Jenny - Clean



BILL BYRNE, in his fledgling days as Racing Minister, would win a lot of friends inside and outside the industry if he put the broom through the Integrity Section of Racing Queensland.

Byrne has flagged possible changes to the policing of the racing industry in the wake of the greyhound live baiting scandal but here’s hoping he goes the whole hog and starts by sacking the RQ general manager of stewarding and integrity Wade Birch.

The buck has to stop somewhere in this sordid ordeal and the more revelations about RQ not doing their job when told of these problems months ago suggest that the new Minister should also consider appointing a new Chairman of Racing Queensland.

It took a group of Animal Liberationists, the RSPCA and the 4 Corners expose to show up the inadequacies of the integrity units in three states but the situation in Queensland is especially alarming when it is considered that RQ was apparently made aware of ‘live baiting’ in October but allegedly did nothing about it.

Gold Coast-based Brad Davidson is one of the few News Limited racing scribes with the balls to objectively criticize RQ while his colleague Nathan Exelby, the Turf Editor of The Courier-Mail, is seen by many in the industry as too busy promoting his mate the RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon.

Davidson tweeted on the dog scandal:

POOR effort by RQ to wipe their hands of this mess – a full inquiry is needed.

RQ received email with concerns about live baiting last October – blamed admin error for no action.

There are alarming reports that a letter from the RSPCA warning RQ and its Integrity Department of the increasing usage of ‘live baiting’ at training tracks in Queensland was ‘lost in the mail’.

Then we have the situation of the bungled inquiry involving a high profile trainer with a Media Release stating:

Racing Queensland stewards have confirmed they interviewed Mr Reg Kay this afternoon in relation to comments attributed to him regarding his attendance at a property near Ipswich last week prior to a joint QPS/RSPCA operation.

At this stage, stewards have found no evidence to support that Mr Kay engaged in the alleged conduct for which seven licensed trainers were stood down this week.

Accordingly, no further action has been taken at this time.

Two days late and RQ issued another Media Release advising that seven greyhound trainers had been issued with show cause notices of why they should not be banned for life. It followed the airing of the 4 Corners program showing individuals involved in alleged ‘live baiting’. Heading the show cause list was Reg Kay.

This is a blunder of monumental proportions by the Integrity Department of RQ and heads should roll over it. The buck stops with Wade Birch but more importantly with Chairman Kevin Dixon. Both should be sacked by the Minister.

Worse is yet to come. Letsgohorseracing has received allegations of a greyhound being clubbed to death by a trainer for failing to perform, of the owner being provided with another dog to ensure her silence after a high profile vet resigned and reportedly took his concerns to the RSPCA and of RQ being advised but allegedly taking no action (at this stage) on this issue. If these allegations are correct this is what some would call another cover up of mammoth proportions.   

Since the 4 Corners program was aired of course we have had politicians and administrators on the front foot. RQ has suspended 13 trainers, including seven who have been asked to ‘show cause’ when they should be warned off for life. Close to 100 greyhounds and pups have been impounded.

Under the present legislation, Racing Queensland is responsible for both the administration of all three codes, in addition to overseeing racing integrity. That means the same body that promotes the industry, also polices it.

The simple separation of the two bodies will not overcome the problems of the past unless some high profile stewards are brought in to take control. The Racing Minister should order a nationwide search for a new Chief Steward and Integrity Manager. Policing of all three codes should then be taken out of the province of RQ. In the case of the Racing Integrity Commissioner many beieve he should either eliminate the position or appoint someone who can prove to stakeholders and punters that he or she is prepared to do the hard yards. Many believe that has not been the case with former Police Commissioner Jim O’Sullivan and question what he has achieved since being appointed.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has described the live baiting scandal as ‘very serious’ and said she was in talks with her Racing Minister about the issue. “It has been absolutely horrific what we have seen, what has been carried out in the greyhound industry,’’ she said.

She should take it a step further. At the least what is needed is a new Head of Stewarding and Integrity and a new Chairman of Racing Queensland. If they want to stop short of sacking those who many believe should have been more proactive then leave them there but put someone else above them who will win back industry and public confidence.

While all this is going on we have one of Kevin Dixon’s greatest supporters canvassing club chairmen to take a deputation to the Racing Minister telling him they are happing with the job the boss of the control body is doing.

Most regard this as finger down the throat stuff with the ‘cowboy’ heading the posse of support simply trying to repay the current RQ hierarchy for the overwhelming support his club has received at the expense of others (some saw it as LNP political pork-barrelling but we all know the RQ Chairman is a-political, so it wouldn't have been that).

Fortunately there are some race club chairmen out there who don’t share the cowboy's views and in fact want to see the back of Kevin Dixon after only three years. They want the Racing Minister to act now – not in a few months time when it is more likely.

The pressure has only just started to mount and 'little King Kev' shouldn't be feeling too safe despite after walking away from his first meeting with the new Racing Minister as his supporters would say 'unscathed'.  

RACING Queensland can confirm eight of the nine samples sent to Perth for confirmatory cobalt testing have returned results which are in excess of the threshold and will now be sent to Sydney for referee analysis.

RQ General Manager of Stewarding and Integrity Wade Birch said the samples consisted of two from the thoroughbred code and six from the harness code – split between two thoroughbred trainers and three harness trainers.

THE Board of Racing Queensland has issued seven greyhound trainers with show cause notices as to why they should not be warned off Queensland racetracks for life following a board meeting at Deagon this afternoon.

RQ last week suspended seven trainers following a joint RSPCA-Queensland Police Service raid, while a further six were suspended today by stewards after footage of them allegedly involved in live-baiting was aired on 4 Corners last night. This takes the total of trainers suspended to 13.

INDUSTRY insiders in the north in particular are calling for an inquiry into incentives offered to racing in Mt Isa on behalf of the LNP in the days leading up to Labor forming a minority Government in Queensland.

Not surprisingly Mt Isa was the centre of some hot political manoeuvring last week as the LNP desperately sought the support of the Katter Australia Party as they clung to hope of retaining Government.

Prominent Mt Isa trainer George Tipping – recognized as a stalwart of the KAP – has confirmed that he was approached and asked what racing incentives an LNP Government might offer to help racing, particularly in the north west of the state.


RACING Queensland stewards have determined altrenogest is not an anabolic androgenic steroid based on veterinary advice received during their investigation into a sample taken from a yearling colt sold at this year’s Magic Millions January sale.

RQ General Manager of Stewards and Integrity Operations Wade Birch said upon the sample’s return, stewards had sought the advice of the Veterinary and Analysts Committee and a prominent Queensland Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology to determine whether altrenogest was an anabolic androgenic steroid.

TRAINERS at Sandown applauded on Wednesday efforts to weed out cheats — but added they hoped for an explanation for the spate of positive doping tests during Melbourne’s spring carnival.

DARYL TIMMS reports for the HERALD SUN that Mornington trainer Jason Warren said he wasn’t shocked by news that high cobalt levels were detected in several horses. He said speculation about its use had abounded for several months.

“At the end of the day, trainers run big operations and things can find their way in easily,” Warren said.

QUEENSLAND'S three racing codes will be on the receiving end of a major prizemoney boost from October 1 this year in a funding windfall for the 30,000-strong Queensland racing industry.

Addressing an industry briefing at Deagon this afternoon, Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board Chairman Kevin Dixon said Racing Queensland had delivered on its commitment to improve the returns for participants of all codes in the wake of the new wagering deal.

“This is a monumental occasion for the Queensland racing industry. Today, we have provided an opportunity for every participant in the state to increase their returns through significant increases to prize money allocations in all codes,” Mr Dixon said.

RACING Queensland has today released its amended 2014-15 thoroughbred race date schedule, which allows for the $22 million upgrade of Eagle Farm.

Racing Queensland Chairman Kevin Dixon said the works at Eagle Farm had forced a review of the race dates and the opportunity was taken to begin implementing a new allocation strategy, which includes adjustments to ensure the industry receives the best return on the meetings it runs.

As a result of the review, there will now be 429 TAB meetings in Queensland for the 2014-15 season and 300 non-TAB meetings.

RACING Queensland CEO Darren Condon says the industry’s future success hinges on its ability to sell a contemporary racing experience to the next generation of race goers.

On the eve of releasing Racing Queensland’s Strategic Plan 2014-17, Mr Condon said Racing Queensland’s vision would be built around capitalising on the industry’s strengths, connecting with communities and driving innovation to offer the ultimate consumer experience.

FORMER champion Queensland jockey Russell Maddock, who rode for the Queen during his illustrious career, has died aged 96.

AAP reports that Maddock was a trail blazer for Australian jockeys in the United Kingdom and France and rode with some of the immortals of the Australian turf such Neville Sellwood, George Moore, Scobie Breasley, and Ron Hutchinson.

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