THIS website continues to listen to what our readers have to say and has introduced a ‘Wednesday Whinge’ where you can express your feelings on racing industry issues of the past week. Try to keep them objective. Just e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

IT’S a mixed bag in the e-mail box this week with some interesting comments on plans by the new Integrity Commissioner for racing in Queensland to travel the state in search of concerns from industry stake-holders which many believe will amount to a waste of time. There are more negative comments about controversial bookmaker Tom Waterhouse and his gambling promotions, especially those involving the NRL. The problem of ‘closed betting rings’ in country Queensland has been highlighted by the decision not to allow veteran bookmaker Lloyd Mitchell to field at last Saturday’s Home Hill Cup meeting. As usual we have we focus on our theme of THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY news of the past week.


THE news that former Queensland Police Commissioner Jim O’Sullivan wants those with serious allegations of racing impropriety to come forward when he makes a whistle-stop tour of the state prompted several e-mails.

These are the ones we have chosen to run that hopefully get the general message across even if the first is no doubt tongue in cheek:

AW of REDCLIFFE writes: ‘THOSE of us old enough to remember the hit TV comedy series, Get Smart, will recall how Maxwell Smart (Agent 86) would have a Cone of Silence when he wanted to discuss a top secret matter with his boss, known as ‘Chief.’

It was designed to protect the most secret of conversations by enshrouding the users within a transparent sound-proof shield. The Chief, usually with annoyed skepticism, would press a switch, causing the device to descend from above his desk, surrounding the heads of the duo during their secret conversation.

One might suggest that former Police Commissioner Jim O’Sullivan should find one of these if he hopes to secure any ‘inside information’ of what is happening of an illegal nature behind the scenes in the racing industry in Queensland.

Jokes aside, there is no way in the world that those ‘in the know’ in the racing industry are simply going to step forward and offer up what is happening behind the scenes when ‘Gentleman Jim’ tours the state.

The ‘Cone of Silence’ device that Maxwell Smart used was from a discount store and proved defective. With all due respects the approach planned by Jim O’Sullivan, however well meaning it might be to the problem which DOES EXIST in racing in Queensland, will also prove ineffective.

There needs to be some other way for those with a problem to converse confidentially with the new Integrity Commissioner. Most would feel much more comfortable starting on the telephone or by e-mail before agreeing to a face-to-face confrontation.

And let’s face it – stewards would have to be living in the dark if they aren’t aware of the general scuttlebutt that is doing the rounds concerning what is wrong with racing in Queensland.



LA of ROCKHAMPTON suggests: ‘JIM O’Sullivan has to be kidding in his new role as Racing Integrity Commissioner if he thinks that those with a gripe about racing integrity in Queensland are just going to come forward and reveal their concerns.

The newly-appointed Racing Integrity Commissioner should take a leaf from the book of his namesake at Racing Victoria in Sal Perna and establish a hot-line to hear anonymous complaints from those who are not prepared to speak openly to him.

There is always that element of doubt about anything anonymous but in the racing game there is a code of silence, not to mention the fears that some harbor should those they are making serious allegations about learn of their identity.

The O’Sullivan tour of the state will reveal nothing and therefore officialdom will claim that allegations of impropriety in racing in Queensland are just the rants of irresponsible people who air their views on racing web sites and chat rooms.

Unfortunately that isn’t the truth. Plenty is happening behind the scenes, especially with the illegal treatment of horses that is proving too difficult for even the most modern of swabbing procedures to detect. Some know who those that are involved are and the links they have which is apparently very concerning.

With respect, because of this no-one is just going to march forward and openly make allegations, even to a person with the highest integrity of a former Police Commissioner like Mr O’Sullivan.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: WE will attempt during the next week to secure from the Racing Minister’s Office an e-mail address or secure telephone line that those not prepared to come forward hopefully can use to contact the Integrity Commissioner. HERE is the story that prompted the above e-mails which was written by BEN DORRIES in THE COURIER-MAIL: 

FORMER Queensland police commissioner Jim O'Sullivan says he will embark on a listening tour of the state to get to the bottom of any allegations of racing impropriety.

Queensland's inaugural Racing Integrity Commissioner says he will keep an eagle eye on all aspects of racing "from top to bottom" to ensure the bright future he envisages for the industry becomes a reality.

O'Sullivan, police commissioner from 1992 to 2000, admits confidence in racing administration has been shaken by allegations concerning the previous Racing Board.

As Racing Queensland's new boards were inducted yesterday, O'Sullivan said he saw his integrity job as vital for the future of racing and pledged to talk to stakeholders in all areas of the state.

"I will be getting around Queensland to talk to any interested people. Essentially what I am saying if this - if an allegation of improper conduct is made and it is of a serious nature, I will be there to investigate it," O'Sullivan, 73, said.

"I will intervene and take whatever action is necessary, whether it be the involvement of the Crime and Misconduct Commission or the Police Service.

"If allegations are ever made for instance about a board member, or allegations of a very serious nature that can't be resolved, it will be up to me to investigate it in the first instance.

"I see my role as almost like an ombudsman to ensure that integrity is paramount in the racing industry."

The Commission of Inquiry into the former management of Queensland's racing industry has been welcomed by many stakeholders including Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board chairman Kevin Dixon, who says lessons must be learned from "the ghosts of the past".

O'Sullivan is also a supporter of the inquiry, to be headed by Court of Appeal judge Margaret White, and he believes the racing industry is now heading in the right direction with its new governance boards.

"The industry is progressing well now but I am not naive enough to believe that everyone is doing the appropriate thing all of the time," O'Sullivan said.

"Human nature dictates that someone, somewhere, will do something incorrectly or improper.

"I envisage a very bright future for the racing industry in Queensland.

"But you need to keep your eye on the ball because we have learnt from the bitter past that inappropriate conduct does occur and we need to get on top of it.

"I am very confident in the new board structure, and I am confident that we have people of quality on every board."



THE Waterhouse family involvement on two sides of racing and in sports betting continues to attract plenty of adverse comment. But there is one family member who has managed to stay clear of the crap fight. Here are some examples of your comments that arrived during the week:

SL of SYDNEY writes: ‘TURN the television on for the races or the rugby league and Tom Waterhouse wants to shove his bookmaking business down your throat.

But when it comes to fronting a Parliamentary Inquiry into the promotion of gambling in sport he becomes terribly shy – or ‘gutless’ as Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has described him.

Most of us can take young Tom is small doses. We object strongly to him appearing to promote gambling on rugby league when impressionable teenagers and even younger kids are watching.

They should not be allowed to grow up believing that to get the full adrenalin rush out of watching any sport – from rugby league to golf – that you need to have a bet.

It seems these days – courtesy of the big bucks Waterhouse is paying Channel 9 – that every time we turn on the TV for sport here is his schoolboy-like grin beaming out of our television screens.

The Government should use the racing authorities in NSW – if they are prepared to buck the power of the Waterhouse clan – to threaten to remove the license of Tom Waterhouse unless he fronts up to this Gambling Inquiry and answers some tough questions.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE is a story from the MELBOURNE AGE which the above e-mail relates to:

A decision by Tom Waterhouse to refuse to front a parliamentary inquiry into the promotion of gambling in sport has been branded gutless.

The bookmaker, who answered the call of NSW racing stewards, appearing at the recent More Joyous racing inquiry, snubbed the request of Parliament's Gambling Reform committee.

His refusal to attend is a major embarrassment for the inquiry, chaired by the independent Andrew Wilkie, after it delayed reporting its findings in the expectation Mr Waterhouse would appear.

It is the second invitation he has turned down, angering some members, including the Greens Senator Richard Di Natale who moved the inquiry in February.

''This is a gutless decision by Tom Waterhouse,'' he told Fairfax Media.

''He is treating the Parliament and the community with contempt.''

''It's hard to turn on the TV without seeing him and the moment he's asked some tough questions he goes to ground.''



KA of TOWNSVILLE writes: ‘WITH all the dramas engulfing the National Rugby League, the sport needed a major sponsorship deal with controversial bookmaker Tom Waterhouse like a hole in the head.

The integrity cloud may have been lifted when Tom was cleared of any wrong-doing in the More Joyous affair but try telling the average Joe Punter that Waterhouse or his dad, Robbie, of Fine Cotton infamy, knows nothing of what is happening with horses trained by mother and wife, Gai.

It is simply human nature that the punting public would suspect that they would be ‘in the loop’ to some degree, especially as it seems Robbie is an advisor on most things racing to Gai and appears to be the brains behind the meteoric rise of his son as a bookmaker.

The NRL, according to a report on Four Corners, could not come to terms with Tom Waterhouse on the sponsorship deal said to be worth multi millions of dollars. Thank the Lord for that.

Unfortunately it will not affect his other Channel 9 sponsorship and involvement at games which has seen the NRL flooded with complaints from concerned supporters of the sport.

It’s a strange racing and sporting world that we live in. On one hand we have the new powers that be at TVN reportedly stopping presenters from promoting market-movers because of the belief that some are ‘too close’ to corporate gambling entity, sportingbet.

Pity rugby league didn’t adopt the same attitude with Tom Waterhouse. Had that been the case the More Joyous situation involving him and Andrew Johns might never have occurred.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE is an interesting report on the above situation published in the FAIRFAX MEDIA:  

IF unhappy fans complain that Tom Waterhouse has been imposed upon them during Channel Nine's coverage of matches, it would have been nothing compared to the exposure he would have received if a deal to become the official NRL bookmaker hadn't fallen over.

While Waterhouse's arrangement with Nine means viewers are bombarded with commercials for his betting agency during matches and receive updates from him on odds at half-time, under the proposed deal they would also have had to put up with on-field signage for at every NRL game.

The deals with the NRL and the code's free-to-air broadcaster are separate but it was the backlash to his appearances on Nine that prompted the ARL Commission to let Waterhouse walk away from a five-year deal, believed to have been worth $4 million a year to the code.

Nine received 35 complaints following the opening round of matches and subsequently altered Waterhouse's role so that he did not appear to be part of the commentary team and only talked about odds rather than the match itself.

NRL head of strategy Shane Mattiske told a Senate inquiry into gambling and sport in late March the deal with Waterhouse had not been finalised but talks were continuing. Waterhouse is understood to have wanted out of the deal after federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy proposed a ban on the promotion of live odds during play.

Fairfax Media has been told the NRL could have enforced the deal as there was a signed heads of agreement, but chose not to.

A Nine spokesperson said the decision would have no impact on its deal with Waterhouse, adding: ''We have a one-year agreement with Tom that complies with the code.''

The NRL is now considering whether the money it would receive from another betting agency to become the official gaming partner would be sufficient to offset the bad publicity currently surrounding sports wagering.

Tabcorp said it would be prepared to reconsider its involvement but not at the same price as Waterhouse was prepared to pay.

While the exact figure offered by Waterhouse may be contested, there is a feeling among industry insiders that it was over the odds. There is also a belief that his saturation coverage on Nine telecasts has adversely affected the property and the industry as a whole.

''If the NRL were to review its wagering partnership, we'd welcome the opportunity to discuss - but only on terms that reflected the commercial value of the partnership,'' a TAB spokesperson said.

Overseas agencies, such as, might also see an opportunity to gain a foothold in the Australian market, while local bookmakers would also be interested in a deal with the NRL. ''Like all opportunities that come, we'll look at it, but it's very early at this stage,'' a spokesperson said.

Sportingbet boss Michael Sullivan said: ''We would be prepared to speak to the NRL. We have a very big involvement at a lot of rugby league clubs - we are either major or very significant sponsors of a lot of clubs. We would certainly be prepared to talk to them but it comes down to cost.''

Tattsbet's Gerard Daffy said any prospective betting partners needed to question the value of linking with the NRL, adding of the proposed Waterhouse deal: ''What were you actually getting in return apart from the title of official sponsor?''



EDITOR’S COMMENT: IN all the controversy surrounding the More Joyous affair one member of the Waterhouse family has managed to escape the spotlight.

Kate Waterhouse, daughter of Rob and Gai, brother of Tom, is intelligent, attractive and the Fashion Editor of a leading national magazine.

She has managed to be very much her own person despite being a member of a famous or infamous Australian racing family. Kate’s name has not been dragged through the mud with the rest of them.

Racing leaders should be promoting Kate Waterhouse as a role model, like the gorgeous and talented Brit Francesca Cumani, to a new generation of race-goers capable of reshaping the industry during troubled times.


THE capacity of the Godolphin doping scandal both to shock and amaze shows no sign of diminishing.

The initial revelation that 15 horses at Mahmood al-Zarooni’s stable in Newmarket had tested positive for anabolic steroids was extraordinary and so too the speed – just four days – with which the trainer was charged, tried and banned for eight years.

Then came the unexpected news that Zarooni was planning an appeal and in recent days it has been revealed that seven more horses at the yard, including Encke, last year’s St Leger winner, have since tested positive for steroids too.

The latest discovery is, in a way, the most remarkable of all. This is not just because of what it suggests about the sheer scale of the doping operation but also because it hints at how little is still know about what went on at Zarooni’s yard and how much may never be known about performances like that of Encke, which frustrated Camelot’s attempt to win the Triple Crown.

On the face of it, seven more positives to add to the 15 involved in the initial case against Zarooni is not an overwhelming number. Saeed bin Suroor’s string, of an equivalent size, has also been tested, with no positive results.

When set in the context of time, however, the implication is that the doping operation at Moulton Paddocks was being conducted on an extraordinary scale.

All seven of the latest positives were for stanozolol, which can remain in a horse’s system for up to 40 days. Zarooni is also known to have used ethylestranol, which clears the system much more rapidly, usually in less than a week.

The evidence of the initial hearing into the case, meanwhile, suggested that Zarooni used stanozolol on colts and ethylestranol on fillies.

The British Horseracing Authority’s original testing team visited Moulton Paddocks in early April and took samples from 45 horses, of which 11 tested positive for either stanozolol or ethylestranol (Zarooni himself later added four extra names to his charge sheet). The BHA then started testing the rest of the string in late April.

Assuming that no horses were doped after April 9, any trace of ethylestranol would have been long gone by April 29. Even stanozolol would have been starting to disappear, as some horses will be clean after as little as 20 days.

So the fact that seven were still positive at least 20 days after the first round of tests suggests that the doping had been going on until the moment the BHA team arrived on April 9 and that others in the string may have been doped but were not tested in time.

When the BHA came up with 11 positives from 45 in its first sweep through Moulton Paddocks, it seemed likely that the team had been acting on intelligence received and had a fair idea which of the horses to test.

Now, it appears just as likely that they were not looking for particular horses and the initial 45 was just a representative sample. That, in turn, would suggest that in a yard with nearly 200 horses, perhaps about 50 were on steroids.



NOT long after officials and stewards in Western Australia had bagged suggestions – made in an anonymous letter – that up to 10 jockeys were involved in race fixing in Perth for an east coast betting syndicate, we have this little gem.

It was however a case of a jockey being in the wrong place at the wrong time but does put the bad spotlight back on racing in the west for all the wrong reasons.

Here’s a report on the issue by BRENDAN CORMACK from THE AUSTRALIAN: 

STEWARDS in Perth have disqualified a jockey for two years after he was found in possession of a hand-held electric prod.

Duncan Miller, 21, had been pulled over by police in relation to a traffic infringement when the car he was driving was inspected. The electronic apparatus was found in the glove box.

Miller is the son of former jockey Stephen Miller, who now trains horses with his wife Sharon. Once a promising talent, who served part of his apprenticeship in Melbourne with Flemington trainer Danny O’Brien five years ago, Miller’s career has spiraled out of control in recent months.

On March 18 at the Lark Hill trials, he provided a sample that was positive to cannabis. His license was suspended for four months at a hearing on April 8.

The electronic apparatus was found by police on April 29. Miller claimed the unit was inactive at the time. Available for purchase over the internet or where livestock supplies are sold, the handy prodder/coaxer has two prongs that deliver a shock and a button that makes a buzzing sound. It is not the first time Miller has been found in possession of an item designed to “coax” an animal.

Stewards detected lead pellets in a modified whip inserted with the intention of inflicting a harder whack when used.



WE had a couple of e-mails posing the questions at what stage should stewards agree to requests for an inquiry to be closed to the media when it involves matters of a delicate family matter?

RJ of MELBOURNE wrote: ‘SHOULD trainer Mark Riley be dealt with purely as a licensee in this matter involving the partner of his daughter or is he entitled to some family privacy?

Are hearings in the Family Court open to the media? Perhaps this is one time when some things are best said behind closed doors for the protection those involved.

It would appear that the main problem confronting the stewards is that an alleged offence occurred at the track but if it does involve a child then there is a responsibility on the stewards’ part to close this hearing, at least in part.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: My understanding is that some evidence was taken in the absence of the media. Whatever occurs I am sure RV Chief Steward Terry Bailey will be mindful of the need to protect innocent parties. Here is how the media has reported the Riley inquiry at this stage: 

AN inquiry into an alleged assault involving trainer Mark Riley and trackwork rider Jack Dunn at Mornington on May 13 was adjourned by Racing Victoria stewards on Monday (May 20, with a stalemate between the trainer and the stewards' panel unable to be resolved.

Stewards will consider how the matter will proceed after Riley refused to provide details of the altercation at the inquiry, requesting instead that the stewards hear his evidence in-camera to avoid details being made public.

Riley's legal adviser, Patrick Wheelahan, told stewards the altercation, which he said began on May 11 and carried through to May 13, was a part of a ‘'very sensitive family matter and a domestic matter involving a child.’

Although admitting that an altercation had taken place, Riley rejected the suggestion that a baseball bat had been used, and said he would provide details of the incident and the background of it to stewards in a private session.

After considering Riley's position, chief steward Terry Bailey elected to adjourn the hearing and consider whether Riley has charges to answer.

''If he does … the matter will go direct to the (Racing Appeals and Disciplinary) Board,'' Bailey said.

Dunn had been interviewed previously about the incident.



THE situation involving veteran North Queensland bookmaker Lloyd Mitchell who was refused permission to field at the Home Hill Cup meeting last Saturday prompted several e-mails.

Most were concerned about the apparent decision of Racing Queensland to dodge the issue of closed rings and pass the buck to individual clubs. They feel the problem will escalate and needs some overall ruling from the control body.

Here are a several e-mails that we received voicing concerns on this issue:

KC of TOWNSVILLE wrote: ‘WHAT is wrong with the officials of the Home Hill Race Club?

Surely they should have recognized the need for a bookmaker of the calibre of Lloyd Mitchell to boost the strength of their ring on the biggest day of the year.

It wasn’t as though he was going to pinch business from the locals who they rely on to ply their trade at every other meeting of the year when at times business can be slack.

The disappointing aspect of the Mitchell story is that it seems he was given permission to field and turned up in good faith to do so only to learn that someone had intervened in between when the club gave him permission and when he arrived at the track.

This isn’t good enough. Nor is the response from Racing Queensland that this is a local rule that has been implemented by the Home Hill Club and has nothing to do with RQ.

It is fine to pass the buck on a delicate issue but this is by no means a one-off situation, and in the wake of the Home Hill decision, the problem can be expected to escalate to other clubs. That is when RQ will have to get involved whether they like it or not.’



KW of BRISBANE writes: ‘If the Betting and Wagering Manager in Racing Queensland’s Integrity Department doesn’t know what is going on what hope does the industry have?

According to reports Lloyd Mitchell was advised by Mark Sweeney that there was no longer a ‘closed ring’ policy affecting bookmakers and led him to believe he would be permitted to field at the Home Hill Cup day meeting.

RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon subsequently corrected the Sweeney ruling when he advised that there was a local rule that enabled clubs to determine whether they wanted to implement ‘closed rings’ on feature days.

The Home Hill situation aside, I believe this is the same Mark Sweeney that was recently appointed to the role of Thoroughbred Racing Manager in the new-look RQ Operations Department.

At the time RQ distributed a Media Release which read in part: Mark has vast racing experience having worked in the industry for over 25 years including stints with the Hunter and North West Racing Association as a Steward and then as a Race Club CEO, before relocating to Queensland to head up the licensing function.

Mark has since undertaken a role with RQL’s stewarding team and currently holds the position of Betting & Wagering Manager in RQL’s integrity department.”

RQ pointed out that the Sweeney appointment followed an extensive recruitment process.’

(Editor’s Note: The remainder of this e-mail was deleted for legal reasons).



RB of IPSWICH writes: ‘I was amused, but at the same time quite confused, after I decided to study the story in the Silks & Saddles article this week where bookmaker Lloyd Mitchell was stood down recently from fielding at a North Queensland race meeting.

Nothing unusual you say - happens all the time?

The point I am confused about is where a LOCAL CLUB over-rides the Principal Body.

Can you or one of your readers (please don’t ask you-know-who as it appears the janitor is on annual leave) clarify the situation? 



Where are you Mr Taylor – please don’t get contaminated – for the sake of racing in Queensland?

By the way, for those interested, I have never met or spoken to either Mr Mitchell or Mr Taylor. But hell am I confused by Mr Dixon.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: BEFORE certain people start suggesting the last e-mail was written by me, like Gai at the More Joyous inquiry, I will swear on a stack of Bibles it was not. But I have to pose the question that if Racing Queensland isn’t the body responsible for sorting this issue of closed rings out, then who is? Clubs need the strongest betting rings they can provide to attract punters these days. The local rule policy on ‘closed rings’ needs to be abolished and RQ should lay down some guidelines before this situation gets out of hand. As for RQ appointments here’s hoping the ‘extensive recruitment process’ nets a quality CEO – the industry in Queensland certainly needs one.



FROM OUR SPY AT RQ HEADQUARTERS: THE Racing Minister and his side-kick, the Racing Queensland Chairman, reportedly put the Government jet to good use last Saturday.

Word in the Deagon Bunker is that the hard working racing duo jetted into the Burdekin for a hit-and-run visit to the Home Hill Cup meeting and were back in Brisbane in time to take in the Doomben Cup. How fortuitous!

Now that’s just what we are told.

The question being asked by many in the industry in the north is why Barry Taylor, the Townsville-based Deputy Chairman of the All Codes Board, wasn’t at the Home Hill Cup meeting and alongside Racing Minister Steve Dixon rather than Kevin Dixon making the trip from Brisbane.

After all the hullabaloo about the LNP Government appointing these country voices to the boards now they seem to be getting the right royal snub – just like happened with one of the minor board chairman at a recent major meeting.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: My mail is that not only was Barry Taylor in Melbourne on business but the invite to Kevin Dixon to attend the Home Hill Cup meeting went out and was accepted before the new Boards were appointed. As for the use of the Government jet, why not use it to get the Racing Minister and the RQ Chairman around the state to major meetings on the one day? I also understand that the Minister undertake some duties involving his other portfolio whilst in the north.


MB of TOWNSVILLE writes: ‘GOOD to see our old mate ‘Buttsy’ (Terry Butts) take one for the team and highlight the demise of what was once a great racing watering hole, the Oonoonba Hotel.

The racing fraternity was once welcomed with open arms but now it seems the hotel would prefer concert-goers to punters, especially on some Friday nights.

The stage blocks vision of racing odds and coverage monitors – not only on the Fridays but until it is dismantled on Saturdays.

I can speak from first-hand experience that it was impossible to view anything racing for the first in Brisbane last Saturday when many were there to back the favorite prepared by a former Townsville trainer.

If you complain about the situation – like Buttsy did – you get barred from the place. He even went as far as the TattsBet boss in the north and didn’t even get off base one.

Does this mob want punters to bet with the TAB or would they prefer all of us join the corporates where the value is much better anyway?’

EDITOR’S NOTE: I took the concerns of Terry Butts to Brad Tamer at TattsBet in Brisbane and he agreed to follow up the complaints with those responsible in Townsville. Whilst conceding it was only one side of the story Brad wasn’t happy to hear the complaints being leveled at what was once an extremely popular PubTAB. Hopefully if enough noise is made about the situation these rocket scientists will be under threat of losing their TAB license at the appropriately named Oonoonba Pub. It’s an Aboriginal word meaning ‘swampy ground’ or ‘deep shit.’



BA of HERVEY BAY writes: ‘I would have submitted this as a Letter to the Editor of the daily fish and chips wrapper but felt the chances of it getting printed where next to none.

My friends and I took exception to the wording of a story in The Courier-Mail that suggested former RQ Chairman Bob Bentley had ‘fallen on his sword’ in requesting a temporary leave of absence from his position on the Board of gambling group Tatts.

One wonders if the person who wrote this didn’t have a little help or encouragement from a retired turf writer. It was more his style.

That aside, Bob Bentley didn’t fall on his sword as the CM suggested. He has simply stepped aside (and whether he is on full pay as a director or not is the business of he and Tatts, no-one else) to focus on the Commission of Inquiry and hopefully ensure none of the crap that hits the fan from his time as RQ Chairman rubs off on Tatts.

By the way neither I nor my friends know Bob Bentley. There are things that he did as Chairman that annoyed us, other things that needed to be done, but one thing’s for sure – he hasn’t fallen on his sword – not yet anyway.

The inquiry has not even started so let’s give the bloke the fair go that he is entitled to along with the rest of his Board until this matter is completed and the findings are handed down.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The bloke who wrote this story is not known to me but is one of the new brigade of racing journalists in Queensland and, in my opinion, is doing a terrific job as a back-up to the best breath of fresh air in the turf writing scene in Queensland in years in Nathan Exelby. Give the guy a break and don’t take things so seriously.



EDITOR’S COMMENT: THERE is a rumor doing the rounds concerning the latest Commission of Inquiry which is being ridiculed by those who were associated with the former Board of RQ.

It alleges that one of the damning pieces of evidences the inquiry will hear against then Chairman Bob Bentley involves ProductCo, the affiliate of RQ, which he did not sit on because of a conflict of interest with his Board position on Tatts.

ProductCo was chaired by Bentley’s deputy on the RQ Board in Tony Hanmer. The rumor doing the rounds is that Bentley still attended these meetings but did not participate in the discussion or decision- making process – something that we understand is not correct.

There is also a rumor doing the rounds that a former RQ Board member and racehorse owner will be dumped on at the inquiry by a couple of his former colleagues for allegedly seeking inside information concerning swabbing procedures.

Good to see things are warming up.

The appointment of highly-respected Court of Appeal Judge Margaret White to oversee the inquiry has been very well received by those close to and outside the racing industry. Here’s hoping this one bears more fruit than those held previously.



TWITTER controversies haven’t been confined to the sport of cricket although it has received the most publicity during the past week.

Popular jockey Michelle Payne found herself embroiled in a verbal Twitter battle over one of her rides. Here’s how MAX PRESNELL reported the situation in his column in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:   

SPORTING boofheads aren't seen at their best on Twitter, but Michelle Payne isn't one for sitting quietly and taking a baking.

The jockey with beautiful hands and a keen sense of pace has come under fire in the Twittersphere, a course and distance over which my experience is limited.

Rob Woodruff was critical of one of her efforts.

''Michelle, I would be the first to praise you on a clever ride! That wasn't. You have to take the good with the bad,'' he argued.

Payne countered: ''I'm the first to admit a bad ride, that wasn't. Keep your comments to urself. I work hard I do my homework. I don't need it.''

Paul Oliver joined the fray. ''Well out of order. M.Payne is an excellent rider. N.Rawiller/H.Bowman put in the odd average ride,'' he opined.

And Stephanie (@stephWallers) chimed in: ''You're right that we're entitled to an opinion Rob but yours are often nasty and uncalled for.''


POSTIVE news during the week that Racing NSW wants changes to the Thoroughbred Racing Act to provide more powers to compel witnesses to give evidence at stewards’ inquiries.

The controversial More Joyous hearings - which some witnesses initially refused to attend and another did not reveal all he knew - prompted Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys to look at ways to increase the authority of stewards.

"We are trying to get more powers to run these inquiries better," Mr V'landys said. "What has been clear at this inquiry is that witnesses did not have to turn up and give evidence. We want the power to compel people to come to inquiries and give truthful evidence.

"If they don't they should be sanctioned in some way, either criminally or in other courts."The no-show of NRL great Andrew Johns, brothel owner Eddie Hayson and former jockey Allan Robinson at the original May 7 hearing forced stewards to schedule another hearing for last Monday.

This time, all three did appear and were cross-examined. Then Mr Robinson returned after an adjournment and announced he wanted to "tell the truth" about the affair, but only with Mr Hayson and Mr Johns present.

Mr Robinson then chose not to give any further testimony and promptly left the inquiry.

Although stewards were satisfied that enough evidence had been obtained to move on with the investigation, Mr Robinson's decision not to provide further evidence did highlight the need for stewards to have greater powers.

Racing Minister George Souris said the government "will give due consideration to a request for help from Racing NSW once the (More Joyous) inquiry has been completed".

"The most important issue, with which everyone agrees, is that the community ex- pects that racing will be conducted with integrity," Mr Souris said.

Mr Souris said the Thoroughbred Racing Act 1996, which makes provision for the management and functions of Racing NSW, is up for its latest five-year review from July 1.

"The review is open to all to make submissions," Mr Souris said. "That is the process established by successive governments to ensure the Act and its objectives are valid and kept up to date."

A report on the outcome of the review must be tabled in parliament within 12 months.

The usual procedure for the statutory review of legislation is for major stakeholders to be invited to make submissions.

Advertisements will also be placed that invite submissions from industry participants and other interested persons.



LP of GOLD COAST writes: ‘WHAT a disgusting meeting Scone was on Saturday for those who fancy a flutter on the favorites. Not one was successful.

There was also some irony in the results. Much was made of the domination on the day by trainer Anthony Cummings and jockey Peter Robl.

They combined to win with Diamond Earth ($6.5), Fontelina ($5) and Arctic Flight ($11). Robl was also successful on Tweet ($15).

But little was mentioned about their flop of the day – the previously unbeaten Missy Cummings, which ran last in the Guineas after drifting from $3 to $4.6.

Now Cummings must be a bad judge. He had three winners but told a stewards’ inquiry he thought his best chance was Missy Cummings and it failed to beat one home.

Interestingly, the Chris Waller stable, dining out on another big race success – this time the quinella to the Doomben Cup with Beaten Up and Foreteller – had little luck at Scone either with three seconds.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t matter whether these primary Saturday meetings are run at Hawkesbury, Scone, Gold Coast, Ipswich or Sunshine Coast they seem to prove a nightmare for punters. Then again Sydney racing hasn’t been much better in recent times. Brisbane is on the up and that could be the first signs of a new broom being put through the place with the appointment of new Boards and a Racing Integrity Commissioner. Most believe if Ray Murrihy can’t clean up the show in Sydney, then no-one can.



VM of TOOWOOMBA writes: ‘THE new LNP Government needs to listen to politicians like Bob Katter when it comes to addressing this continuing problem with flying foxes and the detrimental affect it continues to have on the racing industry.

As long as the Government keeps bowing to pressure from green groups and tree huggers to do nothing about the flying fox menace then they are jeopardising the livelihood and health of tens of thousands of people.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE’S more concerning news on a problem that continues to haunt the racing industry in Queensland:

BIOSECURITY Queensland has been forced to quarantine a property on the Southern Downs after a horse tested positive to Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV).

Chief Biosecurity officer Dr Jim Thompson said the horse was euthanazed on May 11 after falling ill.

“It tested negative for Hendra virus infection but further testing returned a positive result for ABLV,” he said.

“Another horse showing similar symptoms was euthanased at the same property five days earlier.

“There are 20 other horses on the property. The vet involved in both cases used PPE and took appropriate precautions.

“The site will remain under quarantine while further testing is conducted on the remaining horses.

“ABLV is carried by bats and flying foxes.”

Staff from the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Public Health Unit will visit this property to assess the situation and identify any human potentially exposed to this horse.

The public health staff will interview all people identified as having been in contact with the horse to determine whether any post-exposure treatment is required.

Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said it is important to remember that human cases of Lyssavirus are incredibly rare.

“There have only been three recorded cases in Australia, all in Queensland, and sadly, all three people passed away,” Dr Young said.

“All three cases were the result of direct exposure to bats with Lyssavirus. This is the first case where Australian Bat lyssavirus has been identified in a horse, although we know from overseas that horses can be infected with rabies. There is a theoretical possibility that transmission to humans could occur.

“We do however have a preventative treatment that is effective in any person not displaying symptoms of the virus.

“Warwick and Toowoomba Hospitals will provide a free course of this preventative treatment to anyone who public health staff determine was in close contact with this dead horse resulting in a risk of exposure to the virus. Simply patting a horse would not constitute exposure.”

People who have had a potential exposure to ABLV require an injection of rabies immunoglobulin and a series of four rabies vaccine injections.

Anyone with a weakened immune system will require a further (fifth) dose of vaccine and follow up blood tests to confirm their immunity.

This course of treatment is also known as post-exposure prophylaxis.



LEGISLATION aimed at halting doping in horse racing in America has been introduced and referred to a committee by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The American House Council made a Media Release in the past week summarizing the contents of the Act which reads in part:

Senator Tom Udall and Representatives Joe Pitts, Ed Whitfield, Jan Schakowsky and Anna Eshoo have introduced the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2013 to regulate/prohibit substances, methods and treatments that may be used in racing. The legislation is not the same as the bill they introduced in the last Congress.

The bill calls for a new ‘independent anti-doping organization’ to be responsible for ‘ensuring the integrity of horse races that are the subject of interstate off-track wagers and the safety of persons involved in such horse races.’

The bill gives this anti-doping organization authority to permit/prohibit the drugs and medications that may be administered to a horse in a race subject to an interstate off-track wager and set the withdrawal period for its administration.


The legislation specifically designates the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a private, non-governmental agency, as that organization. USADA is the official anti-doping agency for the U.S. Olympics. As the overseeing organization, the bill charges USADA to develop and enforce rules for permitted and prohibited activities, including:

  • Permitted substances, methods, and treatments that may be administered in the context of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship;
  • Guidelines for the use of such permitted substances, methods, and treatments, including withdrawals times before a race; and
  • Prohibited substances, methods, and treatments that may not be administered.

The legislation prohibits a horse from receiving any medication/drug within 24 hours of a race. There is a two-year exception for Furosemide (Lasix) used for three-year olds under the current Association of Racing Commissioners International rules and administered by a veterinarian with a client-patient relationship.

USADA would also be charged with organizing programs for anti-doping education, research, testing, and adjudication to prevent a horse from racing under the influence of medications or drugs. USADA may consult with state racing commissions, race tracks, horsemen’s groups, and others in developing the rules and programs.

USADA has the authority to exclude any person from racing for the first violation of the rules against the use of any prohibited medication/drug and for the third violation of the rules against the use of permitted medications/drugs. USADA has discretion to suspend any exclusion if a person assists in identifying other violations of the rules or federal or state law.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the above e-mails should not be interpreted as those of JOHN LINGARD, the owner-editor of the letsgohorseracing web-site. That is why he has added an ‘EDITOR’S NOTE’. Every endeavor is made to verify the authenticity of contributors. We welcome any reasonable and constructive responses from parties or individuals.