THIS website 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 from around the country has been welcomed. Your response to our new (re-named) feature ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ 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. The e-mail box this week was dominated by the swabbing procedural embarrassment for Queensland racing in Cairns; the Damien Oliver affair; brickbats for Racing NSW and its CEO Peter V’Landys and news of legislative change to the appeals process in Queensland.





THE thoughts and prayers of the racing fraternity go out to jockey Scott Galloway and his partner, Lisa, who lost their baby son, Charlie, in a tragic accident yesterday.

The 18-month-old toddler was accidentally run over while playing in the garage of a house at Hope Island where Scott and Lisa were visiting friends after the weekend wedding of Brisbane trainer, Brian Smith.

“You never expect something like this to happen,” a devastated Galloway said in a brief statement to News Limited.   



THE mail is strong that the Government will legislate to remove racing appeals from the precinct of QCAT (the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal).

With some exceptions the move by Labor to have QCAT hear second tier appeals by disgruntled licensees has proved an absolute disaster.

Some of those sitting on QCAT have displayed sheer ignorance of the three codes of racing with one lady panel member even asking at a harness appeal: ‘What is that funny chariot the horse is pulling along?’

There seems to be some confusion over whether the new RAD Board to be appointed is to replace the First Level Appeals body or QCAT. Whatever, change will be welcome.

Some of the appointments to the First Level Appeals panels were always viewed as political and Bentley Board-friendly. The hope of the industry is that this doesn’t continue and that the appointment of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, in particular, is both advertised and done interference free and independently.



THIS can’t be right – one of our spies in the Deagon Bunker claims that the two leading stewards in Queensland – Wade Birch and Allan Reardon – are both paid more than the Chairman of Stewards in Victoria, Terry Bailey.

With all due respects to the ability, expertise and job being done by Messrs Birch and Reardon, if that is correct either RQ is over-paying their integrity heavy-weights or Racing Victoria is under-paying theirs.

With what Bailey has had to endure in recent months they should be paying him a Christmas bonus. There isn’t a steward in the land that has had to endure the stress and trauma that his job has created.

And we are reliably informed that the young gun steward that RQ regards as having one of the brightest futures in the land won’t be sticking around after he completes his Law Degree. The mail from our man in the Deagon Bunker is that he does not see his long range future in racing but more so in the legal fraternity.



THERE are reports emanating from Victoria that a few influential owners and trainers are circulating a petition calling on the Government to remove the RVL Board.

Our e-mails suggest there are some ‘heavy-hitters’ behind the move. We are also told that leading trainer Peter Moody refused to sign the petition.

Story goes that whilst he was not critical of those behind the petition Moody was not satisfied he could make an unbiased decision without having all the facts.

Those involved are apparently using the handling of the Damien Oliver situation by RVL to boost their call for a new Board.

Some are suggesting they have the support of Racing Minister Denis Napthine who called on Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna to independently investigate circumstances of the Oliver case and what role, if any, RVL played in the delay which enabled the champion jockey to ride during Melbourne Cup week.



IT seems that a recent ‘tubing incident’ involving a Brisbane trainer is being linked to an individual in the industry in North Queensland.

Perhaps RQL stewards should look at ties between a harness racing identity in the north and gallops trainers in the south-east corner.

The story goes that the identity in question has a motor vehicle that resembles ‘a mobile chemist shop.’

Just think they could actually search his car without even having to jump fences and chase people through stable complexes.

The reason we mention the latter is that there have been several e-mails questioning whether stewards in Queensland would follow the lead of their Victorian counterparts and jump fences in the pursuit of drug offenders.



IT seems that former chairman Andrew Eggleston continues to haunt directors of the Gold Coast Turf Club Board.

A painting which Eggleston commissioned at his own expense to replace a photograph to hang alongside other GCTC chairmen mysteriously disappeared.

“It seems they didn’t want to be upstaged by my painting,” Eggleston said. “So I guess until the painting is returned I’ll just have to settle for my photograph sitting alongside these other wonderful gentlemen of the Gold Coast Turf.”

Meanwhile, Eggleston has been asked by a number of keen racing followers if a bikini foot race down the straight at the Gold Coast was banned by Racing Queensland, how they are allowing a racing journalist and the club CEO to contest a boxing bout at the Casino.

“Personally I don’t think the CEO should have been placed in this position but should the Board decide to instruct him not to participate I would be delighted to accommodate young Daniel and even more delighted to sit him on his backside,” Eggleston said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he was a late withdrawal from the bout with Grant (Sheather, GCTC CEO).”



WE have received several e-mails concerning the drama that occurred preceding the final race at Clifford Park in Toowoomba on Saturday night.

It started when a horse threw its rider and galloped two circuits of the track; then another got down in the barriers stall; and another reared over on jockey Lacey Morrison requiring her to be taken to hospital.

With more than half the field late scratchings the start had to be delayed by almost an hour awaiting the arrival of another ambulance and providing time for fresh betting on-course to avoid major deductions.

Our e-mails suggest that one of the biggest problems for racing in Toowoomba has been the departure of some very good horseman as Clerks of the Course.

Whether the suggestion that these guys were dispensed with for political reasons is correct or not, there seems to be some merit in the concerns expressed privately by Downs jockeys that those doing the job now are having trouble getting horses into the barriers. We are told the same problem occurred at the trials.

We haven’t asked Chairman Bob Frappell to comment on the above because the majority of complainants are licensees who don’t want their identity used for obvious reasons. But if Bob or anyone from the club wishes to comment on the issue the space is available.

There were also queries why none of the horses were barred or that seemed to be the case from the stewards’ report. This is particularly concerning as we are told a steward warned a jockey not to ride one of the horses which he described as a ‘nut case’ and ‘dangerous’.

Here we go again. Time for RQ to intervene but that isn’t likely to happen when the two Chairmen are joined at the hip. Sorry fellas but this isn’t a good look for RQ especially when the drama was played out on SKY for all to see.



IF the e-mails that we received are any guide Peter Moody was a popular guest speaker at the racing awards night in Mount Isa last weekend.

The same could not be said for another guest speaker at a racing awards night, who according to a bookmaker, hogged the microphone for an hour and never stopped talking about himself.

"We were bored shitless but the problem was we couldn't leave because we were waiting for them to conduct the calcutta," he complained.


NOW here is this week’s e-mail selection with apologies to those who didn’t miss out:   



‘RACING Queensland needs to address a number of issues and extend their spring clean to include effective swabbing procedures.

The news that a long-time swabbing attendant in Cairns did not follow procedures does not surprise many people close to the racing industry in North Queensland.

The fact that QCAT saw fit to overturn on appeal a swabbing case because this guy decided to adopt his own techniques throws open to question other inquiries and penalties imposed as a result of his actions.

This is a major embarrassment for the industry in Queensland and a major blunder. These ‘cowboys’ that call themselves swabbing attendants should never be allowed to officiate again.

While the clean-out is on at RQ, perhaps they should focus on some effective replacements who know what the procedures are for swabbing that won’t be overturned on appeal.’ – As I am a North Queensland trainer I ask that my identity be with-held.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The admission by the swabbing attendant in Cairns that he uses a tea towel instead of disposable paper towels as part of his procedure opens the gate for appeals of the past 20 years to be overturned. It’s a major embarrassment for the racing industry in Queensland and is one of the first areas that the new Integrity Commissioner needs to address when he is appointed. In the meantime the CJC swabbing attendant involved in this issue should be stood down despite the fact he supposedly has decades of experience.



‘THE procedural oversight that led to the upholding of a swabbing appeal by QCAT raises questions of how some appointments are made in the first place.

One problem that exists in racing in Queensland – and has done for some time – is the closeness of some in the industry to those who are officiating.

It goes back to the days when stewards would leave racing functions and join licensees for some after-hours socializing at lap dancing clubs.

Then you have a situation of officials involved in appointment processes when they are actively involved in the industry.

I am not suggesting anything corrupt here but human nature being what it is there is always the perception that a person appointed by an official will be reluctant to pursue action against that particular official or his associates when it comes to the policing of racing.

There is widespread speculation that a racing identity with skeletons in his closet from a former corrupt political era could bob up in a new high profile integrity position.

Regardless of his LNP ties or friendship with a couple of key figures in the industry, if this occurs the appointment process will no doubt result in complaints to the CMC.’ – Doug Alexander, Gold Coast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping this LNP Government is heading back to the dark ages of the Russ Hinze era when the Nationals ran the show in racing and corruption was swept under the carpet. What these new appeals bodies need are lawyers with racing experience not former racing personnel with agendas and perceived favorites who should have been pensioned off long ago.



‘WHILST country racing officials will welcome the decision of the new Racing Queensland Board to take a handful of monthly meetings outside the city, one wonders whether the cost outweighs the public relations exercise.

Some of the cynics will view this jaunt to the country as little more than a junket for the Board members who one would assume won’t be flying to the venues ‘cattle class’ or staying overnight in bed and breakfast accommodation venues.

The cost to the industry of five (or ultimately six) Board members flying to Townsville (where the first of these meetings will be held next month) plus accommodation will not be insignificant.

Against that is the chance for officials and stake-holders in country venues to communicate on a face-to-face basis with the Board members providing they make themselves available for public interaction.

Do you think some are being too harsh or cynical in questioning the merits of this decision considering the costs involved?’ – Harvey Evans, Rockhampton.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I think the public relations exercise out-weighs the cost to the industry providing the Board makes multiple use of their visits and doesn’t just use it for a monthly meeting without involving the local stake-holders in some way.         



‘ABOUT the only one who has got a good handle on this Damien Oliver saga is former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.

His attack on the Racing Victoria Board is supported by a lot of people in the industry. Plenty are asking why Oliver should have been allowed to retain the proceeds of his illegal bet.

When you consider what he earned in percentages (not to mention slings) during Melbourne Cup week when many believe he should not have been allowed to ride, the question arises about whether the penalty he received was sufficient.

It probably explains why he does not seem to intend to appeal the severity of the penalty. With what many are saying he could risk it being extended if he did.’ – Grant Rogers, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whilst you make some valid points Grant about why Damien should not have been fined as well to off-set the proceeds of his bet, 10 months on the sideline would cost a jockey of his success rate much more than most in his profession. Below is a story by BRENDAN CORMACK in THE AUSTRALIAN which reports how Jeff Kennett feels on the subject:

FORMER Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has launched a stinging attack on Racing Victoria’s governance, describing it as “subterranean” and called for the board and the chief executive to sacked.

Kennett, whose government ensured the racing industry had a long-term income stream in the mid-1990s when he privatised the TAB and made the racing codes partners in a joint-venture agreement with the wagering and gaming giant, voiced his dissatisfaction with the way the state’s peak thoroughbred racing organisation was performing to The Australian yesterday.

He described as “totally unacceptable” the way RV had performed during the Damien Oliver betting scandal and the appropriateness of the penalty the champion jockey received for a $10,000 bet he had placed on the winner of a race he rode in two years ago at Moonee Valley.

Oliver received a 10-month ban, but was not stood down during the major days of the spring carnival, where he was able to pocket winning percentages running into hundreds of thousands of dollars courtesy of three Group I wins.

Kennett added that the Oliver case, on top of the issues surrounding Danny Nikolic, had deeply damaged Victoria’s reputation as the nation’s premier racing state, not just in the eyes of the world.

“We have created ourselves a situation that is unacceptable,” Kennett said.

“Racing Victoria has failed to deliver good governance.

He said it beggared belief that Oliver could profit in the amount of $11,000 from his “immoral investment” on Miss Octopussy and not even be fined.

“Racing Victoria is out of touch with the community (in) letting him keep the proceeds of his crime,” Kennett said.

“Mug punters are paying the price.”

Rob Hines finishes up as chief executive at Racing Victoria this week, following Thursday’s annual general meeting.

He will be replaced by his chief operating officer, Bernard Saundry. Hines will be a consultant to RV in the New Year in the bid to aggregate media rights.

Kennett took aim at Hines after viewing his performance and leadership in recent months. He was forthright in his assessment.

“The CEO is inappropriate. I hear he is going to run the media department. He should be shown the door,” Kennett said.

RV’s objective when listed as a public company 11 years ago, after Kennett’s reign as premier ended, was to enhance the racing industry’s position as a leading world-class sporting industry, delivering integrity, quality and entertainment. RV assumed the functions and responsibilities as the new principal club.

The Victoria Racing Club had previously been responsible for governance in Victoria. Racing Victoria was established with the support of the racing clubs, racing industry bodies and the state government to provide independent governance.

The board, led by former federal attorney-general Michael Duffy, should — according to Kennett — be sacked, but RV’s 14 member bodies appoint the board and the board appoints the chief executive.

Kennett said because of the way Racing Victoria was structured, Racing Minister Denis Napthine’s hands were tied, but he could always resort to new legislation if unhappy with how the body was overseeing the industry. “The minister cannot control, but he can influence. He needs to tell them to clean up their act or he’ll clean it up for them,” he said.



‘IT is interesting to see that the knives are out for the Board of RVL over the Oliver case.

On reading today’s edition of The Age there is one most glaring question that in my mind needs to be answered.

If we can go back some two or three months there was a big story in The Age about how this very successful jockey, who had a film made about his career, had a $10,000 bet from the jockeys’ room on another jockey’s phone that had apparently been hidden from officials.

All hell has broken loose over the past couple of months on what should and should not have been done about this ‘fish & chip’ daily big story.

Top and skilful investigating reporting in anyone’s language – but was it?

It seems to be agreed that the RVL and the stewards became aware of the crime when they first read the article.

Now in today’s edition of The Age (22nd November) there is a single paragraph that is very interesting to say the least and I quote:

‘It was the result of information received by Perna in August that Oliver’s bet was revealed.’

Isn’t it strange? Here we have information handed into the Integrity Commissioner’s Office and what happens?

Racing Victoria and its staff are not advised yet the story winds up in The Age.

Talk about integrity – the Racing Minister needs to conduct an inquiry into the inquiry.’ -James R Dixon, Sydney.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t think you need to be any genius to realize that the investigative skills of Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker from The Age have been boosted considerably by a ‘mole’ within the police ranks who stumbled upon racing corruption during their investigation into the Samba murders. One thing that seems abundantly clear is that the Victorian Government needs to get its act together and ensure that racing and police share their powers of investigation and if that requires a change in legislation to give a special integrity unit within the racing codes the necessary powers then that should be done forthwith.



‘THE racing media in New South Wales has been on the front foot giving the authorities and stewards in Victoria a real bagging over the delay in dealing with the Damien Oliver case.

But they seem to have suffered convenient memory loss when it comes to one of their own, Jim ‘the Pumper’ Cassidy, who continues to ride whilst being under an investigation could similar to that which confronted Oliver.

From my observation the same information has been available to both the Victorian and NSW control bodies for identical offences

The Oliver matter has been finalized in Victoria after the Sydney racing media gave RVL a major bagging. Yet they haven’t mentioned the fact that the Cassidy case hasn’t got off the launch pad in NSW with not one bleat from the local media.

There has to be a message in this somewhere.’ – Harold Buxton, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Victorian racing media certainly isn’t shirking the task on this contentious topic. Here’s a story from MELBOURNE AGE investigative reports NICK McKENZIE and RICHARD BAKER which relates to the situation involving Oliver and Cassidy:

LEADING jockeys Damien Oliver and Jimmy Cassidy are riding in the Melbourne Cup despite authorities having information that shows they have engaged in misconduct for which they should be suspended or disqualified.

Oliver bet on a rival horse in a 2010 race and Cassidy took cash slings from crime boss Tony Mokbel in the early 2000s. If only it stopped there. Another top jockey riding throughout the carnival, Mark Zahra, is believed by police to have taken a $3000 bribe offered by another jockey, Danny Nikolic, to help fix a race in 2011.

Nikolic would most likely also be still in the saddle if he had not threatened chief steward Terry Bailey in September, for which he was disqualified for two years.

This is troubling because the most serious allegations involving Nikolic - that he fixed a race, a claim that had been known to police since April 2011 - did not lead to his disqualification.

In fact, after Four Corners and Fairfax first aired the race-fixing allegations in August, Nikolic continued riding.

A third rider in the Melbourne Cup is also the subject of an ongoing inquiry into serious misconduct. But his spring carnival, too, remains uninterrupted.

This unmitigated mess, one needs to understand, has been a long time in the making and is the product of the failure of Labor and Coalition racing ministers to clean up the sport.

Racing Minister Denis Napthine - who, while in opposition, spoke so loudly and so often about the need for major inquiries and reforms to deal with corruption in racing - has decided that his best course of action is to refuse to comment, to stall the implementation of obvious reforms, or to handball sensitive matters to others, including the Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna.

Perna's forthcoming report on race fixing is likely to call for what racing officials - going back to former chief steward Des Gleeson in 2008 - have been demanding for years. Racing Victoria needs more power to deal quickly and effectively with those suspected of corruption and the Victoria Police must also be given the powers and resources to help stewards do this.

As the Racing Minister, Napthine has endured a major, and still unresolved, race-fixing inquiry involving Nikolic and Zahra, the Oliver betting scandal and the Cassidy-Mokbel sling affair. Who knows what is yet to come to light?

And yet those suspected of corruption (other than Nikolic) can keep on keeping on during Australia's premier racing event as if nothing has happened. What a disgrace!



‘THE track at Ballarat on Cup day was disgracefully biased and punters didn’t get a fair go, hence a quadrella that paid in excess of $400,000.

I have no problem with rough results providing it is a level playing field but when you are supporting horses that settle back in the field and not getting a run for your money that is not good enough.

Surely the punters should have been better informed by these track-walker guys that have been employed by Racing Victoria.

Interestingly, when Bruce Clark went into bat for the punters on TVN nearing the end of the Ballarat Cup day and declared the track presented for racing as ‘biased’ it was Sam Hyland who took offence.

Hyland, one of the RVL employed track-walkers, was quick to defend his turf and tried to alibi the situation suggesting that he warned punters of the situation in his briefings. With all due respects Sam you are speaking a lot of horse manure.

Instead of becoming an over-night expert on what looks good in the paddock how about getting things right in your real job and declaring the tracks what they are instead of what officialdom wants you to suggest they are?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some of these track managers can get very testy and take it personally when there is criticism of the way their tracks play. They have a thankless job but that is no excuse for hiding behind a biased track and RVL should be telling Sam Hyland and associate track-walkers that there is no point them doing the job if punters are being given a bum steer. Bruce Clark was right. The track on Ballarat Cup day was terribly biased toward the on-pacers – not good enough for the club’s biggest meeting of the year.  



‘I see where Peter V’landys has spat the dummy because he couldn’t get unanimous agreement on the steam-rolling through of changes that would see a minimum two-year penalty for jockeys who punt.

The only way I can describe the power-brokers of NSW racing would be to pinch a line from author John O’Grady or his non-de-plume ‘Nino Colutta’ and declare: ‘They’re a Weird Mob.’

Over the years many major issues have confronted the racing industry nationwide.

All Principal Racing Bodies have had their problems at one stage or another. They must all bear some degree of responsibility for these failings.

However, there are two issues in particular that I would like to touch on.

The first area deals with mandatory penalties – some that flies in the face of what Australian racing has built respect on. History tends to suggest that any move of

This type often originates from a source nearing his use-by date. 

It could be suggested that he or she doesn’t want to be held accountable for any decisions they make. I reckon Mr V’Landys has been sold a dummy.

I can recall one personal experience when I was faced with a jockey having a punt.  The panel was confronted with the question:  ‘What was an appropriate penalty?’

A decision was made to adjourn the inquiry as the next race was due to be run and I guess to let the offender ‘sweat’ a little.

Before the inquiry could be restarted I was confronted by a woman with three little ones, possibly all under school age. She was extremely and genuinely concerned about the welfare of the family if her husband was suspended or even fined for his actions. She just didn’t have any money.

Without going into detail on the justice handed out, you might not believe me anyway, this mother dished out her own domestic penalty that only a heavily pregnant wife can.

On the off chance one or two of you think this was a ‘Stiffy and Mo’ performance – forget it.  He was getting such a serve he hit a cow in his car on the way home. True story!

Now if Racing NSW get what they are demandingan automatic two-yeardisqualification for jockeys who bet – it will make a mockery of our racing justice system, as we know it today.

As a footnote to this subject I would love to take Des O’Keeffe of the Victorian Jockeys’ Association to task.

There are some who believe he must shoulder some of the responsibility for the current controversy involving jockeys in Victoria.

Mr O’Keeffe’sability to ‘rake’ in membership fees from jockeys of allranks and blame everyone else for not doing this or that to educate a 40 yearold millionaire about the wages of sin is just staggering.

In my opinion he has a lot of questions to answer.’ – I have to request that my name be withheld for obvious reasons but for clarification of any point or issue please do not hesitate to contact me by phone, details of which are supplied separately.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The e-mail above obviously refers to this story by RAY THOMAS in the SYDNEY TELEGRAPH:

RACING NSW is pressing ahead with proposals to introduce minimum penalties for jockeys found guilty of betting on races with or without a change of national racing rules by the Australian Racing Board.

The Druitt St powerbrokers believe a tougher penalty regime is necessary to protect the integrity of the sport.

There have been calls to "beef up" the penalties in the wake of the seemingly lenient 10-month ban given to Damien Oliver by Racing Victoria stewards last week after the jockey admitting placing a $10,000 bet on a rival runner in a race in which he rode.

"There's a point where someone has to take responsibility for their own actions," Racing NSW's chief executive Peter V'landys said.

"If you don't break the rules you have nothing to worry about with the minimum penalties but we need to protect punters and have all participants on a level playing field."



‘WHEN jockey Chris Munce returned to Australia from Hong Kong I could not believe my ears when I heard NSW racing head honcho Peter V’landys greet this Hong Kong-disgraced disqualified person like a long lost friend.

I have been taught from an early age ‘there is a reason for everything.’

In an edition of the Sydney Telegraph we have a photograph of Mr V’landys telling the world how tough NSW are going to be on ‘racing crime’.

What a bloody joke while Victoria has finalized the Damien Oliver problem regardless of the method used.

Racing NSW is dragging the chain on Jim Cassidysame type of offence, the same informant (The Age) and the same quality evidence available to RVL on Oliver.

The Oliver issue is finalized regardless but the Cassidy issue isn’t.

This fearless leader of racing in NSW should keep his nose outof stewards’ and integrity issues.

According to a lifelong friend and former steward in Sydney, stewards have powers to carry out their duties under Australian Rule of Racing 8. Stewards are given powers to supervise and control licensees.

It is obvious that Mr V’landys wants to take these powers a step further.

Mr V’Landys – the answer is simple – appoint a young Chief Steward who will have a go while you stay clear of the stewards and the Integrity Department.’ - Allan Jenkinson, Green Acres, Sydney

EDITOR’S NOTE: Regardless of what penalties are imposed jockeys will continue to bet – one way or another. They will just be more careful in future. Mandatory penalties sound great but each case needs to be judged on its merits. As for Chris Munce, it was an absolute farce that he was forced to endure a prison sentence for what he did. I am not defending the right of racing to take action but to send him to jail was over the top.  



‘AS a keen observer of the racing media, especially where sport and racing is concerned, I was interested to see where the News Limited boss Kim Williams will be a keynote speaker at the Australian Racing Conference in February.

A promotional piece on the Conference promises that Mr Williams will provide delegates with key insights into the modern media environment and what opportunities are available for racing to play a key role in the space in the future.

He also plans to address how News Limited is addressing the changing media landscape, the continuing growth of the internet for news content and the presentation of sport.

As it is a couple of months to the Conference I was wondering if we could get Mr Williams to address a couple of key issues:

(1)   How The Age, from the struggling Fairfax stable, managed to give News Limited, especially its star edition the Melbourne Herald Sun, one almighty belting when it came to coverage of the racing scandals that have rocked victory. Two investigative journalists have made the News Limited coverage on the issue look second rate and many in the media believe they have been playing catch-up from day one?

(2)   Apart from attempting to block those readers who do not pay a subscription to significant reports of a racing nature on the News Limited websites, what other ways do they plan to stop the internet invasion which has already eaten away at newspaper readership and advertising dollars?

(3)   Does he believe it is fair to expect the TABs (therefore the industry) to keep paying for form guides to be provided in News Limited newspapers when the coverage of racing seems to decrease by the day (except at major carnival time). And is it fair for the TABs to pay News Limited at the expense of other publications that provide just as good a service, considering the amount of extra racing and the fact that the form guides seem to have reduced their content, which is now being run on News Limited websites instead?

I am sure many in the industry would like to hear the views of News Limited on these important racing issues instead of what is likely to be a propaganda speech of how their newspapers and websites will lead the way in racing.’ – Bob Stubbs, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sounds like you are well versed on rivalry in the racing media Bob and I suspect there is a link somewhere along the line with Fairfax. Regardless, you raise some interesting points. There are several other keynote speakers, apart from the News Limited boss, spearheaded by Tabcorp MD & CEO David Attenborough; DSEG Executive Chairman James Henderson and MCG CEO Stephen Gough. Other confirmed speakers and panellists include wagering heavyweights Sportsbet CEO, Cormac Barry, Betfair CEO, Giles Thompson, Alan Eskander, MD of Betstar and the ubiquitous Tom Waterhouse, media commentators Les Carlyon, Bruce Clark and Shane Anderson, comedian and racing tragic Trevor Marmalde and the always outspoken Dr Turf.



‘I am responding to the rubbish written (from a correspondent last week about the Toowoomba Turf Club). That is the sort of propaganda that is wrecking a fantastic industry.

No doubt the person who wrote this doesn't attend the TTC in fear of being injured by flying objects (probably fists) thrown by members or a group trying to chuck him back out the gate. If they haven't tried to throw him out, well, they bloody well should.

I am not a member. I am however a very keen punter and read websites such as these to get info for my Saturday sojourn to the TAB and TTC twilight meeting.

I nearly spat my beer out (I read your column after lunch by the way) when I read a local of Toowoomba (I assume) bagging the idea of a grass surface returning. Is he instane? Does he live in la la land? Obviously!

For anyone to say the cushion track should remain is seriously out of touch with the local racing industry. I am a punter and horse racing lover. I want the grass back.

The fields are atrocious and to get bloody odds on a local chance...well it's now a myth. The trainers can't be more behind it, and I have spoken to a few at the pub over a few cold ones (the shit you hear at the bar.... but that's another letter for another day).

I am not privy to the politics surrounding this decision and am the last bloke that wants to get involved. But from what I have seen and heard, nobody wanted the cushion track, we still don't want it, and we want the grass back!

If the TTC committee or RQL can make it happen, well that's bloody fantastic and the sooner the better.

As for the treated, no...I won't even bother. Maybe old mate from last week should worry about the sewerage coming from his mouth rather than watering the track. The treated water can't be any worse than that.

BRING BACK THE GRASS!’ – From a reader who claims his name is Ray Charles.

EDITOR’S NOTE: WHAT a shame many of the protagonists spend too much time sniping on the Downs while the industry there is heading down the gurgler. The fields are pathetic, the turnover even worse and the public is quickly losing interest in the product. The only interest the rest of the industry has in Toowoomba racing these days is watching the hi-jinx that continues between the current directors and those now departed, along with their supporters. It’s time Racing Queensland put the cleaners through the joint but that isn’t going to happen.      


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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