ATHERTON trainer Roy Chillemi, one of the most successful and most travelled trainers in Queensland, made the long haul to Mackay (1000km return) last Saturday with bitter sweet results.

His promising stayer Dazzling Pride won the time-honoured Mackay Amateur Cup – but sadly suffered a bleeding attack and is out for the entire northern Winter Carnival.

The grey was ridden by stable jockey, Irishman Stephen Wilson, whose career has blossomed since making the move to the Tablelands two years ago. He has forged a highly successful association with Chillemi, the doyen of North Queensland trainers, who ‘threatens’ to downsize his team next season. We’ll see!

Dazzling Pride is a relatively lightly-raced ex southerner – as most of the Chillemi horses are – but has always shown promise and Saturday was obviously a test to see how he might shape in upcoming features from Mackay to Cairns.

It was a solid win, his seventh in 14 starts, in spite of a notable betting drift and connections must be shattered by this unfortunate impediment.

The other feature at Ooralea was the win of Executed in the WFA sprint. It certainly wasn’t unexpected – he was always at long odds-on – but it took the five-year-old’s record to a sterling 17 wins and 11 placings from 39 starts and his stakes earnings to around $500,000. Incredible figures really for a country galloper and a credit to his youthful and obviously hard working trainer Krystle Johnstone.

And there is more to come. The winner of last year’s Lightning at Doomben, and the Cleveland Bay at Cluden, is virtually unbeatable, even carrying 65kg to win an Open recently in Townsville.

Racing Queensland program planners have been more than kind offering at least two more WFA sprints during its winter carnivals which are at his mercy.

Executed is unbeatable giving away up to 10kg. How are they going to beat him at equal weights or under the WFA scale?

Doubt if many would even try.



THE impartiality of the ACCC has been questioned at the Australian Competition Tribunal hearing of the proposed merger of Tabcorp and Tatts, according to a Melbourne Age report.


Rod Smith (for Tatts) questioned why the ACCC had enlisted the support of the corporate bookmakers.


The CEO of overseas owned Sportsbet, Cormac Barry, gave evidence on behalf of the ACCC on Friday and Packer-owned Crownbet has also intervened on behalf of the ACCC.


Others to oppose the merger include Racing Victoria and Racing.com


The Tribunal hearing continues this week and a final decision on the merger is expected mid-June.


The merger would create an $11 billion company – and a virtual national tote.


More importantly for Queensland, it is seen as a lifeline or saviour of the entire racing industry.


The Tribunal last week heard that lower levels of wagering tax paid by corporate bookmakers, compared with the TAB, was a significant competitive advantage.

Rod Smith said this helped drive growth for corporate bookmakers and told Barry: “That competitive advantage has been a reason your company (Sportsbet) since 2009 has obtained the spectacular growth rates.”

Barry agreed the lower rate was an important advantage, which begs the question: Why aren’t the corporates paying more tax?

Smith said it was in Sportsbet's ‘commercial interests’ for the merger not to proceed. He then questioned the impartiality of the ACCC, which has enlisted the support of corporate bookmakers in making its case.

The Tabcorp-Tatts merger is backed by all Australian racing state bodies with the exception of Victoria.

Not one State Government has expressed any concerns.



THE rapidly diminishing bank of jockeys in the north has got a much needed boost with the return of former top apprentice Braydn Swaffer to the ranks.

Swaffer returned to the saddle after a 12 month hiatus to recharge the batteries at Cairns two weeks ago and on Saturday at Innisfail went within an eyelash of returning to the winner’s enclosure. His two rides were beaten in a photo finish. But the kid, who has outridden his claim with 150 winners, is as keen as ever.

“I took a year off and went up to the Cape working with machinery and stuff.

“I came home at Christmas and a few months ago felt the urge to go back riding as a bit of work to keep fit.

“And I suppose if just went from there,” said Braydn.

He intends to gradually reach a level of fitness and a riding weight that suits.

Currently he won’t take rides under 59kg but expects to shed a few more kilos in the coming weeks and be firing on all four by carnival time.

His return to race riding couldn’t come at a better time. There is a dearth of jockeys all over the State (except of course the south-east corner). Several horses had to be withdrawn through lack of riders at a recent Mt Isa meeting and in more recent times the apprentices from Brisbane that Townsville relies upon, have been scarce because of a big hike in air fares. Really it is a problem Racing Queensland should act on.

They fly judges and other officials to TAB race meetings to perform tasks previously undertaken by club committee members or competent locals but do nothing about ensuring there are sufficient jockeys. The apprentice scheme, according to a very reliable, source is in a state of upheaval, but that’s no real surprise – and another story.

And it is not the only department in disarray. Do you know last week owners of horses that were engaged in races that were abandoned by stewards after the heavy rain at Cluden on May 18 were invoiced by RQ for $193 – a non-starter’s fee.

True!  The mistake was rectified next day.


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