THIS web-site 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..

IT seems the items most concerning our e-mail contributors involve the politics in Queensland racing and concerns over what we are hearing from behind the scenes is happening at the Deagon bunker. Because of censorship of the media and support for the RQ Chairman from The Courier-Mail industry stake-holders are being treated like mushrooms on issues of major concern – kept in the dark and fed bullshit. Whilst this continues websites like letsgohorseracing will continue to pursue issues that we feel should be publicized. Such is the domination of the political scene in Queensland that the only real interstate feedback we received this week concerned the fiasco in Sydney racing where the major stables continue to treat punters like mugs and stewards seem powerless to do anything about it.

Here is this e-mail week’s selection with apologies to those who missed out.



‘THE industry could understand the rationale behind the new RQ Board wanting to get rid of Jamie Orchard and some of his mates in the Integrity Department but have been gob-smacked by the sacking of Paul McIlveen.

Perhaps your web site could seek an explanation from the RQ Chairman as to why Paul is no longer with Integrity. He was highly experienced and respected, did a good job as far as the industry was concerned and had been told we understand that his job was safe.

Here’s hoping that some of the rumors doing the rounds are incorrect and that he wasn’t shown the door because he refused to stop pursuing an investigation which involved some serious threats again he and his family. If that is true then this is CMC stuff.

These are questions that should be answered by RQ or at least put to them by The Courier-Mail but considering the closeness of some people there that isn’t going to happen.

Now we are told that there isn’t going to be an Integrity Department in its current format and that two key stewards in Allan Reardon and Wade Birch will virtually run the show. With all due respects, there needs to be some independence between the stewards and Integrity as well as between Integrity and the RQ Board.

What amazes me in all of this is that those who were screaming the loudest about the Bentley Board interference in Integrity when Mason and Orchard were running the show (like a well-know former judge) are conspicuous by their silence now when it looks like there will be no Integrity Department at all.’ – As I am employed by RQL please don’t use my identity. I don’t want to be the next victim of a ‘back stabbing,’ ‘redundancy’ or ‘sacking’ – whatever you care to call it.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We offer right of reply to this to RQ or Paul McIlveen but understand there is a hearing involving his case this week. I am told that there will be a major announcement concerning Integrity and the Appeals set-up in Parliament in the next two months. I am not sure why it is going to take so long. I know there have been complaints to the Minister concerning the selection process for those sitting on the First Level Appeals body and calls for that to be taken out of the hands of RQ. Such should happen with the appointment of a proper Integrity Department where RQ should have no input into the personnel chosen. What’s the point if they are all going to be ‘yes men.’. As for the circular which has been distributed to staff at RQ warning them about leaks to web sites like ours, what have they got to hide? First we had the new RQ trying to censor web sites and now we have them threatening staff who provide information. Makes you wonder why this joint has become such a secret society.



‘WHAT is going on at the Toowoomba Turf Club?

Yet another high profile committeeman has resigned apparently due to a lack of confidence or some sort of fall-out with the Chairman.

First to go was Anthony Burke, which was well documented and then Greg Wagner, after a disagreement over a proposal to relocate from Clifford Park and now the surprise package of them all, Allen Volz, a former long-time chief executive of the club.

That means three have resigned under what some are calling the Frappell dictatorship and there are suggestions another was illegally elected but Racing Queensland isn’t interested in investigating that or doesn’t have an Integrity Department to do so anymore.

That leaves six committeemen including the chairman. Many members are predicting the committee will feel it’s time to put a couple of ‘yes’ men on the Board. And they reckon Neville Stewart ran the show with an iron fist.

At least he left the club in a sound financial position. There are reports the TTC will post a loss in the six-figure range for the current financial year.

That raises the question: Is the TTC trading insolvent or close to it? Perhaps it also explains why the RQ chairman gave his buddy at the TTC that $300,000-plus handout (and we’re told the losses include that amount).’ – From a member who doesn’t wish to be identified so he can continue to enjoy his day at the races free of intimidation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am extremely surprised and disappointed that a director of Allen Volz’s experience and talents has decided to pull the pin. He is an old mate from our days as racing writers and then an association when he did such a fine job and was instrumental with Neville Stewart in pioneering twilight racing at Toowoomba. If Allen or TTC Chairman Bob Frappell wish to comment on his departure or any other comments in the above e-mail they are welcome to right of reply. We do realize however that Mr Frappell requires the permission of the RQ Chairman before he talks with us which is a sad state of affairs for any high profile club or media organization but that’s the state of play in racing in Queensland under the new powers-that-be.



‘SOME of the heavies at the Townsville Turf Club – like Kevin O’Keefe – must be wondering why their old mate Kevin Dixon has virtually turned into the ‘Invisible Man’ since becoming Chairman of Racing Queensland.

It seems ‘little Kev’ (to distinguish him from the ‘Big Kev’ who controls racing behind the scenes) isn’t too keen to show his face on Townsville Cup day after seemingly turning his back on the club that supported him so strongly for the top job.

Perhaps if the Townsville Turf Club had convinced the new Racing Minister (Stephen Dickson) to attend their Cup they would have attracted as many hangers-on as St George did last weekend.

Under the guise of a fund-raiser for flood relief (a good cause I must admit) every two bit bum from the racing industry to the racing media was flown out, all expenses paid apparently, to ride on the Ministerial coat tails.

As Terry Butts wrote in his column this week: ‘Not a single cent for maintenance has been offered or provided by RQ’ for the Cluden track.

It has been rejuvenated to Cup day standard by hard working TTC track staff which is remarkable considering its condition only a few weeks ago for a track that is raced on every week, sometimes twice, and used for barrier trials or jump outs on a weekly basis.'

As Butts suggested, when it comes to TAB tracks, the new RQ only seems to be interested in those south of Noosa or Toowoomba where the Chairman’s mate runs the show and every time little Kev says jump, bumbling Bob replies: ‘How high sir?’ – Glen Cairns, Townsville.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I will be surprised if someone from RQ isn’t present on Cup day in Townsville, even if they send the ‘boy wonder’ from the stewards who bobbed up at St George last weekend. After all it is his old stamping ground from the days when he used to be under-study to the best steward in Queensland in Patrick Cooper. He’s the one that’s stacking groceries in a supermarket because his colleagues are too intimidated by his presence and the new RQ Board doesn’t seem to want any stewards with any balls who might instill some punter confidence in racing in Queensland.



‘THOUGHT you might like a bit of gossip about the hoedown in St George when the Racing Minister and his band of merry men went Back to the Bush last weekend.

One of the big talking points was the very much one-sided verbal clash when two long-time racing media foes crossed paths. Words like ‘maggot, grub and go back to where you belong’ are said to have frothed from the mouth of one combatant. The other as usual tucked his tail between his legs and ran back to the safe haven of the official party.

Another wag reckoned one prominent racing media man wasted no time checking out the jockeys’ room for some reason or another. His mate suggested he was just getting in practice for when the new appointee of the stewards returns north and racing falls back into practices of the past.

Then there were the embarrassing times when a popular racing identity in the bush, who has proved quite a thorn in the side of the new establishment, ran into a couple of the city slickers in the betting ring. They reckon if looks could kill the one he got from one of their wives had him stone dead on the spot.

The bells were ringing seconds out when two on the official junket party made out they were great mates when one is in fact doing his best to knife the other from getting a major appointment at an important club in the near future.

It’s all just good old fashioned fun in the political world they call racing in Queensland where it doesn’t matter who’s running the show the shit fight continues.’ – As I am a race club official please don’t use my name.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s a pity we didn’t see a bit more action at the station concerning the promised Integrity shake-up rather than the RQ Chairman and his boy Friday Chief Steward following the Minister around at St George. The other thing my phone has been running hot about in recent times, especially from stake-holder groups in the industry, has been how two prominent media identities are apparently having far too much influence on the decision making process at the new RQ. One of the key groups blowing up has plenty on industry influence and you haven’t heard the last about this one.



‘THE major stables continue to crap in the face of punters and stewards in Sydney racing.

Waterhouse got indignant recently when she was questioned over the continued failure of well backed stable favorites.

Now we have this situation with Waller where his favorites get beaten and his lesser fancies continue to win. Sure the stewards question the improvements and the failure but nothing is done.

The excuses run thick and fast. The punters continue to lose their money. Sydney racing becomes an even bigger joke and farce. When will it end?

Ken Callander, who by the way has interests in horses trainer by Waller, summed up the farcical situation this week when he suggested the champion trainer was lucky that punters weren’t throwing rocks at him.

Last Saturday the rot continued. Two well fancied runners beaten. The lesser fancied of three runners winning and staging a major form reversal. Another looked like Phar Lap coming from last to win after its form since a spell had been woeful. Another ran straight to the front and led throughout beating a more fancied stablemate. And another that had led and landed some long priced bets at its previous start adopted the same tactics but was the first horse beaten.

The excuse always seems feasible which is probably why stewards are reluctant to take action. But perhaps if they started banning these inconsistent horses for two months or more they would start to maintain their form more than they are at present. It’s food for thought.’ – Joe Griffin, Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: More effective deterrents need to be introduced by stewards or big punters particularly are going to steer totally clear of Sydney racing like they have done in Brisbane. Here is what KEN CALLANDER wrote about the situation in his column in the SYDNEY TELEGRAPH:

CHRIS Waller, in the dozen years he has been in Australia, has been a success story to equal Tommy Smith a half century before him, but he is lucky punters don't hurl rocks at him.

The likeable ex-Kiwi continually thinks outside the square for ways to improve his horses' performances, but will somebody please tell me how Matiya's Pride ($13), Coup Ay Tee ($7) and Key West ($7) all won at Rosehill on Saturday.

They had finished seventh, seventh and last at their previous starts.

Waller is lucky the wins are not supported by big betting plunges or the stewards would run him out of town. One thing I have learned when backing Waller's horses is not to be afraid to back the one at the longer price (or with the worst form).

Waller's achievement to win two Sydney premierships in a row is a fabulous performance.

This year with one Saturday and three midweek meetings to go he sits on 121 1/2 wins, miles ahead of Gai Waterhouse on 98 and Peter Snowden on 68.



‘RACINQ Queensland can’t contribute a cent toward the maintenance of Cluden in preparation for Cup day but they waste money flying two stewards from Brisbane to officiate at last Saturday’s meeting.

Then we hear that the Deagon training centre remains a protected species for an elite group of trainers with the maintenance and a running of that venue to be outsourced by RQ to the Brisbane Racing Club.

Does that mean there is another major handout in store for the chairman's old club, the BRC, to take over this task even though it will provide them with another track for trials and jump outs?

How can they justify sending a Brisbane-based junior steward to Townsville to chair the Cluden meeting when he has far less experience than the local chief Mark Hill. Perhaps the reason was that Hill for some reason was unavailable.

But then you have locals like Daryl Griffiths and of course, dare we mention the name Patrick Cooper, who know the local scene but the latter is barred because his colleagues including the new RQ Chief Steward are reportedly intimidated by his presence and experience.

The crazy part about bringing Ian Brown back to Townsville to chair last Saturday’s meeting is that he was the one that they were so keen to get to Brisbane where his partner had a new job.

Have a look at some of the Chief Stewards that officiated in the south last Saturday when the big chief was swaning around with the heavies at St George.

It’s all too laughable for words but that’s how RQ is run under the new regime. As Terry Butts often says in his columns, they’re only interested in the tracks south of Noosa.’ – Vince (yes I do exist) Grogan, Townsville.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Glad to hear from you again Vince. It is a farce paying for stewards to fly from Brisbane when you have locally-based guys more than capable of doing the job and RQ claims it is short of chips. Then again it would be interesting to know who pays for the stewards – RQ or the club involved. I have been told that Mark Hill had a wedding or a previous engagement and that was the reason for his absence. It will be interesting to see who chairs the Cup day meeting. My tip is Jamie Dart but I wouldn’t be surprised if Wade Birch makes a guest appearance at his old stamping ground.



‘ISN’T it amazing - a sow’s ear one day and a SILK PURSE the next?

Opinion is growing that the Chief Steward at RQ must have the Chairman’s jewels stuck in a vice.

Obviously Townsville-based steward Hill has upset the Chairman for Everything when they consider a junior steward, with limited experience, is considered good enough to send from Brisbane to run the show at a Saturday TAB meeting at Cluden.

That’s a nice back-hander for Hill. If my memory serves me correctly he has officiated at MELBOURNE CUP carnivals.

If the back-up talent in the stewarding ranks at RQ is so good why are they going to the expense of paying Allan Reardon $200,000 a year to come back to coach them?

I am no big fan of Cooper the younger. a former Chief Steward in Townsville, but I am as certain as night follows day that they could have given him a double night shift to stack Wollie’s shelves and he would still be bright enough to be in front of the poor joker the Chairman for Everything sent to do Hill’s job or for that matter the Top Dog himself.’ – Maurie Connor, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Just a couple of things I want to correct you on Maurie. Ian Brown is hardly a junior steward. He was considered good enough by his mate Jamie Orchard, the former boss of RQ Integrity, to bring south for a high profile position. I also understand that Mark Hill did have a prior engagement and it wasn’t the same one reportedly provided to the club that almost prevented the trials from being run in Townsville recently. Wade Birch certainly has made a meteoric rise under Chairman Dixon you got that right. But Allan Reardon isn’t coming back for $200,000 a year. Apparently his contract is $180,000 a year for five years with a rider that he will have the complete support of the mainstream media. One would hope that doesn’t include unimpeded entry to the jockeys’ room for all and sundry.



‘THE payouts received by the notorious four executives from Racing Queensland will not be easily forgotten by the current staff at Deagon.

With no prospect of pay increases and seemingly daily redundancies, many of the staff are incensed at the lack of effort by the new administration to make these four and the previous directors accountable for their actions.

It is even more galling when we keep receiving emails threatening us not to divulge any information we may have in relation to this lot with their own special brand of integrity.

I know of one staff member who has taken matters into his/her hands.

The person has written to the Tax Commissioner urging him not to assess these payments as amounts received on termination.

The argument is that they were never terminated and hence they should have to pay tax at full marginal rates. That might just chop into the windfalls a bit.

Others are keen to pursue ‘the Builder’ and more particularly the so-called 'workers' friend' through ASIC in relation to their behavior as directors.

As many are current directors of organizations (such as Tattsbet) it could call into question whether they are fit and proper persons to remain in charge of organizations and responsible for shareholders' funds.

On a lighter note one of my colleagues suggested that if you are a stakeholder in Queensland Racing and you are passing that Industry-funded bakery at Ascot just help yourself – he did.’ – From your Spy in the Deagon Bunker.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Isn’t it good to see that as hard as he might try, censorship King Kevin of Deagon cannot silence the entire flock. Keep them coming Spy. With the revamp we are planning for the website (no we aren't being froced out of business by the new RQ) which will specifically target those in racing in this country who aren’t doing the right thing by the punters and the stake-holders, there might be a place for a special blog on what is happening behind closed doors at Deagon. Of course there are those still there (ensuring they aren’t headed for redundancyville) who have jumped ship from once being ‘Builder Bob’s’ best mates to ‘King Kevin’s’ new servants. As another web site editor, not afraid to express an opinion would say, ‘what an incestuous world we have in racing in Queensland.’ Jim Munro summed up this situation involving the ‘golden handshakes’ last week and if the new Board or Government isn’t prepared to do anything about it then they are no better than their predecessors and the only ones who will suffer are the industry stake-holders. Then again there have been so many undelivered promises that were made pre-election than it is hard to know just what direction the new-look RQL is heading. And whatever happened to that audit of RQ finances or has it been delivered but we aren’t being told because the news wasn’t as bad as forecast?



‘IN a highly successful meeting conducted by the QGBOTA last Sunday Kevin Dixon addressed influential greyhound participants at Albion Park for about 2.5 hours on how he saw problems in the greyhound industry, particularly prize money and tracks locations although grading, causing some angst, was not mentioned.

Phil Purser has given a more in depth discourse of the events in his Just Racing website. A very concise report is found on http://www.greyhoundsqldmagazine. I felt that both authors glossed over what is going to happen to the Gold Coast trots and its importance should not be underestimated.

Politics is looking over RQL’s shoulder as they want the best outcome for their bucks. These days happenings are such that politicians should be in a circus, possibly the Russian circus, as they are capable of doing tremendous back-flips. Certainly a calliope, activated by either air or steam, would not be out of place.

The affable Mr Dixon skirted around issues and did not deal in specifics - he showed some fancy side stepping which should see his inclusion in the next State of Origin. All planning is still up in the air - the industry is much like a maiden waiting for a proposal. Before Christmas he said but failed to mention which one.

It is not the hand that rocks the cradle but the fist that controls the purse string.

Mr Dixon made it quite clear that he “wouldn’t be writing any cheques for $50 million as greyhound’s share of Albion Park” nor was it clear that he was going to write any cheques at all

He did specify that greyhounds would eventually vacate Albion Park. I would counsel the industry against moving until all tracks are built – look at what happened to Parklands - otherwise stay and modernise. Such a manoeuvre would see our industry making far better expansionary use of our share of a third of the promised $100,000,000 + a further $10,000,000.

If RQL builds one other track there would appear that, this along with Ipswich, is catering to all current needs. Harness and greyhounds must be in la la land if they believe that RQL will return Albion Park back. Why should they?  Have you ever heard of a woman giving back her wedding ring?  For RQL it offers potential for borrowing against. This current thinking can suddenly change.

RQL offered no grand blueprint for the future. Populations suggest that tracks could be built elsewhere, particularly the North side. Many southern tracks are based around populations of 80,000. The greyhound industry is the one code that can grow and expand rapidly.

At the meeting it was raised by Robert Essex that over 180 nominations each week were not getting a start at Ipswich. A case was made for an extra race slot. Mr Dixon said slots were available. I thought that “one needs to grow the product” - not dream about it.

The meeting warmly clapped and murmured acceptance when Tony Zammit raised the point that the harness and greyhounds had co-existed successfully at Parklands - an idea that also has widespread favor amongst harness.

Crucial discussion then focused on Harnesses’ future from Parklands as it holds a strategic position in delaying present policies. It appears the Commonwealth Games is stymieing this matter and that the 100 day Government’s inertia is obstructionist to the future of greyhounds. The Government is mushrooming Mr Dixon about this, making him akin to Slasher Mackay, the dour gum chewing cricket opener in his customary stoic defensive mode.

All of this is impacting on the rapidly approaching 2014 Product Co re-negotiation. Already harness has stolen a march by adding Monday to its racing calendar. To counter this, RQL needs to grant Ipswich’s call for an extra racing date so that greyhounds have a level playing field.

One is led to believe income is paramount or would RQL’s decision in this be countermanded by external influences? These are my viewpoints of the meeting. - Jim Carlton Greenbank

EDITOR’S NOTE: An extensive and objective view on the latest important meeting with  implications for the future of the harness and greyhound codes. Another valued contribution that the racing industry has come to expect from the respected Jim Carlton who doesn’t mind calling and spade and spade.



‘GOOD to see letsgohorseracing raise the issue of this cost saving ambulance that is being used by harness racing but has been banned by the jockeys.

Surely safety should be paramount with any control body and the horror fall and near fatal injuries suffered by John Tabone in a race at Albion Park has highlighted the situation.

The jockeys recently threatened not to ride unless the RQ ‘honorary’ ambulance was replaced by a Queensland Ambulance Service vehicle and qualified paramedics at trials and jumps out.

Apparently their decision didn’t sit too well with a couple of officials, one of the track variety (the apple didn't fall far from the tree with this one).

Well stiff cheddar. This is about safety and no price can be placed on that. The sooner harness racing falls into line with the thoroughbred industry the better no matter who is calling the shots.

The dead give-away in the Tabone situation was the quick Media Release justifying the use of the RQ Ambulance at the Albion Park race meeting and the immediate announcement by the APHRC chairman that the family would be free of all medical costs.

It’s fine to say ‘The Racing Queensland ambulance was on the scene immediately who called the Queensland Ambulance Service for a second response team of paramedics to attend the raceway. The second ambulance carrying a team of paramedics, including a doctor, arrived shortly after, and transferred Mr Tabone to the Royal Brisbane hospital.’

In life threatening situations like this the difference could well be determined by the time it takes to get a ‘real’ ambulance to the scene. This is really an issue that BOTRA should be addressing rather than riding on the coat-tails of the new RQ control body because it is giving harness racing a bigger share of the pie than it deserves.

Come on RQ – dispense with the cover-up – and start providing a proper Queensland Ambulance service for all meetings regardless of the cost. It’s the right thing to do.’ – Sam Cappler, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The questions our web site posed about this were two-fold: Why wasn’t this issue raised in the mainstream media? Are they just covering up once again for mates in high places at RQ? But more to the point can anyone tell us of any other major track in the country where they allow a ‘cost savings’ exercise with ambulances and run the risk of being accused of putting lives at risk?



‘I am one of six Far North Queensland local Bookmakers. I find it quite amusing that Mr Jorgenson is opposed to the closed ring at Oak Park when he has been a member of one himself at the Atherton Turf Club for the last three years.

Atherton is closed to only four bookmakers where he is one of them.

Yet Mareeba, Innisfail, Gordonvale and Cairns allow the six regular Local Bookmakers to Field every meeting.

Atherton does not even open the ring up on their Cup Day where I have seen and heard from punters that they could not get their bet on because there was too many punters and not enough Bookies to accommodate the crowd for their biggest day of the year.

And if you check out the percentages on the Atherton Races they are not doing the punters on the Atherton race track any favours either.

I am also led to believe that an incentive was offered to the Atherton Club by these four Bookmakers to keep the other two of us out of the Atherton Ring.

As we all pay the same fee for our Bookmaker’s Licence I feel that there should not be any closed rings and at worst have a rotation draw so that it is fair to all concerned.

Remember that the more Bookmakers there are the more money the punters can get on at the top price and with these closed rings the only people being cheated are the Punters.’ - Jeff Down, Cairns Local Bookmaker.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You make some good points Jeff. I agree that there should be no closed rings anywhere especially when bookmakers are resigning in droves and claiming they cannot survive with the current costs and the competition from corporate agencies. Perhaps in their blueprint to protect the future of the on-course bookmakers RQ should have addressed the ‘closed ring’ situation. For that matter why isn’t the Bookmakers’ Association taking this issue up with the control body.



'WHAT is going on with the racing coverage in The Courier-Mail which has been virtually non-existent this week?

They seem to find room for the feelgood stories by the Turf Editor about his mate Kevin Dixon and the great job he is doing as new Chairman of RQ but nothing else gets a go.

Someone should tell the media manager for RQ and the BRC that we want to read someething about racing - preferably Sydney and Melbourne where the spring carnival action is about to warm up.

Since Mark Oberhardt left (or was forced out of the joint) the racing coverage has been abysmal (and he was limited to only one day a week but told us more then than the rest do in a month).

And they wonder why racing followers are moving to the web sites in droves but  unfortuntely all we get is controversy and not the real news about horse racing.' - Albert Williams, Redcliffe.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If you have a complaint take it to the Editor or Sports Editor of The Courier-Mail. Michael Crutcher and Brian Burke are both keen racing men. Michael in fact operates a web site for one of the state's leading trainers. As for the CM sports coverage, get used to limited space with footy finals upon us and that other big event, the Olympics.  

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.