Jenny - Clean

CURRIE GUILTY ON THREE OF 12 CHARGES - DISQUALIFIED FOR SIX MONTHS - TIME ALREADY SERVED  

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) has today released its decision on 12 race day treatment offences brought against Ben Currie by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC).

QRIC Stewards opened an inquiry on 13 April 2018 into alleged activities that occurred at Mr Currie’s Hursley Road stables in Toowoomba on the mornings of 7 April 2018 and 24 March 2018.  

Stewards subsequently found Mr Currie guilty of 12 charges pursuant to Australian Rule of Racing 178E(1) and disqualified his trainer license. 

The QCAT decision has upheld three charges against Mr Currie, that he caused a horse to be administered with medication on 7 April 2018 in breach of ARR178E(1), and imposed a penalty of six months disqualification, effective from 20 May 2019.    

 

EXCLUSIVE - THE GREAT ROCK & ROLL RACING QUEENSLAND RIPOFF- THE $20mn ELEPHANT IN THE RQ ROOM - WHY DON'T WE READ ABOUT THIS IN THE MAINSTREAM RACING MEDIA

By ARCHIE BUTTERFLY

arqaa

RACING Queensland owes the jockeys of the State of Queensland tens of millions of dollars in unpaid employer superannuation contributions.

Roughly $20 million to be precise.

The last of the series of legal battles that Queensland;s Principal Racing Authority fought to try to avoid their legal obligations to the people who make racing tick ended on the 3rd of July 2020, when the High Court of Australia refused RQ leave to appeal and threw its application into the gutter on its head, with costs.

I will explain the case in more detail later on –  it’s a comedy of poor legal advice and errors – but first things first, lets get the money paid and sorted.

To get a basic picture of the pickle that Racing Queensland has placed itself firmly in, we will use some very rough but fact based maths to calculate an approximate guesstimation of the size of the due and payable debt.

There are about 11 000 races run in QLD each year, and the jockeys fee on average during the period of the non-payments is $200 a head.

That’s $2.2 million.

For the sake of ease we will call the super contribution 10 percent because its a simple number to use for the maths, and only about half a percent overs at worst.

So that’s $220 000 a year in super on the riding fees alone.

Roughly $100 million a year is paid in thoroughbred racing prizemoney.

The jockeys are entitled to 5% of it, which works out at about $5 million.

Ten percent of $5 million for the super is $500 000.

500k plus 220k = $720 000 a year.

That’s how much Racing Queensland have ripped off from the jocks each year by not paying the super contributions on their earnings that they should have been paying.

Of course on top of that there is also the super on barrier trial and trackwork riding fees, but I don’t have those numbers at hand to work out the sums. Let’s call it 60 grand, and with swings and roundabouts round the back pay bill up to $800 000 a year.

It is not quite known at the moment what the exact period of non-payment of the super has been.

The court cases have been fought over a near million dollar unpaid assessment the ATO made on a selection of jockeys between 2009 and 2019, but that was a just a test case to establish that Racing Queensland did in fact owe the money, which the superior courts have found they do.

Working off the court judgements, it is reasonable to identify the actual period of the RQ rort beginning in 2020, and running all the way up until now. That’s 20 years.

20 years x $800 000 a year = $16 million.

And we have even started calculating the compound interest that would have been earned if the super had been paid. It is going to add up to many, many millions of dollars.

The long and short of it is that Racing Queensland owe riders in this State $20 million – or more correctly, it owes the Australian Taxation Office more than $20 million which when received will be distributed to the jockeys superannuation accounts – and this money must be paid.

No ifs, no buts, the last avenue of appeal has been exhausted and RQ’s ridiculous claims thrown out of court with more than a million dollars in costs awarded in favour of the taxman.

So how are they going to pay?

And when?

Every jockey in the State and their managers and masters should be asking these questions right now.

This is your money, and you have been robbed. Wilfully and deliberately robbed, in breach of the law.

If you stole twenty bucks out of Racing Queensland’s till, they’d have you charged by the police and thrown out of racing, so why should you allow RQ to pick your pocket and not be screaming about it?

Just have a think about what happened to the Gill family, and others. The Gills not only lost the light of their lives when Desiree went down in a race fall at the end of 2013, they lost one of their bread winners too.

Her super, like everyone else’s, hadn’t been paid by Racing Queensland. If it had it would have passed on through her estate to the family, and their life as they worked their way through the darkness would have been so much easier with the buffer of that money, but instead they got nothing in the way of this super and struggled.

It’s not proper and its not right. In fact its cruel. They and the families of other brave riders that we have lost should be the very first ones repaid what their loved one was owed, and that deserve a huge apology too. Everyone in racing does, but none has been forthcoming, and neither has any money.

It’s time this was fixed.

The court says Racing Queensland must pay, so pay they must, right now without any further delay, and if it hurts the budget, well so be it.

The millions of dollars spent fighting futile cases through the courts in a hopeless attempt to justify and defend their rorts did too.

There is no racing without riders.

It’s about time the little people got put first.

Let’s do it!

 

NEW WHIP PENALTY GUIDELINES FOR QUEENSLAND RACING 

NEW penalty guidelines are being introduced on August 8 to help curb excessive use of the whip in thoroughbred horse racing in Queensland.

From this Saturday, Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards will implement a penalty template which will include substantial fines and suspensions for whip breaches. 

Stewards will also consider fines up to the equivalent of a rider’s winning percentage for repeat offenders or offences in feature races.

Peter Chadwick, QRIC Chief Stipendiary Steward – Thoroughbreds, said the new guidelines will bring greater consistency to the penalties covering breaches in the use of the whip as well as acting as a deterrent.

“These new guidelines will provide clear penalties for breaches of the whip rules,” said Mr Chadwick.

“This will assist in providing greater consistency to the penalties applied and it’ll also ensure that riders are well aware of the potential penalties for any breaches of the whip rules.

“The new guidelines will also significantly reduce the use of the whip in the last 100 metres of the race as they stipulate that riders cannot use the whip more than 14 times and even less if they’ve already used up some or all of their five permitted use of the whip in the first part of the race.”

The new guidelines, which have been drawn up in consultation with the Queensland Jockeys Association, set out three schedules of penalties which are based on a sliding scale depending on the number of offences.

The three schedules cover:

  • Prior to the 100 metres - Consecutive use of the whip within the five permitted times.
  • Prior to the 100 metres - Additional use of the whip in excess of the five permitted times.
  • The excessive use of the whip over the whole race when it is used 15 times or more.

A rider’s breach of the whip rules prior to 8 August 2020 will not be taken into account when assessing penalty under the new guidelines.

 

 

LOCKDOWN WORSENS BUT VALLEY HOPEFUL OF 5,000 AT COX PLATE

INNOVATIVE television angles, canned crowd noise and an on-course presence will be among Moonee Valley's broadcast wish-list for the Cox Plate when Racing Victoria renews its media rights deal with Channel Seven.

DAMIEN RACTLIFFE reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that MVRC chief executive Michael Browell always hoped the 100th running of Australasia's weight-for-age championship would be unique, but little did he imagine it would be run without crowds and potentially in the middle of an AFL finals campaign.

There has been no silver lining for the club out of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Browell, but increased wagering turnover and racing's ability to avoid a shutdown have thus far masked the impacts of COVID-19 on the sport.

The Valley is hopeful it might host a maximum of 5,000 spectators on October 24 – an attendance Browell "would jump at" if offered to him tomorrow – but this year's Cox Plate meeting will be prepared as a television event, a spectacle to honour past champions and showcase the tradition of one of the great races.

"It will be a made-for-television event and we're expecting to be advised this week who the free-to-air broadcaster would be," Browell said, noting that Network 10's bid to steal the rights from Seven remains on the table.

"We'd love to be able to have an on-course presence – we wouldn't want to see it hosted out of a studio if that was possible, but it's out of our hands at the moment.

"I think we'll work through canned noise. We'll see what that looks like. We obviously put a lot in the can from Winx three, Winx four (Cox Plate victories) – I'm not sure we need to replicate the decibels with that one, but Channel 7 are the best in the business at covering live sport in this country and if it falls their way, I'm sure they'll make it a great event for us all.

"We've got our plans locked and loaded and we'll do all we can to make it a spectacular television event."

Browell said the prospect of sharing Cox Plate weekend with the AFL grand final appeared less and less likely after the club elected not to move its two-day carnival from its traditional timeslot.

The Manikato Stakes will be run, as normal, on the Friday night before an afternoon Cox Plate.

All scenarios were thought through – the idea that the Manikato and Cox Plate could be run on the same day, the prospect of a Cox Plate under lights, Melbourne Racing Club's proposal of a late November running and even the option to cancel the entire carnival for a year – but Browell said potential impacts on wagering threatened to harm what will be the club's primary source of income this season.

"We've looked at every possible option. We've thought long and hard about it," Browell said.

"But it came down to a conversation around the potential wagering impact.

"If that's going to be the only commercial revenue we can take out of the Cox Plate carnival, we can't risk taking a day which is traditionally north of $100 million – and in the current day, it may be significantly higher than that – and then drop it back to a night-time meeting which might find its way back to $60-70 million.

"So it was a pretty easy decision when you line up what the key drivers are and what the impact would have been had we have changed it. As far as banking revenue, it's wagering turnover and the commissions that come through – that's effectively all we've got to hang our hat on [this year]."

Should the MVRC be permitted to host between 1,000 and 5,000 people at the Cox Plate, between 600-700 tickets have been contracted to sponsors that would need to be fulfilled, leaving "circa 4000 members and guests" that could attend.

"Which is far from ideal as we celebrate the 100th running of the Cox Plate," Browell said. "But right now, if you said we could have 5,000, I would jump at that opportunity."

Every one of the club's 90 full-time staff and upwards of 1,500 casuals have been impacted by COVID, and the club's $3-4 million non-race day business has also been slammed. But Browell said there is little the club can do but follow the government guidelines.

All that's left is to run the great race and attract the best field possible after nominations closed on Tuesday, and turn the 100th edition into the television event it deserves.

"We'll have a chat to Channel Seven about all of the different technology they've got to film it, from different angles, we can try different things this year," Browell said.

"I think the key we're looking to do is somehow incorporate the rich history and the tradition of the race, the past winners, to make sure we get them into the telecast to celebrate that.

"But the restrictions that are in place in the third week of October, that will guide what we can and can't do."

 

ALL THE EXCUSES IN THE WORLD JUST WENT DOWN THE GURGLER

by ARCHIE BUTTERLY

WE'VE written a bit about the horse Silent Explorer being pulled up lately.

One of out stories lead to jockey Witless Whiteley copping time in the sin bin.

He deserved more.

Yesterday someone – Justin Stanley – finally rode the horse the right way, on it’s merits, and it bolted in.

Funny that.

It should win plenty more.

           

VIC’S HORSES NOW HEADING IN RIGHT DIRECTION – IT’S A MIRACLE

By ARCHIE BUTTERFLY

UNTIL about a week ago the little known gallopers trainer Vic Heading’s horses couldn’t pick up their legs.

They were going terrible, a bunch of busted arses just like Dydee’s Girl, whose form over the last 15 months until Monday read:

  • 13th of 15 in Rocky
  • 10th of 10 at Moranbah
  • 9th of 11 in Rocky
  • 11th of 11 at Mackay
  • 7th of 8 in Rocky
  • 9th of 11 at Yeppoon
  • 8th of 10 at Caloundra
  • 10th of 10 at Doomben
  • 7th of 13 at Mackay
  • 7th of 10 in Rocky
  • 5th of 7 at Emerald
  • 12th of 14 in Rocky
  • 4th of 10 at Emerald
  • 12th of 12 in Rocky
  • 9th of 9 at Clifford Park, Toowoomba

Dydee’s Girl’s earlier record wasn’t much chop either, so when Vic rolled out the 6YO mare in a Maiden at Warwick yesterday with what appeared to be her eyeballs rolling, there was no doubt at all that she was the worst performed horse in the race, and her $91 price in the market confirmed it, so no-one paid any attention to her chances, except a few.

Smart buggers they were.

Dydee’s Girl flew out the gates, landed in the lead, the jock couldn’t settle her, she pulled all through the middle stages, looked off the bit and gone at the 700, was ridden as hard as the keen but rather ordinary Girish Goomany could possibly ride her, seemed even more gone at the five and four, then somehow picked herself up off the carpet and finished like a steam train to win, or win like a double-carbed-up cart horse at least.

All this Alligator like tenacity from an absolute cat.

Look up form reversal in the dictionary. I’m sure you will find that it reads DYDEE’s GIRL, WARWICK, 08-08-20.

The Stewards asked the trainer the question.

“Hey Vic, what’s up?”

Vic told them that his horse had been a victim of circumstances last time out and that he wasn’t at all surprised that yesterday she came out and blitzed them.

He might just have been telling the truth too, in a funny sort of way.

Dydee’s Girl had come out for the race before with her eyes seemingly rolling too, had pinged from the gates and then run so hard in the middle bit that the kid couldn’t hold her. Then at the 700 she had dropped the bit, had to be scrubbed like the toilet block in a COVID-19 ward, looked gone for the world, then started kicking again like a mule.

Sound familiar?

It would have been too if only the pair of clowns in pink and black and white, and in just black and gold, hadn’t come across and put Dydee’s Girl’s jock Minonette Kennedy into and almost over the fence, causing her to stop dead.

Despite outward appearances, it was a bottler of a run.

But after 37 previous starts running backwards, where did Dydee’s Girl suddenly get this go get forward from?

Who knows?

Not the Stewards, they didn’t ask.

Just as they didn’t ask about any of Dydee’s life long failures, or ask Vic to produce a copy of his betting slips to evidence his confidence in the mare’s winning chances in yesterday’s race.

Vic’s explanation was noted.

Somewhere.

Probably in crayon.

 

 

CODES GIVEN GREEN LIGHT DESPITE CORONA SCARE AT VIC TROTS

NEWS on Monday afternoon that racing’s three codes have been given the green light to proceed through stage 4 coronavirus restrictions has come as harness authorities investigate the corona-related cancellation of today’s Maryborough meeting.

RACING Editor MATT STEWART reports for RSN that the meeting was scrapped minutes before the first of nine races, which was scheduled for 12.05pm.

A brief statement from Harness Racing Victoria stated the postponed was “a precautionary measure due to a potential COVID-19 close contact.”

It is unclear if a participant who had tested positive to coronavirus, or had displayed symptoms, had arrived or intended to compete at Maryborough or if a coronavirus carrier had been in contact with a participant at the meeting.

Officials have been tight-lipped about the factors relating to the postponement of the meeting and the nature of the investigation.

A source has told Unbridled that harness officials are embarking on coronavirus tracing to establish if the virus had presented a risk to today’s meeting.

The intention is to run the program tomorrow, pending the current investigation.

Authorities, including stewards, were making relevant inquiries this afternoon.

Three-hours after the drama at Maryborough, the three codes were given permission to proceed through stage 4 by the state government, “under strict biosecurity protocols” and with strict limits on human participation.

Some racecourses will be subject to more stringent protocols.

Victorian harness racing had been split into three regions as a reaction to the coronavirus outbreak some months ago; “metro”, which encompasses Melton, Kilmore and Cranbourne, Mildura and the rest of the state, which absorbs Maryborough.

The respite for thoroughbred racing comes as the spring carnival draws near and provides continuity of lead up and feature races.

A six-week freeze on racing would have eaten into September and the first third of the spring carnival.

Prior to this afternoon’s news, Racing Victoria yesterday issued a statement regarding its commitment to safe racing through stage 4.

“Until otherwise advised, racing and training is continuing under the strict biosecurity protocols that have safely guided the Victorian racing industry throughout the past four-and-a-half months without a COVID-19 case,” it said.

 

RACING CONTINUES AS VICTORIA PLUNGES DEEPER INTO LOCKDOWN

AS Victoria plunges deeper into lockdown the tough new COVID restrictions are not likely to bring horse racing in that State to a standstill.

Racing Victoria has some of the toughest work place protocols in place and these will hopeful ensure racing continues through to the Spring Carnival.

Crowds and owners are banned from courses and only few participants are allowed on course. This is unlikely to change under tough new social measures (curfews and travel restrictions) announced on Sunday by the Victorian Government.

Racing Victoria issued a statement, saying it will be business as usual.

"Until otherwise advised, racing and training is continuing under the strict biosecurity protocols that have safely guided the Victorian racing industry throughout the past four-and-a-half months without a COVID-19 case.

"As advised by the Premier today, the Government will make a further announcement tomorrow (Monday) regarding any changes to its directives around places of work. RV will await that announcement before providing an update to the industry."

 

SUNSHINE COAST STARTER SCRATCHED AFTER STABLE RAID

QUEENSLAND Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards scratched a horse set to run on the Sunshine Coast following a no notice stable inspection in Bracken Ridge on Sunday morning.

The Commission’s Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) inspected the stables of Trainer Kathy Stabe where they discovered that five-year-old gelding Kerbside Kaos appeared to have recently received an intravenous injection in contravention to the Rules of Racing.

The needles and syringes used have been seized and sent for further analysis and swab samples taken.

Stewards scratched the horse from Race 1 at Sunday’s Sunshine Coast race meeting.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said that the no notice stable inspection was a great result with stewards acting swiftly to ensure the integrity of Sunday’s races while investigations continue.

Ms Stabe was also fined $200 for employing an unlicensed stablehand.

 

LACK OF JOCKEY ADVOCATES IN QUEENSLAND ‘IS A DISGRACE’

GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE sent this email continuing his fight for better conditions for jockeys in the bush:

‘I have been trying to highlight the demise of our jockey advocates at meetings.

Ben Saunders has been the only one for last few years. Sadly Ben has not been seen since March 14. I was told in April it was because of the virus but the public has been allowed back for three weeks but still no Ben. My mail is he won't be back, so then there was none.

We used to have the likes of Shane Scriven, Dean Tanti, Glen Stockdale and Ken Waller up till 2017.

The case of Corey Bayliss in 2018 involving his ride on Tumbler when he was hauled into the stewards’ room and the outcry about no advocate being there has been well documented.

Thankfully, leading jockeys Jim Byrne and Michael Cahill went into bat for him.

Only recently Jimmy Orman went into bat at Toowoomba for apprentice Alex Patis.

I pose the question: Why don't we have advocates any more. Let’s hope it’s not those on huge pay packets being more worried about budget cuts.’ 

 

BOWMAN CRITICS TAKE AIM AT WADE BIRCH & RAY THOMAS

CRITICS of the incredibly light Hugh Bowman penalty have taken aim at two high profile identities: Acting NSW Chief Steward Wade Birch and Sydney's supposedly No 1 racing writer Ray Thomas, branding both 'gutless'.

HERE are but three examples that feelings are running high with some believing Bowman got special treatment.

Ken G of Brisbane wrote: Do you reckon something a bit tricky went on with the Bowman hearing? He takes no rides on Saturday and rings Birch to expedite a hearing - and perhaps do a deal. I'll plead guilty to careless, just don't charge me with reckless - oh and have me back mid September so I can be ready for the Spring - refreshed...... The hearing is announced PM Wednesday to be held Thursday. He comes complete with his mea culpa bullshit statement crafted by his Lawyer. Birch goes soft as expected and hits him with a wet lettuce leaf. So let me get this right - Blake McDougall spins a story about his lightweight boots and gets six weeks - McDonald pulls one up and gets a week (that can't be right, let me check - nope, just a week) and Bowman kills a horse and injures another, nearly kills a jockey and severely dents the confidence of another three who were lucky not to fall - and gets a freshen up. The joints fucked."

Mark J of BRISBANE wrote: 'Knowing the background of Birch when he was a steward in Queensland (and I can provide info to back this up) I would have taken any odds that the Bowman penalty wouldn't be what many expected."

Kelly M of Sydney sent this email: 'Ray Thomas going into bat for Hugh Bowman - what a surprise. Does this bloke every stick up for the battlers or the mug punters. He knows what side his bread is buttered. Another weak-kneed, arse-lick turf scribe with little or no respect from the rank and file in racing.'

 

PLENTY OF ANGER OVER THE SIX WEEK FALL SUSPENSION OF BOWMAN

THERE has already been plenty of anger after Racing NSW stewards suspended champion jockey Hugh Bowman for only six weeks over the horror fall at Rosehill last Saturday which sidelined jockey Andrew Adkins for months and saw his mount Hot ‘n’ Hazy euthanized.

Bowman was found guilty of a careless riding charge laid against him by the stewards’ panel, headed by acting chief steward Wade Birch when the inquiry resumed on Thursday. He has not indicated whether he will appeal the suspension.

Adkins underwent surgery on Sunday after suffering a fractured tibia, fibula, collarbone, ribs and a collapse lung in the incident. It was also revealed on Thursday that Sunborn, another runner in the race, suffered a fractured splint bone in the aftermath to the incident and will undergo surgery on Friday.

Stewards must have considered their penalty ‘light in the circumstances. When handing down the decision, Birch told Bowman “a matter such as this would attract a penalty of three-months”.

Birch went on to tell the hearing that Bowman’s “race riding record, the contribution of the horse (Mr Colourful) racing forward of you and the time of year” were all factors in stewards handing down their six week penalty.

Bowman’s last careless riding suspension was incurred in October last year which was his only breach of the rule in the previous 12 months. He pleaded not guilty to the careless riding charge adding he respects “the decision of the stewards’” but stands by his account of the incident.

“I’ve ridden in a lot of races, I would consider myself a careful rider and this was my no means a rushed or spur of the moment decision. It was a calculated one which unfortunately resulted in devastating circumstances but that said, I have to disagree with the stewards' finding.”

In the wake of the decision in the James McDonald case when he was accused of failing to give a favourite every chance and had his month suspension reduced to a week, who knows what will happen to Bowman’s penalty if he takes it to appeal?

 

 

BOUQUETS TO QRIC FOR APPEALING THE CURRIE QCAT DECISIONS

IF you are to believe industry scuttlebutt, protests from punters and stakeholders contributed to the decision by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to appeal controversial decisions which reduced the sentences for two offences committed by disqualified Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie.

Many were stunned by the decisions handed down by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal in the Currie case – but that’s nothing new. There is growing pressure for the Government to replace QCAT, under pressure over its drawn out process, with a body comprised of individuals who arguably specialize in racing.   

QCAT delivered its penalty judgements in early July in Currie matters involving three prohibited substance penalties. Stewards had found Currie guilty after he presented three horses, Shakira, Dreamscope and Eight Over to race at Toowoomba in 2018 and 2019, with prohibited substances.

The Commission has appealed the QCAT decision relating to Currie bringing Shakira to race with testosterone in its system in January 2018, which the Tribunal reduced to no penalty.

It has also appealed the penalty decision relating to Currie bringing Dreamscope to race with cocaine and benzolecgonine in its system in September 2018.

The penalty for this conviction was reduced from six months disqualification to a $5,000 fine.

The Eight Over penalty of a disqualification, which has since elapsed, was not appealed.

Appeals against QCAT are heard by a board within the QCAT structure – which some say is simply Caesar judging Caesar and should be dispensed with.

Time will tell.

Currie remains sidelined while he faces criminal charges which are yet to be heard.

 

DID WHIRLWIND SEE THE NEED TO CLOSET ‘PINS’ UNTIL THE DUST DIES?

IT was good to see Racing Queensland chairman Steve Wilson come out of hibernation and announce an agreement had been finalized for SKY Racing to provide coverage of the three racing codes for the next 10 years.

Normally it’s his CEO, Brendan Parnell, who earns his $500,000 a year salary by trumpeting these sort of media ‘spins’ but he’s probably still busy trying to tidy up the mess left after 4BC’s Ray Hadley torpedoes the smelly Albion Park deal ‘Pins’ and his little mate ‘Feathers’ Fowler apparently tried to do.

"There were a number of outcomes we were determined to achieve - most notably increased distribution, showcasing and revenue - and that's exactly what we've been able to secure for our clubs," Wilson said.

The deal between Sky and Racing Queensland was due to be confirmed by the end of June but negotiations were extended for a month.

The Brisbane Racing Club had already signed an agreement with Sky to continue its coverage of Doomben and Eagle Farm meetings.

Thursday's breakthrough means Sky will cover all Queensland TAB thoroughbred, harness racing and greyhound meetings for the next 10 years.

 

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