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 explanation to growing concerns within the racing industry in Queensland concerning the future of QTIS. There are a number of interesting comments, including a bagging for a leading ratings expert, calls for more financial transparency from racing authorities and allegations of unbelievable payments to a TVN consultant.



IT seems a week can be a long time in racing just like politics.

Things seem to have changed dramatically behind-the-scenes in the Damien Oliver camp as he battles allegations of connection with a $10,000 bet two years ago.

Last week those close to the action were suggesting Damien had an ace up his sleeve.

They are now saying he is likely to put his hand up and throw himself at the mercy of the stewards. Any time on the sideline will cost ‘Olly’ plenty considering the way he is riding at present to say nothing of what it would do to his credibility.

Time will tell!


THE racing career of top mare Mosheen has come to an end.

Stable insiders say she suffered a bone fracture in her leg during the running of the Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

Plans are reportedly to send Mosheen to stud in Japan.


INDUSTRY watchers are suggesting that Racing Queensland is wasting money sending stewards from Brisbane to far flung areas to officiate at meetings when those based in regional areas should be doing the job.

Three stewards were dispatched from Deagon to run the small country race meeting at Gayndah on Saturday, October 13, which one of our e-mailers described as an ‘absurd waste of industry funds.’

Another questioned what Allan Reardon was doing officiating at the Townsville meeting on Tuesday of last week and why a steward of his experience allowed it to take a half hour to declare a runner disqualified that won after everyone had seen a led bag fly from the saddle.

It turns out Reardon was at Cluden oversee the first day on the job of new Chairman of Stewards Rion Hitchener who has apparently been transferred from Toowoomba to the northern post to replace Mark Hill who resigned to take up an administrative role back in his home state of Victoria.

Ironically, Hitchener – a promising young steward – is a protégé of Patrick Cooper, the experienced steward now stacking groceries in a supermarket and not considered good enough to return to the panel in the north because some of his colleagues are apparently too intimidated by his presence. It’s a standing joke in racing in Queensland.


THE annual general meeting of Racing Queensland – at one stage during the forgetful era when Bob Bentley was calling the shots in conjunction with veterinarian turned Integrity boss, Dr ‘Dolittle’ Bob Mason – was once an invitation-only affair.

We are pleased to report that the upcoming AGM of the new-look RQL Board will be open to the public and they will even be allowed to ask questions. It will be held in the Chief de Beers Room at Doomben racecourse from 9am on Friday, November 16.

An RQ Media Release advises that the AGM will be open to the public and those interested in attending should RSVP with questions on notice to be provided to Board secretary Debbie Toohey no later than close of business on Tuesday, November 13 at email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Postal: Attention: Debbie Toohey, Racing Queensland, PO Box 63, Sandgate, QLD 4017.

The Media Release advises that:

The industry and the public will be provided with the opportunity to ask questions of RQL at the AGM. That’s a refreshing change but could take the rest of the day if time permits.       

All questions on notice must be received by RQL at least three days prior to the AGM.

If time permits (here’s hoping they haven’t allocated five minutes), RQL will also invite questions from the floor on the day. However, it may not be possible for the same level of detail to be provided in response to questions taken from the floor.      


IN the wake of the verbal attack on highly respected Hong Kong Jockey Club boss Winfried Englebret-Bresges on TVN by outspoken Richard Callander, the racing media is waiting to see if the ‘big fellow’ lines up for the annual junket during International week in December.

Commenting on the speculation, one racing media columnist out of Hong Kong wrote:

‘Richie Callander saw fit to criticize the good name of EB recently in Oz and made a right knob of himself. He just might be singing ‘The Last Waltz’ to himself, like Engelbert Humperdinck on anti-depressants. More on this later!

‘We wonder if Callander The Younger will be in Hong Kong for the International Races with his begging bowl and freebie trip and if he’ll be tongue-tied when meeting the man whose name he cannot pronounce?

‘Oh – and also meeting (top jockey) Brett Prebble who he ‘exclusively’ reported would be leaving Hong Kong this season?’ (He’s still there and showing no signs of departing.)


MANY trainers have been surprised by the response from RQ Chairman of Stewards Wade Birch after a question concerning the use of blindfolds (on horses, not stewards Perry Mason).

Birch has advised that blindfolds are permitted in Queensland but only if expressly approved by the stewards.

The Chief Steward has recalled two incidents that could have been ‘quite nasty.’ One horse sustained a fractured skull after escaping from barrier attendants while blindfolded and cannoning into the outside fence at Doomben.

Blindfolds are not permitted to be used to have a horse passed at the barriers for the first time.

So contrary to widespread opinion, blindfolds are not banned.


ANOTHER drama on the Downs with the Toowoomba Turf Club circularizing members advising that ‘a discrepancy with liquor supplies’ has been placed in the hands of the police.

It turns out there has been widespread circulation doing the rounds about what happened to major supplies of alcohol that the club once had that have suddenly diminished.

TTC chairman Bob Frappell has told members that in the interests of transparency his Board has asked police to investigate ‘the case of the missing booze.’


DISHARMONY is growing within the racing industry in Queensland over the reported lack-lustre response that stake-holders are receiving in approaches to the Racing Minister and the Office of Racing.

There are claims that both are hand-balling any concerns raised or questions asked to the new RQ Board and in particular the Chairman Kevin Dixon, claiming that is where the decisions are being made not by Government.

Problem is some of the questions that stake-holders want answered relate to legislation that involves the LNP Government and was promised in pre-election policy.

One particular concern relates to whether or not the stake-holders will be allowed to view draft legislation for the three new Boards (one for each code now that the merger has been dispensed with) before these go to Parliament.

One would have thought that in view of the fact the previous Bentley Board was continuously accused of not consulting with the industry, that is the first thing that the new control body would be ensuring happens – and not just with some but all stake-holders.


WE have received several e-mails congratulating Terry Butts on his ‘Silks & Saddles’ column condemning racing authorities in Australia for allowing corporate bookmaking agencies to virtually take over the gambling industry.

Angry thoroughbred enthusiasts have backed the Butts call for action to be taken before it is too late as more and more big agencies head Down Under believing the Australian punter is the easiest prey on the planet.

There don’t seem to be any rules applying to these agencies. They put little back into the local racing and sporting industries and hundreds of millions of dollars in profits are heading off-shore.

One agency claims to be the biggest on the planet but seems to have 365 reasons to refuse the bets of those who are too successful. The attitude of these imposters to the Australian punters was perfectly summed up in the Butts’ column: ‘They want thousands betting in hundreds, no hundreds betting in thousands.’


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



IN recent times we have received a number of e-mails and telephone calls expressing concern at the future of QTIS racing in Queensland.

Rather than be accused of ‘fanning the rumor flames’ and ‘dark clouds’ that many claim hang over one of racing’s success stories in Queensland we asked for an explanation from RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon.

But first here is one of the e-mails that we received which hopefully gets the general message across from those voicing QTIS concerns:

‘THOSE of us who have been great supporters of QTIS over the years would like some clarification from Racing Queensland concerning the future of the Incentive Scheme.

Whilst owners and breeders have been asked to register their foals to be eligible for QTIS in the 2013-14 racing season questions hang over what they are paying for and what bonus benefits will be available.

There also seems to be some doubt about what is happening with QTIS 600, which has proved hugely successful, especially with the smaller owners.

If RQ wants QTIS to continue to be a success story there is a need for clarity so that owners can decide whether to pay up for their youngsters. The first payment is due in the next week. Failure to provide sufficient guarantees could see registrations decrease alarmingly.

Some prominent owner-breeders believe that the payout will be less than when the Bentley Board was running racing in Queensland. But they do point out that the fee has dropped from two payments of $350 each at this stage.

The major problem that got many peoples’ backs p was that RQ sent out the advice to pay form many weeks ago with no details of the Scheme. This created a lot of disharmony and uncertainty.

One prominent breeder is claiming that the Dixon Board changes to the Scheme leaves owners 20 per cent worse off but wants to see a full analysis of what is being proposed,” – Fred Stevens, Darling Downs.

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE is a broad response from RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon which should help to alleviate some of the concerns expressed:

‘QTIS is certainly not being dumped. The QTIS 600 system, however, was discontinued a year or so ago. Any changes to QTIS have to happen a year or so in advance since the initial registration of foals is well before the time they first race as two-year-olds. For the current crop of two-yearj-olds, the initial pay up was in September 2011.

The QTIS system for this coming year (first pay ups for yearlings, ie. 2011 foals, are due October 31), will be the same format as this year.

We are about to undertake a full review of QTIS, with changes due for implementation the following year, 2012 foals. We believe it is time to overhaul the system, to make it stronger and better achieve its aims. There is absolutely no suggestion that QTIS be discontinued.

In regard to the total prize money on offer, it remains the same as last year, though some changes have taken place to spread the money a little further. As well as spreading the money, it means more of the bonus money will be won as more chances, by more horses, to win are available.

RQL subsidies the scheme, over and above the amounts collected from owners, by approximately $6 million.

The QTIS 600 program involved an extra pay up of $3,000 and funded the double two-year-old prize money and QTIS 600 sweepstakes series. Both the pay up and the extra bonuses were discontinued when QTIS 600 was discontinued. I am unsure of all the reasoning as this was before my time.

The current Board of RQL significantly reduced the QTIS pay up amount for the current two-year-old crop. It had become too costly for many Queensland owners and breeders, and the participation rate had dropped. The take up has increased since the fees were reduced. The fees remain the same for the coming season.’



‘THE supposed ‘ratings genius’ Dominic Beirne again proved how over-rated he is with a complete ‘stuff up’ of the Caulfield Cup last Saturday.

Beirne declared Glencadam Gold a ‘good thing’ in print and on radio adding that ‘the only risk will be if he can’t back up that superb last start rating in the Metropolitan.’

Adding insult to injury for those who follow Dom, his ‘lay’ in the Cup was Dunaden which won impressively.

In his preview Beirne noted that only one horse (Northerly) had run a placing with 58kg or more in the last 30 years and highlighted the fact that last year’s Melbourne Cup winner ‘maps terribly in the field.’

Beirne’s ‘good thing’ of the day at Caulfield was King’s Rose and it got beaten at odds-on.

He also recommended Altar as his each-way bet forecasting a good trail behind (eventual winner) Howmuchmylove. The well backed mare ended up three wide in the run and finished fourth.

We continue to be bombarded by this media crap that Beirne is a ‘ratings genius.’ This is the same bloke that had about 10 stabs at the Melbourne Cup last year and didn’t find the winner.

As for his link with Betfair well my advice to the punters is follow his tips but ‘lay what he suggests will win to lose’ with that agency and you will wind up a mile in front.’ – Charlie Barbagello, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tipping can be a testing trade Charlie – plumed peacock one day, feather duster the next. Having once ‘ghosted a column’ for Dominic Beirne and his long-time mate, former top bookie Terry Page, I have to defend the guy. He has spent years developing computerized ratings and enjoys greater success than most. I thought December Draw had a great chance in the Caulfield Cup I was wrong. Many scoffed at Nathan Exelby from The Courier-Mail when he suggested that horse had no hope. He proved to be the far better judge. The big races are always the most difficult. The Caulfield Cup was no exception and the Melbourne Cup is already shaping as a track race as well. I would suggest if you don’t like Dom’s ratings then ignore them and find a set that serves you more successfully.



‘IF the punters are the mugs of Australian racing then what can best describe some of our biggest bookmakers?

I decided to have a closer look at the ‘specials’ from the big bookmakers on a rival website to yours and also at the ‘big bets’ that were laid in the lead up to Caulfield Cup day. What a waste of time that proved to be.

Not one of the big bookmaking agencies tipped the winner of the Cup. In fact only one – – managed a place when Gerard Twomey tipped Lights of Heaven (which ran third).

Here are some of their Cup selections: My Quest for Peace, December Draw, Niwot, Sneak A Peek, Americain and Glencadam Gold. Sportingbet, Betfair and Tom Waterhouse all went with Glencadam Gold which raced very poorly.

In the ‘big bets’ department the majority nominated King’s Rose, backed for a small fortune into $1.7, but it was nailed by Whateverwhenever, a $17 chance.

The other losers in the ‘big bets’ were Dare To Dream, Mosheen, December Draw, Glencadam Gold, Magnier, My Quest for Peace, Hot Snitzel, Kabayan and Too Many Reds.

The only winners from this section were Lightinthenite, Howmuchdoyouloveme and Hvasstan.

Bad judges or not, is it little wonder the bookies are driving around in Mercedes and the poor old punters in beat up Commodores?

The moral of the story is: Be wary when you follow the bookies’ tips or the money trail leading up to these big meetings.’ Cecil Rowan, Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Everyone has an opinion if racing and more often or not when it comes to tipping winners the majority of us get it wrong. The service that you refer is provided on one of the best racing websites – – and a wonderful collation from various corporate bookmaking agencies. It is a terrific service each week which requires a lot of work and deserves better than a bagging Cecil. Most of the big bookies tipped King’s Rose as the best of the day – so did we – and that was after listing the upset winner of that race Whateverwhenever (at $17) as one of our horses to follow. The price and the quality of the opposition frightened us off. My advice if you think the big bookies are that bad in their judgment is to open an account with Betfair and back their ‘specials’ to ‘lose.’



‘SYDNEY racing scribe Chris Roots is starting to show the backbone and intelligence that is needed to place him in the company of the likes of Adrian Dunn and Matty Stewart.

His exposure of the clandestine background to the operations of the Victorian stewards in his recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald headed, ‘Secrecy Leads to Public Suspicion’, was an absolute gem.

I can now understand why he selected the second of two prizes on offer for his chilling report on ‘The Safest Seat to Occupy on a Plane Flight’.

The first option was travel and accommodation for two for 10 days on Hamilton Island. 

Chris had two reasons for declining this option. He was pretty sure he had seen Hamilton from Townsville where he had learnt his skills as a reporter and secondly he could not be given the last seat on board his flight to the Island.

Chris had come to the conclusion when researching safe seats on aircraft that ‘planes DO NOT back into mountains and therefore the last seat had to be the safest.

He couldn’t get hold of his second option quickly enough. It was a two in one offer – a toothless comb and a container of brasso liquid.

You would think the Victorian stewards would have more consideration for racing scribes of his ilk?

Running a 10-race program, investigating suspected drug related issues, holding the odd inquiry, and running a CAULFIELD CUP with connections from all around the world present and this clown talks about secrecy. He has to be kidding.’ – Percy Smith, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As a long-time colleague of Chris, I’m afraid I have to defend him here Percy. He has come a long way since his days around the dusty trials of Cluden to Racing Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. I must admit that when I first read his column I had some concerns about inquiries being closed. That happened far too often in the days before Terry Bailey took over as chairman of stewards in Victoria. As far as I am concerned inquiries should only be closed in exceptional circumstances. Mystified by the situation I decided to get some clarification and sent Terry an e-mail. His explanation was that the Gai Waterhouse matter was not a formal inquiry, simply a request and when this was made stewards advised all and sundry. In the case of the Smerdon inquiry, Terry advised that when it commenced no media came in. “Whilst I was questioning Mr Smerdon a third party (not a steward) took it upon himself to deny a pressman from entering the room, presumably Chris Roots. At the very first adjournment the third party was set straight but I don’t think I saw much of Mr Roots after that,” Bailey said.

Here is the column, ‘ROOTS N ALL’ (a good read each week) that appeared in the Fairfax Media that prompted the above e-mail:

ALL Too Hard, Commanding Jewel and Dunaden highlighted Caulfield's big week on the track but there was only one name for people talking racing in the past week - Damien Oliver.

The champion hoop is riding the fallout of allegations he bet $10,000 on Miss Octopussy in a race at Moonee Valley in 2010 in which he rode another horse. From the moment the story broke in the Fairfax press, Oliver's spring was going to be difficult.

He lost the rides on My Quest For Peace in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and Green Moon in the Cox Plate within 24 hours of the article. Racing Victoria chairman of stewards Terry Bailey announced there was an investigation into the race in progress before the article.

Racing people are quick to draw and fire when it comes to allegations like a betting jockey.

Oliver had the right answers on the track when he won his 95th group 1 with a calculated, brilliant ride on Commanding Jewel in last Wednesday's Thousand Guineas. He told the media he felt at home on the track. He is less at home, like most jockeys, in the stewards' room. It is likely he will see a bit of Bailey and his panel in the next couple of months.

His decision to chase a riding fee for My Quest For Peace through the stewards was probably less calculated. People have a tendency to think the worst and be cynical about such issues. He ran the risk of being seen as greedy.

There is no doubt there was a booking for My Quest For Peace and, under normal circumstances, Oliver would have picked up his fee and everyone would have moved on. But the elephant in the room was the allegation of betting and the right of an owner to expect integrity from the jockey being hired.

Oliver is an impressive man. He presented his case to stewards last Wednesday with clarity and a lack of emotion that could have overtaken the proceedings where his reputation was central.

He went to stewards only after not being able to come to an agreement with My Quest For Peace's owners privately. He acknowledged he was working on one with Lloyd Williams, owner of Green Moon. Terry Henderson, of OTI Racing, which own My Quest For Peace, put to stewards the issue of integrity and stated Oliver would have been on the horse if he had denied the allegations.

Oliver was under legal instruction not to make any statement about the issue.

It left so many unanswered questions that Bailey opted to set aside Oliver's claim saying it is a matter for the courts.

The stewards were busy all week in Melbourne. Gai Waterhouse applied for, and eventually won, the right to use extra padding in the barriers for Pierro in the Cox Plate.

Trainer Robert Smerdon was called in to the room on Saturday to explain blood found on Shewan's neck and a bruising on the neck of Mosheen, consistent with being treated on race day.

They had been found in Smerdon's stables at Caulfield around lunchtime in a routine inspection by a Racing Victoria integrity team.

Both the Smerdon and Waterhouse cases started behind closed doors. While inquiries are open, the words ''this is a private matter'' are used more often down south to keep the media out. It leads to questions like ''what is going on in there'' outside the stewards' room as trainers walk in and out.

The Smerdon case ended in Shewan being scratched a couple of hours before a group 3 race but Mosheen was allowed to start as stewards weren't satisfied she had been treated.

The media was only allowed in for the verdict, not to hear the evidence and then had to depend on stewards answering questions about what went on earlier.

Integrity is something that racing will always struggle with in the eyes of a public who would rather believe the colourful racing identity still exists. The sport is cleaner and better run than ever before but it needs to be transparent to let that reputation shine.



‘FORGIVE my attempt at humor but people in high places when TVN was launched must have been big fans of the man they are calling ‘Five Shades’ which I suspect is Gary Gray who acted in some of the successful early shows on Australian television, such as the soap opera Bellbird.

Reports recently suggest ‘Five Shades’ has been paid an ‘obscene amount of money as a consultant’ to race broadcaster, TVN, apparently because of his perceived influence with some Government and industry high flyers.

One report suggests that ‘Five Shades’ was being paid an unbelievable figure of around $30,000 per month as a consultant. If that’s the case one wonders what TVN is paying the likes of Bruce Clark and Richard Callander.

If consultants are being paid that sort of money what chance has the racing industry got?

Is it little wonder the corporate bookmakers are taking over while the TABs are screwing the poor old punter on deductions when consultancy fees paid to jokers like ‘Five Shades’ have to be sourced somewhere, either directly or indirectly.’ – Alan Donaldson, Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An expose in the Sydney Morning Herald recently reported that a contract delivered a monthly payment of $30,000 from the time TVN commenced in 2006 to a consultant involved in the network’s foundation. In other publications the consultant was referred to as ‘Fifty Shades’ – leaving little doubt that it must have been Gary Gray. The consultancy contracts were identified while Racing NSW was carrying out due diligence on TVN. It is a well known fact that Mr Gray has strong connections with power brokers in Victorian racing. It would seem he became a target of those at Racing NSW who were keen to see the back of TVN heavies Harold Mitchell and Peter Sweeney.  



‘WHEN are the racing authorities in Australia going to show some courage and simply refuse to re-license certain individuals because of their track record?

It’s fine to say they have done the time for misdemeanors of the past and are entitled to return to the industry where they make a living but is that necessarily the case?

Should some of these identities be first called upon to ‘show cause’ why they should be re-licensed and required to provide an undertaking that they will not reoffend or enter into some probationary good behavior period?

Perhaps they should only be given licenses subject to them not reoffending with a rider that if they happen to then never again will they be able to apply.

I am not sorting anyone out for special attention here but the attitude of Racing Queensland to the likes of controversial characters like Bobby El-Issa and John Nikolic is somewhat surprising.

One wonders if the same approach would be adopted by authorities interstate where Nikolic and his jockey brother Dan have been banned from Crown Casino.’ – As I am a jockey turned trainer who keeps my nose clean I ask that my identity not be revealed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Once a licensee has served a period of disqualification he is entitled to re-apply for his license. Refusal to grant same could be considered as a restriction of trade or denial of natural justice after he has served his time. The two news items that no doubt have prompted the above e-mail are run below:

THE MELBOUREN AGE reported that Victoria’s Chief Commissioner has banned from Crown Casino a second member of the Nikolic family, as police intensify efforts to confront suspect corruption in racing.

Former horse trainer turned Gold Coast-based punter John Nikolic - who is the brother of jockey Danny Nikolic and who has also been implicated in the Smoking Aces race-fixing inquiry - has been barred from entering the casino on ''public interest'' grounds.

The Age revealed last week that Danny Nikolic had become the first person to be subject to the Chief Commissioner's casino exclusion powers since 2006, when then police chief Christine Nixon banned several of the state's most infamous gangsters from Crown.

The ban on the Nikolic brothers will significantly affect their ability to make a livelihood from the racing or gambling industry.

This month, Danny Nikolic was disqualified from racing for two years, which means he cannot attend any racecourse, after it was found he had threatened chief steward Terry Bailey.

Nikolic is appealing against the ban.

Both Nikolics are being investigated by the Purana organised crime taskforce over their suspected involvement in the fixing of a race at Cranbourne last year involving the horse Smoking Aces.

It is understood John Nikolic, who handed in his Queensland horse-training licence after being implicated in a racing misconduct probe in 2010, is suspected of having organised betting on Smoking Aces after discussions with Danny Nikolic about its prospects of winning.

At least some of the proceeds of the Smoking Aces betting, under police investigation, involved a TAB outlet at Crown Casino.

Danny Nikolic is under investigation for manipulating the outcome of the race with the help of another jockey, Mark Zahra, who was paid $3000 for riding his horse in a way that would advantage Smoking Aces.

Others banned from Crown Casino by the police include jailed gangland boss Tony Mokbel and murdered gangster Carl Williams.

John Nikolic could not be contacted for comment.

AND the BRIBANE COURIER-MAIL reports that jockey El-Issa was granted a lifeline by the Board of Racing Queensland but faces a wait before returning to metropolitan riding.

The RQL board denied El-Issa's application for a metropolitan riding licence, but chairman Kevin Dixon said it would be "sympathetic" to an application to ride trackwork, trials and at country meetings, adding El-Issa could reapply for a metropolitan licence in the future.

A relieved El-Issa vowed to show the committee he was worthy of again riding in the city.

"It's a relief that I can get back to the racing game and start to earn an income again and I'm grateful the board has afforded me that opportunity," El-Issa said.

"Obviously I want to get back to riding in the city, but I understand their decision, so I intend to do everything I can to show them I'm worthy."

El-Issa's 18-month disqualification ended on October 1 but the licensing committee recommended to the board, following a submission from chief steward Wade Birch, that he not be granted a licence to return to metropolitan riding. The board upheld that recommendation, but left the door ajar for a return.

"We have recognised that Mr El-Issa ... is seeking to make a living using those skills, so as to provide that opportunity, we've determined that if he was to seek a licence as a trackwork rider and or country jockey, we would be sympathetic to that," Dixon said.

"He can make a good living from both of those things. He is not prohibited from reapplying for a metropolitan riding license sometime in the future."



‘I was just wondering if anyone in the racing industry in Queensland had noticed the different attitude that respected racing commentator Ken Callander has now adopted to the new powers-that-be in Racing NSW.

Callander has highlighted the growing disenchantment with the heavy-handed style of the new-look Racing NSW and spoken of how much better the Victorian clubs are working in harmony with Racing Victoria than those in his home state with the control body.

He described ‘the Racing NSW style is a dictatorial approach’ adding ‘I fear we will finish up with yes men and not successful business leaders on our committees if the attitude continues. Men that have shaped billion-dollar companies and engaged in billion- dollar business deals do not want to be treated like schoolchildren in a classroom.’

The reason I am highlighting the different attitude in NSW is that I believe there are some similarities with Queensland. John Messara was seen as the same Messiah as Kevin Dixon when he came to power.

Similarly there are grave reservations growing in Queensland to the Dixon leadership as there are in NSW to that of Messara. Both are breeders. Both seem to want only three-man Boards. Both seem to be adopting the same heavy-handed style of control,” – As I race and breed a large number of horses in Queensland I would ask that my identity not be revealed as it would be committing political suicide in the current climate.    

EDITOR’S NOTE: I would have thought that John Messara could better be referred to as Bob Bentley reincarnated. His is very much a ‘my way or the highway’ style of leadership. As for Kevin Dixon wanting only a three-man Board let’s wait and see what happens when this new racing legislation goes through Parliament, hopefully at the next sittings. One would hope that eventually there will be a Board member representing the views of an important section of the industry in Queensland – that from the country. It’s a pity Kevin O’Keefe, the new Townsville Turf Club president, isn’t available. He would be the perfect man for the job and is a great supporter of Kevin Dixon but from my dealings with him over the years would certainly not fit into the ‘yes’ man category.



‘IT is reporting season but not much press coverage of a $1.2 million loss for the Brisbane Racing Club and a $1.2 million profit for the Gold Coast Turf Club. But at least the BRC put it up on their website, c'mon GCTC. We are still waiting for the Racing Queensland Limited annual report.

Victoria – aiming to be the best in the world – has the ridiculous situation that VRC, MRC and MVRC will all report in late November. Thus they will be reporting on last year’s results. For example, we have just had the Caulfield Cup but we don't know if the MRC had a profit or loss for the year ended July 2012.

I call on all Racing Clubs and Racing jurisdictions to report results ASAP after year end and commit to the audited results and AGM within 90 days of year end. They should also provide members and participants with a half year financial update.

We are still awaiting news for ATC and RNSW dates for reporting as ATC (old AJC and STC) has not reported since 2010. What happened to 2011?

Very interesting what is happening re sponsorship in NSW. Obviously there is no change from TAB exclusive, based on Michael Sullivan’s comments on Racing Review on Sunday morning.

Racing NSW committed that sponsorship aggregated from TAB would be greater than what the Clubs could get from corporate agencies. I challenge them to back this up with figures and revenue in the annual report. (Refer Ken Callendar article – he has obviously changed his tune re new RNSW Board – yet to provide an annual report).

  • WE have run the Ken Callander column item in the Editor’s Note below this e-mail.

 Could I also be bold enough to ask for TVN and RISA annual results?’ – Jason Cornell (a former senior Racing administrator from the Hong Kong Jockey Club – the same management team as John Schrek and Winfried Englebrecht-Bresges). He had previous career experience in finance and private equity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: WHEN a person of Jason’s expertise and credentials, both in racing and business, starts raising some of these concerns it is time for the industry to demand action and answers. The AGM of Racing Queensland is on November 16. We asked RQL chairman Kevin Dixon for a copy of the annual report. As this is still in final review with the external auditor he advised that when it is available it will be posted on the RQL website.

Below is the Ken Callander column item for the Sydney Telegraph this week that Jason Cornell referred to:

THERE is mounting disharmony among race clubs in NSW, especially in the committee room of the Australian Turf Club, against the heavy-handed style of Racing NSW.

I was not at Caulfield on Saturday, but I have been to Melbourne twice in the past three weeks talking with racing people and I find myself jealous of the terrific harmony in the racing industry down south where Racing Victoria encourages the clubs and works in harmony with them to make the industry more successful.

The Racing NSW style is a dictatorial approach and I fear we will finish up with yes men and not successful business leaders on our committees if the attitude continues. Men that have shaped billion-dollar companies and engaged in billion- dollar business deals do not want to be treated like schoolchildren in a classroom.

At the moment on the ATC board we have the best collection of business brains on a race club committee in my time, so much so that John Messara, the Racing NSW chairman, could not win a position when he applied.

And what is this business of being totally in bed with the TAB and treating corporate bookies like lepers. The Melbourne clubs benefit greatly by promotions and sponsorships with the corporates while in NSW the clubs are dictated to by a block deal done with the TAB by Racing NSW.

The corporate bookies are here to stay and they contribute millions to the industry. Isn't it sound business sense to work in harmony with them?

I fear one big fallout from the Racing NSW attitude is the Victorian race clubs will go on their own with the racing channel TVN and tell NSW to go to hell rather than be dictated to by Peter V'landys, the Racing NSW CEO.

TVN is owned by the Victorian clubs and the Australian Turf Club in partnership and V'landys has been gifted a position on the eight-member board by the ATC to represent NSW provincial and country interests.

If the ATC is hamstrung by V'landys' and Racing NSW's attitude of "our way or no way" and cannot vote against him on TVN issues, the Victorian race clubs certainly aren't and they won't put up with it.

Is history going to repeat itself? Many are quoting the Supreme Court case of 2005 when Racing NSW attempted to get into bed with the TAB and force the then STC and AJC to break a contract with their own channel and sign with Sky. Justice Patricia Bergin's ruling in the race clubs' favour was critical of Racing NSW, its chairman Gary Pemberton and CEO V'landys.

Tom Bathurst QC, representing the race clubs, when discussing the role of Racing NSW suggested, "the control and supervision of the galloping of horses has nothing to do with broadcasting".

Perhaps Barry O'Farrell should take a hand. It is no good looking to George Souris, the Racing Minister, who has been spoon-fed a diet of PR opportunities by Racing NSW.


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.



Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

Login Form