A QUEENSLAND Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) track work operation at the Gold Coast Turf Club on Monday morning has resulted in five track riders testing positive in preliminary testing for prohibited substances.

The operation involved the testing of 52 people including track work riders and jockeys.

IIT staff also identified four people who were unlicensed to ride.

One licensed racing industry participant failed to provide a sample for testing and was stood down immediately and another participant who returned a preliminary positive test for cannabis was also stood down and both will appear at soon to be scheduled Steward’s inquiries.

Two licensed riders returned preliminary positive tests for opiates and two more returned positive tests for Benzodiazepine.

All preliminary tests will be sent to a laboratory for confirmation.

The trainers who have employed unlicensed track riders will also be referred to the Stewards.

Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said no notice testing could occur at any time and participants should ensure they are free of prohibited substances for the safety of animals and other participants.




ONE could argue the news goes from bad to worse for racing and rugby league fans in Queensland.

With reports over the weekend that former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie is preparing to stand down as Chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission comes the bleak prediction for those in the north that Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’landys is hot favorite to take over the job.

NSW racing has been the big winner under a revitalised management process put in place by V’landys in the past decade. It has resulted in a ‘prizemoney and feature race’ war with Victoria and in the SKY Channel Stakes Queensland has been a big loser.

With reports that V’landys – regarded in NSW as the nation’s premier sports administrator – is being head-hunted to take control of rugby league, the chances of Queensland hosting an NRL grand final have suddenly deteriorated.

It was bad enough with ‘back flip’ Beattie trying to wear two hats – at least he had some history with Queensland. V’landys has shown in racing (although his responsibility there is to only do his best for NSW) that he is reluctant to look at the bigger picture and the Maroons need to be scared that his parochial attitude will not apply to rugby league as well whether he is appointed to adopt a national approach or not.         

Strangely, it is rumoured to be Beatttie that is lobbying for V’landys to become his successor in February. Across the border the Murdoch Media – which has a vested interest in Rugby League through the giant Fox Sports network – is trumpeting how V’landys has delivered more than $1 billion in new revenues for the NSW racing industry.

Many in Melbourne believe it is a desperate effort to disrupt the Spring Carnival in Melbourne – the most successful festival of racing in the world – all because V’landys wants NSW to be the pace-setter of the sport in this country. In prizemoney terms it may well become that but when it comes to attracting crowds it won’t get within a bull’s roar of Victoria.

V’landys, whose mainstream racing media man did another incredible suck-up job, has been an independent Board Member of the ARLC for the past 18 months and believes he can successfully juggle both positions.

It will be interesting to see if he wins the top Rugby League role in this country whether V’landys will be prepared to ‘go to war’ with the AFL to the same degree as he has with Racing Victoria. That would be a kamikaze mission and much easier than simply ensuring that Queensland never wins the right to host an NRL Grand Final.

While Beattie is kissing V’landys arse and anointing him as his ARLC successor perhaps he could whisper in the ‘great man’s’ ear how badly Queensland has suffered at the hands of SKY Channel to whom they have remained loyal over the years.

Despite talk of Queensland switching its coverage to when the current Media Rights Talks are concluded, most believe that won’t happen. SKY has already tried to up the ante and improve its covered. Sadly, it won’t be too little too late and as soon as the new deal is done we will be back to the situation which many blame on V’landys where SKY regards the secondary NSW meeting each Saturday of more importance to the main one in Queensland.



DESPITE all the excuses when you delve deeply into the dipping turnover of the UBET arm of TABCORP it is of major concern and there are bound to be repercussions.

Turnover for the past financial year on the former UBET business, which covers Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory, was down an alarming 9.5 percent with revenues falling by 7.2 per cent.

Looking for a short-term positive, Racing Queensland revenues are safeguarded against falling UBET returns until December 2020, as part of an agreement for a top-up payment to ensure a minimum fee as part of the Deed of Understanding it struck with Tabcorp during the merger. The top-up fee paid by Tabcorp in 2018-19 to Racing Queensland was $11.8 million.

But if Tabcorp cannot reverse the trend of falling UBET revenues, or if another deal cannot be struck between RQ and the wagering provider to extend the arrangement, it leaves a huge shortfall in funding to Queensland’s racing industry after the safety net ends in December 2020.

“UBET revenues continue to be impacted by its legacy offering but the rate of decline relative to market has reduced from pre-merger levels,” TABCORP chief executive David Attenborough said. “We continue to see lots of opportunity in UBET through better product and digital growth, but we need to complete integration before these benefits emerge.”

Interesting word ‘integration’ with some analysts predicting the knife is ready to be wielded through the former UBET operation. That has to include redundancies and the swallowing up of 4TAB Racing Radio by the SKY Racing Radio network which is already being seen with many of their stable now regularly heard on 4TAB.

It could also impact on Brisbane programming staff and on-air hosts not to mention race-callers. There is already speculation that the Albion Park Harness Racing Club, of which David Fowler is Chairman, will pension off long-serving CEO-Manager or whatever he is called in Damien Raedler to create a vacancy for ‘the Bantam’. Whatever the outcome staff bloodshed is heading the way of 4TAB.

Looking at the overall picture, TABCORP has stated previously that the performance of the former UBET-branded States will improve when they are transitioned to ‘the full TAB offering’, a project that is due for completion during 2020. These include more bet types, the race simulation Trackside, and the acquisition of more digital customers.

Dragging UBET into the modern era has all but required a merger or takeover. Punters in the north complain of late Fixed Odds being posted and are still awaiting the introduction of Parlez betting, which has been available on the southern TABs since Adam was a boy. And what’s the point of betting on Hong Kong racing with the TAB in Queensland when the pools in NSW and Victorian TABs are co-mingled with the racing giant providing far better value?

Paint whatever picture you like and the future looks pretty ordinary for the UBET arm of TABCORP heading into the next decade.



IT came as no surprise that a long-time supporter of the Brisbane Racing Club would declare LGHR ‘bitter and narrow-minded’ for daring to declare that the ‘ferals would be out in force at Mecca Day’.

We wondered who it would be and by 10 last night ROSS TINNISWOOD had stepped up to the plate and filed what we would describe as a one-sided and highly-biased report with the note: ‘For publication please. Happy if you use my name.’

By then we had received two other Whinges painting a totally different picture of the behaviour of SOME on the day and by morning there were more.

The complaints ranged from it costing $50 to get through the gates (nothing to do with behaviour) to young women passing out at the turnstyles half way through the day; blokes being handcuffed and escorted off the track after brawls and at the end of proceedings many ‘pretty young things’ being flung over the shoulders of their beaus and carried off the track.

But before we go on, Mr Tinniswood who describes himself as ‘a very long-term racegoer who applauds Mecca Race Day because it is great for the industry’ is entitled to his say and we are delighted to publish his response. What we have decided to do is reply to his criticisms as you read through what angered Ross most about our article yesterday:

‘I find the article titled IT’S ‘MECCA DAY AT DOOMBEN’ – THE 'FERALS' WILL BE OUT IN FORCE! paints an unfair description for patrons attending the races at Doomben today (Wednesday – Ekka Public Holiday). 

It reminds me of what a minority of racegoers would say about Tatts race days back in the 1970’s and 80’s. “Tut tut” they would whinge, “I hate that sort of people”. 

And I dread to think what they would have said about girls having a drink in public, or girls kissing girls, or, even worse, public displays of affection between men, hand holding and hugging on the Doomben lawns. Oh I feel faint. It must be the end of the world.

(LGHR: Sounds like your old mate from the media may have had an input into this. We have no problem with his choice of extra-carricular or that of anyone else who dares to be different. In fact we even voted for Gay Marriage. But if you want to see girls kissing girls or men holding hands and hugging on the lawns, then buy a ticket and attend the Gay Mardi Gras not the races).    

Fortunately most of those old-timers from the hills of St Lucia, Ascot and Hamilton would be dead by now, and racing and societal norms have moved on. It’s 2019. And racegoers like to party, love it or hate it. 

The huge majority of the 15,000 + players at Doomben are well behaved and are having a terrific day out.  Sure there will be a few bogans that misbehave, or at least try to. Ever been to a Collingwood game?  But it is not enough to seek the demise of, or be so derogatory of the event.

(LGHR: My dear old mum liked nothing more than her day at the races but she never returned to these Young Members, Dollar Days or whatever they want to call them now. The reason for that was she went to the toilet only to find it full of these terrific young women you mention having a drink who were talking about how they could bed down this young bloke with a big cock. Mum soon discovered that some ‘feral’ had placed glad wrap over the toilet seat. Then when she and a couple of older ladies went to exit the toilet they had to duck plastic cups full of jungle juice being thrown across the room. As you said Ross: ‘Fortunately most of those old-timers from the hills of St Lucia, Ascot and Hamilton would be dead by now, and racing and societal norms have moved on.’ She is sadly long gone and was a great lady with more love, forgiveness and moral fibre in her little toe than some of these pretty little things you are supporting would ever hope to possess in their entire bodies. We take your comments on these old-timers as the ultimate insult and someone of your age should choose your words more carefully perhaps).       

Security at the gates is intense so the risk of illicit drug abuse is as minimal as you can make it. On the course, there is security everywhere, and misbehavior is not tolerated.  Anyone trying to buy alcohol is carefully checked for sobriety and refused service.  A condition of entry. 

(LGHR: If the people who are making this the second best crowd outside of Stradbroke Day were there to enjoy a day at the races and not getting pissed or laid or stoked out on drugs then the club wouldn’t need this security presence).

They have run out of Red Bull BTW.  Attendance by Club Members is what could be expected given the quality of midweek fields. Patrons are having a safe, fun day out. And the BRC makes a motza out of good planning, and great marketing. 

So why the whinging?  Been to the Gabba in the last 20 years for Footy, or Cricket?  Or the Brekky Creek on a Friday night?  Been to the Magic Millions?  Been to Ippy on Cup day, or Weetwood day? 

It might surprise you to know that patrons can and do behave these days. Penalties are stiff AND security is high, AND bogans are few given the pricing.

But think of the alternative if Clubs adopt your thinking. Stop Mekka Day. Put on a tidy midweek card for the true racing aficionados. Firstly, the BRC will refuse to race, because it is a loss-making exercise with staff on penalty rates. Secondly, RQ would schedule a meeting for Beaudesert or Gatton for the sake of betting turnover, to which as few as 100 patrons would attend.

(LGHR: If the object of the exercise is to raise money and overcome the problem of penalty rates (they should be negotiating a deal for public holidays so that racing can be held at the major tracks as it once was) then these MECCA DAYS or NIGHTS should be organized by the club as an additional revenue raiser when there is no racing. We keep getting told of the need to multi-use racetrack facilities. Well hold a big party with all the drinking, dancing and music you like but don’t just turn it off while the races are run). As for trying to attract lost generations back to the track, if you have a look at the holds on yesterday’s meeting at Doomben they were pathetic so obviously the majority of those in attendance weren’t interested in betting. And even on a day when the fields were pathetic the turnover on the interstate TABs made UBET look insignificant (latest figures for the local TAB are on the major decline which is no surprise but I guess in the opinion of you and your mates that’s just more bitter and narrow minded comment Ross). Of course once again we will be told the secret was in the Fixed Odds figures which aren’t released. The only ‘fix’ most of those at the track yesterday would know of didn’t involve ‘odds’).       

Sorry, but bitter and narrow minded commentary such as seen today on LGHR is misplaced and harmful for the industry, from which the website derives its income.

(LGHR: Once again your facts are false Mr Tinniswood. Our website does not derive one cent of revenue from the industry, especially Queensland racing. Unlike many of our rivals and the mainstream racing media we refuse to accept advertising from corporate bookies because we believe they are parasites. The website survives on what we make from a Ratings Service for Leisure Punters, if you want to call that income from the industry. The problem is every time an objective criticism is made we are described as ‘bitter and narrow minded’ and our comments are supposedly ‘misplaced and harmful to the industry’. We venture to areas that the mainstream racing media (print and broadcast) won’t touch for fear of upsetting someone or because they are too busy sucking-up to officialdom and others rather than protecting the interests of the racing public and the punters).    




ACROSS town thousands of young people are enjoying the annual public holiday at the Ekka.

Thousands more will venture to Doomben for Mecca Day at the Races where history shows the event gradually degenerates into drunken mayhem where the party is spoiled by a bunch of ferals who certainly aren’t there for the punt.

A massive security force, spearheaded by police and sniffer dogs, will be on duty at the gates where at one recent Mecca Day 30 drug-fuelled ‘racegoers’ didn’t even make it onto the track.

This operation is part of an on-going arrangement between the Queensland Police Service Drug Squad and the Bribane Racing Club in an effort to make the day ‘safe for everyone’.

Close to 20,000 people – the majority of them 18-plus young men and women – converge on Doomben for Brisbane’s second biggest race day attendance of the year – eclipsed only by the Stradbroke.

Officials will tell you this day has dispensed its party image – where cocaine, marijuana and booze where the choice of many who attended for the once extremely popular Dollar Day. Nowadays well-dressed revellers are stopped one-by-one at the gate where they are sniffed by drug dogs and searched before being given the all clear to enter the track.

It doesn’t alter the scene after the last when young drunken men and women line the streets outside the track, falling over one another, some lying in gutters, stumbling out the gates with shoes in hand and giving those simply out to enjoy themselves and hard time.

BRC officials will tell you there hasn’t been ‘the substance-fuelled violence for a few years now’ but spare a thought for the cab drivers who pick some of them up. They throw-up in cabs, young women fall asleep in the back seat which means the driver has to go to a police station or depot to have them awoken by a woman while others simply give the driver foul-mouthed abuse.

There are no big-name horses, traditional racegoers (especially the members) steer clear of the day and for the BRC it’s all a ‘money making exercise’ – one of the best of the year – so it will continue.

Forget the garbage about trying to win back a lost generation of young punters. Some of these ferals aren’t there for the punt – simply the party and getting themselves smashed. If that’s the case why don’t they have a special ‘pig pen’ in the centre of the track where they can’t disturb the day of those simply wanting to enjoy the occasion and have a bet?

Regular racegoers gave up attending this meeting long ago. Elderly women told of situations – even in the Members’ Stand – of ugly scenes when they went to the toilets. One found glad-rap had been placed over the toilet seats; another was hit in the side of the head by a plastic cup containing alcohol and others told of young women congregated in the toilets drinks in hand reporting on the appendage of a young man they were all trying to go home with.

But as the BRC insists: “It’s an important day for our finances”.

That it is and nothing else!


FORMER Brisbane Lord Mayor GRAHAM QUIRK, renowned for his negotiating skills at Local Government levels, could be asked to negotiate a delicate matter in his fledgling days as thoroughbred representative on the Board of Racing Queensland.

There is a push from some prominent racing identities in Townsville to have the powers-that-be approve the sale and relocation of Cluden racecourse.  

The suggestion is that a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the Townsville Turf Club’s facility be put on hold temporarily until the sale proposal is considered.

Cluden is a heritage listed racecourse that was built in 1896. But over time it has been ravaged by cyclones and floods. The land on which it stands is very valuable real estate.

One estimate suggests it could be worth $30 million if sold for industrial development and even more if it was subdivided for residential purposes as has happened to nearby land in the past decade.

Cluden was again devastated by the most recent floods, the worst in living memory in Townsville. The $12 million redevelopment project (which includes some Federal Government funding) involves a revamp of the members’ grandstand, work on the public grandstand and new jockey’s room facilities. It is designed to modernize and future-proof the facility.

The committees of former chairman Kevin O’Keefe and his successor Malcolm Petrofski faced a battle to keep racing in Townsville viable because of unexpected cyclonic and flood damage not to mention the battle to fund infrastructure and development like a host of other Queensland clubs.

There were moves at one stage to make Cluden the new home of greyhound racing but that hit some internal and external obstacles. Racing has continued since the floods with restricted amenities and the club did a terrific job getting the track back to racing condition as soon as they did.

The feeling of some key racing identities (we are told that includes a few Board members) is that rather than spend the $12 million, the TTC should sound out the chances of selling Cluden and relocating.

This would require the support of Graham Quirk, who hails from Townsville, to have a RQ approve a Feasibility Study looking at making the new track a multi-purpose venue with on-course stabling etc before taking any proposal to the State Government.

A similar proposal for Cairns to sell Cannon Park and relocate never got off the ground and Toowoomba was offered the chance to move to a venue outside the city and off-load Clifford Park but that also failed.

There is reportedly suitable land available on the western outskirts of Townsville and also on flood-free land to the north near the Black River.

Because of the delicateness of this proposal we didn’t approach Club chairman Malcolm Petrofski for a comment as the project is in its infancy but should he or the committee wish to comment LGHR would be happy to run their thoughts.   



IN the wake of the fallout from the Mark Currie controversy which saw the majority of the Board resign, some well credentialed and familiar racing faces have put their hands up to steer the Toowoomba Turf Club out of the quicksand.

There were 10 nominations to fill the five vacancies on the Management Committee and those elected include former TTC CEO Allen Volz; local horse trainer Gerard Betros; accountant Andrew Catlow; prominent Downs business identity Jason Ward and SKY race-caller Anthony Collins.

The new appointees will join chairman Kent Woodford and his deputy Allan Gee as the seven-member Board with the task of getting the good ship Toowoomba Racing back on track.

Woodford said it all when he declared: “The TTC members have appointed a leadership team to take the club into the next decade and I am excited to work with such a talented group of passionate people.”

Allen Volz, a former turf journalist with The Courier-Mail who served as the CEO when Neville Steward was chairman of the TTC, helped pioneer Toowoomba as the first twilight racing venue in the country. His return, many years down the track, accompanied by the wide knowledge that Gerard Betros possesses not only in the racing industry, was an unexpected boost to Downs racing at a time when it was desperately needed.

The TTC will provide members with an opportunity to meet the new Board at an Industry Appreciation Dinner in the Clive Berghofer Grande Atrium on the evening of Saturday, August 31, with special guests, retired Victorian broadcaster Greg Miles and recently retired international jockey Jeff Lloyd.

* LOG IN TOMORROW for some BIG NEWS about behind-the-scenes plans that could change the face of racing for a major North Queensland club.



BRITISH racing has been described as “backward” in the opportunities it offers female jockeys by Jamie Kah, a successful rider in Australia who will compete in Saturday’s Shergar Cup at Ascot.

Kah, one of three women to finish in the top six jockeys by number of wins in Australia last season, told THE GUARDIAN she was shocked to hear there has been talk of giving a weight allowance to horses ridden by women in this country.

“I think that’s absolutely ridiculous,” Kah said. “I’ve come from Australia, where the trainers have come around to females many years ago, so we’ve all been given a really fair shout. It’s as fair as it’s ever been. If you’re good, if you put in the time and work, you’ll get rides.

“Here, it’s very different. They’re very backward, I reckon, with the times. They’re not as accepting of female riders and there are some brilliant riders here. I’ve watched Hayley [Turner] and I think she rides as good as any of the boys here.

“I can’t get over how backwards it is. If you ask females back home, they’ll all blow up about the idea of getting a three-kilo allowance. But maybe something does need to happen here. Watching these riders, there’s nothing separating them in my opinion, besides opportunities.”

The 22-year-old Kah was joined in Australia’s top six last season by Linda Meech and Raquel Clark. Further down the list, the top 50 was dominated by men and Australian racing was famously described as “chauvinistic” by Michelle Payne when she won the Melbourne Cup in 2015.

But the prospects for women are evidently brighter there than in Britain, where only two women are in Flat racing’s top 50 and neither are in the top 10. There has been discussion about whether women should be allowed to claim some weight off their horses, copying the initiative that has provided women with so many new opportunities in France in the past two years. That idea was laughed at by Mark Zahra, another Australian here for the Shergar Cup.

The 37-year-old said: “The way Jamie’s riding in Australia at the moment, I don’t want to be giving her any weight. On Saturday at Moonee Valley, women won five on an eight-race card. They’re going quite well. I would say at the moment they’re doing well enough without it.”

Also in action at Ascot on Saturday will be Nanako Fujita, the only female jockey licensed by the Japan Racing Association, which runs the highest-quality section of the sport; other women compete at regional race-meetings. Fujita declined to discuss whether the weight allowance, recently announced in Japan, was a good idea but added: “If we could have more female riders, I would be very pleased.”




WHEN you talk of punting stuff-ups well this one takes the cake!

It occurred at the Hamilton harness race meeting in Victoria on Thursday and there is absolutely no excuse for this massive balls-up.

Luverboy was expected to easily beat his four rivals in the Three-Year-Old Pace and was sent out at $1.09 favorite.

You don't have to be dead to be stiff, as punters who took the shorts about Luverboy at the Hamilton harness races on Thursday can attest too. 

The hot favorite surprisingly found some competitive and went to the line locked together with second elect Manly Boy, a $7 chance.

After a delay the judge declared Manly Boy the winner by a nose and the all-clear was declared with those who took the $1.09 left crying in their beers.

But prior to two races later (can you believe the delay), the presiding judging officials announced that following a review by stewards an error had occurred in declaring Manly Boy the winner.  

After taking evidence from the judging officials involved, and the connections of Manly Boy and Luverboy, it was established that the judging officials had mistaken the nose of Luverboy for the nose of Manly Boy and as a consequence ‘all clear’ was given on the incorrect placings.

In light of the evidence, stewards permitted the judge to correct the error, with Luverboy declared the rightful winner. 

The ruling didn’t help those who took the massive shorts Luverboy however, with the amendment to placings not affecting the original payment of bets due to the 'all clear' having been declared. 

Harness Racing Victoria said an internal review would be conducted concerning the circumstances leading to this error. If a licensee made an error of this magnitude in a race at the gallops or harness racing (perhaps in the latter case not in Queensland) he or she would be facing time on the sideline.

In this case so should the judge responsible for this error and the TABs and CORPORATES with the massive profits they make should have paid those punters who backed the ‘real’ winner and ended up a loser because of this terrible mistake.



IF racing in Queensland and its long-suffering punters are the big winners when TABCORP rolls out its ‘innovative SKY Racing Active app, one might ask – what’s second prize?

Nathan Exelby, Racing Editor of The Courier-Mail, explained today how the app would allow punters to access a bigger slice of the home product.

He wrote:

Punters will have the chance to play the role of producer and choose which racing vision they watch in a new app being described as a “game changer” for the industry.

The app (to be launched today – Thursday) will allow the viewer to see footage, which potentially includes mounting yard and post-race coverage, which may not screen on SKY’s three television stations because of time constraints.

TAB (including UBET) customers have free access to the app as part of a 60-day trial period, where users are invited to provide feedback.

TABCORP’S’s executive general manager media and international Darren Pearce said that SKY Racing Active had been in development for the past two years and targeted next-generation racing fans and existing lovers of racing.

“We think it’s a game changer,’’ he told Exelby. “It’s great for our industry partners, complements our existing channels, and punters no longer have to miss content because they have a busy schedule.”


So Queensland-based punters, who have long been frustrated because the local product is treated second-rate, can now access what should be provided as part of the RQ contract with SKY to start with.

More to the point at the end of the trial period being offered they will no doubt have to pay for the service – sadly that amount was not disclosed in the Exelby story.

Those who access the app through their mobiles will also have to meet the costs of download as part of their telephone contract depending on how often they use the service.

Nothing’s ever free – but it should be in racing. For years of loyalty to SKY, racing in Queensland plays second fiddle to the secondary Saturday racing fixture in NSW. It’s time to have a good look at as the contracted provider.

Apps might be the way of the world for a new generation – many of whom don’t go to the races to bet and are probably more attracted to odds and evens than doing the form and finding a winner but to those of us who have followed racing for decades well we’re simply not interested.



LUKE Tarrant is a jockey with a ton of potential but controversy continues to ride shotgun with his promising riding career.

Tarrant has now been stood down from riding by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission until he can show he is ‘a bit enough person to have his licence reinstated.’

QRIC pulled the pin on is rides last weekend after a number of jockeys reportedly raised concerns about competing against Tarrant.

Tarrant had pleaded guilty in the Maroochydore Magistrate’s Court the previous Wednesday to a series of drug possession charges and was sentenced to 30 months’ probation with an order he undergo rehabilitation in an approved facility. No conviction was recorded.

THIS email, sent to ‘have your say at LGHR’ suggests that one of those who may have expressed concerns about riding against Tarrant was rival jockey Ryan Wiggins.


GEE, you’d just love to be a mate of this average Jock – half-brother to Taylor Lovelock Wiggins – short memory – now throwing Luke Tarrant under the bus.

Glad you looked an absolute fool on Feltre (in a Magic Millions race at the Gold Coast) – your career really took off after that.

Tarrant has more ability than you will ever know. Hopefully he will wake up now – hopefully you will retire or get used to seeing his arse wander past you.

Average to piss on a colleague.’



THERE is some interesting movement at the station in Queensland racing with a top trainer and jockey from New Zealand relocating to Brisbane and a star Gold Coast apprentice heading to Sydney.

Trainer Paddy Busuttin, who prepared a number of top gallopers including Castletown which ran third to Subzero in the Melbourne Cup, will come out of retirement to prepare a team out of Deagon.

He will link with comeback jockey Tony Allan, who won the 1988 Melbourne Cup on Empire Rose. Both Busuttin and Allan have enjoyed their share of Carnival success in Queensland.

Meanwhile, reports from the Gold Coast suggest that star Queensland apprentice Jag Guthmann-Chester will soon join the Matthew Smith stable at Warwick Farm in Sydney.   

A one-time McDonald’s burger-flipper, Guthmann-Chester had no affiliation with horse racing growing up but found success under the guidance of Gold Coast trainer Bruce Hill.  

 “I never had anything to do with horses,” Guthmann-Chester said. “I was at school and loved surfing and skating and everything like that. I wasn’t a big fan of school and my pop, my grandfather, wanted me to look for a job.

“He was always interested in the racing side of things because of my size and asked if I would give horse racing a go. I said I don’t mind but I never thought it would actually happen.

“I was working at Maccas at the time and about five months later he gave me a call out of the blue and said he had an opportunity for an apprenticeship as a jockey and asked me to come and speak to the trainer. So on that Sunday I went and spoke to Bruce and said I can start as soon as I finish Grade 10. Two weeks later I finished Grade 10 and I’ve been in it for three years in December.”



MOUNT ISA stages its first TAB meeting in four years today (Thursday) but has struggled to get each-way betting fields of eight in the majority of the races.

GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE, a regular contributor to the WHINGE, had this to say about the venture in the north-west:

‘I applaud putting a TAB meeting on at Mt Isa, a boost for the club.

But the on-going shortage of jockeys at their non-TAB meetings remains a concern.

Here are the figures from the last five meetings with the number of horses scratched due to no riders being available: July 13, three; June 29, seven; June 8, four; May 25, four and May 11, four.

This has been going on for years. I understand there is no easy answer but I believe getting Asian Apprentices here could be part of the solution.’

Back to the Isa meeting and interestingly former Magic Millions winner Le Chef, which has earned more than $1.5 million in stakes, will be a starter for his local owners. 




PUNTERS around the country have had an absolute gutful of the irritating situation involving multiple runners from the stable of champion trainer Chris Waller.

Rarely does a week in racing go by when a second-string Waller runner beats a more favoured stablemate or worse still a favourite drifts alarmingly and another starter from the stable that is well backed salutes.

Far be it from us to suggest anything untoward but it isn’t a good look and punters are angry that stewards seem reluctant to ask too many questions or when they do there always seems to be an explanation accepted for a bad ride or on many occasions the flop of a fancied Waller runner.

Take Saturday for example. We had the situation at Doomben where the Waller stable saddled the trifecta in the last – Auerbach beat the Avenger and Sparky Lad. All the pre-race discussion and the form-lines suggested that Sparky Lad was the one to win. But he drifted in the betting and was eclipsed of favouritism by stablemate Auerbach.

Corporate bookies copped a lashing when Auerbach landed some hefty bets. It’s not as though Auerbach didn’t have the form to test Sparky Lad – from a punters perspective it was more that Sparky Lad was the ‘experts’ choice and seemingly that of  the stable.

What irked punters more was the ride on Robbie Fradd on Sparky Lad and the lack of attention not only from the mainstream media but also more importantly from the stewards.

Richard Callander, in his column for popular website racenet, expressed the opinion of many when he wrote: ‘I’m a little lost for words, well not really, but maybe I’ve matured and I won’t say much about the ride of Robbie Fradd.

I was surprised there was no mention of the ride in the stewards' report because I can assure you punters thought plenty about it.

Waller-trained horses ran the trifecta and the first two were given peaches of rides so I’d suggest their managers will be chasing the ride aboard Sparky Lad next start.’

Two important aspects of those comments: Callander is a great Waller fan and there is a perception he never criticizes the great trainer and the suggestion that Fradd will be sacked from the ride on Sparky Lad next start.

Punters were left stunned and angry by the seemingly form reversal win of Toryjoy at Randwick where Waller also saddled up the favorite Waking Moment which ran third. Again the mainstream media focus was on the ‘ride of the day’ by Kathy O’Hara rather than the improvement of Toryjoy.

At her previous start in 3&4YO BM78 over the same distance at the same track settled last and beat one home. This time dropping back to a BM78 for Fillies & Mares but rising 1.5kg she won the lead and never looked like getting beaten and they didn’t forget to back her at good odds.

To make matters worse the not a mention of Toryjoy in the Stewards’ Report – not even a question about a form several of major proportions – little wonder punters are losing confidence on betting on Sydney Saturday racing.

As ‘silly’ as it might sound to some, LGHR has maintained for ages that there should be a betting option where punters can back multiple runners from stables in any race at a TAB where they are engaged. This would overcome the problem that currently exists.



YOU are only as good as your last set of tips but it’s time for some self-indulgence from the team at the LGHR LATE MAIL.

Last weekend was one of those occasions when we produced a ‘set of ratings to die for’. There were plenty of VALUE winners in our SUGGESTED BET – several of them at double figure odds.

That provided us with the opportunity to invite new subscribers – who don’t want to enter into an annual package – to come aboard for the most important few months of racing in Australia leading into and during the Spring Carnival.

For only $150 you will receive from now until the end of the big Flemington Spring fixtures, our ratings for every Saturday meeting, night racing when it resumes, Sunday racing (including the big Country Cups in Victoria) and the Cup week (four meetings) from Flemington. As a bonus we will throw in Sydney and Melbourne every Saturday. If you are interested just email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 0407175570.

The LGHR LATE MAIL is a leisure service with no ‘get rich’ guarantees – and arguably the cheapest around. We have done comparisons with some of the ‘longer running, high profile tipsters’ and don’t believe they offer ‘vale for the money they ask.’ Some even require YOU to invest on THEIR SELECTIONS then PAY THEM A PERCENTAGE IF SUCCESSFFUL, claiming to have ‘THE INSIDE OIL’ from the top stables.

Don’t waste your hard-earned on theirs. Our Sunday selections for Sandown paid a return of almost 30 to one. Now that might be a rarity but unlike many tipsters we don’t count on favourites winning to build up the strike rate. We look for VALUE to beat the well backed FAVOURITES and for the past five years that has proved a successful formula.

JOIN THE WINNERS – the $150 package through to the end of the SPRING CARNIVAL will cost you not much more than a cup of coffee or better still a dagwood dog at the Ekka which is now $7 – can you believe that?



THERE was a sentimental Brisbane connection when Bettyrae Ruby scored an upset win at Sandown on Sunday which was dedicated to the memory of one of her owners, Ray Horn, the grandfather of World Boxing champion Jeff.

Winton-born Ray died recently in Brisbane at the age of 91. At his 90th birthday party the bush battler requested no presents saying that his grandson had given him the greatest gift imaginable when he won the world welterweight title from Manny Pacquiao.

(OUR photograph COURTESY of THE COURIER-MAIL was taken by PETER WALLIS and shows Ray proudly viewing the belt won by his grandson Jeff after beating Manny Pacquiao in an upset at Suncorp Stadium).

Trainer Tim Hughes said the win by Bettyrae Ruby – at her first start for almost a year – had provided a fairytale tribute to Ray. “The last of her starts that he saw was when she ran second at Bendigo in August last year after which she was retired following a fetlock strain.”

Horn snr died before Bettyrae Ruby got back to the races, but knowing she was embarking on a comeback. Hughes said everyone involved was keen to see her run well for her former owner. “We really wanted to win first-up, just in honour of Ray, and we’ve done that so we’re very happy.”

Hughes suspected her career was over when she suffered the fetlock strain but a long break appears to have worked wonders. “We were going to send her to stud then we decided not to so we’ve brought her back into work. She’s holding up great and hopefully she can go on from here and do it again. She’s matured into a nice mare.”

After her surprise win at $31, Hughes said he would now elevate the goals further for the six-year-old in the hope of achieving some Black Type.

Ray Horn, the grandson of a German stockman, drove a team of horses and drays from central New South Wales to settle in north western Queensland with his wife in the late 1800s.

Back in the 1930s when Ray was barely old enough to go to school, he and his twin brother Gordon entertained punters with boxing exhibitions at race meetings in Winton, Longreach and Barcaldine and so the 'Boxing Horns' were born.

The twins lived in a two-bedroom house in Winton. They had nine siblings, including a sister Jean, whose son Graham Quirk became the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and daughter Patricia has been a popular and long-time race day worker at Eagle Farm and Doomben.

Jeff Horn recently told boxing scribe Grantlee Kieza of The Courier-Mail: “My Pop grew up in a little house in Winton and then supported a wife and eight kids on a single income when he came to work on the trams in Brisbane.

“Pop would never have had more than a few pennies spare from his weekly wage and although he couldn’t provide luxuries for my dad and all his other kids, Pop always took them to Stradbroke Island for school holidays, took them every year to the Royal Brisbane Exhibition and always made sure Nana had a cake for the kids on their birthdays.

“In 2011 Pop lost his wife and his twin brother within a few weeks of each other and it knocked him around, but he kept fighting on and he was a great teacher when it came to rolling with life’s punches.’’

Ray was just about blind and deaf but on July 2, 2017, he had the hood of his Jeff Horn souvenir tracksuit top pulled over his head to protect his bare pate from the bright winter sun as he sat ringside at Suncorp Stadium when Horn went toe-to-toe with Pacquiao to become world welterweight champion.

After the Pacquiao fight Ray was helped into the ring by his family and he was embraced by a tearful Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones, who knew just what the victory meant to the young boxer and the old man.

Horn’s father, Jeff Horn snr told Kieza: “Dad’s battle ended…with lots of family around him. He got every bit of life he could out of his poor old body. Dad was a wonderful man and we were all blessed to have him in our lives.’’

While the Horn family share strongly in the ownership of Bettyrae Ruby, their favorite ‘relly’ Graham Quirk was no sooner in retirement as Lord Mayor than the Queensland Government snapped him up as the thoroughbred representative on the Racing Queensland Board.

Graham also shares in the ownership of Spurious, a lightly-raced three-year-old, trained by Pat Duff, that has been placed at three of six starts, the latest at the Gold Coast on Saturday and looks set to break her Maiden status in the near future.




‘GIRL POWER’ was to the fore throughout the country on National Jockey Celebration Day.

Linda Meech and Jamie Kah combined at Moonee Valley in a devastating reminder of the changing face of Australian racing by dominating the season-opening metropolitan meeting.

Meech, Victoria’s premier jockey last season with 139 wins across the state, started the 2019-20 season in a blaze with a treble.

Kah delivered a double on a day where the achievements of jockeys – past and present – are celebrated, while riders who have lost their lives are commemorated.

Strangely, Meech doesn’t get the mounts she deserves at the major metropolitan meeting of the week. Two of her winners on Saturday – Condo’s Express and New Universe – were pick-up rides after Michael Walker, injured in Wednesday’s Sale fall, failed to make the weight. Her third, a frontrunning gem, came in signature fashion aboard Inverloch over 2040m.

Kah, who posted her maiden Group 1 winner in the Australian Cup on Harlem in the autumn, chimed in with wins on Something Silver and More Than Ever.

The ‘female’ trend was repeated at Randwick where Rachel King rode a double and Kathy O’Hara landed a winner. And at Morphettville, Georgina Cartwright (three) and Kayla Crowther (one) rode half the program, meaning 12 of 26 winners across three metropolitan venues belonged to women riders. Rikki Palmer flew the flag for the ladies with a winner at Doomben.

Punters who like to back the favorites had a torrid day with only three of the nine successful at Randwick (where failures of heavily-backed fancies continued with the defeat of True Detective and the flop of Cyber Intervention queried by stewards).

The day started badly for favorites at Caulfield with the failure of Alburq which jockey Mark Zahra told stewards needed further and the addition of blinkers. Jedastar blew like a gale and ran last in the second.

At Doomben punters had to wait for the last to see a favourite salute and that didn’t help many of them who backed the original top fancy Sparky Lad only to see it beaten by the plunged Waller stablemate Auerbach – nothing new for the champion trainer when he has multiple runners. The same occurred in Sydney when Toryjoy turned in a form reversal to beat more fancied stablemate Waking Moment into third place.     



A high profile racing media identity has accidentally bagged Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett in a ‘Tweet’ which was not meant to be posted publicly.

We won’t embarrass him any further – he was quick to recognise his error and removed two ‘Tweets’ relating to troubled jockey Luke Tarrant – but not before snapshots of these had been taken.

One ‘Tweet’ read: ‘They (QRIC) just can’t seem to read public sentiment. Barnett still in go-slow copper mode as opposed to sport.’

Tarrant has been suspended following a criminal court appearance and stood down from riding at Doomben today and until he can show he is a fit enough person to have his licence reinstated. He has 28 days to appeal the decision. If that's not reading public sentiment we, at LGHR, don't know what it is.

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission pulled the pin on his rides after a number of jockeys raised concerns about Tarrant, both with the integrity body and the Queensland Jockeys’ Association.

Tarrant, 25, pleaded guilty to a series of drug possession charges in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court on Wednesday and was sentenced to 30 months’ probation with an order he undergo rehabilitation in an approved facility. No conviction was recorded.

QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett said Tarrant had been suspended under a Rule which states the body is responsible for a duty of care to participants. He is a promising rider but his career has been dogged by stewards’ room and court appearances.

The ‘tweets’ that have caused embarrassment for the prominent media identity and were subsequently removed read, in part:

‘Re being truly diligent they would have someone with him right now ensuring he’s not going to self harm.’

And: ‘As you said, reactive as always. They just can’t seem to read public sentiment. Barnett still in go slow copper mode as opposed to sport.’

If the bloke felt that way he should have reported same rather than ‘sucking up’ to the QRIC Commissioner on the surface and bagging him behind his back.

As the contributor who forwarded us snapshots of the foot-in-mouth tweets said: ‘Standby for the boys’ brigade in the mainstream racing media to start bagging the crap out of QRIC in the lead-up to the State election calling for it to be dismantled and a return to the good old days when someone close to them used to roam freely between the jockeys’ room and the bookies’ ring.’

Enough said!   



STEWARDS in another jurisdiction are under pressure today to stand down a high profile jockey over an incident where police are reportedly involved.

We won’t name the State but the hoop is under investigation allegedly after a complaint from a young female jockey.

The racing rumour mill in the particular State is buzzing with stories about what allegedly happened which will shock the industry and racing followers when they learn the identity of the popular jock involved.

Ironically, he and the female concerned are both riding at a major meeting today despite concerns said to have been voiced by some stewards.

Late yesterday it was suggested that police are on the verge of laying charges. Standby for a bombshell!




IT’S been a while since the years I spent covering harness racing and admittedly I am out of touch with new rules that have been introduced but looking closely at the sport today I have to say ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’.

The one exception to that of course are the crowds that once attended Albion Park are long gone and so are the punters who would once back up at the trots regardless of how long or enduring their day had been at the gallops.

There is however one common thread to harness racing in Queensland that continues to annoy loyal followers but has seen many others, like myself, sadly walk away and direct our interest 100 per cent in the thoroughbreds.

That thread is the scuttlebutt (some might call it a myth) – tracing back to the days when the Wanless boys dominated harness racing in Queensland – that those who were most successful in the sport had start. Victims of this ‘tall poppy syndrome’ over the years have included some greats, spearheaded by perhaps arguably the best trainer-driver I have seen in Kevin Thomas.

The two men who have done the most for harness racing in the past three to four decades are arguably former Racing Minister Russ Hinze, whose love for the sport was unquestionable and in more recent times Kevin Seymour (not for one moment forgetting his wife Kay) who share the same passion.

In my opinion Hinze provided an exciting new era for harness racing in Queensland but also the beginning of the end. He turned Albion Park into the speed pacing capital of Australia and closed down the famous sand gallops track. In hindsight the pacing public lost what they loved most – history shows that American-style racing on big tracks could never replicate what the old Creek provided, especially at carnival times when the best of the best did battle before mammoth crowds. Closure of the gallops track also shut the door on what could have been developed into a Hong Kong-Happy Valley style night gallops venue in the centre of Brisbane that the punting public would have embraced.

Hinze opened the purse strings like harness racing had never seen before. It saw regular race meetings at venues from Cairns to Innisfail, Townsville, Charters Towers, Mackay, Rockhampton, Maryborough, Toowoomba, Ipswich, Redcliffe, Rocklea, Gold Coast to Albion Park (and there was even the popular Tweed Heads circuit just across the NSW border). Compare that to what we have today – where only a handful of tracks have survived and the track that Russ built at Albion Park has to offer free admission to attract a paltry crowd and you have to ask what went wrong.

Had it not been for Kevin Seymour one could argue that harness racing in Queensland would have been lucky to survive. In association with his wife, Kevin has invested a fortune in Standardbred horses not only to race and eventually win some of the biggest races on the Australian circuit, but also as breeders, sponsors (especially of Charity Nights) and supporters of the younger brigade starting out in the sport. Kevin has also played a significant role as an administrator and the major shareholder in the TAB since it was privatized.

The subtle difference between ‘Big Russ’ and ‘King Kev’ is that both like to win but ‘Big Russ’ was prepared to do it at all costs (I will say no more) while ‘King Kev’ doesn’t need the money and can cop defeat on the chin. He wasn’t always wealthy and in fact once worked selling admission tickets to Albion Park.

Because of the influence he enjoys – business wise and politically – Seymour has inherited the same ‘tall poppy’ tag that Hinze deserved. Both men were and are seen by many in harness racing as ‘untouchable’. Sadly therein lies the problem every time a controversy surrounds one of the many horses that the Seymour’s race. There was even a situation some years ago where a prominent harness identity verbally attacked Seymour in the members’ stand at Albion Park accusing him of ‘having start’. Stewards dealt with the gentleman in question at a subsequent inquiry.

As someone who has endured his battles (over stories written) with Kevin Seymour, I can declare that the last thing he would want is to be seen to have is start. Sure, like any owners, he loves to win whether it be a restricted race at Redcliffe or an Interdominion or Derby. But I believe it’s not about the money or the prestige, more so it’s to see that smile success brings to the face of his wife, Kay.

Now that brings me to the latest controversy to engulf the Seymour stable of horses in the care of Grant Dixon who learnt all he knows from one of the best in the business, his father Bill, who I saw start his meteoric rise at the night trots at the old Townsville Showgrounds where he was all but unbeatable. That brand of invincibility has rubbed off on Grant whose success story is well documented and has no doubt been helped by the horse-flesh he inherits courtesy of the Seymour’s.

When one of the new stars of the Seymour stable, Colt Thirty One, won the recent Winter Carnival feature at Albion Park – the Blacks A Fake – some sections of the punting fraternity were far from happy about the way the race was run. Had it involved horses owned by anyone other than Kevin Seymour, the situation would arguably have been nothing more than a storm in a tea-cup. But this one won’t go away and there are even calls for an independent review of the race, compared to a lead-up, despite some high profile stewards sitting on the panel on the nights in question.

The critics didn’t vent their anger at the winner but more so the fact that a stablemate, Ohoka Punter, which had won the major lead-up, was driven differently and in a manner that some claim set the race up for Colt Thirty One. Although the driver of Ohoka Punter copped a stretch the Tommy Drums were beating that the stewards had not taken the matter far enough and asked some questions of trainer Grant Dixon concerning planned tactics for the stablemates. Unfortunately under the requirement of the new multi-runner rules we will never know just what occurred. On this occasion it does need to be made public – it’s never too late for transparency in racing.

As I said at the start rules have changed since the days when I was covering harness racing and my old mate, David Fowler, who I talked into attending his first trots meeting way back when, has kicked me into the next century with the following email:

‘YOU made a comment that there should have been a change of tactics notified regarding Ohoka Punter in the Blacks A Fake.

Notifying tactics to the public was abandoned nationally many months ago by Harness Racing Australia.

The stewards speak with trainers with multiple runners who advise of their tactic pre meeting.

I was against the dropping of the public notification and find it galling that stewards have this very information in their possession.’

That news came as an absolute shock to me and I, too, can’t believe that punters are being kept in the dark on tactics so, with the help of a former well known harness steward, I did some research.

That steward told me:

YES the tactics notification rule was dropped, but that rule related to a change of tactics in general - i.e. if a horse was driven from the front and connections wished to drive it from behind, they were required to notify, the same as gallops.

The multi-runner rule was intended for the purpose of (and he referred me to a notification in early July 2018 from the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, which reads):

RACING Queensland (RQ) in consultation with Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC), Harness Racing Australia and Harness associative bodies, will adopt the amendment to repeal the Australian Harness Rule of Racing (AHRR) 44 effective 10 July 2018.

Following the deletion of AHRR 44, harness trainers will no longer be required to notify a change of tactics. The QRIC stewarding position in relation to change of tactics is consistent with the approach being taken in other harness jurisdictions.

Notwithstanding the above, QRIC Stewards advise that drivers who drive in a manner which may be considered unreasonable or unacceptable as per AHRR 149(1) or (2) will be questioned, as drivers are required to ensure that their horses are provided full opportunity to win or finish in the best possible placing.

While AHRR44 has been repealed it will remain a requirement that all trainers with more than one runner in any race must notify Stewards of the intended driving tactics of each runner no later than 60 minutes prior to the advertised starting time for that race.

Should a trainer not be present at a race meeting then it is the responsibility of the licensed person in charge to notify Stewards of the intended driving tactics of the multiple runners in their charge.

Licensed persons who fail to comply with the requirement to notify their multiple runner tactics may be penalised pursuant to AHRR 238-A person shall not fail to comply with any order, direction or requirement of the Controlling Body or the Stewards relating to harness racing or the harness racing industry.

This change is effective 10 July 2018.

My steward advisor went on: ‘The idea of the repeal of the rule is questionable in my opinion, but it was intended that it would result in a strengthened multi-runner in one race notification of tactics requirement.

There are a number of issues.

  1. The Stewards are not prevented by the rule from advising the public of the multi-runner tactics, they simply choose not to. 


These could easily be tweeted, posted on the club and QRIC websites and on their Facebook pages, and notified over radio, TV and the public address, but they are not.

Again I ask, why not?

  1. The notification of tactics for multi-runners is not published in the official Stewards’ Reports. 

This results in a lack of transparency and an inability of punters and industry participants to assess the notified tactics against the actual tactics employed in a race.

It also means that there is no way to know whether in fact the tactics have been notified at all.

  1. Lack of probity in the Stewards questioning of notified tactics.

It is very difficult to believe in the Blacks a Fake for example that if the Dixon camp had told the Stewards that:

(a) Ohoka Punter would be driven desperately hard from the start so that it could cross from the outside barrier in a Group 1, when for the previous two years it had been restrained from such a barrier in much weaker races

(b) The 8yo gelding which runs his best races off a sit would run lead and sectional times of such an incredibly fast standard that the winner of the race would destroy the previous track record

(c) Ohoka Punter would not be handing up the front under such pressure and seek a sit in the cushion chair behind the leader

(d) That stablemates Alleluia and Eleniark would be driven the way they were. Colt Thirty One was able to obtain a saloon passage into the race one off the fence rather than having to traverse the final 800m four-wide on the track; 

THAT Stewards would not have questioned the tactics of the stable’s horses at the time of notification.’

In conclusion there is a consensus of opinion among those punters still betting on harness racing in Queensland that the failure of Stewards to adequately inquire into and enforce rules 147-149, 238 and various others in relation to the manner in which multi-stable runners in a race are driven is a major concern. However, without the reference point of the multi-runner tactics being published it is impossible to ascertain whether these rules are being adequately enforced.

It’s time this was changed!

To make things abundantly clear we, at LGHR, are not alleging any impropriety in the running of the Blacks A Fake. What we are highlighting is the lack of information and communication of driving tactics to punters which would have helped them back the winner had they known the intentions of the driver on the eventual leader. I am sure, on this matter, Kevin Seymour would agree with us that punters should not be kept in the dark.

As for the perception that some stables and individuals have 'start' that will never go away - whether it be the trots or the gallops - but it's a situation in this new age of integrity that punters insist could be overcome if stewards were a bit more proactive at times.




LINDA Meech’s historic win in the Victorian jockeys’ premiership will be celebrated during the revamped Victorian Racing Awards, held at Crown Aviary on Saturday, September 7.

Meech became the first female rider to claim the coveted title after another stellar season in the saddle which yielded 139 wins across the state – an achievement made all the more remarkable given that she spent more than two months on the sidelines with a broken collarbone.

Her tally for the 2018-19 campaign saw the 38-year-old finish well clear of Irishman John Allen in second place (115 wins), with rising star Jye McNeil in third with 107 wins statewide.

Whilst Meech rode fewer city winners than some of her contemporaries, finishing 11th in the metropolitan jockeys’ premiership, her strike-rate in town was even more impressive than in the country with 25 winners and 34 placings from 172 rides.   

“Winning the premiership was my main goal at the start of the season, so it’s obviously a great feeling to be able to tick it off finally,” said Meech.

“I’ve won the country premiership a few times but never managed to win the overall title before, so it’s always nice to achieve a first. I’d built up quite a nice lead before my injury, then the recovery took longer than anticipated so it was looking unlikely when I came back, but fortunately I managed to ride a few winners towards the end of the season which got me over the line.

“Jockeys are only as good as the horses they ride, so I have to thank all the trainers and owners for putting me on some nice ones and hopefully I can keep repaying the faith they have shown in me.”

For the fourth season in succession, Craig Williams claimed the Roy Higgins Medal with a typical late-season surge sending him well clear of Damien Oliver.

The evergreen 41-year-old enjoyed his finest season in terms of pure numbers, with victory on Miss Iano at Caulfield last Saturday bringing up his 83rd metropolitan win for the 2018-19 campaign – two more than his previous best in 2007-08.

Williams’ tally saw him finish 18 wins clear of Oliver to secure his eighth metropolitan jockeys' premiership – between them, the two great rivals have now captured the city title a combined 18 times.

Due to the ineligibility of suspended trainer Darren Weir, the metropolitan trainers' premiership was claimed by the Lindsay Park training trio of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, who won a total of 64 races in town during the 2018-19 season.

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace training partnership were next best with 42 city winners, followed by Tony McEvoy with 39.  

Lindsay Park also took the overall Victorian title, with their 158 country winners taking their combined haul to 222 for the season. The Maher-Eustace team saddled a total of 159 winners for the campaign, with Mick Price the next best on 94. 


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