FOLLOWING an extensive recruitment process, Racing Queensland (RQ) is pleased to announce the appointment of Sam Woolaston to the position of Senior Steward based in Townsville.

Sam comes to the role having served as Deputy Chairman of Stewards in the Central and Western Districts and Northern Rivers District of New South Wales. In 2010, Sam returned to the Sydney Metropolitan Panel based in Newcastle, a position he has held until the present time.


THE Brisbane Racing Club has appointed Dave Whimpey as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Whimpey will join the BRC on February 24, bringing a rich corporate background in hospitality, events management and operations with some of the nation’s best-known companies.

SINCE our story - which is still on the home page - about the race-call of the Bernborough Handicap from Toowoomba on New Year's Eve we have had many calls concerning broadcaster Pat O'Shea.

The majority backed our suggestion - that in view of the serious illness he has been battling - perhaps his call of the main race suggested he should hang up his binoculars.

Having heard the circumstances surrounding that call - and we did admit in that story that Pat never missed a beat for the rest of the night - it would seem that there were excuses for his failure to identify the winner.

Some will say well how did he manage to get the rest right. It seems there were technical issues that affected both his broadcasting equipment and binoculars, not to mention the public address system on the night - that should have been sorted out beforehand.

Pat doesn't want to use his illness as an excuse and to his credit refused to raise what happened in the broadcast box that caused the embarrassment for him.

It is time that someone in an official position came out and told the racing public exactly what happened. Otherwise the calls on social media - which all we did was repeat - will continue for him to retire. If it wasn't his fault the correct facts need to be told.  

We understand that Racing Queensland and the Toowoomba Chronicle will be attempting to present the correct facts, hopefully the local newspaper will interview Pat O'Shea and get things out in the open: Here is what has been posted by an unidentified official on the TTC website:

THERE has been some comment on Toowoomba broadcaster Pat O’Shea’s call of the Listed Bernborough Handicap in Toowoomba on New Year's Eve.

I would like to clarify that his race call was hampered by technical difficulties in the Toowoomba broadcast box which interfered with Mr O’Shea’s broadcast equipment and binoculars.

This was very unfortunate and we apologise for any negativity this has created surrounding the race broadcast.

As we wrote in the original story on New Year's Day - after social media had plenty to say about the issue and many others contacted us - on the surface it did not appear one of Pat's better calls. We have the utmost respect for him and if it was not his fault then we are happy to run a story explaining exactly what did happen.


THE reinstatement of a turf track at the Clifford Park race course in Toowoomba will ensure the region’s thoroughbred industry kicks off the New Year with a bang, Racing Minister Steve Dickson said today.

Mr Dickson said the project to rebuild the turf track, which will be officially opened at a New Year’s Eve race meeting tomorrow, is emblematic of the Newman Government’s efforts to rebuild racing in Queensland.

RACING Queensland has recently conducted an investigation into reports from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre (QGRSC) that prednisone and/or prednisolone had been detected in a number of race day urine samples collected around Queensland,.


This investigation was commenced when stewards became concerned with the number and frequency of positive tests to prednisone and prednisolone reported to Racing Queensland by the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre during the early part of 2013.


JOHN Ross,one of North Queensland’s best known racing identities, passed away on Christmas day after a long and painful battle with cancer.

TERRY BUTTS of the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER reports that John, or JP as he was popularly known, trained many good gallopers from his Wulguru stables, including Sailmaker in the 1960s.

While he will be remembered for his horse training achievements, JPs involvement in racing stretches over more than 50 years - almost every day from his Townsville base.

RACING in Queensland has been delivered the worst possible Christmas ‘gift’ with a dark cloud now hanging over the $120 million boost the industry thought was inevitable in the New Year.

TattsBet Limited has launched a counter action against the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board and Queensland Race Product Co Limited which threatens to derail dreams of prizemoney prosperity which is desperately needed for the industry in the north.

Racing Queensland cannot comment on legal advice but we have asked some astute legal minds to interpret what the action, filed in the Supreme Court of Queensland on December 16, means in layman’s terms and they tell us it appears that:


THE appeal by trainer Tony Bita against his $3000 fine for use of the drug Prednisone has been adjourned until March 7.

The appeal was to have been heard last week by QCAT, but according to senior Racing Queensland steward Darren Aurisch it was aborted after notification that late evidence was to be presented by the appellant.

“We needed more time to study and obtain expert opinion on this new evidence so we called for an adjournment,” said Mr Aurisch.

He stressed however that RQ stewards still planned to proceed with their enquiries into  six other cases of positive swabs to the drug that is widely used to suppress pain in humans and commonly used by asthmatic patients.

Some of the positive swabs in Queensland date back to last year .The respective trainers in Rockhampton (2), Mt Isa, Mackay and the Tablelands has all been notified but as yet no formal charges have been laid.

However Mr Aurich said Stewards would be procueeding irrespective of the outcome of the Bita appeal which may not now be heard until early March.

The late evidence being produced by Bita is believed to relate to an overseas Veterinary study which allegedly indicates that horses produce the drug  naturally.

Currently there is a zero tolerance for Prednisone in Australia whlle in some other jurisdictions threshold limits apply similar to that used in sodium bicarbonate testing in this country. 


NOT too many Queenslanders retain their base in the Sunshine State but make such a big impact on Victorian racing that they become major players through the spring and autumn carnivals.

But Robert Heathcote is the exception.

MICHAEL LYNCH reports in THE AGE that the Brisbane-based handler has led an interesting life, working in the newspaper business and as a travel guide before taking out a trainer's licence, initially to prepare the horses of his brother Warren, an art dealer.

RACING Queensland stewards have given the green light for harness racing to be conducted on two grass racing surfaces following the successful conduct of official trials at Toowoomba’s Clifford Park and Kilcoy, Racing Minister Steve Dickson said today.

Mr Dickson said harness racing will return to its grass roots this weekend for the launch of the Queensland Grass Track Trotting Series, a unique racing experience held on grass galloping tracks in regional South-East Queensland.

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