Jenny - Clean

IN his popular column, ‘SILKS & SADDLES,’ published by the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, respected racing writer TERRY BUTTS reports on the continuing sad saga of Steve Hogno and the injustice he continues to cop from the courts and the racing authorities in Queensland. He is now bound for a High Court challenge to his appeal decision.

Butts has an update on the closed ring saga in North Queensland that is causing much controversy, the story of a young bookmaker who wants to field but can’t get a fair go and has a nice piece on the new kid on the block in the north’s riding ranks.

Here is the Butts column:


IN his popular column, ‘SILKS & SADDLES,’ published by the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, respected racing writer TERRY BUTTS reports on the last chapter in the battle by Steve Hogno and his partner Debbie Lee to get some justice from racing in Queensland.

But they were delivered the final knockout blow by a panel of judges and now face the prospect of bankruptcy. All Hogno did wrong was run an unregistered horse at a ‘fun’ meeting that the court recognized as being registered which had the approval of the Queensland Government and the Police Commissioner.

Here is the Butts column:


AT the outset I want to tell you that I don’t know Steve Hogno from Adam. I have never met the man and have no association whatsoever except over the telephone.

But Steve Hogno will go down in my estimation as the victim of one of the most unbelievable, if not outrageous acts, ever perpetrated against a racing person.

Talk about a miscarriage of justice. This takes the cake.

In short, 15 years ago Steve Hogno, then a Toowoomba studmaster with no requirement to hold  a license under Queensland Racing rules, took a horse to a combined sports meeting at Kooralbyn.

He maintains that it was a publicized event with a permit issued by the Government Office of Racing duly and signed by the Police Commissioner.

Three months later Hogno was summonsed to appear before Queensland Racing stewards for participating in an unregistered race meeting whilst being a part-owner of a registered racehorse.

He was given a life disqualification. Yes, warned off racecourses worldwide for life because he was a part owner of a registered race horse. And for attending the fun day at Kooralbyn with a quarter horse that he owned and educated.



BUT the story gets worse.

Because he was dealing with, and relying on licensed people at his stud and spelling farm, Hogno says he and his partner, Debbie Lee, were forced to sell up.

Disqualified persons cannot have a registered horse under their care or control. It was part of the penalty.

Incensed by the stewards’ ruling, Hogno decided to by-pass the normal racing channel of appeal and went straight to the Supreme Court where three learned judges found that the action by Queensland Racing had been unlawful.

Importantly, they also found that the meeting WAS registered by the Queensland Government.

So then Hogno decided to sue Queensland Racing for the expenses that he had incurred.

It took 14 years to get to court.

And on October 9 last year Judge Glenn Martin overturned the unanimous Appeals Court decision made 14 years earlier and ordered costs against Hogno.

A demand for $340,000 by Queensland Racing was promptly delivered.

Hogno, devastated by the ruling, appealed.



LAST week Steve Hogno lost again and was ordered to pay costs, which he says he simply doesn’t have.

Your columnist is a firm believer in that old adage: ‘Do the crime, do the time.’

But, what crime did this bloke commit?

What ‘heinous’ offence against racing did he commit that has made his life for the past 15 years almost unbearable – and is forcing him into bankruptcy?

What rule or law did Hogno break that deserved a penalty of this magnitude?

Unless someone can tell me different Steve Hogno’s crime was to simply take his quarter horse to a meeting for a bit of fun...

And as he didn’t hold a QR license he had reason to believe he was quite within his rights to do so – which is precisely how the first appeal judges found it.

Actually it should also be  noted that at the two previous  court cases the respective judges found that meeting at Kooralbyn was in fact a ‘registered’ event, conducted under the seal of the Queensland Government and with a permit issued  by the Police Commissioner of the time, who just now happens to be the new head of  integrity at RQ,  Jim O’Sullivan.

But last week the judges ruled that in fact it was an ‘unregistered’ event.

And because Hogno was a part-owner of a registered racehorse he was bound by the Rules of Racing that prohibited him from participating in an unregistered race meeting.

Hogno says if that ruling had been delivered initially, he would have had to accept it and ‘get on with life.’

“Instead it has been 15 years of costs, anxiety and now the insult of being ordered to pay the costs of Queensland Racing which will plunge me into bankruptcy at 60 years of age.”

Incidentally, one of the judges on last week’s panel just happens to be the one appointed to head up the latest Commission of Inquiry into the racing industry in Queensland.



CLUDEN-based Bill Kenning nabbed his first major win as a trainer last Saturday when two-year-old McConachy, named after a Townsville Grammar boarding house, staged an upset win in the $100,000 Mike Carney Great Northern.

McConachy is owned  by a syndicate that includes old Grammar school mates headed by Dean Kiernan, now based in south-east Queensland where he looks after the breeding  interests of his father, Ross, who raced the brilliant Jet Spur.

The Kenning –Keirnan association goes back for more than 20 years but Saturday’s was easily their greatest of a long list of race day achievements.

Bill rode successfully for Dean’s grandfather and then for his dad when the team was trained at Cloncurry by Julie Bell, the long-time partner of Kenning.

Julie, as vibrant as ever, was there on Saturday as the strapper, decked out in the ‘all purple’ colors of the stable and raucous leader of the cheering squad.

Yet, in spite of McConachy’s  record of seven starts for four placings, including two wins in lead-up races, he was unwanted by bookies – and jockeys.

Mark Elliott was a last minute engagement when Frankie Edwards, who had ridden the horse in six of his starts elected to ride the Roy Chillemi-trained Dazzle On which finished midfield.

But the trainer didn’t lose confidence. He found excuses for the gelding’s two previous defeats and couldn’t see him ‘missing a hole’ on Saturday.

McConachy was actually the stable’s second string candidate for the race once known as the Parry Nissan. The stable star baby, Hotel Paradiso, went shin sore and was home in the  box when McConachy brilliantly took honors in the north’s richest two-year-old event.



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



IN his popular column, ‘SILKS & SADDLES,’ published by the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, respected racing writer TERRY BUTTS pays tribute to a legend of outback racing, widely-known bookmaker Ron Murphy, whose death has saddened the industry in Queensland.

Murphy, who plied his trade on tracks throughout the state, laid claim to being the oldest working bookmaker on the planet but never quite made it into the Guinness Book of Records.

Butts also reports on developments in the ‘closed betting ring’ fiasco in country Queensland; the return north of  controversial galloper that has been in the news in NSW for all the wrong reasons; and also the comeback of a pioneering lady jockey of the north.

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