A highly-respected and well-informed member of the racing industry in Queensland has sent us this concerning email which we hope the Racing Minister or someone from the Labor Government will respond to, which reads:

‘THE word from the Deagon bunker is that after a recent Racing Queensland Board meeting the demand has been made to slash infrastructure spending by $100 million.

This seems strange considering ‘Super Steve’ has agreed to sell Albion Park to the Government to make way for another Olympic piece of infrastructure.

Why would you sell the asset and then be left short of money to pay for the replacement venues and not have some left over?

It sounds like he may have fallen for the same deal that cricket and AFL fell for with the Gabba displacement.

Does racing have an Usman Khawaja willing to call out the injustice that the Government has handed to his sport?

To help the Opposition Racing Minister, who is generally silent, here are some questions he could ask.

Does this mean that the candles that light the track in Toowoomba will not be replaced?

Will the Ipswich on-course stables go ahead?

Is the BRC grandstand doomed before it even starts?

Will the country racing clubs stop receiving infrastructure funding?

What happens to projects already promised?

Will the new harness and greyhound centres be cut back to a skeleton of the promises made to get these clubs to relocate?

 Maybe the deal that the RQ Board agreed to which has been legislated for future funding was flawed and now the racing industry will feel the effects for years to come.

Someone needs to ask why prize money increases are not pulled back immediately before we enter the short-sighted approach of cancelling much needed infrastructure programs.’





TONY Gollan must be learning very quickly that he’s a far better trainer than he is a tipster.

It seems on most Saturdays in the eyes of the tough punting brigade Gollan is dammed if he does and dammed if he doesn’t.

A good example has been the clash at their latest starts of Zoustyle (impressive winner of the Group 3 George Moore Stakes at Doomben on Saturday) and Nettuno (which caused an upset in the Swiss Ace Plate when resuming at the Sunshine Coast).

In the eyes of the punters the problem for Gollan started when Zoustyle sat wide from a bad barrier and finished a well-backed fourth to $19 chance Nettuno in the Swiss Ace Plate.

Their rematch in the George Moore saw Nettuno run the $2.8 favorite and finish a very plain fourth while Zoustyle worked early to lead and won brilliantly after firming from $10 to $3.8.

In his on-line Preview Show, the Final Gallop, Gollan tipped Zoustyle to beat Nettuno when it got beaten in the Swiss Ace and Nettuno to beat Zoustyle when the result was reversed in the George Moore.

Punters who contribute to the Wednesday Whinge have sorted Gollan out for special attention. Whilst we understand their frustration they have stopped short of including some important facts.

Here’s an abridged version of what Gollan had to say before the Swiss Ace:

‘Zoustyle won this race two years ago. He had two races in Melbourne in the Spring but is a Summer star. He has drawn wide but I’m not too worried because there is so much speed in the race. I think he is the one to beat.

‘Nettuno contests one of the strongest Swiss Ace I have seen and we have won it the past three years. I am happy with his three trials. We have played with different gear. With so much speed he will get to midfield and run on. He could be a big knockout.’

Here’s the Gollan preview of the George Moore:

‘Nettuno demolished them in the Swiss Ace. He is back to 54 from 58.5 and has a low draw. If he races like I saw him work on Tuesday and settles, he is going to let go with a good sprint and is really well placed. He is my Best of the Day.’

“I love Zoustyle. He is an old favorite. I just think Nettuno has the X Factor. He was posted four wide in the Swiss Ace and was the best on-pacer. I love him going around Doomben, his favorite track. His record at Doomben is unbelievable. He is going to run a hell of a race. Don’t jump off if you backed him at the Sunshine Coast.”



A COUPLE of those who had a whinge about the reversal of fortunes of Zoustyle and Nettuno sorted Tony Gollan and his jockey Ryan Maloney out for special attention.

Here’s what they had to say:   


‘ARE my mates and I living on a different planet to the stewards and the racing media in Queensland?

Not one question was asked about the pathetic performance of Nettuno in the George Moore after his big win in the Swiss Ace.

Sure Zoustyle travelled wide from his draw in the Swiss Ace but he met Nettuno on 4.5kg worse terms. They stepped up to a track and distance where Zoustyle had won four of five but Nettuno had also won his only start at the track and trip.

Could stewards have at least asked if Nettuno had ‘lost a leg’ since his Swiss Ace performance? It was a five and a half-length turnaround and don’t forget there was that 4.5kg weight difference in his favor.

And what about the weak-kneed racing media - all they wanted to do was praise the training effort of Gollan? Of course one of those with SKY has horses in his stable so don't expect any criticism there.

From a punters' perspective what made things look worse was Tony Gollan tipping Nettuno as his Best of the Day and then Zoustyle being backed from $10 to $3.8 and being ridden very differently.”



JACKO from SUNSHINE COAST had this to say:

‘Is Tony Gollan becoming the Queensland version of Chris Waller when it comes to giving punters a bum steer on his fancies in preview shows?

The Zoustyle-Nettuno form reversal debacle shows why punters don’t want to bet on racing in Queensland just like they are reluctant when Waller has multiple runners in races in Sydney of a Saturday.

What got up my nose was the sly grin on the face of Ryan Maloney when he went across the line in front on Zoustyle in the George Moore. Thanks mate? What about your slaughter job on the horse in the Swiss Ace – why didn’t you press forward there like last Saturday?

These stewards in Queensland are either asleep at the wheel or they simply don’t care. But after some of the things that have happened in recent weeks the buck stops with the Commissioner and those calling for his dismissal are spot-on.’     



THIS was an interesting email received (we would check out its authenticity with the QRIC Commissioner but he doesn’t talk to websites like ours because we dare to criticise him, so we won't waste our time). It reads (with some editing for legal reasons):

‘THOUGHT it may be of interest that I overheard one of QRICs new CAT Stewards (named deleted) boasting to other QRIC staff that he is (a close relation) of (a high profile steward).

I've seen this guy strutting around (some top) Eagle Farm stables on his own and having a good old chat a few times over the past few months.

There have been no other stewards with him – the rest of the CAT team not even on site. He was just weaving in and out (of the stables), doing who knows what and seemingly having a jolly good old time of it.

Compliance assurance my ass – intergrity? Keep dreaming!’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Apparently this is close to home for the Chief Steward – perhaps Josh Adams would like to comment or does he have to ask the Commissioner first?



WE’VE had a couple of emails (stakeholder and punter) expressing concerns about the disappointing fields for some recent Sunshine Coast meetings.

It seems when the Sunny Coast races Friday nights and again on Sundays the field sizes suffer – last weekend a good example with only three runners in the last race on Sunday.

The Sunshine Coast pioneered Sunday racing and do a terrific job linking with Moonee Valley and Canterbury (when Sydney decide to race at night) on the Friday evening circuit.

With the major tracks seemingly not interested in racing on Sundays, here’s hoping the fallout from this doesn’t see more meetings on that day at second-rate provincial tracks that shall remain nameless.

The new track at the Gold Coast is ready for racing and that venue will enter the night circuit as well. Perhaps the answer is to split the Friday night meetings with the Sunshine Coast relieving it of some of the current burden.     



CHARLIE J of MELBOURNE sent this interesting email:

‘IT’S a tale of two States and South Australia should hang its head in shame while the Victorians are applauded by recognising our war veterans.

Jericho Cup day – a wonderful concept celebrated last Sunday at Warrnambool – is now another racing industry reminder of the sacrifices made in the great wars that have enabled us to enjoy the quality of life we now have.

Unlike Victoria, they see things differently in South Australia where the Government has removed the name Anzac Day and replaced it with ’25 April’ – a day ‘fixed as a public holiday.’

It would seem not only in racing is ‘two-head territory' stuffed.

Veterans already feel ‘unappreciated, undervalued and even despised’ in some quarters without the ‘Crow-eaters’ sinking the boot even further.

As Erin Molan commented on SKY NEWS: “ANZAC Day is for the veterans – it’s sacred, it’s our annual reminder of the sacrifices made to keep us safe, the lives given in our honour, and the least we can do is write it on a bloody calendar.

“You can try and ban Christmas songs at primary schools because apparently, they aren’t inclusive, my God, but don’t you dare touch ANZAC Day – over my dead body”.’




DESPITE some early interest from leading stables, Australia will not be represented at one of the world’s biggest race days, the Hong Kong International next Sunday.

Racing fans had hoped that our leading trainers Chris Waller or Ciaron Maher-David Eustace might have some starters on the world stage but they have preferred to chase the riches on home soil.

Locals head the markets for the Hong Kong Sprint with Lucky Sweynesse $2 ahead of Wellington at $5 and the British visitor Highfield Princess at $5.

Hong Kong stars Golden Sixty $2.30, Beauty Eternal $6 and California Spangle $7 head the betting for the Hong Kong Mile ahead of Japanese star Namur $9.

Cox Plate winner Romantic Warrior is the $2.2 favorite for the Hong Kong Cup ahead of the Japanese duo Pronosis $4.5 and Rousham Park $5.5. The Aiden O’Brien-trained Luxembourg is next at $10.

Star Japanese duo Lebensstil and Shahryar are equal favorites at $3.8 for the Hong Kong Vase. Warm Heart (Ireland and Jeffiro (another Jap) are next in the market at $7.

2023 LONGINES Hong Kong International Races

LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint
Group 1 – 1200m

HK$26 million (US$3.317 million)


Country / Region

Int'l Rating

Selected Horse








Lucky Sweynesse (NZ)




Manfred Man




Wellington (AUS)




Jamie Richards




Mad Cool (IRE)




Manabu Ikezoe




Sight Success (AUS)




John Size




Courier Wonder (NZ)




Danny Shum




Victor The Winner (AUS)




Danny Shum




Aesop’s Fables (IRE)




Aidan O'Brien




Duke Wai (NZ)




Pierre Ng




Jasper Krone (USA)




Hideyuki Mori




Lucky With You (AUS)




Frankie Lor




Highfield Princess (FR)




John Quinn

LONGINES Hong Kong Mile
Group 1 – 1600m

HK$32 million (US$4.082 million)

Country / Region

Int'l Rating

Selected Horse








Golden Sixty (AUS)




Francis Lui




California Spangle (IRE)




Tony Cruz




Danon The Kid (JPN)




Takayuki Yasuda




Serifos (JPN)




Mitsumasa Nakauchida




Soul Rush (JPN)




Yasutoshi Ikee




Tribalist (GB)




Andre Fabre




Beauty Eternal (AUS)




John Size




Beauty Joy (AUS)




Tony Cruz




Lim's Kosciuszko (AUS)




Dan Meagher




Voyage Bubble (AUS)




Ricky Yiu




Encountered (IRE)




Manfred Man




Cairo (IRE)




Aidan O'Brien




Namur (JPN)




Tomokazu Takano




Divina (JPN)




Yasuo Tomomichi













Red Lion (IRE)




John Size



LONGINES Hong Kong Cup
Group 1 – 2000m

HK$36 million (US$4.593 million)

Country / Region

Int'l Rating

Selected Horse








Luxembourg (IRE)




Aidan O'Brien




Romantic Warrior (IRE)




Danny Shum




Prognosis (JPN)




Mitsumasa Nakauchida




Rousham Park (JPN)




Hiroyasu Tanaka




Hishi Iguazu (JPN)




Noriyuki Hori




Money Catcher (NZ)




Frankie Lor




Straight Arron (AUS)




Caspar Fownes




Sword Point (AUS)




Frankie Lor




Nimble Nimbus (NZ)




Ricky Yiu




Champion Dragon (IRE)




Tony Cruz




Horizon Dore (FR)




Patrice Cottier


LONGINES Hong Kong Vase
Group 1 – 2400m

HK$24 million (US$3.062 million)


Country / Region

Int'l Rating

Selected Horse








Shahryar (JPN)




Hideaki Fujiwara




Junko (GB)




Andre Fabre




Senor Toba (AUS)




Caspar Fownes




Zeffiro (JPN)




Yasutoshi Ikee




Five G Patch (IRE)




Tony Cruz




West Wind Blows (IRE)




Simon and Ed Crisford




Soldier Rising (GB)




Christophe Clement




La City Blanche (ARG)




Tony Cruz




Geraldina (JPN)




Takashi Saito




Lebensstil (JPN)




Hiroyasu Tanaka




Warm Heart (IRE)




Aidan O'Brien











LETSGOHORSERACING predicted two years ago that the controversial case involving trainer Chris Munce and his son Corey was going nowhere.

We were the least surprised when QRIC Stewards closed the inquiry without taking any action last week but thought that would have happened some time ago.

Despite over a dozen emails (some of which we cannot publish for legal reasons), LGHR does not want to comment on the outcome of the case except to say along with many others we are concerned about information leaked some time ago from the QRIC bunker.

Gun racing lawyer Jim Murdoch makes a habit of pulling the stewards’ pants down in controversial inquiries. This was another occasion but the suggestion they were at half-mast before he got started is somewhat alarming and needs investigating.

It seems what has upset many stakeholders (including colleagues of Chris Munce) and punters in general has been the amazing statement by Chief Steward Josh Adams, whose fan base is now at rock bottom, not to mention that of Commissioner Shane Gillard.

Adams claims that QRIC was forced to abandon the Munce case due to the passage of time meaning that the recollection of stable staff about matters pertinent to the allegations was now limited.

One emailer asked: ‘Is the Chief Steward treating us like mushrooms – keeping us in the dark and feeding us bullshit?

‘If the same approach had been taken by Stewards in Victoria then charges against Darren Weir and Jarrod McLean, set down for hearing early in the new year, would be abandoned too, for they occurred around Melbourne Cup time 2018, three years before the Munce injection matter even arose.’

The only believable response to the ending of the inquiry came from Chris Munce who commented: ‘Myself and Corey, along with our family, are relieved. It has been a weight on our shoulders for a long time. It has been concerning to both of us. We have always maintained our innocence throughout the whole thing.’

As colleague Archie Butterfly wrote on his subscriber-only website, ‘This whole case has been a comedy of errors.

‘How could a trainer who pleaded guilty to injecting a horse with a still unknown substance and admitted lying to stewards about it have his convictions and penalties vacated (dropped) and get off as free as a bird without as much as a slap on the wrist?

‘Why was QRIC General Counsel Dominique Murphy terminated the day after the previous hearing into the matter was abandoned in still unexplained circumstances?

‘Why was Murphy involved in the case in the first place, given her reported close association with Munce, who was her trainer-grandfather, Eric Kirwan’s apprentice, master and friend?

‘How come the hapless QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard was nowhere to be seen or heard about during this whole matter?

‘Why did the QRIC investigative team fail to identify the horses being injected within 24 hours of race day?

‘What is the real reason for these very serious allegations against Munce’s conduct being dropped?

‘Has there been official interference in the Munce case as LGHR reported two years ago that it was feared there would be?

‘How could hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money be invested in this whole matter without a single result?

‘Why has there been no plausible official explanation about why it has all been shut down and disappeared forever?’



THE Crime and Corruption Commission has been called upon to launch an official investigation in the Munce Inquiry to clear the air that there on allegations of QRIC interference.

One contributor to LGHR suggested: ‘I am making an official complaint to the CCC as there’s no point taking it up with the Racing Minister who continues to sit on her hands where QRIC is concerned.

‘She recently met with a concerned industry stakeholder group who warned they were losing patience over their perceived incompetence of stewards and lack of interest from Commissioner Gillard.

‘Parliament is now sitting again and it is time for the LNP to weigh into this debate. There are a lot of votes to be earned from racing and this is an issue worth giving the Labor Government and its Racing Minister plenty of stick on.

‘Perhaps it’s time that someone warned Grace Grace that instead of having her snout in the trough at the Magic Millions Carnival racing in Queensland may well be facing strike action during the Summer Carnival unless something is done to fix the problems at QRIC.’

We at LGHR believe the buck stops at the top and it’s time for Commissioner Gillard to go. His lack of action and transparency on controversial issues is unacceptable.

Former stewards who have left because of him claim privately that the lack of integrity in racing in Queensland is at an all-time low. Here’s what another contributor had to say: ‘Whilst Gillard and Adams remain in charge of policing the sport, the sign that reads: ‘Welcome to Queensland racing where anything goes’ will continue to flash.’



NOT a week goes by when there isn’t another balls-up from a Stewards’ Panel operating in Queensland.

Just look at last Saturday for example:

Several horses were reportedly allowed to start from their wrong barriers at Doomben on Saturday. Here’s what the Stewards’ Report read:

CORRECT weight was delayed to allow stewards to interview the starters, Jockey L Tarrant, rider of BADER and Trainer M Dunn, after it was established that BADER had been loaded, and started from the incorrect barrier. After taking evidence, it was established that the starters had made a clerical error and had mistakenly removed BADER from the starter’s barrier order sheet which lead to Jockey L. Tarrant being loaded into the incorrect barrier stall. After hearing submissions if BADER should be considered a non-starter, both stewards and Trainer M Dunn were satisfied that BADER or any other runners chances had been materially affected by this error and as such acting under AR198(2)(a) declared correct weight on the judges numbers. Jockey L Tarrent was reminded of his obligations to make sure his mounts are loaded into the correct barrier. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Perhaps that should read ‘had NOT been materially affected by this error’).

Subsequent to that Stewards’ Report being posted Archie Butterfly reported that due to the Bader mistake, two others appear to have been loaded into incorrect barriers – I Am The Empire and Security Advisor. This mistake seems to have been swept under the carpet.

With only nine acceptors for the race surely the Steward on the home turn tower (directly above this start) and the Chief Steward at the winning post, head-on to the barriers, should have detected this.



THEN we had the situation at Atherton where the ‘I’ve Been Everywhere Man’ of the Stewards’ Panel was mentoring a young stipe as ‘Chief’ for the day.

This was the original Stewards’ Report posted on Race 2:


Then someone said ‘Wakey, Wakey’and there was an important addition to the Stewards’ Report involving the horse Regal Emperor which read:

REGAL CONQUEROR – Slow into stride. Improved onto heels approaching the winning post and was restrained. When asked to explain the tactics, particularly in the early and middle stages jockey S. Wilson stated he was issued instructions to ride the gelding in a quiet manner but did not expect to be that far back however he was of the opinion REGAL CONQUEROR was not comfortable on the downhill run approaching the home turn but did find the line well in the home straight on the flatter section of the track. Trainer S. Hoffman confirmed those instructions and agreed with jockey Wilsons comments. Whilst stewards noted their explanations Ms Hoffman was reminded of her obligation to advise stewards of any change in tactics from its current racing pattern.

The experienced steward overseeing this meeting has been around long enough to know better but his career has certainly been an interesting one:

  • Some very experienced senior stewards would not appoint him to the full-time panel for some reason a couple of decades back.
  • He made a meteoric rise when Integrity was run by the man some licensees called Dr Dolittle and his little sidekick labelled ‘the pig dog’ by the then Chairman. Why he got there is a story that will keep for another day.
  • Then there was the day he was in charge at Rocky when a race almost started from the wrong point had the race-caller not made stewards aware when horses were being loaded.
  • Perhaps the best of all occurred when he was posted to the Chairman’s job at the Gold Coast and the jockeys (for some unknown reason) threw a party.

Yes that’s the cream of the crop these days – the Adams Family in the south-east and the ‘I’ve Been Everywhere Man’ up north. God help us!

We were made aware of the Atherton situation by an industry insider who wrote:

‘Note the amendment to include comments of Jockey S Wilson and trainer Hoffman. 

This would have been a dial-up inquiry after stewards were alerted to their incompetence. 

Cadet Steward in charge with experienced stewards turning up as "mentors" and this happens. 

When does this stop? How do the jockeys and trainers, betting public regain confidence in QRIC and Stewards when simple things get missed and covered up?’




THE barrister acting for star jockey Jamie Kah has accused Racing Victoria of presenting a sexist case against the 27-year-old.

CARLA JAEGER reports for FAIRFFAX MEDIA that on Monday, the second day of the tribunal hearing to decide whether Kah and stablehand Ruby McIntyre had committed conduct prejudicial to racing, counsel representing the racing authority argued that Kah had behaved recklessly and brought the sport into disrepute by inviting McIntyre into her home.

Stewards charged both Kah and McIntyre with conduct prejudicial to racing after the stablehand recorded and circulated a six-second video, which showed Kah separating lines of white powder on a kitchen plate with an ID card. Still shots of the video were published in the media six days later.

Kah had only met McIntyre six hours earlier, and conceded on the first day of the hearing she was “absolutely” ambitious trusting McIntyre. She said she was more affected by alcohol than she would usually be when she, McIntyre and friend Jacob Biddell were in each other’s company at Kah’s home on June 17.

Representing Racing Victoria, barrister Damian Hannan said it was reckless for Kah to invite someone into her home whom she had just met, was intoxicated and had a mobile phone with a camera. He added that Kah should have been more aware of the potential risk because McIntyre had requested a selfie with the racing star earlier in the evening.

He said that even though Kah was not responsible for the footage or its publication, she was to blame because she “ought to have known” she was being filmed.

“Kah’s reputation is inherently connected to the image of racing, and consequently more impactful on people’s perceptions of the industry,” he added.

This was despite evidence from McIntyre admitting she had secretly recorded Kah by holding her mobile phone close to her body.

“If McIntyre was filming … Kah drinking wine or playing with lego, of course, that wouldn’t be misconduct,” he said.

Kah’s barrister, Matthew Stirling, slammed the argument put forward by Hannan.

“This is nonsense. It’s the 21st century. Australians are not unknown to have a drink. This has gone simply too far, this notion that because Ruby McIntyre took a selfie at Jamie’s home … that’s suspicious behaviour. That’s just life now.”

Stirling noted that all previous misconduct cases heard by racing tribunals had either occurred in a racing premise, a public place, or the person facing the charge was responsible for that conduct becoming public knowledge.

“There’s a bit of a sexist undertone under all this, isn’t there? ‘What are you doing letting that silly young woman you never even knew come into your home with a mobile phone’ as if that’s some sort of criminal device,” he said.

“If this had occurred on racing premises or in a hotel, Kah is probably fair game, but that’s not what’s happened here, that’s why the case goes too far.”

Hannan said it would be a different scenario altogether if “someone was surreptitiously filming through a kitchen window”.

“Whether or not that conduct of Ms Kah was in a private home is irrelevant … because the question is whether or not the conduct has ... prejudiced the sport of racing.

“The look is horrible either way, whether it occurs on the kitchen at home or at the racetrack at Caulfield,” he said.

Following the conclusion of the hearing on Monday, the three-person tribunal said it would return with a decision as soon as possible.



IN a country obsessed with punting, why are some of the biggest wagering businesses struggling?

AMELIA McGUIRE reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that the giants of the global industry and our own stalwart Tabcorp have warned investors to brace for lower returns and a softer market this financial year.

Sadly for punters, it’s not because the bookies have suddenly started losing. Between looming federal changes, increased state taxes and the inflated cost of living, there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead for the once recession-proof industry.


THE jewel of $48 billion Irish giant Flutter used to be its Australian outfit Sportsbet, but recent revenue decline has meant its US and UK operations are now doing the heavy lifting.

Last month, Flutter revealed Sportsbet’s revenue had fallen 18 per cent over the quarter to $502 million. Overall, Sportsbet’s revenue has fallen 7 per cent year on year, with the business predicting mid-single digit decline for the 2024 financial year due to increased regulation, a weaker market and the recent ban on credit card deposits.

“The combination of these items will now limit our ability in the near-term to offset the impact of the previously announced Victoria point-of-consumption tax increase from July 2024,” Flutter said last month.

Flutter said the weak betting market in Australia had driven it to lower its earnings forecast for the financial year, with the business now expecting about $2.76 billion in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, which is the bottom of its original forecast.

Flutter’s new darling is the US business FanDuel, which raked in about $150 million more than any other section over the quarter. But even the booming US market is not enough to push up the business entirely, with its London-listed share price falling by 20 per cent over the past six months to $24.16.

It’s not just Australia’s biggest corporate bookmaker that is suffering. ASX-listed Tabcorp and LSE-listed Entain have also flagged that they are experiencing weakened trading conditions in Australia. Tabcorp’s revenue has fallen by more than 6 per cent for the first quarter of 2024 and Entain said in September that its local revenue had slumped by high single digits.

Tabcorp’s share price has fallen by 35 per cent over the past six months to 74¢ and the price of Entain’s shares have slumped by 39 per cent to $16.44.

Tabcorp recorded a $66 million profit in 2023 and chief Adam Rytenskild was quick to point out in August that it was the only local wagerer to increase its earnings over the year.

Tabcorp has benefited from recent point-of-consumption tax hikes in Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT which have meant its corporate competitors now pay more tax in those states despite being licensed in the Northern Territory. Victoria will up its point-of-consumption tax to 15 per cent from July to match NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. The rate is 20 per cent in Queensland and the ACT.


PART of the share price decline across the industry is down to normalisation after the end of COVID-19 lockdowns. Most wagering executives have been reticent to admit the pandemic was great for turnover, but customer engagement soared over 2020. This is also reflected by the share price curves of most of the major wagering businesses, including London-listed Flutter and Entain as well as locally listed Tabcorp and PointsBet, which all soared after the initial shock of the lockdown in March 2020.

According to data released by the Australian Institute for Family Studies, the proportion of people who gambled four or more times a week increased from 23 per cent to 32 per cent over the 2020 lockdowns despite restricted access to physical venues and a decrease in the number of sports games being played. The data also revealed that almost one in three people surveyed signed up for a new online betting account and one in 20 began gambling online for the first time.

Flutter said at the end of last year that Sportsbet’s 14 per cent decline in revenue on the year prior was due to “lower levels of player engagement compared to the prior year, when more than 60 per cent of the country was in lockdown,” and added that weather-related racing disruption had also dampened turnover.


THE major obstacle the local market faces is sustained uncertainty around looming federal changes. The House of Representatives standing committee on social policy and legal affairs issued the government 31 recommendations following a lengthy inquiry into online gambling harm this year.

Banning gambling advertisements within three years has been the most publicised recommendation in the report due to the financial ramifications for not only the wagerers but major sporting codes and media companies. But most wagering executives are far more worried about a potential ban on inducements including bonus bets and deposit matches, which are key ways to entice punters to seek out their products.

The government was expected to respond to the recommendations earlier this month but has not yet done so. Communications Minister Michelle Rowland told the National Press Club last week that it was important to get the policy settings right. She also hinted she would not pursue an outright ban on gambling advertising but would be “guided by the principles of harm minimisation”.

The government has already banned the use of credit cards for online wagering and launched its long awaited self-exclusion register, Betstop. About 13,000 people have used the service in its first three months of operation, with 40 per cent banning themselves for life.

The SYDNEY MORNING HERALD revealed in October that government officials had been consulting industry stakeholders about limiting the frequency of advertisements on TV and radio rather than banning them.

The biggest cause of gambling harm in Australia is poker machines – most problem gamblers in treatment have machine-related addictions. But many gambling-harm experts say gambling advertisements can encourage young people and those with existing gambling problems to seek out betting when they would otherwise abstain.



EQUINOX cemented his place as the world’s highest-rated horse with a record-breaking, four-length win from the smart three-year-old filly Liberty Island in Sunday’s 18-runner Japan Cup in Tokyo. 

But, the RACING POST reports, that in doing so he set a puzzle for the international handicappers who will meet in Hong Kong in a fortnight’s time to determine the 2023 rankings list.

Ranked 129 going into the race, based on his success in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March, Equinox had had support – not least from the official Japan Racing Association handicapper – to be given a mark of 130 or more. 

The move will now be hard to resist after he picked up the clear leader Panthalassa 300 metres out and was pushed out by Christophe Lemaire with hands and heels to trounce this year’s fillies’ Triple Crown heroine and five other Group 1 winners.

Stars On Earth, ridden by William Buick, ran a mighty race to be beaten a further length into third place, maintaining her record of never being out of the first three in 11 outings. French-trained Iresine, the only overseas challenger, hardly got out of mid-division and finished ninth. But this was all about Equinox.

Regular front-runner Panthalassa set a remarkable early pace, covering the first five furlongs in 57.6sec, and at the 600-metre mark he was still all of 25 lengths clear. However, inevitably on his first outing since the Dubai World Cup, his stride began to shorten and Equinox, who had never been further behind than third, swept by.

The performance earned Equinox a preliminary Racing Post Rating of 134, unchanged from his mark before the Japan Cup. 

Later, addressing the crowd in Japanese, and asked what his race plan had been, Frenchman Lemaire said: “You have just witnessed it!”

Expanding on the experience, as emotion threatened to run away with him for the third time after pulling up, he added: “It turned out the way that we imagined it would, because Panthalassa did something similar in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) last year [which Equinox won].

“He jumped well and I decided to stick behind the two leaders; it was the best position for him. He was travelling so smoothly turning into the straight that I could feel the adrenaline when he hit top speed. There aren’t any words to describe the feeling.”

Equinox clocked 2min 21.8sec for the mile and a half, compared with dual winner Almond Eye’s course record of 2min 20.6, set in the 2018 race, but his sixth-consecutive Group 1 success pushed him past that filly’s total of the equivalent of £13.1 million for record prize-money won by a Japanese-trained horse.

Equinox’s tally now stands at a little over £14m, not counting the US$3m bonus he picked up for winning the Sheema Classic.

Lemaire joined Yutaka Take at the top of the Japan Cup jockeys’ table with four winners, after Vodka in 2009 and Almond Eye in 2018 and 2020.

He said: “I thought it would be difficult to match Almond Eye when she retired, but Equinox is special. I’m not sure where he’s heading, but he keeps maturing and I just don’t know how good he could be.”

Whether Equinox, a four-year-old son of the 2016 race winner Kitasan Black, is asked to prove himself again on the racecourse is still nor certain, according to trainer Tetsuya Kimura, whose only previous Japan Cup runner finished second. “He is going for a short holiday and then we will make a decision,” he said.



BEN C of BRISBANE sent this interesting email:

‘ISN’T the new Chairman of Stewards in Victoria, Rob Montgomery, a breath of fresh air when it comes to transparency.

Montgomery has shown in his dealings with the media that he doesn’t duck and weave from the tough questions and is prepared to provide an explanation unless the matter is still the subject of an appeal.

Latest example came after trainer Ciaron Maher copped a $4,000 fine from stewards for using improper language in two mobile phone calls with Racing Victoria's Head of Integrity Jamie Stier after Champions Day – the final meeting of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.

Montgomery explained to RSN that an ‘over-enthusiastic gate person’ refused Maher entrance from the rails to the horse area. “Ciaron had his trainer’s badge but during the Cup Carnival special accreditation was required which he didn't have and he couldn’t get into the restricted area. He called Jamie Stier for help but this was a VRC and not an RV matter and Jamie couldn’t so Ciaron let rip with a few expletives.”

Compare that to my home state where the Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner only talks to sections of the media that arguably don’t ask him tough questions. He seems to operate under a cloak of secrecy when openness is supposedly the cornerstone of his job.

Key staff members have departed in droves without any explanation under his leadership, industry stakeholders have expressed concerns to the Racing Minister about the job the Commissioner is doing but his was a political appointment and nothing seems to be happen.

That’s for now. The mail is strong when the LNP wins the next election (and there’s no ‘if’ to that equation) Commissioner Gillard will be fired out of a canon and QRIC in its current form will no longer exist.’  



HARRY J of MELBOURNE is still smarting over the TYLER SCHILLER appeals decision:

‘JUST wanted to highlight how fickle fate can be in racing with a rider that the justice system in racing in NSW seems to be different to most of the other States.

I was one of those gob-smacked by the decision to overturn the racing ban imposed on Tyler Schiller for careless riding in the Golden Eagle.

You might remember that was the feature race where severe interference prompted internationally experienced jockey Damian Lane to declare he was ‘glad I came back to the jockeys’ room alive’ while his mount Amelia’s Jewel needed stitches to lacerations suffered to her fetlock.

An Appeals Panel cleared Schiller of wrong-doing from the incident, paving the way for him to ride at The Hunter meeting in Newcastle last weekend. The Group 1-winning jockey was found to be ‘a victim of circumstances’ when Strait Acer shifted in abruptly and caused a domino reaction to runners to his inside, including race favourite Amelia's Jewel.

"I thought at the time it was a bit harsh that I did get suspended because I did everything by the rule book," Schiller said. "It was just unfortunate that my horse didn't react how I would have liked and in turn caused pretty heavy interference. “I understand that but for them to pin that on me, I thought I was a bit stiff.”

With the benefit of hindsight, it is now apparent why Schiller was desperate to ride at The Hunter meeting. He landed a winning treble including the $1 million feature on the Joe Pride-trained Coalcrusher.

Tyler should be ‘slinging’ the stewards for being so lenient to start with and the Appeals Panel for being so forgiving. Wonder how the Amelia’s Jewel camp is feeling in the wake of what has happened.’



DAVE M of BRISBANE sent this email:

‘AFTER listening to TONY GOLLAN’S Preview Show for the Sunshine Coast meeting on Saturday I don’t know what to think.

The champion trainer is either a bad judge or things just didn’t pan out as he expected.

His best of the day Rising Pacific was heavily-backed and finished a plain fifth to Poetic Drama. His best each-way Deer Trail ran fourth but was beaten home by stablemates Standing Order (which won) and Devastating (finished third).

His best trackworker of the week, Zoustyle, ran fourth after being slaughtered from a wide alley in the Swiss Ace Plate. Gollan had five runners in the race including the boilover winner, Nettuno, which bolted in at $19. The roughest of his team Ef Troop at $41 ran third.

To be fair Gollan did say Nettuno ‘could be a big knockout chance’. But he also described Situation Room (10th) as ‘an underrated giant-killer) and declared he was not worried by the wide draw with Zoustyle, describing the horse as a ‘summer star’.’


STEWARDS questioned trainer T. Gollan and jockey D. Thornton regarding the tactics adopted, in particular jockey Thornton’s actions in restraining his mount during the early stages and taking up a position at the tail of the field which is in contrast to the horse’s most recent racing pattern. Mr Gollan advised Stewards that from the wide barrier, he had given no specific instructions as to where in the field the horse would settle, other than advised jockey Thornton that he should seek cover as the horse has previously had a tendency to over-race. Jockey Thornton confirmed these instructions, adding that due to the horse’s tendency to over-race, he was reluctant to push forward in the early stages as he was concerned this may fire the horse up. He also added that despite his lack of vigor in the early stages, the gelding still over-raced during the early and middle stages. Stewards were satisfied with the explanations provided. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be displaying a slow post-race recovery. Trainer T. Gollan advised Stewards that it was his intention to send the gelding for a spell.


WE’VE decided to give a few ‘whinges’ received in the past fortnight a run but think one particular contributor might be ‘taking the mickey’.


FREDDIE J of MELBOURNE poses this ridiculous question:

‘HOW much better would Australian racing be if we barred all the Kiwi trainers and jockeys?

Just think how much prizemoney and percentages would be spread around if we sent the likes of Chris Waller, Bjorn Baker, Mike Moroney, James Macdonald, Jason Collett etc back to where they came from.

I’ve got another against Kiwis. I just find the horses they train and ride hard to follow and that goes back to the era of the Cassidy’s.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gee Freddy, I’m surprised you don’t want to include the Sheik owners, the South Africans and the ‘Poms’ in the banned list while you’re at it.



BRENDAN J of VICTORIA sent this contribution concerning race-callers:

‘THERE’S plenty we can learn from the innovation of Racing NSW but might I date to suggest there is one area where they could learn from Victoria?

You might have read about the Young Caller’s Day at Kyneton earlier this week where seven hopefuls joined arguably the best in the land in Matt Hill.

Edward Sadler, Travis Noonan, Patrick Doyle, Ethan Mills and Dayne Barry were all part of the initiative but it was particularly momentous for 21-year-old Josh Heriot who called his first race broadcast live on TV.

Perhaps Racing NSW should follow this lead and have a Young Callers’ Initiative under the watchful eye of their ‘gun’ Darren Flindell, who returned to Sydney after a successful sting in Hong Kong.

Now to get to the point of my story, while there are some terrific callers across the state in NSW, a couple have well and truly reached their use-by date. I won’t embarrass one in particular who should have been pensioned off by now – his calls are woeful.’




‘WHY doesn’t Daniel Stackhouse gets the accolades he deserves despite winning the Victorian jockeys’ premiership last season?

Stacky showcased is talents with a successful double on Thousand Guineas Day at Caulfield winning the Blue Sapphire Stakes on Run Harry Run and the MRC Foundation Handicap on So Risque.

Michael Dee stole the spotlight with four winners (an outstanding riding effort) and JMac hit the headlines when Joliestar won the G1 Thousand Guineas. Damien Oliver failed to fire on his farewell day in Melbourne but attracted more attention than Stackhouse.

Don’t worry Stacky, you are building a mammoth following amongst us punters who are happy for you to remain one of the ‘best kept secrets’ in Victorian racing.’



CLIFF K of the GOLD COAST writes:

‘GOOD to see Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michael Rodd back in the winner’s list in Queensland.

The reasons for his long absence from the saddle have been well documented and here’s hoping he builds steady momentum both with his health and career.

One only has to look at some of his rides since returning to recognise how many lengths Rodd has on the best of them in Queensland – and that, in my opinion – includes James Orman who rides too hot and cold for my liking.’



THE legendary Dr Turf headed his legion of punting followers in the right direction when he suggested on RSN Sports Radio on Sunday morning that Australia was ‘overs’ in their clash with India in the World Cup Final.

The surprise result proved once again the pitfalls of odds-on betting whether it be on the horses, dogs or sport in general. It’s a fast road to the poor house for punters.

Spare a thought for the Indian Prime Minister having to present the World Cup to the underdog Aussies on a day of devastation and despair for millions of his people.

They say it was the darkest day since the death of Mother Theresa – no doubt followed by a similar period of mourning but for a different reason.

Watching the Aussies silence a crowd of 130,000 screaming Indian fans in the biggest sports stadium in the world at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on the banks of the Sabarmati River was pure magic.

It took three hours to get fans through the gates but seemed like only 30 minutes for them to disperse after Australia’s win. The magnificent fireworks for the presentation seemed wasted taking place almost in front of an empty stadium.

Back here in Australia – where our Indian friends have been giving us plenty in the lead up to the final against their unbeaten side – it was obvious what had happened a few hours earlier. Turban Tommy had not listened to my advice about taking the 'shorts' and delivered the daily rag onto the roof of my house rather than the driveway.

It brought back memories of a previous World Cup Final hosted in India and Pakistan in 1987 when Australia beat England. We were visiting our late, great mate Chris Collins who was at the time the Racing Editor of the South Morning China Post in Hong Kong.

Chris – a good cricketer in his own right – invited us to join him to watch the final at the Hong Kong Cricket Club in the heart of Hong Kong Island surrounded by the hills and greenery of Wong Nai Chung Gap.

At the time the ‘Brits’ had control of Honkers and larrikin Chris liked nothing more than ‘taking the piss’ out of them which the locals loved.

That World Cup win by the brave lads from Down Under provided the perfect opportunity and just about every Pom at the Club (there were plenty of them) copped it from him big-time.

Chris would have been looking down and enjoying the job that ‘man of the match’ Travis Head (who the Indian fans labelled ‘Dick’) did on the previously unbeaten World Cup favorites – dispensing of their captain with a magnificent catch then scoring over a century.

From an Aussie perspective it was disappointing that Channel Nine didn’t cross to the World Cup final until after their News commitments had concluded. Just imagine if they did this for State of Origin or crossed to the Melbourne Cup when it was half over.

Watching the big crowd via TV aerial shots as they jostled and jockeyed to get through the turnstiles as time approached for the first ball to be bowled reminded us of occasions when ‘gate men’ had got under our skin.

How many can remember an occasion when some over-enthusiastic attendant or security guard has adopted ‘big stick’ tactics when all we were trying to do was park a car so that we could enjoy an occasion or even do our jobs?

Champion trainer Ciaron Maher copped a $4,000 fine from stewards for using improper language in two mobile phone calls with Racing Victoria's Head of Integrity Jamie Stier after Champions Day – the final meeting of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.

Chief Steward Rob Montgomery explained that an ‘over-enthusiastic gate person’ refused Maher entrance from the rails to the horse area.

“Ciaron had his trainer’s badge but during the Cup Carnival special accreditation was required which he didn't have and he couldn’t get into the restricted area. He called Jamie Stier for help but this was a VRC and not an RV matter and Jamie couldn’t so Ciaron let rip with a few expletives,” Montgomery explained.

It’s a bit rough when a bloke can’t even get to his horses stabled on track waiting to race. That’s just not cricket.



IT has to be one of the best pieces of ‘spin doctoring’ in decades – the Murdoch Media declaring Gold Coast Magic Millions day 2024 will put Queensland racing back on the map.

LGHR recognises the attraction of and contribution made (especially to the pockets of one of the country’s richest men) by Magic Millions but one would have thought performances at the Queensland Winter Carnival continue to put the Sunshine State on the racing map.

As our old mate in the north, Col Dixon, constantly reminds us the Spring Carnival was another example of how winter in Brisbane can prove a magical launching pad – on this occasion Without A Fight which went on to win the Caulfield – Melbourne Cup double.

What the story should have read is that the Magic Millions on a new track will put Gold Coast racing back on the map – and it certainly needs a boost after months of racing on a Poly Track that is despised by many owners, trainers, jockeys and most of all punters.

The Poly track has been – and always will be – a piece of crap. Just have a look at the field sizes last Saturday – four in the first, four in the second, seven in the third, five in the fourth, five in the fifth, seven in the sixth and four in the seventh. What an embarrassment!

How can Racing Queensland or the GCTC justify running a meeting with just 36 starters – no room for each-way betting on any of the seven races on the card?

After the 2023 Magic Millions disaster, which saw the races on the Saturday washed out and rescheduled for the following Thursday, the GCTC needs things to go right this year on their new track.

More than $14 million in stakes will be up for grabs with a record eight $1 million-plus races to be run. RQ CEO Jason Scott told the Murdoch Media that Magic Millions would be Queensland’s most wagered day in history, with 11 races programmed for the first time on the new Gold Coast track.

“We will eclipse Stradbroke Day by 40 to 50 per cent, that is what we are expecting,” Scott said. What he forgot to mention is that largely it is a race day for graduates of a private enterprise sale run by Magic Millions which again raises the old chestnut of restriction of trade – with most of this money (a good percentage of it from RQ coffers) can only be won by horses sold through MM Sales.

Standby for wall-to-wll ‘spin doctoring’ from the mainstream racing media over the next month!



THE ‘master for form reversals’ – Chris Waller – was at it again last Saturday when Roots won the Group 2 Hot Danish Stakes at Rosehill Gardens after being heavily backed.

At her previous start Roots went like a mule when 11th of 12 in the $2 million Invitation. Two of her rivals in the Hot Danish also contested the Invitation. Royal Merchant ran 6th and never got clear. Dalchini came from last and ran 7th.

Royal Merchant understandably ran favorite in the Hot Danish (anyone who follows the form would have to rate her higher than Roots if they didn’t allow for the Waller form reversal factor). She was beaten almost four lengths (a turnaround of six lengths) this time. Dalchini was beaten almost five lengths by Roots.

Stewards didn’t even bother asking a question about the form reversal – as so often happens with the Waller horses. Perhaps they just relied on the mainstream racing media alibis that Tommy Berry recommended the addition of blinkers. He wasn’t such a genius recommending gear changes with well backed stablemate First Light which beat one home when he rode it in the first.

The Roots situation (and we might mention that the LGHR LATE MAIL so used to Waller form reversals tipped the mare to our clients as one of the BEST BETS of the DAY at ROSHEILL) is why punters have had a gutful of betting on Sydney racing.



WE received an interesting email from an owner of several horses in Brisbane suggesting that if the promising Antino was his it would now be in a leading stable interstate.

Here’s what he had to say:

‘Tony Gollan might be a top trainer but he has to accept some of the blame for what has been a frustrating Spring Carnival for his good galloper Antino.

‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing but one wonders if Jimmy Orman should ever have been sacked off the horse after its initial failure in Melbourne. Blake Shinn certainly didn’t do much better when he took over.

‘But the ride of Sam Clipperton wasn’t any better in Sydney on Saturday despite the revelation that Antino pulled up lame and coughing. One wonders if the horse should ever have started in that race.

‘If Antino was mine it would now be with Chris Waller or the Ciaron Maher-Dave Eustace stable. You don’t get enough chances with a good horse to cop mistakes like have happened this spring.’



ONE of the biggest whinges this week has come from several sections of the industry gob-smacked by the decision to overturn the racing ban imposed on Tyler Schiller for careless riding in the Golden Eagle.

You might remember that was the feature race where severe interference prompted internationally experienced jockey Damian Lane to declare he was ‘glad I came back to the jockeys’ room alive’ while his mount Amelia’s Jewel needed stitches to lacerations suffered to her fetlock.

An Appeals Panel has since cleared Schiller of wrong-doing from the incident, paving the way for him to ride in The Hunter this weekend. The Group 1-winner was found to be a victim of circumstances’ when Strait Acer shifted in abruptly and caused a domino reaction to runners to his inside, including race favourite Amelia's Jewel.

"I thought at the time it was a bit harsh that I did get suspended because I did everything by the rule book," Schiller said. "It was just unfortunate that my horse didn't react how I would have liked and in turn caused pretty heavy interference. “I understand that but for them to pin that on me, I thought I was a bit stiff.”

Those who thought the initial suspension was light (stewards took into account his good riding record) are now even angrier that he has escaped penalty altogether.

But that’s racing (especially in NSW). Let’s see what happens to Jamie Kah and the ‘white powder’ inquiry in Victoria where she has been thrown under a bus by supposed friends.



PETER MAIR raises an interesting topic following a comment piece on another high profile website:

‘Oblique references raise questions.

Much as I have long railed against the 'compromised' mainstream racing media, it is the demands of employers that compromise the independence of the galley slaves. (Christ knows, I ran at the RBA with a tongue-tie and blinkers for nearly 40 years.)

This was on Racenet (in the Callander column this week):

A media figure has been battling mental health issues due to some constant barrage of criticism and sniping from a self-interest group in racing. Surely a differing of opinion shouldn't lead to personal attacks.

It may be about (initials with-held) who galleys under the Murdoch lash.

When I was never welcome as a consumer advocate, (initial with-held) was nonetheless always a very nice person -- he is vulnerable, has had health issues, does not need renewed stress.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The high profile turf scribe you refer to Peter is a nice bloke but the constant sniping at him we receive from stakeholders (especially owners and trainers) is that he arguably is more interested in promoting major figures in the industry (like PVL) than protecting the punters. We wish him a quick recovery which means rest not constantly working at more venues than most each week.



GREG from the GOLD COAST makes his weekly contribution:

‘WELL done to the Gold Coast Turf Club for having a minute’s silence at 11am Saturday (to honor the fallen of past wars).

But back to my on-going subject of concern - throughout Australia there are a lot of track riders from many countries from around the world.

Some have been here for years being sponsored by big stables. One such Korean lad originally was in Queensland but is now in Melbourne with a big stable where he is a valued member and is very happy.

There is a huge pool of track riders. Some could be jockeys but sadly here in Queensland they can't be at a time when we desperately need more riders in the bush.

Jimmy Chung was track rider in Sydney and now a successful jockey in New Zealand is just another example of what we are missing out on in the north.



WE thought this story by ANNE DAVIES in the Australian arm of THE GUARDIAN was worth reproducing:

NICK McTaggart was Australia’s most senior operational officer investigating money laundering until he retired in 2016. He now runs a consultancy advising corporations on identifying financial crime.

He said racing offered the perfect environment for money laundering because it attracts the rich and involves big sums, which means proceeds from crime don’t stand out.

“The movement of money can be laundering money from proceeds of crime or it could be people who just love the punt,” he said. “It makes it harder to tell what’s going on.”

Money laundering is the process of “cleaning” money that comes from criminal activities, such as drug dealing, so that it looks like it has come from a legitimate source.

Another major reason for money laundering can be to help move money between jurisdictions.

“The Chinese government [has a] restriction on moving capital out of [the] country – $50,000 – so even normal businesses structure their payments,” said McTaggart. “Any mechanism that can get money out of China will be jumped on.”

In the past, casinos were a favored means of laundering money because winnings came with a receipt and were not taxable. But with casinos under much closer scrutiny after several inquiries in the last three years, other methods are being sought. These include real estate, cash businesses and investment in racehorses.

Those involved in selling thoroughbreds and syndicators selling shares in racehorses are not subject to the anti-money laundering requirements that apply to banks, stockbrokers and casinos, which are required to know who they are dealing with and report transactions over $10,000.

Austrac confirmed to Guardian Australia that while corporate bookmakers and on-course bookmakers are subject to anti-money laundering rules, Austrac’s regulation does not cover broader ownership, purchase and selling of thoroughbred horses.

Rule 36A of the Australian “Rules of Racing” say that Racing Australia, state racing authorities or the stewards “may restrict any person from holding an ownership or lease interest in a horse if, in their opinion, the person is not a fit and proper person to own or lease a horse”.

The rule makes reference to being convicted of an indictable offence, or a horse welfare offence or being a bankrupt – but says fitness and propriety is not limited to this.

McTaggart said he had concerns about how much checking was actually being done by the racing authorities to help ensure that the industry and investment in thoroughbreds was not being used to hide the source of funds.

He said the stewards were responsible for administering the fit and proper test that applies to racing, but they also had other duties including ensuring integrity in racing.

“There are only a handful of stewards and 300 races a week. It’s a matter of capacity,” he said. “This sort of activity is not open, it’s not apparent so the chances of finding it is low.”

McTaggart told the ABC in 2021 that racing regulators like Racing NSW are powerless to stop some criminals: “It’s not within Racing NSW’s bailiwick or charter to be doing background checks on the individuals involved in horse racing, unless they have a suspicion that these individuals are actually doing something by way of illegal activity with a horse or fixing races or issues like that.”

“So, their ability to be able to scrutinise activity is fairly limited in its terms.”


Spending on thoroughbreds has more than tripled in a decade.

In January 2023, horse enthusiasts splurged $230.16m at the Magic Millions yearling sale, compared with $69.19m in 2013. Gross sales at Inglis’s premier event, the Easter yearling sale, have risen from $84m in 2013 to a peak of $153.08m in 2022. This represents only a portion of the investment in horses, as there are many other sales during the year.

McTaggart said: “You could make a confident assumption that it’s getting bigger by way of money and it’s lucrative like any other form of money laundering. This is just another avenue.”

Because of its specialised nature, using horses as a form of money laundering would take some expertise. He said it’s likely those criminals who are attracted to it are also doing it partly as a leisure activity, using some of their proceeds of crime.

“If someone buys a horse [with illicit funds] at the yearling sales for $2m… then that horse might never race,” said McTaggart. “It can be used for breeding or on-sold or perhaps it does race and you can make money. But it’s hard to assess peoples’ motivations [for the investment].

“Horse racing is also a good way of minimising tax because you don’t know what are the legitimate expenses. I mean, how much is the horse going to eat?” he said.

Syndication of horses – dividing ownership into shares – also makes it difficult to track ownership and act on suspected money laundering.

Horse ownership records are held by Racing Australia, require that a person be nominated as an owner and that other shareholders be identified.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic), which would generally supervise the offering of financial instruments like shares in horses, has delegated the responsibility to the racing authorities.

But often shares in syndicates are held by further syndicates or trusts or companies, which can further obscure which individuals ultimately benefit.

“Transparency is a big problem,” said one horse breeder.

It is also hard for authorities to seize horses where they have been found to have been bought with the proceeds of crime, particularly when the horse has been syndicated into shares.

The director of forensic services at Vincents accountants in Brisbane, Ian McKinnon, believes that syndication of racehorses in Australia is likely being used by some to launder the proceeds of crime and hide wealth..”

“Horse racing syndicates allow horse enthusiasts to invest in expensive horses with a view to generating massive returns either from prize money or the horse’s reproductive capacity,” he said. “Horse syndication is largely unregulated and is recognised particularly in the USA to be used by Mexican drug cartels to launder drug monies

McTaggart said the law has now been changed to allow crime authorities to take an order over the share of an asset and to leave it in place, rather than seizing it with all the attendant problems.

The chief executive of Racing Victoria, Andrew Jones, said that as a general proposition, monitoring money laundering and the proceeds of crime was the responsibility of Austrac and the police in the first instance.

“That said, if Racing Victoria’s Integrity Department or Stewards become aware or receive evidence of any criminal or illegal activity, including convictions relating to money laundering, they will investigate and act accordingly under the Rules [of Racing]”.

“We are happy to (and routinely do) investigate matters and/or people where there is a clear case to do so,” he said.

“It is clearly open to government to extend Austrac’s remit to thoroughbred sales should it see fit.”

Racing NSW declined to comment.

Racing Australia’s chief executive, Paul Eriksson, denied that the thoroughbred industry was a significant haven for illegal funds and declined to answer more detailed questions about the measures the industry took to ensure integrity.

The chief executive of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, Tom Reilly, said: “Racing authorities across Australia now have visibility over who owns a thoroughbred from the moment they are born to the time they leave the industry. These regulators also have the power and responsibility to ensure that all owners are fit and proper persons and we strongly encourage them to use this authority.”


One of the most famous cases of alleged money laundering in racing is Damion Flower.

Flower, an owner of champion racehorses and former baggage handler, is currently serving 28 years in prison for his role in importing 225kg of cocaine, after pleading guilty in 2022 to one count of importing a commercial quantity of prohibited drugs between June 2016 and May 2019 and one count of dealing with the proceeds of crime equal to or greater than $100,000.

Flower had initially been banned by stewards in 2013 from working in the thoroughbred industry as a stablehand, because of questions about his character. He had a declared history of violence and was bankrupt at the time.

But as his wealth exponentially grew and he became a major investor in thoroughbreds, Flower was feted in racing circles, to the extent that by 2017 RacingNSW signed him up as an investor – he paid $1.8m for the right to race a horse in the inaugural the Everest race, NSW’s answer to the Melbourne Cup.

Between 2013 and 2019 Flower spent $30m on horses at the Magic Millions. Some of these horses were syndicated – divided into shares and then legitimately sold – to some of the big names in racing, including radio shock jock Alan Jones, rugby league commentator, Phil ‘Gus’ Gould and adman John Singleton. There is no suggestion any of his co-owners, including these men, were aware of his criminal activities.

Snitzel, possibly his best horse, made millions through winnings and later breeding fees, with estimates that, all up, Flower had earned $200m from his equine investments.

But in May 2019 Flower was arrested. As fast as he had risen, he disappeared from the track. Reportedly, Racing NSW initially banned him from all stables and racecourses in the state and froze in a trust his share of any prize money won by his horses pending the outcome of criminal charges.

Later, after the conviction in 2021 and an inquiry by Racing NSW which found him guilty of misconduct, he was banned from racing for 17 years. According to reports he was also fined $100,000 and banned from owning or part owning, but not breeding, thoroughbred racehorses.

Racing NSW declined to comment to Guardian Australia, but has previously rejected criticism that the horse racing industry takes a disinterested approach to where money comes from. A spokesperson told the ABC in 2021 it has a “rigorous licensing process”, receives intelligence from law enforcement agencies and had previously refused to register owners who had alleged links to organised crime figures such as motorcycle gangs.

He said Racing NSW ran “probity checks” on Flower because of “some rumour and innuendo” in 2017 but accepted his application for The Everest slot because he “had a clean criminal record with the NSW Police”.

“Racing NSW, when assessing a person’s fitness and propriety, does so in accordance with all principles of natural justice and procedural fairness,” he said.

The NSW Crime Commission seized millions of dollars worth of property, horses and cash from Flower as a result of the arrest.

The Daily Telegraph recently reported that Flower has retained an interest in Snitzel even though he is in jail.

Arrowfield stud, where Snitzel now resides, charges $247,000 to breed the stallion and Flower still owns a 10% share via his company. There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Arrowfield stud.



STEWARDS’ REPORTS from MELBOURNE CUP WEEK that have spiked the interest of punters and form followers:


RACE 6, CYLINDER: Rider Tim Clark reported that the colt travelled well, however weakened over the concluding stages and may have come to the end of its preparation. A post-race veterinary examination revealed a poor recovery. Trainer James Cummings confirmed Cylinder would be spelled.

RACE 8, BARBIE’S FOX: Eased won from 300m. A post-race veterinary examination revealed cardiac arrhythmia. As this was the second time Barbie’s Fox has suffered cardiac arrhythmia, the mare must not start in a further race, official trial, or jump-out until the Stewards have received a satisfactory report from a qualified veterinary surgeon with special qualifications in equine medicine which includes the reules of: (a) echocardiography performed by that veterinarian at rest; (b) electrocardiography (ECG) before by that veterinarian at rest and at exercise and (c) any other examination that the veterinarian requests.


RACE 7, VAUBAN: Rider Ryan Moore could offer no explanation for the performance, which in his opinion was disappointing. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any obvious abnormality. Stewards will follow up with the stable.

GOLD TRIP: For a short distance passing the 600m was held up on the heels of Vauban. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the horse to be lame in the right fore leg. A veterinary clearance is required prior to being permitted to race again.

RACE 8, COMMEMORATIVE: Shortly after the start raced in restricted room and was brushed by Right To Party. Rider James McDonald reported the filly was not comfortable racing in restricted room inside runners. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any obvious abnormality.

RACE 9, MADAME POMMERY: Reared as the start was affected and lost considerable ground (6L). Held-up for a short distance near the 200m. Approaching the 100m raced in restricted room. Trainer Chris Waller advised the mare would now be spelled. Nonetheless, Madame Pommery is now suspended from racing until the mare performs to the satisfaction of Stewards in a jumpout.



RACE 6, ASFOORA: Rider Mitch Aitken reported the mare raced flat and failed to run out a strong 1200m. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any obvious abnormality. Stewards will follow up with the stable.

STAR PATROL: Eased down from the 100m. Rider Ben Melham reported he was at a loss to explain the gelding’s disappointing performance. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any obvious abnormality. Stewards will follow up with the stable.

RACE 7, ALLIGATOR BLOOD: When questioned as to whether there was an opportunity to position closer to Pride Of Jenni approaching the home turn, Tim Clark explained that he was niggling Alligator Blood prior to the home turn where the gelding lacked its normal turn of foot and was unable to make ground. He added Alligator Blood has had a long campaign and has come to the end of its preparation.

RACE 8, WEST WIND BLOWS: Slow to begin. Raced wide in the early stages before crossing to obtain a position near the lead approaching the 1500m. When giving ground near the 200m was steadied off the heels of Zaaki. When questioned, rider Jamie Spencer explained it had been his intention to settle in a forward position and despite being slow to begin, in order to comply with the instructions, he elected to improve his position around the field. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any obvious abnormality.



RACE 4, AFTERLIGHT: Tom Berry reported that he was instructed to ride the mare in a prominent position, however, after beginning only fairly and receiving some minor crowding at the start, Afterlight did not show any early speed and, consequently, settled at the rear of the field. He said that when being steadied to obtain cover in the early stages his mount got its head up and raced ungenerously and, in his view, gave the impression that the mare resented the Norton bit, which had been reapplied to its gear for this race. He said that near the 1000m, when he identified that Cholante was racing in a three-wide position without cover near midfield, he elected to improve forward on Afterlight to race with cover behind that runner, however, when Cholante was able to shift into the one-off position near the 600m, Afterlight then was forced to work hard racing three wide and without cover rounding the home turn. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

RACE 8: KOVALICA: A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be displaying cardiac arrhythmia for the first time. Trainer Chris Waller was advised of the provisions of the Racing Australia Code of Practice under AR88B(2)(b).

AMELIA’S JEWEL: Tyler Schiller (Strait Acer) was found guilty of a charge of careless riding under AR131(a) in that near the 300m he failed to stop riding and straighten his mount sooner than he did, which resulted in Strait Acer making contact with Age Of Kings, which was severely hampered and crowded onto Amelia’s Jewel, which was severely checked when it lost its rightful running. T Schiller’s license to ride in races was suspended for a period to commence on Sunday 12 November 2023 and to expire on Saturday 25 November 2023, on which day he may ride. In assessing penalty Stewards had regard to the severity of the interference particularly to Amelia’s Jewel and the status of the race, however, had regard also to T. Schiller’s good race riding record in that he had had 637 race rides since his last careless riding suspension and also that T. Schiller did make an endeavour to correct his mount, albeit this corrective action was not in a timely manner. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the mare to have sustained a laceration to the near-fore fetlock. Stewards will follow up on the post-race condition of Amelia’s Jewel in the days subsequent.

RACE 10, SEBONACK: When questioned regarding his riding in the straight App. Zac Lloyd stated that in the early part of the home straight his mount was one-paced and initially gave no response to his riding. He said, however, that after the 300m the gelding then commenced to respond and improved quickly to be racing close to the heels of Tristate, which was commencing to lose ground. He said, as a consequence, he endeavoured to shift to the outside of Tristate, however, as he did this that runner shifted out, which resulted in Sebonack being checked for some distance when very awkwardly positioned behind Tristate and Defiant Heart. He said that he then directed Sebonack out around Defiant Heart, however a run did not develop for him to take, which resulted in Sebonack going to the line without being tested.



RACE 1, DR EVIL: When questioned regarding his riding in the early part of the straight, Tom Berry explained that, after racing behind State Of America throughout the race, prior to straightening he shifted out and felt that Pandano, although under pressure at that stage, would stay on as it usually does. He said, however, that soon after straightening he became awkward behind Pandano, which failed to quicken, and he immediately switched back to follow State Of America, which was in the process of obtaining a run between Hemsworth and Pandano. When questioned as to whether he had the opportunity to continue to shift out to the outside of Pandano, T. Berry explained that when he made the decision to shift back to the inside, The Carpet Bagger, which was racing three wide outside Pandano, still appeared to be travelling well and he felt that the rider of that runner would not allow him to obtain clear running, and this was the reason he shifted back to follow State Of America. He further stated that when State Of America took some time to accelerate, he was not able to obtain clear running on Dr Evil until just prior to the 200m.

RACE 3, ACAPPELLA SUN: When questioned regarding his riding and in respect to the mare becoming almost detached from the field in the early stages, and further regarding his riding in the early part of the home straight, T. Schiller stated that he was instructed to ride Acappella Sun near the rear of the field, in accordance with its established racing pattern. He said that from the outside barrier the gelding began awkwardly and immediately settled at the tail of the field. He said that as he had instructions to ride the mare where she was comfortable in the early stages, he did not ride it along to be positioned closer to the field, although he recognised that he was a number of lengths off the second last runner. He said that he allowed Acappella Sun to gradually make ground approaching and making the home turn. He said he then allowed the mare to build momentum in the early part of the straight and placed it under full pressure approaching the 200m. He said that he rode Acappella Sun in this manner acting on the instructions of trainer Mr M. Dale, who said that Acappella Sun has a short sprint. When interviewed, trainer Mr M. Dale confirmed the instructions, and particularly his advice to T. Schiller in respect of the short nature of Acapella Sun’s finishing sprint. T. Schiller was advised that while Stewards would not take action in respect to his riding on this occasion, he was told to ensure that he does not let his mounts get too far out of their ground and not be left with too much to do in the latter stages of a race.

RACE 10, DYNAMIC IMPACT: Slow to begin. App. A. Roper was unable to offer any explanation for the disappointing performance of the gelding. She said that after settling at the rear of the field she anticipated that her mount would close off well, however, the gelding gave no response to her riding in the straight and was relatively one paced. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.



RACE 2, CABOCHE: When questioned Nash Rawiller stated that he intended to ride Caboche in a more forward position, however after beginning awkwardly, the horse settled back in the field. He said that he elected to make a forward move after leaving the 800m as he felt the pace was not strong and felt that those horses in a more forward position were enjoying a comfortable run. He said that he was able to improve around runners to race outside the leader Father’s Day at the 500m and was not required to put the horse under full pressure until approaching the 300m. He felt that Caboche was unable to sustain its run, as he anticipated it would, and was one paced to the line.

RACE 8, ANTINO: When questioned SAM Clipperton stated that Antino did not begin well and despite being ridden along did not show any early speed which resulted in the horse settling further back in the field than was intended. He said that Antino was held up for clear running from on straightening until the 300m, where Converge shifted out which allowed him to place Antino under pressure. He said whilst Antino again became held-up from the 200m, the horse appeared one paced and did not stretch out as he anticipated it would. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be lame (3/5) in the off foreleg. Trainer Tony Gollan advised that he also noted the horse had coughed on a number of occasions after the race and that it is his intention to have Antino subject to a full veterinary examination and this would include an endoscopic examination. Mr. Gollan was advised that a veterinary clearance would be required prior to racing or barrier trialling.



FROM Riff Rocket’s success in the Derby to Without A Fight’s triumphant Melbourne Cup victory and Imperatriz’s world-class win in the Champions Sprint, Flemington’s Melbourne Cup carnival delivered a host of memorable storylines on the track.

DAMIEN RACTLIFFE reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that off the track, it was a carnival to remember, with 260,000 spectators enjoying the fine weather over four days of racing.

James McDonald reminded everyone why he’s the country’s premier jockey, winning three group 1s across the week, while Declan Bates’ Group 1 double on Pride Of Jenni on consecutive Saturdays deserves all the accolades it gets.

The Melbourne Cup was also fatality free for the third straight year after tighter safety protocols were employed by Racing Victoria and the Victoria Racing Club following the 2020 spring carnival.

It was also Damien Oliver’s final Cup carnival. The champion hoop had three winners across Cup week, including a bold-running ride on Kalapour in the Archer Stakes to help get the horse into the Melbourne Cup.

Ride of the week

Declan Bates, on Pride Of Jenni, to win the Champions Mile. Seven days earlier he led from start to finish to win the Empire Rose. He repeated the dose on Saturday. “He said, ‘I suppose we’ll adopt the same tactics’ and I said I suppose you will,” co-trainer Ciaron Maher said. Bates had won just one group 1 race, back in 2019, before his pair of wins in Cup week.

Roughie of the week

Sheraz, who ran third in the Melbourne Cup at 200-1. “Chris [Waller] and the team came up with the plan just to have him tucked away for as long as possible and once we produced him in the straight he let down with a nice turn of foot and stayed the trip terrifically,” said jockey Beau Mertens.

The fairytale win

The Maggstar, in the greys race on Melbourne Cup day for Ukrainian trainer Tetyana Furdetska, paying $26. “I can’t believe I’m here at Flemington. I dream about Flemington all my life,” said Furdestka, who has trained just 196 starters for eight career winners.

Unlucky runner

Soulcombe, who missed the start, but found the winner’s back, before zigging and zagging in the straight and flashing home late to finish second to Without A Fight in the Melbourne Cup. “Obviously very proud of him putting on a good performance,” jockey Joao Moreira said. “Things didn’t really go his way. Not jumping that well made it a little bit difficult for him, as well as getting into a bit of traffic at the 600, 700 metres also counted against him winning the race but I’m very proud of how he ran.”

Quote of the week

”I thought Without A Fight was the right choice … I crossed the line saying, ‘I told you so, I picked the right horse’.” - Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Mark Zahra, who chose to ride Without A Fight and not last year’s winner Gold Trip.

Horse to follow

Muramasa, winner of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, over 2600 metres on day four of Cup week. That was his third win in a row, and given he’s only had 10 career starts, he looks to have plenty of upside – and is potentially a cups contender next year. “I thought he was going to turn into something one day and hopefully, it is a Melbourne Cup horse,” co-trainer Natalie Young said.

Melbourne Cup week, by the numbers

  • 61.7kms worth of races over four days
  • 16,500 rose bushes
  • 262,165 people through the gates
  • $30.16 million in prizemoney
  • Zero fatalities
  • 20.9 degrees – the average 3pm temperature on each of the four days

Attendances across each of the four days

Derby Day: 73,056
Cup: 84,492
Oaks: 46,596
Stakes: 58,021

Prizemoney across each of the four days:

Derby Day: $7,000,000
Cup: $9,935,000
Oaks: $2,975,000
Stakes: $10,250,000

Ron Hutchison Award (3-2-1 for top three finishes for jockeys)

James McDonald: 30 points (four wins, eight seconds, two thirds)
Jamie Kah: 23 points (six wins, two seconds, one third)
Blake Shinn: 22 points (three wins, four seconds, five thirds)




IF the Labor Government and Racing Minister Grace Grace are to win back industry confidence the first thing they need to do is advise stakeholders ASAP that Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Shane Gillard will be told to look for another job.

When it comes to concerns over the integrity of racing in Queensland politicians need to start blaming the butcher and not the block before it is too late.

From a stakeholders viewpoint they need to remember the old saying ‘be careful what you wish for.’ When – not if – the LNP wins next year’s election industry supporters need to warn them not to scrap QRIC totally but instead dismantle it and find the people with the right credentials to run it.

Removal of QRIC could mean a return to the bad old days where the Racing Queensland Board took back the appointment of stewards and that has terrible ramifications as was learnt during the era when Chairman Bob Bentley and his Integrity sidekick Dr Bob Mason were running the show.

Archie Butterfly reports on his subscriber-only website that the Racing Alliance Group representing stakeholders met on Melbourne Cup day with Racing Minister Grace Grace and expressed their ‘lack of confidence in the ability and competence of QRIC to effectively manage the integrity of racing in Queensland.’

An Alliance member told Archie: “The feeling among members is that the QRIC is basically arrogant, aloof, and continues to make poor decisions. Its decision making is often dysfunctional and fails to follow agreed protocols. As an organisation it has failed to win the trust of peak racing industry bodies and stakeholders in general.

‘The Racing Minister as expected initially tried to push back with the usual lines and political spin about the QRIC model being world’s best practice. When the Minister was presented with a folio of damning and compelling documented evidence of a myriad of examples to the contrary, she was forced to drop the pretence and understand the industry’s deep concerns.

‘With elections looming she and the Government cannot afford to be faced with an industry revolt, which is all but certain if the deep systematic issues and the failures of the current leadership cannot be addressed.

‘The concerns of the Alliance that were expressed to the Minister are representative of the views of the broader racing community across the State. Enough is enough we are saying, and the wide range of issues the industry have expressed must be fixed, starting with the dysfunctional QRIC integrity model and the oppositional approach of the current leadership to working with jockeys, trainers, owners, breeders, punters and the broader public at large.’

From a media perspective, LGHR finds the current Commissioner Gillard the complete opposite to his predecessors who were only too keen to keep the industry informed and recognised the job done by all sections of the media.

We were advised that the newlook QRIC does not recognise websites like peterprofit and letsgohorseracing and that the Commissioner only wants to deal with the Murdoch Media. That comes as no surprise considering the spin-doctoring that one of their top scribes delivers every time he farts.

As ‘the Butterfly’ reported: ‘Employees high-ranking and small have been leaving the joint in droves under Gillard’s watch, including a number of his own senior appointments to senior roles such as Chris Reid, General Manager of External Relations and former General Counsel Dominique Murphy.’

Mystery surrounds both of their departures. When LGHR asked why Ms Murphy departed LGHR was told to ask her. In the case of Mr Reid, QRIC claims he is on holidays. If QRIC operates on a platform of integrity and openness that is certainly missing when it comes to answering questions that the industry is entitled to answers to. But that has been the case since Commissioner Gillard rode into town.

There are plenty of desperately-needed votes at stake for the Government in an all-important election in 12 months’ time which they will need a minor miracle to win.

You could help win a lot of those Minister Grace by showing Commissioner Gillard the door and this would be one occasion when the industry wouldn’t need an explanation of why he had to go from the Government or QRIC.



DAMIEN Lane didn’t mince words as the jockeys paraded through after contesting the Golden Eagle ‘roller Derby’ at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Asked to comment on the performance of star West Australian mare Amelia’s Jewel, Lane responded: ‘Glad I came back to the Jockeys’ Room alive.’

It was a sad indictment on the running of the second richest race in Australia and arguably justified concerns of critics who claimed the field sizes of 17 for the Golden Eagle and 20 in the Four Pillars were excessive.

Tyler Schiller, who rode Strait Acer, was the recipient of a 12-day suspension for the severe interference suffered by Amelia’s Jewel which saw stewards take into account his good riding record.

The Rosehill meeting, which saw an internationally experienced panel headed by Steve Railton and Kim Kelly, in charge, posted this report: 

AMELIA’S JEWEL: T. Schiller (Strait Acer) was found guilty of a charge of careless riding under AR131(a) in that near the 300m he failed to stop riding and straighten his mount sooner than he did, which resulted in Strait Acer making contact with Age Of Kings, which was severely hampered and crowded onto Amelia’s Jewel, which was severely checked when it lost its rightful running. T Schiller’s license to ride in races was suspended for a period to commence on Sunday 12 November 2023 and to expire on Saturday 25 November 2023, on which day he may ride. In assessing penalty Stewards had regard to the severity of the interference particularly to Amelia’s Jewel and the status of the race, however, had regard also to T. Schiller’s good race riding record in that he had had 637 race rides since his last careless riding suspension and also that T. Schiller did make an endeavour to correct his mount, albeit this corrective action was not in a timely manner. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the mare to have sustained a laceration to the near-fore fetlock. Stewards will follow up on the post-race condition of Amelia’s Jewel in the days subsequent.

Another Victorian jockey Craig Williams didn’t hold back when asked his thoughts on the roughly run feature, in which he rode Age of Kings, which was knocked out of business.

Williams said: AGE OF KINGS (Craig Williams): ‘I was in the running line three wide with cover. Unfortunately after straightening we were holding our momentum but we had our position completely taken when we had pressure from both sides and got taken out of the race.’

The Stewards’ Report on this incident suggests some of the blame could be laid here at the feet of Schiller as well which has observers questioning whether his penalty was far too lenient.

AGE OF KINGS: At the 300m was checked when severely hampered due to crowding from Strait Acer, which shifted in before being corrected.

ONE of our contributors, admittedly from Melbourne, had this to say about the above:

‘If Racing NSW programs races for millions of dollars on a regular basis then stewards need to read the riot act to jockeys and implement penalties (including major fines) that are commensurate with the stakes being competed for. Interestingly, the Melbourne Cup, with a similar big field, appeared to be run free of any careless riding.’



SYDNEY-based Kiwi trainer Bjorn Baker goes over like a bit of a lair to those who don’t know him well.

His comments after Ozzmosis scored an upset win in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Saturday got up the nose of a few critics.

Some described the win as a form reversal but that is hardly fair as the three-year-old suffered only its first defeat in five starts when favorite and third to King’s Gambit in the G2 Roman Consul at Rosehill.

Sure it went a lot better in the Coolmore but Baker was the first to admit the horse was ‘a bit off’ before the Roman Consul and had not only improved in his work but had trialled very well since.

Asked about the improvement after the win of Ozzmosis he retaliated with: ‘Did you guys (TVN) have anyone at the trials last Friday. Whoever was watching them, you should sack ‘em all. His trial was outstanding.’



MARK Zahra had the last laugh on critics of his decision to ride Without A Fight rather than last year’s winner Gold Trip in Tuesday’s big two-miler.

Some of those close to the action say Zahra, who completed the big Cups double, found it easier to say ‘no’ to Ciaron Maher than Anthony Freedman, who watched the big race from a wine bar rather than trackside.

Maher waited until the horse had bolted and used the ride of James Macdonald as a ‘scapegoat’ for the plain effort of Gold Trip which finished an out-of-character 17th in the Cup.

Maher said JMac had ridden Gold Trip ‘too close’. That may well have been the case but Without A Fight was clearly too good on the day again justifying the raps of Zahra about the ability of the winner after the Winter Carnival in Queensland.

Talk about Cup flops, the internationals hardly rose to the occasion. Favourite Vauban raced more like a hurdler finishing 14th and his well-backed stablemate Absurde was seventh after failing to run out the trip.

Chris Waller had to be content with second a third, Soulcombe didn’t help his chance by missing away again then had a chequered course in the straight (it wasn’t arguably one of Moreira’s better rides) while form students are still trying to work out how Shiraz, at $151, ran third and stuffed most trifectas and quadrellas.



OUR regular and well-read contributor GREG from the GOLD COAST weighs in again about the apparently unsolvable problem of insufficient jockeys for race meetings in country Queensland:

‘LAST Saturday four horses had to be scratched at Cloncurry and another from Barcaldine because no riders were available.

I'm sure there would have been more from Melbourne Cup day when we read the Stewards’ Reports.

With Singapore closing down I was hoping we would get some jockeys and track riders from there.

I am aware of some riders already moving from Singapore to another country. I'm also aware of some Koreans looking to go to another State in Australia.’




THERE’S only one ‘BIG DANCE’ in Australian racing on the first Tuesday in November and it’s the Melbourne Cup.

That aside, full marks to Sydney officialdom for trying something different to promote more than just a standard race meeting to compliment Cup day.

The Big Dance, Little Dance and now the Barn Dance are by no means ‘novelty events’ with a combined prizemoney pool of $4 million - $3mn of that for the Big Dance.

Total stakes for the Melbourne Cup is just over $9 million less than half what The Everest in Sydney is now worth but the latter – with all due respects - will never be ‘the race that stops the nation’.

Nor will the big two-miler on the first Tuesday in November out-rank the Cox Plate as the best quality race in the country. But it will always be 'the Cup' – an icon of Australian horse racing and that special occasion when once-a-year punters take an interest.

It was American author Mark Twain visiting the Melbourne in 1895 who wrote:

‘THE Melbourne Cup is the Australasian National Day. It would be difficult to overstate its importance. It overshadows all other holidays and specialized days of whatever sort in that congeries of colonies. Overshadows them? I might almost say it blots them out. Each of them gets attention, but not everybody’s; each of them evokes interest, but not everybody’s; each of them rouses enthusiasm, but not everybody’s; in each case a part of the attention, interest, and enthusiasm is a matter of habit and custom, and another part of it is official and perfunctory. Cup Day, and Cup Day only, commands an attention, an interest, and an enthusiasm which are universal—and spontaneous, not perfunctory. Cup Day is supreme it has no rival. I can call to mind no specialized annual day, in any country, which can be named by that large name—Supreme. I can call to mind no specialized annual day, in any country, whose approach fires the whole land with a conflagration of conversation and preparation and anticipation and jubilation. No day save this one; but this one does it.’

Twain went on to observe:

‘IT is the “Melbourne Cup” that brings this multitude together. Their clothes have been ordered long ago, at unlimited cost, and without bounds as to beauty and magnificence, and have been kept in concealment until now, for unto this day are they consecrate.

And so the grand-stands make a brilliant and wonderful spectacle, a delirium of color, a vision of beauty. The champagne flows, everybody is vivacious, excited, happy; everybody bets, and gloves and fortunes change hands right along, all the time. Day after day the races go on, and the fun and the excitement are kept at white heat; and when each day is done, the people dance all night so as to be fresh for the race in the morning. And at the end of the great week the swarms secure lodgings and transportation for next year, then flock away to their remote homes and count their gains and losses, and order next year’s Cup-clothes, and then lie down and sleep two weeks, and get up sorry to reflect that a whole year must be put in somehow or other before they can be wholly happy again.’

WELL times have changed a little - a century or so on. They now allow shoes with no socks and even shorts in the Members’. Some of the old-timers would be rolling in their graves.

So would the veteran racing scribes to learn that some of their successors no longer hunger for the carnival trip to Melbourne, especially those in Sydney who the cynics say are terrified they might offend someone if they didn’t stay at home.

On home soil at Randwick on Tuesday – an opportunity the wags say for ‘Razor’, ‘Rads’, ‘Rootsy’, Little Ronnie and Big Richie to participate in the Progressive Barn Dance with their hero PVL.

A high profile media colleague from interstate with free time on his hands now that a TV network has lost the Cup coverage might be keen to border-hop as well hoping to promote the chances of another big stakes race being named after him – the ‘Bald Eagle’.

But jokes aside there is also a story doing the rounds that Chris Waller won’t be in Melbourne to saddle up his Cup runners but is staying at home for the Big Dance. Can you believe it?

No doubt his trusty sidekick, Sir Charles Duckworth, will be there front and centre if one of the Waller team – perhaps the LGHR tip SOULCOMBE – salutes with Joe Moreiera in the saddle. God give it strength.












PERRY K of GOLD COAST poses an interesting question:

‘I recall reading a story that Melbourne Cup day 2023 was set to be a significant day on the Queensland racing calendar with plans to coincide the opening of the new Gold Coast track with the running of the country’s biggest race.

It seems that must have hit a hurdle as the meeting programmed for Melbourne Cup day at the Coast is on the awful Poly track. In fact, according to the Racing Queensland website that will be the venue right through to the end of December.

Which poses the question: What is happening with the Magic Millions?

One would assume the new track launch will now coincide with the Millions Carnival. Let’s hope so – but isn’t it time for the club or the MM Company to confirm what is happening?

EDITOR’S NOTE: We would welcome an update on the situation from the Gold Coast Turf Club, Racing Queensland or Magic Millions.



SAM J of SYDNEY poses the question:

‘WHAT is it about these short priced favorites that continue to get beaten in Sydney of a Saturday?

Little wonder battling punters like me are losing confidence in betting at Randwick and Rosehill meetings.

Saturday was another example of how hard it is to follow the form of favorites when Florino, Sequestered and the odds-on Arctic Glamour not only got beaten but finished out of the placings.

In search of answers I looked up the Stewards’ Report and here is what it had to say:

FLORINO: A. Bullock reported that Florino, which was racing first up, raced far too keenly throughout the early and middle stages and this was the reason for the gelding’s failure to close off in the straight as anticipated. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

SEQUESTERED: A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

ARCTIC GLAMOUR: When questioned K. McEvoy stated that in the early part of the straight he was awkwardly placed behind the leader, Flying Trapeze, and was required to exert some pressure on Zondee in order to shift out into clear running near the 300m. He said that he gained the impression that his mount did not appreciate racing tight inside other runners at this stage of the race, however, he anticipated that Arctic Glamour then would close off strongly once placed under pressure. He said that his mount then was one-paced to the finish and disappointing. He added that the manner in which Arctic Glamour performed may have reflected that the filly had come to the end of its preparation as it appeared to pull up satisfactorily. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities. Co-trainer Mr S. Alexiou said that Arctic Glamour’s finishing effort was disappointing and that the stable would now thoroughly assess the filly’s recovery before deciding on whether to continue its preparation. Stewards will follow up on the post-race condition in the days subsequent.




‘I’ve been following Sydney and Melbourne racing for more years than I care to remember but even in the days of some of the greats, like T J Smith, can I ever remember punters finding it as difficult as they do with runners from the Chris Waller stable.

Saturday at Randwick was just another example of what continues to be a bad look for Sydney racing where a Waller outsider beast home a more fancied stable runner. It’s not as tough this was a rare occasion. It happens all the time and many punters like me have had a gutful.

The running of the Callander-Presnell was a double-whammy for punters with the odds-on favourite Arctic Glamour performing well below expectations and the winner Chrysaor growing a leg to beat stablemate Snowman.

How’s this for a massive form reversal: Chrysaor ran last of nine when resuming in the Run To the Rose then then beats one home in the Tapp-Craig? The colt had trialled well since that flop but we subsequently hear that had he not fund his best form there were plans to geld him.

It seems that every time a Waller horse turns in a form reversal or gets beaten when favourite whatever the excuse it is accepted by stewards. It continues to get up the nose of punters and those trying to assess the form – and it doesn’t only occur with the stable’s horses in Sydney, just have a look at the Waller form-line in Melbourne and Brisbane as well.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s what the Stewards’ Panel, headed by international experienced Steve Railton reported:

CHRYSAOR: Stable representative Charles Duckworth was questioned regarding the apparent form improvement displayed by Chrysaor in winning this event. Duckworth said that the stable had always considered the colt to possess above-average ability, but at its first two runs this preparation Chrysaor had performed below expectations, particularly at its last start where it over-raced with blinkers and failed to close off. He said that since the last start on 7 October the stable had removed the blinkers and applied a Norton bit to its gear in an endeavour to have the colt settle better as it was stepping up in distance. He added that with the changes to its gear Chrysaor had trialled particularly well at Randwick on 20 October, which gave the stable confidence that the colt would perform much better. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the colt to have shifted its off-fore plate and as a result caused a puncture to the sole and to have sustained a laceration to the near-fore fetlock. Duckworth was advised that a veterinary clearance will be required before Chrysaor is permitted to race/barrier trial again.   



LGHR received a phone call recently from a good mate who declared ‘Jamie Kah should give it away’.

Jeffrey, as usual, was talking through his pocket. He had just backed a favourite on which she was beaten. The horse has a touch of cat in it, was in trouble at the start, then got nailed on the line after hitting the lead.

Kah did everything except carry it across the line but punters are an unforgiving lot and seem to forget the battles that have confronted her in more recent times – admittedly some she could have avoided.

Coming back from a serious fall affects different jockeys in different ways – Ethan Brown has recently decided he still needs more time away from the saddle and is taking an indefinite break.

Is Kah riding badly and in a form slump because some of her fancied mounts are getting beaten? Here’s what one of our contributors, Lucy J, had to say on the situation:

‘So Racenet has decided to sink the boot into Jamie Kah while she’s down. Good one boys. While you’re at delving into her statistics since a bad fall, how about providing us with the same on your terrific tipsters and whether one of them selects horses ridden by a jockey he reportedly manages.’

Racenet recently wrote that in 126 rides since returning from injury in August, Kah has ridden 12 winners at a strike rate of 9.5 per cent. The past 10 favourites she's ridden have all been beaten and she has ridden three winners from her past 50 rides. As a comparison, Kah's winning strike rate in the past three racing seasons have been 19.8 per cent (2022/23), 19.1 per cent (2021/22) and 20.9 per cent (2020/21). Her return on investment for her rides this season is -55 per cent, showing the horses she is riding are performing well below market expectations.’

Perhaps when Kah returns to form – which she will – when Racenet comes knocking for an interview she should remember this story they wrote bagging her. But of course she won’t. She loves what she does too much.



GREG BLANCHARD from the GOLD COAST, a thorn in the side of racing in Queensland when it comes to the embarrassing situation of having to scratch horses from bush meetings because of no available jockeys, again weighs in on the debacle:

‘ON Saturday there were 18 horses scratched because no riders were available. This included 12 at Richmond, five at Charleville and one at Gladstone.

The only solution for the far north-west, which is suffering the most, would be a connection with a country like Korea. There is a three month via for visiting apprentice jockeys so a rotation is needed during the far north-west season.

This week I would like to praise Adam Campton, who I recently met. He is impressive and more importantly a nice young bloke. Adam has some good ideas on racing and is proactive in one area.’




MELBOURNE CUP-winning trainer Gai Waterhouse, one of racing’s great ambassadors, says she’s totally against allowing men to wear shorts in the members’ area at Flemington during Cup week.

DAMIEN RACTLIFFE reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that for the first time, the Victoria Racing Club will allow male members to wear tailored shorts to the races, in a move to reflect evolving fashion norms.

The VRC showed off eight models at their official Melbourne Cup Carnival launch on Monday, including one male model who donned dark tailored shorts, paired with a white shirt and light maroon tie and blazer.

But Waterhouse, who turned 69 in September, said that was not her cup of tea.

“It’s ridiculous, I think it’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen,” she said.

“I’m not going to Bondi Beach, or Altona. You’re coming here. You’ve got to dress for the occasion.

“I saw the bloke [model] with the shorts on, and I thought, ‘you’ve got to be joking’. Maybe I’m old-fashioned.”

The last time the VRC made a change to its members’ dress code was in 2018, when it removed the need for men to wear socks.

Though the rules state that shorts must finish below the knee, there is some flexibility around that length. However, they must be no shorter than the pair that were modelled on Monday, which finished just above the knee.

Jumpsuits, playsuits, bike shorts, stretch shorts, board shorts, sports shorts and any casual short will not be accepted in the members’ area.

Shorts are among the fashion items permitted in the members' areas at Flemington - but there are some conditions.

The VRC does not have dress regulations in general admission areas.

Racing Victoria chief executive Andrew Jones has gone on the record encouraging the metropolitan clubs to loosen dress codes to make racing more accessible.

“Why don’t we let people wear what they want?” Jones asked delegates at the Asian Racing Conference in March.

“No one calls up a restaurant and demands a dress code, they wear what they want.”

Waterhouse, a long-time VRC ambassador, said the Flemington carnival meant a lot to her.

“I came here as a teenager,” said Waterhouse, the daughter of legendary trainer Tommy Smith.

“My mum wouldn’t let me come as a kid, I came as a teenager, and my first trip to Flemington was in the back of an old-fashioned Rolls-Royce, I think.

 “A man called John Newton and his mate took my girlfriend and me to the races, and we sat up the back having a glass of champagne and a chicken wing, and we stopped by the police, and they had a bit of the chicken and a glass of champagne. That wouldn’t happen nowadays, but it was a happy memory just from the start.

“I love it, I think it’s one of the great racing events of the world, and they do it so well, the VRC, and Racing Victoria backing them.”

Neil Wilson, chairman of the Victoria Racing Club, said Flemington was gearing up for big crowds over the four days, with early weather forecasts in their favour.

“The talk of diminishing crowds is wrong, and we’ve got evidence of that,” Wilson said.

“I think people have got their eye back in, being back at the track, and feeling the excitement of the race at the track. Of course there will be people who stay home because we’ve done such a great job at presenting it, but there’s nothing like being at the track.

“What we’ve seen over the last 12 months is people have had to be reminded of that.”

Wilson said he anticipated a higher percentage of younger racegoers would attend, with the club creating new areas on course to appeal to 18- to 25-year-olds.

“We’ve made a conscious effort to target that category, not only for Cup week but also with our membership,” he said.

“We’ve seen an increase in membership, we’ve got an all-time record of 33,000, and of the last 5000 members that have come on, at least half of those have been in that category.”




A couple of contributors have posed an interesting question after the Queenslander Antino was robbed of yet another Black Type success during the Melbourne Spring.

They want to know if champion trainer Tony Gollan and connections of the outstanding five-year-old will be consistent and sack Blake Shinn like they did James Orman after poorly-judged rides.

Here’s what Dale J of Brisbane had to say:

‘Jimmy Orman was unlucky on Antino. In contrast Blake Shinn slaughtered the horse. Who rides Antino at his next Melbourne start?’

And Terry M of Gold Coast:

‘Shinn is an internationally experienced jockey. Orman has shown he can compete with the best in Queensland. One could argue the ride of Shinn was far worse but will they sack him like they did Orman? Time will tell!”

Orman persisted for an inside run on Antino in the Listed Tontonan Stakes at Flemington when the horse was resuming and finished a certainty beaten in fourth place behind Kalino.

He was replaced by Shinn when Antino was arguably beaten by a bad barrier in a close photo finish with Attrition in the G1 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield.

As expected Shinn retained the ride only to finish a certainty beaten second to the Kiwi Prowess in Saturday’s Group 2 mile at the Valley. It was an ordinary ride from a jockey who has been at the top of his game since returning from Hong Kong.

Stewards agreed and here’s what they reported:

ANTINO: Marginally slow to begin then held-up from the 500m until shifting in to obtain clear running inside the 200m. When questioned regarding his riding from the 800m, Blake Shinn explained his mount was travelling comfortably in a handy position with cover and he did not anticipate Bankers Choice improving quickly to his outside passing the 700m. Shinn explained he did not wish to expose his mount too early and with Just Folk showing a tendency to lay out in advance, he was of the view that he should place his mount in a position where he could take advantage of a run to the inside of Just Folk if that gelding continued to shift out. Shinn highlighted he attempted to shift out when Just Folk was corrected by its rider and he jostled with Bankers Choice for a short distance before being awkwardly placed on the heels of Just Folk which continued to lay out. Stewards advised Shinn that in their opinion the preferred option would have been to place his mount in a position where he could avail himself of clear running to the outside of Just Folk.

In other words Stewards nicely told Shinn his ride was a ‘slaughter job’ and that Antino should have won. The big losers were the Tony Gollan stable with the horse arguably unlucky not to have won at least two Black Types races this spring – not to mention the punters who have lost heavily on a heavily-backed runner.

With plans to advance during the Spring, Gollan should either sack Shinn, give Orman another chance or find one of the many top class jockeys available to ride the horse.

What odds he sticks with Shinn because of that jockey's profile while Orman's lack of experience against the best was blamed for his sacking. It just doesn't seem fair?



RACING can be a ruthless business – just ask champion jockey Jamie Kah.

After spending the last Spring Carnival sidelined because of the Air BnB party penalty for breaching the COVID curfew, Jamie bounced back only to suffer a career-threatening fall.

Months later she returned to the saddle but it has been a battle convincing some of her legion of fans that she is riding as well as ever.

And it would seem that the hand of fate is conspiring against her – with Jamie the scapegoat when a well backed horse gets beaten.

That wasn’t the case in Wednesday’s Geelong case when she rode First Immortal which needed to win to secure a start in the Melbourne Cup.

It has been revealed that First Immortal lost all chance before the race. reports that trainers Mark and Levi Kavanagh have elected to spell him following his seventh placing.

Levi Kavanagh said First Immortal hit his head in the barriers before the start of Wednesday's feature and gave himself an eye abrasion, which was only discovered after the race.

After First Immortal hit his head in the barriers, Racing Victoria veterinary stewards took him out of the barriers and examined him but after trotting up without showing any signs of abnormalities he was cleared to race.

"He got fractious in the gates and he whacked his head on the barrier before the race started. The fallout from that was he also got a bit stressed out and in the closing stages he made a bit of a noise when he flipped his soft palate," Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh said First Immortal's jockey Jamie Kah told them that on the turn she thought he would win comfortably but then he made a breathing noise and didn't finish off as she expected.

"With the blinkers over his head there wasn't any sign of any skin being off. We only found out after the race. It shows how hard the knock was as you'd think the blinkers would have protected that area," he said.

Jockeys – no matter how good – need the firepower under them to produce their best. The opportunities for Kah continue to dwindle as evidence by the ordinary books she has for the two Valley meetings of the Cox Plate Carnival.

The spotlight will be on her in the Crystal Mile when Tuvalu clashes with the heavily-backed Queenslander Antino (Blake Shinn) in a race that could well develop into a battle of riding tactics.



IT’S time for some of these racing ‘spin doctors’ masquerading as columnists and commentators accepted the fact that the media – mainstream or social – don’t make the news – they report on it.

Racing created many of the problems confronting the industry, so who’s fault is it when instead of the headline: Mark Zahra wins Caulfield Cup – the focus is on Mark Zahra fined $50,000 and Suspended for Seven Meetings for breaching the Whip Rules?

Surely these supposedly ‘controversial’ talking heads don’t expect the media to sweep the penalty imposed on Zahra under the carpet or ignore that side of the Cup success when use of the whip has become such a divisive topic.

LGHR agrees that if we give these animal liberationists – who know nothing about horse racing – an inch, they will take a mile. The sport will be here long after they are gone provided jockeys don’t continue to crap in their faces.

Banning the whip – or carrying it for use only in extreme circumstances such as safety reasons – might not be the answer they want to hear but to protect the future of the sport that is it.

While the current situation exists where stewards almost alibi penalties imposed on the back of ‘having to implement the rules’ and jockeys manipulate the ‘stay of proceedings’ situation, over-use of the whip will continue to happen.

So don’t blame the media for the adverse publicity that racing receives in circumstances like that which followed the winning of the Caulfield Cup. Having a look in the mirror – that’s where the problem begins.



WHILE colleagues Ben Melham, John Allen and now Frankie Dettori sit on the sidelines, lady luck continues to shine on Mark Zahra despite his suspension incurred in the Caulfield Cup. And that isn’t sitting too well with some in the industry, including a few of his colleagues.

Zahra was slapped with a reduced $50,000 fine (it could have been $25,000 more) and copped a seven-meeting suspension for breaking the whip rules on Without a Fight (with some critics believing stewards should have entered a protest and taken the race off him).

Zahra pleaded guilty to striking Without a Fight nine times, four more than allowed, and 13 times in total in the tight finish. Chief Steward Rob Montgomery said his panel had decided against lodging their own protest against Zahra's win as they believed the offence made no difference to the result.

Zahra earned $150,000 in winning percentages for his Caulfield Cup triumph before stewards stripped him of a third of that for his whip breach. They gave the champion jockey a massive discount on the penalty for his good record with his whip use.

The industry is divided on whether Zahra was treated too leniently especially as he will not miss any of the major race days of the spring carnival. His suspension does not begin until after Saturday’s Cox Plate meeting and the programming schedule will allow him to miss seven fixtures and be back for the Victoria Derby meeting on November 4.

The timing of suspensions incurred by Melham, Allen and Moreira mean they weren’t as lucky. Perhaps in racing timing’s everything but that’s not how everyone sees it with some even suggesting Zahra is getting special treatment allowing him to continue to ride Group 1 winners.

And as for Stewards lodging their own protest for a breach of whip rules, the critics claim this has reached the farcical stage where it will never happen in a Group 1 race. Stewards did lodge a protest in December last year when My Yankee Girl (Blake Shinn) was relegated after dead-heating with Invincible Caviar at Flemington.



WE received several emails on the penalty imposed on Mark Zahra and the stewards’ decision not to lodge their own Caulfield Cup protest.

Here’s what respected racing follower PETER MAIR had to say on the subject:

‘WHILE whip-use penalties are 'controversial', the media's simplistic reporting of this decision is disgraceful -- one cannot say that the connections will pay the fine but it is fair to suggest that the connections might -- (and would be well advised to).

Zahra cops $50k fine, ban for whip breach in Caulfield Cup

Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Mark Zahra was slapped with a $50,000 fine and a seven-meeting suspension for breaking whip rules on Without A Fight.

In short the story is not the full story.

……and another thing -- who/why did anyone expect Gold Trip to 'incur a penalty' for the big one?

Caulfield - Race 9 No. 1 - Gold Trip - $10,000 @ $6

Caulfield - Race 9 No. 1 - Gold Trip - $5,000 @ $5.50 (TAB)

Caulfield - Race 9 No. 1 - Gold Trip - $5,000 @ $5 (Pointsbet)

Caulfield - Race 9 No. 1 - Gold Trip - $5,000 @ $6 (Palmerbet)

Caulfield - Race 9 No. 1 - Gold Trip - $10,000 @ $6 (Topsport)

Caulfield - Race 9 No. 1 - Gold Trip - $2,000 @ $5.50 (Ladbrokes)

.................. and if it runs in the (Cox) Plate, I do not expect it to win either.

I will be on it the (Melbourne) Cup but I’m not happy about the games that may be being played.



PETER MAIR was so incensed by what he heard on SKY RADIO that he sent this email to the station: 


I was disappointed this morning.

The very welcome, and lengthy discussion of the Caulfield Cup whip use penalty should have, but did not, allude to the possibility and probability that the $50,000 fine would ultimately be paid by the connections and not the jockey.

We are now some 15 years into the debate about whip use and still neither the media nor the industry will address the issues frankly.

If the whip use rules are to stay in place, the only effective penalty for disregarding them would be relegation, at least, if not disqualification.

 ..........only then will the riding instructions given by connections stress the need to avoid a rule breach.

Until then, jockeys will ride to win big races as they like, confident that 'personal' penalties will be compensated by the owners.

If this cannot be done, the only real alternative is to abandon the whip rules while ensuring, with the RSPCA, that any whip used cannot hurt the horse beyond encouraging it to do its best.

EDITOR’S NOTE: After listening to a transcript of the @KSKY discussion, one has to agree with Peter that the media are on the back foot, officials are giving the animal libbers a free-kick and the whole rule implementation and resulting penalties are an absolute farce. The sad aspect of the whole debate is that a bunch of animal libbers, who know nothing about racing, are proving so influential.



AND just reverting to the BEN MELHAM situation, here’s what Queenslander DAVE BAUER had to say about that and we at LGHR wholeheartedly agree with him:

‘BEN Melham getting rubbed out (for interference caused by his winning ride in the Caulffield Guineas) is an absolute disgrace.

I have never ridden in races but rode a lot of ponies and racehorses in my time. Ben Melham did exactly what is required by any HORSEMAN at that exact time, the proper horseman as this man apparently is, and I don’t know him from a bar of soap, but it would be a pleasure to meet him at some time.

It’s quite apparent that the Chief Stipe, and I don’t know who he is, has either never had any experience with horses full stop, or should he have had, there would be an underlining reason for giving the bloke time!

They should be giving Ben Melham a medal for his workmanship! Might I suggest that the hide of giving this bloke time for pulling the whip a couple of times extra WHEN THAT HORSE NEEDED IT, only shows that the powers to be have buckled to the whims of these radical dickheads out there?

VRC, I thought you were better than that!’



IT wasn’t that long ago when Zac Lloyd was the punters’ pin-up boy. How quickly times change!

Zac was on the losing end of some angry emails received by the Wednesday Whinge after his rides on well backed fancies Marquess and Commemorative at Randwick last Saturday.

Here’s what one punter said: ‘Did Zac Lloyd have a special lane wide on the track. His rides on Marquess and Commemorative were, in my opinion, not unlucky but woeful. He gave Marquess no hope and Commemorative still nearly won despite his terrible ride. Lift your act Zac, those punters who were pouring bouquets on you not long ago are the one now firing the brickbats.’

Here’s what Stewards’ reported:

MARQUESS: When questioned regarding his riding in the early stages, App. Z. Lloyd stated that he was instructed to ride Marquess in a forward position and anticipated that this would be outside the leader. He said that after beginning satisfactorily he allowed his mount to improve into a forward position, however, when Promises Kept unexpectedly was ridden positively to his outside and showed more early speed, that runner was able to obtain the position outside the lead. He added that, in retrospect, he should have shown more intent than he did in the early stages and this may have avoided Marquess being obliged to race wide and without cover. Stable representative Mr D. Beadman confirmed the instructions issued to App. Lloyd, but pointed out that Marquess had been able to hold a forward position in recent starts when jumping from an inside barrier. He said that while App. Lloyd could have ridden with more purpose in the early stages, he felt that to have done so he would have had to have his mount racing outside its comfort zone to achieve this. App. Lloyd was advised by Stewards that in their view he had not displayed the appropriate amount of judgement in the early stages, particularly having regard to the instructions he was issued.

COMMEMORATIVE: Raced keenly in the middle stages. Raced wide and without cover from the 700m. (Editor’s Note: Perhaps they felt the least said the better).



OUR old sparring partner COL DIXON from North Queensland gave us a timely reminder of how the Winter Carnival continues to provide some of the big spring winners.

His comment after Without a Fight won the Caulfield Cup was short and sweet:

‘HOPE u can find something positive to write about the Brisbane winter carnival.

Another big race winner out of the carnival!

Hasn’t Straddy day produced some winners?

LGHR is always looking for something positive to say about Queensland racing – sadly most weeks it’s not that easy to find.



DID the wheels fall off the powerful Chris Waller stable Melbourne Cup wagon at Caulfield last Saturday?

More importantly can the Hall of Fame trainer, renowned for producing massive form reversals, perform a mission impossible in the space of a fortnight?

Waller had three runners in the $5 million Caulfield Cup – Soulcombe $8 did best finishing 7th; Montefilia at $11 was 13th & arguably his main Melbourne Cup hope, Francesco Guardi $26 beat one home finishing 17th.

Soulcombe, still a live Cup chance largely because his performance was once again excused by a slow getaway, remains a $9 hope for the big two-miler on the first Tuesday in November – with only three ahead of him in the betting – international Vauban at $4.6, last year’s winner Gold Trip at $5 and the Caulfield Cup victor, Without A Fight at $6.

Francesca Guardi, one-time among the favourites for the Melbourne Cup, is now a $41 chance after finishing over 14 lengths behind the winner in the Caulfield Cup.

Normally punters struggle to sort the winning chances in the race that stops the nation. Could this be the year when that task is so much simpler?

ONE would have expected the Derby prospects of Waller to slump after the shock defeat of Riff Rocket in the Caulfield Classic but he remains favourite for Saturday week’s Three-Year-Old Classic at Flemington.

Jockey John Allen endorsed the staying credentials of Sunsets after the colt stunned odds-on Riff Rocket. A lack of early pace was detrimental to the $1.28 favourite which could not peg back a game Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-prepared Sunsets in a tight finish.

Allen, a winner of 11 Derbies including nine at the highest level, said Sunsets has progressed in the "right direction". "He's definitely progressing in the right direction and he's got a good attitude which goes a long way for those races. He'll go there and give himself every chance."

The Caulfield Classic has produced six Victoria Derby winners from 40 starters, with Polanski the most recent in 2013.

Riff Rocket eased a fraction in the Victoria Derby market, $2.80 to $3 with TAB, while Sunsets firmed $15 into $5 after Saturday’s win.

Opinions are mixed but some good judges are still declaring Riff Rocket to bounce back in the Derby on the bigger Flemington track – and Waller is renowned for form reversals.

Waller could have a terrific second-string Derby hope if Dulcet claims the Geelong Classic on Wednesday for which he is a $2.3 favourite. Dulcet is a $9 chance to join stablemates Riff Rocket $3 and Militarize $6 giving Waller a great chance of taking out the Derby.

Militarize is $8 for Saturday’s Cox Plate behind Hong Kong superstar Romantic Warrior $4 and the great Alligator Blood $6 with in-form Waller mare Fangirl $9, proving once again that for the major stables a week can be a long time in racing.



 RACING Victoria says Saturday’s record international wagering figures on the Caulfield Cup are just the start of things to come, with the Hong Kong-based World Pool set to play a big role in this Saturday’s Cox Plate and next month’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.

DAMIEN RACTLIFFE reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Saturday’s Caulfield Cup eclipsed last week’s Everest in Sydney for turnover on the World Pool, an international tote based out of Hong Kong which was combined with Australia’s Tabcorp pools to offer overseas punters greater liquidity and stability of odds.

More than 54 million Hong Kong dollars ($10.98 million) was wagered on World Pool bet types on Saturday’s Caulfield Cup, surpassing the record set on The Everest ($10.43 million) a week earlier.

The Melbourne Cup is clearly Australia’s most popular race for punters domestically; about five times bigger than the Cox Plate in second place, with the Caulfield Cup traditionally third and The Everest narrowly fourth. For context, the win, place, trifecta, first-four and quaddie Victorian TAB pools on last year’s Melbourne Cup combined for more than $28 million in wagering.

The World Pool stats so far suggest this order remains in tact, with high expectations beckoning for Saturday’s Cox Plate, which will also be part of the World Pool. Domestic wagering figures for the Caulfield Cup have not yet been released, while Sydney keeps their Everest domestic wagering results secret. However, domestic wagering has dropped about 10 per cent year-on-year across all racing, attributed to interest rate increases and the decline in discretional spending.

Sports betting is also taking a piece of racing’s wagering pie, but racing effectively has a monopoly on punters over the spring carnival when there are fewer sports to compete with.

By being involved in the World Pool, Racing Victoria is able to charge a royalty which is set to generate between $2 million and $3 million across this carnival in income for the host metropolitan clubs.

It’s been seven months since the first Australian race meeting was part of the World Pool – Flemington’s Black Caviar Lightning Stakes meeting in March, which coincided with Racing Victoria hosting the Asian Racing Conference in Melbourne.

“It’s obviously great for international interest in our racing product, first and foremost,” Racing Victoria’s chief operating officer Aaron Morrison said of the World Pool.

“It’s bringing a whole lot of new liquidity and turnover into our races, and what we get out of that, we basically get to sell the royalties for the right to participate in the pools. We charge a fee based on turnover, like a media rights fee.

“It’s important new funding for the industry.”

The Turnbull Stakes was the first of a series of Victorian races part of the World Pool this spring, but Hong Kong star Romantic Warrior was a short-priced favourite given the patriotism back home, which made it less of a betting affair.

With Romantic Warrior a $4.50 favourite for the Cox Plate, Morrison said he was expecting a new record to be set on Saturday.

“The Caulfield Cup was a really deep race with a big field. It was a great race. I don’t know what the starting price was the field, but it was pretty competitive racing,” Morrison said.

“The Turnbull Stakes was different because you just had such huge interest in Romantic Warrior as a single runner for the Hong Kong punters.

“Hopefully with the Cox Plate, you get the best of both – interest in a very strong field, a great betting race, and the hero running around trying to make amends.”

The Everest – a 12-horse field of Australian sprinters – was a lucrative betting race, but the Caulfield Cup had a bigger field and a number of international competitors, making it a slightly more open affair.

Morrison said it was important that Racing Victoria continued to attract international runners to the spring racing carnival.

“Absolutely, and ideally we’d like to start attracting more Japanese runners, so we can work on getting approvals for Japanese punters to start betting on our races, whether that’s through world pools or directly in their own markets,” Morrison said.

As it stands, the Japanese government has decided only the Cox Plate and Sydney’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes can be bet on by Japanese punters, so long as there’s Japanese involvement. The Caulfield Cup was once an approved race, but was taken off the country’s list of international simulcast races in 2020 and remained off the list at June this year.

The Melbourne Racing Club did hope to get approval by the Japanese Racing Association for Saturday’s Caulfield Cup to be made available to punt on, given Japanese horse Breakup was competing. But the club was told that because the horse was not a group 1 winner, the association would not make the exception.

Saturday’s Cox Plate won’t feature a Japanese runner, and therefore Japanese punters won’t be able to bet on it.

Meanwhile, Morrison said he was rapt to see more than 25,000 attendees at Saturday’s Caulfield Cup meeting, including a high proportion aged under 35.

“I know the spruik is about The Everest, and good on them, I think The Everest is fantastic for racing, but they’re not the only ones drawing a good, youthful crowd,” Morrison said.

Moonee Valley is also expected to be packed to the rafters on Saturday after selling out their general admission tickets last week.




THE Wednesday Whinge is designed as a platform for racing people to have their say on all issues and this week there has been some criticism of The Everest. LGHR asks that the mainstream media ‘brown noses’ from south of the Border take this into account before bagging their thoughts.

Here’s what one of the most highly respected form analysts in the country – and a one-time operator of a popular website – described The Everest to his clients and there are plenty of punters and racegoers who agree with him:

‘AFTER final scratchings – sadly Waller, Waterhouse, Pride and James Cummings each have two runners, meaning those four trainers have eight of the 12 starters – or 66.66% of the entire field.

Those four stables each having two runners is a real concern to me. (LGHR feels his following confidents should remain confidential to his clients).

But he went on to say: “It is the very reason all those decades ago, that stables were restricted to one runner per race, so punters didn’t have to endure all the current rot, whereby Waller can have say six or seven runners in a race.

And the other stupidity of this race (The Everest) is the prizemoney distribution, which to me, is nothing short of a joke, and mainstream media should be really giving it to Racing NSW over that aspect, but of course, as always, their silence on the issue is deafening, as the winner only gets $7 million of the $20 million total prizemoney pool – or 35% - yet all other races on the day at Randwick have between 50% and 58% going to the winner.

Additionally, (the horse than runs) last in The Everest gets $750,000 which is ridiculous.

 The slot holders, most of whom can legally claim a tax deduction for ‘race sponsorship’ for their $1million slot, get most of their money back, even if their horse gets in Sunday morning.

The race should be called “The Everest Sweepstakes”.’



THE following two emails did not refer to The Everest but are a growing concern among those who still punt on racing in Sydney – and that’s apart from the multiple stable runners problem where more often than not a second string runner (backed at good odds) upstages the highly-tipped favourite.

THIS is a copy of an email sent to Racing NSW stewards by a prominent racing man, with a family-name that has been highly respected in the industry for years. It reads:

‘I have never contacted racing stewards before but what I saw (in Sydney) on Saturday and the follow up Stewards’ Report has concerned me about the integrity of your sport.

I have been a participant in the racing industry as an owner, web site promoter and provider, I am 60 years old. I have watched 1000’s of races and been a keen reader of such events as Fine Cotton and the Craig Williams ‘intimidation’ claim.

Let me first say and I did have a gambling interest in the race event I will discuss.

RANDWICK, Race 2 – 14/10/2023:

AT about the 250m mark James McDonald, rider of Ivan’s Hero is travelling four to five horses off the rail. His mount’s head is straight and starts to drift inwards slightly, perhaps a horse. Just as the race-caller says: ‘At the 250 J. McDonald’s head looks to his right’.

Just before and concurrently the race-caller says: ‘Garza Blanca is running out of room on the inside’. The head of Ivan’s Hero is turned to the right (caused by the jockey pulling the rein one would assume) and lays in on Rise of the Masses which subsequently lays in on Garza Blanca.

I have seen enough racing to appreciate competitive riding in that a jockey has no obligation to allow another to take his straight line run and a pushing and shoving situation occurs. However, this event I have described is different.

  1. MacDonald shows intent by:
  2. Looking to his right and seeing the market favorite Garza Blanca.
  3. Pulling the right reign to arguably impede a third-party that then caused interference to the race favorite.

The most concerning fact is your stewards reported:

‘J McDonald was told to exercise more care in similar circumstances’.

How does looking right then pulling the right rein look like a lack of care?   

 I look forward to your reply.’



AND this email from another punter far from happy with the ‘world’s best jockey’s’ tactics in another race at Randwick on Saturday which the stewards saw no need to report on:

‘If you backed Tom Kitten in the Gloaming Stakes on Saturday don’t blame Nash Rawiller for its defeat by Raf Attack.

The heavily-tried Tom Kitten should have won easily and many of those who have looked closely at the replay, yours truly included, lay the blame for its loss squarely at the feet of James Macdonald.

What you have to decide is whether it was competitive riding or pose the question what the hell was JMac doing on the Waller-trained Tannhauser back in the field.

It appears that Macdonald was more content on worrying about keeping Rawiller boxed in on Tom Kitten. It’s not a good look when one of the Waller stablemates had been well backed and was at one stage looking like the winner among the leading pack.

Now I’m not suggesting anything untoward by JMac but his tactics did cost Tom Kitten the race and stewards were entitled to protect the interests of the punters who backed the favorite by asking a few tough questions of Macdonald and the Waller stable.

Here’s what they did report:

TANNHAUSER: Began only fairly and from a wide barrier was shifted behind runners in the early stages. Passing the 800m was hampered and forced wider by Tom Kitten, which shifted out when being checked from the heels of Noisy Boy. Again near the 700m Tannhauser and Tom Kitten made heavy contact when Tom Kitten shifted out away from the heels of Noisy Boy. Rounding the home turn Tannhauser then was hampered and forced extremely wide by Tom Kitten, which, after establishing a position outside the heels of Highborn Harry, overreacted badly when that runner shifted slight ground and shifted out. Stewards attributed the severe hampering to Tannhauser to the racing manners of Tom Kitten. J. McDonald reported that after being hampered and forced wider rounding the home turn his mount did not let down as expected on the firm surface.

TOM KITTEN: Approaching the 800m shifted out when being checked from the heels of Noisy Boy and bumped with Tannhauser. Then approaching the 700m became unbalanced after racing tight with Tannhauser. After establishing a position outside of Highborn Harry approaching the home turn, then overreacted badly and shifted out away from that runner, making contact with Tannhauser and becoming unbalanced. Stewards were satisfied that these incidents were exacerbated by the racing manners of Tom Kitten.

Reading those reports would suggest I am wrong, especially considering the meeting was policed by two of the best stewards in the world, Steve Railton and Kim Kelly. All I suggest is that you have a look at the replay and decide for yourself.



THE story goes that Queensland’s Chief Steward Josh Adams was in Sydney for The Everest meeting on Saturday although we have no confirmation of this. If so, he must have been there as an observer because there is no mention of him among the listed stewards who officiated at Randwick.

Much has been made of the presence of former Kong Kong chairman Kim Kelly, now in retirement at home in Queensland and whether Racing NSW might head-hunt him when Steve Railton sails into the sunset.

One wonders what was the benefit of Adams being in Sydney (other than a day out) when there was action aplenty at Eagle Farm leaving plenty of work for his first lieutenant Geoff Gould?

To say punters were far from happy at the handling of Mission of Love would be an understatement but the Stewards’ Report on the race suggests there were legitimate excuses. It reads:

MISSION OF LOVE: Bumped at the start. Improved onto heels approaching the 150m and had to be steadied. Approaching the 50m when attempting to secure a run to the inside of DESERT MIST and FLYING JOY was disappointed and had to be steadied. When questioned regarding the performance of MISSION OF LOVE, Jockey J. Lloyd stated that the mare settled in a rearward position as its usual pattern and at a point approaching the 900m, he endeavored to improve his position to follow ESKY (NZ) however, the mare failed to respond to his riding when placed under pressure and was flat-footed when asked for an effort approaching the home turn. He further added that the mare did not feel entirely comfortable in its action in the home straight, adding that he was of the opinion that another runner may have contacted the off hind leg of MISSION OF LOVE in the early stages of the event. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities but did reveal the off hind plate to have been significantly shifted and also to have cast the off fore plate.

The stable has subsequently released a video showing leg & hoof issues suffered during the race by Mission of Love which hopefully is some consolation for those who backed what looked like a good thing. But it hasn’t convinced one big punter who tells us: ‘That’s it for me. I’m walking away from backing favorites in Brisbane. They just continue to get beaten.’  




‘It was very interesting to read the comments from Gai Waterhouse about the cost of going to the races.

I took my two adult children to the BRC members rewards day recently – free entry for them, and me as a member.

The price of drinks was the killer. Honestly, $42 for a bottle of wine that is $18 in the pubs is ridiculous. But $7.70 for a stubbie of XXXX Gold that is $1.75 in a carton of 30 takes the cake.

Of course, we shouldn’t have bought lunch and drunk alcohol, but the day for the three of us cost $320 (transport not included, entry was free).

Punting in our group made a small profit.

We had a good time but really, when I add the cost of taxis and all else, it is hard to justify taking anyone to the track.



Here’s an interesting email from a fan of Ben Melham who was critical of his careless riding appeal being dismissed:

‘JUST wondering how many horses Victorian Racing Tribunal Chairman John Bowman has ridden.

Bowman said they his panel could not totally accept Melham’s evidence that a photographer had spooked his horse in the run to the line.

“We are saying that we are not convinced that your horse was spooked by a photographer on a small step ladder about 20 to 30 metres before the finishing post and about 30 metres away from the track and on the inside,” Bowman said.

“Certainly, the present of such a person has the potential to cause problems, but we are not swayed that the presence of that person inside the track caused what occurred.”

It will be interesting to see if the photographer is allowed to continue his presence on the ladder at future meetings. If he isn’t, doesn’t that make a mockery of the Tribunal decision and pose questions why stewards allowed him to be there in the first place.    

Melham failed to overturn his 10-meeting careless riding for his ride on last Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas winner Griff. Stewards suspended him for failing to attempt to correct his mount’s dramatic shift inside the final 100 metres of the classic.

After hearing evidence from Melham’s legal representative Matthew Stirling that the jockey had tried to steer his horse back on course after it veered out sharply in front of runner-up Veight, VRT chairman John Bowman said the panel was not convinced.

“We are of the opinion that you continued to ride the horse out, including the use of the whip for approximately the last 50 metres when the horse was moving comparatively rapidly away from the rails across the track, constitutes careless riding.”

Stirling asked the panel to consider a reduction in the 10-meeting penalty, but, after a short break, Bowman said: “In  our opinion, the appeal evidence by the stewards took into account the relative matters and the appeal against penalty is dismissed.”

Not surprisingly, once again Ben Melham gets the rough end of the pineapple!



REGULAR contributor GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST has followed up on his recent comments:

‘LAST week I wrote about the shortage of workers in our industry.

I read a recent article from UK trainer Jamie Snowden saying they need more visas for overseas workers and for those racing jobs to be put on the Government skills list making it easier to get visas.

For over a decade in Queensland we had around five Korean horse student groups totaling around 60 students.

There is not one of those students still here. A few from each group stayed on for a few months but there was no career pathway for them in Queensland.

Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker said in a recent story one of  reasons he canned opening a stable on the Gold Coast was the non-availability of  staff.

The elephant in the room is trumpeting ‘time to act’.




WERE stewards aware of the cameraman on the ladder just before the winning post when they charged winning jockey Ben Melham with careless riding on Griff in the Caulfield Guineas on Saturday?

And were they aware that a similar incident occurred earlier on the card in the Northwood Plume Stakes when Linda Meech reported encountering a similar problem on winner She Dances but that mare didn’t react as badly.

There is no mention of the ‘cameraman on the ladder near the winning post’ in the Stewards’ Report on the meeting. Surely they were aware of his presence or don’t TV broadcasters have to seek permission before placing staff in such precarious positions that could frighten horses and jockeys?

Neither the connections of runner-up Veight nor the stewards elected to lodge a protest when Griff took fright but Melham was initially fined $1,000 for using his whip in consecutive strides prior to the 100m mark.

Did their decision have anything to do with controversial rules being sought to stop jockeys from carrying whips in races and was this another example of why it is necessary from a safety aspect as a measure of straightening horses up in predicaments like this?

Stewards subsequently found Melham guilty of a charge of careless riding for allowing Griff to hamper Veight and cause interference to Steparty, King Colorado and Verdad.

He was suspended for 10 meetings (two metropolitan & eight provincial) to end on Monday, October 30. In assessing penalty stewards said they took into account Melham’s record, the racing manners of Griff and that the incident was in the mid-range.

At no stage did they mention the most important aspect which will no doubt be raised at the Melham appeal and that is what effect the presence of the cameraman on the ladder had; whether his presence there represented a safety risk to runners and jockeys; and, if a fine, should have been suffice in the circumstances.

The Guineas win on Griff was a bitter-sweet result for Melham. “It was a great result for connections and the stable but unfortunately Griff spooked at the winning post,” Melham told RSN on Sunday morning.

“The Chief Steward and I share differing views on the incident but I believe the cameraman on the ladder just before the winning post caused the problem.

“When Griff shifted originally I struck him with the whip on one or two occasions to straighten him up. I then took evasive action. I expected him to react immediately but he didn’t and shifted out three to four horses whilst I was trying to keep him in a straight line.”

RSN hosts raised whether stewards were aware that Linda Meech encountered a similar problem involving the cameraman when she won earlier on She Dances but that horse did not react anywhere near as badly as Griff.

Punters are questioning: Why stewards didn’t lodge a protest? And whether they are looking at banning the cameraman from the ladder close to the winning post to ensure no repeat of this situation in future?

Chief Steward Rob Montgomery when questioned about the Melham careless riding suspension on RSN suggested, perhaps somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that this was ‘trial by media’.

“He failed to make sufficient effort earlier than he did to avoid the interference,” Montgomery said. “When Griff started to veer out Melham should have taken evasive action to straighten his mount earlier.’

Respected jockey turned commentator, Steve Arnold, told RSN listeners: ‘The horse contributed to the interference. Ben has been hardly done by’.

The interference was clear, but the view that it occurred too close to the winning post ultimately led to the decision by the connections of Veight not to lodge a protest.

Co-trainer Tony McEvoy revealed the conversation he had with rider Damian Lane as to whether they should object against the placings after finishing second to the wayward Griff in a dramatic Guineas, with a length and three-quarters separating the pair on the line.

“I just said to Damian out there, ‘The whole of Australia are going to want us to protest’ and he said, ‘There’s nothing’, he said it was all too late, and when someone like him talks like that, you listen,” said McEvoy, who trains in partnership with his son Calvin.

“We went and had a look (at the stewards’ vision) because I just thought I owed that to the owners and to the public, but I agree with Damian; we had our opportunity before that.”

McEvoy admitted that he was feeling confident when Veight got out into clear galloping room at the top of the straight. “He had his opportunity to quicken, and I thought at the 400, as he (Lane) thought, when he came out, we were going to win but then he didn’t get it, the winner had something, had an answer, and we didn’t round it up and win,” he said.

“That was his opportunity, and he couldn’t take it, so he ran super, the winner was just too good for us.”

Griff was the fourth seed of the stable’s four chances but provided trainers Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace with their first Caulfield Guineas success. Despite starting at $31 he carried one bet of $5,000 each-way.

Eustace paid tribute to Melham for the win after he got the horse across from the outside gate of 15 to dictate terms in front. “The ride was just extraordinary. He had a plan and rode to it and got the result. Fantastic.”

Melham, who got lost in the racing wilderness for a while, has endured a mixed couple of years, but said he is still feels as good as ever.

“I’m still here but the opportunities are hard now,” Melham said. “It is so competitive in Melbourne with a good group of young guys coming through. There’s only one winner of each race and I find the hardest part now is getting on the right mounts. When I do get that opportunity, I’m as good as ever.”

That’s one of the reasons his legion of fans (especially the punters) believe that on appeal Melham should have the suspension side upheld but retain the fine.

Time will tell!



IN this wonderful article by ADAM PENGILLY, the FAIRFAX MEDIA journalist explains how champion jockey CRAIG WILLIAMS has found his purpose in life and is on a mission to raise millions for war-torn UKRAINE.

HUDDLED in a tiny Ukrainian war bunker, there’s nothing to do but think. The air raid siren wails, the concrete walls are chillingly cold, and what really matters in life becomes clear.

An innocent voice breaks the silence.

“This is what we have to do when the siren sounds, Nan,” the eight-year-old girl whispers.

Watching on, an Australian man next to her drops his head.

 “I just broke down,” says jockey Craig Williams. “My children get disappointed if the internet drops out or if it’s going to rain tomorrow … and this eight-year-old child was explaining to her Nan what she has to do in an air raid siren in the hope she’s going to live.”

Most men can spend their life running from the problems that follow them. Others prefer to spend their life chasing solutions to the problems of others – even if it means endangering their own lives. Inside that bunker, Williams realised he had a new purpose in life.

For more than a year, Williams, one of the country’s most well-paid athletes as a winner of the Melbourne Cup and The Everest, his Ukrainian-born wife Larysa and a team of assistants has been making clandestine trips to the country to provide urgent medical equipment, supplies and other aid to troops and civilians on the front line. His last visit was only a few months ago. In 14 days, Williams had to scramble into a war bunker 14 times.

How did he end up there?

On a balmy Melbourne night in early 2022, Williams and Larysa wandered into Melbourne’s Federation Square to show support for Larysa’s homeland after war broke out in eastern Europe. It might have been enough for most people. But Williams is not like most people.

The idea began small.

“When I started to ask about trauma kits, I thought I would go down to Chemist Warehouse and see what they could do,” Williams says.

That was before he knew what was really needed. His adviser and security detail, Tim, sent a 26-page email which explained what is actually required for trauma kits: Israeli bandages, QuikClot, tourniquets, staples, staple guns and the like.

“We’re not talking about paper cuts, band-aids or blistex,” Williams says. “They don’t have 26 minutes to stitch people up on the front line. It opened our eyes to something a lot different to what we’ve ever had to deal with.”

He spoke to his accountant about raising money for Ukraine, who said donations should be made through the jockey’s own website. Williams was told $50,000 would be a good fundraising target. He was interviewed on breakfast television the next day, having wrestled with the idea of making his charity efforts public.

“And I said $100,000,” Williams laughs. “I always like to aim high.”

The tally now stands at more than $2.2 million.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without predominantly the support of the thoroughbred racing industry, but we get donations from pensioners who send $13 or $25 every two weeks,” Williams says. “The worst part is I don’t have an email to thank them, or I can’t walk up to them in the street.”

But those on the streets of Ukraine thank him.

It’s hard to comprehend what goes through someone’s mind when they enter a country at war for the first time. Williams’ maiden visit last year involved crossing the border through Poland in the dead of night, and dropping supplies to civilian fighters.

“You went 400 metres to the Ukrainian side, and you think, ‘Oh my goodness’,” Williams says. “You could feel the difference. Young men and women, old men and women, they have automatic guns – and they’re out. You could feel the heaviness in the air, the enormity of war, and a next door neighbour not at war.

“But I wasn’t scared.”

Each time Williams has seen the horrors of war: blood-stained and burnt out school buses and civilian vehicles riddled with bullet holes; the ruins of apartment buildings; guns pointed at his vehicle as his convoy approach checkpoints at each village or town; the sheer terror of air raid warnings; children left with nothing other than what’s in a plastic bag.

Then there is the inevitable.

At Bucha, a town 25 minutes outside of Kyiv, a grave site is behind the local church. The area was captured by the advancing Russians for about two months. The local priest asked enemy forces if he could at least take the estimated 400 Ukrainian bodies off the streets to be buried in a makeshift cemetery behind the church. Almost half of them couldn’t be identified.

“Then you realise during this particular war, the Russian Federation’s reach is the whole of Ukraine,” Williams says. “Everyone’s a target.”

The main recipients of Williams’ charity, which now includes a partnership with Rotary Australia, is a particular Ukrainian fighter group. Williams met the organisation’s leader on one visit. A couple of months later, Williams was told the leader had been killed during fighting. The man’s mother had already been displaced and had moved to Australia, and when Williams learned about this through social media, spoke with Larysa. She agreed to chaperone the woman back to Ukraine to bury her son, who could barely be identified due to his horrific injuries. The mother’s birthday is this Sunday.

“There’s nothing more traumatic than burying a child,” Williams says. “It was the right thing for us to do.”

Since then, due to the enormous money raised, Williams and his crew have been able to buy four vehicles in Poland which have been repurposed as ambulances. They’ve also progressed to generators, which are used to power mobile hospitals, bakeries and showers, so as not to be permanent targets for the Russians.

But still those closest to him worry.

Williams’ father, ex-jockey Allan, sat him down a few months ago for a conversation he’d been thinking about for a while.

“Do you have to keep going to Ukraine?”

“I have to go,” Craig said. “I don’t have a choice.”

Williams pauses.

“You’re contributing to saving someone’s life,” he says. “Why is anyone’s life more important than mine?”

On Saturday, Williams will try to win the $20 million The Everest for the second straight year, where he could change more lives. He will ride Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s Alcohol Free, the last horse selected in the race.

In 2022, he thundered to victory on Giga Kick, who was installed as the early favourite for this year’s race before a first-up defeat in the McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley last month. Williams was savaged by Rod Douglas, the racing manager for billionaire owner Jonathan Munz, for his ride on the horse, with Douglas saying he wanted to “strangle him” for his piloting errors. Williams lost the ride. It was later found Giga Kick had injured himself in the race and would miss The Everest anyway.

He was leaving the races shortly after the news broke when Larysa turned to him.

“At least you’re driving me home,” she said.

Before riding Alcohol Free – an apt name, he says, given he doesn’t drink – Williams will pull on his breeches with a blue and white love heart as a nod to Ukraine on them. He will look in his form guide, where he always scribbles down a few notes.

You’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to be brave. You’ve got to be determined like Ukrainians.

“If they don’t win this race, they don’t exist,” Williams says. “Their race is very simple. We have a choice here.

“And it’s made me be a better human, which makes me a better husband, a better father and a better jockey. It gives me perspective.

“I lived in a bubble, and unfortunately, it got burst 18 months ago. I realised my bubble is not reality for most people. If we can save one person’s life, it’s a great thing. The fact we can save many peoples’ lives, it makes it very special and more fulfilling.”



CAN you imagine Racing NSW allowing the animal liberation lobby to sabotage the barrier draw on Sydney Harbour for the richest race on turf, The Everest?

Their counterparts at Racing Victoria apparently don’t possess the same intestinal fortitude it seems and have bowed to pressure and cancelled the iconic Melbourne Cup Day parade.

Victoria Racing Club CEO Steve Rosich has all but confirmed this year’s parade will be cancelled but tried to alibi the weak-kneed decision by declaring ‘an event’ willstill happen in the city.

“We look forward to unveiling our plans soon for Lexus Melbourne Cup eve celebrations,” Rosich told the Melbourne Heralde. “We have a long-standing ­relationship with the City of Melbourne and our plans this year will include a feature event in the city.”

The cancellation of the parade reportedly comes amid continued protests against the Melbourne Cup because of animal welfare concerns.

Last year thousands of racing fans flocked to the CBD to get a glimpse of the Cup at the parade – the first event since Covid-19 lockdowns were ­enforced in Melbourne.

However, the event was marred with protesters heckling punters, officials and racing identities throughout the parade.

Previous Melbourne Cup winners along with jockeys and trainers participate in the popular annual Parade. Lord Mayor Sally Capp and trainer Gai Waterhouse ­attended last year’s celebration when the route was shortened and reversed in direction to reduce the disruption from protesters, but their presence was highly visible.

A City of Melbourne spokesman said no funding was ­requested by the Victorian ­Racing Club for the event this year and the organisation had not been part of any event planning.

A City of Melbourne spokesman said the VRC had requested funding to host the event in 2022 and 2024 through the Event Partnership Program but that had not occurred this year.

The Nup To The Cup campaign has been heavily promoted by Greens representatives at Council and State level. In 2019, City of Melbourne Greens Councillor Rohan Leppert tried to move a motion to scrap council support for the parade.

However, the motion was amended and support continued for that year’s event. The parade has run every year since 1983 except for 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic lockdowns.

Racing Victoria has won few friends – not only in racing but the public at large – by allowing themselves to be blackmailed into cancelling this iconic event by a misguided fringe group of horse racing haters hiding behind a cloak of animal protection.



AND on the subject of Racing NSW making Racing Victoria look second rate, just take a look at how the barrier draws for Australia’s two biggest races this weekend were promoted.

The Everest function was held on Sydney Harbour with guests aboard a floating restaurant treated to a spectacular light show as the barriers were announced for the $20 million race. Trainers and connections with runners engaged were interviewed in a live telecast on SKY.  

In Melbourne where the Guineas is the highlight on Saturday launching the Caulfield Cup carnival the barrier draw was done in the TVN studios with trainers of the top chances interviewed on Facetime.

They might not be racing for $20 million in the Caulfield Guineas but there’s plenty to promote in the clash of the unbeaten Victorian Steparty and the triple Group 1 winner from Sydney in Militarize.

Here’s hoping officialdom at Racing Victoria get off their behinds and provide a more appropriate barrier draw function for the Caulfield Cup on Saturday week.



GAI Waterhouse didn’t tell those who like a day at the race anything they didn’t already know when she criticised the cost of going to the track.

Paying for the prospect of losing your money doesn’t sit well with most punters who in their growing numbers are either preferring to visit their local club or watching the action from the comfort of their living rooms.

Waterhouse has called for race clubs to regularly throw open the gates and let people in for free. She told Racenet that punters would be better off going to McDonald’s and then to the pub instead of heading to the track.

Racing’s first lady has rallied against the cost attached to taking a family to the races, saying entry fees and food and drink prices were exorbitant in many cases. “I don’t think that the race clubs realise you can go into a pub, you can watch the races on your phone, you can watch them from home,” Waterhouse told Racenet.

“Why would you come to the track when you are going to be charged for entry, if you take a family it will cost a small fortune? Then there is the drink and the food, it’s expensive. It’s $11.50 for a beer, it’s ridiculous.”

Waterhouse can’t understand why race clubs charge admission fees at all on rank-and-file race days. Officials respond by asking what would be the point of paying for membership if there weren’t some special privileges.

Considering the magnitude of the event and the entertainment value one could argue the $40-odd admission ticket to The Everest and Caulfield Guineas this Saturday isn’t over the top.

Then again if there was the bonus of a betting voucher for the amount of the admission it might just make the outlay that much more attractive.

Everest day is likely to have a ‘house full’ sign on Saturday with officials visiting the latest Kentucky Derby to examine how Churchill Downs accommodates thousands more on the in-field – something that we could see in Sydney next year.



PUNTERS who tried to follow the form on the stand-along Murray Bridge Cup meeting last Saturday gave it a big ‘thumbs down’.

Most say South Australia racing is impossible to follow – whether it’s because of the poor quality of the horses or the need for stewards to be more vigilant – is a debate for another day.,

But from nine races at Murray Bridge on Cup Day – only one favorite was successful.

And spare a thought for the punters who had to contend with winners at $151, $21, $20, $18, $17 and $16. They had to be kidding.

Jaywick, the $151 winner of Race 4, had not won for 905 days, had won only one race from 22 starts and the closest it had finished in six starts this preparation was a 7th at Bordertown. There’s not much hope for the punters when the stewards didn’t even bother questioning the improvement.



MANY believe trainer John Wigginton was entitled to throw talented apprentice Brodie Wheeler under the bus after his ride on the well backed In Evidence at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

It came as no surprise that stewards questioned the ride of Wheeler because punters were seething after In Evidence finished 5th to Champagne Bender and arguably should have been in the finish.

Wheeler explained that after beginning well he felt that the inside runners had the intention to go forward and with this in mind he felt he would have been caught wide and would have had to overexert the gelding, therefore he elected to restrain and take up a rearward position.

But when questioned trainer Wigginton said that his instructions to Wheeler were to be positive from the barriers and take up a forward position. He added that he was surprised given the instructions to see In Evidence settling at the rear of the field.

Stewards advised Wheeler to be mindful of instructions that are issued and reported that, in their opinion, he had erred in making the decision to restrain as early as he did on this occasion.

So you there you have it – a slaughter job by a promising apprentice and the poor, long suffering punters just have to cop it up the arse.



GREG BLANCHARD from the Gold Coast, a regular contributor, writes:

‘THE elephant in the room for racing in Queensland is a lack of workers track riders etc.

I firmly believe like other industries we must get people from other countries, especially Asia, for the future.

I do believe Jason Scott (the new CEO of Racing Queensland) is listening.

It’s good to see the new Gold Coast turf track looking good because I've never seen so much kick back on the poly circuit there. It never improved liked some said it would.

Also I think RQ and QRIC should have a public forum to answer questions. I know they have them for licensees but ‘Joe Public’ deserves a voice as well.”



PETER MAIR sent this email which makes for interesting reading:

‘MUCH as I lament the failure of the media to speak frankly about the racing industry, the SMH is a lesser offender -- even so, mocking its 'independent always' motto.

The politicians are in this conspiracy up to their necks -- sending punters money to the bush with the first delivery to racing industry people.

That said, the SMH form guide on Fridays is very useful for those who like to mark a bit of hard copy.

These days it costs $4.40 ....... a bit much for a SMH subscriber (internet access only as they can no longer deliver the paper) – that’s some $250 p.a. on top of my subscription.

I would like to revert to the days when SMH buyers only picked up the form-guide if they wanted it -- it could be sold separately for $1 at newsagents and even made available at TAB outlets.

The additional cost of a bigger print run should not be all that great -- the 'killer' is distribution and that would be linked to the SMH truck runs to newsagents.’



IT’S BACK – spring into summer with the popular letsgohorseracing LATE MAIL special.

Winter has just left us but spring is in the air and those who subscribed early have already reaped some of the rewards of this popular leisure service.

The greatest three months of racing anywhere in the world each week in Sydney and Melbourne will be highlighted by blockbusters like The Everest, Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate.

It’s a time when punters like to bet. And we try to help them find a winner with the most economical ratings service in the country. Our results are just as good as those big services that cost you plenty and the others that promise winners but fail to deliver.

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For that small outlay – a little over $5 a week (close to the cost of a beer or a cup of coffee) you will receive the LGHR LATE MAIL for the main meetings on a Saturday, our special Sunday at the Races which has proved so popular with followers, the main carnival meetings during the week as well as the major night meetings.

If you are interested in subscribing simply email or text 0407175570 for details and how you can make the $125 payment.



THE LNP has not revealed a racing policy should it win Government – as expected next year – but the chances of the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission surviving in its current format are 100 to 1.

And it’s odds-on that supposedly Labor-aligned Commissioner Shane Gillard and the Chairman of Thoroughbred Stewards Josh Adams will be looking for new jobs soon after the election.

Archie Butterfly has reported on his popular subscriber-only site,, that startling figures from the recently tabled QRIC Annual Report reveal that confidence in the integrity of Queensland racing has dropped by almost 30 per cent under the leadership of Commissioner Gillard.

A year ago 78 per cent of the community were confident that racing was run with integrity.

In the last 12 months that number has fallen to just 55 per cent, meaning that only a little over half of Queenslanders have faith in the integrity of the game.

It gets worse.

Only 38 percent of the public today – just over a third – believe that the QRIC is doing enough to protect the welfare of racing animals.

The corollary to that of course is that 62 per cent don’t believe they are doing enough.

As Archie reports, these are damning statistics indeed, for they mean that when it comes to achieving its three main objectives the QRIC are failing on every count.

And this has occurred at a time when the cost of running the QRIC has – in just five years – ballooned from $26.4 million to $34.7 million.

This is not good enough – not good enough at all – and the Labor Government should be addressing the issue pronto.

The cold hard truth based on these statistics is that the QRIC are failing the people of Queensland public, not to mention the industry in general.

The question that stakeholders and punters want an answer to is:




NEWS Corp has descended into finger-pointing and blame-shifting as senior executives reckon with how the media company burned through tens of millions of dollars on online bookmaker Betr.

Zoe SamiosSam Buckingham-Jones & Mark Di Stefano report for the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW that the Murdoch-led company invested alongside seasoned bookmaker Matt Tripp and betting tech company Tekkorp to found Betr in April last year, part of a strategic push across the business into online gambling.

According to more than a dozen sources within News Corp and the betting venture, problems emerged before the start-up even launched. They described how a key early investor dropping out prompted a series of cascading problems with how the venture would be funded.

Betr’s headline-grabbing early 100-to-1 promotion saw hundreds of thousands of users sign up, but also led to massive early losses and snowballing liabilities that caused alarm within the media company. Within four months, News Corp Australia had cut ties with the outfit, assuring global investors there would be no more money put into the project.

Now, senior executives are privately looking for someone to blame. Lachlan Murdoch (pictured above with his father Rupert), who had been part of efforts for Fox Corporation to seek gambling opportunities in the US, flew into Sydney on Saturday, but has distanced himself from the investment in Australia. Several insiders wonder if there will be repercussions for those involved.

“Success has many fathers,” quipped one senior News Corp executive. “Failure is an orphan.”

The problems with News Corp Australia’s foray into gambling started well before Betr’s launch on October 12.

Mr Murdoch knew a lot about gambling. Sports betting was steadily being legalized in the US, and he had already taken a punt with the launch of Fox Bet, a joint venture with Canadian gambling company The Star Group, in 2019.

The US was a rapidly growing market for online bookmakers. But Australia was a different story – Mr Murdoch felt it was fully saturated, according to two people familiar with his position. It already had a multitude of powerful players including Tabcorp, Sportsbet and PointsBet. Small players such as BetEasy and William Hill had already combined with other larger players.

But as CEO and chairman of Fox Corporation in the US, Mr Murdoch was not in charge of News Corp (he was a non-executive co-chairman alongside Rupert Murdoch, who stepped down last month). And News Corp Australia, a subsidiary of News Corp, has a level of autonomy to make its own decisions about how it allocates spend.

Investing in sports betting had been on News Corp Australia’s agenda since at least 2021. Michael Miller, News Corp Australia’s executive chairman, backed the strategic move, which was signed off by New York. After years of on-and-off discussions with Mr Tripp, plans formed to launch a new wagering platform.

Mr Miller was confident and backed Mr Tripp, an industry veteran who he believed had proven himself a shrewd operator. Mr Tripp had acquired a stake in Sportsbet before it was ultimately sold to London-listed Flutter in 2005 for $388 million. He later acquired BetEzy, which became CrownBet, buying William Hill Australia and selling the entire business – eventually known as BetEasy – to The Stars Group in 2019.

Mr Tripp was the son of Alan Tripp, a bookmaker who first took bets at the Wentworth Park greyhound racetrack in the 1990s. News Corp Australia execs believed he could be trusted to oversee a challenging, high-profile and high-risk foray into sports betting.

It was the second major play for Mr Miller, a friend of Mr Murdoch from their time working together in Queensland. His 2016 acquisition of regional newspapers from APN News & Media, which he led as CEO between 2013 and 2015, was equally divisive inside News Corp headquarters. The deal, which cost $36.6 million, ended in the closure of 100 print newspapers and the loss of more than 1000 jobs almost four years later in the depths of the pandemic.

Mr Tripp, who was put in charge of the new venture alongside its CEO, Andrew Menz, wanted to use the Fox Bet name, but according to two people familiar with the confidential discussions, Mr Murdoch wasn’t interested. The Fox Bet brand, meanwhile, was in a legal dispute with Flutter, which had since bought its JV partner The Stars Group.

Instead, Betr, listed as NTD Pty Ltd, was formed in April 2022, with one share each for Mr Tripp’s group, News Corp Australia and technology firm Tekkorp, run by Australian Matt Davey. It was meant to be an even split between three crucial partners – the wagering veteran, the wagering tech company and the media giant.

“We haven’t re-entered this market to play second fiddle to anyone,” Mr Tripp said at the time. “We believe we will be – certainly a tier-one operator very quickly – but in time the most prominent brand in the country.”

Each party put in about $4 million, sources said, and the group went to work. Under the deal, News Corp Australia and Tekkorp had given Mr Tripp full autonomy over decision-making.

Things went bad – fast. Weeks before launch, and as the company prepared to gather its launch capital, Mr Davey, Tekkorp’s founder, announced he would not be chipping in funds for the cause. He had other problems.

His company’s special purpose acquisition company, which raised $US250m ($391 million) and listed on Nasdaq in October 2020, decided to liquidate. It said it was unable to secure a digital media, sports, entertainment, or gaming company with an enterprise valuation of between $1 billion and $2 billion.

Mr Davey said he pulled out of the group to focus on other business ventures. “We remain incredibly impressed with the results Matt Tripp and the Betr team have achieved with the national launch of a new brand in a highly competitive marketplace,” he said.

Tekkorp’s decision to withdraw sent shockwaves through News Corp, and Australian executives blame the Las Vegas-based company for abandoning the venture. Suddenly, the news organisation and Tripp’s consortium were required to split the shareholding almost 50–50, alongside minor investors – a move that would ultimately result in News Corp needing to stump up a lot more cash for the launch. The troika was doomed from day one.

The group ran a 100-to-1 promotion across five major sports that prompted 300,000 sign-ups within weeks – an incredible, if incredibly risky, result. But it also meant Betr needed to scale fast. It also meant that News Corp’s share in liabilities was far bigger than initially anticipated. It had never planned on more than a third of the venture, a source said.

Betr had been running for two months and was burning through cash. But Mr Tripp and CEO Mr Menz were ambitious. Spending millions on marketing and growing headcount, Betr was in an exclusive negotiation period to acquire its ASX-listed competitor, PointsBet.

By February, four months after launch, News Corp’s head office had had enough. On a trip abroad to try to secure the PointsBet deal, Mr Tripp and Mr Menz were informed by News Corp Australia that no more money would be forthcoming. A decision was made to shut off all capital calls and exercise an option to exit the partnership, according to media sources who spoke anonymously because the discussions were confidential. It is unclear how much Betr paid News Corp Australia for its hefty stake. Betr declined to comment.

On an investor call on February 9, Susan Panuccio, News Corp’s New York-based chief financial officer, all but confirmed the company’s decision to exit. Analysts had noticed the drag. “In relation to the equity losses, we actually have a small investment in a wagering platform down in Australia, the sub-$US50 million investment and the quarter reflects the start-up losses in relation to that venture,” she said.

“We don’t expect that equity loss reflected in Q2 to be the run rate going forward.”

On February 17, the two News Corp representatives on the board of Betr – consumer division boss Mark Reinke and national executive editor Peter Blunden – stepped down. Betr, which had received discounted advertising rates across News Corp’s entities including Foxtel and mastheads such as The Daily Telegraph, paused all advertising spend.

By that point, News Corp had injected about $75 million into the business, per its annual filings, as it slashed expenses – and employee headcount – elsewhere. It had little to show for it.

Then, for six months, things went quiet – until the big, early bets came home to roost. Within two days, the AFL and NRL grand finals saw tens of thousands of Betr customers flood back on to the platform, many of whom had all but forgotten about their $10 launch bets at 100-to-1. The Penrith Panthers in the NRL in particular, going for a third consecutive grand final win, had north of 40,000 backers – a $40 million payout. Mr Tripp said he was “ambivalent” about the results. When the Panthers won, it prompted the largest single payout in the history of Australian sports gambling.

It was only then that Betr executives notified the corporate regulator that News Corp Australia was out. They had waited six months, opting to cop what a spokesperson for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said was a $387 late fee – failing to notify it within 28 days of a decision. For a betting firm, it was pennies.

With News Corp out, Betr is owned by Mr Tripp and his unknown group of investors. Mr Tripp insists it is profitable, even after its massive recent payout.

News Corp is unlikely to take a punt on wagering for a long time.



SYDNEY’S  main news providers have many interests in common with the pugnacious leadership of Racing NSW. ANNE DAVIES poses the question in THE GUARDIAN AUSTRALIA:

Have they become too close? 

ON Tuesday Sydney’s Daily Telegraph launched a six-part video series to promote the richest horse race in New South Wales, The Everest, spruiking it with an eight-page wraparound of the newspaper including a story that purported to reveal a Victorian plot to undermine the “NSW showcase”.

The documentary, produced by the Telegraph’s editor, Ben English, and featuring the editor-at-large, Matthew Benns, and chief racing writer, Ray Thomas, featured interviews with Racing NSW’s powerful chief executive, Peter V’landys, who “reveals [the] emotional toll of [the] spring carnival disruptor”.

The Everest takes place on 14 October, the same day as the Caulfield Guineas, one of the highlights of Melbourne’s spring carnival, which is one reason the race has set the racing bosses of the two states at loggerheads.

“In 2017 V’landys had an idea that turned racing on its head,” wrote Benns of the $20m event. “The success of the Everest has angered the green eyed bosses from other states,” he says.

What is not disclosed in the videos are details of the commercial arrangements between Racing NSW and News Corp, which over many years has given racing benign coverage, and at times full-blown promotion.

After nearly 20 years with V’landys as chief executive, there is a perception that the statutory authority that presides over racing in NSW has developed its commercial links with the media into something more akin to a partnership than a normal journalistic relationship.

Those links may also have helped V’landys strengthen the power base of Racing NSW, as the might of News Corp at times takes on the organisation’s perceived enemies – including premiers and other politicians.

Since the Guardian announced its rejection of gambling advertising in June, it and the ABC have been perhaps the only two major media organisations that do not receive income, either directly from commercial partnerships with Racing NSW or via advertising for sports betting.

Since 2019 V’landys has also been chair of the National Rugby League, adding to his clout in the sporting world.

He has torn strips off a Premier for withdrawing funding for suburban football stadiums, received tax changes for online betting that boosted revenue for Racing NSW, and managed to convince politicians to permit the Opera House sails and the Harbour Bridge to be used in the service of promoting racing.

As chief executive, V’landys has an iron grip on information and access to the racing industry in NSW, which the organisation combines with generous commercial deals for media companies to support coverage of racing.

Insiders told Guardian Australia that the Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald have multimillion-dollar deals with Racing NSW and the TAB which include agreements to print the form guide.

One former editor of the Herald, who declined to be named, said he had considered cancelling the form guide to save on printing costs. He said he felt under pressure from Racing NSW, which he said at that time paid $6m a year via a guaranteed advertising deal to ensure that the form guide continued to appear in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Newcastle Herald and the Illawarra Mercury (then all owned by Fairfax).

James Chessell, the editorial director of the current owner of the SMH, Nine newspapers, said there was no specific subsidy for the form guide and the organisation received nowhere near $3m under the current contract – the estimated amount put to him.

He denied that Nine’s editorial independence had been compromised in any way by its commercial relationship with Racing NSW, and said its current deal contained a clause that specifically said approval of content was at the discretion of the editorial team.

“It’s an advertising deal and we obviously would find it more difficult to print the form guide if it didn’t contain ads. It’s the same principle with the rest of the newspaper,” he said.

The deal with the Daily Telegraph, which produces daily coverage of horse racing, is said to be more generous – about $8m to $10m a year.

Some racing journalists from both papers also make paid appearances on the specialist racing channels and radio programs owned by Tabcorp and Racing Victoria.

Sky Racing, on Foxtel, is owned by Tabcorp, the main NSW betting agency, which has a rights agreement with Racing NSW.



WHY do the mainstream Sydney media have to turn two great races of the Spring – the Melbourne Cup and The Everest – into an annual war between Victoria and NSW?

Racing NSW has dared to be different introducing the super successfully The Everest but to declare the obvious it’s nothing like the Cup and a completely different spectacle.

Your run-of-the-mile punters think the $20 million in stakes on offer for The Everest is absurd but if the slot holders want to contribute to that purse, who cares?

They feel the same about whether the race is granted Group 1 status. Just because it’s worth a massive amount of money shouldn’t shortcut the criteria to greatness. One wonders however how many of the horses who gain slots for The Everest would compete in a similar race worth $2 million and not $20 million. The answer is the majority of them.

Why compare it with the Melbourne Cup? In recent years the two-miler on the first Tuesday in November has attracted more critics, especially from Sydney largely because they want to pump up the tires of The Everest and some feel that earns Brownie points with their ‘racing God’ Peter V’landys whose off the blocks approach to promoting the Sport of Kings has left the Victorians standing in the barriers?

LGHR has enormous respect for the PVL approach – we just wish NSW and Victoria could find a way to work together for the betterment of our great sport. But we’ve had a gutful of the comparisons between the Melbourne Cup and The Everest and it seems some racing followers feel likewise if the feedback to ‘The Whinge’ this week is any guide.

Here are a few examples and we might preface publishing same with a declaration that criticism of some media individuals in these is not necessarily the opinion of this website.



LARRY J from MELBOURNE writes:

‘STANDBY for a fortnight of saturation coverage of The Everest from the NSW racing scribes – it will seem like there is only one feature race being run in Australian racing.

The official launch of this passage of propaganda was left to the ‘big mouthed’ Richard Callander, labelled by Racenet the sport’s most controversial commentator but declared by many as arguably the least credible of the lot.

Richie has weazled his way back onto SKY Channel and as a columnist for the Murdoch-owned Racenet (wonder what his great dad Kenny thinks about that after News Ltd virtually forced him to quit because dared to be too critical of the powers-that-be, one of whom at the time was Peter V’landys).

Did Richie learnt from his father’s ‘mistakes’ that if you want to succeed in the NSW racing media, there are certain people you have to ‘respect’ and other things ‘you can’t write’. Is the reward a second job promoting NSW racing?

Using Ray Thomas from The Telegraph as an example it’s not just another but many multiple jobs and doesn’t he do a great job spin-doctoring Racing in NSW, hanging on every word of PVL and top trainer Chris Waller, doubling almost – some might say – as their public relations manager.

One of my mates, on reading how Peter V’landys has outlined his plan for Broncos wonder boy Reece Walsh to be the face of rugby league and the code’s first global megastar, spoke tongue-in-cheek of how some high profile members of the Sydney racing media had responded to this.

‘Would you like us to promote the idea of racegoers wearing ‘pink shoes’ on Everest day Mrs Vlandys. Most of the racing media, – can’t speak for old Max or Big Rootsy but some at SKY wouldn’t have to buy a pair – are keen to set an example,’ one supposedly emailed the big man who kindly declined the offer.

But back to the wall-to-wall coverage of The Everest, ‘Big Richie’ suggests anyone who doesn’t believe The Everest is up there with the four majors of Australian racing is ‘entrenched in tradition and has grown up following racing.’

We apologizse mate for providing a generation of racegoers before the bottom fell out of the business when SKY arrived and most dodged the drunken ferals on race day by going to their local club or staying in the safer confines of their living room to watch the action and punt on it. It was also a lot cheaper to do so – they weren’t getting robbed for the privilege of losing their money by paying money on feature days to go through the gate not to mention far too much for a pie and a beer.

Big Richie, in his column this week, quotes his dad, Ken, one of the most highly respected scribes the sport has seen, as attributing the ‘big four’ moniker to a phrase coined by a leading turf writer in Keith Robbins when looking for a headline.

To declare it now outdated is an insult to Robbins who, with all due respects, makes pretend racing writers of the current day who seem only interested in promoting their own cause look like second rate ‘spin doctors’.’



AND this one from PETER H in QUEENSLAND:

‘WHEN will the big fellow, Richie Callander, stop protecting his long-time future in the media by promoting everything Racing NSW and giving the impression (one would hope it’s not right) of sucking up to Peter V’landys at every opportunity?

Along with a lot of other senior members of the Sydney racing media squad (especially those at News Ltd and SKY), Richard wants to compare The Everest to the Melbourne Cup and in his latest propaganda column suggests The Everest has more going for it than the Big Four races in this country.

I’ll be nice to start with and suggest that The Everest has been a great innovation and is here to promote when it’s run for $20 million and has to attract the interest it does with the publicity it gets.

Now I’ll be nasty. Richie, how did you make it back into the media after selling out your mates and paying the price on that Hong Kong horse deal?

You continually bag the number and naming of the ‘Mishani horses’ up here in Queensland. Would you do the same if they were trained by your mate Chris Waller or raced by one of the biggest breeders in NSW?

And on the subject of the massive Waller team, when was the last time you – or most other members of the racing media in Sydney – criticised his form reversals and upset wins when the stable has multiple runners in races?

And finally, we see a lot of you on SKY these Sundays at bush meetings in NSW. In your role (I believe you still have it) as CEO of the NSW Trainers’ Association, what do you think of some of these ‘goat tracks’ they race on and the poor standard of race-callers, I’m referring sadly to the older blokes who should have been pensioned off long ago?

Mate, take a tip, regardless of how successful The Everest is, the majority of Australians (who aren’t subservient to Racing NSW) will always believe that the Melbourne Cup might not be the best quality but will always be the ‘race that stops the Nation’.



OUR great mate GARY GORRIE enjoying the good life in retirement in Phuket longs for the days gone by which unfortunately have been put through the mincer in the new era of Australian racing. Here’s his email with an ‘odd’ comment on the NRL Grand Final.

‘WHAT a shame people change what’s not broken.

I remember years ago travelling to Sydney for The Epsom on the Saturday, NRL Grand Final on the Sunday and then off to The Metropolitan on the Monday.

Crowds were good and hotels in Sydney had full accommodation for four nights of the long weekend with plenty of beers consumed in their bars and good food devoured in their restaurants. What a money-spinner it was for the whole city.

But someone has to fix things that aren’t broken.

Two big days now combined in to one with the Epsom and Metrop run on the Saturday. The public meeting on Monday, run at Warwick Farm this year, attracted ordinary field and horses that less punters wanted to be on compared to the era when Randwick would run The Metropolitan meeting Racing followers now fly to Sydney for two days rather than four and everyone from hotels, to bars, to restaurants, to taxis (Ubers) now suffer, especially racing.

NOW that I’ve had my whinge on that, I want to take my good mate John (LGHR publisher) to task over his comment about the great refereeing in the Grand Final on Sunday when (in my opinion) one mistake (a real HOWLER) cost the Broncos the match.

In the old days John would have been right onto it but I guess being so close to those big electrical appliances at Cluden has dulled his brain.

John do a Pauline Hansen on the photo I've sent (we DIDN'T publish this because only a cross-eyed or one-eyed fan could believe it shows a hint of being off-side) and ‘Please explain.’

Turuva (No 2) is in front of the kicker (Chrichton) and subsequently knees Walsh in the back, drags him over the try-ine and then Reynolds kicks out on the full resulting in a penalty in front and Cleary scores.

In reality it should have been a penalty to the Broncos who would have kicked up-field and the Grand Final would have been over.

I would not have thought such a small device would have given you a high voltage injury like you have.

Congrats to Penrith but "Kevie" you were robbed.

‘Please Explain’.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: You should starting watching the NRL with your smart young son Georgie and he would have explained how every week during the season there is a growing legion of rugby league followers who barrack for ‘any team that plays the Broncos’ because of the belief that the ‘State of Origin-stacked side’ gets too much start from officialdom, including the referees. One would have thought that being an old North Queensland many Gaz, you would be a Cowboys fan. Surely you don’t like supporting losers but my beloved boys will bounce back. And in the process they won’t have to cheat the salary cap or have any help from the bunker. You talk about a supposed refereeing mistake costing the Broncos the Grand Final. What about the two forward passes in the Preliminary Final against the Warriors that caused such a stir. Broncos fans can declare themselves robbed, coaching genius Kevvie can declare the League Gods conspired against them but the fact remains there is no excuse for losing when you lead by that much. It was the greatest choke in NRL grand final history and mate please don’t sound like you’re a Pauline Hansen fan – that makes us worry you really are spending too much time in the Phuket sun.

Love you Gaz – in seriousness look after the beautiful Nock and that smart little boy Georgie, he’s the next Tiger Woods. And I agree with you about the Sydney long weekend racing but what about Queensland. Full marks to Beaudesert for picking up a meeting that the bigger clubs won’t run because of a refusal to pay holiday loadings but six races isn’t good enough.    




THE $100,000 Maiden run at Warwick Farm on Monday was appropriately named the Drinkwise Mile because that is what most punters needed after ‘Walley World’ put them to the sword.

The result again highlighted how hard Sydney racing has become for those who still try to follow the form, especially when the powerful Chris Waller stable has multiple runners.

This was a ‘red letter day’ because even the ‘B Team’ on duty from SKY were blowing up big-time after the race when the rank outsider of Waller’s four runners scored an upset win and his two favourites performed like mules.

It prompted one of our readers to send this email:

‘Full marks to those form analysts from Sky Channel working at the Warwick Farm public holiday meeting for protesting after the Maiden, especially focusing on the performances of the Waller runners.

‘Rather than let the stable first lieutenant, Charlie Duckworth, get away with just talking about the winner, Unowho (at $14), which he declared a Derby prospect after a Maiden win, the interviewer queried the flop of Ahuriri which got beaten over eight lengths. ‘He’s much better than that,’ Sir Charles declared. ‘Must be something wrong, like EPIH.’

If this had been a Saturday, might I add that the ‘talking heads’ from Sky would have focused on the winner and said nothing – if they couldn’t find an alibi – for another beaten fancy from the Waller stable.’

Stewards queried the performance and this was their report:

AHURIRI: Slow to begin and shortly after the start was steadied from the heels of Jurisprudence which was carried out by Unowho. Brett Prebble reported that he was instructed to ride the filly with cover. He said after suffering interference at the start, the filly did not then show any speed and as a consequence, settled behind midfield.

He added that Ahuriri travelled only fairly then throughout the middle stages and from the 800m raced greenly and was very shy of other runners. He added that after shifting out and away from Kenology from the 800m, Ahuriri continued to race greenly and was inclined to lay out rounding the turn and as a consequence lost ground. He added that Ahuriri then continued to give ground when under pressure in the early part of the straight and when out of contention, he did not fully test it over the final 150m.

Prebble added that in his opinion, the filly would be assisted with the addition of blinkers.

A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities. Stable representative Mr Charles Duckworth was advised that Ahuiri would be required to barrier trial to the satisfaction of Stewards prior to racing again.

Waller is a great trainer and will continue to produce many more Group winners from the hundreds of horses on his books. But until his bread and butter horses start racing more consistently punters can’t be blamed for bagging the crap out of him.




THE AFL-NRL 100-1 market update from the Betr Team has sports betting punters confused, gob-smacked and angry.

Betr, that’s the bunch that was launched with a blaze of glory in the Murdoch Media, because of the financial involvement of their boss, that has reportedly struggled.

On the eve of the two Grand Finals, for which they offered 100-1 about top teams, Betr produced this little gem:

The moment you have been waiting for is almost here.

Congratulations on your 100-1 bet making it to the final.

As you would have heard our 100-1 markets were a huge hit with punters. SUCH A HIT THAT TO PROCESS & SETTLE ALL THE BETS ON THESE MARKETS IS GOING TO TAKE A BIT OF TIME.


If you have an enquiry about your bet please reach out after Friday.

Regards the Betr team.

SURELY the big Kahuna isn’t down to his last hundred million bucks. Why the delay? What’s going on? Punters deserved to be paid as soon as the result of the Grand Finals were known.

What odds we don’t read an explanation in the Murdoch Media or on his betting baby Racenet which seems to be there primarily these days to pump out the tips and provide turnover for Betr which is of no use if they are waiting a week to pay their winners.

AND what about the pre-game entertainment for the AFL and NRL. PVL would have been better advised to take a leaf out of The Everest book and got the crowd to sing along to Sweet Caroline.

The Tina Turner Tribute was woeful compared to KISS at the MCG. It was left to Northern Territory rock band King Stingray to salvage something from the wreckage for the NRL.

Was the Grand Final the biggest comeback in League history (by the Panthers) or the greatest choke (by the Brisbane Broncos).

ADAM GEE might have copped some criticism from within his own ranks when appointed referee for the Grand Final but he did a spectacular job. Only a couple of penalties in the first half and no cause for the traditional claims that Brisbane gets too much start from the regulars. Let's see more of Gee in the next season.   



TOWNSVILLE TURF CLUB chairman MALCOLM PETROFSKI has kindly responded to complaints from trainers concerning their relocation while track repairs are undertaken.

‘THANK you for the call out for a response. Unfortunately, at this time I am advised that some trainers are seeking legal advice and so I will not respond in my usual full and frank manner.

Yes, some trainers in Townsville are disgruntled but a large proportion who have called want the new sand track and are appreciative that the club has fought to get this new $1.5 million investment across the line.

They can see the future 15 years looking bright using the new sand fiber track. We have had trainers from other centers calling about stabling and on course opportunities so they can relocate to Townsville.

I will sign off at this point with my real name and not an anonymous title like ‘Concerned Racing Public’.

: My apologies for not publishing this response earlier. One of the trainers who complained did ask that his identity was not revealed because he says there is a history of repercussions when one speaks out against the Townsville Turf Club or Racing Queensland. The late Terry Butts was one who was reluctant to have his say publicly because of this.




AS a DIRECTOR of a FORMER LEADING RACE CLUB in south-east Queensland, when it comes to objective mainstream media coverage of the success or failure of the Brisbane Racing Club it would seem the more things change, the more they stay the same.

When you have spin doctors like some of those writing for the Murdoch Media or commentating on SKY and 4TAB, racing followers continue to have to rely on what is written by Archie Butterfly at and to a lesser degree LGHR to learn what is happening.

My question to Ben Dorries, David Fowler and their colleagues is this:

How about explaining the annual report of the BRC and how bad the major club seems to be performing (as evidenced by a report on under the headline SMOKE & MIRRORS, GLITTER & GOLD – THE BRC ANNUAL REPORT), which only subscribers can read).

LGHR has been dragging the chain lately as well so perhaps you might care to run an excerpt I have provided from a recent disturbing story about the BRC annual report written by Archie Butterfly which reads:

IF you read this year’s Brisbane Racing Club Annual report you’d think all things were shiny and rosy.

I guess they are, if you consider these things all shimmering and white:

  • $8.4 million INCREASE in EXPENSES.
  • $1.9 million DECREASE in NET ASSETS.
  • $7.7 million INCREASE in NET LIABILITIES.
  • $1 million LESS in CASH.
  • DEBT of $42.65 million.
  • And – drum roll – a LOSS of $1.9million FOR THE YEAR.

CAN anyone explain to me HOW THIS IS A GREAT RESULT off AN ASSET BASE of $101 million, at a time when the Reserve Bank cash rate sits at 4.1%?

Do tell, because I just don’t get it.

There is one thing I know forever.

All that glitters is not gold – especially when it’s surrounded by smoke and reflected in mirrors.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Have to agree that the mainstream media ‘spin doctors’ for the BRC seem to have conveniently swept this story under the carpet. Perhaps they’re waiting for advice from a former colleague rewarded for services rendered by a ‘retirement job’ at the BRC. Come on Dave and Ben, especially the latter, where’s that award-winning talent you have that Racenet has been trumpeting from the roof-tops.

For what it’s worth LGHR would be happy to publish an unedited response for the BRC to the questions not only raised by Archie Butterfly but also being asked by many stakeholders and club members right now. Maybe Jason Scott the new CEO or the RQ Board might care to provide and seek an explanation as well. On the surface it’s certainly not a good look for a major club.



WE received this email from a reader who says he was turned away from racing to sports betting because he found it impossible to follow the form or the favorites in Sydney.

JEFF K of MANLY writes:

‘I have focussed my betting activities in the past 12 months on the NRL because I became so frustrated with what was happening in Sydney racing, especially involving a couple of the major stables.

Nothing has changed there but sadly I am now losing confidence in betting on rugby league as well largely due to unbelievably bad referring decisions.

My focus has been on margin betting because most times there is little value betting on the line outcome. I have quickly learnt how a couple of bad errors by referees can have a major bearing on the margin result.

Just look at the preliminary final between the Broncos and Warriors – two blatant forward passes were inexplicably ignored by the referees, touch judges and apparently the bunker cannot rule on them. Soon after a Warriors sin-bin occurred (nothing questioning that decision but it came out of frustration after the earlier errors I believe) and the margin became more than it should have been.

With so much money being invested in sports betting these days mistakes by referees can cost punters millions. Sadly, from my point of view, many of the errors made seem to favour one or two sides, especially the Broncos. I don’t want to get into trouble by suggesting anything untoward so let’s just call it a coincidence.

Take a look at the NRL grand final this Sunday and defending premiers Penrith are $1.62 while Brisbane are at $2.30. In margin betting the Panthers are $2.75 to win by 1-12 and the Broncos $3.25 to perform similarly.

I feel so strongly about what I have seen – from the referees and the bunker – this season that I am having two bets – the Broncos to win by 1-12 or by 13 plus (for a payout of $6.20).

It’s not that I think Brisbane is that much better side than Penrith – I’m just working on the basis of how I have seen things play out this season – enough said!’



LINDSAY J of MELBOURNE questions the quality of The Everest this year:

‘YOU won’t read or hear what I am about to write in the major Sydney newspapers or on SKY Channel.

Is it my imagination or has the quality of The Everest fallen away badly this year?

I am not just referring to the scratching of favourite and last year’s winner Giga Kick. Nature Strip, Eduardo and Lost & Running have also been casualties.

I Wish I Win is the new favourite from Think About It and Private Eye. They are racing for $20 million in stakes when a $1 million race on any feature day in Sydney or Melbourne would attract a field of this calibre.

Last call I heard even champion trainer Chris Waller was struggling to find a runner to fill his slot.  One would have thought with hundreds of horses on his books that wouldn’t have been a problem.

Not to worry The Everest will still be pumped up by the likes of ‘Big Richie’ as the best race in the country and the ‘talking heads’ at SKY will be promoting it as much better than the Melbourne Cup or Cox Plate.   



JAKE L of SYDNEY writes:

‘LET me say two things before having my whinge. Firstly, in the past I have been a great fan of the talents of apprentice Zac Lloyd. Secondly, I am talking through my pocket.

But I thought his ride on Verona at Rosehill on Saturday was an absolute slaughter job. Anyone who backed the horse, yours truly included, didn’t get a fair run for their money.

I will concede he was a victim of a wide alley and a Waller second-string that came out and forced him very wide when making his run from too far out.

My mail is that the Maher-Eustace stable was filthy on Lloyd over the tactics he adopted and made no secret that he failed to follow riding instructions.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stewards inquired into the Zac Lloyd ride and here is their report:

VERONA: App. Z. Lloyd was questioned regarding his riding of the mare and the reason for him making a forward move from near the 1000m, which resulted in Verona being forced into a four-wide position and without cover from the 800m when Desert Icon shifted out to improve with the mare.

App. Lloyd stated that he was instructed to endeavour to settle a little more forward and as a consequence he was able to obtain a position behind midfield. He said that he did not have any specific instruction to make an early move on Verona, however, he assessed the pace as being quite moderate throughout the middle stages and when his mount was travelling keenly along the back straight, he chose to shift out and allow the mare to roll forward. He further stated that if the pace had remained moderate, he felt that it would have been detrimental to the chances of Verona to fight against the mare, and that this also was in his thinking for making the move when he did. He said Verona subsequently was not able to sustain its run and gave ground over the latter stages.

Trainer Mr C. Maher advised that the tactics adopted by App. Lloyd were not part of his instructions and he was disappointed with the option he took to improve into the race when he did. App. Lloyd was advised that Stewards believed in all the circumstances he had erred in making the forward move at such an early stage of the race when it appeared reasonable for him to have remained racing in a position with cover behind True Marvel.

App. Lloyd was advised that, whilst no action would be taken against him on this occasion, he should apply better judgement than he did on this occasion. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.



WE have received several emails suggesting the natives are restless in Townsville over the short notice provided by the club that the training track will be closed.

Here is an example which should get the general message across:

‘THE Townsville Turf Club is closing its training track at Cluden providing trainers with six weeks’ notice to find somewhere else to prepare their horses.

Racing Queensland has suggested trainers should drive to Home Hill or Charters Towers for trackwork sessions. They have to be kidding.

Following a meeting to try and resolve the situation, the TTC agreed that trainers could work their horses twice a week at Cluden.

Does officialdom not realize they are jeopardizing the employment of trackwork riders in an industry that already struggles to find staff?

If this problem continues it leaves 32 trainers and 180 horses with limited trackwork opportunities.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Usually when a contentious matter arises, such as this, TTC Chairman Malcolm Petrofski is kind enough to provide an official response. If same is forthcoming we will publish it.



REGULAR contributor GREG from the GOLD COAST provides his weekly report:

AROUND nine years ago two Hong Kong apprentices came to ride in Queensland.

They were Geoffrey Leung and Shenny Chan, who I had a bit to do with. Geoff’s last ride was at Aramac and Shenny’s at Longreach. Shenny was runner-up in a country premiership one year.

Now fast forward to 2023 (I believe we should). Look to Asia to get apprentices to help the shortage of jockeys for bush meetings.

I realize it's hard to get them to go bush but I believe it's possible.

I believe Racing Queensland should give them financial incentive to travel to the bush. It’s a decade-long problem. Nothing else has worked.




COVID has been blamed for just about everything so it comes as no surprise that Racing Queensland has used it as a ‘get out of jail free card’ for a slump in turnover.

Many punters don’t wear that excuse and are adamant that officialdom is dodging the real reason – an overall lack of confidence betting on the local product.

Here’s what ‘Percy the Mad Punter’ – a regular contributor to LGHR – sent us this morning:

‘That’s right blame COVID. Increasing the Saturday program to 10 races will add more betting turnover but it won’t overcome the problem that QRIC (the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission) refuses to address.

“Form reversals, shock defeats of short-priced favourites and bad rides by top jockeys have punters ‘gun shy’ betting on Queensland racing. It should be easy to fix but the ‘Adams family’ of stewards don’t seem to have that ability”.

News Ltd has finally caught up with the news broken by Steve Hewlett in an interview with RQ CEO Jason Scott a few days ago on Radio TAB that Brisbane will join Sydney and Melbourne with 10-race Saturday cards for a trial period from the start of October.

The jury was out when Scott was appointed but he has quickly silenced the doubters and has done more for the Queensland industry in a few months than his predecessor Brendan Parnell achieved in years.  

News Ltd and its little ‘brother’ Racenet report that Scott has been a driving force behind the concept, saying he is keen to use his wagering background to ‘help slow the decline of wagering which has been seen across the country’.

“By delivering more product on our most popular meeting, we can optimise wagering whilst delivering $300,000 in additional prize money,” Scott said.

“At the same time, we're mindful of not overburdening our trainers and jockeys, so it's imperative that we do all that we can to truncate our start and finishing times during this period.

"In the new year, we will be able to properly assess the impact of the 10th race and whether it should continue, stop, or be revised for the benefit of the entire industry.”

Racing Queensland will run 25 10-race Saturday cards as part of the trial.

As Scott told 4TAB another significant shake-up will also see the fourth Saturday TAB meeting in Queensland axed and moved to another day, with Scott saying the wagering figures did not justify having it on that day.

This should have happened long ago along with the initiative of Sunday twilight meetings to be trialled at the Sunshine Coast in January and February in an attempt to maximise the wagering dollar. This will allow that meeting to coincide with the massive turnover on Hong Kong racing. It needs to become a permanent programming feature.

What Scott should be doing is pushing to have racing determine times rather than SKY Channel to overcome the situation at present where coverage on that broadcaster is designed to benefit NSW and NSW only whereby Queensland in particular seems to suffer most.

With the night racing season about to begin there is a need to factor Gold Coast into the circuit. There are reports however that the new development, which will hopefully catapult the tourist strip onto a permanent primary Saturday afternoon timeslot, is dragging the chain.


IT’S BACK – spring into summer with the popular letsgohorseracing LATE MAIL special.

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WE received several emails this week questioning the reasons for some of the form experts and leading corporate bookmakers taking a ‘set’ against Mr Brightside in last Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington.

Some very big bets were landed when bookies and ‘good judges’ who rated Mr Brightside a ‘risk’ came off second best when the Team Hayes stable star bolted in with the Group 1.

It wasn’t as though Mr Brightside didn’t deserve heavily-backed favouritism. He was chasing five straight wins, had sat three wide winning the G1 Memsie at his latest start and top jockey Craig Williams was desperate to put a bad week behind him after losing the mount on superstar Giga Kick.

Those prepared to risk Mr Brightside (at his early quote of $1.9) highlighted the fact that he had recorded only one top-two finish (a win) in six previous Flemington starts. He also had to pull out all stops to beat Princess Grace in the Memsie and she was considered unlucky travelling on inferior ground near the rail.

We think it was the tactics adopted in the Makybe Diva – especially those of Blake Shinn on Princess Grace – that handed the race to Mr Brightside and Williams on a platter.

As expected, Alligator Blood led but whether he is going as well as before or Mr Brightside simply outclassed him is an argument for another day. Perhaps he goes better for the sidelined Tim Clark than the great Damien Oliver.

Shinn crossed to race outside Alligator Blood as anticipated but the question those who thought Mr Brightside was a risk are asking is why he did not make the favourite work early to ensure a more competitive finish.

Once Shinn was content to just let Williams ease into the one-one on Mr Brightside the race was as good as over and the big bets had been landed.

Having said that, like many Chris Waller-trained horses, Princess Grace raced below her best. Was this the same mare that should have beaten Mr Brightside in the Memsie? She was gone on the turn.



ON the subject of the WALLER stable, we received an email from a racegoer at Flemington on Saturday concerning the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap at Randwick.

He thought it was a bit strange that Waller’s first lieutenant, Charlie Duckworth, would be cheering home Rediener when the stable had the favourite Olentia in the race.

Our contributor obviously didn’t realise that Duckworth’s partner, the lovely Kathy O’Hara, was aboard Rediener which returned to racing in spectacular fashion beating the roughie Cuban Royale.

Olentia finished eighth but the way the race was run and the tactics adopted (easing back) from a bad draw by Jay Ford, gave the mare no hope at all.

This was the second successive start that Olentia has been a victim of circumstances. She was favourite and three wide without cover in the Tramway before finishing fifth.

Don’t know what feature Waller has in mind for Oltentia but she’s going to win one soon. And perhaps he might even return Saturday’s Flemington disappointment Princess Grace for the Epsom, where she is currently second favorite.

Interestingly, Waller has 13 in the Melbourne Cup weights released this week, including two of the top fancies in early markets, Soulcombe and Francesco Guardi whose comeback in the Makybe Diva was an eye-catcher. It gives him a great chance of winning another Cup with this assembly line.



TIPPING can be a tough game – even for some of the best in the business.

MARK Guest from Racenet was the target of one punter’s anger when Jerry K of Sydney sent this ‘whinge’ to LGHR.

‘I would have sent this to Racenet but doubt it would have got a run or a response.

It’s a bit rich of them running a story by Mark Guest entitled ‘The Crucial Factors To Finding a Winner’ after his performance at Flemington on Saturday.

I was one of those who fell for the offer of $1 for their tips and coverage at Racenet only to discover that subscription increases sharply after a few weeks.

On Saturday Mark tipped Benedetta and Antino as his TWO BEST BETS; along with Kandinsky Abstract, Saltaire and Sibaaq as his VALUE BETS. These resulted in a big FAT ZERO result for his ‘legion of punting followers’.

To then write an article on the ‘crucial factors to finding a winner’ – is he kidding?’

EDITOR’S NOTE: To be fair you are singling out one week Jerry. Overall Mark is one of the best in the business. Benedetta and Antino were regarded by any good judge as unlucky. There’s no science to finding a winner that exists without luck.



REGULAR contributor GREG BLANCHARD from the GOLD COAST has reminded us this week how important women are to racing:

‘I have noticed the majority of provincial and country apprentices are girls. If you check the Racing Queensland Magazine you will see what I mean.

Now with the ongoing shortage of bush jockeys and hearing so many promises this is the latest:

I believe a country meeting will be moved to Sunday to try and alleviate the problem. This has already happened a few times and Charleville in a few weeks will run on a Sunday.

Now that may free up some jockeys for other Saturday meetings and of course for the Sunday meeting.

But I believe the club could suffer as a result of this meeting being moved to a Sunday. Racegoers like going to the races on Saturdays so they can watch and bet on the major interstate meetings. On a Sunday you only have second rate meetings resulting in clubs not getting as many patrons or punters through the gate.’




ONE thing the last week has taught us about champion jockey Craig Williams is that he always looks on the Brightside of Life.

Setbacks in racing – like losing the ride on superstar Giga Kick after a slaughter job in the McEwen Stakes – aren’t as devastating as these might once have been.

Williams has a new perspective on life since he was catapulted onto the global humanitarian scene after his wife’s family got caught up in the atrocities of the Ukranian war.

After piloting Mr Brightside, the best miler in the land, to success in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, Williams summed up his feelings:

“Everyone is dealing with something. As it turned out it is a horse race.

“It’s my job and I love to do it and I love the horse. Jonathon (Munz, Giga Kick’s owner) has chosen to replace me and that is his prerogative.

“My team and my support around me and the stuff we do humanitarian-wise gives you greater perspective on life.

“As much as I love it and breathe it and sleep it and dream about it and love my racing, I’ve got a really good perspective on life over the past 18 months.

“I can’t ride the horse and it’s disappointing, but I wish the horse all the best. I think he’s a superstar, so good luck with him going forward.”

Always the ultimate professional, if Williams was bitter over his sacking from Giga Kick or the public bagging he copped from Rod Douglas, Racing Manager for billionaire owner Munz, there were certainly no sign of it.

Racing Victoria stewards fined Douglas $1500 for conduct detrimental to the interests of racing after saying he would have ‘strangled’ Williams for giving Giga Kick ‘a gut-buster’ in the McEwen.

Douglas apologized to Williams for his comments in a radio interview when he was still furious with how the jockey handled the reigning Everest champion.

“I'd have strangled him at Moonee Valley,” Douglas told Radio TAB. “I'd have strangled him with my bare hands. I'd have strangled him in the mounting yard. There's no excuse for what he did.

“It wasn't all about winning that race. He knows where we're at with the horse. He knows he's three weeks until the Premiere (Stakes) and five weeks to The Everest.

“It just doesn't make any sense to what he did. Inexcusable and we'll see what plays out.

"He knew where we were at and that's the bit that's hard to cope with. To take off from the 800m to the 200m and run 31.87 (seconds) – he's not Secretariat. You can't be doing things like that.

“He couldn't sustain the run he was given. It was a ridiculous ride. He had no answer for why he did it so he might suffer the consequences.”

And that is what subsequently happened with Munz replacing Williams with Sydney-based James McDonald who was quick to offer sympathy to his colleague.

“It's obviously unfortunate for Craig and jockeys in general when it happens to us. It's happened to all us and it will happen again.

“Obviously I was the lucky recipient but I'm really looking forward to riding him. He's a very good horse in Sydney and hopefully we get a little bit of success on him.”

The wrath of punters quickly moved on from Giga Kick when star Queensland rider James Orman was the target of their emotions after his ride on Antino in the Listed The Sofitel at Flemington.

Stewards questioned the tactics adopted by Orman after the heavily-backed Antino surrendered the early lead, ended up in a traffic jam in the straight and had to check off heels when going for a winning run on the rails.

“I thought I was going to get a nice run in the box seat,” Orman told stewards. “In hindsight, not though. It was a tight run. I think without the 59.5kg I was going to sprint through it, but just as I was getting there it was starting to close.”

Orman quickly learnt it’s a lot different riding in Melbourne to Brisbane. Whether he retains the ride on Antino at its next Spring Carnival assignment remains to be seen. Trainer Tony Gollan is loyal – but one suspects not that loyal!



MELBOURNE Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir has been hit with fresh racing charges relating to his use of a jigger on three horses on the eve of the 2018 Melbourne Cup carnival.

DAMIEN RACTLIFFE reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Weir, trainer Jarrod McLean and stablehand Tyson Kermond were hit with 10 charges each from Racing Victoria stewards on Thursday relating to the use of an electronic apparatus on Yogi, Red Cardinal and Tosen Basil while they ran on a treadmill at Weir’s Warrnambool stables on October 30, 2018.

The trio were caught on video using the jigger, with the 15-minute clip used by police in court last year to assist in their animal cruelty case against the three men.

They were found guilty of animal cruelty in the Magistrates Court in December last year, but avoided a conviction. The footage was then made available to Racing Victoria stewards who opened a fresh investigation into the trio.

In February 2019, Weir was disqualified for four years for the possession of jiggers after they were found in his bedroom in a police raid.

Despite being eligible to reapply for his racing licence since February this year, he has been inactive, awaiting the findings of the stewards’ reactivated investigation.

On Thursday, stewards handed down 10 charges against each of the men – four charges for corrupt conduct and six charges for animal cruelty.

“The charges relate to the stewards’ inquiry into the conduct of Mr Weir, Mr McLean and Mr Kermond which was reactivated after further evidence was presented in the Magistrates’ Court on 14 December 2022 in the course of criminal proceedings against the three individuals,” the stewards’ statement said.

“Since December, the stewards have conducted a comprehensive investigation involving interviews with multiple persons and analysis of a substantial volume of materials.”

In detailing the corrupt conduct charges, stewards said: “Mr Weir was at all relevant times the licensed trainer of Red Cardinal, Tosen Basil and Yogi.

“On or about 30 October 2018, on each horse Mr Weir used an electric or electronic apparatus capable of affecting their performance in a race.

“Mr Weir applied the apparatus to Red Cardinal, Tosen Basil and Yogi with the intention of affecting their performance, and thereby affecting their results in future races.”

Kermond responded to the development, saying: “If the mental stress of the last five years wasn’t enough they want to take it further. I haven’t worked in racing for five years and have been a stock agent.”

Weir and McLean were also contacted for comment.

Weir – who has a desire to return to racing – is accused of using the jigger seven times on Red Cardinal, and nine times each on Yogi and Tosen Basil.

McLean and Kermond were also charged with corrupt conduct and for abetting Weir.

The trio will face the Victorian Racing Tribunal at a date to be fixed.

Weir is currently pre-training horses, but would be banned from working with horses if disqualified from racing a second time.

A host of Weir’s former clients told this masthead last November that they would be prepared to support Weir if he was granted another licence.

But stewards made it clear after the court case was finalised in December that they would renew their investigation.

“The original penalties related to the possession charges and that matter proceeded on the evidence that was available at that time,” Jamie Stier, Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of integrity services, said in December last year.

“Following yesterday’s open court hearing, there’s been further evidence come to light.

“In October 2019, the stewards actually opened an inquiry into the criminal charges laid by the police, so that inquiry has been sitting there open. The stewards have reactivated their inquiry now, and they will now consider any evidence that becomes available to them.”



THE shock defeat of boom sprinter GIGA KICK in the G2 McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley last Saturday has provided more questions than answers.

Was it solely the fault of a slaughter job by top jockey Craig Williams who has accepted full responsibility for the defeat?

Will Williams be sacked for making one mistake after winning ** on Giga Kick, a Dual Group 1 and Everest winner?

Are the supposed ‘experts’ underestimating the ability of star Kiwi Imperatriz, which won the race?

Did Giga Kick perform to his best because he wasn’t fully wound up for his first run since winning the G1 Doomben 10,000 in May?

And finally, despite the fact he missed the start and was set alight before the bend, did we see the ‘real’ Giga Kick in the McEwen?

All these questions will be answered before and when he races next in the G2 Premiere Stakes at Randwick on September 30 leading up to defending his title in the $20mn The Everest on October 14.

A remorseful Williams lamented his ride on the odds-on favorite last Saturday declaring:

“In a perfect world I thought I'll start sliding into the race. Unfortunately, because he's so good and so competitive, today we lost but we might’ve learned something.”

It seems that ‘learning curve’ might have cost Williams the ride. Trainer Clayton Douglas won’t forget what has been achieved with ‘Willo’ aboard. Many are not so sure that owner Jonathon Munz will be so forgiving even if it is just the one bad ride.

The rumour mill suggests Hong Kong superstar Zac Purton will be offered the ride through to The Everest. He rode Giga Kick when it ran a close and unlucky second to I Wish I Win in the G1 T J Smith at Randwick in April on a very heavy track.

Whilst Williams has accepted the blame for the defeat those who study sectional times closely are not so sure. Despite the tough first-up run they are questioning just how well Giga Kick is going.

This is how one of the best summed up the run:

GIGA KICK: Struck trouble at the start and settled last; moved into the race quickly but three wide without cover from the 600m; loomed prior to the turn but weakened the finally 100. That raises the question whether his fitness first-up for four months told or was he a better horse last campaign. At the 200m he was a long head in front of Rothfire yet that horse beat him by a half-head for second.

Clayton Douglas conceded prior to the McEwen his one concern was that Giga Kick might miss the start as he did first-up last preparation when third to Passive Aggressive in the G2 Challenge at Randwick in March.

Douglas said Giga Kick would be harder to beat as he gained fitness. “He's probably about 30kg heavier for his first-up run but he's now a four-year-old and he's developed quite a bit.

“If there's going to be a time when he's vulnerable, it might be Saturday (in the McEwen) but the horse has improved and he's in good order.”



OUR suggestion that some of the major Country Cups in Queensland were suffering coverage and turnover wise because of a refusal to move them from Saturdays to Sundays provoked a mixed response.

PETER GEE sees no need for change as evidence by his email which reads:

‘I read your article about country racing on a Sunday - not sure why we have to talk about this topic again.

Having been involved in the industry for 30+ years it seems to be an obvious waste of time to have country racing on a Sunday - not sure why you have to compare racing here to Victoria.

As you are aware the Sunshine Coast has a monopoly on racing on a Sunday and have for a long time.

If you have spoken to clubs here in the south-east, you would be aware no-one is interested in racing on a Sunday - their meetings on a Saturday suit the local people and they want to keep it that way.

Look at Springsure for example which raced on a Sunday - crowd was very low.

It is probably best to focus on the dreadful coverage of racing in this state and bury topics like this.’

STAN MILLICAN expressed a different opinion in his response:

‘IT’S good to see someone kicking up for these major Country Cups in Queensland to be run on a Sunday.

They deserve better than playing second-fiddle on a Saturday. Times have changed and officials of these clubs along with Racing Queensland need to drag themselves out of the past.

The era when huge crowds turned out for the Cups in Rocky, Townsville and Cairns are long gone. They talk-up attendances these days but imagine what it might be, not to mention the turnover, if these Cups were the primary meeting on a Sunday.

The main reason major clubs don’t want to race on a Sunday or public holiday any more is because they refuse to pay the extra wages associated with those days. Surely RQ could negotiate some sort of deal with workers or their unions.

The reason racing is losing lost generations, especially in Queensland, is because too many officials are living in the past and refuse to accept change.’   



IF it hadn’t been for the John Manzelmann stable, the TAB meeting at Yeppoon on Tuesday would have been a five-race card.

Manzelmann had seven of the eight starters in race four and believe it or not his only rival – Sidearm from the John Wigginton stable – upstaged his team. It was a $1.55 favourite.

In Race 5, Manzelmann had six of the seven starters and won with Cochrane beating his only rival Aspen Lad, which ran second for trainer Darryl Johnston.

Regular contributor GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST made us aware of this story written for CQToday by Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO David Aldred concerning the Yeppoon meeting which reads in part:

ROCKHAMPTON TAB thoroughbred racing heads to Yeppoon on Tuesday with the scheduled RJC race meeting to be run at the Keppel Park racetrack. Keppel Park, just 38 kilometers north-east of Rocky, becomes a coastal hub for local racing for two race meetings this month with the Callaghan Park racetrack currently undergoing annual maintenance works on its course proper.

Mackay’s John Manzelmann has 16 horses set to start at Yeppoon. The trainer dominates two races on the seven-race TAB program with seven of the eight acceptors in the $21,000 BM70 Handicap (1300m) and seven of the eight acceptors in the Open Handicap (1000m).

Uruguayan Group race winning-jockey Raul Silvera-Olivera, licensed by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission late last week, will make his local riding debut at Yeppoon. Silvera took an early booking from Thangool trainer Damien Rideout to ride 6yo mare Unhinched in the RJC’s 0-55 Handicap (1000m) at Keppel Park. A daughter of Hinchinbrook out of the dam Unimpeachable, Unhinched, a $90,000 yearling from the 2019 Magic Millions Sale has managed to win once from 25 starts so far and that was in a $23,000 Maiden Plate, two-and-a-half years ago at Benalla in Victoria. Silvera will need to produce something special to improve the mare. She has been back with the cap catchers at Bundaberg, Emerald, Rockhampton, and Mackay at its past four starts. (She ran 7th at $101).




RACING these days relies almost entirely on betting turnover and that is driven by profile and exposure on the television broadcast networks.

Some of the biggest days outside south-east Queensland are suffering because officials refuse to move these meetings away from their traditional Saturday timeslots.

Victoria, in particular, has shown the success that can be achieved both turnover and attendance-wise by hosting major Country Cups on a Sunday.

When it was suggested Queensland move in the same direction – or at least trial it – the response from officialdom was: ‘Racegoers in this State are different. Many won’t attend their Cup days on a Sunday because they have to get up and go to work on Monday.’

Why is it so different in Victoria? It isn’t! Racing in Queensland is struck in a boring rut. Here’s hoping new CEO Jason Scott – a breath of fresh air – will change that.

Another example of how running Country Cups as second-string meetings on a Saturday can be a detriment to turnover and profile occurred last Saturday when the main race at Cairns was relegated to SKY2 through no fault of the club.

This was the main race of one of the most important two-day meetings in North Queensland and a flow-on affect from an interstate race delay saw (as per SKY rules) the Amateur Cup in Cairns relegated to the second-string station to enable parade ring comments on a Doomben race.

The Amateurs in Cairns has long been one of the most popular Friday-Saturday meetings of the country carnival circuit in Queensland. This wouldn’t have happened if the main race was run on Sunday instead of Saturday.

It makes more sense to run the Rockhampton, Townsville, and Cairns Cups as the primary meeting on a Sunday. They could still program a secondary fixture in the south-east on the same day and instead of the major venue at the Sunshine Coast host it at Kilcoy, Beaudesert or Dalby.

The turnover from these major Country Cups would arguably go through the roof if they were run on a Sunday. When officials start deciding dates by favoring attendance over turnover it’s a quick road to the poor house.




FORGET the form guides – on most occasions there is no more accurate assessment of how a horse will perform than market fluctuations.

Ask those who have been punting for decades and they will tell you that many things have changed in racing except the assumption that bookmakers have crystal balls.

This could not have been highlighted more on Saturday when an emerging staying star of the powerful Chris Waller stable made his much-awaited comeback.

Kovalica had not raced since bolting in with the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm in May taking his record to six wins from only nine starts and including success in the Queensland Guineas, Grand Prix and a third in the Group 1 Doomben Cup.

The astute Waller chose the G2 Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday for the four-year-old’s spring pipe-opener and Kovalica was posted as a safe $4.8 opening favorite well ahead of stablemates Waterford and Madame Pommery.

Amazingly the best backed of the Waller trio was the roughest Waterford, first-up since March, which ran third to the Godolphin-trained Golden Mile.

Madame Pommery failed to reproduce her luckless second when resuming at Rosehill but finishing eighth still managed to beat home Kovalica.

Waller declared Kovalica on track for his first major goal of the spring, the Epsom (which he is supposed to tackle second-up on September 30), but the Derby winner drifted from $4.8 to an amazing $16 when the field jumped.

Talk about a crystal ball – an ease in betting would not have surprised many but out to that quote sounded like he had lost a leg. Once again the bookie boys were spot-on.

Asked of Kovalica’s prospects leading up to the comeback, Waller told Racenet:

“I like a horse with winning strike rates and they win when they are over short distances, long distances or wide draws or things like that and that's Kovalica if you look at his runs.

"He is by Ocean Park and I think they just keep improving at four and I just don't think he is a 2400m horse, I think he is a bit sharper than that.

"That's why we are having a pretty strong crack at the Epsom second-up and where he heads to from there I don't know but it would be nice to see him finishing off on Saturday.

"He's got a big weight, a tricky draw but as long as he is finishing off we will be rapt."

Well, from what the punters saw, Waller couldn’t have been rapt and nor were the stewards who requested a ‘please explain’. Here is their report:

KOVALICA: Near the 350m was briefly crowded between Commando Hunt and The Inevitable, which shifted out. K. McEvoy reported that Kovalica, which was resuming, was a little disappointing in its failure to finish off the race. He added that in his opinion the gelding may not have been entirely comfortable on the firmer racing surface. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

It was beaten only four lengths but Kerrin’s ‘a little disappointing’ hardly describes the performance of the horse we saw during the winter.

Then again Waller can perform miracles and if it turns in a kingsize form reversal to win The Epsom the weak-kneed mainstream Sydney racing media will just describe it as another ‘freakish training feat’.

Kovalica has eased the $15 in Epsom betting behind stablemates Princess Grace ($7 FAV), Fangirl $11 and Osipenko $13. Pericles at $8 looks the only runner capable of upstaging a Waller win in the Group 1.



AFTER a four-year Racing NSW probe, Nathan Snow was found guilty of placing a $200 win and $800 place bet on Ventura Storm to be the first horse home bar the favourite Winx in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington in 2018.

CHRIS ROOTS & ADAM PENGILLY report for FAIRFAX MEDIA that the event was won by Winx during her remarkable 33-race unbeaten run. Ventura Storm, which started at $41, was the third horse to finish in the favourite out market, and fourth behind Winx.

Stewards alleged 50 per cent of the bet was placed on behalf of Sally Snow using the TAB account of another person. She was not permitted to place fixed odds bets with Tabcorp due to her employment.

On Friday, Nathan Snow was fined $18,000 and found guilty of seven charges brought by Racing NSW for engaging in improper conduct, including placing wagers with Betfair and Tabcorp’s rival online oddsmakers after receiving messages from Sally about which horses had been backed with the bookmaking giant.

Police were initially involved in the investigation, but no criminal charges were laid.

Sally Snow remains warned off and can’t attend any racetrack or training facility, or have an interest in a racehorse or place a bet on thoroughbred racing with a bookmaker, after she refused to hand over her phone for imaging or answer questions from stewards. She asserted her common law privilege against self-incrimination.

Nathan Snow, who stewards claimed placed a minimum of 3000 bets per year on NSW horse races, used Tabcorp’s rivals Betfair, Bet365, Ladbrokes and the now defunct Beteasy to back horses after Sally sent private messages, including which horses other professional punters had backed.

Stewards said Nathan also laid horses, placing money on them to lose, with betting exchange Betfair.

The judgment found Nathan Snow had potential winnings of just $1300 from the bets.

“After four-and-a-half years I’m relieved this matter is finally over,” Nathan Snow told this masthead. “While I don’t agree with the verdict, I’m happy to move on and get on with the rest of my life.

“After a three-year Racing NSW and police investigation, now people can see the greatest racing crime of the 21st century never happened. There was no putting up inflated odds, no unreasonable limits or anything silly.

“I’ve been charged over eight bets over the course of three days after I was examined for 18 months’ worth of data.”

Nathan Snow was found not guilty on a further three charges of placing fixed odds bets with Tabcorp over a 12-month period because there was no restriction on him doing so.

The inquiry heard Nathan Snow backed horses Coruscate, Asterius, Turnberry and Reflectivity using his own and another unknown account for a Rosehill meeting in December 2018, and then later laid all four horses with Betfair. He also bet on a horse, Lisdoonvarna, to lose on the same day.

It was found that Sally Snow had allegedly sent him messages relaying Tabcorp betting information before his wagers.

Nathan Snow then backed further horses at the Warwick Farm and Newcastle meetings a fortnight later after correspondence from his wife.

Nathan Snow was also a director of racehorse syndication business Snow Eagle Racing, which was licensed in South Australia, but stood down from that position in 2019.



TWO months out from the Melbourne Cup and the list of 132 nominations includes over 30 from two major Australian stables; 10 Internationals and 112 at $34 or longer in the early betting, some of which arguably wouldn’t win if they started now.

Cairon Maher and David Eustace have 17 hopefuls among their entry for the race that stops the nation, including last year’s winner, Gold Trip, on the $26 line in pre-post markets.

Chris Waller, who won the Cup in 2021 with Verry Elleegant, has nominated 14 horses, including Derby winners Manzoice (Victoria) and Kovalica (Queensland). The highest rated of his at this stage is Soulcombe, surprise comeback winner of the Listed Heatherlie at Caulfield last Saturday. Stablemate Francesco Guardi, an $11 chance, adds to the stable’s Cup arsenal.  

Soulcombe is equal early favourite for the Cup alongside Irish stayer Vauban, trained by Willie Mullins, who also has Ebor Handicap winner Absurde entered.

English  trainer William Haggas has nominated Desert Hero (on the second line at $11 for the Cup). The emerging stayer is owned by King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott still has nine Cup entries after the loss of early favorite White Marlin headed by import Goldman, also on the second line of betting.

Racing Victoria’s Chief Handicapper David Hegan has conceded his early headache is the international Vauban which he finds extremely difficult to assess despite a big win at the Royal Ascot carnival.

“He strolled in at Ascot by 7-½ lengths but at that stage he hadn’t passed the Melbourne Cup ballot because it wasn’t at Group or Listed level,” Hegan said. “At the end of the day, I can’t weight Vauban on what I think he might do.”

Adding to Hegan’s headache is the fact Vauban is one of the best hurdlers in the world, notching three Group 1 wins over jumps, including a win at the famous Cheltenham Festival in England last year.

Hegan cannot consider those wins when allocating Vauban’s Melbourne Cup handicap but said carrying big weights to win top hurdle races overseas showed weight might make no difference to the six-year-old.

“He’s a Grade 1 hurdle winner carrying 72, 73 or 74kg at two miles so my worry is that he can absorb just about any weight we’re going to give him,” Hegan said. “He could embarrass us.”

TWO months can be a long time in racing but we have GOLDMAN on top at this stage, from the Waller pair FRANCESCO GUARDI & SOULCOMBE; the internationals VAUBAN and DESERT HERO (owned by King Charlie).



LGHR has received several emails from punters urging track managers to ensure bias doesn’t reward mediocrity during the Spring Carnival.

It seems almost every Saturday form students have to factor in how a track is playing which becomes a mission impossible when on most occasions they don’t know until a race or two has been run.

The question has been raised whether bias affected the result of the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield. We, at LGHR, don’t believe it did – the best horse won in Mr Brightside.

But there are critics who suggest that had Princess Grace not stayed on the inferior ground on the inside the result might have been different. The argument against that is Mr Brightside was just as equally disadvantaged racing wide throughout.

It all makes for interesting debate heading further into the Spring but one thing’s for sure – Mr Brightside has champion qualifies and the American mare Princess Grace is the ‘new girl on the weight-for-age block’.



DANIEL Stackhouse and his partner Tatum Bull played second fiddle to the headliners, Mr Brightside, Team Hayes and Craig Williams, at the opening Group 1 meeting of the Melbourne Spring.

So did Jamie Kah at her comeback Saturday win on Nunthorpe for Peter Moody and his new training partner, the delightful Katherine Coleman.

After spending six months on the sideline following a nasty fall, Bull is making the most of lost opportunities with a winning double at Caulfield for the John Leek stable aboard Frigid and Devoted.

‘Stacky’ had his confidence in Benedetta justified when the Jason Warren-trained mare overcame a wide trip to win the G3 Cockram Stakes.

Who would have thought as the Spring Carnival hots up the focus would have been on quiet achievers Stackhouse and Bull even though the former rode the most winners in Victoria last season.



DON’T want to sound like a worn-out record but it wouldn’t have been a Sydney Saturday meeting without a heavily-backed favourite being beaten after having no luck.

Last weekend it was the turn of the Chris Waller-trained Olentia at Randwick after Kerrin McEvoy had no luck and was caught wide before finishing fifth in the G2 Tramway Stakes. It was rotten luck after being scratched when a ‘good thing’ in the Mona Lisa at Wyong the previoius day.

Navajo Peak at $41 was the bolter of the day in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes and – believe it or not – the LGHR LATE MAIL gave it a bolter’s hope.

So did trainer David Payne whose former stablemate Montefelia – now with Chris Waller en route to stud – ran a well backed favourite at finished sixth. In the process six-year-old mare has copped plenty of criticism.

But take the tip, although she has won for nearly 540 days, we think she can when Waller gets her out in trip soon. It’s interesting as well that she is among his entries for the Melbourne Cup.



LGHR received a couple of emails highlight how – in the opinion of some punters – mares from the Chris Munce stable can mix their form.

These critics were referring to the performance of plunge Miss Coota which ran a plain seventh at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Miss Coota was previously unbeaten at the track and distance, had won when resuming over the track and distance with more weight and had superior stats to her rivals.

Here’s what the Stewards reported:

MISS COOTA – Began awkwardly. Apprentice B. Wheeler reported at scale that although the filly began slowly, he was comfortable in the position he was able to obtain and the filly travelled well throughout, however was disappointing in its finishing effort when placed under pressure in the home straight. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities.  

So there you have it – another mystery of racing in Queensland – just like what has happened to the inquiry involving Chris Munce which once again seem to have gone missing in action.



THOMAS CISLOWSKI is confused by different substitute favourites in different state TABs for a leg of the Eagle Farm Quadrella last Saturday and writes:

‘I had a Quadrella at Eagle Farm last Saturday on both the Queensland and NSW TABs and was disappointed with the Substitute Favorite in the first leg in Queensland being No 4 (Hold On Honey) and in NSW No 11 (Nashira).

Is this a normal thing that each State has its own rules as to the nomination of an off-course favorite to replace a late scratching? 

In this case Nashira was the heavily backed favorite and I imagined would be off course favorite in both States.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Each State has the same rules Thomas. But on this occasion there was more money on Hold On Honey in Queensland and on Nashira in New South Wales when the race jumped so they wound up with different substitutes. Interestingly, both horses are trained by O’Dea-Hoysted but after opening a short priced favorite HOLD ON HONEY eased in the betting when big money arrived for the stablemate NASHIRA and in the end they ran $2.7 and $2.45 respectively.  



REGULAR contributor GLEG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST updates us on his on-going battle to have the problem of lack of riders for bush tracks corrected. He writes:

‘During the month of August 29 horses had to be scratched at bush meetings in Queensland because there were no riders available, which again is a major disappointment for the industry in this State.

I contacted the Jonathon Thurston Academy awaiting a response on the August 2021 story from ABC Mt Isa that I mentioned here last week.

I also thought it was strange not seeing anything on the RQ website.

And lastly mystery surrounds the two Hong Kong apprentices supposed to be coming to south-east Queensland. The question is: When?’



AUSTRALIA’S biggest gambling companies are famous for offering a bet on almost anything but have now found something they are unwilling to touch: the voice referendum.

THE GUARDIAN reports that some gamblers were surprised markets did not open once the 14 October date was set and the official campaigning began. Gambling companies have previously offered odds on state and federal elections, and some briefly opened books on the same-sex marriage plebiscite.

No major company has so far opened bets on the referendum. Sportsbet, Betfair, Neds, Ladbrokes and Betr have confirmed they will not, but declined to comment when asked why. Some have suggested the referendum is too divisive and not something they want to be associated with.

The companies and the peak body lobbying on their behalf, Responsible Wagering Australia, did not mention the industry was simultaneously lobbying the Federal Government ministers not to ban gambling ads and trailing commissions, as recommended by a parliamentary committee.

The Alliance for Gambling Reform, which has personally lobbied the Prime Minister in recent weeks, believes the two issues are linked, arguing the industry does not want to provoke criticism as ministers review calls for tougher regulation.

The alliance’s chief executive, Carol Bennett, said the gambling industry had proven it puts “profits from losers ahead of any moral considerations”.

“What this really tells us is that they are worried about the Albanese Government’s response to the online gambling report recommendations to ban gambling advertising and inducements,” Bennet said.

“They want to keep Government on side. They feel under pressure and are aware the public has had enough of their endless promotions – so no gambling on the voice.”

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who co-chairs the Parliamentary Friends of Gambling Reform group, welcomed the fact most gambling companies were not accepting bets but said he had no doubt their motivations were “entirely self-serving”.

“Such events are much too important to be treated like a footy game,” Wilkie said. “The privileged access enjoyed by political insiders to polling and other research gives them an unfair advantage at the expense of other punters.”

At least one smaller gambling company, BlueBet, is offering odds and opened its books in June when the ‘yes’ campaign was the $1.70 favourite. Within a month of opening, 95% of all bets were placed on the ‘no’ vote winning.

BlueBet’s head of partnerships and content, Richard Hummerston, said accepting bets was consistent with the industry’s record.

 “There’s a long history of Australian bookies opening markets on matters of national interest like elections, referendums and plebiscites and we’ve bet on just about all of them,” Hummerston said.

“We’re not advocating for either side, just giving Aussie punters an opportunity to have a bet on the outcome.”

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has already called for the Federal Government to delay any response to the committee’s recommendations until after the referendum.

“It is clear there is enormous pressure being put on our political leaders from the gambling industry and free to air television networks to stop this ban. Our leaders must not collapse under this pressure,” Tim Costello, an Alliance campaigner, said in late August.

During the same-sex marriage plebiscite, SportsBet was accused of being insensitive by offering odds on the outcome.

“To vote on the validity of some Australians’ relationships is bad enough, but to bet on them is a whole new low,” said the lead of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, at the time.

Sportsbet subsequently withdrew its market and said it respected same-sex marriage was an important social issue.

A Parliamentary inquiry into online gambling harm has recommended a phased, comprehensive ban on online gambling advertising within three years. The Guardian already rejects gambling ads. Our journalists have reported on the devastating impacts of the gambling industry for individuals, families and society at large, and the correlation between exposure to gambling advertising and increased risk of engaging in gambling is well documented. 

The gambling industry has grown rapidly in recent years and the advent of 24/7 betting apps on smartphones has placed high stakes gambling machines in almost every pocket. A greater risk of gambling addiction and financial ruin is just a few clicks away.  




A WEEK can be a LONG TIME in racing.

The Concorde Stakes at Randwick on Saturday was hailed a match race between old rivals Nature Strip and Eduardo.

Less than 48 hours later two of the greatest sprinters Australia has seen had run their last race. In the case of Nature Strip a press conference was called within minutes of his uncharacteristic performance to announce retirement plans.

Not wanting to steal the limelight from the one-time world’s greatest sprinter, the Joe Pride stable waited a day to follow suit with the great Eduardo who also raced below his best in the Concorde.

On the case of Nature Strip it was left to champion trainer Chris Waller to admit: ‘his acceleration or spark wasn’t there.”

Eduardo’s trainer Joe Pride waited until Sunday to declare: “He finished on the big stage ahead of Nature Strip (4th and 6th behind rising star Remarque)”. “He’s 100 per cent fit but it’s time for retirement after an amazing journey with an incredible horse”.

“I'm announcing his retirement on behalf of the owners,” Waller told a media conference at Randwick. “He's just been an amazing horse and everything he does he does to the best of his ability, even today, he was prepared well, he came to the race sound, he was trialling well.

"Yes, he jumped well, he travelled nicely, he looked to come up the rise well but the same acceleration and spark wasn't there. There has been no indication that race ability was not there anymore, but he wasn't the same horse in the race today.

"Some might ask why did we bring him back for this extra preparation but the simple fact is he's a sound horse, he's a happy horse and that is how he will retire,'' Waller aid.

Rod Lyons, the senior part-owner of Nature Strip, said the ownership group unanimously agreed with Waller's decision. “It's a sad day, we knew it would come, all champions come to the end of the road. I told Chris not to cry as I would start crying. I wish he could have won today and gone on. But he's been a wonderful horse and taken us to such magnificent heights.

“Who would have dreamt we would ever get a horse like him. To go to Royal Ascot will stay in our memories forever, and also for our kids and our grandkids memories. It's been a joy and pleasure to race this horse.”

It was only fitting that after a request from the world’s greatest trainer, the world’s greatest turf writer would interview the world’s greatest sprinter for the final time.

It went something like this:

WORLD’S GREATEST TURF WRITER: ‘How are you feeling bowing out after winning 22 of your 44 starts, including nine at Group 1 level and almost $21mn in stakes?

WORLD’S GREATEST SPRINTER: ‘You don’t have to be condescending with me anymore, save that for the world’s greatest trainer. You need him more than me now. How the fuck do you think I feel lying back here in this spar trying to recover from another JMac slaughter job?

‘I might have drawn wide but they – you known those who make the decisions rather than the one who’s got to do the job – reckoned it wouldn’t matter. I’m the one stuck out there four and five wide like a shag on a rock. And it wasn’t the first time.

‘When I was in England – you were there enjoying a junket and riding on the back of my success but who got most of the credit for my Royal Ascot success – the world’s greatest trainer and the world’s greatest jockey. I have to admit as silly as you looked in that top hat and tails, you did concede it was a world class spanking I gave those Poms.

‘I’ll tell you what mate – and make sure you write this down – one of my favourite memories was when Jamie Kah rode me to victory in the Group 1 Lightning down the Flemington straight. Who wouldn’t want a jockey like Jamie aboard them? JMac had his moments but I tend to remember the slaughter jobs.

“Rod Lyons (senior part owner) is the one that understood me the most. I had a whinny when he told the media on my behalf: “Boys, I have taken you around the world. I have done all I can possibly do for you. C’mon give me a break.’

WGTW: ‘What are you looking forward to most in retirement?’

WGS: ‘Well it certainly isn’t what most of the younger boys can’t wait for – for fuck’s sake I’m a nine-year-old gelding. I’m off to Charlie Duckworth’s farm to do some equestrian work hopefully with the beautiful Kathy in the saddle and not Sir Charles.’

WGTW: ‘Is there any other message you would like to get across to your legion of fans?

WGS: “My form might have been hard to follow but a 50 per cent win strike rate can’t be that bad. If only my stablemates could reach such lofty heights the world’s greatest trainer wouldn’t be copping the bagging he does every week.

“Just look at Saturday when the stable had over 40 runners in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. That netted five winners – an Eagle Farm treble, only one at Randwick and upset winner Soulcombe at Caulfield – hasn’t he announced his Cup credentials early in the Spring?

‘Of course they were keen to highlight my effort in the Concorde as a flop when I know I’ve seen better days but it wasn’t one of JMac’s better rides. Nor was it one of McEvoy’s on Olentia in the Tramway. As for stable newcomer Montefilia, the sooner she goes to stud the better. And what about the King’s horse, Chalk Stream – he should be set for the next Birdsville Cup.’

WBTW: ‘Is there anything farewell message or tip you have for the punters?

WGS: ‘He’s in a rival stable but ignore all the ‘experts’ tipping I Wish I Win – Giga Kick will win another Everest.’  

WGTW: ‘Can I just say that you were always one of my favourites, an absolute champion and a privilege to deal with.’

WGS: ‘Save that bum sucking for the boss and take a tip, the punters would admire you more if you started protecting their interests rather than earning political points.’  




THOUSANDS have converged on BIRDSVILLE for the annual Cup carnival this Friday and Saturday.

After last year, when the iconic meeting attracted controversial publicity for all the wrong reasons, QRIC stewards are out in force ensuring there is no repeat of the ‘jigger’ affair.

But it hasn’t stopped the wags from cashing in on last year’s debacle. The sign photographed above (courtesy of our man on the spot – Darling Downs Pete) greets racegoers driving into the town.


Fortunately it’s only one of the many bridges crossing the Diamantina River near Birdsville, a drive of over 18 hours from Brisbane.

The fields have stood up much better this year with close to 50 starters on Day 1 (today – September 1) and well over 70 on Day 2 with the Cup the main attraction on the seven-race card.

Mount Isa trainer Damien Finter has the $4.2 favorite Factory Warrior in the Cup with top South Australian trainer Philip Stakes making the long trip north with Neodium $4.5.



IT had to be the biggest racing beat-up story of the year backed by a Nine Network teaser that was nothing short of misleading.

But it led to panic among many industry stakeholders when Channel Nine promoted a story for their news bulletin on Wednesday night highlighting ‘a bold plan to bulldoze the Eagle Farm racecourse and replace it with a housing development’.

What Nine forgot to mention in the ‘teaser’ was the most salient point of all. It was a proposal from guess who? The non-event Greens ‘IF’ they managed to gain control of the Brisbane City Council.

That’s almost tantamount to One Nation winning Government, Pauline Hanson becoming Prime Minister, the First Nations people being banished to the Northern Territory and a big fence being built around them.

Those who took the ‘story’ seriously had to wait until well into the Nine News bulletin to hear the rantings of the unapologetically radical one-time Green City Councillor and Mayoral candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan.

Like all things ‘Green’ it was full of hatred and detest of horse racing. This is the mob that went to the last Federal Election with a policy of closing down a sport that employs hundreds of thousands and makes tens of millions in revenue for the country.

Now it has a bold proposal to replace Eagle Farm Racecourse with parkland, native forest, public infrastructure (including new schools), and 4000 publicly-owned rent-capped apartments.

The Greens claim their proposal ‘would help end the special treatment of the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC)’ and ‘eliminate profit-hungry developers’. By standing up to big business, they say it would ‘rectify decades of poor urban planning, start tackling the housing crisis and transform this city for the better’. 

They maintain that inner-city racecourses are a ridiculous waste of land, and Eagle Farm Racecourse is a massive 49-hectare, flood-free site, just 5km from the city and located directly beside Ascot train station. The Green describe it as ‘the ideal place for new medium-density publicly-owned housing’.

The LNP Council and Labor State Government have already allowed the BRC to develop luxury apartments along the edge of the site.

The Greens propose that Brisbane City Council acquire 40 hectares of the Eagle Farm Racecourse site, bringing it under public control to develop a lush, green, medium-density, mixed-use walkable neighbourhood. They want Council to work with State and Federal Governments and local First Nations groups to ultimately restore land ownership to a non-profit First Nations-controlled community organisation. 

At no stage have the Green addressed what would happen to nearby Doomben racecourse; whether a new racecourse (under their plan) would be built (and where) to replace Eagle Farm; where the huge number of meetings currently run at Queensland’s No 1 venue would be held; how they would justify the tens of millions spent on the redevelopment of the Eagle Farm track and the establishment of world class stabling facilities. Horse racing isn’t part of their agenda.

Their statement suggests that the Queensland Turf Club (predecessor of the Brisbane Racing Club) got the racecourse land for free from the State government in 1863 and have never paid for it since. The land was given on the condition that it must be used “for a racecourse and for no other purpose whatsoever." The Greens claim it was stolen from First Nations owners by the Queensland Government without any compensation ever being paid.

They say the BRC have never fully “owned” the Eagle Farm Racecourse. The club and its predecessors have always needed approval from the relevant State Minister to sell, lease or develop the land. This condition has been carried over through various legislative changes and remains to this day. While BRC is the registered owner of the land, the State Racing Minister retains a veto power over any development or sale at the site under State legislation and under a Deed of Grant covering the whole site. 

The Greens say the site is zoned for “Sport and Recreation” under Brisbane City Council’s zoning rules, which gives BRC cheaper rates. They claim that in theory those rules should prevent any private development, but the LNP Council and Labor State Racing Minister have approved several luxury residential buildings along the southern edge of the site. 

The State Valuer-General has valued the site at $35 million, which the Greens believe is a reasonable starting point for negotiations given the significant restrictions on private development in legislation and zoning rules. 

The Greens believe it’s time to end ‘the special deals for mega-rich private entities like the BRC’. During his time as a City Councillor, Greens Mayoral candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan frequently spoke out in the Council Chambers about the ‘BRC’s 'parasitic' business model’.

While the site and new public housing and facilities on it would initially become government-owned, the Greens’ medium-term plan would be to transfer freehold land ownership to First Nations communal ownership, via a non-profit community organisation controlled by traditional landowners.

No-one denies the need for public housing but there are plenty other available places rather than tear down an icon of Australian racing. As usual the Greens – especially Jonothan Sriranganathan – are living in the dream time.



IT’S BACK – spring into summer with the popular letsgohorseracing LATE MAIL special.

Winter hasn’t left us but the Spring Racing Carnival is in the air from this Saturday with the first Group 1 of the season – the Winx Stakes at Randwick.

The greatest three months of racing anywhere in the world will follow each week in Sydney and Melbourne highlighted by blockbusters like The Everest, Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate.

It’s a time when punters like to bet. And we try to help them find a winner with the most economical ratings service in the country. Our results are just as good as those big services that cost you plenty and the others that promise winners but fail to deliver.

You can be part of it for as little as $125, just chime in when you like from any Saturday now through to the spring and ending in Summer after the Magic Millions Carnival on the Gold Coast in January.

For that small outlay – a little over $5 a week (close to the cost of a beer or a cup of coffee) you will receive the LGHR LATE MAIL for the main meetings on a Saturday, our special Sunday at the Races which has proved so popular with followers, the main carnival meetings during the week as well as the major night meetings.

If you are interested in subscribing simply email or text 0407175570 for details and how you can make the $125 payment.



BARRY D of SYDNEY takes a ‘pot shot’ at the Victorians love for jumps racing:

‘DISASTER is the only word any punter could use to describe Grand National Steeplechase Day at Ballarat on Sunday.

The Victorian media, especially, can pump these jumps meetings up all they like, try betting on them from a punting perspective.

Sunday was chaos for favorite backers from the outset. The first was won by South Pacific at $13 (the favorites ran 4th, 5th & 7th); the second by the $61 despised outsider What Revolution beating the $2.7 favorite Dr Colin; El Diez won the third at $9 (favorite Platinum Spirit managed to beat only two home); Fabolot won the fourth at $16 (favorites Bedford & Raise You Ten weren’t sighted); the fifth was abandoned after a bad ball; and in the last – the Grand National – the winner was Brungle Bertie at $21 after the $1.3 hyped favorite Stern Idol was gone before the turn and retired from the race.

Now if that’s good for the punters, then I’d rather try back a favorite in Sydney on a Saturday which the critics are quick to highlight.

At least the Victorians provided a secondary meeting at Moe. Jumps racing is certainly an acquired taste but from the punting perspective should be branded a wealth-hazard’.



DON M of MELBOURNE writes:

‘IT wouldn’t be a Saturday race meeting in Sydney where punters firstly had to contend with track bias and then the defeat of a heavily-backed favorite that should have bolted in.

They seemed to work out early that it would be difficult to win from back in the field – let’s hope those preparing the tracks get them much fairer by the time the big races come around.

And there were more favorites successful than normal on a Sydney Saturday but there was still the one that got away – this time Smashing Eagle.

Rather than try to explain what happened, here’s the Stewards’ Report:

SMASHING EAGLE: Began awkwardly and shortly after the start lost ground when crowded between Defiant Heart and Winning Verse, which shifted in. When questioned T. Schiller reported that it was intended to settle in a slightly more-forward position, however, the gelding began awkwardly and then was crowded for room on jumping, which resulted in his mount settling at the rear of the field and further off the pace than had been hoped. When questioned as to whether there was an opportunity to shift out to improve to the outside of Duchy Of Savoy at the entrance to the straight, he said that approaching the home turn he felt that Defiant Heart was travelling better than Duchy Of Savoy and as he felt that runner would take him into the race, he elected to follow Defiant Heart and seek runs closer to the inside. He said that Smashing Eagle appeared to close off much better at its last start when able to obtain runs between horses and this also was in his mind when making this decision. He said that Smashing Eagle never was held up and he was able to build momentum in the straight with his mount closing off very strongly.

I’ll leave it to you to judge whether Schiller was a victim of circumstances or it wasn’t one of his better rides. Whatever, Smashing Eagle should have won.’



GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST continues his battle to attract more jockeys for bush racing where horses continue to be scratched in Queensland.

‘A couple of years back there was a talk of a proposal that would see indigenous jockeys trained to ride in the bush as a means of overcoming the on-going shortage of riders. I was just wondering what happened about that.

Here’s what RQ CEO told Larissa Waterson of the ABC in Mt Isa at the time:

“Racing Queensland has started an indigenous pathways initiative in partnership with former NRL player, Johnathon Thurston, but it is too early to see results.

“I think the future though, is we need to do more and engage better with those communities.”

It was generally agreed at the time that there should be an investment in setting up a program that supports and upskills our indigenous people.

But like so much of the hot wind that came from ‘Pins’ Parnell when he was CEO, the racing industry is still waiting for something to happen.




INSTEAD of bleating about the negative impact of corporate bookmaking on the Australian betting market, it is refreshing to learn that Tabcorp has not ruled out a National Tote Pool.

In an interview with Ben Dorries of Racenet, Tabcorp chief executive Adam Rytenskild has flagged major changes for punters through merged tote pools and perhaps even a National Tote.

This will apparently depend, however, on Tabcorp winning the Victorian wagering license. “If we secure the Victorian tote, once we know what’s happening, we are very happy to merge pools,” Rytenskild told Racenet. “We totally support it and are ready to get on with it.”

This is a major positive for punters as much has been promised but little delivered in recent years with complaints mounting on the in-roads that corporate bookies are making on the Australian market and how they treat successful punters by closing accounts.

A major downside of the current situation was the revelation from Racing Queensland’s new CEO Jason Scott that 65 per cent of that state’s markets operate with less than $500 in the pool, making it virtually impossible for punters to bet with confidence.

Rytenskild wants to see state racing authorities address the tote derivative products offered by corporate bookmakers. “You can’t be doom and gloom about small pools and not do anything about tote derivatives.”



RACING participants should prepare to be tested anywhere, anytime throughout the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival as the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) steps up its regulatory presence.

Animal welfare concerns, prohibited substance usage and other potential breaches of the Rules of Racing will be the focus of stewards at the carnival.

QRIC’s race day stewards will have an increased presence at the Betoota Races this Saturday 26 August, the Birdsville Cup meeting on Friday 1 – Saturday 2 September and the races at Bedourie on Saturday 9 September.

Chief Thoroughbred Steward Josh Adams said QRIC’s race day stewards will be joined at the meetings by members of the Commission’s new Compliance Assurance Team (CAT).

“Participants should expect that QRIC Stewards will be testing anywhere, anytime throughout the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival events in line with our substance control strategy,” he said.

“Race day stewards will have the added support of the CAT, which has the ability to test humans and horses for prohibited substances.”

This year, the two-day Birdsville Races will have the same number of race day stewards as metropolitan race meetings.

Five stewards will be present at the meeting, along with two stewards from the Compliance Assurance Team.

Mr Adams said that the number of stewards at this year’s event is more than double the usual number who attend the Birdsville event.

“The Birdsville Cup race meeting is the main event of the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival and is a major date on Queensland’s racing calendar, with more than $260,000 prize money on offer,” he said.

QRIC’s increased presence across the Simpson Desert Racing Carnival is part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to decentralise its operations and stamp out non-compliance in regional and remote areas.

“The majority of racing industry participants do the right thing, and we know that those participants will be supportive of our increased presence in the Simpson Desert,” Mr Adams said.

“But for those thinking about doing the wrong thing, any amount of misconduct can tarnish the sport and it will not be tolerated,” he said.

If you have information about mistreatment of racing animals or wrongdoing within the sport, make a report through QRIC's anonymous Report Something portal: Report Something – Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (




THERE has been mixed responses from racing followers to the news that gambling giant Entain, owner of the Neds and Ladbrokes corporate bookmaking brands, want to buy

Established by the Victorian racing industry and now owned by Racing Victoria, loses about $15 million annually but is seen by those running the sport in that State as a valuable product to promote its races and events.

John Stensholt reports for The Australian that while Victorian racing bodies are coming under financial strain, there has been some pressure to resist the Entain offer. 

Here are the thoughts of two of our contributors – for and against – the takeover bid:




‘THESE scavenger corporate bookmaking organisations already have too much power in the racing industry and allowing the owner of Neds and Ladbrokes would give them more.

Surely the powers-that-be would see this takeover bid for what it is – an attempt to escape the proposed Federal Government bans on betting advertising.

Entain is no doubt concerned about Tabcorp ramping up its lucrative broadcast deal with Sportsbet, a major rival of Neds and Ladbrokes.

Tabcorp earlier this month clinced a 10-year extension for its SKY Racing broadcast service to be carried on Sportsbet’s website and app.



AND these thoughts from PETER WALLACE of SYDNEY:

‘JUST imagine what the future holds for in the hands of an organization like the Entain Group using the resources of its corporate giants in Australia, Ladbrokes and Neds.

Entain claims it has not increased its marketing spend like Sportsbet has in Australia and that the Point of Consumption Taxed have eaten into its overall result.

Providing there is an undertaking that any takeover of would not affect the current coverage of racing in Victoria, it seems a move in the right direction.

One thing that isn’t needed is more coverage of Sydney racing at the expense of the other States. SKY has developed into a complete joke and should be renamed the ‘SYDNEY CHANNEL’.

Every other state plays second-fiddle to NSW with even the secondary Saturday meetings given priority over Queensland which has proved a real turn-off for punters.

If Entain gain ownership of there would not doubt be some changes to on and off-air staff. Multi-media identities like Simon Marshall would no doubt be shown the door because of his involvement with Sportsbet, a rival of Ladbrokes and Neds. But would he be any great loss on race days or the preview show Get On?

Add a few conditions to the sale that protects the local product and Entain ownership of has its appeal. But any move to turn it into another SKY Channel where the talking heads are only interested in promoting Sydney and NSW racing and every step should be taken to torpedo the sale.’



‘ROCKET ROD’ has raised an interesting question this week:

‘CAN someone tell me how NSW racing is allowed to get away with running every single race in the State from two to five minutes late?

I guess they don’t have to worry about getting flicked to SKY 2 while they get every last drop of mug money at the death. Imagine following them on SKY 1.

EDITOR’S NOTE: IT’S an old trick of milking more turnover by allowing races to run late. There was a time a few years back when Racing NSW was considered experts at it.

And it wouldn’t be something new to Chief Steward Steve Railton, who would have become well aware of this situation when working in Hong Kong where it happens at every meeting.’



MERV the MAD PUNTER has his say on the WINX STAKES at RANDWICK last Saturday:

‘I can’t understand how Fangirl started at such attractive odds in the Winx Stakes.

Once the track was upgraded she was always going to be the one to beat.

Forget about the fact that Chris Waller had seven rivals to the favourite Zaaki, Fangirl had to compete against the champion Anamoe last preparation and with all due respects Zaaki is no Anamoe.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry after hearing the interview with Chris Waller on SKY. He was asked which of his seven runners he was watching.

Waller replied: ‘None of them. I was watching Zaaki.”

Adding insult to injury though, Waller told of a chat with Annabel Neasham prior to the race: “I felt better when she told me Zaaki had just the one trial,” he said.

It was probably mentioned by her stable at some stage, but if it wasn’t should the punters have been told before the trainer of Zaaki’s main rivals?

And just a note on Saturday’s Randwick meeting from a punters’ perspective, identifying how hard it is to find some consistency from heavily-backed runners in Sydney.

Fawkner Park never got sighted in the Premier’s Cup; Zougotcha was plain in the Toy Show Quality; and Kristilli performed like a hobbled duck running last in the Silver Slipper.

The bookies’ crystal ball was working overtime when Extremely Lucky resumed at his first start since joining the Waller stable. He drifted from $2.9 to $6.5 and ran accordingly.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy told stewards that Extremely Lucky did not appear entirely comfortable on the soft racing surface.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s what Stewards reported concerning three under-performing Randwick runners:

APPRENTICE Dylan Gibbons stated that FAWKNER PARK settled near the rear of the field from the wide barrier in accordance with his instructions. He said that after leaving the 800m when runners in advance of him did not appear to be travelling well enough to take him into the race, he made the decision to shift out in an endeavour to improve, given how far he was off the leading division. He said that when making a forward move approaching and rounding the home turn Fawkner Park was forced to work hard and was taken wide and although the horse was disappointing in the manner in which it closed off its race, he felt the circumstances of the race had not suited the horse. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities. Trainer Ms A Neasham concurred with the views of App D Gibbons that the gelding was obliged to settle at the rear of the field and then found it difficult to make up any appreciable ground in the straight. Ms Neasham undertook to report back on the post-race condition of the gelding in the days subsequent.


J McDONALD stated that Zougotcha, which was racing first-up over a shorter distance, settled behind mid-field from its wide barrier as was intended. He said that Zougotcha appeared to travel comfortably through the early and middle stages and rounding the home turn he anticipated the mare would close off strongly, however, when brought to the outside immediately on straightening Zougotcha did not respond as he had expected she would and was one paced. J McDonald further advised that Zougotcha seemed to pull up satisfactorily and he was unable to identify any obvious reason for the mare’s disappointing performance. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities. Trainer Mr C Waller stated that Zougotcha had pleased the stable and a forward showing was anticipated, however, in light of the mare’s performance, he felt that the 1100m is short of the mare’s best distance. He added that Zougotcha found it difficult to make up ground with its big weight from a rearward position. Mr Waller undertook to report back on the progress of Zougtocha in the days subsequent of the event.


KRISTILLI raced wide and without cover for the majority of the event. J McDonald stated that it was intended to ride the filly conservatively from a wide barrier however Kristilli began well and immediately took up a prominent position. He said that after travelling 200m he endeavoured to obtain cover, however Kristilli raced too aggressively throughout the early and middle stages and would not relax. He said that when the pace then quickened from the 500m Kristilli immediately came off the bridle and then commenced to lose ground in the early part of the straight. He said that when out of contention he eased down Kristilli over the final 200m. He said in his view, the filly’s disappointing performance could be attributed to its racing manners in the early and middle stages of the race as it appeared to pull up without any issues. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the filly to be slow to recover Trainer Ms A Neasham expressed disappointment with Kristilli’s performance and advised that she would consider experimenting with its gear to have it race more tractably. Given the fillies beaten margin Ms Neasham was advised that Kristilli must trial to the Stewards satisfaction prior to racing again. Ms Neasham also undertook to report back to the Stewards on the post-race condition of Kristilli in the days subsequent to the event.




WHILE racing in New South Wales and Victoria prepares for a big Spring Carnival, in Queensland the embarrassment continues with a lack of jockeys forcing more horses to be scratched from bush meetings.

Greg Blanchard of the Gold Coast continues to wage a one-man war to resolve a situation that remains the responsibility of Racing Queensland where they continue to sit on their behinds and do nothing.

Here’s what Greg had to say about the latest fiasco at the weekend:

‘Spare a thought for those owners and their trainers in the bush forced on a regular basis to scratch horses because there is no jockey to ride them.

It never ends and here is the latest from last Saturday. Eight had to be scratched at Mt Isa, seven at Dingo and three at Aramac. It’s just not good enough.

For over a decade we’ve been hearing how Racing Queensland is going to tackle this problem.

New CEO Jason Scott introduced a scheme to pay for two jockeys to travel to the Mt Isa region and good on him for trying.

But the problem is still there. The answer is for RQ to sponsor apprentice jockeys from Asian countries to help alleviate the problem.

They’ve not been able to fix it in the decade I have been complaining about it. Over that time we had four Koreans come here but not one kid could become a jockey in Queensland in contrast to few I’ve helped go to New Zealand.’



DANIEL Stackhouse, the quiet achiever of Victorian racing, capped off a terrific season by taking out the Neville Wilson Medal for the leading country jockey.

Stackhouse rode 101 winners for a wonderful strike-rate of just more than 15 per cent. It was his second Medal win and he won’t be letting it out of his sight after the first one was stolen.

The 33-year-old also received the accolade for the 2019/2020 season, but says it was taken when his partner, fellow jockey Tatum Bull’s car was broken into.

“Her car got broken into a couple of years ago in Hawthorn, I thought it was a nice place to live but obviously there’s crime all over the place,” Stackhouse told Kate Watts of

“We put in a police report and were hopeful of getting it back but it was around that COVID time and we didn’t end up hearing much about it.

“I’d love to get it back, but now I’m lucky enough to have another one too and I’ll be making sure I keep this one in a safer place.”

Stackhouse said receiving the Award was made even more special this time around because Neville ‘Nifty’ Wilson was in attendance to present it.

“Obviously the first time I won this award was through COVID so it was great to be able to get on stage and thank everyone for their support and especially to be presented the medal from Nifty, a legend of country racing.”




THE powerful Chris Waller stable has EIGHT runners opposed to favorite ZAAKI at his comeback in the first Group 1 of the season, the WINX STAKES at RANDWICK on Saturday.

Waller chases his 100th G1 success with a big team that includes: Fangirl, Lindermann, Osipenko, stable newcomer Montefilia, Going Global, Princess Grace, Francesco Guardi and Hinged.

Whilst punters understand Waller wanting to win the $1 million feature named in honour of his formour champion mare Winx, others believe it is impossible to follow the form when he has multiple runners in any races, which is becoming the norm in Sydney racing.

The TAB has made it easier for them by offering EVEN MONEY if any one of the Waller team of eight win the first G1 of the new racing season. You can back the favorite ZAAKI at $5.

James Macdonald has elected to ride the shortest of Waller’s runners, Fangirl, when one assumes he would have been offered the Zaaki mount before Annabel Neasham reached out to Jamie Kah to make her comeback on the superstar which she has won on before.

Jockey Hugh Bowman, back from the off-season in Hong Kong, will chase his 100th Group 1 success on Linderman, which is bred and raced by Debbie Kepitis, the part-owner of Winx.



LADBROKES caught staff by surprise this week with reports received by LGHR suggesting that 80 were made redundant.

Some of those had been with the corporate gambling giant since it started in Australia.

One who emailed us said: “It came as a surprise considering the amount of profit Ladbrokes is making. There are plenty working with the company or its subsidiaries now looking over their shoulders as the word is there are more cuts to come.”

ANOTHER contributor sent this email also related to Ladbrokes:

‘The cozy arrangement that race clubs are building with Ladbrokes is quite sickening.

The Entain Group is trying to pain itself as a big supporter of racing.

But they are just takers. Try to have a bet with them. If you have any punting IQ they will only bet you for peanuts.

Say what you want about the TAB it is always up first with prices – first hit like a front-rowers after the kick-off and will bet you a decent amount.

The others, including Ladbrokes, come on the scene when the sharp punters have had their go taking the bigger bets - more POC and race fieldsd funds the the industry.

They free Ladbrokes’ hats they give away at the cacluttas can be bought at any cheap embroidery shop for $10. We should buy our own and have the words ‘Entain Bet Me Peanuts’ on it.

The TAB not having exclusive rights at race clubs will come back to bite the industry in the bum in time to come. If the day arrives when we have only Entain to bet with, they will weasel out the punters who win and chose only the losers to bet with.’



THE general consensus of opinion in the mainstream media – especially the ‘talking heads’ from SKY Channel – is that SYDNEY racing is streets ahead of the rest.

It’s got the best prizemoney, headed by The Everest, the most innovative administrators and when it comes to forward thinking, the great Peter V’Landys.

No argument with that but what it doesn’t have is the Melbourne Cup carnival, the Cox Plate and the crowds that the spring attracts which arguably will always be better than Sydney can hope for.

When it comes to betting confidence there is one big difference. The likes of top turf scribe ‘Razor’ Thomas – who doubles as a ‘spin doctor’ for racing in NSW – can pump up the Sydney turnover all he likes, punters prefer to bet in Melbourne.

They’re not the only ones who find the form on racing in Sydney near-on impossible to assess. The Hi-Ways and Midways might have proved a bonanza for participants but they are a nightmare for punters.

Chris Waller is a champion trainer but when it comes to assessing the form on his multiple runners in races, it’s a virtual ‘mission impossible’. More often than not – and we’re not suggesting anything untoward – the second-string runner (backed at odds) upsets the stable favorite. It’s an occupational hazard for ‘Walley World’.

One of Australia’s most highly respected form experts in his ‘report to clients’ last weekend made this confidential comment:

“I regard Sydney racing as, at best, toxic”.

There are plenty who would agree with him.

Another high profile form analyst – not aligned to any of the media outlets who works independently, questioned whether a recent Sydney Saturday race was ‘on the nose’.

The heavily-backed winner got a ‘gun run’ with the pace set up by a jockey who often rides for and has ‘family ties’ to the successful stable. Meanwhile, the favorite, with a top rider in the saddle got trapped three wide with no cover for the entire race.

The form expert rightly commented to his clients: “Anyone afforded a normal amount of grey matter at birth could determine the race had a really foul stench, with the race-caller noting ‘well that’s going to hurt some bookies.’

Like many punters who try to follow Sydney racing, this outspoken form expert calls a spade a spade and went on to question why the Stewards’ Panel don’t seem to be able to see what most others can. And even when they do launch an inquiry they see nothing wrong or accept lame excuses.

Come on guys you’re more highly respected and better than that.



WITH the exception of emails or stories from contributors that are published on LGHR, articles written by John Lingard are based on observation, research and materials available to read or watch. As Editor of LGHR, which is owned by Racing Around Pty Ltd, the author makes no representation that opinions expressed are strictly factual or provable in law. Racing is funded by public money, and issues to do with racing and gambling are matters of public interest. The honestly held opinions in articles published on LGHR are published on the basis of the public interest in the integrity of racing. Should any person believe that the author’s opinions are incorrect, we encourage you to contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your concerns enabling alterations, corrections or deletions to be made where appropriate.


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