THE Queensland Summer Carnival moves into full swing at Doomben this Saturday but for many punters the highlight cannot be found among the 21 Black Type features with over $15 million in stakes or Australia’s richest race day, the Magic Millions in January.

It will be the much-awaited and long overdue return to racing at Eagle Farm on Saturday, December 22, after an unbelievably embarrassing absence of four years, discounting the failed comeback, all of which has made racing in Queensland a national joke.

They say that time heals all wounds and hopefully that applies to horse racing or the rebuilding of racetracks regardless of the cost (some who don’t support the sport or gambling have raised valid questions about how much better these taxpayer millions can have been spent on hospitals, schools or aged care).

That aside, as a gesture to the pain, suffering and patience endured by the punting public while Brisbane has been without its major racetrack for so long, surely the Brisbane Racing Club can see fit to offer ‘free admission’ on the day racing returns to Eagle Farm.

In the overall scheme of things – and the amount lost to the industry in trying to correct what has been a track reconstruction nightmare – the cost would be but a drop in the bucket.

More importantly, it would be an overdue public relations winner not only for the club but also Racing Queensland – something that has gone missing in action for far too long.

If funds are short then look for a sponsor – one of those who continue to make millions out of racing in Queensland every year. The corporate bookies come to mind but they are on war footing with the Government over the Point of Consumption Tax – but that doesn’t rule out two other options.

Tattersall’s (UBET) make a stack out of their sweetheart TAB deal (a dud one for the industry many would say) and here’s their chance to give a little back.

Perhaps Queensland Newspapers could jump in as a co-sponsor considering the rewards they reap from Form Guides (albeit their new sponsor is a corporate bookmaker in Ladbrokes) and waste of space advertorial propaganda supplements promoting racing or special racing events which one could argue brings no more people to the track.

The feedback from trainers and jockeys seems to be positive about the capability of the new Eagle Farm surface being as ready as it ever will be for a return to racing. Rather than heap bouquets on the wonderful job done by RQ, the BRC and those responsible for finding a solution to four years or problems an objective racing media would be saying or writing at worst: ‘Too little, too late’ or at best: ‘It’s about time’. Instead we will no doubt have to endure more finger-down-the-throat arse licking about the wonderful job done by those who should have been blamed for this embarrassing saga and shown the door a long time ago.

Here’s hoping the problems of Eagle Farm are overcome and that racing returns to headquarters on a regular basis. But just reiterating: How about rewarding the punters for their patience by making it ‘free admission’ (perhaps with even a free betting voucher). There’s every other meeting of the year to rip them off have to pay to go through the gate for the privilege of losing their money (something that doesn’t happen when you attend the local Pub, Club or TAB or watch the action from the comfort of your lounge room – but that’s another story).      



RARELY a month passes when punters don’t have a WHINGE to LGHR about the lack of available sectional times for racing in Queensland.

That was again the case after the item by NATHAN EXELBY in THE VERDICT in THE COURIER-MAIL in the past week when he wrote:

WESTERN Australia is the latest State to join the sectional time bandwagon, with last week’s announcement that a new service will be launched in partnership with Vince Accardi’s Daily Sectionals.

Punters will be able to see 200m splits and cumulative times from the 1200m, together with each horse’s positions in running.

The service will cover all WA thoroughbred meetings that are telecast on SKY Racing.

Accardi said the data coverage would be “vital in assisting with racing integrity” in addition to being a “fantastic tool for the racing enthusiast, trainers, jockeys and owners”.

Queensland is yet to embrace the sectional times juggernaut.

Punters on Queensland races would no doubt welcome a similar service in this part of the world. When Eagle Farm returned after its first hiatus, it was mooted the Trakus timing system would be installed, but nothing eventuated.

It is understood plans are still afoot to have the Trakus system in use when Eagle Farm is fully operational again.

LGHR followed this up with RQ some months ago and was told that the free sectional time service – that was available to punters on Victorian, NSW and South Australian racing – had been delayed because of the problems with the Eagle Farm redevelopment which seemed a bit Irish to us.

We asked why this was isolated to Eagle Farm and the reason that free sectionals were not available for other tracks like Doomben, Gold and Sunshine Coasts etc.

The answer: It is all part of the Trakus sectionals system to be installed at Eagle Farm and then systematically over a couple of years at the other major TAB tracks. Again it doesn’t make sense why other tracks couldn’t have it installed before Eagle Farm.

We made a few inquiries and found that in most other states individual sectionals are taken from computer chips (tracking systems) installed in saddle cloths. If they can do it, why can’t Queensland? Another reason, punters say, that Queensland runs a distant last in all things racing.



THIS Whinge about the cost of the QUEENSLAND RACING INTEGRITY COMMISSION from a contributor, writing under the name of ‘SAFARI MICK’:

$28 million.....seriously?

In scanning an article by David Fowler this morning I almost choked on my toast.

The cause of this consternation was Fowler's report that included comments by (QRIC Commissioner) Barnett that: “The estimated $15 million integrity cost under the former Racing Queensland model was simply transferred across to QRIC with the additional funding now provided by the State Government. While the budgeted figure of almost $28 million for 2018/19 can be scrutinized and criticized, it's the Government that's footing the bill, not the stakeholders.”

Oh what great comfort, the Government pays.  It apparently escapes ‘Mr Plod’ that the racing folk of Queensland as taxpaying citizens have every right to be concerned as to whether their tax paying dollars are being invested wisely? And my guess is the overwhelming public opinion would be in the negative.

Surely a recent Internal Review provides a window into the wonder that is QRIC, at the same time raising more questions?

On 22 November QRIC issued the following media release announcing the reinstatement of a trainer’s license. “Mr Bailey’s license to train was suspended by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission effective on 23 October 2018, based on a pending animal welfare criminal charge which allegedly breached a condition of his license and his suitability as a licensee. Mr Bailey sought an internal review of his suspension and the internal reviewer has found in his favor in the interests of procedural fairness and  natural justice and has found to set aside the decision to suspend his license."

On 23 October (the Commissioner), one might argue desperate for success, announced: “A 61-year-old Licensed Thoroughbred Trainer from Cairns has been charged with Animal Cruelty under the provisions of Section 18 of the ACPA. Police will allege the trainer overdrove, overrode or overworked a racehorse while it was suffering an injury between October 5 and 20, 2018.  He has been given notice to appear in the Cairns Magistrate’s Court on November 12, 2018. QRIC has moved to immediately suspend the trainer’s license.”

What has not been disclosed is where the stuff up occurred?  Using the terminology "in the interests of procedural  fairness and  natural justice" the Internal Reviewer would appear to suggest that there were inadequacies, errors, or omissions, in either QRIC's initial dealing with Mr Bailey or in their handling of the suspension of license which, if tested, would have embarrassed QRIC?

So Mr Plod, which is it? How did your officers stuff up, and at what cost?

There's also no disclosure as to the extent of the cost of QRIC's conduct upon the trainer.

At least give taxpayers and the industry some outcome for their dollars, and remember transparency eh Sir, isn't that what QRIC's about? Yeah right!  And there's so much more that never gets fully explained to Government and taxpayers, isn't there?

When will Government make the ‘Plods’ of QRIC accountable and review performances, results, costs etc?  Regrettably, it's probably overdue!

$28 million! Really?'

EDITOR’S NOTE: AS this email only arrived overnight we will endeavor during the next week to get a response or at least offer QRIC the right of reply.



DAILY Telegraph Racing Editor Ray Thomas, regarded by many in racing as the ‘spin doctor’ for Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys, has started the push for The Everest to be granted Group 1 status.

Thomas argued in an article this week that the decision of Racing Victoria to introduce the All-Star Mile has indirectly strengthened the case to elevate The Everest, which was the brainchild of V’landys, albeit pinched from an American format.

Thomas talks about both races being an example of the innovation required to make racing more relevant and interesting to fringe sports fans but forgets to mention how The Everest is arguably for the ‘rich and famous’ who bid for ‘slots’ in the field and is worth an absurd $14 next year while the All Star Mile will start out at a much more realistic $5 million and the field selection will involve a vote from those who really help racing survive, the punting public.

The All Star Mile at Flemington next year will be the richest in the autumn and Thomas writes that there is already debate about if and when it should be made a Group 1 race which he says brings into question some of the reasons used to block the push to make The Everest a Group 1 race.

These include suggestions The Everest should not be elevated to Group 1 level as it is a restricted race with the field determined by the whim of slot-holders selections. He goes on to argue that every race has certain restrictions anyway — a Maiden can’t run in the Melbourne Cup, for example — and so will the All-Star Mile. The public vote will determine 10 starters in the new Flemington race, while Racing Victoria officials will select the final four starters.

Thomas admits there were also critics dismissive of The Everest claiming it was a gimmick race but asserts that they have subsequently lauded the announcement of the All-Star Mile and its novel concept. He’s probably referring to interstate rivalry between some identities in the racing media.

Sadly many of the valid points Thomas makes are lost on a racing public that has become too accustomed to his ‘spin doctoring’ of any idea flowing from Racing NSW or V’landys.

The All-Star Mile and The Everest – by virtue of their prizemoney – will attract top quality fields and promote Australian racing internationally. Whether there should be a waiting period before Group 1 status is granted remains debatable.

One thing is for certain neither will attract any better field because it is worth $14 million compared to $5 million and that is what gets up the noses of those who follow racing not to mention many owners who have provided the fields for the bread and butter races and support the sport just as much as others with the long pockets that enable them to bid for Everest slots.



THERE has been much debate as to whether WINX will be lured to Melbourne during her swansong campaign to contest the new All-Star Mile.

Standby for Racing NSW to counter with some equally attractive prizemoney boost in an effort to restrict the farewell starts of Winx to Sydney.

Fortunately her connections are such great promoters of racing and the industry in general that what is in the best interests of the mare has always dictated their decision-making process.

About the only criticism Winx has copped is that she never campaigned off-shore. Whether there is nothing to prove and that rivals can always come here and take her on remains a hot topic of debate.

Just imagine though the mouth-watering clash involving Almond Eye, the champion filly that won the Japan Cup last Sunday; the brilliant Enable, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice along with the recent Breeders’ Cup Turf and Winx, after her triple Cox Plate success.

Rather than continue to take pot-shots and try to outdo each other, perhaps officials of Racing NSW and Victoria should be bidding for that block-buster. If a race like that couldn’t draw a half decent crowd to the track in Sydney then no amount of ‘free publicity’ or ‘jacked up prizemoney’ will.



GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE, continues his battle to overcome the problem of a lack of jockeys which is causing the scratching of horses at bush meetings in QUEENSLAND:

‘IN the last few weeks I have written about the lack of jockeys in the bush and how overseas apprentices could help.

In the past (Roma trainer) Craig Smith had two Koreans and a few years ago we had Hong Kong apprentices lost to South Australia, who have done a great job.

Gun Singapore apprentice Simon Kok is heading to Tasmania for three months in December. He has ridden winners for (top trainer) Lee Freedman, among others in Singapore.

I have attached the profile of Shenny Chan, a Hong Kong apprentice who was a great asset to country racing in Queensland when linked to the Todd Austin stable.

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