Jenny - Clean

IN his widely-read column, ‘SILKS & SADDLES,’ published by the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, respected racing writer TERRY BUTTS reports on the Melbourne Cup day dream that turned into a nightmare for Brisbane trainer Nathan Schofield.

Butts tries to explain why trainers want to ‘tube horses’ – what the benefits are thought to be – and how stewards believe the practice is becoming more widespread.

He also has a feel-good piece on the O’Hara sisters winning minutes apart in Rockhampton and Hawkesbury and talks about a ‘sting’ at Callaghan Park that left a trainer far from impressed.

Here is the Butts column:

NOT EXACTLY THE LIFELONG DREAM THAT SCHOFIELD WANTED

THE one-time Tolga trainer Nathan Schofield had a life-long ambition to get his name in a Melbourne Cup day race book.

Well he certainly did that this year – and a whole lot more to boot when stewards jumped a padlocked gate and caught him with a stomach tube and a bowl of water in the stable of his horse Beseeched – on Cup morning.

There was no evidence of illegal drugs or drenches but it was enough for Victorian stewards to rule him guilty of ‘intent’ to administer a drench to his Cup day runner.

The horse was eventually withdrawn and it climaxed a pretty torrid and expensive week for the trainer.

He had flown the horse to Melbourne from Brisbane at considerable expense – plus regular jockey Justin Stanley.

Nathan got little sympathy when he fronted stewards last Friday. He was disqualified for 12 months on two charges – to be served concurrently. His appeal against the penalties will be heard next Monday.

This year RVL stewards, under the chairmanship of former Queenslander Terry Bailey, have played hard ball, swooping on stables mid-morning before horses leave for the races.

 

LITTLE DOUBT STEWARDS BELIEVE DRENCHING OF HORSES IS WIDESPREAD

THERE is little doubt, in the minds of stewards at least, that drenching of horses pre-race is pretty widespread. And with the Melbourne raids netting dividends trainers can expect more across all borders.

The lure to illicitly improve performance is not restricted to horse racing and is certainly not new. Recent disclosures indicate it is widespread in cycling. And for years it has been detected in athletics, boxing, swimming and other sports that require strong physical input.

Drenching – or administering a milk shake as it was termed by the Canadians, is a relatively new pre-race therapy to racing.

Years ago it was arsenic (in the Phar Lap era) and then caffeine (delivered down the neck in a gelatine ball) that had preference when trainers were looking to gain an edge.

And later several pain-killing drugs like the South African produced Tomanol were used to great effect. Then came EPO and other more serious heroine derivatives.

But the milk shake (so named for its appearance because of the bicarbonate of soda content) apparently doesn’t contain a cocktail of ‘hard drugs.’

There a lots of additives that, if used in isolation, are not illegal.

But to gain maximum effect the ingredients must be mixed with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

 

CHECKING CO2 CONTENT DETERMINES WHETHER DRENCHING HAS OCCURRED

SO racing authorities decided to measure the Co2 content of a horse before a race to determine whether it had been drenched with anything containing bicarb.

Many, many trainers have been fined or disqualified because their horses have returned high readings but until this latest blitz by Victorian stewards they have not been dissuaded from continuing the practice.

There are seemingly no after-effects. “It just makes a horse try harder, said one prominent trainer.

And a leading metropolitan jockey explained: “You can always tell when a horse has had a milk shake. They let you know on the way to the start.”

Stewards now have new detection methods and have increased their surveillance of stables as they try to level out the playing field.

It is a massive undertaking and perhaps the day is not too distant when all horses will be required to enter on-course security stables before a race meeting, as happens in Hong Kong and Japan.

David Hayes has called for a complete ban on trainers possessing a drenching tube.

But I liked the comment of one Melbourne trainer who quipped recently that if stewards really wanted a level playing field they should order veterinarians to give every horse a milk shake before their race – instead of testing them.

 

JACK HIT THE ROAD BEFORE THE COPPERS DECIDED TO MOVE HIM ON

WHILE colleague and former compatriot Nathan Schofield was reeling after a stewards’ ban in Melbourne, another ex-Tolga trainer, Gary (call me Jack) Duncan, was continuing his onslaught of the Brisbane bookies on Cup day at Eagle Farm.

Jack, who has moved to the Sunshine Coast with wife Megan, produced another ex-Victorian Master Avatar in the first at the Farm and it duly saluted.

The win followed an impressive victory by Sea Marvista a week earlier and on Saturday another stable rep Mr Bulista gave notice of an upcoming win.

One of the reasons for his ‘big  move south’ was that Jack was forced to work his horses on the roads – leading them out of his ute – because of the acute shortage of track-work riders in Atherton.

The local police were not impressed. They threatened to take severe action if Jack continued to use the roads.

So after the umpteenth warning Jack loaded up his trusty old truck and headed to the Sunshine Coast and reckons he is ‘here for good.’

 

O’HARA SISTERS HAD DUAL REASON FOR VICTORY CELEBRATIONS

THE O’Hara sisters Kathy in Sydney and Tracey in Rockhampton are very close.

That was again evidenced last Thursday at Rocky when Tracey made her comeback to the saddle after a very nasty barrier incident in July that at one stage threatened her riding career.

Just moments before big sister Kathy landed the Group 3 Hawkesbury Cup on Darci Be Good, Tracy guided home Cyclone Billy at Callaghan Park at her first ride back.

So thrilled was big sister she made mention of it and blew a kiss to Tracey during the Hawkesbury Cup presentation.

Needless to say Tracey was just so rapt.

It was a most welcome return for the tiny 27-year-old who tries to balance riding with her profession as a secondary school teacher.

There is no doubt her preferred love is the saddle in which she has had mixed fortune.

Two days after the barrier mishap in July, in which she suffered among other injuries a fractured pelvis, Tracey was to have ridden Prussian Secret in the Mackay Cup.

She heard the horse win the Cup from her hospital bed.

 

JARED NOT SO CONVINCED ABOUT THE VALUE GOT HIS FINGERS’ BURNED

NOT so rapt after the win however was Cyclone Billy’s trainer.

Jared Wehlow had intended taking a slice of Cyclone Billy in the betting ring but but wasn’t impressed at the unexpected $2.80 opening quote so decided to wait.

Next thing it was $1.80 with not a single cent of stable money wagered.

Apparently a bookie (or was it a big punter) jumped in and smashed the off course bookmakers and Jared and his stable followers were left out.

And they wonder why there is a need for a more hands on Integrity Department in racing in Queensland.

A meeting of the TAB clubs in Queensland has been called by the RQL chairman Kevin Dixon this Thursday. No agenda at time of going to press but we can only hope there is good news. Prizemoney perhaps?

 

FUNDING PROMISED BY BENTLEY HAS ARRIVED IN CAIRNS – WHO SAID IT GOT LOST?

THE good news for Cairns last week was that it finally got the money that was promised by the Bentley regime.

And work is about to start on the $2 million track upgrade.

Depending on just how ‘wet’ the wet season is this year, the club is hopeful of racing on the new cambered surface in time for the winter carnival next year.

There is also hope of acquiring TAB dates once the new track is ready.

What a great Sunday venue?

 

SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION CONCERNING THE LUCEY FAMILY STORY

 LAST week, in an article of the famous Lucey family in the  north, I made mention of the recent passing of Aldemira (Anne) Lucey, aged 84 at a Tully Nursing Home.

 In that article it wrongly stated that Anne was the widow of Dennis Lucey.

 We now understand the couple separated in 1986. Dennis later married Irean who still resides in Cairns.

 We are sorry about that.

 

COLUMN COURTESY OF TERRY BUTTS AND THE NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, one of Australia's leading rural newspapers.

TERRY BUTTS can be contacted by e-mailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

       

 

 

 

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