Jenny - Clean

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. .

THIS week the e-mail box was dominated by readers wanting to comment on the ‘race fixing’ investigative story from Four Corners and the Melbourne Age that has Racing Victoria in damage control. There are some interesting observations and suggestions with many pointing out that the problem of policing race fixing is not restricted to Victoria but should be attacked on a national basis. There was more on the political storm confronting racing in Toowoomba with the critics coming out of the woodwork following calls for former chairman Neville Stewart to make a comeback. Letsgohorseracing copped a blast from Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association Chairman Basil Nolan, who we thought must have died it is so long since we heard a whimper out of him. Rather than just give us a bagging in a TBQA newsletter next time send us an e-mail Basil and we will run it unedited ensuring your message gets across to the 'real' racing masses. Our new Wednesday Whinge feature – ‘The Gossip, the Threats and the Wankers’ – proved an instant hit last week and is now permanent.



THESE are some of topics that we are running only excerpts from the e-mails for all sorts of reasons. This will become a regular feature just to let you know what is happening behind the scenes, so keep them coming:


  • LETSGOHORSERACING has been the victim of hackers, attackers and whackers in the past week. The hackers got at our web-site twice but we’re glad to say we are still in business. We don’t need to name the attackers or the whackers. Some of this week’s e-mails will leave no doubt as to whom they are.

  • THE late mail doing the rounds in Victoria is that jockey Mark Zahra has been told by Darley that his riding services will no longer be required in the wake of the ‘racing fixing’ allegations that surfaced this week.

  • PLENTY of rumors doing the rounds about a questionable race in Brisbane a fortnight ago where some big bets were landed. If you believe the mail a prominent bookmaker and a big punter brought off a major coup right under the nose of the stewards and the tip is there will be more to come.

  • PROMINENT young Sydney jockey found out the hard way that if you are going to bed down the personal assistant to a well known racing official don’t do it in a quiet corner while a racing function is underway and most of all – don’t get caught.

  • NOTHING official has emerged but we are reliably informed that the reason for the dismissal of a respected member of the Integrity Department of Racing Queensland was CCTV footage of him allegedly assaulting a licensee in the foyer at Deagon after the low life had threatened his family. They should have given him a promotion instead of sacking him. The law at times can be an ass.

  • SURELY there is no truth to the rumors that Racing Queensland will dispense with the First Level Appeals Board and revert to the old system from the Queensland Turf Club days when members of the control body heard appeals. Now that is straight out of the arc and we refuse to believe it.

  • WE are reliably informed that the rules relating to maximum acceptances for a TAB race in Queensland have changed under the new Board. Dual acceptors can now be included when assessing the minimum number of starters required where in the past these could not. Does this not open the door for unscrupulous trainers to milk the system?

  • ONE of the four loyal executives who copped a ‘golden handshake’ from the Bob Bentley Board only days after the Government changed in Queensland is said to have a valuable piece of real estate up for sale in Hendra. Perhaps he’s protecting the bakery just in case he has a few less buns in the oven after a legal challenge to the farcical payouts.

  • WE received over a dozen e-mails concerning the race won by Stout Hearted at Canterbury Park on Saturday and the handling of favorite Havana Rey, or more to the point the contrasts in rides between the Berry Brothers. Our lawyers suggested these were too hot to handle but rest assured punters nationally are far from happy about the state of play in Sydney racing at present.

  • POPULAR media identity, unceremoniously dumped by SKY Channel after years of loyal support, finished the racing year on a high during a European holiday. He has returned home announcing plans for get married – yet again – this time in Prague next June. Good one Christian!


And now to the e-mail box:


‘RACING authorities have some major questions to answer in the wake of the Four Corners report into race fixing before punters are convinced they can bet with confidence anywhere in Australia.

For some time they have regarded racing in Adelaide and Brisbane as completely on the nose and the professional punters deserted those two venues long ago.

Nothing has been done to address the problem in South Australia and in Queensland the new control body seems to be reducing integrity rather than increasing it.

Sydney racing has degenerated into a joke with little or no action being taken to combat form reversals from the major stables where second string horses continue to upstage their more fancied stable-mates.

Most concerning in Melbourne in recent times has been the apparent road-blocks placed in the path of stewards as they have attempted to address problems involving some key racing players.

This is shaping as the biggest corruption scandal to hit racing in decades and with sports betting attracting more interest by the day, punters won’t hesitate to move their investment to a medium where they believe they will get a better run for their money.’ Michael Hanley, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ironically Michael punters have more confidence betting in Melbourne than they do anywhere else in the country these days and it is the state at the centre of these allegations. Perhaps that is because the authorities there have been forced by some investigative and hard working journalists to take some action. We have seen the concerns expressed about the lack of power the Government has given the NSW inquiry into harness and greyhound racing. The reported road-blocks placed in the path of stewards in Victoria in the past need to be removed. Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna gave the impression in the Four Corners report that he is a no-nonsense guy determined to get things done.



‘MY mates and I have followed racing in Victoria all our lives and regard the arrival of Terry Bailey as Chairman of Stewards as the best thing that ever happened for the policing of the sport.

It needed an outsider – albeit a Queenslander – to come in with no political ties from the past to give the joint a real shake-up. Surprise, surprise sections of the racing media have criticized his style and method as being too tough.

Bailey isn’t popular – like his predecessors – with many of the licensees, some of whom we believe fell into a comfort zone back then. But it hasn’t been easy for the new Chairman who has apparently found his job under threat simply for doing the right thing by the punters.

We felt it was a bit rich when former Chief Stipe and AFL corruption consultant Des Gleeson weighed into the latest debate on race fixing in Victoria. Surely Des, or his mate Ray Murrihy in Sydney, aren’t looking for a job on any new National Anti-Corruption body that the industry was to establish.

Gleeson called on Governments to urgently fill major holes in the system by introducing a national sporting integrity body, nationwide standards and race and match-fixing laws.

"[This] should have been done yesterday...before there's an almighty scandal in sport in Australia," he said.

With all due respects to Mr Gleeson, there are many who feel he was not tough enough when he was the Chief Steward. There are certain incidents involving top trainers and leading stables that we could mention during his era but had better not for legal reasons.

The former head of Purana, Jim O'Brien, has told the media that the oversight of racing had been ‘extremely poor’, partly due to the insufficient powers held by racing stewards and the absence of sustained police attention.

The former detective inspector described as ‘surprising’ the failure of authorities to further investigate and hold to account racing figures identified by Purana - between 2005 and 2009 - as having been corrupted by drug boss Tony Mokbel.

Perhaps we are wrong but wasn’t Mr Gleeson the steward in charge of racing in Victoria for a good majority of that time. Instead of bleating now about what ‘should have been done yesterday’ perhaps good old Des might address ‘what he was doing during that time’.

Another concerning aspect to emerge from the latest Four Corners-Melbourne Age investigation is the revelation that during a 2010 investigation into Danny Nikolic by the Bailey panel a request from stewards for police assistance to help gather more evidence was denied. That is quite incredible. The stewards were being asked to work with one hand tied behind their backs.

They persisted with a circumstantial case, but Nikolic was cleared by the Racing Disciplinary Board in June 2010 on the basis that the evidence presented was insufficient to prove the case.

What in the hell was going on back then and perhaps a Government inquiry should be set up to enable certain key people in racing, police and disciplinary roles to be questioned on why they acted as they did at the time?’ – Glen Williams, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Couldn’t agree more with some of the sentiments that you have expressed Glen. Superintendent Ryan conceded that, in the past, police ‘did take our eye off the ball’, but he said Victoria was now leading the country in fighting corruption in racing and other sports. ‘We needed to get back into this arena and we have,’ he said. It could be argued that many of the problems now confronting racing in Victoria would have been eliminated had there been more assistance from the police and perhaps a different ruling or two from the Disciplinary Board.



‘I noted with interest the Four Corners-Melbourne Age report into national horse racing corruption stated that the Victorian Police were the only force in Australia with a dedicated sport corruption response model which had two detectives to overseeing intelligence gathered about corruption in horse racing.

The report also highlighted how the New South Wales Government attempts to introduce independent scrutiny of its scandal-riddled harness and greyhound industries had been beset by problems. NSW Ombudsman David Landa, who resigned from the watchdog body, described it as ‘a fraud on the public’ because it lacked any independence or powers.

Under the Bentley Board several former policemen were seconded to the Integrity Department but their services have been dispensed with since the LNP won Government and the Dixon Board took control of racing in Queensland.

One has to question what is going on in the north. When there are reports that corruption in racing is a national problem surely there is a need to increase integrity rather than reduce it.

In view of the promises made concerning a restructure on RQ Integrity and an assurance that it would be more independent under an LNP Government then some questions need to be answered by both the Racing Minister Stephen Dickson and the new RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon.

As it now stands punters and some stake-holders are starting to question what the new Board attitude is to Integrity, why they dispensed with the services of one respected and highly experienced investigator in the middle of a major case and whether there will be any independence in the appointment of Integrity personnel in future?” – Steve Wellington, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It would seem that anti corruption measures in racing are much weaker in other states than Victoria. I certainly haven’t given up on Queensland doing the right thing with an Integrity Department restructure as was promised in LNP Government policy prior to the election. It was encouraging to read a story by NATHAN EXELBY in today's COURIER-MAIL which quoted RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon as saying that moves were afoot to change the way integrity is presided over in Queensland, but legislation needed to be re-written before that could happen.

Exelby reports that a position will be created in the Office of Racing, akin to a Commissioner of Integrity, to delegate where individual matters should be heard.

Those issues pertaining to racing would remain with RQ stewards, but matters periphery to the industry would be directed elsewhere.

"The days where you can put a couple of people in place and pretend they can cover every scenario are gone," Dixon said.

"My vision is to strengthen our ability to preside over issues of our own expertise but to also closely align ourselves with a referral agency where other matters that aren't clearly race related can be investigated by people with the relevant skills."

* THERE needs to be an assurance that there will be no Government interference and the right appointments need to be made otherwise this will just become another bureaucracy going nowhere and achieving nothing.



‘THE call by the Racing Editor of the MELBOURNE AGE to stand down the two jockeys at the centre of ‘racing fixing’ allegations in Dan Nikolic and Mark Zahra was indeed interesting but moreso courageous.

Can you imagine any of Nikolic’s racing media mates from the HERALD SUN calling for such a course of action to be taken by the authorities? No likely!

In fact could you even imagine in your wildest dreams some of the TVN, SKY Channel, Sydney racing scribes or even the bloke that calls himself a Racing Editor in Brisbane ever demanding such action.

Rather than condemn Andrew Eddy for his controversial stance he should be praised for his courage. Rarely is it seen from the mainstream racing media in this day and age. Most of them – especially the guys from SKY and TVN – are too close to the jockeys to be objective.’ – Stan Edwards, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Full marks to Andrew Eddy for making the suggestion. I imagine if the authorities were to stand Nikolic and Zahra down their lawyers would break the land speed record appealing the penalty as a ‘denial of natural justice’ and I would be amazed if the weak-kneed tribunals didn’t allow them to ride the very next day. Perhaps, as was suggested to me by one far more learned gentleman in racing law than I am, the duo should be called on by RVL to show cause why their licenses should not be revoked until investigations into the race in question are completed.

HERE is what ANDREW EDDY wrote in a COMMENT piece in the MELBOURNE AGE on TUESDAY:

RACING Victoria Ltd stewards should today stand down jockeys Dan Nikolic and Mark Zahra from riding indefinitely pending further investigations into the most dreaded curse that can befall horse racing, race fixing.

Such allegations against both Nikolic and Zahra, reported in today's Age and featured last night in the ABC's Four Corners program, are damaging like no other scandal could be for a sport that exists solely because some people have (enough) confidence to bet on horses. But confidence can be a fragile intangible.

The gambler is a predictable yet versatile beast. Wins are celebrated and losses mostly shrugged off. But one thing a gambler dislikes is being cheated. He won't stop gambling but rather move on to something else. There are casinos, pokies and sports betting.

No matter the result of the police investigation into the Cranbourne race in April last year won by Nikolic aboard Smoking Aces, RVL must stand down any licensed person identified in the investigation. The presumption of innocence is a worthy ideal, but to uphold it in this case is to risk allowing the sport to be turned into a circus on the eve of the spring carnival.

It was revealed last night that Zahra and Nikolic are under investigation by the organised crime detectives over allegations that they allegedly helped fix the race in April last year. Zahra is being investigated for allegedly conspiring to ride his horse, Baikal, in a way that would reduce the chances of the favourite, Retaliate, and favour Nikolic's mount, Smoking Aces.

Smoking Aces was backed from $10 into $5 just before the race. Zahra's mount Baikal, who finished in front of just one horse, drifted from $7 to $14 by race time.

RVL chief executive Rob Hines confirmed yesterday that stewards will open an inquiry into investigations once they obtain information from Victoria Police, but stressed that the investigation was into one race only. That may be the case, but in these matters, perception is king, especially as the investigation into the Cranbourne race came about only following police probes into another criminal matter. The obvious question remains.

Although neither have been prominent in recent jockeys' premierships, both are regarded as big-race riders.



‘IT came as no surprise that the Sherriff of New South Wales racing, Ray Murrihy, was quick to declare his precinct immune to the alleged race-fixing scandal in Victoria.

Whilst I am not suggesting there is any race-fixing going on in NSW, Sydney racing could hardly be declared squeaky clean at present.

Punters have no confidence betting there especially with the major form reversals and number of second stringers beating favorites from the big stables.

Mr Murrihy should concentrate on getting his own house in order before looking across the fence at what is happening in Victoria and distancing NSW from that scandal.

In fact I would go as far as declaring that of the major racing states punters have far more confidence betting in Victoria than in New South Wales at present.’- Dale Doyle, Victoria.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You are right about punters nationally wanting NSW stewards to address the form reversals with the big stables Dale. Here is the story from the SYDNEY TELEGRAPH that your e-mail obviously refers to:

RAY Murrihy, Australia's top racing steward, is confident NSW is immune to the latest alleged race-fixing fiasco brewing in Victoria.

While welcoming police interest, Murrihy believes a better result can be achieved to stamp out cheats with greater co-operation between stewards and police.

"I think the best result would be obtained by a better sharing of the information because the proof shows that the police have not been terribly successful in regards to prosecution of racing offences," he said.

"History shows that the stewards are the far more potent force in protecting those matters.

"We respect the work of the police but I think more could be served, rather than chest beating, if there was some co-operation at the ground level with stewards.

"From my experience, unfortunately, is it is very much one way.

"Let's hope it is (the race-fixing allegations) backed up with some actions if indeed there is a race or races, as they suggest, in Victoria that should be further scrutinised."

Racing Victoria was forced into damage control yesterday after reports surfaced that police were investigating a large number of leading racing identities in relation to a race which is alleged to have been fixed at Cranbourne on April 27 last year.

The race was won by Smoking Aces, who firmed from $10 to $5 with on-course bookmakers, and was ridden by Danny Nikolic.

Victoria Police deputy commissioner Graham Ashton stressed there was only one allegation and that the investigation would not spark a widespread probe of the industry.

"While it is a significant issue, it is just one race in a huge industry, so I think we need to keep that in a bit of perspective as well," Ashton said yesterday.

Murrihy returned to work at Racing NSW headquarters yesterday following a winter holiday that also included a trip to Istanbul for an international stewards conference.

A major topic of discussion was working closer with police.

"We had a recent case here where a jockey was charged with supply of prohibited drugs by police and he was riding that day but that information wasn't provided to the stewards," Murrihy said. "Subsequently we were able to ascertain that information from other sources and the rider was stood down.

"It was a little bizarre."

Murrihy also defended the level of expertise of Australian stewards currently policing the sport of racing.

"Of the 30 countries represented at the conference, 10 of those are chaired by Australian stewards," he said.

"It just shows that Australian stewards are certainly regarded as the best in their field in the world and that is shown by people voting with their dollars to bring them to run their jurisdictions."



‘FOUR CORNERS was an interesting program on Monday night and it just might turn out to be the day that Victorian Stewards have been waiting a long time for.

To say the powers to supervise racing in this state are adequate is just out of the dream time. When the power is there the Stewards are confronted with a system that is designed in such a way that they have to be half barrister and half ‘blue cattle dog’.

Regardless of how good a licensee is for him to be let off by the Victorian Appeals Board on the GROUNDS HE DIDN’T KNOW HOW THE ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE DETECTED IN TWO OF HIS SWABS got into HIS horses is truly unbelievable.

It is going to be interesting who gets dragged into this mess.

I was told AND DIDN’T believe it at the time that when Mr Des Gleeson, the STAR of

Victorian Racing integrity, left a couple of years back, he had been virtually tapped on the shoulder by the present Chairman of RVL and told his ‘free ride was over’.

Having a mind and tongue that could be classed among the sharpest in the industry wasn’t apparently quite good enough to carry Mr Gleeson through the rough and tough period that racing was facing.

The old political style kissing the bub or having coffee with the no hopers didn’t work anymore and obviously the Chairman recognized the problem that RVL was facing.

Having said that Mr Gleeson’s photograph remains in the Chief Steward Stand that appears on the RVL website. At a rough guess I reckon he has been gone about four years so I can only assume that Terry Bailey was told not to unpack his work port.

If my assumption is correct a special thanks to Mr Duffy and the ‘Board’ of the day for not sitting on their hands and sticking their heads in the clouds. I haven’t always agreed with Bailey BUT boy he doesn’t let the grass grow under his feet.

On the other hand if I have not been fair to Mr Gleeson I would be quite prepared to make a public apology to him.’ - Allan George Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The approach to the role of Chief Steward by Des Gleeson and Terry Bailey are poles apart. Gleeson is ‘old school’ and extremely popular with the long-time licensees. Bailey’s style is new wave and certainly not so popular but he gets the job done in the opinion of some more effectively than Gleeson. It is obvious from the Four Corners revelations that with a lot more help from the appropriate authorities he could do the job even more effectively.



‘I couldn’t believe what was televised after reading the article that was in The Age about the ‘race fixing’ scandal allegedly involving Danny Nikolic in Victoria.

If that retired copper O’Brien was the best in his day and I assume he was one of their shining lights being the former boss of the Purana squad, I hope the gunman who put Les Samba’s lights out was riding an elephant with bleeding piles through two feet of snow.

It would arguably be their only chance of catching him.

There are some in racing who believe that ex-policemen employed by racing authorities wouldn’t find a dead’en if it was racing in club colors.’ - Fred Williams, Melbourne/

EDITOR’S NOTE: You certainly have a way with words Fred. I don’t think I had better comment on this one except to say that the reward of $1 million now being offered will hopefully lead them to Les Samba’s killer.



‘I don’t have a problem with the new RQ control body moving to end these farcical equity arrangements that the Bentley Board tried to put in place with clubs throughout the State.

What the industry would like to know is how RQ is going to fund the reversal of this very costly exercise? If you examine what the Rockhampton Jockey Club is going to receive in return, if that happens with other clubs in the same situation where is the funding coming from?

We have been told all along that the Bentley Board departed the scene leaving very little money in the bin. He and his mates of course are claiming there were many millions there. It would be nice to know just how much money RQ has and how they are going to finance the reversal of these equity arrangements.

Another interesting aspect of this is what happens with those clubs who don’t want to dump their share deal with RQ. Do they have no choice, will it be tested in court, are they left out on a limb? Once again it is something that the new RQ Chairman should be telling us instead of living in this cocoon and treating the stake-holders like mushrooms.’ – Bob McLaren, Central Queensland.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The members are to vote on this proposal tomorrow evening. Perhaps the funding is coming out of the infrastructure bin where there is over $100 million to play with. If other clubs can get the same deal as the RJC they would be crazy not to accept it .

Below is a circular that was distributed to Rockhampton Jockey Club members dated July 27 that explains the situation in that centre:

Dear RJC Members,

Following the change of State Government earlier this year and subsequent changes to Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) – RQl informed the Rockhampton Jockey Club (RJC) in May that they no longer wish to control racing and training at Club level including Callaghan Park Racecourse.

RQL advised that the partnership the RJC entered with RLQL in August 2010 would be dissolved.

The Club has worked with RQL over the past two months to ensure the best possible outcome for the Club. From the outset the Club’s two main objectives were that any outstanding maintenance issues were addressed by RQL and that the Club received appropriate funding from RQL going forward to successfully manage the racing and training aspects of our business.

In summary the Club will receive:

  • RQL will grant the on-course stables back to the RJC at the AON valuation price of $671,000. RQL will not receive any proceeds on exchange of this asset.
  • RQL have reviewed the facilities, plant and equipment at Callaghan Park and those items pertaining to the RJC will be granted back to the Club at the written down value. RQL will not receive any proceeds on exchange of these asssets.
  • RQL has committed to the following capital expenditure projects at Callaghan Park:

$382,000 to improve the sand track

$80,000 to improve the day yards.

$5,500 to purchase a multi wheel roller for the sand track

$117,000 to install a plastic running rail to the grass track

$20,000 for various other repairs and maintenance issues

  • RQL will pay the Club $1.2mn in subsidy for the FY2012/13 which is a top up of $603,000 above the existing base subsidy of $597,000.
  • RQL for the FY2013/14 and beyond will pay the Club a subsidy of $922,000. RQL has advised that a review subsidy made to Clubs was currently being reviewed.
  • RQL has confirmed that it is working closely with AON to ensure that Callaghan Park and the facilities are adequately covered for floods.
  • RQL are exploring with the Club the front lawn drainage issue. This matter is being considered in conjunction with the relocation of the greyhound kennels.
  • RQL has confirmed that they will reimburse the Club’s expenses relating to dissolving the partnership.
  • RQL will work closely with the Club with regular reviews of the Club’s business model. It is RQL’s intention that all Clubs at least break even every year to ensure that they are sustainable.

As you can see from the above the Club has negotiated a favorable outcome for the Club.

A Special Meeting of Members will be held on Thursday, August 9 at 5.15pm in the Membes’ Bar. Members will be asked to vote in favor of the proposal to dissolve the partnership between the RJC and RQL. Note this day is an RJC race day.

Justin Doyle, Chairman, Rockhampton Jockey Club.



‘I don’t bother reading the letsgohorseracing website, as the few times I have I found it to denigrate the industry that is my lifeblood and I like to promote positively.

The feedback I hear from others is that this site still constantly puts a negative slant on the entire industry and personally, I don’t know why anyone would bother to read such blatant trash that more often than not seems to be unsubstantiated rumors designed to portray all aspects of the racing and breeding industry in a bad light.

Last week I had a concerned member call regarding a very inaccurate article about the TBQA in the Wednesday Whinge and I decided to have a look.

I would not normally waste my time responding to such ill-founded reports; however in this instance I believe the TBQA deserves to be defended given the extremely unethical reporting involved here.

Firstly, I would like to point out to John Lingard that my name is actually spelt Nolan, not Nolen. If you are going to criticize somebody, who should at least do it accurately and for heaven’s sake get their name right. It’s basic research and spelling homework for any journalist I would think.

More importantly, I would like to assure all our TBQA members, and anyone considering joining the Association, that all contact details provided to the TBQA are treated with the strictest confidentiality. I do not even have a copy of the list, and I am the Chairman!

I am furious about the unsubstantiated allegations posted on this website questioning access to the TBQA membership list. This report is completely inaccurate, and I hope any of our members who have read it are able to read between the lines and see the underhand political motivation behind the article in the midst of the TBQA election.

Firstly, if someone in such a so-called ‘high security position’ is concerned that their contact details have been ‘leaked’ by the TBQA, then why hasn’t that person ever contacted me, any committee members or the Association’s executive officer? Wouldn’t that be the first logical step if you thought your personal details had been released without authorization?

Secondly, how can any responsible journalist (which John Lingard claims he is) print such ‘anonymous’ rubbish, without contacting either myself, any committee members, or the Association’s executive officer to verify the potentially damning allegations that have been made. What has happened to ‘balanced’ journalist or the right of reply? There is absolutely nothing ethical or accurate about the article published.

Fortunately, I believe all our TBQA members would be smart enough to realize this article reeked of untoward tactics as I stand for re-election with voting currently underway and I am confident it will not have the damaging ramifications to the TBQA that the author intended.

I find it very disappointing that in a time when the racing industry is finally getting back on track, brimming with confidence and enthusiasm that someone can try to drag it down again. We certainly do not need people like that in this industry.

It’s a shame that people even bother to read the website and lend it any credibility at all.

What we should be doing is banding together to inject positivity and promote the strengths of the breeding and racing industry in Queensland.

Thank you to all our members for your ongoing support and confidence in our Association, the TBQA will continue to work for your best interests.’ - Basil NolAn, TBQA President.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Initially I felt the best response to Basil was to say nothing but he has raised some issues that I am advised cannot go unchallenged. I was unaware that a TBQA election was underway nor do I care. The e-mail that we ran which upset him and others in the TBQA was from a legitimate source (we checked out his identity). We respected his request for anonymity and after seeing the reaction from Basil to what he had to say we understand why he was not prepared to take his concerns up with the Chairman on a personal basis. I won’t be losing any sleep over the bucketing that Basil gave the letsgohorseracing website or me personally in his circular to TBQA members. It has not affected our popularity. In fact the site continues to grow in hits. He raves on about ‘balanced journalism’ and ‘right of reply.’ There hasn’t been any balanced journalism in the mainstream racing media in Brisbane for two or more decades but that style of coverage which fails to criticize or question would no doubt be very acceptable to Basil and his mates. As for ‘right of reply’ that is exactly what we offered him when the e-mail was run last week. Basil made a big issue about me spelling his name with an ‘E’ instead of an ‘A.’ For that I apologize. I am so used to writing articles about real achievers in racing in Australia like Luke NolEn (with an E) that is so easy to get it wrong wrong when you are dealing with insignificant officials like Basil. In conclusion let me congratulate you old fella for surfacing from behind that rock where many say you were hiding during the Bentley era.



THE 1002 registered thoroughbred trainers in Queensland have received a letter from RQL outlining a requirement for compulsory participation in a Rebate Scheme for Workers’ Compensation payments.

We are told that some feel there is a hitch to the proposal – believing the smaller trainers will subsidize their larger colleagues.

Below is a Media Release from the Rockhampton Trainers’ Association which has rejected the proposed changes:

ROCKHAMPTON and district thoroughbred trainers turned out in force at the Association’s monthly meeting on Sunday and overwhelmingly disapproved of the changes implemented by Racing Queensland.

One of the key points on the agenda for discussions was to seek feedback and trainers responses to a letter sent out by Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) dated 24th July 2012 outlining changes to the requirements for holding a trainer’s license in Queensland.

This is in regard to an initiative formulated by RQL and the Australian Trainers’ Association (ATA) Qld branch.

Two key motions were voted on at the meeting and received unanimous support.

  1. 1) Members agreed to oppose the scheme in its entirety. This includes any suggestion of a Base Management Fee and any ongoing Activity Fee being charged to trainer’s accounts.

  1. 2) Members also voted in favor of engaging legal counsel to further examine aspects of RQL and ATA activities, which based on initial advice would appear to breach a number of areas of Australian Corporate Law.

Mr Jim Rundle, President of the Rockhampton Trainers’ Association explained, “there has been widespread concern across the state amongst the ranks of the 1002 registered trainers (July edition RQL Racing Magazine) that this scheme is flawed and ill conceived and blatantly discriminates against a large cross section of trainers in order to subsidise workers compensation rebates to primarily, larger trainers.”

Workers Compensation insurance premiums for all business operations, not just the Racing industry, are calculated by Workcover Queensland, an authorized government agency.

The rate of payment for premiums is calculated on a percentage of wages paid by the business.

The amount can vary across business operations even within the same industry, based on the frequency of incidents and accidents which result in employee lost time through injury.

In this regard the racing industry is no different to any other business in Australia which employs people and pays Work Cover Insurance premiums.

RQL and the ATA allege they have been pro active and consulted widely requesting feedback from trainers across the state regarding this initiative. They also allege they have received overwhelming support to implement the system as soon as possible.

Mr Rundle said “at the beginning of July there were 121 licensed thoroughbred trainers in the Capricornia region (source: RQL Magazine) which represents about  12% of Queensland trainers and we cannot find one who was ever consulted by either the ATA or RQL and asked for feedback on any such proposed scheme”

Mr Rundle went on further, “Workplace health and safety is indeed a very serious matter and the Racing Industry has some obvious risk factors that need to be managed closely. Neither, RQL or the ATA have been able to offer any information or data to trainers, explaining which types or injuries or workplace situations are contributing to any overall spike in Workcover Insurance claims, thereby creating increases in premiums for some trainers.

Our members find it very difficult to fathom, how the new scheme where trainers who have no or low Workcover claims, subsidise those trainers with a high rate of claims will ever have any effect on reducing work place hazards, or ultimately produce a safer environment within racing stables.”

Mr Rundle said, “our Association would be very keen to assist in any review to improve Workplace safety and its impact on Workcover premiums should RQL and the ATA ever wish to take a bigger picture view and a more considered and professional approach to an industry wide concern.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: IF RQ wishes to respond to a low-life website that only denigrates the industry we would be happy to print their reply. Any other stake-holders having trouble getting their message across in the mainstream media need only to e-mail their concerns to us. This is a voice for all, even the poor old TBQA who continues to rely on Government handouts from QTIS to survive while the rest of the industry struggles on pitiful bread and butter prizemoney.



‘I wish to comment on a couple of issues (involving the Toowoomba Turf Club) but as a current trainer, I request that my name be omitted. No, I don’t trust the system:

I am always aghast when I see Neville Stewart being commended for his financial management of the Toowoomba TC.

It appears that people expect clubs such as these to run at an enormous profit as if they are corporations when they aren’t. (Racing Queensland is a corporation but shouldn’t be – more on this another time.)

To appreciate what should be happening, it is important to appreciate the rationale for the inordinate power that race clubs have in administering the industry. Unlike all other endeavours in the modern business world, the fact that licensees are precluded from holding high administrative office means that the industry is run by an elite who have significantly more power than the licensees they administer.

This form of governance is akin to feudalism in that there is no democracy or its attendant principles, such as, “government by the governed”, the “rule of law”, or the doctrine of the “separation of powers” (though I expect that this is to be implemented as part of LNP policy).

Without going into the rights and wrongs of this arrangement, an important principle in feudalism is noblesse oblige, which means that those of high birth, or enjoy a high social position, have a moral obligation to act with kindness, honour and generosity.

Presumably, the reason why such elites are still in charge in the supposed Enlightened times, is that, being of considerable wealth, they are less likely to act in their own interests, and instead look after the interests of those for whom they are  responsible, namely, the licensees who rely on the industry for their livelihoods.

In recognition of the role that trainers play in making their race meetings possible, training facilities were traditionally provided for a nominal fee. I recall it being around $1 per horse per month. At Clifford Park, this was increased to $1 per horse per day at a time when Eagle Farm, Randwick and Flemington trainers were still paying the nominal, $1 per month fee. Of course,

Toowoomba trainers had to accept without comment like many other unpalatable issues they have been imposed with. With between 550 and 700 horses in work at the time, this was a windfall for the TTC and contributed much to reputation of the then Chair being a good financial manager.

It is important to realise that places like Toowoomba have only one training centre and that trainers are totally dependent on them; in short, the TTC was a monopolistic provider. If trainers didn’t like the arrangement, they had to uproot their businesses and relocate their families elsewhere.

So rather than this be reflective of the spirit of noblesse oblige, or even ethical business practice, it was monopolistic profit maximization without due regard for the people who have to operate under those conditions. It could be argued that this strategy, which has since been copied by all race clubs, sounded the death knell for race clubs acting with generosity, kindness etc and instead we see that a corporate culture has taken over the entire industry.

Perhaps a better gauge for the success of the Toowoomba Turf Club would be to look at what has been lost. Toowoomba hosts just two listed races (Weetwood and Cup) where the SCTC and GCTC have a myriad of group and listed races, and has half the number of horses in work. I don’t call that good management!’

EDITOR’S NOTE: As has been the policy of this website if Neville Stewart or anyone else wishes to respond they have right of reply in next week’s Wednesday Whinge. Rather than go to individuals and organisations the same week we believe it is better to give them time to properly prepare a response.



‘I read on your website last week that Neville Stewart (former Toowoomba Turf Club Chairman) is being hailed as a great administrator from the past.

This praise needs to be balanced with facts.

Mr Stewart must think the past is forgotten. Well let me tell you, there are plenty of us in Brisbane racing that have not forgotten and we cannot stomach the tripe being written about Mr Stewart.
I see Mr Stewart has managed to have himself appointed to the board of the Owners’ Association. That Association, from all reports, is racked by in-fighting.

I bet that in-fighting reaches new heights now because every organization Mr Stewart has anything to do with ends up either complying with his will or is in constant conflict until he gets his way or he leaves.

On three occasions Mr Stewart has attempted to be elected to Parliament. Congratulations to the very smart voting public who can see through the façade. Who said country people are slow.

I provide the extract from The Courier-Mail because that is the only publication that had the intestinal fortitude to publish the truth about the Mr Stewart’s handling of the financial affairs of the Toowoomba Turf Club. In those days death threats were flying about like moths to light on a dark night.

It’s a pity the CJC never completed the investigation because the racing industry was entitled to know what was going on. I remind you he resigned as Chairman in 2009 because he thought he was to be appointed to the RQL Board by Mr Bentley. That did not work out as planned for some reason.
A quote from The Courier Mail by Journalist Chris Griffith in 2001:

The Courier Mail reported last week that between 1996 and this year Stewart had a total of $70,224.02 in claimed expenses. This included $34,644 in telephone costs, $14,216 in fuel $18,253 at the Hilton Hotel and $3,090.40 for restaurant meals. Stewart agreed to repay $28,090.

It is not the case that Stewart's expenses were accrued in ignorance of concern about how public officers spend money.

The TTC was under the spotlight for financial irregularities and faced a Criminal Justice Commission investigation over the irregularities in 1996 well before any of the $70,000 in question was spent.

The 1996 CJC investigation did not continue because Stewart and the then TTC treasurer successfully applied to the Supreme Court to rule their organization as being beyond the CJC's jurisdiction.

With the CJC sidelined, the expenses extravaganza appears to have continued on its merry way.

A recent audit report was littered with references such as ‘large amounts for fuel for a sedan’ for petrol claims and expressed concerns that monthly phone bill claims of about $500 were simply ‘guestimates’ based on previous claims.

The above is only a small extract from The Courier-Mail and Hansard and I have attached a letter from the QPC to the TTC for perusal (from 2001, which we have not reproduced today). It’s very interesting.

My Favorite saying "Many hands make LIGHTS work”. – Queensland Racing Whistleblower, who does not wish to have his name reveled ‘because I have many installments to come.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of the content in the above e-mail has been edited out. We are talking a walk down memory lane and a visit to the archives of Hansard and The Courier-Mail but the can of worms was opened by those calling for the return of Neville Stewart to Toowoomba Turf Club administration. Should Neville wish to respond he has the right of an unedited reply to the above e-mail in next week’s Wednesday Whinge which is our normal practice (hope you read this Mr Nolan with an A). That is our normal practice.


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.





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