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..

THERE were some especially interesting e-mails this week ranging from a positive reaction to the news that responsibility for timing of races throughout the country will eventually be taken from SKY Channel to concern at speculation that yet another major betting agency in Australia is set to be bought out by a big European corporate. Integrity is very much in the news again and has provoked plenty of positive and negative comment.

As usual we start the Wednesday Whinge with our popular feature: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY SIDE OF RACING over the past week:




IT’S been a long time coming but the wait will be worth it when the programming of race times is finally taking out of the control of SKY Channel.

For too long some dill sitting in an office at French’s Forest in Sydney has played God to racing jurisdictions and clubs on the timing of races.

At last an official has arrived on the scene with the balls to remove the important role from the hands of SKY who design it to suit their own programming when after all the control of major race broadcasting now thankfully rests with TVN.

New Racing Victoria chairman Rob Roulston has described as ‘very important’ the ability of the racing industry to take control of the racing ‘clock’.

Roulston said wresting control of the clock, currently the domain of SKY Channel in programming race starting times, would come down to commercial negotiation over the next six to 12 months.

“We will endeavor to do everything we can to get control of the clock,” Roulston said.

“One of the problems we have at the moment is that you walk into a TAB and on SKY1 there will be a Flemington race and one minute later you are looking at a race from Dapto Dogs.

“From a wagering perspective we would like to have some lead in time to that race and some time post race.

“Now we have the media rights aggregated this is something that is going to be part of the negotiating process.”

RV CEO Bernard Saundry told ADRIAN DUNN of TVN that the existing agreement expires at the end of June.

Saundry said it was important to “get the footprint of racing right” and that extended beyond Victoria and NSW thoroughbred racing.

“The joint venture for us rewards thoroughbred racing and betting on all thoroughbred racing,” he said.

“There is two priorities in TVN – get the commercial model and the other is to get the clock right.”

Thoroughbred racing owns about 69 per cent of the market share; greyhound racing 20 per cent and the remainder is with the trots.



THERE is a strong tip doing the rounds that recently retired journalist and racing writer extraordinaire Peter Cameron will make a comeback to the media circus.

‘Paceway Pete’ Cameron is said to be in strong contention to front the TVN coverage of carnival racing in Queensland, no doubt a position his long-time mate Bruce Clark would be keen to see him fill.

A controversial character when he wrote for The Courier-Mail, The Sunday Mail and the Gold Coast Bulletin, Cameron often shot from the hip and took few prisoners in his widely read racing column ‘The Sting.’

An old style turf journo in the mould of his good mate Max Presnell from the Sydney Morning Herald, Cameron would have no trouble making the transition to television and TVN would be a good platform for his trademark toughness mixed with entertainment.

It’s an interesting scenario considering some of his old worm out racing media colleagues – more used to seeing their own face adorning the TV screens when it comes to racing – have now been relegated to retirement or trackside chats.



RACING Victoria Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, welcomed the news that Dr Denis Napthine would continue in his role as the state’s Minister for Racing and so did industry stake-holders.

Dr Napthine, who replaced Ted Baillieu as Premier of Victoria, announced that he would retain the racing portfolio in the new look Cabinet to guide the Coalition Government through its current term.

“We’re very pleased to hear that Denis has decided to balance his duties as Premier of the State with those as the Minister for Racing,” Saundry said.

It happened in the same week that Racing Victoria appointed a new Chairman in Rob Roulston who was keen to see the new Premier retain the Racing Ministry.

“He is a vet by profession and he knows and loves horses, he loves being at the races and he understands how the industry works, how it is both an industry and a sport,” Roulston said.

“He's been very good to us financially, helping us to develop infrastructure at big and small tracks throughout the state.”



GREG BLANCHARD was one of several who e-mailed applauding Racing Queensland and the Sunshine Coast TAFE over the formation of an Equine Academy.

One nark suggested ‘it helps to have the Racing Minister in your electorate’ but on a more positive note Greg wrote: “I think this is a step in the right direction and will help racing throughout Queensland into the future There will be certificate 11 and 111 in racing and the initial agreement is for three years.

“Anybody wanting to know more should check the RQ website. I am just a small punter who loves and sport and I, like others, give this the thumbs up.”

HERE is a Media Release on the Equine Academy:

SUNSHINE Coast TAFE has backed Queensland’s next generation of racing industry apprentices and trainees by forming a partnership with Racing Queensland to establish the state’s first premier horse racing academy.

The Queensland Racing and Equine Academy (QREA) will provide high quality training and mentoring for apprentice jockeys, as well as stablehands, strappers, trackwork riders and other industry workers.

Sunshine Coast TAFE – chosen by Racing Queensland as their preferred partner – will provide support for Certificate II and III courses in racing.

Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE Director of Client and Market Development Jenny Butler said the partnership was the first of its kind in Queensland.

“This unique partnership will deliver outstanding career pathways to hundreds of young hopefuls looking to make their mark in the state’s racing industry,” Ms Butler said.

“It will also ensure those already in the industry have the opportunity to improve their knowledge and have their current skills recognised with accredited qualifications.

“By combining Sunshine Coast TAFE’s expertise in training delivery with Racing Queensland’s peerless understanding of the industry, the QREA will be the number one choice for training within the sector.”

Based at Brisbane’s Deagon racecourse, the QREA could see up to 200 students from across the state enrolled in the coming year, with the majority expected to be school-based trainees.

Racing Queensland Acting CEO Adam Carter said the partnership with Sunshine Coast TAFE would ensure they could provide training that was compliant with industry regulations.

“Sunshine Coast TAFE is one of the leading providers of training and vocational education in Queensland,” Mr Carter said.

“Through this partnership we expect to be able to further expand our training programs across the state.

“The initial agreement is for the next three years, during which we expect to and identify further opportunities with the promise of access to increased services in the future.”

Mr Carter said students would continue to be taught practical and theoretical components by the current RQL training team - which will have additional resources added shortly to ensure they enable and assist industry stakeholders in an efficient and timely manner.

“The QREA will also provide general educational and promotional services to the wider community to ensure the racing and equine industry and its employees remain at the top of their field,” Mr Carter said.



THE wonderful tribute to one of the real characters of country racing in Queensland that was written by Terry Butts in his Silks & Saddles column provoked an emotional response.

Rex Robinson, who died recently on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, will best be remembered as the ‘man in the sugar bag suit.’

Stories about him are legendary, as are many of his punting exploits involving some of the biggest plunges landed in country Queensland.

As one e-mailer wrote: “It was a fitting tribute to a real racing character who I was fortunate enough to get to know. They broke the mould when they made Rexo.”




THE mail is strong that the new Boards to control the three codes of racing in Queensland will be announced on Tuesday, April 2.

Grease lightning stuff this – it has only taken the new Government a year and some of the racing narks are suggesting it would be more fitting if April Fools’ Day had been chosen instead.

This website continues to receive e-mails each week expressing concerns that the best credentialed people won’t be on these Boards – especially the powerful Industry All Codes body.

It won’t make one iota of difference what you write in e-mails or what we say about the process, if the right appointees aren’t there the major sufferer will be the industry in Queensland.

We have said all along that we have the utmost confidence in the three gentlemen appointed to independently produce a short list from those nominated. If there is political interference in the process then it is up to one of them to speak out.

The only reason concerns are being expressed is because if you talk to anyone who knows anything about racing in Queensland they will tell you that Interim Chairman Kevin Dixon will get what he wants when it comes to Board appointments because of his political connections.

We have all heard about his supposed close ties with Tim Nicholls and how the Treasurer allegedly runs the racing portfolio and the Minister Steve Dickson by remote control. These suggestions – along with the belief that the Independent Panel will do what the Government wants – are not only unbelievable but insulting to those concerned.

It would be easy to clear the air with the industry and the racing public – simply produce the short list that the panel had to choose from when the final appointments are announced. Then there can be no misunderstandings.

But while you have ‘mates of mates’ declaring that Kevin Dixon and his ‘chosen ones’ will run racing in this state it is going to be a political bun fight whether he is the right man for the job or not. We are certainly not suggesting he isn’t despite his inability to accept constructive criticism from websites like ours, but we do believe that there should be some independence on the Board and a country voice as well.

While you have candidates with impeccable qualifications reportedly being told they are no chance of selection because they are allegedly off-side with Mr Dixon or are friends of people that he supposedly does not like for one reason or another there is always going to be bad blood.

Industry sources tell of one good candidate being told he was ‘a million to one’ of selection because he disagreed on an inter-club issue involving the Brisbane Race Club.

They tell of another country candidate with excellent credentials being told that he would be too ‘argumentative or disruptive’ and that in any case his friends included the wrong people in the media, including this website.

We have heard industry stories of a high profile racing identity declaring he is a ‘shoe-in’ for a minor code chairmanship because he is ‘on side’ with the right people. That has not gone over well in the north where the one minor code is claiming he has said the first thing he will do is close the sport down at a particular venue.

Then you had the situation where Terry Butts from the North Queensland Register and this website reported contacting a senior advisor to the Racing Minister to express concerns about the selection process and learnt within a half hour that his confidential conversation had somehow been relayed to the Interim chairman.

All the above are not good enough and the reasons racing in Queensland continues to be in a political log-jam. Unless there is someone independent prepared to disagree when needed with Kevin Dixon and his mates on any Board – be it All Codes or Racing – then the climate will not improve and nor will the industry, which will once again get bogged down in politics, jealousies and claims of conflicts of interest.        



ONE has to question why have a club doctor if he can be over-ruled by stewards as was evidenced when jockey Jim Byrne sought a second opinion and was subsequently allowed by stewards to ride at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Full marks to Byrne for his determination but if what the club doctor rules isn’t final, then why ask him? One wonders how he felt about the over-rule which must have been a major embarrassment.

Here’s how NATHAN EXELBY reported the incident in THE SUNDAY MAIL:

AFTER initially being ruled out for the day, Jim Byrne jumped into the car and took matters into his own hands at the Gold Coast yesterday and he was rewarded with a long-priced win on Frisco Lights.

"On Friday I pinched a nerve in the lower part of my back and strained a muscle, so I didn't ride for the rest of the day," he said.

"I took some painkillers and I was feeling fine. When I went for the medical clearance here (on track) the doctor really gave me a good squeeze and it naturally hurt and he stood me down.

"I wasn't prepared to accept that so I drove off to the hospital and sought a second opinion."

Byrne returned to the track with a clearance and stewards allowed him to ride.

THE Gold Coast stewards report on the incident read:

As a result of J. Byrne being unable to fulfil his commitments at Ipswich on 15 March 2013 due to back soreness, he was advised by stewards he would be required to be examined by the Club's Doctor on arrival at today's meeting and be cleared in order to fulfil his rides. The Club's Doctor after examining J. Byrne reported to stewards that in his opinion J. Byrne was still suffering from lower back soreness and would not be fit to fulfil his riding engagements today. J. Byrne disagreed with this assessment and made submissions to seek a second opinion from a medical practitioner away from the racecourse. Stewards acceded to this request and J. Byrne subsequently obtained a medical clearance from Pindara Hospital and was permitted to fulfil his riding engagements from Race 3. Due to the delay in J. Byrne obtaining the medical clearance he was replaced in Races 1 and 2 as per the Stewards Race Day Summary.



IF the mail is right that Ladbrokes have made an amazing $500 million-plus offer for TOMWATERHOUSE.COM yet another major betting agency in Australia will soon be in overseas hands.

Ladbrokes, who last year paid hundreds of millions for Sportingbet, will join English-based Paddy Power, now the owners of sportsbet and IASbet.

Officials of racing in this country have plenty to answer for in allowing the British corporate invasion of our sports and race betting stocks to be so successful.

Billions of dollars will head off-shore when it should have been pumped into the local industry. When will racing in Australia answer the call and try to fight back by allowing a national TAB to at least become a competitive force with the corporate agenices?



‘WE received an e-mail from Anthony Burke, the Toowoomba businessman who parted company in controversial circumstances from the local Turf Club where he was formerly a director and a major sponsor. Here is what he wrote:

‘I just wanted to let the industry know that I have finally given up on racing in Queensland ever being able to compete with the southern states.

I have bought into my first horse in Victoria to be trained at Mornington.

For a total bill of $2,800 a month all-up with extras from vets and track fees and transport you can race a horse there for much more prizemoney and great training facilities.

Tracks like Toowoomba and the fees charged in Queensland for the low returns are the death knoll of the immediate future of racing here and it does not surprise me that the sales are pathetic to say the least.

Thanks for the good stories but alas the people in power have no way of competing with the southern states with the incentives trainers get down there.’



‘DON’T believe all the stories that the much criticized website,, was forced to close by racing authorities. It is still going strong, as controversial as ever and worth a visit by anyone interested in horse racing.

It would seem that the only thing officialdom was able to do was make some legal threats which resulted in the withdrawal from the site of a letter written to the Victorian Racing Minister Denis Napthine.

Whilst we don’t condone some of the attacks launched by websites like lucky88 and the racingbitch, there has to be freedom of speech in the racing media and they are entitled to their opinions.

Stances taken by sites like justracing and letsgohorseracing are ‘Cinderella stuff’ compared to the controversial approach against officialdom adopted by lucky88 and the racing bitch.

Perhaps Kevin Dixon and his merry band of supporters should thank their lucky stars that the websites they despise so much and pretend to ignore in Queensland aren’t in that league and do try at most times to be constructive rather than destructive.


Now here is the e-mail contributions in full that we have elected to publish this week with apologies to those who missed out:



‘I was no great fan of Bob Bentley and his forgettable Board but it hasn’t taken me long to realize that this new mob aren’t much different. They all play political games and have their favorites. It’s just a role reversal created by a change in Government.

But that’s not what my whinge is about. I believe that Bob Bentley and his Board are entitled to have their legal expenses covered in any action taken against them that carries over from the time that they ran racing in Queensland.

I read recently that Bentley had sold shares and there was some speculation that he would use the funds on legal fees for an ASIC investigation which I would imagine involves the ‘golden handshake’ paid to four RQ executives who resigned soon after the election.

No-one in the industry is happy with the big pay-day that these loyal servants of the Bentley Board received but by the same token if there is a challenge or political power-play by the new RQ Board or the LNP Government to retrieve those funds surely those who benefited should have to repay the money rather than those who permitted them to receive it.’ – Tony Watson, Sunshine Coast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s all about political points-scoring and no doubt will by used to gain major exposure in the mainstream media to deflect any controversy from new Board appointments. I know that ASIC is investigating certain aspects of the Bentley Board operation, not only concerning the circumstances surrounding the departure of some key staff. Here is what JAMES McCULLOUGH wrote in his popular financial column CITY BEAT in THE COURIER-MAIL:  

BOB Bentley, the man who used to rule Queensland's racing industry, has pocketed a bit of tidy cash ahead of Easter.

Bentley has just trousered a cool $151,000 after selling some of his shares in the soon-to-be Brisbane-based Tatts Group. That's certainly enough loot to buy a few decent easter eggs this year or maybe even pay his legal fees given an ASIC investigation swirling around him.

Racing Queensland Ltd had covered any legal bills which concerned Bentley during his time as RQL chairman. But the tap's been turned off, we understand, since he left the control body. Although we hear he still asked to be covered as ASIC continues a close look into how four former RQL staffers resigned and took away some nice amounts of money.

Bentley, a director of Tatts, held 160,000 ordinary Tatts shares and 300 Tatts bonds but offloaded 45,000 shares, handing him the $151,650 on paper.

The one time GPS 100 metre sprint champion sold the shares as speculation continued about the future of Queensland racing.

Tatts shares yesterday closed 10c down at $3.07, having reached the giddy heights of $3.42 last month. Bentley sold his stock for an average price of $3.37.



IN a genuine effort to ensure that I am not accused of being biased against any of the three eastern racing states I would like to express a few thoughts about recent happenings in each which make a mockery of our great industry.


I was recently made aware of a letter sent out by some character known as Dexter who reportedly operates a web site that was supposedly closed down by the authorities.

He claims to have ‘the ear’ of the Victorian Racing Minister and new Premier Denis Napthine.

My racing mates in Melbourne are reliably informed that Dexter and his brother (a well known identity in Victorian racing) run some kind of blog out of a sewerage plant in the suburban back-blocks.

According to Dexter the Racing Minister shares his concerns about the state of racing in Victoria. If you can believe Dexter, they are close ‘pen pals.’ One would like to hear Mr Napthine’s version of that association.

May I be bold enough to suggest that Dexter read, or has someone do it for him, the 2008 report on crooks in racing?

Apparently Dexter and his Bro got pissed off when someone close to them was subjected to attention from the Victorian stewards during a recent swabbing raid. How dare they?

It is amazing how individuals like this can carry out character assassinations in the style of Doodle Dexter.  DD claims to be the voice of the industry yet he doesn’t have the ‘ticker’ to identify himself and take responsibility for his actions.


I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald from the racing pen of the old master Max Presnell. He quoted some character who commented on the stewards’ walk-through of stables on Saturday mornings as ‘scaring the trainers’ to such an extent it stops them from ‘touching-up’ their runners.

Max, I am not certain which one of us has misread ‘the message’ old son.

If that is not what they call ‘taking the Mickey’ I will deprive myself of reading any other racing news for six months and just read your columns over and over 20 times a day.

I thought about the old dripping tap caper but I didn’t think that was bad enough.


SURELY there is no truth to the gossip drifting out of the ‘smoke stack’ at Deagon about a licensee that recently returned from an enforced holiday having another ‘positive’ that for some reason or another didn’t turn out to be a ‘positive.’

There may be a genuine reason for it as Racing Queensland appears to have adopted the Sydney-style Jehovah Witness Drug Supervision.

It’s the old story though when you have no integrity department to fall back on then you can’t count on the ‘bad boys’ in the industry having any integrity either.’ – Maurice Connor, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: INTERESTING e-mail Maurice. In relation to the alleged ‘positive’ in Brisbane I could even tell you the name of the trainer that is supposedly involved. There are so many stories emanating from what is allegedly happening behind the scenes in racing in Queensland that they would need three Integrity Departments to deal with the problems. But when you have none the industry will always be under a cloud and allegations of this outlandish nature will do the rounds.

As for Sydney we continually receive e-mails suggesting that the stewards’ report of a ‘walk through the stables that detected no offences under the Rules of Racing’ is ‘a meaningless piece of crap.’ Perhaps Ray Murrihy and his team believe that prevention is the best approach and if the trainers know that they are coming each week then runners will be clean when they race.

To enable everyone to judge the Victorian situation that you mentioned we have reproduced a report by ‘Dexter’ on the website relating to his correspondence with Racing Minister Denis Napthine. We don’t make a habit of delving into major issues involving other websites but because these e-mails have arrived, and it is such a contentious issue, we assume they won’t mind us running the following explanation from their blog:

Dear Punters

We have bitten our lip about our recent letter to Racing Minister Denis Napthine and the wash up which included the following Matt Stewart article (in the Melbourne Herald Sun).

Question to Matt (a recent subscriber to our site) “Why did you never contact us before writing your article? Isn’t that what professional journalists do? Don’t you think Mr Duffy’s retirement last week is uncomfortably close to his meeting a few days earlier with Mr Napthine and Perna to discuss the Damien Oliver enquiry?”

Firstly, we would like to thank you for all your emails in support of our letter.  It doesn’t go unnoticed and certainly provides us with ongoing validation. Why have we decided to remain silent? Largely because we are just a humble blog that doesn’t need the headache but I must say we have found it amusing that we made the papers. Why did we take the letter down off our website? See Lance Armstrong v The Times.

Anyway, we can back up our opinions with easily attainable facts that any journalist could find if they can spell ‘google’ or use a phone. We have sent the following letter to Mr Napthine in response to his recent letter to us:

Dear Premier Napthine,

We thank you for your response (letter dated 12th February 2013) and it was great to hear that you share a common concern for racing’s well-being. We were also pleased to see that Mr Duffy has retired as chairman of RVL last week. More importantly, back to our second issue with Mr Moody, we believe that this is just one example of where the judiciary (led by Judge Lewis) has been too sympathetic to racing’s participants. We believe that this has caused the stewards to lose their confidence as a conviction appears to be almost impossible to gain.

Here are some examples of cases over the last few years where the explanations are almost as comical as the penalties:

1.      17/05/11 – Peter Moody – Lethal Arrow positive for Elephant Juice (i.e. Oripovine) – excuse: “My feed must have been contaminated.” This suggests there was more than one horse exposed to Elephant Juice in Mr Moody’s stables unless they fed Lethal Arrow from his own personal feed bin or like the Damien Oliver excuse “I was just having my first $10,000 bet. Perhaps, if they all had the same feed then they all had Elephant Juice in their system? The stewards were aware there was only one other trainer using the same feed and he had 0 positive swabs. So how can one trainer’s feed be “contaminated” when the other trainers were not?

2.      Mark Riley – Diablo Rosso positive for Bi carb – excuse: “The reading was so high that it couldn’t have been done on purpose”.

3.      Troy Blacker – Dream Pedlar positive for Arsenic – excuse: He didn’t need one. The Hong Kong lab was the only one capable of testing for it. As you know the rules state you need another lab to confirm it before it is admissible but it’s sad we have to send it to Hong Kong to be told the horse was positive and the trainer still can’t get convicted.

4.      In recent times we notice the interstate trainers (usually caught before committing the crime) are getting tougher penalties than the local trainers (usually caught after committing the crime). Whilst we do tip our lid at Judge Lewis for getting a higher conviction rate and higher penalties there does appear to be some geographical inconsistencies. We also feel the penalties are still way too small.

Whilst it’s clear that the climate has changed from the events listed above in recent times and that Judge Lewis has put the foot down a bit more we feel it is important that we offer our own solution to racings issues from a racing perspective which can be used in addition to Mr Perna’s report. What we are trying to illustrate is:

1. The stewards must be deflated by their inability to get a conviction or adequate fine for drug use

2. The stewards have had to resort to the “Al Capone” method to get convictions for jockeys with suspect rides (i.e. Newitt/Nikolic cases)

3. The stewards are clearly not capable of delivering a case professionally. In their defense, they are not prosecutors and have no legal experience other than their continuous failures which must have created a culture of “we’re never going to win one of these.” See Richmond Football Club history 1983-2012.

Accordingly, we offer the following solutions to help racing:

1. Either replace Judge Lewis OR encourage him to be tougher – we are aware he has become much harder in his sentencing recently and do applaud it but think there’s still room to up the ante.

2. Have minimum penalties that are mandatory – $10,000 is not enough for treating a horse as you can win that back by treating a horse the following day – $100,000 is going to hurt OR rub them out for a minimum 6-12 months. Alternatively, have a three strikes policy similar to the one mentioned below for the jockeys.

3. Let the stewards police the safety of the rides only. That is what they are best at. We just don’t believe people who don’t bet see the “quiet” rides in races – it’s like asking a GP to perform heart surgery. It’s just not something they have been trained for.

4. Set up an independent tribunal (like the AFL) and make sure there are at least 2 professional punters/form analysts who are age 50 and over – they’ve seen it all and were around when jockey’s used to get rubbed out every week. With the rides we see today there should be suspensions every week but it appears the stewards have lost all confidence in getting a conviction and are still stuck in the Des Gleeson culture of either not seeing the suspect rides or not wanting to.

5. Set up a three strikes policy like they have in New York for criminals for jockeys that don’t ride a horse on its merits. 1 strike = 10 weeks, 2 strikes = 26 weeks, 3 strikes = life. In fact, if you made it 1 strike = life you’d solve the problem overnight.

6. Change the legislation so that there are no appeals to VCAT. We notice that footy players cop it on the chin and move on – why the lengthy and expensive appeal process for the racing industry?

We understand you are our new Premier and perhaps have bigger issues at play but given your recent letter to us we can see you are racing’s best chance at reshaping the industry before you change portfolios (if that is indeed a potential possibility). We are extremely proud of your efforts in saving jumps racing but because of your past successes we feel you are potentially the only person capable of helping racing whilst you still can as we are not usually big fans of politicians.

Sincerely, Dexter



THE following e-mail also relates to the above but we felt was worth running:

‘I HAVE endeavored to analyze the blog that operates under anonymity of an individual who reckons he has all the answers to racing’s woes.

‘Dexter’ has made some good observations worthy of further consideration. With the exception of one or two arguments he has put forward he is to be complimented on his letter.

If I may be allowed space on your web site I would like to cover one or two points made by Dexter. As my views are NOT along the lines of Dexter in part I do have some concern that this email would be filed in the waste paper basket.

First of all Dexter is living in the past. The good old days when a steward could give a licensee time under a gum tree have long gone.

Rule 8 of the ARR gives the stewards the necessary powers to carry out their duties - period.  In turn their rulings are subject to appeal to a standard that has gradually changed over the years.  It appears obvious that Judge Lewis does NOT agree with the old principal ‘on the grounds of probability.’

In the good old days the stewards attending an appeal hearing had a similar standard of proof to that which applied to a person who was charged with being in possession of suspected stolen goods.

(The onus of proof was on the defendant to prove that he had come by the property lawfully).

In a stewards’ appeal hearing quite often you would come across a comment from the presiding Judge which simply dismissed the appeal ‘but the decision was not necessarily one that he (the judge) would have arrived at. In other words the appellant had failed to prove the stewards were wrong.

I believe that instead of taking a ‘sledge hammer’ approach to the issues as Dexter has suggested reinstates the ‘onus of proof’ formulato offences which have incurred a two-year disqualification.

Under Dexter’s theory I would love to see a couple of old ex-bookies at an appeal saying ‘the horse was dead’ because we reckon he was. We had him going in the third leg of the treble.

It amazes me the number of ‘I know best experts’ that have come out of hibernation in the past couple of years since Bailey took over as Chief Steward.

One is entitled to ask the question “Are the critics being HURT by his activities in some way?”

Let us be constructive and analyze the situation as things were in the past and as they are at the present time.

From the turn of the century to 2008 many high profile licensees believed the Head of Integrity-come-Chief Steward in Victoria ‘walked on water’ and was considered a genius. (I do note that Dexter disagrees with this assessment).

From what I can glean, there were three highly skilled ex police officers that kept all the rubbish out of the industry.

There were two important issues at RVL in 2008: the Chief Steward resigned and an inquiry into racing in Victoria decided it was CORRUPT.

Along comes a new broom in Chief Steward Bailey and in the space of four years he has done more ‘cleaning up’ and copped more flack than any steward I can recall. 

Today we have all the so-called experts offering advice on what is wrong. Where were these critics six or eight years ago. I’ll bet I can answer that question - Running rorts and being involved in all the shady deals floating about a racecourse.

Their little ‘well’ has dried up so it is time for a few scalps.

Isn’t human nature a wonderful thing? - Percy Morris Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: So much has changed for the better in racing in Victoria since Terry Bailey was appointed Chief Steward. His approach is far different to his predecessors and there are some high profile licensees who didn’t handle it at all well at the start and are still struggling. But even sections of the racing media that struggled to accept his style now accept the need for it. Integrity is now an even bigger part of racing in Victoria than it has ever been and steps have been put in place to increase that presence even further – a lead that states like Queensland should do their industry a big favor and follow. The best thing any new Board of RQ could do is appoint a steward of Bailey’s ability and presence to give punters some desperately needed confidence in the north but the chances of that happening are next to zero which begs the question, why?        



‘IT just goes to show how sports promotional savvy the Victorians are compared to their cross border colleagues in New South Wales.

Can you imagine the Sydneysiders breaking into an NRL season-opener to show Black Caviar racing at a night meeting at Canterbury – not that it was every likely to occur?

Quite the opposite in Melbourne where racing and football are working together to ensure the sporting public gets the best possible coverage.

Full marks to the AFL and Racing Victorian for brokering the deal that will see live coverage of Black Caviar at her farewell performance in that state in the William Reid Stakes on Friday night which will be shown during the half time break in the AFL season-opener.

Some will argue you need the product to provide the promotion but Sydney racing is certainly falling far behind Melbourne when you look at last Saturday when only 3,500 attending a Group One meeting at Warwick Farm.’ – Jim Jacobs, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE’S how Sydney racing scribe CHRIS ROOTS reported on the news for the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

BLACK Caviar is the biggest show in town and will overshadow the start of the AFL season when she steps out looking for her 24th win in a row on Friday night.

The final night meeting of the season at Moonee Valley, featuring the William Reid Stakes, will be an all-ticket affair and a likely sellout with less than 5,000 tickets left available. Black Caviar's jockey Luke Nolen is taking it all in his stride.

"It has been like that for a while now," he said. "We all know that they come to see her and it's just great to be part of the show. You just have to enjoy it."

In the William Reid, Black Caviar will seek to join Kingston Town on an Australian record 14 group 1 victories. It was fittingly at Moonee Valley where Kingston Town won three Cox Plates. The world record for group 1 wins is 16, held jointly by English jumper Kauto Star and American fairytale of the 1980s John Henry.



WE received a brief but interesting e-mail concerning criticism of the primary meeting status secured by the Gold Coast last Saturday which read:

‘I’LL keep this short and sweet.

Comments from members of our esteemed Fourth Estate re the status of the Gold Coast Turf Club's race meeting last Saturday are predictable.

Talk about Groundhog Day – it felt like God was still writing for The Sunday Mail.

Now for the good news - Tattsbet turnover on the Gold Coast meeting was over $2,370,000 up 149 per cent on the previous year.

Read it and weep boys!’ – Jim Bourne, Gold Coast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I was one of those critical of the primary meeting status acquired by the Gold Coast for last Saturday Jim but my argument was directed at Magic Millions. The meeting was run to coincide with the QTIS sale and I believe that MM have too much say in the running and programming of race days at the Gold Coast. It was good to see that the hold was significant especially as the support meeting at Eagle Farm attracted a good crowd and I am sure the turnover there would have been acceptable as well. I guess those who don’t like travelling from Brisbane to the Gold Coast for Saturday racing had better get used to it as I read recently where there are plans to give the venue considerably more meetings once the new facilities are completed.  


‘I was interested to read that Rob Roulston, the new Chairman of Racing Victoria, highlighted integrity as one of the focal points in restoring the image of racing in his state.

But, being a Queensland racing participant of many decades, I was disappointed that the same attitude was not being adopted in my own state.

Even in NSW the authorities are aware of the importance of integrity to racing in this era where our sport has to battle for the gambling dollar.

Integrity has been a joke in racing in Queensland since the days of Fine Cotton. It was out of hand when Russ Hinze ruled with a Ministerial iron fist during that dark era of the Bjelke-Petersen Government.

It got out of hand again when Labor allowed the Bentley Board to rule the roost and he bought in too many non-achievers from the Public Service that turned the situation into a joke when many top stewards were shown the door.

Soon after the Jamie Orchard integrity era ended there appeared to be light at the end of the tunnel with the LNP Government promising to deliver what two Racing Inquiries had ordered – an Integrity Department removed from the shackles of the Racing Queensland Board.

But almost a year into their first term, the Campbell Newman Government has talked a lot but delivered little when it comes to racing. The promised independent Integrity Department appears to have been put on the back-burner. Surely we aren’t heading back to the Hinze days.

The new RV chairman says that not only will Victoria soon be the only state that has a full-time Integrity Surveillance Unit, but it also plans to establish a second one.

Meanwhile, those who rely on integrity in racing in Queensland, can only watch, wish and wonder why.

If the answers are in what is being rumored then there is no hope for racing in the north, especially if the current attitude of the Dixon Board is consolidated when he and his mates are appointed permanently to run the show.

And by the way surely the suggestions that when a Racing Commissioner is appointed he will be only part-time are incorrect? If one of the names being suggested as a possible appointee gets the job, the ‘skeletons in the closet’ crew will have a field day.’ – Andy Jarvis, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My thoughts on integrity – or lack of it – in Brisbane racing are well documented so I won’t repeat them. I can’t see Racing Queensland ever having a Surveillance Unit similar to that in Victoria. We all know there’s no need for one – there’s nothing that needs fixing in integrity in Queensland racing.

HERE’S a story by ADRIAN DUNN from TVN on the future plans for boosting integrity in Victorian racing:

FOR Racing Victoria's new chairman, Rob Roulston, the focus will be the three I's - integrity, infrastructure and international growth.

The bloodstock agent, who discovered current Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance de Lune for owner Gerry Ryan, has to get on with the job of restoring the rather battered image racing has in this state.

But he also has to help seed the ground for growth, which can help the sport see off the revenue challenges it faces from other forms of sports gambling and ensure a level playing field.

Roulston, who succeeds from Michael Duffy as chairman of the industry body, believes there are great opportunities through the co-mingling of Australian wagering pools with those in Asia and the US, and believes that extra cash generated from an untapped market could go a long way to funding development.

He points to the crackdown and a spate of stable raids, inquiries and convictions to suggest that ''significant progress has been made on a number of fronts'', although he concedes there can never be room for complacency.

''I am going to have a fairly long-term view in my chairmanship,'' he says.

''Integrity is obviously a key issue. People have to have faith and trust in the product otherwise they will not bet and, as we all know, wagering and gambling drives the revenue streams for this industry.

''Infrastructure is crucial, too, as we need to get the tracks and facilities right to encourage people to gamble. Tracks that play fair, ground that is consistent, not leader biased, not extremes of going. If punters see that the infrastructure is right, they will bet.''

Roulston says Victoria is the only state that has a full-time integrity surveillance unit and is going to establish a second team.

''Racing's image took a battering, and there's no doubt that Damien Oliver's betting case, the race-day treatments [of horses] during the spring carnival, didn't help,'' he says.

''But at the end of the day we were prosecuting those cases. And during that period turnover was very strong, even when that bad publicity was taking place and a number of issues were not holding the sport up in a good light. Public confidence and interest would still appear to be strong, which gives us confidence.''

Roulston believes Victorian racing is well poised to develop its international links with strong, established jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, and emerging markets through Asia, such as South Korea and eventually China, where there will be opportunities in the wagering, bloodstock and employment spheres.

''Growing our product internationally is a potential key driver of revenue and something I want to do. I want our racing to be seen in the US, particularly on the West Coast and in Asian markets.

''We have to develop our media strategy, particularly in digital platforms … there are tremendous opportunities. There have been some significant announcements in Hong Kong but they are still some way from becoming implemented.

''In the past we have not had our media rights aggregated, but TVN will now have the marketing opportunities to get the strategy right. Hong Kong has announced they are looking at limited co-mingling of pools and if it gets government approval, we believe we are the preferred outlet. That would bring a lot of international money into Australian racing, grow our pools and help us grow our prizemoney.'



‘WE received the following query after concerns were expressed in last week’s Wednesday Whinge by trainers that the field size at the new Toowoomba track would be limited and how Racing Queensland and the TTC were planning to off-set the problem.

Brad Ritchie wrote:

‘WITH the trainers wanting a wider track so more than 12 runners can be accommodated, is the field size limited on the cushion track to 12 currently or is it just reflecting the number of nominations/acceptances?

Just wondering because on all Saturdays in 2013, the maximum in any field was 12 and that was only achieved on a few occasions.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: As I am not interested in cushion track racing nor would I ever bet on a meeting on either at Toowoomba or Sunshine Coast I can’t really answer your query Brad. I asked a mate of mine who attends Clifford Park regularly and he thought some starting points accommodated 14 runners but wasn’t sure. I didn’t bother checking it out with the TTC as they have to ask the interim RQ Chairman if they are allowed to answer queries from this web site first.   



‘PERHAPS it’s because I’m a Melbournian but it gets right up my nose every time I see Jim Cassidy used in a promotional role by Racing NSW or the Sydney racing media singing his praises.

This all harks back to an article in The Age just prior to the spring carnival last year regarding the actions of two jockeys, Oliver and Cassidy. In my opinion this was timed to cause maximum embarrassment to RVL for their strong support in the past for the rival Herald-Sun.

Apart from the story in The Age, that was the total case RVL stewards had against Oliver. The same was the full brief available to NSW stewards against Cassidy.

Rightly or wrongly RVL took a different path to NSW in handling their problem.

RVL has finalized their matter and NSW does not appear to have even started the Cassidy case.

RVL Stewards were given an awful time, as you are well aware, over their handling of the Oliver case but not a word has been written in the Sydney or Melbourne media about Cassidy.

Instead Racing NSW in the past week has promoted Jim Cassidy as ‘their champion jockey’ at a carnival launch where he rubbed shoulders with all the high rollers.

Hypocrisy is a word that comes to mind.’ – Billy Augustus, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t know whatever happened to that inquiry involving Jim Cassidy but you are right in suggesting that the Sydney racing media have a love affair with the ‘Pumper.’ No one questions his ability as a jockey but he has ridden shotgun with controversy on several occasions during his illustrious career. And there he was back in the spotlight when photographed with Gai Waterhouse and Bruce McAvaney at the launch of the Sydney carnival.



‘THE only way that prizemoney can be increased for racing in Queensland is through a better TAB deal and that will undoubtedly rely on extra turnover on the local product.

And the only way that is going to happen is if the punters – especially the professionals – regain confidence in betting on the Queensland – more particularly – the Brisbane gallops product.

That isn’t going to happen in the current climate unless there is a major back-flip or change of attitude under a new Board which seems highly unlikely.

Every time there is a plunge winner from one of several stables the rumors go around about the lack of detection of performance enhancing drugs. Whether this is true or not the only way of silencing the speculation is to introduce an Integrity Surveillance Unit like Victoria.

It’s not a good look when Queensland trainers venture to Victoria and get caught tubing horses. It raises the question of whether the same is happening locally.

The time has come to forget about all these fancy new infrastructure projects that are going to cost the industry millions and for the Board or Government to start moving on the appointment of a Racing Integrity Commissioner and an independent Integrity Department to restore confidence in the industry.

Until that happens nothing can save racing in Queensland.’ – I am a professional punter who no longer bets on Brisbane racing but wishes to remain anonymous.         

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve heard all the stories about horses racing on performance enhancing drugs in Queensland but the fact remains that the drug detection procedures now being implemented in the north are said to be second to none.

HERE is another story written during the week by ADRIAN DUNN again about what is happening in Victoria. The new RQ Board could do a lot worse than adopting a blueprint of what is happening down there.

A WORKING party will meet for the first time on Friday to discuss a Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner recommendation for an independent body to take ownership of integrity across all three codes.

Racing Victoria CEO Bernard Saundry said RV had met with Racing Minister Dr Denis Napthine and the office of Racing about the recommendation – the only one of 11 raised that RV has not embraced.

But, Saundry said RV had agreed to participate in a working party with all the racing codes.

“We will share our views with that steering party in relation to the importance of the integration of the commercial and integrity functions that Racing Victoria has,” Saundry said.

“We will work the government and the office of Racing to find the right model.”

VRIC Sal Perna recommended in his Own Motion Into Race Fixing, released in late Januaryt, that the Racing Act of 1958 be amended to establish an independent body with responsibility for the integrity process and systems across the three codes and remove such responsibilities from the controlling bodies.

Perna noted that such a statutory body be conferred all powers and authorities of stewards and integrity staff, including powers to obtain information from non-licensed persons and to include the transfer of current integrity services staff and stewards and existing budgets to the newly formed body.


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the above e-mails should not be interpreted as those of JOHN LINGARD, the owner 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.


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