Jenny - Clean

IN his popular column, ‘SILKS & SADDLES,’ published by the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, respected racing writer TERRY BUTTS questions whether the Melbourne Cup is being hijacked by the Poms and whether we need them as badly as some believe to lift the image of the race that stops the nation.

His criticism continues against the UK betting giants who have taken over the off course market in Australia and contribute little in return to the local racing industry.

Butts also questions why Rockhampton and Townsville could not have TAB meetings on Melbourne Cup day considering some of the out-of-the-way venues that attracted same in other States.

Here is the Butts’ column:

 

THE POMS HAVE TAKEN OVER OUR NATIONAL RACING TREASURE WHICH IS A TRAGEDY

THE poms have got plenty to answer for.

They have just about taken over our national racing treasure the Melbourne Cup which most reckon is a downright tragedy.

 It is no longer our Melbourne Cup.  It might as well be renamed the Marylebone Cup. And Flemington – the House of Lords – such is the Pommy domination of our once sacred grail.

A knockabout Aussie bloke, a retired businessman with just a little interest in racing as an owner – not a punter – asked , quite seriously at lunch last week: ‘Why don’t they give Bart Cummings a wildcard entry into the Cup?’

Good question.

BART’S HORSE PRECEDENCE MORE ENTITLED TO A START THAT SOME POMMY RAIDERS

EVERYONE agreed that Bart’s horse Precedence had more entitlement to carry his famous colours than many of the Pommy raiders that lined up.

 “No matter what wins the Cup”, he said, “it will be long remembered as the year they shut the gate on one of the country’s greatest  ever trainers – unmercifully on the eve of the GOM’s 85th birthday.

And frankly you do have to wonder why?

The Melbourne Cup has been our very own – with a touch of competition from the Kiwis – for 152 years.

It carries prizemoney of $6 million. But it really wouldn’t matter if it was worth $1 million, or even less. Except no doubt it would then become much less attractive for the Poms and the Sheiks who are attempting to make our race their own.

Thankfully the mainland Chinese are not into horseracing – just yet!

 

UK BETTING GIANTS ARE THE ‘CANE TOADS OF RACING’ IN AUSTRALIA

AND it’s not only the UK horses that have embarked on a smash and grab mission.

We have also been raided by the UK off course betting giants. And we certainly don’t need them.

In fact they are taking over. The cane toads of racing!

Maybe it’s time to look at a successor for the Northern Territory Gaming Commission – the Darwin-based licensing body for the corporate bookmakers in this country.

The off course betting industry has grown so alarmingly since the days of off course bookies working in betting shops in Darwin city. It has become truly national, if not international.

The introduction of a ban on credit betting (and use of credit cards) would put a severe dampener of their operations – but it is also imperative that the corporates be made subject to the very same conditions as the TABs.

It’s that simple.

Given their massive spending on promotion and their end of year profits, the two per cent turnover tax the off course giants currently pay (or are obliged to pay) on their $6 billion turnover (yes, correct $6bn) quite obviously is not enough.

A five per cent turnover tax would certainly ‘shorten them up’ and provide the racing industry with the much needed cash that the bookies are currently splurging  on TV and other advertising – not to mention the millions of dollars going off shore every year.

IT is now up to Governments of this country to act.

And ask: Do we really need the bookies and the international horses?

Do we?

Especially when their presence takes PRECEDENCE over you know who……And what.

 

‘ARROGANT’ COMMENT BY NEW BOSS OF TOM.WATERHOUSE.COM

WORSE still is that flippant, if not arrogant, comment by the new boss of tomwaterhouse.com, who in a media interview last week made it clear that he sees the TABs as ‘ripe for the picking’.

 

“Unless these guys wise up, they are going to lose. So, I say to them, ‘Get used to it and get with the program’,”  so said Ralph Topping, spokesman for the mob that calls itself Billy Hill – or is it Hill Billy?

And his somewhat threatening comments follow a warning from RBS Morgans that Fixed Odds betting is growing as tote betting declines further.

And this from CIMB’s Killiam Murphy: “I think 2014 and 2015 will be big years for the wagering sector. I suspect the shift to corporate bookmakers will be faster and more aggressive than people assume.”

Yes, it certainly is time for Government intervention. For the whole world knows that racing in the UK is floundering in the depths of mediocrity and guess who has got the blame?

The off-course bookies of course.

They operate in a land where the tote is virtually non-existent and so too is the financial returns to racing. And where it still is very much the Sport of Kings and others who can afford it.

Where racing is all about top hats, pink gins and paltry prize money.

Where the bookies, having worn out their own turf back home, have pitched their stands in this country. Where they are being very selective wanting only the mugs and losers.

They refuse to accommodate the educated punter or the pros- a practise that I am reliably told WILL change.

 Watch the court lists is the tip.

 

ENGLISH INFLUENCE ON OUR RACING DOESN’T END WITH CUP AND CORPORATES

THE English influence on our racing doesn’t really end with the Melbourne Cup and bookmakers either.

 Last week the Australian Racing  Board decided to ban anabolic steroids altogether, in spite of protests from our own Australian Trainers’ Association, and in particular noted hands-on expert Peter Moody.

Their recommendations on the somewhat controversial subject were rejected. The ARB decided to appease their Jockey Club colleagues and go cap in hand with what happens in the UK.

There are highly qualified and reputable Australian vets who recommend – and have done for years – the regulated use of an anabolics on geldings to help them cope with the rigors of racing.

And I know horses that have lived happily into their 30s after a long racing career that had been assisted by anabolic use.

The anabolic steroid does not make geldings go any faster. It helps with the maintenance and the well being of horses, particularly as they get older.  Purely and simply.

This act of appeasement by the ARB, many believe, is short sighted and hasty. There are far more serious issues that should have the focus of the ARB.

In England, as Moody so rightly stated, trainers as a general rule don’t castrate their colts. And if the colts don’t make the grade as a racehorse, they go straight to the knackery – by the thousands.

The ARB, in dismissing the pleas and arguments by ATA and Moody, decided in their doubtful wisdom to go with the Poms – and the likely big winner will be the doggers.

How sad is that?

 

QUEENSLAND BEING TREATED SECOND RATE BY OUR OWN TAB

AND now we must deliver a well-deserved blast for our own TAB – Tattersalls.

Of course it’s Melbourne Cup day and Townsville, the capital of the north and said to be in the top 10 or 12 largest cities in the country, did not really expect to get TAB/SKY coverage of its Tuesday meeting.

But you would hardly expect little places like Echuca (Vic), Muswellbrook NSW) Bunbury (WA) and both Alice Springs AND Darwin to get live coverage.

How does that happen?

Surely Rockhampton and Townsville would have much more appeal to Queensland punters than those meetings.

And isn’t it all about turnover?

 

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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