THE stage is set for the heavyweight show-down of the decade in Queensland racing which some have likened to a Mike Tyson – Evander Holyfield confrontation.

In the ‘red corner’ we have Bob the Builder Bentley and in the ‘blue’ Kevin the Harness King Seymour. The bout could well decide who has the greatest influence over political power-brokers and industry stake-holders.

This will be a contest limited to three rounds – one for each code – and whilst low blows and ear biting will be banned, an unlimited amount of back-stabbing will be permitted. And why shouldn’t it be? Behind-the-scenes in Queensland racing it has become an accepted art-form.

These are arguably the two best credentialed heavyweights that the industry can produce. Forget about the Racing Minister – he will struggle to graduate from feather to lightweight division before the voters of Queensland decide whether to deliver the knockout blow.

The word has been strong for several months that battle-lines were being drawn between Bob the Builder and Kevin the Harness King. The façade of a supposed unity which shocked so many when harness racing agreed to a three-code marriage has now been shattered well before the honeymoon is over.

But why would two key players, who the industry believes desperately need each other to achieve their respective goals, want to wage war? Bentley and Seymour are fellow Board members with Tattersalls where King Kev has the major share-holding.

One suspects that Seymour has grudgingly stood back and watched as Bentley – with the support of the Labor Government – has grown more powerful by the year. Seymour may well have turned a blind eye to that had Bentley and the RQ Board not rocked the cradle of his ‘love-child’ – harness racing.

Family and business interests will always take precedence but when it comes to his passion for what many regard as the poor relation to the gallops Seymour can become extremely protective. He is arguably the greatest supporter and has done more to grow the sport than any other individual in this country.

Bentley may have under-estimated Seymour’s determination to protect the future of harness racing in Queensland if he believes changes being proposed are not in the best interests of that code.

There-in lies the reasoning behind the heavy-weight fight that is looming over RQ plans to relocate harness racing from Albion Park. While the industry sits back and watches the soap opera played out in the pages of the Courier-Mail, there are questions that stake-holders are demanding answers to but no-one seems prepared to ask:

So here goes, we will put these forward in the hope that both parties and the Government are forthcoming with some answers before too many more blows are traded:

(1) Why won’t the Government immediately release details of their master plan for harness and greyhound racing, including what these major developments at Deagon and Ipswich will cost; how they will be financed; and what consultation took place?

(2) Why has Racing Queensland turned its back on the previously accepted Logan greyhound development and why can’t Albion Park be retained and the grandstand repaired to accommodate both codes in their current location?

(3) Has Mr Seymour put a blue-print for the future of harness racing to the LNP in the event that it wins Government and does that involve heavy expenditure at the expense of the greyhound industry which now claims to attract better turnover?

(4) Are the rumors sweeping the racing industry correct that Mr Seymour wants to buy Albion Park or does he prefer to see harness racing remain at that venue?

(5) As a major property developer, does Mr Seymour already own land in or near the Albion Park Paceway and what are his plans for that land?

(6) The Government might like to explain what is going on with Parklands where the dogs was closed and the harness racing is to be closed supposedly because the land is needed for hospital parking. It was recently suggested that this is not the case and that Parklands will be retained as a possible venue in case Gold Coast wins the Commonwealth Games hosting rights. If that's the case why can't the dogs stay there until then?

(7) When will the gallops trainers, currently using the Deagon complex, be forced to relocate and what does the future hold for stabling in the area? In other words will they be able to retain or sell properties as stabling complexes or are there plans for Council re-zoning of the area?

Rather than offer challenges and trade verbal blows in the media, perhaps all parties concerned would like to provide the answers to the above questions.

More to the point the time has come for the Bligh Government to get off its back-side and allow Racing Minister Lawlor to lift the veil of secrecy on plans for the three codes so that all the rumor and innuendo can be silenced before it does any more damage to the industry in Queensland.

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