HIGH profile QUEENSLAND racing identity JUSTIN DOYLE sent this interesting email:

WHILST plenty of racing enthusiasts will be writing to LGHR regarding the disgraceful Point of Consumption Tax decision be aware that another important issue is being overshadowed by it.

And that’s just how Racing Queensland wants it to play out.

All TAB clubs were sent their new Club License Agreement on September 20th along with a letter demanding the signed document be returned before September 28th along with the following veiled threat:

"Please note incomplete or late Agreements may impede your Club’s eligibility to conduct race meetings.” (Mary Collier, did you really sign this?)

At this stage I believe many clubs have so far refused to sign the new agreement given that it commits many clubs to another year of financial failure. It is also noteworthy that the new licensing agreement has blown out from what used to be a simple 5-6 page document to a 40 page document with some rather interesting clauses.

The one regarding conflicting sponsorships is especially worrying as XXXX sponsor many regional clubs in different capacities but if RQ sign with Carlton any club with a XXXX deal would have to relinquish it. In the BRC’s case the opposite applies as they presently have a Carton sponsorship.

As a former Chairman of the Rockhampton Jockey Club I know that the funding offered to them will see a $250,000 loss as a probable outcome for the financial year given their expenses to professionally provide race day product to RQ. That is not to mention their training centre operation with 120 stables on course, an equine pool, training track, walkers etc.

How another northern provincial club without any training facilities running a similar amount of race meetings can be offered more funding than the RJC bemuses and angers me. Nonetheless in my estimation that club like every other TAB club have not been offered anywhere near enough funding to provide product to achieve a break even financial result.

Hence this makes the POC decision by Government all the more distressing for the clubs along with ALL racing participants.

The RQ Board and new CEO’s failure to deliver the industry a positive outcome on this vital issue is seemingly just another failure without consequence for both parties.

Given that failure, it is time that a united industry pushed hard for a complete structural reform of racing in Queensland. In total there are approximately 42,000 racing participants in Queensland with about half located in regional areas across the State.

Industry leaders must unite these voices so that both political parties understand that the industry is in dire need of assistance immediately and that our votes and the votes of our friends and families will go elsewhere if they cannot provide same.

I note Rob Heathcote’s call to arms regarding the POC announcement and his statement that he will be in the forefront of the fight but I reiterate that the fight requires a united industry fighting for a whole of industry solution not just a South East Queensland solution. Rob would make an excellent part of any leadership group to achieve change but regional representation is a must.

At present in Queensland racing participants are experiencing a host of failures and disappointments such as the Eagle Farm debacle, poor owner returns, ownership leakage to NSW & Victoria, underpaid jockeys with almost the worst deal in the country, underfunded clubs struggling to survive and by far and away the worst funding deal with UBET where only 60% of revenue is returned to the industry compared with 80% in Victoria. Now the so-called savior in the POC has eluded the industry.

It is time for all to act!



ANYONE who has followed the fluctuating fortunes of the three codes of racing in Queensland over the years would concede that the last thing needed is more millions spent on infrastructure.

The last thing the industry needed to hear in the wake of the Point of Consumption Tax windfall is that not one cent will be allocated to prizemoney increases – something that is needed most to, at least, try and keep in touch with the southern States.

It would seem to an uninformed observer almost half of the $70 million raised by the POC in its first year will be reinvested in projects other than from where it came – the horse racing industry.

In a Media Release last Saturday, Treasurer Jackie Trad said POC revenue would be used to provide significant funding boosts that benefited communities across the State. Considering the plight of the industry in Queensland one would have hoped the entire amount – in the first year – would have been ploughed back into racing alone, especially prizemoney.

The Treasurer explained what someone with racing knowledge must have told her: “Until now, large wagering companies paid tax where their headquarters are located, rather than where bets are placed. Thanks to our changes, the money people bet in Queensland will come back to Queensland and will be reinvested in Queensland.”

Trad said Racing Queensland would receive a $20 million grant this financial year to be used on two new racing facilities, as well as additional financial support to ensure there was no negative impact on the State’s racing industry.

The mail is strong that the new racing facilities will be harness and greyhound – hopefully there will be some finality to the on-going Albion Park saga. But most agree that neither of the minor codes needs major infrastructure with the crowds that these attract, especially the ‘red hots’.

The POC, which became law on Monday, means that all bets on Queensland events will be taxed at 15 per cent. The industry had been hoping that the $70 million raised in the first year would result in payouts, similar to NSW and Victoria, which have been used for prizemoney increases.​

Sadly the Government has been badly advised again with tens of millions to be spent on facilities for the minor codes rather than prizemoney for the one that keeps them going – the gallops – meaning that racing a horse in Queensland will continue to be less attractive to owners, many of whom will continue to move their investments interstate.

To make matters worse LGHR has learnt confidentially that the corporate bookmakers are planning to react to the POC Tax by boycotting betting on racing in Queensland to such a degree that the industry will face catastrophic turnover retaliation from punters.



STIRLING Hincliffe, riding on the coat-tails of the Treasurer’s announcement, showed – in the eyes of many – why he is just the latest in a long list of arguably useless Racing Ministers in Queensland.

Hinchliffe said a ‘significant portion’ of the $70 million raised in the first year of Point of Consumption Tax revenue, would go to the racing industry, including new greyhound and harness racing facilities.

Contributors to the Wednesday Whinge have questioned whether Hinchliffe cannot do the figures or simply doesn’t know what he is talking about – highlighting that of the $70 million there had been $20 million allocated to new harness and greyhound facilities and almost $18 million more would be used to forgive a debt owed to the Government by Racing Queensland.

Treasurer Trad in her POC announcement said: “As part of this package we will also forgive $17.8 million of debt owed to the Government by Racing Queensland, putting them in a better financial position to keep growing this important industry.”

That prompted this response from one of our WHINGERS: “Talk about the Government putting Racing Queensland in a better financial position to keep growing the industry, they have to be kidding!

“Trad is singing from the same hymn book as the less-than-impressive RQ Chairman Steve Wilson who claims the economic contribution of racing is significant at $1.2 billion a year (which most would agree with) yet RQ has recorded a consolidated loss of $3.2 for the last financial year (said to be a major turnaround on the massive deficit from 2016).

“Wilson is quoted as saying: ‘There has been a big turnaround versus the financial year ended 2016 going from a parent company loss in that year of $19.9 million to one of $1.2 million this past year, while increasing payments to participants by $10.8 million.’

“Why then does the industry appear to be going backwards. Prizemoney might have been increased but Queensland is dropping further behind the major states. We don’t need more infrastructure at the trots which is being made look second rate by the dogs. And let’s not talk about the Eagle Farm track redevelopment or integrity at the gallops or the red hots which in the eyes of many punters is a standing joke.”



GREG BLANCHARD makes some interesting points about the lack of jockeys for bush venues in QUEENSLAND:

‘LAST Saturday at Julia Creek nine horses were scratched due to no available riders.

This is a big problem especially in the north west of the State. Its a common thing not to have enough riders.

About four years ago a young Korean boy, Alex Shin, who is like a son to me, was asked by RQ training to be a track rider for Grant Wiles in Julia Creek so he paid his own way and went.

After the stint there he went to Tony Sears in Toowoomba. Eventually after allocated jump-outs and given the OK by stewards and RQ training he was ready for barrier trials, only to be told he couldn’t get a licence because he didn’t have the right Visa.

So here we had a young guy’s dream shattered not to mention money lost to RQ for training.

I helped Alex to get to New Zealand where he is now an apprentice jockey and rode another winner last Saturday.

My point is that riders from overseas like Alex and a Japanese rider, Kozzi Asano, who I also helped to get to NZ, could of fill the void here.

Queensland used used to be the place where many Asian jockeys got their start – Nozi Tomizawa and Kenji Yoshida and many more.

Sadly it's the last place they want to come now. We used to have Hong Kong apprentices who are now lost to South Australia.

Racing Queensland lost Korean horse schools due to a Visa stuff-up a few years ago.

I have been told things will happen. Well it must, otherwise others will take the initiative like New Zealand did.’





MANY astute judges recognized long ago that BEN MELHAM was one of the best kept riding secrets in this country.

Melham landed his 16th Group 1 winner on Sunday when Holmesman burst into Caulfield Cup calculations with a win in the Underwood Stakes.

MICHAEL LYNCH reported for FAIRFAX MEDIA: As weekends go, they don't get much better as far as jockey Ben Melham is concerned.

The Melbourne-based rider landed a Group race double at Moonee Valley on Friday night when he scored on I Am A Star and The Taj Mahal for Shane Nichols and Team Williams respectively.

He then landed the Group 2 Premiere Stakes in Sydney aboard Santa Ana Lane for Anthony Freedman, who staked his claim for Everest glory in great style with a slashing late win at Randwick on Saturday.

And on Sunday, Melham's red-hot streak of form continued at Caulfield when he landed the Group One Underwood Stakes aboard Homesman, once again in the navy blue with white armbands and cap silks synonymous with the Williams operation.

It comes as something of a surprise to discover this was his first Group One winner for Williams, who has been one of his regular supporters in recent years in circumstances which, Melham admits, are not always easy for a jockey who is not attached to one of the training superpowers.

“It's hard at the minute if you haven't got a big stable behind you. You just have to pick the edges. Lloyd is a great supporter and help in a lot of these weight-for-age races. If you are not riding for a Weiry (Darren Weir) or a (David) Hayes you have to really work hard to pick the edges, to find some horses to take you places.”

For Melham it’s a question of quality over quantity, but the jockey almost pulled off the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups double for Team Williams aboard Johannes Vermeer last year when he ran third in the former and second in the latter, and he hopes Homesman might atone for those narrow misses this year.



CHAMPION trainer Chris Waller might have had eight runners but it was the might of Goldolphin, James Cummings and the old stager Hartnell that proved his nemesis in Saturday’s Epsom Handicap at Randwick.

As CHRIS ROOTS reported for FAIRFAX MEDIA: HARTNELL was back to the horse that was  a worthy rival for champion Winx as he proved too strong the next generation from the Chris Waller stable to take the Epsom Handicap.

The Godolphin import had won an Orr Stakes, Turnbull Stakes and Tancred Stakes but, if not for Winx, he would have a much greater Group 1 haul. He ran second to her three times.

The eight-year-old capped a remarkable career with a track record-breaking win as he lumped top weight in the Epsom – not bad for a two-mile winner at Royal Ascot before he came to Australia.

Hartnell ($20)  ran down a horse champion trainer Chris Waller had beaten the handicapper with in D’argento ($4.40 eq fav) to take the Randwick spring mile. Waller also had third and fourth in Unforgotten ($4.40 eq fav) and Shillilagh.

“I just really can’t believe it, but you know you have belief in your horse, and he’s a super horse Hartnell,” trainer James Cummings said. “He had 57kg, he’s just dropped in the ratings a few points. I had a good chat to Greg Carpenter only a couple of weeks ago and he reminded me these horses are tough, they’re trying to be lured into running in these big handicaps.

“We probably had two horses in the stable that could have won this Epsom, but there’s no more popular winner than Hartnell, that’s been a huge effort by the team.”

While the Godolphin team celebrated, it was Hugh Bowman that had been the last piece of the puzzle with masterful ride coming from back in the field and letting Hartnell roll through his gears.

Hartnell wore down D’argento to win by half head with Unforgotten, which got a long way out of her ground, finishing hard for third three-quarters of a length away.

It was Bowman’s first Group 1 in the Godolphin blue and he admitted that it was big moment in his career. “I don’t get many chances in these colours, and to get a group 1 is something unbelievable,” Bowman said. “It is something I will cherish.

The numbers game came to the fore for Waller in The Metropolitan when one of his eight was successful.

As CHRIS ROOTS reported for FAIRFAX: JAN Smith held The Metropolitan trophy and shed a tear for her late husband. It was hard to blame her after the horse named in his honor, Patrick Erin, had delivered on his mission in Australia.

Patrick Erin is throwback to days gone by – a tough New Zealand stayer. He is owned by people who love their racing but never imagined having a Metropolitan winner and maybe a Melbourne Cup runner.

But there was sadness here.

“Patrick died four months ago and we sent this horse over here earlier in the year hoping he could win a race,” Smith said. “He ran (sixth) in the Sydney Cup  and went really well but to win a race like this – Patrick would be proud.




IT came as little surprise to most that connections pulled the pin on a start in The Everest with Nature Strip after his flop in the G1 Moir Stakes at the Valley last Friday night.

In the eyes of many the jury has remained out on the true talents of the brilliant speedster and his fading sixth failed to enhance an already questionable reputation.

Viddora stole the show and demanded a slot in The Everest with her Moir win but it seems that the decision makers are more interested in lesser lights or a berth for Godolphin in the over-hyped and absurdly staked $13 million race.

As CHRIS ROOTS so rightly wrote for FAIRFAX MEDIA:

THE lure of   Godolphin's international brand is set to override commonsense for the Australian Turf Club, with Home Of The Brave set to edge out Moir Stakes winner Viddora for the final available slot in The Everest.



MOST punters would agree with the assertion of top turf scribe MAX PRESNELL in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD that jockeys should make their own luck and that ‘riding for luck’ is a nonsense.

Here’s what he wrote:

KERRIN McEvoy was a prime example of luck having little relevance in the turf’s heat of battle as Royal Randwick experienced wind-blown, record-breaking conditions on Saturday.

Luck is defined as success or failure brought about by chance rather than one’s own actions.

McEvoy had none of the aforementioned on Miss Fabulass, the hot favorite in the Group 1 Flight Stakes, and Brimham Rocks, his mount in the Group 1 Metropolitan, which should have scored.

If top jockeys get beaten on horses that should have triumphed, luck – in the main – doesn’t come into it. “Riding for luck”, bandied around constantly, is nonsense. Jockeys should make their own. Mistakes should be defined as a bad ride as accolades should be acknowledged for their brilliance. Admittedly circumstances can play a role.

When Miss Fabulass won the Tea Rose (1400m) two starts ago the touch of McEvoy was dominant on a filly of potential but still learning, inclined to tug, fight the bit; a situation that confronted the navigator on Saturday over the longer 1600 metres.

McEvoy had no option to take off wide around the 600m mark or clip the heels of those in front and possibly come down.

In a remarkable display of raw talent, Miss Fabulass was beaten in fourth place by only 0.3 of a length: tick for circumstances.

Yes, McEvoy did give Brimham Rocks, the Chris Waller stayer, a perfect ride before his short-half-head defeat to Patrick Erin, adding to the trainer’s already world record of stablemates beating better-fancied candidates.

Alas, the jockey declared a kilo overweight on the runner-up. Weights and measures students will tell you a kilo equates to a half-length, particularly in staying events.

On the subject of overweights regarding a Doncaster engagement, Gai Waterhouse on Saturday decreed: “I had jockeys tell me they could ride him at 51 [kilograms] but I am not giving away my advantage. He had 50kg and that’s what he will carry.”

McEvoy handled Brimham Rocks at 51kg and luck again crops up. But would I rather have the expertise of a fit, strong McEvoy or a dehydrated one, limp from wasting, or another hoop?

Ironically the Metrop was the only race of the nine-event program that didn’t produce a time record with winds reaching 44.5 km/h from the south and dropping to 33.6 and moving to the south-east.




AND on the subject of ‘lack of luck’, a couple of contributors to the WHINGE felt the ride of champion jockey DAMIEN OLIVER on the odds-on PRIZED ICON at Caulfield on Sunday was more in the ‘slaughter job’ category.

Here what one ‘sore loser’ had to say:

‘Now before his legion of fans start tell us that Olly was a victim of circumstances from a bad alley on Prized Icon, let’s take a long hard look at the ride.

‘In the opinion of me and my mates it was an absolute slaughter job. Sure we are talking through our pockets but after several close looks at the replay we are sure he could have slotted in rather than sit three wide the trip.

‘It is nearly two years since the horse had won but this was his race and his form this campaign was good enough to beat this mob. Instead he was given a sore back and sadly for Prized Icon he will have to wait for another dad for that elusive win which might never come.’     



IF the response of a few punters is any gauge the win by Native Soldier in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude was a far from popular one.

As one contributor to the WHINGE wrote: ‘Anyone who backed Native Soldier when it ran fifth to Encryption in the Danehill was entitled to believe this was a form reversal win.

‘I realize that the horse pulled up lame but he came out and led again from a worse alley over a longer trip and never looked like stropping. Darren Weir can certainly turn their form around in the space of a fortnight.

“This was more like the form he showed in the McNeil at Caulfield but talk about inconsistency. He was $3.3 favorite when he went like a busted in the Danehill and got out to $9 on Sunday.’

The stewards obviously accepted that lameness was the issue at Native Soldier’s previous start as his improvement didn’t even rate a mention in their report – might I suggest like a lot of other form reversals from the Weir stable? 



TRAINERS and jockeys riding at Cluden in Townsville are unanimous in their view that the placement of the false rail since the Winter Carnival has been farcical.

‘What is the need for it to be out so far,” one trainer asked? “We can’t get any sense out of those responsible so we thought a bit of adverse publicity about this ridiculous situation might rattle a few cages.

“It would never have been allowed to happen under the previous administration headed by Kevin O’Keefe and when we had some real stewards running the show such a placement would never have been allowed to happen.

“The way the rail is now if you have a backmarker in a race where the pace is slow it is impossible to win. In other words not every horse in a race is being given its chance to win. Wonder if the Chief Steward realizes that is a breach of the rules that jockeys and trainers face if one gets beaten.” 


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