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 was a mixed bag in the e-mail box during the past week but one topic that continues to be raised is the deal that Racing Queensland did with the on-course bookmakers. There are calls for it to be explained in more detail and for an audit of where the money will or is being distributed. With confirmation that another Chief Steward is departing North Queensland calls were renewed for the reappointment of Patrick Cooper or for the position to be at least advertised and an independent human resources group appointed to determine the successful candidate on ability not politics. There were a number of other contentious issues raised this week. There has been a pleasing response to our new feature – The Gossip, the Threats and the Wankers – which has become permanent.



 MANY would have read the story in the Sydney Morning Herald about Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys taking legal action against a neighbor’s plans for an extension to their house.

Apparently what the story didn’t tell you was that the neighbor, Melanie Dive, is one of his own employees. She works in the accounts and finance section of Racing NSW. If the racing rumor mill is on the ball standby for an interesting sequel to this affair.



READING about the alleged threats to Victorian Chief Steward Terry Bailey and his family from jockey Dan Nikolic, prompted this response from Alan Aitken, the Aussie who is Chief Racing Writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.

Highlighting the dangers of being a stipendiary steward in Malaysia, Aitken wrote: “They attack with deadly weapons - meat cleavers. Three stewards were chopped in the space of two or three years there and recently one almost had an arm hacked off. And plenty of the stewards there are Aussies.”

Coincidence on not wasn’t Malaysia the venue where Nikolic was planning to ride out the storm up to the spring carnival before he hit this latest hurdle with officialdom?



ONE would hope that officials in Brisbane racing recognize the contribution that Jim Anderson made to the industry he was so passionate about.

Even when his career ended as a racing journalist and Turf Editor with Queensland Newspapers’ Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail, Anderson continued to work for the betterment of the industry that he was born into.

His involvement in the Bernborough Club has been well documented and perhaps a fitting memorial to one of the most respected gentleman of the turf would be the renaming of the Bernborough Handicap, the Jim Anderson Bernborough Handicap.

MAX PRESNELL best summed up his old mate in a fitting tribute in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD when he wrote: “Jim had a voice like crackling sandpaper and a booming laugh, generated by a heart as big as Bernborough.”



THE mail is strong that the position of Chief Steward in North Queensland, which has become vacant again following the unexpected resignation of Mark Hill, will be filled from within.

And there is a tip that the current Chief Stipe from Toowoomba, Martin Knibbs, might be moving even further away from Brisbane where his talents could be better utilized.

Knibbs, the one-time Chief Steward of harness racing in Brisbane and a gallops steward in Hong Kong, fell out with the former Integrity Department headed by Jamie Orchard and wound up on the western front warming his toes on cold winter nights in the stewards’ tower at Clifford Park.

One would have thought that rather than create a vacancy in Toowoomba, the position in Townsville would have been advertised to at least give Patrick Cooper a chance of applying for the job he should never have lost.



OUR SPY in the DEAGON BUNKER has advised that a story doing the rounds is that a former steward, sacked under the reign of former Integrity boss Jamie Orchard, is taking Racing Queensland to court.

Not sure which steward it is (the list is so long). It is believed the person in question has requested an open hearing so that all can come along and listen to the Orchardist and others on how they ran the joint.

Apparently the Orchardist and some of his loyal current and former shoe-shiners will be subpoenaed.

It has been suggested that one current senior steward will be grilled over the questionable use of a recording device on fellow employees.

Our man in the bunker suggests it should ensure a rollicking day’s entertainment. Tickets are obviously going to be limited but it should be a lot of fun.



THE former Racing Queensland Board of Bob Bentley could be destined to spend some of their time in the courts if the mail doing the rounds is correct.

There has been confirmation that ASIC is investigating the controversial payouts of close to $2 million made to four RQ executives soon after the change of Government in March.

The new Board of RQ bowed to anger within the industry and asked the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the Australian Securities Commission to examine how the payouts were made.  

We can also confirm that the Kevin Dixon Board believes some members of the Bentley Board are guilty of breaching the Corporations Act in the provision of information used in stories in the Gold Coast Bulletin and on this web-site in relation to how much cash was on hand at RQ when they departed along with other information.

Letsgohorseracing insists that what we published was in the interests of the public and the industry and was unaware of any Corporations Act breaches that might be involved.

At the end of the day why would the new RQ Board not want the racing fraternity to know that the old Board left them with $13 million in cash reserves, especially when there was over $30 million in the bin at one stage?



WHO was the dill among the 86-strong group of media and racing administrators from throughout the country who felt that Black Caviar didn’t deserve to be Australian Horse of the Year?

The person concerned relegated the champion mare to his or her No 2 choice. We don’t who he or she nominated as No 1 which would be interesting.

To make an even bigger mockery of the voting system some other dip-sticks gave Black and Bent and Brungle Cry votes as Horse of the Year. Neither was able to win the Champion Jumper Award.  


Here’s this week’s e-mail selection with apologies to those who missed out for legal or other reasons:



‘MY friends and I have been owners participating in the racing industry in Queensland for more years than we care to remember and feel somewhat miffed by this initiative of the new Board designed ‘to assist on-course bookies to remain viable.’

From our perspective it was rather alarming that the new powers-that-be seem to view the survival of the bookmakers – many of whom drive around in luxury cars and live in mansions – more important to that of struggling owners who keep the sport alive.

Some questions need to be answered about this initiative before we will be convinced it is nothing more than a ‘slush fund’ to help some bookmakers survive when they shouldn’t be standing anyway.

As far as we can see this On-course Fielding Incentive Scheme, introduced by the Dixon Board and endorsed of course by his mates in the racing media, offers quiet extraordinary incentives to bookmakers.

It removes the obligation of bookmakers to pay stand or fielding fees to race clubs for the use of facilities such as TV monitors, power and communications services. Bookmakers can apply for repayment of ‘costs involved in fielding on course’ and RQL will make grants ‘towards specific initiatives aimed at encouraging and enhancing the service and entertainment provided by on-course bookies’.

Our interpretation of this massive handout, which by the way is going to cost the industry $3.6 million a year, can best be likened to a guy who operates a donut shop in a shopping centre like Westfield.

When the business is travelling rough he goes to Westfield and complains and in return they say don’t worry about paying any rent, power, costs (wages to your staff etc) and when you want to hold a special promotion we will pick up the bill.

This is an absolute farce – no business in the world gets this sort of handout to survive. If it can’t stand on its own two feet then it goes to the wall.

We remember the days, albeit before the corporates, when there were hundreds of bookies on tracks throughout the state.

Another question we would like to pose is who will be the biggest beneficiary of this so-called initiative among the clubs?

We are told that when Bob Bentley was Chairman his Board rejected a proposal from a major club to introduce a similar initiative because their legal advice was that it would open the door to a legal action from corporate bookmakers claiming an unfair playing field.

Perhaps if the new Board wanted to be fair dinkum they should allow the corporate agencies  to field at the track then we might see how many of the current bookies, even with the help of the ‘slush fund,’ would be competitive and survive.

What needs to be provided to the industry is an annual or six monthly audit of this On-Field Bookmakers’ Incentive Scheme to reveal where and on what the money is being spent and just how much each club is receiving from RQ as compensation for lost fielding fees.

Come on Mr Dixon, how about looking after the owners as well as the bookmakers. Without us there would be no bookmakers or racing. It’s about time you got your priorities in the right order.’ – As I am a major owner and don’t want to endure the wrath of an RQ Board that apparently doesn’t cop criticism well I would prefer my name be with-held. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have no doubt that the Bookmakers’ Association will be quick to justify this incentive scheme and they are welcome to right of reply as is the RQ Board. I would like to back the call for an audit of where the money is being spent. Whilst a strong argument can be mounted for support to help battling bookies survive on-course, is this scheme discriminatory against the corporate agencies who aren’t allowed to field at the track? The ‘special promotion’ section of the scheme is the one that interests me. I can’t imagine it would involve costs being covered for bookies to get dressed up as clowns to entertain the punters. One would imagine it would cover costs of betting vouchers. Now that is a very interesting situation if such is the case. A lot more needs to be explained rather than the feel-good reports and column items that have been posted in the on-side mainstream racing media of just how RQ plans to distribute this money which is claimed to be part of LNP racing policy but I can’t find it anywhere.



‘A member of my family recently suffered from the actions of Campbell ‘we’re not sacking a soul’ Newman and his weak-kneed storm-troopers attack on the Public Service.

I wondered if there was any point in crying over the old ‘milk’ that had been spilt and whether it was best to advise my daughter and son-in-law to get on with life.

During my time spent looking at the internet I decided to see if there was any part-time work at any of the racetracks that might help them sustain an income until something permanent came along.

I became a little annoyed when I came across an article helping out the BOOKMAKERS.

On 30th June last (a Saturday afternoon if you please) Racing Queensland announced that it would be handing over $1.8 million to help the poor old bookmakers get by for the next six months.

I thought to myself ‘so what’ some of those poor bookies who always have a losing ticket on the last one that is written for a race will be pleased.

Then I saw down the bottom of the news release and I quote:

“This SCHEME (yes a Scheme) forms part of wider reforms included in the LNP Policy that was announced in the lead up to the Queensland State Election held in March 2012.”

I asked an old acquaintance tied up with the Bookmakers’ Association how this so-called Scheme operated. With a smile on his face he said: “Oh. you must mean the L.G.S.F. It is basically a Slush Fund,” and that was all he knew about it.


How did the GOVERNMENT arrive at the figure of $1.8 million to support this Scheme?

Who administers the SCHEME (signs the cheques)?

Is the SCHEME audited and if so by whom?

(To my knowledge there hasn’t been a rebuttal written or otherwise to indicate that the Bentley balance sheet ($13 million in cash reserves) wasn’t correct, so I can only assume it is coming out of that).

If RQ funded this SCHEME from what account was the unbudgeted $1.8 million debited to?

AND if these funds were supplied by the Government how many public servants did they have to sack to fund the Scheme? – Morris Neal, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I certainly don’t remember this bookmakers’ scheme being promised in the LNP pre-election policy. In fact we struggled to learn what their racing policy was until the eve of the election. It comes as a bit of a surprise that they are prepared to spend $3.6 million a year (that’s $14.4mn over four years) on helping the on-course bookies survive, especially when the Sports Minister Steve Dickson (he is also Racing Minister by the way) announced the Government is going to slash $40 million from sport and recreation programs in Queensland over the next four years (that’s called giving to the rich and taking from the poor in my book). Here’s a story from The Courier-Mail on this:

AUSTRALIA'S Olympic status could sink further after the Queensland Academy of Sport fell victim to the Newman Government's cost-cutting.

Barely a month after the national team's 10th place on the London medal tally - five spots below their target - the State Government could find no extra funding for Queensland’s champion factory.

It has also slashed $40 million from sport and recreation infrastructure programs over the next four years and handballed the responsibility for drug-testing services to the Commonwealth Government.

Minister for Sport Steve Dickson defended the tough measures and highlighted other programs such as the Get in the Game initiative aimed at easing the cost of participation in grassroots sport.

Total funding for the QAS remains unchanged but the budgeted cost of coaching each athlete has been halved to $6000.

The Government attributed the fall to higher personal sponsorships for athletes, and more scholarships being awarded.

Queensland punches above its weight in performance and representation, with the QAS last year producing 27 per cent of athletes on national teams.

With the state in significant debt and thousands of public servants sacked, sport faces several more years of cutbacks.

"I have had to make some very tough but necessary decisions during the Budget process, as part of our whole of government approach to turning our financial situation around," Mr Dickson said.

The Budget's impact on sport was a mixed bag. Racing has been rejuvenated with funding for an extra 20 country meetings each year.

The Get in the Game program, which reduces the cost of club registrations, was allocated $18 million, $2 million more than what was promised ahead of the election.

And funding for the state's industry bodies has been maintained, with peak sporting body Q-Sport commending the Government for its approach.



‘MY call will no doubt fall on deaf ears but the new Racing Queensland Board should bite the bullet and reappoint Patrick Cooper as chairman of stewards in the north.

The industry up here needs stability where stewards are concerned not this continuous revolving door where none of the appointments seem to last long enough to understand the local scene.

Mark Hill has only been here since January and now he is returning home to Victoria to take up an administrative role at a provincial club.

I read where he was head-hunted for the job. Would it not be easier to advertise the position or better still reappoint Patrick Cooper, who continues to sit on the sidelines when the job he could do would arguably be better than any of those who have replaced him.

In fact there are many who believe he would do a better job than the current chairman of stewards in Queensland who was once his under-study and therein probably lies one of the reasons he is not being considered.

Now that Allan Reardon has returned to the fold in Queensland the chances of Cooper being reappointed have nosedived even further, or so those within the stewarding ranks who don’t want Cooper back – or are intimidated by his presence – are admitting in confidential discussions.

There should be a requirement on the RQ Board to advertise the position then appoint an independent human resources group to select the stewards best qualified for the job. The fact that some of his colleagues don’t want him there should have no bearing on the outcome.’ – Greg O’Brien, Townsville.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ve got about as much chance of riding the winner of the next Melbourne Cup as Patrick Cooper has of being reappointed Chief Steward in North Queensland (don’t worry Bossy, your seat is safe). It is absolutely absurd that a high profile steward with his experience sits on the sidelines while some of the those (I could use an adjective to describe them but I won’t risk being sued) are left in control of race meetings. In my opinion Cooper is a furlong better steward than Wade Birch and that should not be interpreted as a knock for the current chief but more just how highly I, and a lot of others, rate Patrick. If the position isn’t advertised and the highest qualified person appointed then RQ deserves what it gets when stewarding of races in the north continues to degenerate into a farce.          



‘NEWS Limited papers have been carrying a story claiming the Queensland Corporate Watchdog had obtained copies of computer drives and emails into questionable golden handshakes made by RQL to four former senior employees.

I can remember when I was up in your neck of the woods a couple of years ago when there was a decision made by the Bentley Board for the Directors to be covered for all legal costs incurred by them to be paid for by RQ.

Can you find out if Bob (Bentley) and Bill (Ludwig) plus the rest of the crew involved are still entitled to the benefit of indemnification implemented by the original Board; was it in place when Mr Bentley and his fellow directors were members of the Board that exercised the ‘Golden Handshake’ rule and is the directors’ protection still in existence?’ – Bruce Jenner, Newcastle.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When asked for an explanation at the time Bob Bentley told me that it was normal procedure for directors of companies to be indemnified against court action. If that is the case I would imagine they are covered for the time that they were the Board members and I haven’t seen anything to the contrary to suggest that it is any different for the current Board but if it is we would be happy to explain why and when they changed the indemnification situation.



‘I look forward to reading the weekly columns of the racing journalists of yesteryear like Max Presnell (in the Sydney Morning Herald).

I feel Max is a journalist that leads from the front and is prepared to ask the tough questions when needed. 

Having said that is there any way I can organize to have Max research the following issues that arose in his column in the Sydney Morning Herald recently?

With reference to the late, great Scobie Breasley’s heart to heart with the stewards running racing in Victoria in 1942 which resulted in both parties exchanging Christmas Cards each year, can you please establish the answer to the following questions?

How many times did Danny Nikolic have a heart to heart with Mr Murrihy’s cousin and former Victorian Chairman of Stewards Des Gleeson about his behavior, plus the number of written apologizes he has given to stewards over the years?

Was Nikolic one of the racing identities seen entering the Australian Crimes Commission recently?

Reference to the Australian Crimes Commission was made by The Age reporter John Silvester. (There wasn’t any indication as to the identities of those who did attend to give evidence).

With the benefit of Mr Murrihy’s vast experience and knowledge is it possible for you to ascertain the answers to the following?

When chief steward John Wallace was ‘king hit’ at Barcaldine, was he eating a burger at the time, or did he drop his video camera?

Was the Mr Mahoney you refer to the same one that would go to the funerals of questionable characters of the calibre of George Freeman?

When the disqualified person tapped Mr Murrihy on the shoulder when crossing Bass Strait, was that the same day there was a very large King Tide?

Who was the steward who tried to undermine Terry Bailey with the Victorian Police on the Nikolic issue?

Have Eddie Hayson and Mr Murrihy had a heart to heart and sorted out the rights to the footage of security cameras?

I look forward to reading your articles in the weeks ahead Max and hopefully the answers to some of my questions.’ - Doug Morris, Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wow Doug, you certainly do have some inside mail on the goings on involving stewards in many parts of the country over a long period of time. Here’s hoping Max sees fit to address your questions over the customary cold one with Marshall Murrihy after the last on a regular Saturday at the Sydney races.



‘I tried to get Terry Butts to write something about these issues (in his Silks & Saddles column), but he seems to has gone soft like the rest of the racing journos since the new Board came to power.

He won’t have a go anymore!

Reckons he is still awaiting the outcome of an appeal from QCAT involving himself. I thought that was all sorted out months ago, wasn’t it?

Anyway he told me to write in myself. So here goes.

Firstly, why didn’t QCAT and or the stewards give trainer Gary (Muttaburra) Dickson a stay of proceedings after charging him with giving a horse a milkshake?

Every other trainer gets a stay so that they have a bit of time to sort out their stable and line up a job if their appeal fails but not Mutta. They have just left him hang out to dry. Why?

Also why did that bully (some call him boof-head) steward  who took over the scales job at  the Cairns Amateurs stand down jockey Shane Pawsey because he was slightly overweight (we are talking 200grams).

He wasn’t overweight because of any partying either. Poor bloke had been suffering a lung infection all week and was unable to sweat, as much as he tried.

But the bully-boy steward, a greyhound man apparently, and an ex Stuart Jail employee (where he obviously learned his people skills) stood him down and it cost him over $1,000 in riding fees and a fine).

Bit over the top everyone reckoned.

And then another jockey, Graham Kliese, was going to be fined ($200) for not riding a horse out but told the stewards: “Fine me if you like but I will win on appeal. I have a vet’s certificate already for the horse.”

No, you won’t find that in the stewards’ report either.

And then there was the case of a Townsville trainer being fined $1,000 for swearing at a steward after they refused his horse a barrier ticket at the recent Cluden trials.

He was upset, of course he was upset, and he has a lot of sympathy from most other trainers who are aware of how much effort he has put into the young horse.

I am not suggesting you can call stewards by those names and get away with it but a $1,000 fine seems way, way out of touch.’I can’t use my name as I will end up on the same charge that Butts got and I can’t afford a solicitor, let alone a fine. But I reckon there are plenty in racing in the north who agree with me.

EDITOR’S NOTE: You obviously don’t know Buttsy as well as I do if you think he has weakened his stance when it comes to fighting for an issue he feels strongly about. A good indication is his stand against the discriminatory licensing laws that are forcing families away from racing in the country. In relation to the case involving Terry and the RQ Integrity Department of the former Bentley Board that went to appeal, the lady who heard the case had a family setback during which her mother became gravely ill and died. I would expect she will hand down her decision in the near future. As for the issues involving trainers, jockeys and stewards in the north, perhaps you should take them up with the two head honchos of racing integrity in Queensland in Allan Reardon and Wade Birch. If that doesn’t work then try the Trainers’ or Jockeys’ Associations who should be outspoken on issues such as this if they are actually aware of them.



‘I think your web-site is making too much out of the ‘others quoted’ argument (in relation to dividends being posted for running doubles on SKY Channel).

In Victoria and NSW at-home punters have access to Tab Active by simply pushing the Red button. I would think like me nearly all Sky viewers would watch with this service in play during broadcasts.

Sky Active is a completely ‘live’ approximates and dividend service at the touch of a button including ‘All Paying’ when dividends are clear. I couldn't now imagine ever watching races without it.

Obviously for Queensland viewers this is completely irrelevant (they don’t have access to the service and Tattsbet doesn’t offer Running Doubles).

Perhaps you should start some sort of campaign to get rid of Tatts as your tote provider and get on board with Tabcorp?

As it stands we don't even need dividends put up on the screen, they are all there at the touch of a button.

I think they are really only doing it as a goodwill gesture for the states and territories that are lumbered with Tatts!

I know it sounds like it, but I am in no way a Tabcorp stoolie or anything like that, just think you are so wrong about TVN being better than Sky, which is light years ahead in terms of technology.’ – Stefan Meier, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We know from his e-mails of the past that Stefan is a great fan of SKY but he is always objective and we welcome his contribution. He makes a good point about the SKY Active service which Queensland-based punters do not have access to and that is where the complaints are coming from in relation to running doubles. The problem is that Tattsbet doesn’t offer running doubles and punters in the north have accounts with the southern TABs but do not get access to the wonderful service you talk about from SKY Active so are feeling rather forgotten when it comes to seeing what their doubles have paid when they bet successfully.



WE continue to receive e-mails concerning why horses from a certain stable perform so well when they are fresh.

Here is an edited (for legal reasons) example which we have chosen to run:

‘HAVE you noticed how horses from a prominent northern stable continue to race best when they are fresh from the spelling farm and how their form soon tapers off?

The industry is awash with a theory for this and perhaps it is something that the stewards should be looking into as it continues to happen.

As a fellow trainer, who feels it is an issue that needs to be addressed, I am sending this e-mail to your web site in the hope that if it is published the stewards might look into it. I know it won’t get a run elsewhere in the racing media. 

There is a reason that many say nothing will be done and that is because (we have edited the following out for legal reasons). Here’s hoping racing in this region isn’t degenerating into what happened a couple of decades ago in the north.’As I am a licensed Brisbane trainer, who just wants a level playing field for all, you can understand the reasons for my anonymity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am sure this is pure scuttlebutt and jealousy but we continue to receive these concerns from trainers and owners who say it is pointless taking their complaints to the stewards. My suggestion is to either take your concerns to the Racing Minister or raise these with the CMC but they will probably punt it back to the control body stewards. This is another reason why racing in Queensland needs an independent Integrity Department which I am assured will soon be legislated. We’re still waiting and now there isn’t a sitting of Parliament until late October. Perhaps we will get it through by Christmas (just not sure what Christmas to hope for).   



SINCE we were made aware of the Racing Bitch column out of Hong Kong – a must read for all racing enthusiasts who enjoy a blend of humor and controversy – we have become an avid fan.

We received a couple of requests and I am sure they would not mind us reproducing this little gem concerning the media storm in a tea-cup and strike threat by jockeys over the Katelyn Mallyon ‘barred from the jockeys’ room’ incident in Victoria.

Here is what the Racing Bitch had to say on the issue which probably sums up the feelings of many who watch from the sidelines as racing in Victoria staggers from one embarrassment to another:   

Under the headline: Holding Racing to Ransom it reads:

It’s been long accepted that the ‘pint sized rascals’ of racing – jockeys – are not over endowed with grey matter. Over the years, indiscretions and racing scandals challenging the integrity of horse racing have, with monotonous regularity, involved these ‘pint sized rascals.’

If the recent spate of investigations and inquiries into race fixing in Victorian isn’t enough to shame their profession and bring it into massive disrepute, then the Page Four story in Melbourne’s Herald-Sun newspaper and a subsequent exchange between Radio Sport National’s morning host Shane Anderson and the Victorian Jockeys’ Association’s Des O’Keefe, put it beyond any reasonable doubt.

The Herald-Sun story centred around injured apprentice Katelyn Mallyon telling racing writer Matt Stewart of her ‘devastation at being twice ejected from the female jockeys rooms in the past week.’

“I can’t believe it, I am devastated. It’s like they don’t want me to be part of the industry. It’s been very important for me to still be part of it and see my friends. I think it’s important for my rehabilitation,” Mallyon is quoted as telling Stewart.

She can’t be serious, can she? Or maybe she is. You see, there is a rule of racing that only jockeys who are competing at a race meeting are allowed into a jockeys’ room at that race meeting. Whether you agree or disagree that is the rule and has been in place for a long time.

You would think that in the current climate where race fixing allegations are flowing thick and fast and the eyes of some of the sharpest investigative media minds are firmly on the radar of horse racing that the very last thing jockeys need is any more unwanted publicity about their behavior or possible breaches of integrity.

And to be greeted with a sensationalized Herald-Sun headline like “We’ll go on strike” and to have O’Keefe quoted in the article stating “this is disgraceful, Katelyn should be embraced not shunned like this” and the implied warning that “if this is not resolved quickly I will take it to the jockeys and let them decide what they want to do about it,” is hardly what you would expect from a spokesperson for these ‘pint sized rascals.’

‘Dashing Des’ should know better. Making an open ended statement like that invites interpretation, and often such statements are taken way out of context and misinterpreted and sensationalized into headline grabbing stories that makes his precious ‘pint sized rascals’ look increasingly like a rabble intent on holding racing to ransom.

For Victorian Chief Steward Terry Bailey, this latest kerfuffle is the last thing he needs.

From what we have gleaned, Bailey has apologized to this particular precious little ‘pint sized rascal’ Katelyn Mallyon.

Apparently the Integrity Department stuffed up and through a breakdown in communication, permission to allow her to enter the female jockeys’ room and seek solace in the bosom of her mentor Michelle Payne, had not been relayed to stewards in charge at Bendigo.

What a high farce – a page four news story in the high circulation morning newspaper on such an appallingly trivial issue, quite quickly and easily resolved by a simple telephone call. We can only speculate that ‘Dashing Des’ had a senior’s moment and lack of balls, if the comments attributed to him are true.

As for Katelyn Mallyon, we can only attribute her histrionics to her immaturity. Perhaps the worldly Michelle Payne can mentor her to fast track her journey towards maturity.

And the Jockeys’ Association and ‘Dashing Des’ need to do a lot better themselves.

O’Keefe needs to wave goodbye to his repetitious monologue about the heroics of the martyred ‘pint sized rascals’ whom he represents. It’s time to move on from the continual barrage of spin about how financially disadvantaged his members are, and how the racing industry could better support them.

The Jockeys' Association and ‘Dashing Des’ must face up to the reality that jockeys are facing a crisis of respect, both in the racing industry and the community at large.

Race fixing is one of the most serious allegations that can be leveled at any participant in horse racing. And the damage that it does to the jockeys’ profession and to racing is profound.

If there are any doubts, ‘Dashing Des’ and his Association only need to assess the long term, and in many ways, permanent damage that the match fixing allegations have inflicted on cricket in general and specifically on cricket in Asia.

The goodwill that jockeys have enjoyed is fast dissipating, just like the reputation of racing as a sport where ‘99 per cent of its participants’ play by the rules.

The Jockeys need to clean up their act and regain the respect and goodwill that they have either lost or are losing. In the present environment, even the mere hint or mention of strike action, can only confirm the gathering view that Victorian jockeys are fast tracking to becoming a rabble.



‘I couldn’t agree more with Gai Waterhouse when she says admission to metropolitan tracks for all but major feature days should be free.

It is about the only way clubs are going to lure punters from their armchairs at home and even then it might not work as the damage has already been done.

Those who do venture out have too many incentives to meet their mates at the local pub or club where the entrance is free, the atmosphere is family friendly and you don’t have to pay over the top prices for food and drink.’ – Charlie Alexander, Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The trouble for race clubs if they provide free admission involves their members. What would be the point of paying those fees if the public was getting in for nothing? It seems that the Victorians have mixed feelings on Gai’s suggestion. Here is a story on the issue by MATT STEWART from the HERALD SUN:      

GAI Waterhouse's call for racing clubs to throw open the gates to lure people back to the track has Melbourne administrators divided.

Waterhouse said Sydney's free mid-week entry should be extended to all race meetings bar major race days.

She said there was no incentive for punters to head to the track, where admission fees can vary from $10 to $25 at non-feature meetings.

Dwindling crowds have become one of the sport's great dilemmas, but not everyone agrees dropping the gate fee will translate to bigger attendances.

Melbourne Racing Club chairman Mike Symons has long advocated free entry and Symons yesterday engaged in a Twitter debate with Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive Michael Browell about Waterhouse's proposal.

Like Browell, Victoria Racing Club chief executive Dale Monteith does not believe free entry would produce a long-term boost to crowds.

"The MRC has something like 800 poker machines yielding about $50,000 per machine to fund its business model; we have 108," Browell said.

"The bottom line is no club other than the MRC can make proposals like this because we simply don't have that revenue stream."

Browell said free entry would provide only a short-term rise in crowds and cheapen the race-day experience.

Off-season entry at the Valley is $10.

Browell said the MRC had not provided any evidence that free entry for last year's Underwood Stakes meeting and this year's Orr Stakes meeting, featuring Black Caviar, had been worthwhile.

The Underwood meeting attracted 9000 to Caulfield in 2010 and 12,000 last year. More than 30,000 watched Black Caviar win the Orr.

Entry will again be free for Saturday's Underwood meeting.



‘IS the industry aware that some officials of clubs in Queensland live in fear of criticizing the new powers that be?

As a director of a prominent TAB club I can tell you that my Board fears for its future and feels it is not getting the same sweetheart deal as others under the new administration.

Little has been published about administration fees and who gets what – that’s the way it works in racing in Queensland these days – the industry is treated like mushrooms.

You only have to look at a club like Toowoomba which attracts pathetic fields compared to say a venue like Ipswich then have a look at how one is treated compared to the other.

And they reckoned there was favoritism when the Bob Bentley Board was running the show. In my opinion little has changed. It’s just working in reverse now.’ – As a director of a TAB club who is being critical of the RQ Board I can ill-afford to have my identity revealed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have received several phone calls relating to Beaudesert, Ipswich and Townsville. Feelings have been running high at Beaudesert for some time, some Ipswich licensees fear for the future of racing there. They point out how Ipswich gets much better fields than Toowoomba but that club in their opinion gets more favorable treatment. Some in Townsville believe they are playing second-fiddle to inferior TAB clubs in the north. Things could well change there when Kevin O’Keefe takes over shortly as Chairman of the TTC. 



‘CAN racing in Adelaide get any worse for the punters?

It’s an absolute disgrace. The record of short priced favorites getting beaten has been the worst in the country for a long time – only rivaled by Brisbane.

Just have a look at the Saturday fixtures in recent times. They couldn’t get enough runners for eight races – the first in a long time – at one recent meeting.

On Saturday there was a three-horse race; an odds-on favorite beaten in the jumps event (these are already under threat in South Australia); one winner at $81 and another at $101 (it won a Listed race after finishing 12th at Balaklava).

Can Saturday racing get any worse in Adelaide? You bet it can!’ – Fred Cunningham, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My advice is put a line through Adelaide racing. There are so many more venues to punt on where you will get a better run for your punting dollar.



‘THERE seems to be mixed feelings in Victorian racing on whether trainers should have to declare changes in riding tactics.

The question is being raised as to whether it is fair on connections or in the best interests of giving every horse its chance of winning.

Take trainer John Sadler for instance last Saturday. He wanted to see how the Moonee Valley track was playing before deciding what tactics to adopt on Linton, one of the fancies for the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.

Sadler told RSN on race morning that he would prefer to leave the instructions open ended with jockey Jamie Mott. “He’s got no chance if we go back from the bad barrier, especially if they aren’t coming from behind. I would like to leave it open to the jockey to decide after they jump whether he goes forward or back but I can’t do that.”

As it was Linton went back, had little chance of winning then struck trouble in the straight and finished a good fourth to Happy Trails. Would it have made any difference had he pressed forward? Who knows?

Then you have the situation with Craig Williams being questioned over his tactics on Adjuster because he elected to lead when there was no pace on. It’s a ridiculous situation as Matt Stewart wrote in an article in the Herald Sun.’ – Glen Rogers, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s the article from the HERALD SUN that the above e-mail refers to:

THERE'S a fine line between punters being reasonably informed and having their hands held like kiddies at a crossing.

Fair dinkum, you'd think racehorses were race cars and jockeys passengers working to a script forced on them by punters who are so obsessed by speed maps that any departure warrants a Group 1 sook.

Yesterday (last Saturday) at Moonee Valley, Adjuster, which normally races off the pace, shot forward in the first race and led. Adjuster briefly looked the winner before being gobbled up late.

Immediately the new media grandstanders erupted and stewards jotted notes reminding them to "follow up" in their racebooks.

In the olden days, before Twitter and other forums turned the average race into something to be dissected within an inch of its life, a jockey who showed initiative, like Craig Williams on Adjuster, was regarded as shrewd. 

Punters who'd rather not rely on stewards to tweet out adjustments to speed maps may have reasoned that the step to 1500m and a gaping hole for something to slot into up front, may have found Williams' tactics reasonable.

 Later Bel Sprinter did what horses do - he bounced from the gates and settled second when most expected him to dawdle out and flash home.

There were more tsk-tsk tweets because Bel Sprinter has no set pattern.

Nor really does Linton but trainer John Sadler reluctantly advised stewards that Linton would go back in the Dato, but not before telling RSN listeners of his frustration about this pressure to notify of tactics.

Sadler said it was not usually as simple as sticking to Plan A or B, quite often neither worked out once the gates sprang open.

There are few racing rules that have punters as up in arms as the tactical change rule.

Some say punters fuel the racing fire and can never be given too much information.

Others say such rules prove racing has lost touch with the basics; that you cannot eliminate variables from a horse race and surprise tactical changes make most races more interesting.

Most stewards privately reckon the rule is a pain in the a... and, to their credit, are hardly heavy-handed in penalising trainers who depart from the script.  


 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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