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. Your response to our new (re-named) feature ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ has ensured it continues to grow in popularity. 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. In the e-mails that we are running in full this week Damien Oliver cops a right royal bucketing on a day when Charles and Camilla were at the Cup. There are a number of other contentious and interesting subjects commented on from the scandals confronting racing in Victoria to the political scene in Queensland.

 

OUR NEW WEDNESDAY WHINGE FEATURE – THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY!

 

WEARING NO SOCKS THE FASHION STATEMENT FOR NEW AGE GUYS AT THE CUP

IT had to be the turn-off of all time. Those tuning in to the Network Seven coverage of the Cup early in the day were greeted by an effeminate little petunia announcing that the best dressed men at Flemington this year would not be wearing any socks with their shoes. Fortunately he never got around to mentioning jocks.

Then there was the over-the-top lady host who announced that ‘all eyes would be on Camilla.’ Speak for yourself darling, most of the men at the Cup were more interested in looking at the horses and one could argue so were a good deal of the women.

After the gorgeous Nicole Kidman fronted on Derby Day and Revenge star Ashley Madekwe turning heads at the Cup, the arrival of Charlie and Camilla was akin to Ma and Pa Kettle’s Day at the Races.

The award for the best one-liner on Cup day goes to Simon Marshall on the Network Seven coverage of the Royal couple signing the Flemington visitors’ book.

After adding his moniker, Charlie quickly put the expensive looking fountain pen into his pocket which prompted Marshall to quip: “Did he bring his own pen or did he just nick that one?”

 

THE RIGHT ROYAL EMBARRASSMENT WAITING TO HAPPEN HAD OLIVER WON THE CUP

THE quiet prayers of a concerned Victoria Racing Club committee were answered when under siege Damien Oliver didn’t win the Melbourne Cup in Americain.

Just imagine the embarrassment at the presentation ceremony when officials had to introduce Damien Oliver to Charlie and Camilla.

It wouldn’t have been a matter of answering the question: ‘Is that the jockey they made the film ‘The Cup’ about’ but more so: 'Isn’t that the jockey pinching all the headlines at present for being involved in a betting scandal?’

No matter how hard they tried officialdom could not deflect the spring carnival spotlight away from Oliver and onto the big race. He might have dodged the pre-Cup parade but the national coverage on Network Seven focused on Oliver’s arrival at Flemington where he was bombarded with questions whether he had admitted having that fateful bet and if he planned a premature retirement from the saddle.

It didn’t get any better during the afternoon. As Oliver rode onto the track for one race, the Seven cameras captured a punter calling to him: ‘Good luck Damien, which one are you on?’

Then even after the Cup heroes, Team Williams, Hong Kong-based jockey Brett Prebble and Green Moon upstaged the international invasion and were basking in their glory, the Oliver controversy refused to go away.

Current Affairs programs were calling the biggest meeting of the year one of the ‘darkest days’ in Australian racing and asking why Oliver was even allowed to ride in the Cup.

The answer, of course, was provided in a two word response from RVL Chief Steward Terry Bailey – PROCEDURAL FAIRNESS – and that is exactly what Oliver is entitled to until the investigation is completed. But the sooner that happens the better for all concerned.

 

TAB ADVERTISEMENT ACCUSED AS BEING ‘A BIT TOO GAY’ FOR MOST OF THE GUYS

WE have been inundated with e-mails whingeing about the television advertisement promoting tab.com.au.

In the ad a winning punter dances around the bar of a hotel, celebrating his success and chatting up the chics, then on his way to collect moves over to a lone male punter minding his own business and plants a big kiss on him.

Most of those turned off by the ad are men who claim it is un-Australian and that the only way it would have worked was if the bloke who was kissed had then got up and either head butted him or knocked him out.

Now we’ll drink to that!    

 

NOT EVERYONE WAS A LOSER ON THE BOILOVER MELBOURNE CUP

ONE sportsbet.com.au punter cashed in on the massive Melbourne Cup First Four pool, turning a bet of eight cents into $77,552 after selecting Green Moon, Fiorente, Jakkalberry and Kelinni.

Amazingly, the bet was the customer’s first ever with the on-line bookmaker, with an investment of eight cents giving the client eight per cent of the First Four dividend.

“What an amazing bet, made even more extraordinary given it was their first ever bet with us!” said sportsbet.com.au’s Shaun Anderson.

 

PREBBLE DODGES HAPPY VALLEY TO ENJOY HAPPY HOUR WITH TEAM WILLIAMS IN MELBOURNE

BRETT PREBBLE was given a leave pass from riding at Happy Valley tonight by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

They relieved him of his bookings after Prebble won the Cup on Green Moon then contacted the stewards and asked if he could delay his return home.

Prebble, who hails from Victoria, answered the call to ride Green Moon - the mount that Damien Oliver was sacked from after his betting scandal emerged.

Prebble obviously wanted to enjoy the Cup night celebrations without having to catch the red eye back to Honkers.

 

DREAM TRIP TO FLEMINGTON TURNS INTO A NIGHTMARE FOR TRAINER

NO doubt trainer Nathan Schofield will be wishing he had decided not to take Beseech to Melbourne for a start on Cup Day.

Schofield flew the horse down and even took jockey Justin Stanley along to ride the former Victorian galloper that has grown a leg winning  five of eight since joining Schofield in Brisbane, the last three in a row at Doomben.

It emerged late yesterday – after Beseech was a late scratching from the last at Flemington – that Racing Victoria's Race Day Compliance Team were forced to jump a padlocked fence and run through a stable as they raided a Geelong stable where Schofield was staying.

They told an inquiry of witnessing Schofield with stomach tubing equipment and 400ml of warm water next to Beseech. Schofield refused requests from the compliance team to inspect his vehicle after allegedly being caught in possession of the drenching equipment.

“By denying access to the vehicle, it suggests you were hiding something,” Chief Steward Terry Bailey told Schofield, who has been ordered to front stewards again on Friday.

The situation prompted a couple of e-mails last night to the Wednesday Whinge questioning whether the stewards in Brisbane do similar pre-race security checks. One pointed out that they wouldn't need to jump any fences to check Schofield out at home as he is domiciled in their own backyard at Deagon.

 

ROYAL NOVELTY BET PROVED EASY TO PICK THAN THE CUP WINNER

THE Royal Novelty Bet involving Prince Charles and Camilla at the Melbourne Cup proved easier to select than the winner of the big race.

Markets were framed by sportsbet.com.au on: How the Royals would arrive at the track and the color of Camilla’s Melbourne Cup hat.

The favorite arrival was by boat at $2.2, then horse and carriage at $2.8 and the winning correct option by limo at $3.5. When the weather turned bad there was no interest in the long-shot options of arriving by hot air balloon, parachute or hang glider.

Punters were wrong when they backed Camilla to wear a blue hat which was favorite at $4, followed by pink at $5 with the winner, white, at $6.

Sportsbet.com.au was never in danger of paying out on their other offers of $11 for Camilla dropping the Melbourne Cup trophy or $15 that she presented it to the wrong person.

 

RACING NSW AND ITS CEO NEED TO LIFT THEIR GAME BEFORE THERE IS NO TESTING

IT didn’t get a lot of publicity but laboratory technicians and scientists who carry out drug testing for the entire NSW racing industry last weekend voted to take stop-work action over a substandard pay offer.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union says the drug testers’ work bans could threaten payments of prize money for winners of Spring Carnival Group 1 races.

Employees at the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory – who conduct all drug testing for track and harness race horses, jockeys and greyhounds in NSW – say the low pay offer from Racing NSW CEO Peter V’Landys will erode the integrity of the racing industry.

“This small group of highly skilled lab technicians keep NSW’s racing industry clean – yet they haven’t had a pay rise for over two years,” said AMWU NSW Secretary Tim Ayres.

“We have already seen some of ARFL’s highly experienced animal drug pathology specialists leave their jobs over poor treatment from Racing NSW.

“These are specialist skills that aren’t easily replaced.

“ARFL is the only drug testing facility for the NSW racing industry and only one of four such facilities in Australia. It is world-renowned for its expertise in animal pathology.

“Racing is a billion-dollar industry – the proposition there is no money for this small group of employees critical to the integrity and success of the racing industry is absurd.”

Racing NSW CEO Peter V’Landys has offered the ARFL lab technicians a 2.5% pay increase, while they are seeking a 4.5% pay increase.

“The volume of testing they are carrying out has increased and ARFL easily pays its own way through contracts with other racing codes. Peter V’Landys needs to come to the table with a fair offer or be responsible for an interruption to drug testing in racing across NSW.”

 

MEMO NON-EXISTENT INTERGRITY DEPT AT RQ: DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE STING AT CLUDEN?  

STORY doing the rounds in the north about a well executed ‘sting’ on an unraced maiden horse at Cluden last week.

Apparently the bookies (all three of them) somewhat surprisingly pushed the horse out to $13 from an opening quote of $5. And when it got to $13 off course ‘someone’ swooped off course.

 Apparently the Sportsbet trader working on Townsville smelt  a rat and allegedly yelled across the floor: ‘No bets on Horse No ?  in Townsville. It looks like a rort.’

Neither Sportsbet nor its affiliate AIS took any bets on the horse which duly romped in at a price much less than 12 to one. But news filtering out suggests Betfair and other agencies may not have been as lucky.

The on course Bookies, mind you, reckon they have been treated ordinarily by the off course operators for too long.

They say they do the form, set the prices and as soon as they go up, and the fluctuations go off track, the agencies bet longer prices and attract the punters.

That of course might have something to do with percentages the on course bookies throw up.

And last week’s little episode just might have been the fielders playing catch up.

Just the same it highlights the need for an active and competent Integrity Department for racing in Queensland.

 

BETTING AGENCIES WASTED NO TIME POSTING MARKET ON NEXT CUP

WITHIN three hours of Green Moon winning the Cup, sports betting agencies had released markets on next year’s big race.

The following is a Media Release from sportsbet.com.au late yesterday afternoon:

THE Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente, runner-up in today’s Melbourne Cup, has been installed as the $13 favourite for the 2013 edition by online bookmaker sportsbet.com.au.

Mount Athos follows Fiorente in the betting at $13, with Michelangelo next at $17 and today’s Cup winner Green Moon, who’s on the fourth line of betting at $21.

Gatewood and My Quest For Peace are also priced at $21, with other notable inclusions in the market including Ethiopia, Brigantin, Jakkalberry, Americain, Red Cadeaux, Dunaden, Mourayan, Kelinni, Zydeco and Manighar (all $26).

“Fiorente is likely to be penalized 2kg as Red Cadeaux was last year and is open to improvement having been under Gai’s care for only a short time,” sportsbet.com.au’s Ben Hawes said.

“Mount Athos, who is next at $13, was very unlucky today. After missing the start, he was involved in a scrimmage at the 700m mark before recording the fastest finishing sectionals in what was a slowly run race. If Luca Cumani elects to bring him back next year he will be very popular.”

Early fancies in the 2013 Melbourne Cup market are: Fiorente $11; Mount Athos $13; Michelangelo $17; Jakkalberry, My Quest For Peace $21.

 

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

 

INSTEAD OF INQUIRY INTO OLIVER TREATMENT WHY NOT ASK IF THESE THINGS JUST HAPPENED OVERNIGHT  

‘ALL of a sudden the politicians are weighing in to the controversy surrounding Damien Oliver and the alleged betting scandal as calls for him to be ‘stood down’ continue.

The Opposition is now trying to score points by calling for an inquiry into the handling of the Oliver investigation by Racing Victoria.

Considering the confidence that punters have in RVL integrity since Terry Bailey became Chief Steward perhaps the Opposition should be calling for a retrospective inquiry into why racing in Victoria was considered so squeaky clean before he came along.

Little wonder there was so much opposition when he started rattling a few ‘big cages’ and there were even calls politically to have Bailey removed.

Fair go guys – and I’m referring to the pollies here – have a look at the history books and ask yourself if these scandals only occurred after Bailey became the Chief Stipe or whether they were there all the time but no-one was interested in delving too deep.’ – Albert Dunn, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I won’t rant and rave about how Terry Bailey is the best steward in the country. But did these ‘situations’ involving race rigging, jockeys betting, treatment of horses with illegal substances and involvement of a criminal element with some key identities only occur after Bailey arrived on the scene. If not, why weren’t they dealt with earlier?

Here is the story from the MELBOURNE AGE on Tuesday that the above e-mail refers to:

THE Victorian Opposition will ask the state's racing watchdog to launch an inquiry into the handling of the Damien Oliver betting scandal by Racing Victoria.

Opposition racing spokesman Martin Pakula told Fairfax that he would ask Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna to investigate the matter after revelations that Oliver had admitted to racing authorities a fortnight ago that he had placed a bet on a rival horse in an October 2010 race.

The Opposition's decision to refer the matter to Mr Perna came after Racing Minister Denis Napthine refused on 3AW radio this morning to answer any questions about the handling of the matter.

Australia's top jockey has told his supporters he expects to be suspended for between nine to 12 months - but that he is also considering retiring in a move that could see him avoid a public hearing or a penalty from Racing Victoria.

In revelations that will rock the spring carnival, sources close to Oliver confirmed to Fairfax Media that the jockey last month had admitted to breaching the rules of racing by betting $10,000 on a rival horse, Miss Octopussy, at Moonee Valley two years ago. Jockeys are forbidden from betting on any horse, while betting on a horse in the same race is one of the gravest breaches of racing laws.

The admission by Oliver raises serious questions about why he has been allowed to continue riding, and why he hasn't been charged by stewards, after Fairfax first revealed details of the betting scandal just over three weeks ago.

Since then, Oliver has spoken to racing officials and admitted placing the bet. Publicly, Oliver has refused to deny placing the bet.

Oliver stands to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars if he rides successfully today, following his ride on Saturday's Victoria Derby winner, Fiveandahalfstar, which earned him $45,000.

Fairfax can also reveal that Oliver's improper betting has been known to police since at least the middle of the year.

 

WHY DO THE BIG RACE DAYS CREATE SO MANY UPSET RESULTS AND SUCH CONTROVERSY?

‘WHAT is it about major race days throughout the country that seems to create controversy and throw up so many rough results for the punters?

It doesn’t seem to matter whether it is Melbourne or Sydney, there always seems to be some sort of drama and the results always seem to be slanted in favor of the bookmakers.

The failure of several heavily backed runners in the feature races on Derby Day was almost unbelievable. If someone had told you on Saturday morning that out of It’s A Dundeel, Ocean Park, Snitzerland, Gatewood, Streama and Howmuchdoyouloveme only one would place you would have declared them crazy.

It could be argued that It’s A Dundeel was under a cloud after drifting from odds-on to $3 for the Derby following his defeat in the Vase. And Howmuchdoyouloveme racing below expectations came as no surprise considering the allegations aired at an inquiry before he was allowed to start.

But the performance of Streama was pathetic. Hugh Bowman said the mare had to work too hard early. She worked just as hard winning at her previous start in the Tristarc and kept going. Last Saturday she was the first horse beaten after being declared the bet of the day by most of the experts.

Perhaps the moral of the story is to steer clear of heavily backed favorites on big days as well as those that all the supposed experts are tipping.

I went back and checked out the collation of best bets from the top betting agencies and this is what I discovered. The majority tipped It’s A Dundeel in the Derby. Their best bets included: Howmuchdoyouloveme, Dear Demi, Streama, Free Wheeling, Gatewood, Snitzerland, Union Gap and Tatra (by far the most fancied of the best bets was Streama). NOT ONE OF THEIR BEST BETS WAS SUCCESSFUL.

This mirrored the situation of a week earlier on Cox Plate day. It seems that punters aren’t the only ones who are bad judges.’ – Paul Keane, Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As Dominic Beirne copped a nice pasting from an e-mailer last week it is only fair that we should mention he declared that It’s A Dundeel and Howmuchdoyouloveme were the lays of the day at Flemington on Saturday. His Derby selection Super Cool ran second. As for the other comments above perhaps the secret to success could be taking the best bets of the big bookies and laying them on Betfair. That plan would have reaped handsome rewards the past two Saturdays.

 

HAVE YOU SEEN A WORSE RIDE IN A BIG RACE THAT THE ‘PUMPER’ ON DEAR DEMI?

‘MY friends and I were trying to recall a worse ride in a big race than that of Jim Cassidy on Dear Demi in the Wakeful Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

If you knew he was going to ‘butcher her’ to that degree it would have been safe to have the house on the only other chance in the race – Zydeco, which was heavily backed, and duly bolted in.

The connections of Americain sacked international jockey Gerald Mosse because they claim he slaughtered the horse in the last Melbourne Cup.

Trainer Clarry Conners must be a lot more understanding when it comes to bad rides. He has retained the services of Cassidy for Dear Demi in the Oaks.

We have followed our money believing the Sydney filly should have won the Wakeful.

Cassidy was slowly away, went to the fence early (inside the favorite and eventual winner), then instead of easing out when Zydeco did elected to persevere for a run on the fence but was confronted by a wall of horses all the way down the straight and never got clear until the race was as good as over.’ – Lucy Williams, a keen punter, but never a real fan of ‘the Pumper.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Good to hear from a lady who likes a punt, has an opinion and knows her stuff when it comes to racing Lucy. J Cassidy has been a great survivor and a bit of a rascal all his career but one of the colorful characters of racing in Australasia. I would imagine he would be his own worse critic of the Dear Demi ride so don’t be surprised if he repays the confidence of Clarrie Conners and the connections by bouncing back to win the Oaks on the filly.

 

THE LIFE OF A PUNTER IS NEVER AN EASY ONE TRYING TO FIND THE CUP WINNER

‘HAVING just endured another disastrous Melbourne Cup day on the punt, I decided to send an e-mail to the Wednesday Whinge to let off some steam.

I can’t remember the last time I won on the Cup and in hindsight I wish I had invested my hard earned in the big Lotto (on Tuesday night). The odds might have been stacked against me but I couldn’t have done any worse.

Almost every year it’s the same old story. The Cup runners that are best backed perform terribly, the ones the experts tip rarely run a place and those that fill the placings – on most occasions – were impossible to have, even in hindsight.

I was on Green Moon in the Cox Plate. It was the first horse beaten. I seem to recall that Craig Williams was even considering riding it instead of Dunaden, not that he went any better in the Cup.

Doing the form I decided to steer clear of previous Cup winners in Dunaden and Americain. I got some good mail that Michael Rodd had told his father-in-law, who lives in the same region as me, that he thought Red Cadeaux could go one better this year. I never have any luck backing Rodd. He always seems to get lost.

I even had a saver on Mount Athos and he certainly looked very unlucky. But after I backed the horse a bloke told me that trainer Luca Cumani preferred the stablemate My Quest for Peace so I decided to have another saver on him. I have to be one of the dopiest punters that ever lived.’ – Percy Livingstone, Rockhampton.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If it is any consolation Percy some of the supposed top judges in the country had seven goes at picking the winner and didn’t come up with a place-getter in the Cup so you were in pretty good company. Those who like to bag the crap out of a website colleague Phil Purser (justracing.com.au), should go back and read what he wrote on Monday. Phil refused to have a tip in the Cup because it was his considered opinion that there wasn’t a runner worthy of backing in the big race. He’s a good judge – tips his share of losers like the rest of us – but proved spot on this time around.       

 

OVERWHELMING ANSWER TO THE OLIVER QUESTION POSED BEFORE THE CUP  

‘I read an interesting article last week by Michael Hutak, a journalist and communications specialist, who throughout the 90s edited the weekly racing column 'The Gadfly' for The Sun Herald.

Hutak raised an interesting point when he wrote: Damien Oliver's Melbourne Cup win in 2002 rates among the nation's most memorable sporting moments. But how will we react this year if he wins again?

That question was clearly answered early when Oliver scored a shock win on the Anthony Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar in the Victoria Derby.

Sure it was a great ride and Oliver certainly got much of the kudos for the win after convincing Cummings to run the horse after he rode it in track work only days before the big race.

But the feel-good aspects of the fourth Victoria Derby win by Oliver could not overshadow comments in virtually every story about how the champion jockey was battling allegations that he bet in a race in which he rode another runner.

The outcome of that investigation threatens to rail-road his great career and will certainly have a major bearing on his credibility.

I recommend the Hutak story to anyone interested in racing and what is going on behind the scenes.’ – Glen O’Keefe, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The adverse publicity that greeted Damien Oliver from the time he saw the morning newspapers until he arrived at the track only got worse on Cup Day. One must wonder how he was feeling after the Cup. Green Moon was the horse he was dumped as the rider of after the publicity broke about his alleged $10,000 bet on another runner in a race in which he rode.

We found the story referred to above in the Fairfax archives and here it is:  

IT'S the eve of Victoria Derby Day, truly one of the world's great race days, and the Spring Carnival PR machine is in overdrive: it's all horses and frocks, gallops and Gaultier. And we're just three days from that race that 'allegedly' stops the nation, when Melbourne's biggest annual tourism event reaches its crescendo.

Most notably, no one gives a flying horseshoe whether the racing game is "allegedly" crook or not. The public, the media and racing's administrators have swept that word "allegedly" into the wowser basket.

Nothing will spoil our national day of wilful blindness, of hooves and hedonism. And to be honest, yours truly plans to join the throng headlong in celebration of the noble steed and, of course, "the punt".

As Victoria's Racing Minister Denis Napthine said when race-fixing allegations were first splashed on the front page of The Age in August: "The Spring Carnival will be bigger and better than ever. (This will have) no impact whatsoever." And by and large, so it will be.

That is, unless Damien Oliver wins aboard the favorite, the French-trained champion and 2010 winner Americain. Oliver's unmatched skill, talent and prowess remain beyond question, and that's where they will stay.

However, since The Age revealed Oliver is under investigation for allegedly placing a $10,000 bet on a rival runner, the jockey's honesty and integrity have been under scrutiny.

Mud sticks, and when Oliver won the Group 1 Thousand Guineas last month, there were boos heard from punters at Caulfield ... unthinkable for the jockey who carried a nation on his back to win the Melbourne Cup on Media Puzzle in 2002, just days after his brother and fellow jockey Jason had died in a track incident. You remember, how could we forget? It is up there with the nation's most memorable sporting moments.

What is unthinkable but still patently obvious is the lack of transparency on the part of Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) as it grapples with the perfect storm of staging a major international event when a raft of serious allegations that strike at the public's confidence in racing's integrity remain totally unresolved. So far, PR is winning.

Anyone in racing's inner circles has heard the rumours flying around about several individuals, but let's just focus on the case of D Oliver and what is on the public record. On August 15, Fairfax papers reported that an unnamed jockey "bet thousands of dollars on a rival horse to win in a race in which he was riding". RVL said they knew nothing about it. On October 14, when The Age first named Oliver as the jockey, RVL CEO Rob Hines released a statement in which he made no specific reference to Oliver, and admitted only that stewards were investigating a race. "That investigation is on-going and thus we'll be making no further comment on it at this time." 

RVL has never publicly mentioned Oliver by name in relation to this allegation. Oliver has also declined all invitations to publicly deny the allegation. On Wednesday when questioned at trackwork Oliver told the media: ''I don't know anything about that [investigation]. It's just business as usual."

RVL will, however, admit they have appointed a three-person panel of stewards to "investigate a race" but they won't say whether it has met, who it has interviewed, or give any details on terms of reference, timeline or process. The background talk is these and other allegations are also being investigated by Victoria Police, and that any investigations by racing authorities must be subordinate to those. Fair enough. That's the convention but it's not the law. Despite much noise in racing circles to the contrary, Minister Napthine claims there are "good lines of communication between police and racing authorities". But where is the transparency?

Reliable sources tell us that police are currently not investigating Damien Oliver. And when pressed for an official position on whether Victoria Police and Racing Victoria can run investigations at the same time, Victoria Police responded, "The answer is yes, they can run their own investigations alongside each other." So why is RVL sitting on its hands? We asked RVL directly if they were delaying their investigation until after the carnival, but they have not responded. 

But when RVL's Hines says, as he did last Saturday, that "when they (the police) have a criminal investigation we have to sit back and wait for that to be resolved," is he walking away from his duty to enforce the Rules of Racing and ensure public confidence in the integrity of the multi-billion dollar racing industry? Many average punters wanting to bet on Damien Oliver, and many trainers and owners who want him on their horses, must be asking that question. Oliver himself must be wondering if justice delayed is justice denied. Even if the allegations against him are eventually proved untrue, mud washed away always leaves a stain. 

All parties seem to be sweating on Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna's self-appointed investigation into race-fixing allegations, announced soon after The Age first broke the story. The Office of Racing Integrity Commissioner is an independent role, which sits somewhere between ombudsman and public defender to ensure the public's confidence in racing.

In the current milieu, that's a heavy burden for one individual with limited powers. When announced, several commentators dismissed his inquiry as "window dressing". Another view is that his office needs broader powers to engage more effectively with law enforcement. Perna, himself a former detective, is by all accounts diligent. But his report is dragging on and will be available now AFTER the Spring Carnival. He wouldn't comment to us if the Oliver allegation has had any bearing.

Meanwhile, RVL's Hines has also apparently walked away from a zero-tolerance policy on racing corruption: "It's just a fact that people are never convinced that racing is completely clean ... just occasionally there'll be instances and I think the general public know that and understand that the odd blip won't affect us." 

Twelve-time Cup winning trainer Bart Cummings rates Americain the horse to beat this year. How will we react this time if Oliver sweeps down the Flemington straight to Cup glory aboard Americain? 

More to the point: How will those responsible for assuring racing integrity react?

 

IT MIGHT OVERCOME THE MOBILE CONGESTION BUT WILL IT LEAD TO CUP DAY MONOPOLY

‘THOSE of us who prefer to go to the track for the Melbourne Cup carnival but bet with our chosen corporate bookmaker rather than those on course have long been frustrated by lack of signal on the congested mobile telephone networks.

Sometimes it is virtually impossible to make a call and get your bet on. But it seems things are about to change although there may still be a degree of frustration for the thousands wanting to transmit their bets off the course.

There are reports – which I have yet to see confirmed – that the VRC has signed a deal that next year will allow punters to use smart phones at the track overcoming the congestion on the mobile networks.

There is aparently a catch however that allows the VRC to choose which betting companies can get access to their service which means they can chose to close some operators out. I believe if it is their business they are entitled to do so but standby for restriction of trade challenges, especially if some of the big corporate agencies don’t come to the party one would imagine in quid pro quo deals with the VRC.

Can you enlighten me on what is happening with this?’ Charlie Jackson, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I guess you can’t blame the VRC Charlie for making the most – financially – of what could prove an absolute gold-mine. Here is an EXCLUSIVE story on the subject written last week by MARK HAWTHORNE in the MELBOURNE AGE which could have far reaching affects not only for other race clubs but major sporting events:

THE Victoria Racing Club will revolutionize gambling rights for major sports events, such as today's Victoria Derby meet, after signing a deal to build a Wi-Fi network at Flemington that can lock out unwanted betting companies.

The new wireless internet system, developed by Cisco Systems, will be operating in time for next year's Melbourne Cup carnival. It will allow tens of thousands of racegoers to bet at the track using their smartphones, without having to rely on congested mobile networks.

The technology will allow the VRC to choose which betting companies can get access to its on-track Wi-Fi network.

As a result, the VRC will be able to sell the exclusive rights to all on-track smartphone betting to one company, or charge a license fee to any betting company that wants access rights to the network.

When the network is complete, Flemington's 100,000-plus crowds on big race days will be able to watch high-definition live video of races and choose from multiple camera angles.

The system is being used overseas by Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid and NFL club the Dallas Cowboys. It has obvious implications for in-stadium viewing and betting at AFL and NRL matches.

Richard Kitts, vice-president of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, confirmed that betting companies could have their websites and apps blocked when the network is launched in the new year. ''Obviously, it comes down to the venue and the client - who and what they want to include and exclude,'' Mr Kitts said.

Cisco said the system could be used at football venues, including the MCG and Etihad Stadium. ''We are already using this system at sporting venues around the world, including the Dallas Cowboys' stadium and Real Madrid Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.''

Tabcorp has exclusive wagering rights to all VRC race meets, but this does not include digital betting. The Wi-Fi system could be used to restrict racegoers from betting on rival online websites while at the track.

Tabcorp has seen smartphone betting soar in the past year. There have been more than 640,000 downloads of the company's smartphone and tablet application.

In the past year, 29 per cent of Tabcorp's digital betting revenue came from mobile devices. In the previous year that figure was just 6 per cent.

''It's a rapidly growing market for us,'' Tabcorp spokesman Nicholas Tzaferis said.

Stage one of the network will include Flemington's main stands and betting ring, but will exclude car parks and the Birdcage. Those areas will be covered in stage 2 of the rollout, planned for 2014.

''Betting is just one of the uses of the system we have looked at,'' said Simon Love, the VRC's executive general manager of corporate, finance and strategic initiatives.

''Obviously, we would be looking to protect our rights holders at first instance. That being Tabcorp, Emirates, Myer, AAMI, and many other partners. But long-term we would obviously look at opportunities around betting rights.''

The system was developed by Cisco to solve a perennial problem encountered by spectators at big sporting events - being unable to connect to the internet via 3G mobile networks due to the large number of devices in the one area.

According to the VRC, the new Wi-Fi system will help free up mobile networks, allowing fans to text and call throughout race day, something that can be challenging during major race meetings.

 

NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN QUEENSLAND RACING BUT BLAME IT ALL ON BOB GIBBS

‘I have been involved in racing in Queensland as an owner for many years. I do not know Bob Bentley nor do I know Kevin Dixon but I have watched the political events of the past decade with a degree of interest and disappointment.

Racing seemed to run a lot smoother before Bob Gibbs stepped in and changed things by stripping the Queensland Turf Club of principal club powers and making the control body a virtual arm of Government which it has remained to this day despite all the denials.

Bentley did what the Labor Party wanted and now Dixon seems to be doing what the LNP wants. Integrity was politicized from the moment Bob Mason arrived on the scene. It went even further downhill when Jamie Orchard was in charge.

Removing it from the umbrella of RQ is a step in the right direction but those I have spoken to have reservations about the proposed appointment process as announced last week by the new Racing Minister.

The lack of confidence that continues to grow in the industry will only worsen if those responsible don’t get the right person for the job of Racing Integrity Commissioner. The personnel on the Racing Disciplinary Board also need to be spot on – not political appointments like has happened in the past.’ – Clem Anderson, Gold Coast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As you would be well aware Clem no matter what Government is in power racing decisions will always be political. There are too many high profile people in the industry who can influence politicians. I couldn’t agree with you more that if the wrong person is selected to be Racing Integrity Commissioner there will be no hope for Queensland racing. The only way the appeals system will work is if they do away with this useless QCAT situation and when making appointments to the new Racing Disciplinary Board ensure that none of those who sat on the First Level Appeals Panels are eligible.

 

THE CONCENSUS IS THAT NOTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE BENTLEY EXIT AND DIXON ARRIVAL

'AS a 65-year-old old intrastate nomad with only one ambition left in life I am very close to achieving such by attending a race meeting at every racetrack in Queensland.

Regardless where the wife and I awake each morning the most important task is to open the laptop and log in to letsgohorseracing and justracing. It is the only way I can stay in touch with what is happening in racing in Queensland.

It has been truly amazing to rub shoulders with the locals at various cities and towns to get their views on the industry in general.

Fifty percent of the time I totally agree with your thoughts and observations; forty percent – well I guess everyone is entitled to his or her points of view; and the remaining ten percent we will never agree on.

The one important issue that is extremely obvious from listening to the racing folk in the country areas is that they believe nothing has changed with the changeover of controlling bodies.

Is there a change around the corner?

The talk at the tracks this week was about the Racing Minister’s press release.

When it came to administration most felt there appeared to be a shuffling of the deckchairs on a sinking ship. 

However, the one issue that received a 100 percent tick of approval was the reorganization of the Integrity Department.

In general terms the pleasing issue seemed to be that the Racing Minister is not a puppet of the new RQ Chairman.

The general plea is: Please Mr Minister not only make it right but ensure it is seen to be right.’ – Bruce Bell, Sunshine Coast and all points in between.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s interesting to hear that your feedback from the city to the bush suggests that most believe the administration of Racing Queensland since the election has been nothing more than a re-shuffle of the deck-chairs on the Titanic. I am wondering however how many ‘bush’ tracks you have visited during your whistle-stop tour of the state. I wouldn’t have imagined there was that much opposition to the new control body in those areas. Most would find particularly interesting your comment that the Racing Minister is no puppet for the new RQ Chairman. Then again some of those in the bush believe that daylight savings will dry up the milk in their dairy cows and fade the curtains more.    

 

THIS SUGGESTION THAT THREE CONTROL BODIES INSTEAD OF ONE WILL COST LESS IS A BIT RUBBERY

‘I fail to be convinced how having three control board and an umbrella body will not cost the racing industry in Queensland more than one merged entity.

It smacks in the face of what RQ chairman Kevin Dixon did when he organized a successful merger the Queensland Turf Club and Brisbane Turf Club into the Brisbane Racing Club which was largely designed to reduce costs and duplication of services.

Racing Minister Stephen Dixon says the industry was brought to its knees by the former Labor controlled Bob Bentley Board and claims that the separation of the three codes again will help rejuvenate the industry.

That sounds like a lot of political ‘poppy cock’ to me and is really a disguised way of saying: ‘We’re handing back harness racing control to our good mate Kevin Seymour’ but standby for the sting in the tale for the industry that we haven’t mentioned – the redevelopment of Albion Park and who is going to pay for it.

If the Bentley Board was so careless and arrogant with funds and the Kevin Dixon Board will do such a great job then perhaps the Racing Minister can tell us how $13 million in cash has, it seems, disappeared since the new control body took over about six months ago.

Maybe he can also tell us – without blaming the previous Board – how the new body managed to post a loss of $14 million (as reported in The Courier-Mail and blamed on Bentley and his boys) when Bentley says it was projected to be between $1 and $2 million when he left six months ago.

It comes as no surprise that Bart Sinclair put a nice slant on the situation for the Dixon Board. I hear where the BRC has granted him life membership for years of service to that body when it was known as the QTC. And to think they criticized RQ for inducting Bob Bentley into the Hall of Fame. 

Perhaps the Racing Minister could also tell us if Kevin Dixon is such an astute financial manger how the BRC would have posted a loss during his term as chairman had the new Board not provided them with a timely handout as soon as they took control.

Racing in Queensland is bleeding for extra prizemoney – the majority of which announced so far is simply a transfer of funds used for the night racing circuit at the Sunshine Coast last season to the Country Racing Series to appease those in the National Party, especially Kilcoy, that claimed they were badly done by under the Bentley regime.

When will metropolitan prizemoney try to keep pace with that in the southern states? Since the court win by NSW the northern tracks in that state are attracting horses from across the border to such a degree that fields in south-east Queensland, especially the Gold Coast, are suffering very badly because they just cannot compete prizemoney-wise.

Gallops will continue to go backwards if harness not gets more than its share and greyhounds continue to be treated as the third banana because it does not have the political pull of the ‘red hots’ where the turnover continues to remain nothing short of disgraceful.

They can paint all the pretty pictures of racing in Queensland under Kevin Dixon and Stephen Dickson but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and those dining out on it are bound to starve.’ – As I am an official of a near Brisbane club I would prefer in fairness to my fellow committeemen that you with-hold my identity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is interesting that I continue to be contacted – through phone calls and e-mails to this website – by officials that I have known for years and come to respect – questioning the direction that racing in Queensland is heading since the much despised Bentley Board departed the scene. None want to be identified publicly. for obvious reasons, some would be a massive surprise, even to the Kevin Dixon Board. But generally the consensus of opinion is that the jury is out on the new powers that be. Racing Minister Stephen Dickson won plenty of Brownie points with stake-holders with the statement he made to Parliament when introducing new racing legislation. One major concern that needs to be addressed is the fact that 60 per cent of the starters at northern NSW meetings are now from Queensland stables. That has had a detrimental affect on meetings in the south-east corner where the prizemoney just cannot compete and needs to be addressed urgently by the RQ Board rather than worry about extra TAB meetings at some obscure venues that support the National Party.     

 

THE DAY THAT STARTED SO WELL FOR THE SYDNEYSIDERS IN MELBOURNE ENDED EMBARRASSINGLY

‘WHAT is that saying about ‘going the early crow?’

Perhaps those Sydney media men reminding the Victorians on TVN about how successful starters from ‘their’ state had been on Derby Day should have ‘held their horses.’

Within an hour it was a Sydney-trained horse at the centre of doping allegations that saw the biggest day on the Australian racing calendar degenerate into scandal headlines.

To make matters worse Howmuchdoyouloveme, after being heavily backed in early Fixed Odds betting, then blew out the gate after being allowed to run and raced like it had lost a leg.

Adding insult to injury was the comment from the trainer’s father, Tony Karakatsanis, that ‘it was easy to mistake a bag full of chaff for a bag containing a bucket and a tube.’

Sure mate and I made the mistake when I robbed the feed merchant and ordered him to fill up that bag with what I believed it be manure and not money.

Yeah the Sydneysiders had a lot to offer when they trekked across the border for our big day and it wasn’t all positive.’ – Greg Simpson, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It was the Sydney-trained horses that dominated early and nothing can take those results away from them. Until the inquiry into the Karakatsanis chaff bag found to contain a bucket and tube has been completed we better not comment much further on that situation Greg.

 

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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