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..

OUR decision to introduce the Wednesday Whinge with snippets of gossip from around the country has been welcomed, especially since something similar was dispensed with when Mark Oberhardt left The Courier-Mail and his Ear column was discontinued. Your response to our new feature ‘The Gossip, The Threats and The Wankers’ has been overwhelming. It also gives us a chance to run some of your e-mails too hot to handle in the mail box in a toned down version that still gets the message across. Spearheading the e-mails that we are running this week is an interesting comment on social media; more suggestions for the improvement of RQ; continued discussion on the Danny Nikolic saga; a nice bagging for our website and justracing over the Gollen ‘swab’ rumors and a host of other topics.

 

 

OUR NEW WEDNESDAY WHINGE FEATURE – THE GOSSIP, THE THREATS and THE WANKERS!

 

THE ‘exclusive’ concerning Terry Spargo by the best radio race show host in the business, Steve Hewlett, in his weekly column in the Gold Coast Bulletin, prompted a couple of interesting e-mails.

Rather than run them and demean an old mate and one of the best race-callers on the planet in Spargo, we decided instead to get the general message across in a nicer way.

What the baggers are suggesting is that Spargo would find it difficult trying to fit back in as the replacement for SKY’S Rod Fuller on the low profile Northern Rivers and Country Circuit in NSW. They claim it would be too big a come down after his years of rubbing shoulders with the Sheiks in Dubai.

There was also a suggestion that SKY need not pay big money for Spargo or look further afield than their own backyard where Michael Maxworthy is being wasted reading dividends and hosting overseas race cards at all hours of the day and night.

Maxworthy, who left for greener pastures because, like Spargo, he found it politically hard to get a go at the calling business in Brisbane where Wayne Wilson dominated, wound up exercising his talents in Singapore where he was very well accepted before heading back to OZ.

‘Max’ made quite a name for himself as a caller and the e-mails we received suggest he would do just as good a job as Spargo for a lot less money. The ball’s now in SKY’S court.

 

THOSE ladies in racing who just love ‘big boys’ could have all their dreams come true if  More Joyous wins the Cox Plate.

Big Richard Callander has declared that if the champion mare wins he will front the Racing Review program on TVN the day after in his birthday suit.

According to the cynicsJohn Singleton, the owner of More Joyous, has apparently declared the ratings will go through the roof with ladies around the land tuning in to see if all those rumors about ‘big men small you know what’ are right.

The worry for TVN is that the animal liberationists may protest cruelty and demand an explanation of how a beached whale made its way from Bondi to the television studios of TVN.

 

WE received an interesting e-mail concerning an incident at the Sunshine Coast races on Sunday which apparently resulted in a jockey being escorted from the track.

The story goes that around race five a former Caloundra apprentice was seated near the jockeys’ room with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

When a senior steward walked by the young jock asked him for a tip. The steward replied: “Be kind to you mother!’

Following this exchange of pleasantries – plus a few extras – we are told that the jockey was asked by stewards to leave the track.

A former top young trainer, who now lives in Victoria, tried to distance himself from the jock, but was asked by the steward to move him on.

He did all he could but eventually stewards and security were apparently required to remove the offender from the track.

The former trainer was keen to enjoy his day back at the races at Caloundra especially as he was the victim of an unfortunate incident involving stewards and another jockey that occurred back in 2004 before he headed south.

 

IF you thought what Kathy O’Hara had to say on Twitter about her ex beau Blake Shinn after a recent incident during a race at a near-Sydney track was bad, it pales into insignificance compared to the Facebook comments that provoked the dust-up between lady jockeys at Kilcoy.

But while O’Hara was hauled over the coals by Sydney stewards and told her comments were inappropriate, the penny still hasn’t dropped with our laid back Racing Queensland crew over the seriousness of the Kilcoy incident.

We have been sent a copy of what was written by one of the lady jockeys on Facebook about the others and whilst this is an open-minded website we could not possibly reproduce the disgusting verbal tirade.

The problem apparently started when one lady jockey rode two winners at a country meeting on the Satuday afternoon. A rival then posted on Facebook some extremely derogatory comments about the alleged social 'specialities' of her female colleagues.

The comments were so bad that they were removed within 24 hours but still led to the cat fight at Kilcoy the following Monday which apparently continued on without the knowledge of stewards and have done the full circle on the industry grapevine since.

We have actually viewed the Facebook attack just in case RQ decides to question our credibility once again as a website that only wants to criticize. It comes down to inaction from the stewards which we are used to in Queensland.

 

COMPLAINTS continue to arrive thick and fast about the situation and rules that seem to have been changed for QTIS racing and bonus payments.

Once there had to be a set number of starters for bonus payments to be made out of the Government-funded QTIS. This was to avoid rorts. The e-mailers are not alleging there are any rorts occurring but want to know how bonuses are being paid when fields of only four are contesting QTIS races.

The explanation for this occurring at Twin Hills was the availability of jockeys – only four were available to ride at the two-day meeting and one was a near-50 year-old claimer – which is an absolute disgrace and an indictment on Queensland racing.

But now questions are being asked about the QTIS race in Toowoomba on Saturday night when only four started after late scratchings (there are always rumors when late scratchings occur in QTIS races). People paying big money to be eligible for QTIS bonuses are questioning the rules and asking if any have been changed under the new administration.

Perhaps when RQ makes its next ‘exclusive’ to The Courier-Mail, the Chairman might explain what is happening with this Government money and whether it is being wasted on fields that wouldn’t have qualified under the previous rules.

 

THERE have been several e-mails to the Wednesday Whinge attacking the Gai Waterhouse stable and lack of stewards’ action over the number of her odds-on favorites that get beaten one week then come out and win the next.

The problem was highlighted when Fat Al couldn’t muster speed one week before leading and winning the Epsom and that was in a race that was much weaker where he was long odds-on.

Of course there have been the usual complaints about the number of odds-on favorites getting beaten in Brisbane of a Saturday – at last count the number over two weeks was something like six or seven.

Rather than risk being accused of continuously bagging racing in Queensland we won’t comment on the situation – where form reversals continue to be commonplace as well and where the poor old bookies need a handout to survive.

We will just let those punters (the few that remain) who chose to bet in Brisbane continue to lose their money and bash their heads again the wall. They deserve what they get in a state where 'punting is a wealth hazard.'.

 

SO much for loyalty roared the e-mailers after Tommy Berry, the star of Super Saturday in Sydney, was dumped as the rider of Glencadam Gold in the Caulfield Cup.

Jim Cassidy, twice the winner of the Cup, immediately telephoned Berry, who won the G1 Metropolitan on the horse, to console the young hoop. Wasn't that nice of him?

“I hope the horse gets beaten now,” wrote one e-mailer.

“Who’s calling the shots with the Waterhouse horses – Gai or Robbie,” another queried.

But overall the message was loud and clear: ‘So much for loyalty if you ride a G1 winner for Gai.’

 

GOOD to see more high profile positions being advertised by Racing Queensland although some are questioning whether that was the case leading up to an appointment during the week.

We have no problem with the recruitment process used to find an RQ club development officer for the three codes but hope the position of Chief Executive Officer is advertised nationally and that they don't just slot a current staffer into the job as is being tipped.

It is important that RQ gets the right person for this job, especially after the Malcolm Tuttle disaster. The former steward who became CEO is now running a bakery. They should head-hunt Jeremy Turner who was basically forced out of the job during the Bentley era. There has been no better CEO than him and he was and remains extremely passionate about racing and greyhound racing.

 

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

 

SHOULD STEWARDS AND INDUSTRY EMBRACE THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA?

‘I read with interest a story on the web from the Sydney Morning Herald where racing writer Chris Roots has called on the stewards and the industry to embrace the power of social media.

Roots rightly points out that this new outlet provides anyone with a platform to vent their anger through Facebook or Twitter. He also mentions how most jockeys have Twitter accounts and sometimes like to share their thoughts after a day at the track.

Unfortunately that has led to trouble in recent times for Kathy O’Hara after comments she made on Twitter about her former beau Blake Shinn which was brought to the attention of stewards who suggested to her that she think before she ‘tweets’ in future.

Perhaps the stewards in Queensland should be made aware of some very ‘bitchy’ comments that were made on Facebook that could have resulted in the dust-up in the female jockeys’ room at Kilcoy recently.

The words used by one female rider to describe another were totally unacceptable and should never be allowed to be expressed in any form, let alone publicly for all to read. To suggest, as this jockey did, that her colleagues secured mounts in a certain manner was ‘unladylike’ and should be acted upon by stewards.

I agree with what was written in the SMH that the industry has to embrace new outlets of expression such as Twitter and Facebook but those using such need to be told that there are requirements in racing – and life in general – where they have to take responsibility for what they write.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is the SMH comment piece written by Chris Roots in his new column ‘Roots ‘n’ All’ which I fully endorse:    

PUNTERS once had to line along the mounting yard to vent their anger and get up close and personal with jockeys. The demonstration was a rite of passage and gave the track its colour.

However, in the 21st century when punters are more likely to be in pubs or on their lounge rather than on course, they switch their attacks to Twitter. Social media makes everyone an expert and gives the man who had $50 on a beaten favourite an outlet for his frustration. It can be more personal because most top hoops have Twitter accounts.

They sometimes like to share their thoughts after a day at the track. Comments can get them in trouble as it did with the furore over Blake Shinn's suspension at Hawkesbury a couple of weeks ago.

There was sniping and opinion from his fellow riders about Shinn that would have been kept to the jockeys' room in the past.

Stewards had to step in and remind some of the jockeys that Twitter is a public forum. Ray Murrihy labelled the spat childish and not in the best interests of racing.

But what is?

This was real emotion and an issue that had been bubbling for months. It showed jockeys as real people and entertained their followers for an evening. Then, like most things on social media, it was quickly forgotten.

Stewards were right to step in and stop it becoming a free for all.

It was one of the growing pains of using social media. However, it is a new world racing needs to embrace because interaction between punters, jockeys and trainers will create more interest in the sport.

Race clubs, bookmakers and horse syndicators have Twitter feeds (and Facebook profiles) and possibly racing's biggest name online is its greatest star, Black Caviar, which has more than 21,000 followers.

Her account provides the right mix of humour and interaction as well as the latest news relating to her unbeaten career.

Nathan Berry took to Twitter on Saturday to praise twin brother Tommy's biggest day of his career. ''Congratulations today bro. G1 double what a great effort. Proud or (sic) you mate. The years of hard work is paying off #FLYING'' his tweet read.

It is positive to have things like that out in public. As the traditional media gets smaller and racing finds it harder to be recognised, these Twitter interactions can give the sport a greater public face.

A quick poll of those jockeys with Twitter accounts in Sydney found, unsurprisingly, there is a fair bit of negativity directed at them. Most have experienced abuse but none want to talk openly about it.

''You know when you ride one bad,'' a jockey said. ''You just have to move on and put it behind you. But on Twitter they will tell what you did wrong and how you should have ridden it. You cop it but that's a part of it and I have to say it has got better since the Twitter troll campaigns.''

Even Gai Waterhouse has taken to Twitter. She took an image of her star Pierro after he won at Moonee Valley last week and shared it with her followers. Twitter has become the place to break news and discuss it. If there is an issue in racing, it is likely to be discussed and/or joked about on Twitter.

Black Caviar's return to racing became public on Twitter and wags pointed out that books on her might have been premature.

It can only be good to spread word about racing but social media needs to be used with thought. There are endless supplies of tipsters who can send you broke or pay for dinner. There are also plenty of promotions from bookmakers, so in the end it is here to stay.

This carnival will probably define Twitter's role in racing.

Most jockeys and trainers believe providing a little information and answering some questions helps.

It will be a case of getting the balance right.

 

PASSIONATE RACING SUPPORTER WANTS ANSWERS TO DIRECTION QLD INDUSTRY IS HEADING

THIS is an open letter written to the State Government, the Racing Minister and Racing Queensland and sent to sections of the media in the hope that someone will act or ask some questions of the new industry control body.

The author has had some responses from the Racing Minister’s Office and RQ but ‘nothing of substance or real answers.’

His main concerns in short are:

  • The need for a safety audit on training facilities at Eagle Farm where he believes there has to be a limit placed on the number of horses being worked.
  • A call for ALL trainers to receive a ‘fair go’ under the new administration – not just the BIG ONES.
  • A call for the re-opening of Doomben as a training facility to off-set the over-crowding of Eagle Farm.
  • With inner city development increasing what is going to happen to our major tracks and what plans are there for the future?
  • Is there an infrastructure plan for each track and facility throughout the state.
  • When will there be some answers on harness racing issues (like Albion Park’s future)?
  • The new Country Gallops Circuit is a start but there is still the need to amalgamate clubs in south-east Queenseld into a Saturday circuit.

We are happy to run the following:

‘I thought after reading your website that you may be interested in my e-mail on Queensland racing. I have had some responses from RQ and the Minister’s Office but nothing of substance or real answers.

To whom or to someone who may listen and act: That being: ‘Government, Queensland Racing, Board or powerbrokers within the Industry/Media.’

MY VIEW ON THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS AND IDEAS ON THE WAY FORWARD

Firstly we need ‘all stakeholders’ to get on the same page and to support a ‘model for racing in this state’ that works for all in the industry and takes us forward.

I think it just needs a lot of what we have fine-tuned, fixed or modernized.

The Thoroughbred model revolves around supporting a three-tier system of tracks in Brisbane/Country and Regional Queensland.

 1.      Metro: Doomben and Eagle Farm (we missed the opportunity to have a super track with two racetracks on old airport land).

2.      Provincial: Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich.

3.      Amalgamate the country clubs under the one banner and create a viable Saturday country circuit.

Regional Queensland tracks need to remain supported.

Current Issues:

Doomben needs to be re-opened as a training complex. (Eagle Farm is crowded, surely an OH&S issue. A legitimate audit by Work Safe may be interesting). Shifting to new tie-ups means 50 less than there were).

It is my understanding that the newly-appointed (RQ chairman) Kevin Dixon was probably involved in the closure decision but if he is going to represent ALL of the industry now in his new role, things will have to be looked at as a total package.

RQ needs to decide which race clubs, if any, are going to be dual purpose facilities or if they are happy for them to be strictly horse-focused.

If horse-focused then create on-course stabling (at a reasonable price) with modern day training facilities (pool, walkers & water (aqua) walkers, vet clinic etc).

Tracks: Doomben, Eagle Farm, Deagon, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Beaudesert and others?

Stabling in the Hendra area is going to have to go because of ‘inner city housing development.’

Upgrading old facilities at race courses. Prize money & wagering model?

The three codes need to be looked after without being over administrated. Costs need to produce value.

Albion Park needs to be sorted and that industry wants a big modern track and facilities (currently disgraceful and has been that way for too long for the Premier Track).

Issues with loss of Gold Coast track (remember they shifted years ago from show grounds to be ‘long term’ tenants at Parklands which I believe was the financial compensation for moving from show grounds. What now?

This needs to be address as does a country circuit.

‘All trainers’ should be looked after. There have been plenty of small trainers who have produced great horses.

The Way Forward: Talk/sort and ACTION!

We need a model that works for this state, more on course stabling and training facilities. Stables set up as four and eight horse barns which gives all a fair go, if you want to rent a barn. There needs to be solar panelling to supply electricity for facilities.

Modern track facilities: Remember with pub tabs, TV etc, race day crowds aren’t what they use to be. So possibly 15,000 to 25,000 stands and facilities for metropolitan tracks, 10,000 for provincial and 3,000  for amalgamated country are all that is needed.

Better to have smaller quality facilities for people. During carnival time or big race days,

Market and target the members’ area or marquees (corporate or groups) for extra crowd numbers. It should be quite profitable.

Look at day passes at extra cost for people that want the member experience. Promotion may create increased in club membership.

Infrastructure needs its own money pool and obviously when things come right, this pool won’t need to be as high and will be a more an up-keep improvement (grant) fund.

This may appear to be a simplistic approach, but really it shouldn’t be that hard.

We have the product: look after those that provide it!

With a reasonable return of the profits then provide the tools/facilities for ALL to enjoy.

I am happy to discuss further and I’m comfortable that these are the basics that the industry is taking about.’ – John, a passionate racing supporter.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is obvious that John knows quite a deal about racing and is, as he says, a very passionate supporter. We are happy to provide his e-mail address to RQL should they wish to talk with him.

 

‘DAN THE MAN’ BURNT RUBBER LODGING AN APPEAL AGAINST TWO-YEAR BAN

‘INTERESTING to note that ‘Dan the Man’ burnt rubber lodging an appeal against his two-year ban which many in the industry believe should have been five.

If he gets off this through some technicality when these legal eagles start getting bogged down in the law then there is no hope for racing in Victoria and Terry Bailey and his panel should walk out the door.

Forget the legal jargon the Appeals Body has to answer one question: Can racing or any other sport tolerate a situation where one of its participants threatens the safety of a steward (referee) and their family? Any sane, clear thinking individual would have only one answer to that question. A big NO under any circumstances!

Let’s face it if you assault a referee or a steward the normal penalty is life. Apparently if you threaten the safety (‘we know where you live’ was the alleged statement to Bailey from Nikolic) of a steward and his family all you get is two years. If that term is reduced or his appeal is upheld it will send a message to every loose-lipped hot-head in racing to say what he likes when he likes to officialdom.

I am a great fan of the Racing Bitch out of Hong Kong. Here’s how they view the ramifications of the latest fiasco for racing in Victoria under the heading: Nikolic Saga Not Over Yet?

 
IT’S stating the obvious, but the Danny Nikolic saga is still a long way from the finishing line.

The two year disqualification handed down by the Victoria Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board surprised no one. If Nikolic had been exonerated or even warned, it would have made Chief Steward Terry Bailey’s position completely untenable.

 The next instalment of the saga will be played out in the Victorian court system when Nikolic’s appeal against his two-year disqualification is heard. And, in light of their previous experience of winning an appeal for Nikolic in 2010, you would think they would be a tad bullish about history repeating itself.

In the meantime, the image and integrity of racing and the public confidence in the industry lies in limbo. Rome is burning while Nero fiddles. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

 While allegations, rumor and innuendo thrive, the battered image of racing in Oz as a crooked sport can hardly sink any lower and anyone who still doesn't see this or wish to get it must be related to Tommy, that deaf, dumb and blind kid who once played a mean pinball.

Just think of the ‘star-studded lineup’ of goons who have made a mockery of the sport - and those waiting on the sidelines to also see their names ‘in lights.’

From a racing perspective, what really is unacceptable is the ludicrous delay in another saga – Race Fixing. There are four races being investigated and yet no one can tell us when charges, if any, will be laid.

It’s a classic catch 22. The Victoria Police unit investigating race fixing is the Purana task force, the unit which was set up specifically to investigate and solve the gangland wars. Purana has taken over the Les Samba murder investigation, and literally stumbled across the race fixing allegations through intercepts. And inevitably when one domino bites the dust it generally has company.
 
From Purana’s perspective, their prime task is to solve the Les Samba murder. It would be reasonable to suggest that the race fixing allegations are of a lesser priority.

If Victoria Police had a dedicated task force or even a Unit with match/race fixing as part of its brief, this whole sad, sorry and protracted saga would have been before the courts with charges laid or there would have been a simple ‘No case’ to answer type outcome.

It again comes back to how vulnerable racing is to being infiltrated by organized crime and to criminal behavior by its own. The absence of a dedicated Police task force, at a time when sports betting is close to overtaking racing as a wagering medium, and through the glaring examples of match fixing both in Australia and globally, it is mind numbing to think that the combination of a complacent State and Federal Government and Sporting and racing Governing Bodies have not pulled their collective fingers out of each others’ arseholes and tackled what could blow the integrity of many sports in Oz - including racing- completely out of the water.
 
It’s really pathetic that in the racing scenario, there are so many brick walls preventing the sharing of information between the Victoria Police and Racing Victoria. How in heavens name could the integrity of racing be expected to be upheld when there is such an obviously and apparently insurmountable hurdle?

And why hasn’t Racing Victoria screamed out loud and publicly about the State Government’s siesta about doing something about it? All we hear from Racing Victoria is about their so-called frustration and how they have continually asked the State Government to legislate to make it happen.

Not good enough. If the pleas are falling on deaf ears, then why not turn the blow torch on publicly? Too scared perhaps?

Finding a brave man or woman in racing is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. And this is why hardened and successful organized crime infiltrates racing, with no fear whatsoever. It is why criminal behavior by racing participants appears to be getting out of control.

The Racing Bitch might not be everyone’s cup of tea but they call a spade a spade. Pity we didn’t have a similar form of racing journalism in this country.’ – Carl Thomson, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: D Day arrives for Nikolic next Tuesday when his last hurrah goes before VCAT. I enjoy reading the Racing Bitch but there are times when I feel they go over the top. I had a wry smile at your suggestion: ‘It’s a pity there wasn’t a similar forum of racing journalist in this country,’ Cripes mate we have a situation in Queensland where you get criticized by the powers-that-be for just being objective. I’d hate to think how they would react if we adopted the same approach at the Bitch. Then again as they say back a snake into a corner and you never know just how he will strike back.

 

WAS IT A MISPRINT OR WAS NATHAN SERIOUS ABOUT SACKING THIS PAIR? 

‘AT first I thought I must have been dreaming then I put it down to a misprint but after taking a second look at the Monday Mail in the Courier-Mail I realized that Nathan Exelby was indeed serious.

I find two of the horses he has included in the ‘Three to Sack’ section as astonishing assumptions. Surely he cannot be referring to the same Maluckyday and December Draw that I saw race at Flemington on Saturday.

On Maluckyday, he wrote: There must be a zero missing from his $21 Caulfield Cup quote. He's a shadow of other days.

And on December Draw: Typically honest effort again but it doesn’t get any easier from here. Big query at 2400m.

Nathan must have been watching a different race and the sad part is that some punters take this advice.

He may be right when it comes to the Caulfield Cup as Maluckyday is not yet qualified however the Melbourne Cup is a different matter.’ – Greg from Redcliffe.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Racing is very much an opinion thing Greg and we all like to think ours is right. I raised my eye brows as well but Nathan is such a good judge that I sat back and thought about it. He’s probably right – Maluckyday is no chance in the Caulfield Cup. But he does love Flemington and I wouldn’t be writing him off just yet as a shadow of other days. As for December Draw I certainly haven’t written him off as a winning chance in the Caulfield Cup but do have some reservations about his 3200m credentials of the big one.   

 

ATTACK BY OTHER MORONS ON ‘DUMB STIRRERS RUNNING MORONIC RACING WEBSITES’ 

‘YOU dumb stirring bastards running these moronic racing websites – letsgohorseracing and justracing – have done it again – put your foot fair down your mouth.

This time it was the supposed Gollen swab positives. You had the industry rumor mill in over-drive. All you did – again – was place a dark cloud over the credibility of a great young trainer and a rising star of the training ranks in Queensland and Australia for that matter.

The fact that what you did reflected on racing in Queensland was a bonus as both you dickheads would like to see the industry that pays your wages disappear into the abyss. It’s a shame you didn’t do the same.

Get your facts right before you circulate gossip, innuendo and garbage in future.’- Glen Murphy, Brisbane.    

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the vote of confidence Murph. It’s pointless defending our role of providing information for the racing public that the mainstream media prefers to overlook. The Gollen rumors were half right – there was an irregularity in the swab taken from a horse which should have been clarified by stewards to put an end to the innuendo. As for the racing industry in Queensland paying my wages you are very wrong. I make not one cent out of racing in Queensland nor do I make one cent out of this website. It is a not-for-profit site that any ads we do receive money for only cover our costs. Unlike many others in the racing media in Queensland we don't have a second job earning money from organizations that makes it difficult, or virtually impossible, for us to be objective.   

 

And then there was this one:

 

‘RQ CHAIRMAN JUMPED AT THE OPPORTUNITY TO CRITICIZE THE WEBSITES HE HATES’

‘DON’T be too disillusioned by the bagging you copped from the RQ Chairman over the not so positive Gollen swab publicity. He doesn’t get too many chances to legitimately criticize websites like yours so let him dine out on the experience.

The question the industry should be asking is what is Kevin Dixon doing get involved in integrity issues. We thought that the main critcism of Bob Bentley and his Board - that they interfered in Integrity. As they say the more things change the more they stay the same.  

Keep up the good work. The web sites weren’t the ones to start this rumor. In fact the chat rooms were quoting it as coming from stable sources – whether that was correct or not that is what was being said.

What you said in commenting on the criticism of website credibility was correct. The whole situation could have been nipped in the bud early if the RQ stewards or the RQ chairman had bothered to circulate a Media Release or even put up a Notice on the RQ website confirming that no stable had a positive swab – at this stage – which would have covered their backsides had the second sample come back with an irregularity as the first one did.

Instead of banging his head against a brick wall by continually bagging the credibility of websites like yours the RQ chairman should embrace the opportunity to answer questions being raised by the racing industry and its followers.

Instead he only feels comfortable dealing with those in the racing media he feels he can control who we must say leave a lot to be desired when it comes to objectivity. Gone are the days when racing writers shot from the hip in Queensland.

Some of our present day scribes and columnists are nothing more than a bunch of ‘yes men’ and pansies – oops better be careful what I say there or one of them might throw his handbag across the room.’ – Drew Cox, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I must admit it surprised me that a chairman of a Board that claims it wants to distance Integrity from RQ would get involved in integrity matters especially considering he is a prominent owner. Racing journalists live by their own principles these days. I see where the BRC has organized a Testimonial Dinner for long-time supporter and Courier-Mail Racing Editor Bart Sinclair who is retiring. So they should. An old colleague of his from Toowoomba asked if there is any chance some in the racing media might write a 'warts and all' career farewell piece. Another narc suggested in an e-mail that the parting gift from his good mate at RQ would be a place alongside Bob the Builder in their Hall of Fame.   

 

LITTLE WONDER RACING IN QUEENSLAND IS A STANDING JOKE THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY

‘IS it any wonder that racing in Queensland is the laughing stock in the eyes of the rest of the country?

Bowen Cup day is developing a habit of attracting controversy. It was only a couple of years back that the chairman of the club and a high profile politician of the region traded blows – and they were more than verbal.

This year the ladies were complaining about ‘third world facilities’ – lack of toilet facilities – even before the first race.

Then the situation behind the barrier – described as a scene from Dumb and Dumber – had to be seen to be believed.

Here’s how Terry Butts described it so eloquently in his Silks & Saddles column:

Events before the start of race four were straight out of Laurel and Hardy.

There was a 15 minute delay before the field was eventually and dispatched after two horses ( yes, one was mine!) were standing in their stall while the starter, who also happens to be the clerk of the course, tied her horse to the gates and sorted out (or tried to) the correct barrier positions for the remainder of the field.

There were a couple of scratchings and she and her staff just couldn’t get the order right. Horses were moved into the stalls, and out again. In and out. The huge crowd was left totally in the dark too. No announcements.

One of the jockeys, after 10 minutes of messing around said: “Give us the book love, and we’ll sort it out for you!”

She refused the offer of help and so the totally unnecessary delay went on – and on.

Of course it should have been sorted BEFORE the horses left the enclosure but it wasn’t.

This comes hot on the heels of the farce at Twin Hills where one trainer dominated the two-day card largely because most of the starters were from his stable and fields of two and four were the order of the day.

Then we had the launch of the Country Racing Series at Kilcoy where the lady jockeys did battle throwing verbal punches with accusations that their ‘riding skills’ ofF the track ensured much of the success that they enjoyed on the track.

I see where Racing Queensland has identified the need for a club development officer to improve its connection with race clubs across the three codes and to develop a prosperous club operation model.

Lucy McIntosh, who gained her wealth of racing knowledge and event expertise working with the Gold Coast Turf Club, faces an uphill battle if she ventures too far out of the metropolitan area.

RQ assures the industry that ‘Lucy understands the club product.’ Wonder what will happen when they take her out of the comfort zone of the Magic Millions and let her loose among the mayhem of places in the bush like Bowen? Good luck Lucy!’ – Stan Graham, Bowen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s time the new powers that be addressed some of these situations in the country which are becoming a major embarrassment for RQ. It again highlights the need for the promised appointment of a country Board member or more importantly of a Country Racing Queensland similar to the body that operates so successfully as Country Racing Victoria to address the needs of those clubs which are just as important to the industry as the big TAB venues  

 

'NOW WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH ADRIAN’S ‘STEWARD BASHING’ IN THE WINNING POST’

‘AS you would probably realize from my previous e-mails I am no fan of Adrian Dunn and was delighted to hear that he was leaving the Herald Sun. But my joy turned to despair when I soon discovered he had joined the crew at TVN.

My problem with Dunn is that he seems to lack objectiveness and take sides with some people in the industry that my friends and I, who have been around racing in Victoria for a long time, have no time for.

I am talking about his apparent support for Dan Nikolic and continued attacks on the stewards’ panel of Terry Bailey whenever the opportunity arises.

Dunn wasted no time giving Bailey a bagging in a new column he now rights for the Winning Post which is obviously one of the perks of his new job at TVN. This one related to the action taken by stewards against Damien Oliver for what they perceived to be ‘an excessively slow pace set in a race at Moonee Valley.’

Whilst I am a great fan of Damien and have no problem with any jockey using smart tactics to win a race, including setting a slow pace if he or she is allowed to do so by their rivals, I have major problems with those who work to get to the front then slam the brakes on and cause havoc back in the field.

This is what I believe Damien did and the stewards acted upon as evidenced by the chaos caused back in the field when at least two horses were severely interfered with. But Damien took his case, backed by plenty of racing media sympathy, to the RAD Board and had an 11 meeting suspension thrown out.

Karma was to deliver him a rightful blow in my opinion when he caused interference one week later at the Valley and would you believe it copped an 11-meeting suspension which, on this occasion, he pleaded guilty to.

My problem with the support by Oliver from the racing media on this issue is the safety aspect. Has the RAD Board given carte blanche now to jockeys who want to slow the pace excessively after working hard early? Who takes responsibility if horses or riders or injured or heaven forbid killed?

One can be sure it won’t be the RAD Board, the Jockeys’ Association or the racing media. But don’t go blaming the stewards either. As sad as it sounds their conscience is clear – courtesy of a ridiculous ruling by RAD – on this issue.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have the utmost respect for Adrian as a racing journalist but he says that thankfully justice was done. On this occasion I disagree with the way he, and others, want to blame jockeys back in the field for ‘taking their eye off the road.’ The problem was caused because Oliver slowed the pace dramatically. It’s as simple as that. You do the crime you do the time. But when you have people sitting on Appeals bodies that don’t understand racing and only want to listen to a lawyers’ interpretation of the law then there will always be contentious decisions handed down.’

HERE is part of the ‘Comment’ piece written by Adrian Dunn in the Winning Post which reads:

WITHOUT wishing to re-ignite racing’s inflammable version of the ‘keep your eyes on the road, Rhonda’ television commercial, surely that advice is at the heart of the controversial charge Damien Oliver faced this week.

Oliver was charged under the rarely enforced rule governing a jockey slowing, reducing or checking the speed of a race in a way that directly or indirectly causes interference to other jockeys.

Rightly, the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board quashed Oliver’s 11-meeting suspension at a hearing on Wednesday.        

Two days earlier, the Hall of Fame jockey had become the fifth rider in the past four years to be found guilty of the charge. No one, outside the other jockeys involved, can remember the incidents.

Anyway, Oliver was found to have dropped anchor so severely on ‘elite Elle in the champagne Stakes at Moonee Valley that two other horses suffered bad interference in the backwash.

Sectional split evidence tendered by Oliver highlighted that he put on the breaks between the 1000m and 900m no more hastily at this point that did jockeys in the other two 1200m races on the night.

In fact, the split for that section in all three races were identical. The stewards countered that there was no interference in the other races.

No argument there but was that because as Ketut (Rhonda’s heart-throb in the TV commercial) noted, the jockeys in those races kept their eyes on what was unfolding?

Was Glen Boss guilty of taking his eyes off the road? Certainly, Boss’s mount Saturn Rock copped severe trouble, but Oliver noted that was because Boss didn’t read the play and magnified the problem.

Another analogy is a traffic snafu. The pace eases, drivers hit the breaks to avoid potential trouble, but a momentarily distracted motorist several cars back does not and BANG. Time to ring the panel beater.

Whose fault is that? The driver whose eyes are on the road on the one whose eyes are dancing elsewhere?

 

‘THE BITCH’ ISN’T TOO IMPRESSED WITH THE MAINSTREAM RACING MEDIA PIN-UP BOYS

‘IT was interesting to read in the International acclaimed horse racing web site “The Bitch” last week about their thoughts and observations of the former Adrian Dunn back-up boy Matt Stewart. 

For those outside the Italian Community that haven’t caught up on the news Matt is now the rising race writing star at our ‘weakly’ tabloid the Herald Sun.

Thank goodness that Dunn has moved on as all Matt will have to do is perform to a standard that The Bitch place on his ability before he shows Dunn up for what he was or wasn’t as the case maybe.

Dunn’s new ‘go’ is to spread the word in The Winning Post, a weekly aid to the punter and the racing industry in general.

Last week’s contribution from Dunn in the Post centred around what a top decision the Appeals Board, headed by Judge Lewis, made when they allowed an appeal by Damien Oliver over a 11 race day suspension of his riding license for causing interference to two other runners.

According to Dunn’s logic all the jocks should have adopted the attitude, “That is poor Damien up there with the leaders.  He has had to work so hard he will need a spell. Just as well as I had my 4X4 BREAKING system serviced I will ease back until Damien is ready to make another charge. Let us know when you are ready Ollie?”

Good bloke Ollie – but is he missing his best mate in the jockeys’ room these days?

I wonder what Dunn’s thoughts would be if say for instance he was travelling along the freeway in one of the latest Italian motor cars without a care in the world when some idiot crossed in front of him and jammed on the brakes? I can see Dunny going up to his sponsors, The Cricketers Arms, with the steering wheel in hand and saying: “You are not going to believe what happened on the way over?”

They would of course reply: “Keep your eye on the road Rhonda!” - Cliff Johnstone,   Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rather than comment on this one here is a précised version of what ‘The Bitch’ out of Hong Kong had to say on the above subject:

‘WE were in Melbourne to cheer home the mighty Sydney Swans in the AFL Grand Final. We also took in a great race meeting on Sunday at Caulfield, which was a far superior race meeting in just about every respect to thepathetic card dished up out our forgotten racetrack at Rosehill.

As part of the preparation to attack the bookies, we took along the Sunday Herald Sun form-guide with a bunch of mates for a brilliant breakfast in the salubrious, toffy suburb of South Yarra. It almost gave us a dose of indigestion.

Reading the commentary by Nick Quinn, who we have never heard of, was revealing. Nick clearly had not done his homework. His commentary about the Peter Moody-trained Mumbeilly in race one included the line ‘saps as the main danger to Excluded.’ Puzzled, we thought it might have been the big night previous celebrating the mighty Swannies. There was no Excluded in the race! Nick had clearly confused Excluded with the short priced favorite Practiced, raced and trained in the same interests.

We can forgive Nick, but what really gets under our skin is some of the commentary on Melbourne radio station Radio Sports National. How the Melburnians put up with the likes of Ray ‘Hukka’ Huxley and Matty Stewart is just beyond our comprehension. Hukka is way past his use-by date. And they you’ve got Matty. Apart from his hideous jackass laugh, his meaningless waffle with trainers is so grossly irritating you could be forgiven for kicking the nearest cat.

His interview with Cindy Alderson was riveting. It was more about Cindy’s hairdo the previous Saturday than her runner, That’s the One. Matty, who gives a rat about Cindy’s hairdo. She is unlikely to make the finals of Asutralia’s next Top Model anyway, so who gives a toss. Perhaps you would like to be her hairdresser, you candy-coloured clown they called the sandman!

This is one of the major problems facing horse racing – twats like and Richard Callander – dressed in their ‘op-shop’ type garments, who do more to turn people of racing than on. It’s like racing is still in its own time-warp with moronic-type commentators screaming at you in their own Bogan based lingo. It’s downright embarrassing. It is why the savvy Gen Y put their designer runners on and do a Usain bolt to run as far away from racing as they can.

 

‘I AIN’T A HONKY TONK ANGEL’ WHEN IT COMES TO DRUG TESTING POLICY

‘IT was refreshing to see the ARB announce an updated policy on thresholds as released in forward thinking LGHR which publishes information but is found wanting on RQL’s website.

Let’s begin with I am not against having total zero limits in drug testing but I am a strong believer in having threshold for swabs.  For natural justice to be fully explicit the level of concentration should be published and penalties adjusted accordingly otherwise a person can be unfairly victimized as a drug cheat.

An overhaul of the whole testing procedure is desirable as new feeds and products, local and overseas, are coming onto the market. Recently a greyhound trainer was fined $1000 with no suspension for giving a quarter of a valium tablet to a greyhound on vet advice. Hardly, a drug cheat!

The ridiculousness of the system became highlighted when Racing Queensland Limited advised trainers that synephrine, a prohibited drug, had recently been detected in race day samples from horses competing in Queensland.

Guess what? Don’t let your animal eat citrus leaves (synephrine) or an apple which could contain prohibited arsenic. Arsenic is a natural metallic element found in low concentrations in virtually every part of the environment. One NSW trainer, returning a positive swab, informed stewards she had found rushes of synephrine in hay on a property. Sorry, no defence. Zero tolerance.

Ladies are reminded floral hat arrangements and standing too close to a neddy could produce a positive if the animal nibbles on the flowers particularly if the adornment is made of rushes of synephrine.

Australia Racing warns jockeys should be wary of having too many cups of coffee otherwise:

Why does AR publish some thresholds and no thresholds for some prohibited substances? In many cases the concentration detected wouldn’t kick start a flea or is the equivalent of placing an ice cube in an Olympic swimming pool.

Thresholds would make allowance for inadvertent usage of for instance a syringe not properly cleaned – instead of the present ‘Reds under the Bed’ paranoia that prevailed during the 1950’s; present zero tolerance is McCarthyism at its best. The stewards, putting on an appearance of a meaningful existence, are trivializing the picture by pinging cough mixture etc. when the really big fish are laughing all the way to the bank.   

One steward, who sits on a drug related panel in judgment, admitted that his knowledge of science was rather limited and seemed rather befuddled with the term molecules. Sad to say, they don’t need to be scientific as the system shields such stewards so that they can bunker behind this fine line in the sand of presenting an animal drug free which Australian Racing admits in its Screening Limits Policy “no analytical chemist can yet accomplish”.

At the moment, stewards can scream ‘Eureka… we’ve found it... a molecule …..Guilty, my son”.

Racing Act 2002 No. 58, 2002 (Extract)

(3) The notice of results must include a certificate signed by an accredited analyst stating all of the following:

 (ii) if the control body or integrity officer who delivered the thing for analysis to the accredited facility asked for information about the amount or concentration of any drug found in the thing—the information requested;

The key factor is if a record was kept of a response to this rule; ready to be produced if asked to do so.

Concentrations should be made mandatory and not being side stepped. They should be available at the initial enquiry. If not, it is the withholding of crucial evidence, thus not being in the spirit of natural justice. Concealment of information makes mockery of an appeal. It would be a miscarriage of justice in an appeal which, at present, gives scant time to mount a defence.

These modifications should be considered with other changes to the formation of an external qualified integrity body and not the fox looking after the henhouse.

Racing Queensland should implement the announced changes immediately.

Policies in this area need to be updated and reflect advances in modern science and instead of being likened to an old spider webbed, dusty museum where the only fossils aren’t just the bones. 

“It wasn’t God that made honky tonk angels…it wasthresholdsthat has caused many a good trainer to go wrong”. (A 1952 country and western song varied). – Jim Carlton, Greenbank.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Another wonderfully informative piece from my favorite contributor. Thanks again Jim for an extremely interesting, thought provoking and very entertaining e-mail . The Wednesday Whinge wouldn’t be the same without you.

 

THEY MAY HAVE LANDED A BIG CATCH WITH NIKOLIC BUT WILL HE STAY ON THE HOOK?

‘DURING the past month or so the Integrity Department of Racing Victoria has not taken a trick until they ‘landed’ the big one in Danny Nikolic.

Only time will tell if he stays on the ‘hook’ long enough to serve out his time.

I think we all agree the main issues confronting Racing in Victoria are the Samba murder, the arm wrestle between Jockey Danny Nikolic and Chief Steward Terry Bailey with the odd race fixing probe by the Victorian Police in the mix and to a lesser extent  Nikolic’s brush with the law on one or two or more court issues that have as there common denominator allegations of physical violence.

On the 18th and 25th August just past, there were two very informative articles in The Melbourne Age written by John Silvester. A person with a white cane would have little trouble in digesting the contents and the general message.

Amongst the many interesting issues that Silvester touched on one in particular stood out to me.  There was no doubt that sometime during early August the Australian Crimes Commission (ACC) had a ‘Scotch gathering’ of some dignitaries from around Melbourne, perhaps the odd licensee of RVL included, for a day out. I guess it was strictly a BYO outing.

It wasn’t clear from the newspaper article if the get together was held to have a chat about the life of Mr.Samba or his demise.

I do think it is fair and reasonable to assume that the Chief Steward was present and for more reasons than just having a cup of coffee.

On the 9th September there was a very innocent contribution made to a web site called Thoroughbred Village.  I was quite taken not only by its content but by the way the contributor phrased his reasoning or knowledge.

It was headed Les SAMBA’S MOBILE PHONE. (For legal reasons letsgohorseracing is not prepared to reproduce the details).  

IF and I repeat IF the Chief Steward was privy to any part of the ACC ‘chat back’ leaving him with a similar attitude to that outlined in the Samba Mobile Phone story I am convinced Bailey would have more than enough reason to be concerned for he and his family.

More so if the implied message contained in the Les Samba’s Mobile Phone theory is as informative as it appears.

The added weight that I place on the Samba story comes from the fact that the Victorian Police have stated that the Samba murdered was committed by an amateur. (Just as well he isn’t a professional). 

I am as certain as night follows day that there is only one person involved. I assume if there were two the second low life would turn his mate in for the million dollar reward.

Only family can close ranks in times like this.

We know where your family live. If that comment is accurate I hope and pray that the police know where another racing family lives for Bailey’s family sake.’ – Glenda Edwards, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is nice to get such an interesting e-mail from a lady who obviously follows the happenings of racing on and off the track very closely. No matter what happens with his latest appeal  to be heard next Tuesday – and there is no hope for the industry if he gets off – Nikolic’s days are numbered. He has too many cases to answer to escape the lot – especially for a cat who seems to have used up most of his nine lives already.

 

AN INTERESTING OBSERVATION OF WHY BOLD GLANCE PERFORMED SO BADLY

‘I would just like to comment on the Bold Glance race (Saturday before last) in which he was a beaten favorite.

The form guide in our Toowoomba Chronicle which is a reprint of the form comment from major newspapers around the country revealed that Bold Glance finished its previous start with battle scars.

I assume that it must have been galloped on or suffered some minor injury. Therefore there may have been excuses.

Going on its previous run behind Solzenitsyn it had to be given a big chance in this race, especially when all form guides revealed that Lucky Luna had not won a race in all 17 previous runs at Eagle Farm (now 18 runs without success).

As a consequence the result of this race may not be as surprising as is being portrayed.

I would also like to make a comment on odds-on favorites being beaten. The problem we now have in Brisbane is the lack of competition in the bookie ranks with only a couple of bookies now operating.

The opinion that these favorites should be odds on is only the opinion of a couple of bookies, even if another horse in the race is backed the price of the favorite is rarely improved.

I really believe that a lot of horses assessed as odds on shouldn’t be odds on anyway and may not be if there were more bookies operating increasing competition.

Perhaps if we still had people around like Chubby Holloway who would frame a competitive and accurate market and who was always eager to oppose a favorite which he didn't think was value, or he didn't like, then perhaps we would not be so surprised or cynical that particular short priced favorites get beaten.’ – Lindsay Hitchener, Toowoomba.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This case again highlights the inefficiencies of the current stewards’ panel in Queensland. Had they bothered to inquire into the improved performance by Bold Glance no doubt this would have been revealed by the trainer.  

 

FORMER CEO WANTS TO PAY TRIBUTE TO JOB DONE BY FORMER TTC CHAIRMAN

‘I would like to pay tribute to former Townsville Turf Club Chairman Alan Parry, who is stepping down from his role at the Club. In my five years of working as CEO at Townsville Turf Club from 2000-2005 it was an absolute honour and privilege to work with Alan as my Chairman.

People should not underestimate the many long hours Alan has put in over many years at the Townsville Turf Club, all on an honorary basis. His dedication to the Townsville Turf Club has allowed it to survive through some very difficult recent times.

Alan and John Parry, through their business Parry Nissan, are also major sponsors of the Townsville Turf Club through the Parry Nissan 2YO Classic. I can guarantee you that the sponsorship payment is in the top three received by the Club each year. Parry Nissan also sponsors many North Queensland Country Racing Clubs, and I would estimate they contribute over $100,000 each year in sponsorships across North Queensland.

Joining Alan in stepping down from the Townsville Turf Club Board are long serving Vice Chairman John Rowlands as well as Alan’s brother John Parry. All three men have worked tirelessly on a voluntary basis over a combined total of more than 50 years for the betterment of racing in Townsville. They deserve the utmost thanks and respect.’ - James Heddo, Chief Executive Gosford Race Club.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Good to hear from James Heddo. He was one of the best CEO’s to be lost to racing in Queensland. Here’s hoping we get his services back one day. His sentiments on Alan Parry were endorsed to me in a telephone call during the week from Ken Ferris, for some time based in Townsville who now operates successfully s a bookmaker in south-east Queensland.

 

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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