and was beaten at the 400m. He said that Place Du Carrousel raced flat and on pulling up did not feel comfortable in its action. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities. Stewards accepted Berry’s explanation.

The win by Pride Of Jenni was arguably the most remarkable in a Group 1 in this country. It revived memories of tactics employed on Vo Rogue, Might And Power, Lasqueti Spirit in the 2016 VRC Oaks and well before that Pirate Bird.

She got to the front and just went further and further ahead. Half-way through the race was over and those watching knew they were witnessing something special. Her six sub-12 second sectionals between the 1800m and the 600m (11.99, 11.54, 11.11, 11.42, 11.48, 11.60) were insane.

Pride of Jenni was over 90m (the equivalent of almost 40 lengths) in front of Mr Brightside at the 700m mark. Williams told stewards that his obligation was to ride his mount in a manner that gave him the best chance to ‘finish in the best place possible’. And that’s what he did!

Williams seems to have been sorted out by some sections of the racing media while not a question has been asked why ‘pin-up boy’ James McDonald didn’t take off on the heavily-backed favorite and backmarker Via Sistina, recognized as one of the best stayers in the world. JMac’s one word summation of his tactics was ‘embarrassing’.

As it turned out Pride Of Jenni was the superior stayer on the day. But had Declan Bates got beaten after adopting the tearaway tactics that he did, the punters would have crucified him.

Remember the day, almost a year ago, when Regan Bayliss was charged after he established a 45m lead at the 800m mark on Pride Of Jenni in the G3 JRA Plate. Having her first start over 2000m, the mare punctured to finish over eight lengths from the winner.

The Bayliss ban under Rule AR 129 (2) (A rider must take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that the rider's horse is given full opportunity to win or to obtain the best possible place in the field) was overturned on appeal. One wonders whether stewards will be reluctant in future to charge any rider who adopts those tactics without success.

Champion trainer Chris Waller uncharacteristically spat the dummy over the way the Queen Elizabeth was run. “From my perspective it was disappointing,” Waller told Network 7 after his runners Via Sistina, Kovalica and Buckaroo finished 2nd, 5th & 6th respectively.

"Well done Pride Of Jenni, but I'd like to at least have given her a fight. Pride Of Jenni probably wins, but just to get so far off her … I don't know why they let the race unfold like that.

"Most of my boys (James McDonald, Nash Rawiller and Blake Shinn) said that it was out of their control, but I think they all said that. I'm not going to take anything away from Pride Of Jenni. She’s a super mare, so well done to her and hopefully we get a rematch in the Spring.”

 

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO PROTEST PROCESSES IN RQ

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has engaged the services of well-known racing integrity expert Des Gleeson to review the processes around two recent protest decisions at Beaudesert and the Gold Coast.

Mr Gleeson has more than 35 years’ stewarding experience in Thoroughbred and Harness racing. He is a Member of the Victorian Racing Tribunal and has also held the dual role of Racing Victoria Director of Integrity Services and Chairman of Stewards.

Mr Gleeson will review the processes around the Queensland stewards’ decision to uphold a protest in Race 3 at Beaudesert on Saturday, 30 March, 2024 and the processes around the steward’s decision to uphold a protest in Race 6 at the Gold Coast on Saturday, 23 March 2024.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Shane Gillard said the independence of an external investigation was essential for transparency.

“Even though there is no right of appeal against any decision of the Stewards in relation to a protest, this independent investigation may provide us with information that will benefit future protest rulings,” he said.

 

NO-ONE SEEMS PREPARED TO IDENTIFY ‘THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM’

The $64,000 question on the lips of most owners and trainers at the coalface of Queensland’s embarrassing track issues is why no-one seems to be prepared to identify the elephant in the room.

They want to know if no-nonsense Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott raised this contentious topic during his crisis meeting with curators on Monday concerning on-going problems with the state of their tracks.

Rightly or wrongly, reports leaked to LGHR suggest that some high profile track curators and their staff describe their ‘problem’ tracks as having been ‘Puckeridged’ – a reference to what they are supposedly being told to do by Greg Puckeridge, Senior Track and Racecourse Manager for RQ.

Those close to the coalface (track staff, owners who don’t want to run their horses on Poly surfaces and many trainers) are privately blaming the Puckeridge ‘remedies’ for causing the on-going track problems at the Gold and Sunshine Coast tracks. LGHR doesn't have an opinion but the story goes 'those in the know' are not prepared to speak out (some under instructions from club officials) for fear of offending RQ who are forking out tens of thousands of dollars for repair work to be done.

Here’s an email we received from one prominent south-east Queensland racing identity:

'I had a call last week from a fairly high profile licensee from the Gold Coast who told me the track there is not the fault of Nevesh Rhamdami.

Evidently no-one at the GCTC will speak up about it, because RQ have been paying all the redevelopment costs and their manager of racetracks, Greg Puckeridge, has been giving the orders.

After the new track raced well on Magic Millions day, Puckeridge (reportedly) ordered the club to cut it really short and then they had a lot of really heavy rain which damaged things.

Puckeridge then (instead of filling the track with reasonable soil) bought in multiple truckloads of sand, so the grass damaged has taken longer to grow properly and certainly wasn't ready for the QTIS Jewel meeting.

Interestingly, a former high profile interstate track official, who retired after battles with RQ and a leading club up here, tweeted after that meeting that it appeared the track had been ‘Puckeridged’.

The mail is the GCTC aren't game to speak out against Puckeridge because they have a stuffed up track and don't want to lose funding and be left with the whole cost of repairing it.’

 

'TWO WEEKS OF SUNSHINE & TRACKS WILL BE READY TO RACE'

WITH the mainstream racing media in Queensland virtually ignoring the controversy engulfing the tracks at the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast where meetings are being consistently switched to the Poly, Peter Gleeson addressed the issue on his 4BC Drive Time Show on Tuesday.

The feedback we have received from those who listened in has been a shade critical of our old mate Gleeso for not asking some of the tough questions they want answers to from RQ CEO Jason Scott.

Scott, unlike most previous bosses at RQ seems a no-nonsense character who isn't afraid to address the tough issues. It surprises us more that Gleeso didn’t ask him about the ‘elephant in the room’, his own track expert, Greg Puckeridge. Both of them have to be aware of the discontent doing the rounds.

Gleeson either overlooked or dodged the issue. The questions stakeholders want Scott to answer are these:

Did he raise the problem that Track Curators obviously have with the Puckeridge remedy for the current problems with consistent rain causing fungus and other diseases in the grass?

If so were they prepared to speak out? Was Puckeridge in the room at the time or asked to step outside to prevent any suggestion of intimidation to the track curators?

Why hasn’t Jason Scott been asked to estimate the cost of lost revenue to RQ through the transfer of these meetings to the Poly tracks on which punters do not want to bet? If so, will it have a bearing prizemoney distribution in future?

 

DELUGE IN SYDNEY, RACES ON; SPARROW FARTS IN QLD, OFF TO POLY

PUNTERS praised Peter Gleeson for asking Jason Scott how Randwick could cope with over 200mls of rain in the 24 hours preceding Saturday’s big meeting while only 25mls forced the transfer to the Poly of Sunday’s racing at the Sunshine Coast.

Scott’s answer was that he is not an agronomist but blamed it on a difference in climate in Sydney to south-east Queensland but more so on the number of times Queensland races compared to what they do in NSW.

In the wake of the problems affecting the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Townsville (where our feedback from trainers is extremely negative), officials have conceded that Eagle Farm isn’t at its best but remain confident the State’s premier track will come good in time for the looming winter carnival.

As Racenet reported after years of renovations, Eagle Farm has roared back to life as the best wet weather track in the country over the past two years. However a slow, consistent drizzle of rain across southeast Queensland has left it with minor issues.

Despite a handful of winners coming up the rail, most jockeys attempted to get their horses to the outside of the track last Saturday in search of better ground.

Brisbane Racing Club executive general manager Matt Rudolph told Racenet that despite losing two meetings at Eagle Farm and Doomben last week, there were no alarm bells going off ahead of the winter.

“It probably hasn't raced as well as it has in the past, we are nursing it through a bit at the moment,” he said. “We have two weeks off until we have three meetings in a row (at Eagle Farm), then there is basically four weeks off until the carnival. We aren't immune to the elements that south-east Queensland can throw up and we have seen that across all tracks. They aren't at their optimum standard at the moment, but we aren't concerned.”

One wonders if RQ has a contingency plan with the new multi-million dollar Gold Coast track in a race against time to host their Group 2 Hollindale Stakes meeting on May 11 (a month away) and the heavily-used Sunshine Coast grass track out of action with no news on when it will re-open again.

 

HERE’S WHAT SOME OF THE STAKEHOLDERS HAD TO SAY

HERE are some of the emails that we have received from stakeholders concerned there is no light at the end of the track saga tunnel:

‘JASON Scott seems a fair dinkum CEO. Thank God we don’t have ‘Pins’ Parnell still here trying to deal with this track problem. His input during the Eagle Farm debacle was enough. Mr Scott has said all that is needed is two weeks’ sunshine. With all due respects my friends and I, who race several horses, find that hard to believe.’

 

‘I have an interest in several horses. We don’t want to race them on the Poly tracks but can’t afford not to. The Tony Gollan stable seems to have that luxury. My trainer doesn’t and nor do his owners.’

 

‘After being told to tune in to 4BC – I never listen to that station because it is too biased against the Labor Government in Queensland – I made an exception to hear Peter Gleeson’s interview with RQ CEO Jason Scott concerning the race track problems in Queensland.

I had to wade through the diatribe of a Gleeson attack on Labor and the unions (what odds he’s involved in the LNP communications team if they win the next election?) we finally got around to the Scott interview.

Must admit I was disappointed with the line of questioning. Next to no hard questions, Gleeson treated Scott like a long-time friend or one that he wants to keep on side, and not once did he address the real issue of the problem with Track Curators having no respect for the job being done by the RQ Track ‘expert’. What a waste of time.’

 

‘How can there be such a big gap between Sydney and south-east Queensland. Over 200ml, an absolute deluge, hits Randwick overnight and not only do they race on Saturday but the track is upgraded to a safe Heavy 8.

A sparrow farts over the Sunshine Coast last Wednesday and they transfer the meeting on Sunday to the despised Poly track. The sun was out on Thursday and Friday but it didn’t make one iota of difference. That’s racing Queensland-style, terrible one-day, farcical the next.’

 

 

SPECIAL WEEKEND FOR SOME ''GOOD GUYS & GALS’ OF OZ RACING

THE bonus of Saturday’s big day of racing was the success enjoyed by some of the good guys and gals of the sport in Australia.

LES BRIDGE is a training legend and even those who didn’t back CELESTIAL LEGEND were pleased to see him win the $4 million Doncaster Mile. The humble 85-year-old Hall of Famer declared the grey colt ‘a superstar’.

Another legend PETER MOODY provided his training partner KATHERINE COLEMAN with her first Group 1 success when CHAIN OF LIGHTING scored an upset win in the $3 million T J Smith.

This was a special moment for owner-breeder JOHN RAMSEY, one of Moody’s first clients. “This is a beautiful moment,” he revealed. “Stuey and Trish Ramsey, they've been my foundation clients, we go back 30-odd years, so to win that for him that's unbelievably special.”

MOODY claimed another Black Type win in Adelaide for a man being hailed the great hope of Victorian racing in GILLON McLACHLAN, part-owner of LINCOLNSHIRE which won on debut in the Dequetteville Stakes.

McLachlan, the former AFL boss who has been heavily linked to the vacant Racing Victoria Chairman’s role, was trackside to watch the win. He was one of thousands who travelled from interstate at the weekend but the majority were there for the AFL Gather Round.

QUIET ACHIEVER OF THE JOCKEYS’ RANKS IN AUSTRALIAN RACING

At CAULFIELD, one of the rising stars of the jockey ranks, DANIEL STACKHOUSE won the Group 3 Victoria Handicap on HERE TO SHOCK for TEAM HAYES.

Stackhouse, a quiet achiever, is running fourth on the Victoria Jockeys’ Premiership (with 75 wins) behind Damian Lane, Billy Egan and Blake Shinn. It is easily his best season.

 

IT wasn’t a Group 1 but at Eagle Farm one of the ‘good guys’ of Queensland racing maintained his unbeaten run with the promising MAJESTIC BOOM.

LAWRIE MAYFIELD-SMITH has ended a training drought declaring to Trenton Akers of Murdoch Media: “I was saying your 70s is like the new 40s, I've made a comeback. Mayfield-Smith laughed.

“I didn't have the horses. If you gave Chris Waller the team I had, even he wouldn't be able to train a winner. These horses I have at the moment, I have had them in the wings for over a year cultivating them.

“When it was going no good, you have scumpers going around every week doing nothing. These guys are in the stable and you're going home thinking what to do.”

NO SHOW WITHOUT ‘PUNCH & JUDY’ - SO THE ROCKET DELIVERED

BUT there’s no show without ‘Punch & Judy’ – and on Saturday CHRIS WALLER and his popular owner DEBBIE KEPITIS combined with RIFF ROCKET to provide the champion trainer with his first Australian Derby winner.

“It's pretty special, simple as that, and these guys (owner Debbie Kepitis and the Ingham family) were here before I had the first Group 1 winner, so it's fitting,” Waller said.

“I don't cry as much as I used to but this one's pretty special. He's done a great job. He’s an amazing horse. He puts himself into the race at the right time.

“Amazing ride from James. He didn't panic being back there. It was a truly-run Derby and we had that question mark over his staying ability, but how dare we?”

The popularity of DEBBIE KEPITIS reached a new high when she dug deep and paid a world record $10mn for the only living foal of champion mare WINX, which she part-owned. Kepitis said she only decided in the past few weeks to buy the filly.

She can afford to be sentimental in racing but apparently some of her fellow owners of WINX didn’t share her investment enthusiasm). “(We thought) if we could get her we would,” Kepitis said. “I am privileged to secure this filly on behalf of my family … she's Australian forever.”

HISTORY SHOWS HOW TOUGH IT IS FOR OFFSPING OF CHAMPIONS

The pressure is now on Waller who has the privilege of training the filly. But as James Tzaferis reports for RACING.COM history suggests the Hall of Famer will have his work cut out to get a quick return, at least on the racetrack.

The very best race mares in Australia and New Zealand over the past three decades have struggled to emulate those deeds in the breeding barn.

Statistically, it is nearly impossible for the offspring of champions like Black Caviar, Makybe Diva and Sunline to live up to the lofty benchmark they set on the track as multiple Group 1 winners.

Black Caviar: The undefeated champion sprinter is the dam of seven named foals -four of which have won races, although none have shown her brilliant ability. Her first mating with I Am Invincible produced her best-performed offspring, Invincible Caviar, who won four of her eight starts including a city race at Flemington before her untimely death last year. To date, none of her offspring have been offered at public auction.

Makybe Diva: She's arguably the greatest stayer Australia has ever seen but the same praise can't be heaped on her deeds as a broodmare. The three-time Melbourne Cup winner has produced nine named foals, including several who were offered at public auction. Her first foal, by Galileo, sold for $1.5 million at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and retired with two lowly country wins to his name. A filly by Fusaichi Pegasus realised $1.2m through the ring but was retired as a four-start maiden. Divanation looked the best of her progeny - she was Stakes-placed over 2350m - but her career was cut short after only nine starts.

More Joyous: A star on the racetrack for Gai Waterhouse, the eight-time G1 winner is herself a daughter of a very good race mare in ATC Oaks heroine Sunday Joy. But as a broodmare, her career has been only modest. She's missed in seven seasons and, while all five of her named foals have won races, none have scaled any lofty heights. Potentially the best of them was Joyous Legend, a maiden winner who was Stakes-placed on two occasions.

Sunline: The Kiwi champ was one of the best we've seen on the track, with her 13 G1 wins coming in iconic classics like the Cox Plate (twice), Doncaster Mile (twice) and even the Hong Kong Mile. But her career at stud was only brief prior to her premature death from colic. She produced four foals, including Sun Ruler and Sunstrike, who each won two modest races in New Zealand.

But there is hope. Several star mares of recent times have, in turn, produced top racehorses of their own. So the dream is always alive.

Samaready: A dual G1 winner at two and three, the daughter of More Than Ready has been a brilliant broodmare. While she's had some issues with getting in foal, her two named offspring in Australia are both genuine stars - Golden Slipper hero Shinzo and Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Exhilarates.

Horlicks: The great Kiwi mare won G1 races in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, the latter when she famously captured the 1989 Japan Cup. As a mum, she left two Stakes winners, including the 2000 Melbourne Cup hero Brew.

Rose Of Kingston: Was one of Australia's best mares in the 1980s and was crowned Champion Australian Racehorse after a season that included wins in the VRC Oaks and AJC Derby, as well as several other Stakes races. As a broodmare, she produced Kingston Rule, who still holds the Flemington 3200-metre track record for his win in the 1990 Melbourne Cup.

Yankee Rose: While she wasn't in the same league as Winx, Yankee Rose was a brilliant race mare and posted G1 wins in her two-year-old and three-year-old seasons. She also ran third to Winx in a Cox Plate. She was purchased by Japanese interests and her career in the breeding barn has been nothing short of phenomenal. Her best foal is one of Japan's best racehorses in Liberty Island, who won the G1 Triple Tiara before finishing second to Equinox in last year's Japan Cup.

 

 

RECORD RETURN FOR VICTORIA - NEW HEIGHTS FOR CUP CARNIVAL

THE Melbourne Cup Carnival has delivered its highest ever return to Victoria with $468.3 million in gross economic benefit generated in 2023, a 10.9 per cent increase on 2022.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival provided the largest economic contribution by a Victorian major event last year and brings the total contribution in the past decade to more than $3.7 billion, as the positive benefits reach a wide range of industries including retail, accommodation, entertainment and hospitality.

Increases were recorded in multiple categories, with an increased spend on accommodation to $43.1 million (up 22 per cent) and $32 million on food and beverage (up 13.5 per cent).

Cup Week continues to draw people to Victoria and in 2023 the event was directly responsible for bringing 67,555 individual visitors to the state, a 10.9 per cent increase on 2022 and the second highest number of out-of-state visitors since tracking commenced in 2007.

As one of the state's flagship major events, the Melbourne Cup Carnival has attracted more than half a million interstate and international visitors to Victoria in the past decade, including the impact of several years of travel restrictions.

Engagement with Lexus Melbourne Cup Day stretches well beyond the gates of Flemington Racecourse, with more than half the Australian adult population   watching, listening or engaging in an activity to celebrate ‘the race that stops a nation’™.

The economic impact and engagement study conducted by market research company IER found that $605.7 million in direct expenditure was generated across Australia from Lexus Melbourne Cup Day activity nationally, and event and attendees at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2023.

Record economic activity was supported by an increase in attendance at Flemington Racecourse across Cup Week to more than 262,000, a 7.5 per cent increase on the year prior.

Research reveals that more 18-29 year-olds attended the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2023 than in 2022 and they now account for greater than 20% of total attendances, with more than a third of first-time attendees coming from this age group. TAB Champions Stakes Day saw the largest portion attendances by racegoers aged under 30 at nearly 30 per cent.                                         

The Lexus Melbourne Cup has a reach unrivalled by any other Australian horse race, having been broadcast to around 209 countries with a global audience reach of approximately 750 million in 2023.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chairman Neil Wilson said the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival had been a spectacular success for Melbourne and once again underlined its economic importance to the city, the state and the country.

“Not only did we see more people come through the gates of Flemington to celebrate world class racing and experience the next edition of Australia’s first major event including the best in fashion, entertainment and culinary experiences, but we also saw a record economic return of $468.3 million to the state of Victoria,” Mr Wilson said.

“The celebration across the nation on the first Tuesday of November results in a huge economic uplift directly attributable to Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.

“From pubs and clubs to fine-dining restaurants, independent designers to department stores, primary producers to wine makers, so many industries have benefited from four days of exceptional racing at Flemington, and we’re delighted to support this state and the nation.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival also makes a valuable contribution to the local community and the VRC was proud to use our platform in 2023 to raise $698,000 for various charities and support more than 16,000 jobs.

“The VRC funds the Melbourne Cup Carnival at a cost of approximately $65 million and could not host the world-class event without the support of its partners, the Victorian Racing Industry and the Victorian State Government.”

Minister for Racing Anthony Carbines said the Melbourne Cup Carnival was the showpiece racing event for Victoria. 

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s time to shine on the international racing stage. It’s a true bucket list event for racing fans from all over the world and indeed all over the country, once again demonstrating why Victoria is the nation’s sporting and major events capital.”

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said the success of the Melbourne Cup Carnival shows once again why Victoria is the events capital of Australia.

“Our blockbuster major events calendar generates economic benefits of around $3.3 billion a year to Victoria’s economy, and that’s why we continue to invest in major events here in Victoria – because they’re part of our DNA.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival shines a light on Victoria on a global stage and we’re proud to host the event right here in the heart of our State.”

Other key findings from the IER 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival economic impact and national engagement study:

Tourism  

  • 67,555 individual visitors from interstate and overseas.
  • Engagement with the New Zealand market remains strong, with the highest attendance since 2016 at 9,800.
  • Kiwi visitors made up more than 58% of total attendances by international visitors, with healthy increases in attendances by visitors from the United Kingdom (2,641), United States (1,056) and Ireland (1,174).
  • On the domestic front, New South Wales recorded increased attendances (37,518) in 2023 while attendances from Western Australia rose well beyond pre-pandemic levels (12,245).
  • 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Day saw 8,610 cruise ship passengers in attendance, coming from three Melbourne Cup Carnival themed cruises out of Sydney and Brisbane.

Retail

  • $49.4 million spent on retail, fashion and grooming including 262,978 fashion purchases.
  • The retail spend covered more than 44,000 hats and fascinators, 38,000 shoes, 42,000 dresses and 14,000 suits.

Accommodation

  • $43.1 million spent on accommodation, a 22 per cent increase year on year.
  • 218,916 bed nights with more than 70 per cent of out of state visitors staying in hotels.

Hospitality

  • $32 million was spent on food and beverage as people embraced the culinary scene both at Flemington and around the city.
  • The carnival was serviced by six catering companies, including Crown Melbourne which is the hospitality services partner of the VRC. Cup Week also featured 16 different food vendors.

National Engagement

  • 11 million people watched, listened or engaged in an activity to celebrate the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
  • Of that 11 million, more than six million people or 29.9 per cent of the national adult population, celebrated the day by attending an event. This is up from 28.6 per cent in 2022 and is now at its highest level ever recorded.
  • Of those six million, 1.8 million attended a restaurant, pub, club or RSL while 1.5 million attended a private house party.

 

The 2024 Melbourne Cup Carnival is now on sale with a range of hospitality and dining packages available, as well as exceptional value on early bird general admission tickets. For more information, visit VRC.com.au.

 

 

 

‘SYDNEY RACING AS RANK AS A 5KG OPEN BAG OF PRAWNS LEFT IN A BIRDSVILLE PARK IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER’ – TIME FOR ACTION?

DON’T expect anything but wall-to-wall positive coverage of The Championships – and deservedly so – over the next few weeks but sadly there will be no mention of the thousands of punters – from rank and file to professionals – who are walking away from Sydney racing in droves.

They feel deserted by the lack of action from Racing NSW stewards and this is their only way of protesting the weekly form reversals, bad rides by top jockeys on well fancied horses and a perception that some stables seem to do what they like.

We would like to publish some of the emails being received by one-time loyal Sydney punters who refuse to bet there anymore but are reluctant to do so for fear of defamation action. Not that we don’t believe what they are alleging but the way things work in the legal system in Australia these days there’s a familiar saying: ‘the greater the truth, the greater the libel.’

Here’s what one of the country’s most highly respected form analysts told his clients this week:

‘In my opinion, Sydney racing is as rank as a five-kilo open bag of prawns left in a Birdsville park for three days in the middle of summer.’

LGHR is confident that Steve Railton, one of the most experienced stewards on the planet, would never allow political interference in the job he is doing after what happened to him in Queensland. But he needs to be aware that it’s time to win back the confidence of the punting fraternity in Sydney – these are the same ones who refuse to bet in Brisbane or Adelaide any longer.

 

PUNTERS WANT TO KNOW WHY STEWARDS DIDN’T OPEN AN INQUIRY?

WHAT didn’t help punters’ confidence in the Sydney stewards was their failure to question the form reversal win of Olentia in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Olentia, one of three Chris Waller-trained runners in the race, won her first race in seven starts and seven months. She was unlucky in the G3 Triscay 1st-up but very plain when 4th in the G3 Birthday Card after starting favorite on both occasions.

But she had no problem rising in class and bolting in last Saturday – and they didn’t forget to back her. Hardly probed by his ‘mates’ at Sky after the form reversal win, Waller said the Emancipation start was an after-thought because there was no other suitable up-coming race but conceded her previous performance was disappointing.

Punters who whinged about the outcome were more concerned that stewards didn’t question the improvement. Fortunately the did look into what happened to race favorite Makareena which was badly pocketed but the least we say about hurdles placed in her path the better. Here’s what the Stewards reported:

TIM Clark was questioned in respect of his riding of the filly (MAKAREENA), initially in respect of his tactics in the early stages and then whether he had the opportunity to gain clear running at an earlier stage in the race. Clark stated that he had no specific instructions on Makareena other than to have the filly travelling in a good rhythm where comfortable. He said that in pre-race discussions there was an awareness amongst connections that there was an intention to ride Street Gossip to lead and he had no specific instructions whether to endeavour to hold the lead with that horse or to hand up and obtain cover, but rather was asked to ride the filly where comfortable. He said that Makareena did not begin as well as Ruthless Dame and Street Gossip, which were the early leaders, however, after travelling a short distance he was able to improve to the inside of Street Gossip as that horse was crossing. He added that as he was always a margin behind that horse, he felt it was in Makareena's best interests to allow it to settle rather than ride it along with any urgency in an endeavour to obtain the lead and, as a consequence, Street Gossip was able to assume the outright lead on the first turn. Clark stated that approaching the home turn he was anticipating that Hinged, having a significant class advantage, would be able to advance past Street Gossip, which would have afforded him the opportunity to shift out and follow Hinged through. He said, however, that he became concerned on the home turn when this did not occur and Hinged came under extreme pressure. He said, as a consequence, he was held up behind Street Gossip and to the inside of the heels of Hinged and was not in a position at any stage to shift out across the heels of Hinged to find clear running in the early part of the home straight. He said that Makareena was badly held-up and it was only nearing the 100m that he was able to safely direct Makareena out across the heels of Hinged to find clear running.

 

IN-WORD FOR ‘STUFFED’ QLD TRACKS – THEY’VE BEEN ‘PUCKERIDGED’

THERE has been a new twist in the saga involving problems with TAB tracks in Queensland – and the blame has shifted to Racing Queensland.

Some high profile Track Curators and their staff describe these tracks as being ‘Puckeridged’ – we are told one has even gone as far as publishing this on Facebook.

LGHR has received several emails giving us an upper-cut for blaming current Gold Coast and former Sydney Track Curator Nevesh Ramdami for the sidelining of the new track on the tourist strip.

They are adamant track staff from the Gold and Sunshine Coast to Townsville are being told what to do by Greg Puckeridge, Senior Track and Racecourse Manager for Racing Queensland. They are privately claiming it’s his remedies that are causing the on-going problems which have seen the Gold and Sunshine Coast forced to run meetings on the despised Poly tracks.

Whilst stakeholders are openly giving the frustration of track managers a send-around, apparently club officials are not prepared to make an official complaint for fear of upsetting Racing Queensland. That’s apart from one club who doesn’t want to do so for other reasons which we legally cannot explain.        

 

QUEENSLAND DRAGGING CHAIN DESPITE PROVIDING RIGHT COURSE

GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST makes his weekly contribution.

BACK in 2019-20 a Korean group came to Brisbane to undertake a course with the Brisbane Racing Club which is the best I’ve been involved with.

One lad Wogi, English name Hugo, ended up with Coolmore Stud, where he is happy and was in the news last week leading Winx’s daughter around for the cameras.

Jun has been a track rider for Godolphin in Melbourne for past three years and is highly respected and happy there.

And lastly, Oh is with Chad Ormsby and very happy there is an Apprentice School in NZ from which he hopes to become indentured.

My point is that none are based in Queensland – in fact none from any of those groups has been over the past 11 years.

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

FLEMINGTON

FOUR favourites – MIDTOWN BOSS $2.4, ARRANA BAY $4.4, SEA WHAT I SEE $3 & ESTRIELLA $2.05 – were successful on the 10-race card.

Biggest upsets were: SENEGALIA $17 in the opener, HE’S OUR BONNEVAL $13 & to a lesser degree MARK TWAIN $9.50 in the Roy Higgins Melbourne Cup qualifier.

ROSEHILL

FIVE favourites successful on the 10-race card (it must have been a full moon in Sydney racing). These were: LINEBACKER $1.85, WYMARK $2.7, ORCHESTRAL $1.6, ANOTHER WIL $1.75 & GRINGOTTS $3.5.

Biggest boilovers: BANDI’S BOY $15 in the Star Kingdom & KALAPOUR $31 in the Tancred Stakes.

OAKBANK

FOUR favourites – PURE BLISS $2.6, BADONKIDONK $2.7, ALPINE FLYER $2.6 & CELSIUS STAR $4 in the Listed Railway Stakes – were successful on the nine-race card.

Biggest upsets: APACHE GUNSHIP $13 & CHOSEN BLONDE $21.

 

WHAT A DISASTROUS WEEKEND FOR QUEENSLAND RACING – COME ON GRACIE IT’S TIME TO FIRE GILLARD & ADAMS OUT OF A CANON ASAP

WHAT a disastrous weekend it’s been for the sport in Queensland and if Racing Minister Grace Grace hasn’t heard the increasing calls for the removal of QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard she must be living under a rock.

Former Sunday Mail Editor and Sky News boss in Queensland, Peter Gleeson, in a stunning expose on his Drive Time Show on 4BC, joined the chorus of concern calling for Gillard to be sacked immediately.

Even the Commissioner’s one-time ‘spin doctors’ in the Murdoch Media appear to be jumping ship calling on the Racing Minister to make public what she will do in the wake of the highly-anticipated KPMG Review into the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Grace remains non-committal on what she will do. “The KPMG Review has considered feedback across a wide range of QRIC matters and a report is anticipated soon," a spokeswoman from her office told the Murdoch Media.

“The Queensland Government will need time to consider the recommendations before releasing any further details about the Review.”

They don’t want to take too long because an election is looming and the LNP will reportedly waste no time restructuring or dumping QRIC with the first victim certain to be the Commissioner closely followed by his Chief Steward Josh Adams.

As Trenton Akers reported for News Ltd: The inner workings of QRIC has become a highly contentious topic for many in the industry, fed up with the layers of bureaucracy and added cost that come with it. Workplace culture has also become a talking point, with up to 70 full-time staff quitting the Commission since 2022.

Their ham-fisted attempt to cut race-day vets and swab sample collection officers earlier this year in order to save money was met with widespread bewilderment and ultimately played a role in former Deputy Commissioner Natalie Conner resigning from her post and even got stewards off-side.

With Grace Grace part of a State Government facing certain defeat in a looming State election, racing risks being treated as a political football in an attempt to win votes. Peter Gleeson launched a stunning attack on QRIC, especially the Commissioner, on his Drive Time Show on 4BC late last week. The podcast is well worth listening to. Critics have accused Gleeson, a one-time perceived Labor supporter, of jumping ship and having now close connections with the LNP as an election looms. Whatever, many – including LGHR – agree with his assessment that Gillard should go and in our opinion should never have been appointed.

Grace announced she was putting the state's embattled integrity body under the microscope in December after months of discontent from the industry in an attempt to quell growing discontent. The question posed by News Ltd is: Will she be reluctant to rock the boat too much with widespread changes before an election, despite the growing lack of confidence in Commissioner Gillard whose appointment she backed to the hilt?

The situation worsened for the Integrity body at the weekend when QRIC was forced to review a protest decision at Beaudesert on Saturday which sensationally saw a horse stripped of a race, despite winning by more than a length while being eased down.

In what was described as one of the most incredible protest rulings in the history of Queensland racing, Beachside Babe (trained by David Murphy) lost the race after stewards declared that jockey Andrew Spinks had caused interference at the 300m mark that cost the Tony Gollan-trained Quade the race. A stunned Murphy declared on hearing the decision: “I almost fell off my chair.”

With many suggesting instead of being upheld the protest was frivolous and amid widespread ridicule, QRIC announced on Monday it would look into the decision. “The Commission will review the processes around the decision from Saturday at Beaudesert, as it does around all decisions," a QRIC Media Release stated (almost making a mockery of the seriousness of the situation).

The successful protest saw the ‘battling’ connections of Beachside Babe miss out on $22,000 in prizemoney as she is a QTIS-qualified filly. “They are devastated – one of them is a gardener who bought her for a few thousand dollars and the other guy is retired. It is out of control,” Murphy rightly suggested.

Even if QRIC decides to reverse the decision – which would be unheard of – that will be little benefit to the punters who backed Beachside Babe and did their money cold. Stakeholders and punters want blood and will be satisfied with nothing less than the Steward in Charge being sacked or banished to the outback.

LGHR believes that rather than using this less than experienced guy as a scapeboat and throwing him under the bus questions should be asked why Chief Steward Josh Adams wasn’t at Beaudesert which became the main meeting in Queensland when Doomben was abandoned because of the state of the track early in the day. And does the overall blame for this not stop with Adams’ boss, Commissioner Gillard?

Speaking of the loss of the Doomben meeting (the second major in a few days in Brisbane), why was it not run on Sunday instead of another woeful meeting on the Poly track at the Sunshine Coast where the biggest beneficiary of these consistent transfers seems to be top local trainer Stu Kendrick?

Officials say they looked at postponing to Sunday or Monday but Eagle Farm is undergoing remedial work and could not be used. One wonders if it had anything to do with the extra wages involved in running the meeting on a public holiday which seems to be the reason the major clubs don’t want to run racing on public holidays any more.

Adding insult to injury for QRIC (and a lesser degree RQ) at the weekend came the revelation, as reported by Trenton Akers for Racenet, that a bureaucratic blooper has put the cornerstone of Queensland's Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) at risk, with up to 100 dogs potentially looking for a new home.

Run by QRIC, the GAP re-homes retired greyhounds around the state once they have finished their racing careers.

QRIC currently leases a purpose-built greyhound facility to house and re-educate retired dogs at Churchable, 100km west of Brisbane. However, there are fears the property will be sold off, despite the State Government having a contract to buy it last year.

Through Racing Minister Grace Grace, Racing Queensland was set to buy the Churchable property for a seven-figure price tag under previous RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell, however the purchase also required the signature of QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard.

Sources confirmed the property was set to be sold to RQ last year before Gillard pulled out, torpedoing the deal which would have seen it become state-owned, instead opting to continue leasing it.

It has since been confirmed to Racenet that a new interstate buyer, who intends to use it as a private training facility, is interested in buying the 20-acre property.

Sadly, for racing in Queensland, every questionable and controversial decision seems to trace back to Commissioner Gillard. He simply isn't up to the job and has to go.

As for QRIC well the answer is certainly not to put Integrity back into the hands of the control body. No-one can forget the political interference that occurred when that was the situation, as late as the days of the Bob Bentley Board and his first lieutenant in integrity, Dr Bob Mason.

But it flows back to the Russ Hinze era when stewards were too terrified (especially at the trots) to take action against any stakeholder associated with the ‘Minister for Everything’. And let us not forget that the biggest controversies in racing in Queensland occurred when the LNP was in power, like the Fine Cotton ring-in and the Caffeine Crisis.

Over to you Premier-elect David Crisafulli (The Sunday Mail feature on hime by Michael Madigan was a great read), you have some good racing men in your likely Cabinet, led by Tim Mander and Ray Stevens but there have been some major dills who have been Shadow Racing Ministers in the past (no need to name them, stakeholders know who they are).

QRIC plays too large a role in the sport which employs thousands and pours millions of dollars of taxes into the economy to be playing political games with.

It is imperative the Racing Minister makes the Review public. And if it recommends no action against the Commissioner, then she should follow the lead of Premier Miles in over-ruling what the Graham Quirk Panel suggested on Olympic Games venues and show Commissioner Gillard and Chief Steward Adams the door immediately.

 

 

QRIC FORCED TO CLEAN UP ANOTHER MESS AFTER PROTEST ANGER

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) will review the processes around the decision to uphold a protest in Race 3 at Beaudesert on Saturday, 30 March, 2024.

Under the provision of AR280(2)(a) -There is no right of appeal against a decision of the Stewards in relation to:

  1. A protest against placed horses arising out of an incident or incidents occurring during the running of a race. 

The Commission will review the processes around the decision from Saturday at Beaudesert, as it does around all decisions.

 

PROBLEMS WITH MAJOR QUEENSLAND TRACKS EMBARRASSING DISGRACE

IT’S hard to find the right words describe the state of play with some of the major TAB tracks in Queensland.

Here’s what some of the stakeholders are having to say about the new track at the Gold Coast and the problems confronting the Sunshine Coast and Townsville just to mention a few.

Embarrassing, disgraceful, unacceptable, stuffed but most of all poor track management – with no-one from Racing Queensland across the board to the Clubs and their Racecourse Curators prepared to accept the blame.

It seems the only thing administrators care about is getting these tracks – especially those in south-east Queensland right – for the up-coming Carnivals. Hey guys, how about focussing on getting it right all year round.

The much-hyped Sydney import Nevesh Ramdahni has gone from plumed peacock to feather duster since arriving on the Gold Coast amid much pomp and ceremony. No-one seems to be prepared to stand up and declare him a rank failure.

Apart from Archie Butterfly on his subscriber-only website, peterprofit.com, the mainstream media headed by SKY and News Ltd has gone MIA but if the track miraculously makes a comeback good old Nevesh will be front and centre copping all the bouquets for what has cost more millions to correct.

We post the same question as ‘The Butterfly’: Does the Gold Coast Racecourse Manager Navesh Ramdahni ever take responsibility for anything?

Archie wrote: ‘Navesh stands there making every excuse under the sun for the Gold Coast course proper surface debate.

He blames the weather, the rain, the lack of rain, the sun, the absence of it, the grass, the humidity and every other thing he can think of for the track not playing true.’

With all due respects, as one high profile administrator of the past told LGHR: ‘Navesh forgets to blame the one who is mostly responsible for this debacle – himself. They should fire him out of a canon back to Sydney.’

The situation continues to worsen with Racing Queensland advising that the Gold Coast meeting on Saturday, April 6, has also been ‘transferred to the Poly Track to facilitate completion of works on the course proper’.

Turnover on Sunshine Coast meetings has hit rock bottom since recent Corbould Park meetings were transferred to the Cushion Track where punters don’t want to bet and many owners and trainers don’t want their horses to race.

What odds Sunday’s meeting at the Sunny Coast is transferred to the Cushion as well, especially as officials can blame the flood rains this week even if it is fine at the weekend? Little wonder there have been record nominations for Toowoomba tomorrow (Thursday) and Beaudesert (Saturday) with trainers desperate for a start on grass even if it is a HEAVY rating.

The track problems aren’t however confined to the south-east corner. A prominent North Queensland trainer tells us the situation in Townsville is an absolute disaster.

“This $1.5 million track at Cluden is ‘stuffed’. You can’t even work on it when it rains. And to make matters worse they have jacked up the track fees to an unaffordable amount for many trainers,” he said.

 

NOT EVERYONE IS RAVING ABOUT WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED BY V’LANDYS

HERE’S an interesting article by BREN O’BRIEN writing for THE STRAIGHT, a racing website that is worth reading:\

Maverick MP Mark Latham has used parliamentary privilege to describe Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys as ‘all tip, no iceberg’ and unleash a tirade of criticism on his performance in both his racing and rugby league roles.

Speaking in the NSW Legislative Council this week, Latham, the former federal opposition leader, and now Upper House independent, lambasted V’landys in a wide-ranging speech.

Among the many topics raised by Latham was the sale of Rosehill, Racing NSW’s legal battles with Racing Victoria, the NRL’s foray into Las Vegas, the appointment of Saranne Cooke as Racing NSW chair, the presence of V’landys lifelong friend John Dumesny on a selection committee for the Racing NSW board, the exodus of people from key roles at Racing NSW and the potential transfer of ownership of the Goulburn racecourse.

Known for his forthright views, Latham, who has been an ATC member for 20 years and has been involved in racehorse ownership and breeding, said the ATC proposal to sell Rosehill “was getting whackier by the day”.

He linked the deal to V’landys, despite Racing NSW taking a backseat role in a member consultation process that is being run by the ATC. 

 

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME IN QLD

GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST makes his regular contribution:

‘OVER many years I've known of Asian kids wanting to be jockeys in Queensland but they can't.

I know of an Asian country not putting on any new Apprentice jockeys. I also know there is an opportunity for another country to step in.

Here in Queensland we can't. How I despair another opportunity gone begging.

Hong Kong apprentice Ivy Lam rode a treble at Streaky Bay non-TAB meeting in South Australia on Saturday. It's a year since I was first told we were to get Hong Kong apprentices in Queensland. What has happened to them? God knows they would be welcomed here.’

 

‘IF YOU DON’T LIKE GOOD FRIDAY RACING, DON’T GET INVOLVED’

WITH the long Easter weekend looming the argument of whether there should be racing on Good Friday has again raised its ugly head.

Meetings held at Yarra Valley (the $500,000 Country Discovery meeting in the afternoon) and dual-code (harness and gallops) at Cranbourne in the evening provide a significant boost to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

With football fixtures on Good Friday, some see the need for racing to compete for the leisure dollar. Not everyone supports sport or horse racing on this special day. The message for those who don’t is simple: ‘If you don’t like it, don’t compete or get involved.’

Racing Victoria boos Matt Welsh said: “There's something for everyone this Easter and perhaps the most important aspect is the charity component, with several race clubs raising vital funds for the Good Friday Appeal,.

“Over the past five years the Victorian racing industry has contributed more than $350,000 to the Good Friday Appeal, and we look forward to growing that figure this weekend."

Easter racing will be highlighted by the rescheduled Australian Cup at Flemington, three weeks later than previous years. It also features the Warracknabeal Cup and Kerang Cup on Saturday and the Stawell Cup on Easter Sunday, complementing the traditional Stawell Gift.

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

ROSEHILL

FOUR favourites – POST IMPRESSIONIST (G3 Manion Cup), OSMOSE (G3 Epona Stakes), VIA SISTINA (G1 Ranvet Stakes) & RIFF ROCKET (G1 Rosehill Guineas) – were successful on the 10-race card.

Major upsets occurred when ZAPATEO $26 won the G1 Galaxy & CHAIN OF LIGHTNING $16 the G3 Birthday Card Stakes.

MOONEE VALLEY

THREE favourites – STRAWBERRY ROCK, IMPERATRIZ in the G1 William Reid Stakes & EXTRATWO – were successful on the 10-race card.

BIGGEST boilover on the day was the win by the Kiwi ANTRIM COAST $51 beating favourite QUINTESSA in the G2 Alister Clark Stakes. SIR DAVY at $26 blew punters out of the water in Race 4.

WHEN questioned regarding the improved performance of SIR DAVY, stable representative Jack Turnbull explained the main reason for the gelding’s improved performance, in his view, was that Sir Davy had benefitted in fitness from the first-up race at Flemington (17/2/2024), coupled with the gelding jumping out well on 12/3/2024. J Turnbull stated Sir Davy had appreciated the move from the Ballarat Stables to Cranbourne. He added the plan today had been to ride the gelding where comfortable and had issued no specific instructions to rider Jamie Mott.

EAGLE FARM

THREE favourites – BROOKHAVEN (plunged into $3.2), BUBBA’S BAY $3.2 & DAYTONA BAY $2 – were successful on the nine-race card.

Biggest upsets were: ARGYLE PINK $16, PORT MOURANT $16 & OVIDIUS $31.

MORPHETTVILLE  

ONLY TWO favourites – CRIMSON VINE $2.7 & QUICKSTER $2.4 in the Listed Clare Lindop Stakes – were successful on the nine-race card.

Cop some of these upsets and it explains why punters are reluctant to bet on South Australian racing – ALL WOKE $16, UNDER THE CONE $19, MISSILE STAR $15 & DELIGHTFUL SHECKY $16.

 

 

EXPECT COMMISSIONER GILLARD TO SURVIVE WITH HELP OF TWO DEPUTIES AND A BOARD AT QRIC – IT WILL BE A SHORTLIVED VICTORY

INDUSTRY stakeholders and those at the coalface hoping that the supposedly Independent Review of QRIC would see Commissioner Shane Gillard shown the door are in for a double dose of bad news this week.

Not only will the controversial Commissioner, who reportedly was unbelievably allowed to frame the terms of reference for the Review survive, be allowed to appoint two Deputies to help him do the job but also a Board (more people to blame if things go wrong).

One can only imagine the costs involved in conducting the Review but the salaries of two more high profile identities for QRIC where staff have been leaving in droves, many of them revealing they were unable to cope with a ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ approach adopted by Commissioner Gillard. Not to mention what an additional Board would cost.

Those who expect a different outcome from the Review ordered by Racing Minister Grace Grace had to be kidding if they thought the man insiders call ‘Little Gillard’ would be sacked. He was the Minister’s chosen one (some say a Labor hack from Victoria) despite being warned early days that he would never enjoy the industry support enjoyed by former Commissioners Ross Barnett and Mark Ainsworth.

From what we have learnt respected Deputy Commissioner Natalie Conner, who resigned recently (apparently frustrated by the road blocks being placed in the path of her doing what most considered was a better job than her boss) will be the scapegoat of the independent best practice Review of the State’s racing regulatory body.

The good news is that when the LNP replaces Labor as Government in Queensland after the October election (and they are long odds-on to do so), QRIC in its current form will no longer exist and the first one to be shot out of a cannon will be Commissioner Gillard. His first priority – having completed the Great Escape once again – should be look out for a new job.

To back what has been reported above wee received this interesting email highlighting the situation confronting QRIC from an insider who still works there:

IN case you were curious, there are 20 recommendations in the current draft, mostly about organizational matters such as culture, structure and frontline resourcing.

Final report is due at the end of March and is said to be publicly released in April.

One recommendation suggests two Deputy Commissioners is essential (as per the legislation).

‘Little Gillard’ is intending on hiring two Deputies ASAP with the first Acting Deputy to be announced Friday (as outlined in a message from him to staff which we have republished below). It looks like it takes two people to replace the previous Deputy. Some of us still employed at QRIC aren’t surprised as some of us are happy to acknowledge the previous Deputy was actually not the problem and worked hard to make QRIC a better organization, despite ‘Little Gillard’s’ poor leadership and being missing in action daily over the past two years.

Archie Butterfly (on his subscriber-only website, peterprofit) already knew about the plan for two Deputies but got the pay level wrong. Deputy is paid about $250,000 according to the annual report…..

The report will also recommend a Board set up to assist ‘Little Gillard’ with leading the Commission. This was something he wanted to ‘distribute the responsibility’ of leading. Responsibility scares him. Particularly when things are tough – (history shows) at that point he starts looking for someone to blame rather than owning up to his own inadequacies. Having two Deputies and a Board must feel like Christmas to ‘Little Gillard’. But don’t forget this extra Deputy and Board costs money… and it doesn’t help frontline resourcing.

 

 

DEATH OF LEGENDARY JOCKEY MEL SCHUMACHER AT THE AGE OF 86

OUR good mate on the Downs, Peter Bredhauer, sent us the sad news that legendary jockey Mel Schumacher has died in his sleep – which the mainstream racing media will eventually catch up on.

A star apprentice of the 1950’s, ‘The Shoe won numerous Group races during his long career during which he endured his fair share of controversy.

Schumacher (photograph from Kings Of The Turf) was disqualified for life in 1962 after being involved in a leg-pull incident in the 1961 AJC Derby at Randwick. He grabbed the leg of rival jockey Tommy Hill for some distance in a desperate effort to gain the upper hand near the finish.

The camera proved Hill's claim and Schumacher faced a life ban, which was later reduced to five years. This was the first time that patrol footage had been used, making him the most infamous victim of this new technology. It affected Schumacher's career significantly and slowed the pace of his rising career.

On returning to the saddle he still made it back to the top within a few years although his best years were probably spent on the sidelines.

In an interview with JOHN DEBIASE, ‘The Shoe’ said he could then laugh about the ban and recalled as the horses pulled up Hill yelling that he was going to protest and decided his reaction would be to claim Hill's allegation was "preposterous". But after viewing the patrol film Schumacher said:

“When they showed it I thought 'what don't speak, don't lie'.

‘I walked off the track with a life ban before the last.

‘There were 80,000 people there and you could have heard a pin drop. It was like a funeral . . . my funeral." said Schumacher.

Debiase also wrote:

Mel Schumacher‘s best win came in the Melbourne Cup in the year 1958. He was just 21 at that time, which was a great achievement for such a young jockey to win the race that stops a nation. He steered Baystone to victory, leaving behind the favourite Monte Carlo.

The Cup win represented one of the best rides of his career when he slipped in behind the favourite Monte Carlo early in the race and shadowed it from back in the field before passing it in the final furlong. He surged past with only the finishing post ahead of him.

It was the most exciting few seconds of a career that spanned 50 years.

Schumacher says: "I will never forget how it felt the moment when I went to the lead - I knew I had it won. Even now it gives me goose bumps just to think about it. I thought we would win the race and the omens were good. Before the race, a professional punter called 'Dasher Dave' stopped me and said:

"When you win the Cup remember you have to take your cap off when you are coming up the race".

"It struck me then that everyone seemed to be thinking it would win."

The gold cup and whip he received for riding the winner are still in pristine condition.

Schumacher rode more than 2,000 winners in a career that ended quietly when he returned from riding three winners at a meeting in far western Queensland in 2001 and simply told his wife, Pam, at 3am

"I'm done".

The Shoe was worn out. He was renowned for being a nerveless jockey whose demeanour would not change whether he was riding at Flemington or Kilcoy and for that he thanks an early introduction to the saddle

Schumacher began riding at the age of three on his parents' dairy farm at Boonah. At the age of five he rode a pony bareback every day to school.

Fondly known as ‘The Shoe' in the racing fraternity, Schumacher always said that being an Australian jockey gave him a lot of fame but never enough money to lead a rich and comfortable life. In 1958, when he had won the Melbourne Cup, the prize money was only $12,500. Prize money for the Melbourne Cup now is in the millions.

Nevertheless, he has never complained about the fact that this job did not pay well during his time. He relied on the punt (even though they weren't supposed to).

Schumacher won a number of major races during his long and illustrious career. This included the Golden Slipper astride Magic Night, AJC Derby, Australian Cup, Thousand Guineas, and many more. His Melbourne Cup victory brought him better horses and better rides.

Over the years, the healthy rivalry between Mel Schumacher and another jockey great, George Moore led to many a tussle for the premiership title.

Accomplished country singer and song writer Rod Williams' music career was launched in 1980 with a song about Mel Schumacher. The song called The Shoe, the track was released on RCA records.

He shares the record of five wins each in the $100,000 Listed Goldmarket Handicap over 1300 metres at the Gold Coast with Mick Dittman.

The Australian champion jockey was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall-Of-Fame in 2009. He was 86.

 

 

WALLER HAS FOUR STABLE STARS ENTERED FOR HK CHAMPIONS DAY

CHAMPION trainer CHRIS WALLER is poised to test some of his stars on the big stage in Hong Kong with four entries for Champions Day at Sha Tin on April 28.

Waller has Atishu, Kovalica and Lindermann nominated for the $HK28 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup; Atishu and Kovalica also entered for the HK$22 million G1 Champions Mile and Shinzo IN THE $22HK million Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

Other Australian entries include Mr Brightside for Team Hayes in the QEII Cup, along with the Gary Portelli-trained Kimochi and Arapaho for Bjorn Baker; Mr Brightside and Kimochi in the Champions Mile & the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained The Astrologist in the Sprint.

A HKJC Media Release reads:

A total of 21 individual international Group 1 winners headline the entries for FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on 28 April, when Hong Kong champions Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior, Lucky Sweynesse, California Spangle and Voyage Bubble will vie with raiders from Japan, Europe, Australia and the United Arab Emirates for overall glory.

Included among the 89 entries bidding for record prize money in the HK$28 million G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m), HK$22 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) and HK$22 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) are three of the winners of last December’s Group 1s at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races – Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior and Lucky Sweynesse.

The international contingent of 48 is headed by Japan with 25 – nine more than last season – Australia (eight), Great Britain (seven), France (four), the United Arab Emirates (three) and Ireland (one) while Hong Kong has 41 entries.

There are 12 individual Group 1 winners entered by overseas stables, including six from Australia – Mr Brightside, Arapaho, Atishu, Kovalica, Lindermann and Shinzo – while Dubai Honour, who has twice previously competed in Hong Kong, and Regional, represent Great Britain.

Japanese Group 1 victors Liberty Island, Champagne Color and Danon Scorpion crown the Land of the Rising Sun’s formidable batch of nominees, while the United Arab Emirates Group 1 winner Measured Time has also been nominated.

Hong Kong’s entry includes nine individual Group 1 winners, including the incomparable Golden Sixty, who is being prepared to chase an 11th career Group 1 and a remarkable fourth consecutive victory in the FWD Champions Mile.

Francis Lui’s superstar could face dual Group 1 winner California Spangle and Voyage Bubble in the FWD Champions Mile, while the world’s top-rated sprinter Lucky Sweynesse will bid for a fifth elite success by defending his Chairman’s Sprint Prize crown. Romantic Warrior will chase a third FWD QEII Cup triumph, which would add to an already phenomenal 2023/24 campaign capped by victories in the G1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m).

G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) winner Victor The Winner will chase a second Hong Kong Group 1 success for Danny Shum in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and this Sunday (24 March) could clash in the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) at Chukyo Racecourse with a string of crack Japanese speedsters, who are also entered for next month’s showpiece at Sha Tin - Champagne Color, Kimiwa Queen, Lugal, Mad Cool, Matenro Orion and Toshin Macau.

Hong Kong’s armada of individual Group 1 winners also includes reigning Hong Kong Champion Stayer Russian Emperor, last-start Happy Valley winner Moments In Time and G1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) victor Little Brose, who is yet to start in Hong Kong for David Hayes.

Prognosis is slated to make his third visit to Hong Kong after bolting in the G2 Kinko Sho (2000m) at Chukyo on 10 March, winning by five lengths under Yuga Kawada for trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida.

The Deep Impact gelding’s two previous sorties to Sha Tin yielded a fifth in the 2023 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup and a surging second in the 2023 FWD QEII Cup – both behind Romantic Warrior.

William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour, a dual Group 1 winner in Australia, could also return for a third Hong Kong tilt, having finished fourth to Japan’s Loves Only You in the 2021 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup and third behind Romantic Warrior and Prognosis in the 2023 FWD QEII Cup.

Eight horses selected to run in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (24 March) – Chill Chibi, Galaxy Patch, Helene Feeling, Ka Ying Generation, Helios Express, Massive Sovereign, Star Mac and Unbelievable – hold entries for FWD Champions Day.

Hong Kong’s contingent is bolstered by a host of established and emerging performers including Beauty Eternal, Beauty Joy, Encountered, Happy Together, Invincible Sage, Lucky With You, Money Catcher, Nervous Witness, Nimble Nimbus, Red Lion, Sight Success, Straight Arron, Sword Point, Taj Dragon and Howdeepisyourlove.

Andrew Harding, The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, said: “We are excited by the spread and quality of international entries among the nominations for FWD Champions Day.

“The potential return of Golden Sixty in the FWD Champions Mile after his stunning LONGINES Hong Kong Mile performance in December, along with Romantic Warrior in the FWD QEII Cup and Lucky Sweynesse in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, lays the foundation for another wonderful staging of our spring flagship meeting.

“We are delighted at the support we have received from overseas owners and trainers in Japan, England, France, Ireland, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, with the number of entries across our three Group 1 features rising from 71 last season to 89 this year.

“With 48 entries in total from abroad and 41 from Hong Kong, Hong Kong is poised to showcase international racing at its best with the presence of elite horses and champion jockeys and trainers at FWD Champions Day next month.”

A total of 41 entries have been received for the FWD QEII Cup, an increase of six on last season, the FWD Champions Mile has attracted 32 nominations, double the 2022/23 entry, and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize has 32 nominations, one more than last season.

 

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE SA STEWARDS LET PUNTERS DOWN BADLY

FORM reversals cannot be avoided in racing and sometimes there are legitimate excuses but punters need to be better informed.

A good example of this was the win by Art Of Flying at $7 in the feature Kimba Cup last Sunday beating the Port Lincoln specialist I Need A Drink $2.35 FAV.

When the pair clashed previously in the Port Lincoln Cup, I Need A Drink led and bolted in over the same track and distance taking his record to four wins from his last five starts on the track. In that race Art Of Flying started equal favourite and was beaten over 12 lengths.

Now anyone doing the form could not have seen Art Of Flying turn the tables even allowing for a 2.5kg swing in the weights. But he did, to the astonishment of most punters, but not his trainer Brian Clarke who explained the form reversal to racing.com after the race.

“He got hammered in running in the Cup. He had skin off his legs which were covered in blood. We freshened him up and expected the improvement,” Clarke said of Art of Flying, formerly trainer by Ciaron Maher.

This is where the South Australian stewards let the punters down badly. They did not inquire into the poor performance of Art of Flying in the Port Lincoln Cup and the only mention the horse got in their report was:

THE ART OF FLYING (A. Livesey) – shortly after jumping away shifted in and contacted AHSO.

One would have thought after that monumental oversight the rocket-scientists policing racing in SA would at least have asked connections to explain the form reversal on Sunday. But they didn’t and this is the only mention of the horse in their report:

THE ART OF FLYING (A. Livesey) – slow to begin. Laid in under pressure in the straight.

It raises the question: Are they asleep at the wheel? Why did they not inquire into the improvement or haul Clarke in after his explanation to racing.com and asked why he didn’t inform them beforehand. Perhaps he did and they just didn’t bother to tell the punters.   

Punters have next to no confidence betting in SA where favourites have a pathetic record. Don’t expect the talking heads on racing.com to say anything critical – they just talk the joint up every week.

As one of our readers suggested:

‘It’s little wonder that a corporate bookie has jumped in to sponsor racing in South Australia for big bucks. They’re just returning some of the millions they’ve won courtesy of battling punters who back favourites in that State for zero collect on a weekly basis.’

 

DEMOCRACY MANIFEST, HARD TO FOLLOW OR VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCES?

TALKING about form reversals, a couple of our readers have suggested one of the hardest horses to follow in Sydney is Democracy Manifest.

On his day, the Chris Waller-trained galloper is Group 1 class but he isn’t the easiest horse to catch. He was back to his best winning the G2 Ajax Stakes on Saturday. Some suggested it was a form reversal.

We don’t agree (he was a VALUE BET starting at $6 after better was bet for our LGHR LATE MAIL CLIENTS) after an eye-catching 6th in G3 company first up. We felt the extra trip was ideal.

Perhaps rather than being hard to follow DEMOCRACY MANIFEST finds it hard to win at times because he gets back in the field and races aren’t always run to suit.

 

TIME RQ RETURNED SUNDAY RACING TO TURF AT SUNNY COAST

SUNDAY racing has degenerated into an abysmal failure for racing in Queensland and the powers-that-be need to address the problem before turnover reaches rock bottom.

Punters simply don’t want to bet on the poly or cushion tracks, as evidenced by recent pools attracted at the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. Owners and trainers are not all that keen on starting their horses on these surfaces either.

The decision to host last Sunday’s meeting on the turf at Gatton wasn’t much better from a punting perspective. There was only one successful favourite, Fearless Thinking, in the last of a very ordinary seven-race card.

Bad horses result in ordinary results for punters. Just cop these results $12 in the 1st, $16 in the 2nd, $9.50 in the 3rd, $3.8 in the 4th, $10 in the 5th & $5.5 in the 6th.

Whatever happened to the days when Sunday racing was run most weeks on the Sunshine Coast – and most of all on the grass?

 

WILLIAMS WAS BOUND TO LOSE WHATEVER TACTICS HE ADOPTED

CRAIG WILLIAMS was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t when Australia’s best horse MR BRIGHTSIDE was beaten in the All Star Mile at Caulfield on Saturday.

A wide barrier draw sealed the fate of MR BRIGHTSIDE when his main rival, the extremely talented PRIDE OF JENNI was certain to dictate in front.

Williams has been caught in the crossfire on several occasions in recent months – the most notable of which saw him sacked from GIGA KICK.

Saturday’s ride was nowhere near as bad as the tactics he adopted on Giga Kick. If he went forward on Mr Brightside and got caught deep, Williams would have been crucified for adopting those tactics. By going back – perhaps too far back – he suffered a similar fate.

Mr Brightside is as good if not better than Pride of Jenni when both race on level terms. Their rematch in the Australian Cup will be much awaited but we won’t be surprised if both are beaten.

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

CAULFIELD

ONLY two favourites – FIRSTOFFURY $2.8 & BOLD BASTILLE $1.5 – were successful on the 10-race card at CAULFIELD last Saturday.     

The worst results for punters were GEAR UP $15 & TITAN OF CHOICE $17 (tipped as a VALUE BET for subscribers to the LGHR LATE MAIL).

PEACE TREATY at $1.95 in The Mystic Journey was the big floperoo on the day beating only two home in the race won by WALTZ ON BY $6 (an EACH-WAY SPECIAL for LGHR LATE MAIL subscribers).

The Stewards’ Report on PEACE TREATY read: Slow to begin, raced keenly in the early and middle stages. A post-race veterinary examination revealed a slow recovery and the filly to be lame in the right foreleg. A veterinary clearance is required prior to being permitted to race again.

ROSEHILL

FOUR of the 10 favourites were successful in SYDNEY on Saturday – WYMARK $3.4, LINDERMANN $1.9, RED CARD $3.2 & ZOUGOTCHA $3.3 in the G1 Coolmore Classic.

The biggest upsets came from DUBLIN DOWN $20 in the Pago Pago Stakes and ZARDOZI $13 in the Phar Lap Stakes.

Surprise, surprise, another favourite bit the dust in the MIDWAY when at $4.8 beat only two home. Its failure didn’t rate a mention in the Stewards’ Report.

EAGLE FARM

THREE favourites – CAN’T RECALL ONE $1.3, NAVAL TRADER $2.4PRESS LINK $2.6 – were successful on a 10-race card in Brisbane.

But there were some rough results – RUSSIAN WARRIOR $41, A DEEL OF HUMOUR $19, MAJESTIC BOOM $18 & THE DROVER $11.   

 While A DEEL OF HUMOUR & MAJESTIC BOOM were last start winners, stewards asked for an explanation of the improved performances of the other pair. Their reports read:

THE DROVERRaced wide throughout. When asked to comment on the gelding’s improved performance, Trainer D. Batters reported that it was only the third run in his stable. He added that at its most recent start in his opinion, the gelding was unlucky and in today’s event there was a significant weight drop with the addition of visors, he expected an improved performance.

RUSSIAN WARRIOR: Hampered shortly after jumping. Raced wide throughout. Laid in under pressure in the home straight. When asked to comment on the mare’s improved performance, Trainer’s representative D. Barron reported that the stable was not surprised with the forward showing today. He  added that last start at Doomben the mare had a tough run and weakened noticeably after the rider elected to ease down in the straight. He further added that the horse had been pleasing to work leading into today’s event.

MORPHETTVILLE PARKS

ONLY two favourites – LONRODEX $2.7 & STORYTELLER $2.15 – were successful on the nine-race card at MORPETTVILLE PARKS which is par for the course in South Australian racing where punting is a ‘wealth hazard’.

Worst results for punters were MASTER OF ZERPRISE $21 (a last start Balaklava winner) & BOLT BY $26 (struggled at Morphettville Parks and Murray Bridge since Mt Gambier win). 

NOTE FOR PUNTERS

ON several occasions we have mention the LGHR LATE MAIL & the success our clients have been enjoying. Don’t pay big money to subscribe to services that provide no better and on many occasions worst results. For our Autumn & Winter Special you can join the winners for $150 or for the entire year our current special price of just $250. If you’re interested just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 0407175570 for details.

 

 

NATIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF NT GAMBLING LAWS OVERHAUL

NEW laws governing the conduct of gambling companies are expected to be debated, and passed, by the Northern Territory Parliament this week.

THOMAS MORGAN reports for ABCNEWS that while the NT is Australia's least populated jurisdiction, these laws will govern betting companies across the country.

The reforms have been criticised by anti-gambling experts, and there are allegations that the NT's regulator of gambling and betting is suffering from "regulatory capture".

Here's what you need to know.

WHY DO BETTING COMPANIES LIKE THE TERRITORY?

THE Northern Territory has become the de facto place for wagering service providers (WSPs) to be based due to its low taxes and fees, according to a Federal Review of the regulation of the gambling industry that concluded last year. 

One submission described the NT's governance of these companies as a "light touch".

Overall 32 sports bookmakers and two betting exchanges — which collectively earn $50 billion a year — are regulated by the NT Racing Commission.

And the NT, with an economy of just $32 billion, affords these companies more freedom than other jurisdictions.

One of those freedoms includes allowing gambling companies to offer inducements such as vouchers and credit to attract customers.

WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED REFORMS?

THE Racing and Wagering Bill 2024 will reform the NT Racing Commission into the Racing and Wagering Commission.

Complaints about the conduct of gambling companies by Australian customers are heard by the Racing Commission, and these responsibilities will be transferred across to the new Commission.

The reforms are set to be debated this week in NT Parliament, and they're likely to pass given the Government's overall majority in parliament.

The Territory's Labor Government said the reforms would modernise "very out of date" laws.

They specify that WSPs must have a physical presence, such as an office in the Territory, if they wish to be regulated by the NT.

The proposed law also threatens WSPs with a series of offences, including fines of up to $440,000 if they fail to comply with a condition of their licences.

Decisions made by the Commission or its director can be reviewed in the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

A new Racing and Wagering Fund levy will be introduced on bookmaker profits, but the NT Government said it hasn't yet decided what rate this new tax will be.

WHAT IS HAPPENING AT A FEDERAL LEVEL?

THE Federal Review recommended the regulation of all gambling across Australia be taken away from States and Territories and rested with the Commonwealth.

It also recommended the banning of inducements, like those allowed in the NT, and phasing out online gambling advertising and sponsorship.

The report, published in June 2023, heard that the NT's regulatory process had been "captured" by the industry and was "light-touch" in its treatment of WSPs.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was "examining" the Review, and pointed to steps already taken such as tougher rules around advertising, and restricting the use of credit cards for online gambling.

"There's more to do and we will be doing more," he said.

WHAT DO STAKEHOLDERS SAY?

THE peak body for the online wagering industry, Responsible Wagering Australia, said it supported strong sanctions on providers that broke the Rules.

"RWA members offer world-leading consumer protections and we support measures by Governments that bring other wagering providers up to the standards that our members already operate on," Chief Cxecutive Kai Cantwell said.

But the Alliance for Gambling Reform Chief Executive Carol Bennett said the NT Government had watered down its proposed reforms during the consultation process.

Ms Bennett said 28 gambling companies and just one harm-minimisation organisation were consulted over draft laws, and penalties were watered down based on that feedback.

She said the Federal Government urgently needed to step in and take over regulating the industry. 

 

TIME FOR GOVERNMENT TO GIVE RQ GREEN LIGHT ON ALBION PARK

THE foresight of former Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, hopefully will realize the dream of Kevin Seymour, who for so long saved harness racing in Queensland, and see Albion Park remain the true home of the sport.

Quirk, head of a Review Panel into venues for the Brisbane Olympics, has ruled the old ‘Creek’ out as a suitable site. It’s fantastic news for harness racing and shows once again the understanding of all codes by Quirk, current thoroughbred representative on the Racing Queensland Board who hopefully will become Chairman after the next election.

‘Crash’ Craddock, a great harness fan, sums up the situation perfectly in this article in the Murdoch Media, which we republish below rather than reproduce it in our own form:

QUEENSLAND harness racing has a golden chance to reinvent its tired but treasured home at Albion Park after it was given the thumbs down as an Olympic venue.

A review by a panel led by former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has found that the inner city pacing venue, initially commissioned to be an indoor venue for the 2032 Games with sports such as basketball and badminton, is unsuitable for several reasons.

They include poor proximity to transport, the huge cost of relocation for the trots, disruption to local residents, the loss of “mature’’ trees and the likelihood that nearby Brothers Leagues Club would have to be rebuilt.

It is not a formality the recommendation that Albion Park be scrapped as an Olympic venue will be endorsed by the State Government but Olympic sources expect that will be the case.

In the expectation it would have to move sites, harness racing purchased acreage at the flood-prone, mosquito-infested region of Norwell north of the Gold Coast but there is now no appetite from the industry to make that move.

Instead, Albion Park officials are likely to push for an exciting plan to future-proof Albion Park by building apartments on the vast tracts of open land at the track to bankroll the development of on-site stables and modernise the venue’s ancient grandstand.

The state’s biggest owner, Kevin Seymour, has been pushing for this type of proposal for several years and may yet get his wish in what could be his most significant legacy for the industry.

There is a feeling that in forward-thinking Albion Park boss Ken Rutherford, a former New Zealand Test cricketer who has an experienced background in racing administration, the club has the right administrator for the right time.

It is likely when Quirk’s plan is announced on Monday Albion Park officials will swiftly offer their endorsement and start the push to stay where they are.

The sites undergoing further investigation as replacement Olympic venues include the Northside Wizards basketball facility at Zillmere and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall.

Harness racing officials had been lobbying for the Boondall site to be redeveloped, feeling it was a more sensible option than uprooting their industry.

HOOFNOTE: The time has arrived for the Government to bite the bullet on Albion Park and give Racing Queensland the green light to proceed with this project and provide a home that harness racing deserves, especially for those of us who hold such fond memories of the sport’s heyday. And perhaps they could build a monument at the front gate to the latest superstar – arguably the best of all time – LEAP TO FAME.

 

 

RACING QUEENSLAND BOSS UNDER FIRE OVER HIS ‘BLIP’ COMMENT

RACING Queensland boss Jason Scott has unfortunately been caught in the crossfire after describing the problems that served up a track that was a disgrace for the $2mn QTIC Jewel meeting at the Gold Coast on Saturday as a ‘blip’.

CEO Scott told ‘Big Ben’ Dorries of Racenet: “We have had 24 months of good Saturday tracks in Queensland, despite some of the panic that is happening from people who should know better, this is a blip and not a long-term problem with the track.

Scott conceded the state of the new Gold Coast track, which played magnificently on Magic Millions day, was ‘simply not good enough on Saturday’ which has prompted the GCTC to move next weekend’s meeting to the Poly to give the turf track a month-long break.

Top trainer Tony Gollan led the volley of criticism blasting the sandy surface which saw significant kickback and on-speed runners favoured all day. They aren’t wearing the Scott argument that insufficient water was applied to the track in the lead-up to the rich feature day and query if that is what happens in future will the surface be waterlogged for racing.

“Racing Queensland the Gold Coast Turf Club are both really disappointed and committed to rectifying it,” Scott said Greg Puckeridge (senior track & racecourse manager) from Racing Queensland and (track curator) Nevesh (Ramdhani) at the Gold Coast Turf Club were working together on rectifying the problem.

Despite a lot of commentary on social media, Scott insists cool heads will prevail when it comes to the new Gold Coast track. For that to happen he needs to win back the confidence on stakeholders, especially punters, as indicated by the feedback LGHR has received.

 

OWNERS HOPES NOSEDIVED AFTER COUPLE OF RACES AT GOLD COAST

HERE’S what the PART-OWNERS of one of the feature races on the day had to say:

‘IN the days leading up to our horse contesting the richest race of his career we were extremely confidence despite the fact he was a backmarker.

But after we watched several races not only did we know he had no chance of winning but we doubted he could run a place and that turned out to be what happened.

It was a major disappointment. You don’t get these opportunities every week of the year. A badly prepared track deprived us of the chance for our biggest pay day and then the RQ CEO suggests it’s just a blip on the radar and that in four weeks’ time the track will be back to the standard it was on Magic Millions day. That’s not much good to us.

We agree with Tony Gollan who questioned why this meeting was run when the Gold Coast track was obviously not ready. Saying sorry is simply not good enough.’

 

‘HOW CAN JOCKEY GIVE A HORSE EVERY CHANCE ON BIASSED TRACK?’

AND this one from a punter who says it’s hard enough to back a winner in Queensland without having to contend with a ‘goat’ track:

‘If a jockey rides a horse in a race and doesn’t give it every opportunity to win he can face charges.

But if a track manager or a club prepares a track that doesn’t give every runner its opportunity to win, that’s racing.

When it was obvious early in the day that the Gold Coast track was going to be blatantly biased towards front-runners, why didn’t stewards make a statement to that affect or abandon the meeting?

Why didn’t the racing media, especially SKY, highlight this sad aspect of racing on Saturday rather than waiting until late in the day to mention it?

That was in contrast to Magic Millions Day when all they could day was praise this beautiful new surface especially the Track Curator, the club and RQ. How about a bit of objectivity from the SKY presenters?’

 

‘RQ NEEDS TO INTERVENE WHERE GCTC RELUCTANT ON RHAMDANI’

AND this one from an INDUSTRY SOURCE who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons:

‘THE track isn’t the only thing that needs fixing on the Gold Coast – the problems with those working on it and their superiors are just as bad.

Something needs to be done to correct feelings which are running high between Nevesh Rhamdhani (is he still the Track Curator or has he resigned and a replacement been found from Scone?) and some of his track staff.

Whenever the track plays well Rhamdhani seems to be front and centre happy to take all the praise. But when things turn sour like Saturday where is he to make an explanation for the state of the track – nowhere to be found?

There are those – trainers, officials and track staff – who blame the current problems with the track on the Rhamdhani my-way-or-the-highway approach to maintenance. They say he isn’t interested in listening to ways to correct the mess created.

It’s fine for RQ CEO Jason Scott to blame criticism of Rhamdhani on social media. Perhaps it’s time he got more involved in finding out what is really going on behind the scenes on and off the track at the Gold Coast instead of just listening to some of the officials who are in the Rhamdhani camp.’  

       

‘SLAUGHTER JOBS’ ON FAVORITES OCCURRING TOO OFTEN IN SYDNEY

ANOTHER week in Sydney racing with what punters describe as ‘slaughter jobs’ of heavily-backed topliners by leading jockeys.

How much longer is internationally experienced Chief Stipe Steve Railton and his panel going to allow this to continue?

Punters are becoming terrified to back favourites in Sydney racing after a series have been badly ridden (the apologists say the victim of bad luck) in recent months.

First it was the Nash Rawiller ride on Buenos Noches a couple of weeks back and then on Sasturday it was Rawiller again on Private Eye and Sam Clipperton on Think About It.

Trainer Joe Pride has publicly declared that he wasn’t happy with the rides on his short-priced favorites – Private Eye (which ran 6th in the Challenge Stakes) and Think About it (runner-up in the Canterbury Stakes).

As usual there was no criticism of the rides from the jockeys’ spin doctor Corey Brown or any of his co-hosts on SKY but that’s what the punters have come to expect.

Here’s what the Stewards reported:

PRIVATE EYE: When questioned regarding his riding, Nash Rawiller stated that he had no specific instructions, but he was hoping that from the outside barrier he might be able to obtain a position near midfield. He said he allowed Private Eye to race where comfortable in the early stages, however, the gelding was not able to maintain the tempo that was being set and ultimately this resulted in Private Eye settling at the rear of the small field behind the eventual winner, Passive Aggressive. He said that between the 600m and the 400m he continuously niggled at his mount to have it maintain the back of Passive Aggressive, and soon after straightening commenced to ride with more urgency, however, Private Eye did not initially give any response, with Passive Aggressive quickening away from his mount. He said that it was not until the final 100m that Private Eye commenced to give any response and closed off well. He added that, in his view, Private Eye may not have been suited by again racing the 1000m journey.

THINK ABOUT IT: When questioned, Sam Clipperton stated that from the outside barrier he was required to settle at the rear of the field. He said that the pace in the middle stages was moderate, which resulted in Think About It, which was racing first-up, commencing to over-race. He said that as he felt it would have been detrimental to fight against his mount to have it remain racing at the rear of the field, he allowed the gelding to roll forward to get into a comfortable rhythm, which required Think About It to travel wide and without cover from approaching the 700m.

In both cases there were legitimate excuses and hardly any cause for action. But from a punters’ perspective when Rawiller draws wide on favourites that have no early pace expect them to settle last which carries a warning if you are planning to take the ‘shorts’.

 

‘WAS IT EVER ANY HOPE OF BEING AN ALL STAR MILE’?

REGULAR contributor PETER MAIR sent this email:

WHILE the outcome of the so-called 'Star Mile' looks predictable enough, it is questionable for RVL to be recruiting 'falling stars' to clutter a WFA  field over a 'cd' that is prone to rough outcomes.

What is the RVL pitch -- hang on for $70,000 for running 6th to 12th?

Born as a retaliation, compromised by the nonsense of runners voted-in, RVL, too slow to give ground, is now compounding the error by 'buying' a second-tier racefield with $450,000 to be shared among the 6th to 12ths. This is not on!

RVL is putting another card up the sleeve of those concerned about administrators compromising quality and integrity -- substituting an inflated field with fixed-odds corporates will be the main beneficiaries.

What goes on at RVL when they review the quality of the racing product they serve up to punters paying the freight?

As Racenet says, tongue-in-cheek, as usual:

Racing Victoria officials will resemble politicians during a leadership spill in the lead-up to Tuesday's deadline to compile the field for Saturday's All-Star Mile at Caulfield.

RV has 12 runners confirmed to tackle the $3.6m event but will be working the phones with Australia's top stables in a bid to secure a full field of 16 horses.

This 'all, or-any, or-none Star-Mile' should be abandoned.

 

ANOTHER SIX STARTERS SCRATCHED IN BUSH BECAUSE OF NO RIDERS

GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST makes his weekly contribution.

‘LET me start by saying one hopes that the Gold Coast track is fixed sooner rather than later.

Sadly it was another weekend in the bush where horses had to be scratched because no riders were available.

This included three at Springsure, two at Mt Isa and one at Barcaldine.

Where are these Hong Kong apprentices that were first promised 12 months ago. I’m thinking of the song ‘The Twelfth Of Never’.’

  

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

RANDWICK

TWO favourites successful on the 10-race card which is becoming par for the course in Sydney – backing the ‘shorties’ is becoming a no-go zone.

LEKVARTE $4.2 in the Aspiration and TINTOOKIE heavily-backed into $4.4, and a major improver, where the two top fancies to win.

Aren’t these Midways great races for punters – last Saturday’s won by KINGSTON CHARM at $61, it had been placed at Wyong and Canberra since a spell?

INFANCY $26 in the Fireball and LADY LAGUNA $11 in the Canterbury Stakes were the other UPSET winners on the card.

FLEMINGTON

ONLY two favorites were successful on the reduced eight-race card at FLEMINGTON for SUPER SATURDAY – HEDGED at $2.7 and YOUNG WERTHER at $2.35.

The only winner in double figures on the day was CYLINDER at $11 in the Group 1 Newmarket for Godolphin and Jamie Kah.

GOLD COAST

THE least said about this embarrassment for Queensland racing the better. TWO favorites were successful on the 10-race card – CHINNY BOOM at $1.45 and BRING ME KASH at $3.9, arguably would never have started as short had there been no track bias.

The disgraceful state of the track, which gave back-markers next to no hope, saw results that floored punters like JOE MAMA $15, BEEF WEEK PRINCESS $51, THIS IS ONE $51 and LEGAL ESPRIT $10.

MURRAY BRIDGE

NOTHING unusual where racing in South Australia is a ‘wealth hazard’ for punters and only one favorite was successful on the nine-race card – that was PROVEN CORRECT $2.6 in the Maiden Plate.

Worst results for punters were PRINCE JOFRA $10 and OVERSTRIKE $21.

MORPHETTVILLE (on Monday when ADELAIDE CUP was run)

THREE favorites were successful but there was hardly an upset on the day with the longest priced winner EXCELLERATION at $4.4 in the Adelaide Cup and it was plunged. BOOKIES had an absolute black-out.

   

 

IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY – GOLD COAST TRACK AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE

HOW was the Gold Coast Turf Club allowed to run a feature race day on such a disgraceful track that was produced today (Saturday)?

That’s the question stakeholders, from owners to trainers, jockeys and especially punters, were asking after the Jewel Day degenerated into a farce.

The reasons why the new Gold Coast track has been saved for this meeting – with racing switched to the despised Poly in recent weeks, became evident after only a single race had been run.

As one reader emailed us, ‘It’s like racing at Birdsville on grass. The dust and kickback is unbelievable and unacceptable.’

When all the bouquets were being tossed around after opening day on the new track, curator Nevesh Ramdhani was front and centre copping all the pats on the back. Today he went Missing In Action.

A source told LGHR: ‘Some say he was there today (if so hard to find) and others reckoned he was interstate on the biggest day of racing here since the Magic Millions. Whatever he went MIA when questions needed to be answered.’

Another suggested that he has resigned or is leaving the GCTC and is moving back to Sydney or NSW with a new curator having been appointed from Scone.

“It’s groundhog day. It’s my-way-or-the-highway when it comes to maintenance of the new track by Nevesh. Story goes he won’t water the track and instead of soil adds sand thus the reason for all the dust and kickback today.”

SKY commentators, happy to boast about the new track on Magic Millions Day, seemed reluctant to bag or even talk about it today.

Eventually, winning trainers being interviewed spoke of the leader-bias and disadvantage of being back in the field. After the 2nd last of 10 races, Bernadette Cooper referred to ‘horses getting a lot of kickback.’

Punters who backed horses that settled back did their money cold. The Stewards' Report told the tale of woe with poor performances being blamed on horses not handling the track or the kickback.

If the QRIC Stewards aren’t prepared to put a ‘please explain’ to the Club and its Track Curator (whoever he is – in the case of Ramdhani many believe it’s another groundhog day of his career), then Racing Queensland needs to step in ASAP.

These are the questions that stakeholders want answered:

WHAT is being done to eradicate the kickback and dust that resulted in bias towards the on-pacers at the Jewel meeting? Can they be assured of a level playing field at future meetings on the new track?

WILL this mean more racing on the despised Poly track will the problem is corrected at a time when even the Sunshine Coast is using its cushion as a back-up despite stakeholders making officialdom well aware they don’t want to race there?

IS Nevesh Rhamdani still the Track Curator? If so, where was he when a major meeting was being held at the Gold Coast? If he was interstate, why? If he was present why didn't he front the SKY cameras to explain the state of the track.

IF he has resigned are the stories true that his replacement can’t even drive a tractor or is that just another industry myth and who was responsible for preparing the track for the Jewel meeting – Mr Rhamdani or a replacement?

How much money has been spent establishing what at Millions time looked to be a magnificent new surface and how has it been able to degenerate into a goat track in such a short time?

Saturday was an embarrassment for Queensland racing – yet again!

Many long-time followers of racing on the Gold Coast are saying the club should bite the bullet, bring former Curator Steve Andrews back from Beaudesert and get down on hands and knees and beg him to return to the top job and fix the damage that has been done to the new track.   

 

INTERESTING THOUGHT FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN ‘COINCIDENCES’

PERHAPS it was a coincidence but a couple of our readers, who are keen form students, have pointed out an interesting aspect of two recent feature races in Sydney.

We’re not suggesting anything untoward but what were the odds of this happening?

Nash Rawiller got lost on Buenos Noches, the $1.75 favourite for the Group 2 Expressway Stakes at Randwick on February 17. It came from an impossible position to finish fourth (of seven) behind King of Sparta $4 which was given the run of the race by James Macdonald.

Fast forward to last Saturday at Randwick and just reverse the positions of the two champion jocks in the Group 1 Verry Elleegant Stakes.

Rawiller ‘box seats’ on Think It Over $8.50 to score an upset win over the $1.30 favourite Fangirl ridden by James McDonald who cops plenty of punters criticism for his ride.

Here’s what one of our readers had to say:

‘It came as no surprise to see Waller stable spin doctor big Richie alibi the ride of JMac on Fangirl. He says while Nash took the short cuts on the inside before easing to the middle which won him the race, JMac did not have the luxury of that option and rode Fangirl exactly as he did at her previous run. Unfortunately, Think It Over gained too big a break and Fangirl could not reel him in but it wasn’t her jockey’s fault.’

Another contributor added:

‘There are a few things to be learnt out of Saturday’s racing. Fangirl is no Winx. Punters were entitled to question the rides of Rawiller a fortnight ago on Buenos Noches and McDonald last Saturday on Fangirl. JMac has a terrible record when he’s short-priced in the Jockeys’ Challenge (he failed at $1.12 on Saturday). And never be surprised by form reversals from Waller-trained horses (like Atishu) especially when they are plunged from the time the betting opens.’

AND finally this one:

‘I wrote a few weeks ago raising the question whether Corey Brown would be better used by SKY to ask some of his former jockey mates to explain their bad rides on fancied runners rather than to just do a ‘suck-up’ job to the winners. What he does at present is a waste of space and the punters are sick of hearing him say what a great ride it was. He seems to be parroting his praise even more often since I highlighted how the punters feel. The big loser in all of this is the credibility of SKY but one gets the impression they aren’t interested in any form of constructive criticism.’  

 

DO STEWARDS GET ‘THEIR PANTS PULLED DOWN’ EVERY RACE DAY?

ONE could argue that all over the country most days of the racing year some trainers are experts at pulling stewards’ pants down.

We say that tongue-in-cheek but when it physically happened in South Australia recently the stewards decided the right penalty was a five-year disqualification.

They had to be kidding. Sure it wasn’t the right thing to do. But five years when they let some of those bandits on the track go around there every week pulling their pants down, it’s time the SA stipes got their priorities right.

Let’s face it South Australian racing is a basket case and this decision has done nothing to improve its image. They can’t continue to hang their hat on the occasional border-hoping interloper that wins a feature race in Victoria to prop the industry up.

The strike-rate of favourites on home soil of a Saturday is woeful. Too many things tend to go wrong. Here are too things that happened last weekend at the main meeting of the week at Morphettville Parks.

As Tom Biddington reported for the Adelaide Advertiser:

‘RACING, particularly in South Australia, can throw up some strange things.

Less than 24 hours after it was revealed former trainer Todd Balfour had been disqualified for five years by Racing SA stewards for “dacking” an official at Kangaroo Island racecourse last month, an ambulance caught fire after the fourth race at Morphettville Parks on Saturday.

What price that double?

The incident saw the fire brigade and police attend to the strewn vehicle just past the winning post, but thankfully nobody was hurt.

Stewards were able to deal with the situation quickly, with the following race only running three minutes late.

“I’ve never seen that one before, another first,” steward Peter Ryan, who also chaired the Murray Bridge meeting that was abandoned because of rogue tumbleweeds 14 months ago, said.

“Smoke started filling their cabin from underneath the driver’s seat, so there was an electrical fire and they put the extinguisher on it and put it out.

“Once the fire crew disconnected the battery, they were happy for us to go on.”

And Richie Callander reports in his column for Racenet:

‘Mail was South Australian Racing Officials were left fuming on Saturday afternoon when its broadcast partner was still showing an owner interview from Flemington as the last horse was loaded into the gates for the seventh race at Morphettville doing them no favours with wagering.’

All of this and only days away from one of South Australia’s biggest race meetings of the year – the running of the Adelaide Cup on Monday. What odds something goes wrong there?    

 

FARM SEIZURE – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FOR DROP-KICK GREENS

THE Greens are living in fairyland if they think their radical plan to forcibly seize Eagle Farm racecourse and turn it into affordable housing and public green space.

At the last Brisbane City Council elections (in 2000) the Greens’ vote rose from 10.2 per cent to 17.8 per cent and they won a solitary ward.

It’s a mission impossible for these drop-kicks who hate horse racing to even dream of overtaking the LNP’s 45.88% of the vote (19 wards) and Labor’s 32.87% (or five wards).

So why is any air-time – or oxygen as Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott so rightly called it – being given to this ‘absurd, preposterous and financially irresponsible’ plan (also his words)?

Greens Lord Mayoral candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan (does this bloke still live on a houseboat and pay no Council rates as one of our readers suggested?) has announced his intentions to compulsorily acquire Eagle Farm for affordable housing and public green space if the Greens win the looming Brisbane City Council election.

He claims about $40 million in Council funds would be sufficient for the plan which would also look to share housing construction costs with the State Government.

At last RQ has broken its silence on the issue through CEO Jason Scott:

“I have tried to avoid responding to Jonathon’s ridiculous policy as not to provide it with oxygen. However, with council elections around the corner it is imperative that RQ make it clear how preposterous this policy is from a financially irresponsible political party.

“The racing industry is very important to this state and resuming Eagle Farm is not progress. Racing employs 15,000 people, is self-funding through race field fees and Point Of Consumption tax and to risk that by giving away our headquarters by resuming Eagle Farm is nonsense.

“Having two tracks (Eagle Farm and Doomben) so close to the centre of Brisbane is one of racing’s biggest assets. The synergies the Brisbane Racing Club receives through having one labour force is worth millions.”

At least after the next election Lord Mayoral failure, Mr Sriranganathan, might find another box-headed scheme to focus his sights on – closing Eagle Farm down certainly won’t win him any votes.

 

A DECADE ON & QLD RACING STILL AWAITS ASIAN RIDERS TO ARRIVE

GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST provides his weekly contribution:

IT has been a decade since I've been trying to highlight the need to look to Asian countries to be part of the solution to lack of jockeys and track riders even in parts of South East Queensland.

If I told you some of the things I've been told why we can't resolve the problem and also the promises about getting CRICOS Commonwealth register institutions courses for overseas students you would shake your head.

Archie Butterfly (peterprofit.com) compiled a great story on how New Zealand do it with overseas kids becoming apprentices. I've had a hand with three going over there.

Now to the ABC story of December last year from Rockhampton about how a Mauritius lad is going to our Apprentice School. I ask the RJC how this could happen with no CRICOS. Please feel free to answer my question. Trust me I'd be happy to be wrong.

 

SOME INTERESTING COMMENTS ON THE WAGERING INDUSTRY Q&A

PETER MAIR weighs in about the Question & Answer Forum being conducted by Racenet concerning the state of the Australian wagering industry:

THIS Q&A on Racnet is interesting/

https://www.racenet.com.au/news/topsport-ceo-tristan-merlehan-answers-the-burning-questions-on-the-current-state-of-the-australian-wagering-industry-20240225

Except by inference, there is little concept of the punters feeling 'robbed' and opting out.

If the 'over-round bookmaker percentages were made known for each race, it would likely be instructive to administrators and governments and punters - administrators have been inflating race-fields to build turnover, and governments have been  taxing bookmakers to reclaim the excessive take from rough results for punters.

As a kid, I remember betting on a 'spin of the wheel' with odds split between 'Esmeralda', 'Peter Pan' and a 'Bolter' among other options. I am thinking the 'take' was modest to entertain, not rapacious, and to slowly fund the building of a new church.’

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

FLEMINGTON

EIGHT out of the 10 favourites were successful resulting in a ‘super’ day for punters. These included: SANS DOUTE $2.25, ARAMCO $2.40, BIG WATCH $5.5, BOLD BASTILLE $2.1, ANOTHER WIL $1.5, ESTRIELLA $3.2, ATISHU $4 & ARRAN BAY $4.

The worst results for punters were SOUTHPORT TYCOON $19 in the G1 Australian Guineas & DIAMOND DECORATOR $12.,

 

RANDWICK

ONLY two favourites were successful on the 10-race card (STORM BOY at $1.18) & (MANAAL at $2.05).

To be fair most of the other winners were under $10 barring the last – PHEARSON at $12.

EAGLE FARM

ONLY two favourites – HOLD ON HONEY $2.5 & SHARP DAZZLER $1.95 – were successful from 10 races with some absolute blowout results for punters.

The rot set in early when CAN’T RECALL ONE $13 was successful, followed by WINSTON SMURFHILL $31 (controversial dead-heat), MILIARENSE $26, KANAZAWA $10 & THESECONDATPORTSEA $13.

MORPHETTVILLE PARKS

FOUR favourites from nine races was almost a ‘full moon’ day in South Australia – those winners being DYER $2.6, KARAKA KIWI $3.8, TAPINFORPAR $2.9 & TAHNEE TREASURE $2.9.

The biggest upset of the day was ANGELIC APPEAL $9 in the second.

           

 

JAMIE KAH SILENCES CRITICS WITH TWO G1’S IN AS MANY WEEKS

IT took a while – and even she is in disbelief – but JAMIE KAH has silenced the critics who claimed she would never return to her brilliant best after a life-threatening fall.

In the past two weeks Kah has ridden upset Group 1 winners Hayasugi in the Blue Diamond at Caulfield and Southport Tycoon in the Australian Guineas at Flemington.

Both rides were gems and a far cry from the weeks when she struggled to reproduce her riding best after that horrifying fall at Flemington a year ago where she ended up in a coma suffering bleeding to the brain.

Fast forward and Kah has enjoyed which she describes as ‘the best few weeks of my life.’

She was engaged to fellow top jockey Ben Melham, rode a Group 1 double and her other highlight was attending a Taylor Swift concert. “The last few weeks just feel really weird but it’s cool,” Kah said. “Hopefully it means it’s going to be an awesome year.”

Southport Tycoon’s G1 triumph capped a big day for top trainer Ciaron Maher who also combined with Kah to win with the promising Another Wil and Estriella (Blake Shinn) in the $1 million Inglis Sprint.

It wasn’t as good a day for Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller apart from his form reversal plunge win with Atishu in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes.

Stablemate Riff Rocket ran a heavily-backed favorite but had to be content with third behind Southport Tycoon in the Australian Guineas while in Sydney Waller amazingly didn’t train a winner.

Punters lost plenty when the Waller-trained hotpots Fangirl $1.3 (2nd to Think It Over in the G1 Verry Elleegant Stakes) and Hinged $2.1 (2nd to Hell Hath No Fury in the G2 Guy Walter Stakes) were surprisingly beaten.

They can blame the deteriorating track condition, as smart as she is Fangirl doesn’t warrant the comparisons to Winx that she was attracting.

 

TIMELY WAKE-UP CALL FOR RQ ON THESE DESPISED POLY TRACKS

WHAT’S wrong with these rocket scientists at Racing Queensland?

Their poor decision-making means there will be no racing in the Sunshine State this Sunday which is simply unacceptable.

The meeting was transferred to the Poly track because the turf one was unsuitable for racing but failed to attract sufficient nominations.

Are these dunces at RQ the only ones oblivious to the well-established fact that punters and a good percentage of stakeholders detest racing on Poly tracks?

Not only is tonight’s meeting at the Sunshine Coast transferred to the despised poly surface but Sunday’s attempt to do the same has seen Sunday abandoned yet they have still not learnt from their mistakes and transferred the one on Sunday week to the Poly as well.

No one doubts the turf surfaces need a break but if RQ decides that should happen there are plenty of other tracks available to avoid poor acceptances and declining turnover racing on the Poly.

The same situation has been occurring at the Gold Coast but at least the new turf track will be back in action there for a big meeting tomorrow week.

Come on CEO Jason Scott don’t be dragged down by poor decision making of your First Lieutenants – act now to avoid another abandonment at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday week – the industry deserves better.

 

SOME GOOD ADVICE IF YOU’RE QUADDY BETTING AT FLEMINGTON

REGULAR contributor PETER MAIR gave punters some good advice about betting at Flemington recently and here is his follow-up relating to Saturday’s meeting:

SATURDAYS' MELBOURNE QUADRELLA at FLEMINGTON on Races 7-8-9-10 and RVL is shooting for three-in-a-row.

Restricting the focus to the last four races at Flemington on Saturday, likely to hold millions of dollars in the largest quadrella pools across the nation, what can we expect?

These four races have hallmarks of another 'no win' outcome for the most-punter set that pay the freight, kicking hard-earned into races and pools that will have the usual predators salivating. As Pavlov foreshadowed -- a bell starting ringing on Wednesday will whet predator-appetites to ravenous by Saturday. Someone could get bitten.

Race 7 -- 19 inexperienced, 3YO fillies will be running down an unfamiliar straight course with $1 million up for grabs, not least a generous 'covering costs' $20, 000 payable for running 10th. What do most punters think will happen?

Races 8&9 are G1 & G2’s to be run over 1600 -- fields of 15 &16 over this 'T&D' never bodes well for all runners getting a fair go -- expectations further deteriorate when the SPs suggest 'half the fields' are no-hopers hoping to hang on for a handout.

Race 10, a BM 84 with 14 to start  over the notorious 1400, illustrates the inclination of administrators to inflate turnover with a 'last-leg' that often resembles a raffle.

The Master-in-Lunacy will be interested in the details of punters having a crack at this quadrella on Saturday.

PS: I will be wrong one day -- but don't bet on it.

 

WORD OF WARNING FOR THOSE WHO DON'T RECALL HIS WILD DAYS

THAT debonair bookie Garry Gorrie, who cut a swathe through the betting rings and night clubs of North Queensland in the olden days, is back in town.

The octogenarian playboy (think we got that right) has returned from his new homeland in Phuket for his annual visit to spend some time reminiscing about the good old days in the north (pity he gets a few facts muddled though).

Warning to the industry – lock up your girls. The old fella will be firing at the Brekky Creek today with some good mates – Kevin Cox (a trainer who used to stay in a caravan at Cluden in the carnival heydays), Ken Ord (a former jockey best known as a Buddy Holly impersonator) and Tim Taylor (other half of the popular ownership duo that includes Bill Mumford). Here's hoping Gorrie is back off the bottled water and drinking his beloved Brekky Creek beer.

Cluden in the 70’s will be high on the agenda. Message to his mates – believe about a tenth of what Gaz tells you happened back then and ask him about his recent visit to Godzilla World in Japan.

 

 STILL TIME TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LGHR LATE MAIL SPECIAL

 THERE’S still time to subscribe to the LGHR LATE MAIL Autumn to the start of Spring Special.

 It’s for those who don’t want to bet all year round and focusses on the bigger races of the Autumn in Sydney and Melbourne leading into the Brisbane Winter.

The cost is only $150 and for that you get the ratings sheet for Saturday, Sunday and public holiday racing. That’s less than a cup of coffee and our results are as good, if not better, than those services that charge an arm and a leg.

If you’re interested just text 0407175570 and will provide payment details. It costs less than a cup of coffee each week.  

 

‘BACK THE BRONCOS – IT’S A BETTER BET THAN FAVS AT THE GALLOPS’

LIONEL of the GOLD COAST makes an interesting assessment of the RUGBY LEAGUE season (more to the point betting on it) which launches in LAS VEGAS this weekend:

WITH the NRL season launch in Las Vegas this weekend, as a long-time follower of rugby league I would like to provide a tip for the many punters who have deserted betting on horse racing.

Let me preface this by saying that every week I barrack for the side that is playing the Brisbane Broncos, not because I doubt they are a great side but I just can’t cop the perceived ‘start’ they get in this competition.

If ever there was a need for a ‘draft’ like they have in Australian Rules, the Broncos are a classic example of why it should happen in rugby league. They seem to be able to fit more stars under their salary cap than six of the battling sides in the competition.

Add to that the decisions that just seem to go their way – I’m not for one moment saying the referees are ‘cheating’ – but ask any league follower apart from a Broncos’ fan and they will tell you the questionable decisions always seem to go the way on Brisbane.

As for ‘start’ how lucky were a couple of their players to have Government intervention with the United States to enable them to overcome Visa problems that arguably would have prevented many young Australians with a similar blot on their copybook from being cleared to travel to Las Vegas.

My advice when it comes to the Broncos is this:

Most games they will be at almost unbackable odds to win – they are $1.55 for their clash with the Roosters in Vegas this weekend. I will be backing Brisbane to win by 13-plus at $3.35 and that will be my punting strategy on rugby league all season. It is my opinion that their strength in ‘stars’ will enable them to over-power most sides early in the game and make a one-team affair of their games.

And by the way the $4.25 for the Broncos to upstage the favourites, the Panthers at $3.75 and atone for last year’s unlucky Grand Final defeat spells delicious odds for mine.

 

FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY LIES AT THE FEET OF THE FEMALES

GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST makes his weekly contribution:

“IF you check provincial and country racing you will notice most apprentices are females.

And if you look at a list of stable hands, most seem to be women.

I checked trainees at Racing Queensland and out of 12 listed in their February Magazine 10 were girls.

So we would not have a racing industry without women in it so. I salute you.”

 

STAKEHOLDERS NEED TO KNOW METRO TRACK PLANS FOR HARNESS

JOHN THE FIREMAN has followed up on the tough-provoking email from SHANE last week about the future of HARNESS RACING in QUEENSLAND.

“THE harness code code is one of three that makes up the industry for which Racing Queensland is responsible to administer by Government law.  

We need to move on from the past decisions around the code and focus on the current situation.

Firstly, we know that a metropolitan track plus Redcliffe and Marburg are the only tracks that RQ, its Board and the Government will provide to deliver the race program. FACT.

Once the Metro track is decided – which may see Albion Park come back from the grave as the Government is broke and has no money in the foreseeable future to develop a site at Norwell for racing, training or anything.

Harness stakeholders need the answer to the Metro track situation ASAP so everyone can move on with some certainty. It’s fairly obvious but what a disgrace this hasn’t happen.

Once the three tracks are confirmed then maybe the code will have the chance to develop and address issues that will improve each facility to meet modern-day needs.

Until this is resolved, frustration will remain around stakeholders and no real forward planning can happen. So surely someone in Government will make the decision soon.

Future stabling/training facilities (like the gallops have) is an issue harness has to work through with RQ once a decision is made.

The race product comes down to the same as all codes. QRIC needs to deliver to the stakeholders and punters “Best Practice” testing and monitoring of the Rules.

Harness needs to ask the punter through a WPS survey the direct question what are the issues they have with the code. Then when developing the three tracks an opportunity to fix can be looked at.

Let’s hope a Metro track decision is forthcoming very soon.”

   

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

DOOMBEN

ONCE again BRISBANE was the blackout state for punters last Saturday with ONE FAVORITE – BOOM TORQUE at $1.55 – successful on the 10-race card.

The rot set in early when DISPUTED RIVER $12 won the opener followed by the upset wins of HE’S FOR THE GIRLS16, MISHANI LILY $15, TUHINGA $19 & SEA RAIDER at $101 (it hadn’t won for 720 days and had been unplaced at his last 13 starts).

Is it any wonder punters have no confidence betting on Queensland racing and there are calls for the QRIC Commissioner and his Chief Thoroughbred Steward to be sacked?

 

MORPHETTVILLE

FROM a punters’ perspective there are similar integrity issues in South Australia but all they want to talk about are the feature winners that cross the border to Victoria (and good luck to them).

But on the home front nothing improves with only ONE FAVOURITE successful – MARIMENKO at $3.2 – from nine races last Saturday.

Just take a look at some of the UPSET RESULTS – FLOSSING $12, HERSATAR $31, EMERALD COURT $21, SNAPPED $11 & SOLAR BLAST $13.

RACING in SOUTH AUSTRALIA should be branded with a warning: ‘BETTING HERE IS A WEALTH HAZARD’!

 

ROSEHILL

ONLY three favorites were successful on the 10-race card and one of those was in the Hi-Way (it must have been a full moon) – BELVEDERE BOYS $3.2, STRAIGHT CHARGE $2.45 & GENTLY ROLLED $3.9.

When you look at some of the upsets it’s a wonder the punters are still standing in Sydney – DR EVIL $20, SHADOWS OF LOVE $10, MORE FELONS $21 & WELWAL $18.

 

CAULFIELD

IT was even worse for favourite backers in Victoria on Saturday when only two of 10 were successful – CAMPIONESSA $2.7 (after GOLD TRIP blew like a gale and ran out of steam at the finish – the bookies crystal ball was spot-on yet again) & MR BRIGHTSIDE $1.5 (in the Futurity).

Some of the bad results for punters included: TWIN PERFECTION $41, RAIKOKE $10, HAYASUGI $16 (in the BLUE DIAMOND) & QUEMAN $17 (in the Oakleigh Plate).

 

 

IS THIS YET ANOTHER REASON QRIC COMMISSIONER SHOULD GO?

MANY stakeholders believe that there is no hope for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission if the ‘head honcho’ survives the current Review into its performance.

Story goes in the wake of a dust-up with Commissioner Shane Gillard that his Deputy Natalie O’Connor has taken unexpected leave with the date of her return to work unknown.

Insiders say this follows an instruction from Gillard that the Chief Stewards of all three codes will in future report to him rather than O’Connor which has occurred in the past.

Archie Butterfly on his well-read subscriber-only site, www.peterprofit.com reports:

THE latest word on the street is that there appears to have been a fall-out mid-Review between the QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard and his Deputy Commissioner Natalie O’Connor, with both said to be pointing the finger of blame at the other for the mass mess of culture and management problems inside the organisation that have emerged during the Review.

In somewhat of a surprise move, of the KPMG led (misled?) Review, we are told that as of 5pm last Friday the Deputy Commissioner has taken unplanned leave, with her return to work date unknown.

This taking of leave is said to have followed a Gillard-ordered change of reporting lines for the Chief Stewards of the three codes, who formerly reported to Connor but now report directly to him as big boss of the integrity body.

The budget is also said to have blown already, just over half way through the financial year, a predicament of the QRIC’s own making that led to the recent decision to cut race-day staff and swab numbers. That decision was of course overturned in an embarrassing backflip after we (peterprofit.com) made public the details, sparking industry uproar about the ill-thought out plan.

With the Commissioner’s own contract said to be up for renewal at the end of the year it appears that there is a whole lot of ‘man the lifeboats’ but ‘let me on first’ going on inside the place right now, with it seemingly being a case of every person for themselves and let the rest drown.

There are no Happy Days signs on the front door of the QRIC offices at the moment, that’s for sure.  

Hopefully Commissioner Gillard’s days are numbered – whether the LNP wins office and shows him the door or Labor unexpected retains Government and the Racing Minister realises she made the wrong choice and punts him.

OVER TO YOU - Murdoch spin doctor - to explain why we need your man running QRIC!

TOP STRATEGIES TO SUCCEED WHEN BETTING ON HORSE RACING

HORSE RACING, which is also known as the “Sport of Kings”, is a blend of tradition, speed and strategy. This game originates from the ancient civilizations where it was not just played as a sport, but it was used to test the excellence and prowess among riders. In today’s world, horse racing is a premier event where spectators come from every division.

The popularity that it has gained it is not just because of the love of the people for the game but it also includes horse racing betting. Placing a bet is not just a wager we are investing, it’s also about knowing the animals, jockeys, tracks and other factors which can affect the outcome of the race.

This appeal of racing and betting practice depends on the availability of betting options. Even if you’re a casual observer or you’re a seasoned punter, there’s something for everyone. But which we enter in the world of Horse racing betting, it is imperative to approach towards it with respect and understanding of the strategies.

In the next section, we will explore some of the top strategies which can be useful in betting on a horse race. We will also try to break down some jargons and how to navigate the odds.

UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS: KEY JARGON EXPLAINED

Before going further, one should be aware about some of the jargons from the betting world as well as from horse racing. “Odds” represent the likelihood of an outcome which is directly related to payout. The “favorite” is considered as the horse which is most likely to win. “Longshots” are the horses which are less likely to win but at the same time they will offer higher payouts if they win.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ODDS

Odds should not be considered as simple numbers. They are the chances of a horse winning the race. The odds change rapidly during the game as it is also based on the number of people betting on the horse as it will lower the odds. In simple terms, if you place a bet on a favorite then you will have a smaller payout but higher chances of winning. On the other hand, if you place the bet on a longshot, then the risk is high but the payout is even higher.

STRATEGY 1: RESEARCH & ANALYSIS

Your homework matters a lot in horse race betting. You should undertake your own research on the performance history of the horse and under what conditions they perform better, how they are trained and what’s their background (or form).

The performance of a jockey should not be forgotten with the similar insights. This approach can uncover potential winners and determine the chances of winning for the horse.

STRATEGY 2: BETTING TYPES & THEIR USES

There are different types of bets used in horse racing. Apart from the normal “win” bet where we are betting on a horse to win, there is a “place” bet and “show” bet. A “place” bet is betting if the horse will finish first or second and “show” is first, second, or third. There are other bets like "exactas," "quinellas," or "trifectas" which includes predicting the exact finish order, or top two or more horses and they also offer a higher payout as it requires precision.

STRATEGY 3: MONEY MANAGEMENT

Money management is always a critical element in betting. One should always set a budget and stick to it which can help you refrain from placing a bet for more than you can afford. Normally, you can place bets by setting a fixed percentage of your total betting budget.

STRATEGY 4: DIVERSIFICATION

A common strategy that can be useful is to diversify your bets. This can spread the risk associated and increase your chances of success. This is similar to investment diversification in stocks to mitigate loss and capitalize winnings.

STRATEGY 5: EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY

In the current world of technology, data is seamless. One can also use online resources, betting apps and some databases to enhance your strategy. They can offer up-to-date information on horse statistics, race conditions and sometimes even predictive analytics and providing a competitive edge in making better decisions.

STRATEGY 6: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT

No doubt, the horse race bets require knowledge and strategy but it also requires control over your emotions. To remain in discipline is an art and you can avoid impulsive decisions based on your recent losses and wins.

TO CONCLUDE...

The world of horse race betting demands more than your passion. It requires mindset, understanding and discipline. We have uncovered different approaches which can contribute to your success and can help you use the jargons appropriately.

Apart from the strategies like effective money management and leveraging technology, approaching Horse racing betting in a responsible and informed manner cannot be overstated. As the bettors refine their strategies and deepen their understanding, they also contribute to the culture of horse racing.

Embrace the challenge, enjoy the overall process and may your passion to the Sport of Kings bring you not just financial rewards but deeper connection too with horse racing.

 

Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

 

Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

 

RIDING FOR THE DISABLED ASSOC is an international, not for profit organization that provides horse riding & associated activities for people with all types of disabilities. Over 140 RDA groups operate throughout Australia.

For more information or to locate the nearest centre to you, please visit their website at: www.rdaq.org.au.

Login Form