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..

THE e-mail box this week was spearheaded by comments on the Magic Millions carnival which is underway, the voting process for a new Board to control the three codes of racing in Queensland and the continuing drama over the decision to replace the cushion track at Toowoomba with a strathayr surface at the cost of many millions to the taxpayers. Concerns continue to grow about the number of south-east Queensland trained horses crossing the border chasing the better prizemoney and incentives in northern NSW leaving field sizes below standard at TAB tracks in Queensland. There is also an interesting take on the problems confronting Australian racing because of the refusal of Government and officialdom to rein in the corporate bookmaking agencies.






CHAMPION trainer Peter Moody might have missed the plane from Melbourne but he was determined to be better late than never to the Carbine Club Luncheon at the Gold Coast on Tuesday.

Moody headlined the guest speakers at the traditional Magic Millions lead-up and quickly jumped aboard the next available flight into the tourist strip.

He was running late, arriving at the function in very much Gold Coast attire, casual shirt, shorts and joggers and tonguing for a cold one.

Big Pete joined the head honcho of Racing Queensland Kevin Dixon – for whom he apparently once trained a horse – at one of the official tables and the rest is history.

Moody again brought the house down at the Carbine Club luncheon fulfilling his guest speaking engagement.

If you sneak-a-peak at one of the many photographs doing the rounds of Pete and Kev enjoying the festivities you will see that both are having a very good time.



IT’S easy to be wise after the event but should hot favorite Volkhere have been allowed to start after being momentarily cast in the barrier stalls at Eagle Farm on Saturday?

It depends on who you talk to!

There is a school of thought that if a starter is cast in the stalls – even if for only a matter of moments – that stewards should insist it be scratched.

The official line is that providing the club veterinarian – the expert on the spot – is happy that the horse is free enough in its action when inspected after the incident it should be allowed to run.

That’s fine and at least ensures that there are no deductions, the owners get the chance to see their hope contest the race, but not on every occasion does it prove satisfactory at the end of the day.

More times than not, horses that are strung up in the barrier stalls do not come out and win races. Volkhere was just another example.

The time is fast approaching where officialdom needs to rule that horses are automatically scratched if they get strung up in the stalls, even momentarily.

That way the welfare of the horse is paramount and the punters are protected.

Volkhere was not the same horse at Doomben that won at his previous start at Eagle Farm.

It would be interesting to know how Robbie Heathcote felt about the horse starting. Perhaps he should have expressed that opinion when stewards inquired into the poor performance.

What they reported at Doomben was:  

The start of this race was delayed when VOLKHERE (Matthew Palmer) became fractious in the barriers and momentarily became cast. VOLKHERE was removed, examined by the veterinary surgeon and passed fit to start.

When asked to explain the disappointing performance of VOLKHERE, rider Matthew Palmer stated that the gelding travelled comfortably in the early and middle stages, however when the pace increased from the 600m the horse was immediately under pressure.

He added that VOLKHERE had a tendency to lay out rounding the home turn and did not respond to his riding in the home straight.

Trainer R. Heathcote was unable to offer any tangible explanation for the disappointing performance and advised that he will have veterinary tests carried out on gelding in the coming days, the results of which he will forward to stewards.

A post-race veterinary examination of VOLKHERE revealed the gelding to have minor lacerations on both hind pasterns and had sprung its near fore plate. A routine swab sample was taken from VOLKHERE.

The only winners on the day were the poor struggling Brisbane bookmakers – already being financed out of their woes by a strange Racing Queensland decision. They had already drifted the price of Volkhere from $2 to $2.6 so one can only assume the result was a bonanza for them.



THERE is no hope for racing in Queensland if some of the stories doing the rounds about the process involved in the Government appointment of two members to the new All Codes Racing Industry Board prove to be correct.

If what is being strongly predicted comes to pass when the appointments are announced, a couple of disgruntled applicants with high profile credentials will be far from impressed.

What needs to happen before the Racing Minister via the Government makes his selection is for the CVs of those who are in major contention to be made public for the industry to see what credentials are on offer.

A member of a stakeholder group recently asked for the CVs of two prime candidates – Kevin Dixon and Greg Hallam – but was refused access by the secretary of his assocation. One would have thought they would be trumpeting their credentials from the roof-tops of racing.

It’s not fair on those who have taken the time to apply for these important positions believing it will be a level playing field when they are hearing from respected industry identities how those in the know – politically and in top racing circles – are adamant it is – and always has been – a two-horse race.



THE decision of the LNP Government to use much-needed taxpayer money to replace the cushion track with a strathayr surface at Toowoomba has become a very contentious issue and we continue to receive numerous e-mails on the topic.

This just about sums up the feelings of many:

THE decision by the remaining members of the TTC to support the return to a turf racing surface is neither a surprise nor a disappointment. What is of concern is the process. 

Once again there appears to be a piecemeal approach being employed from a limited viewpoint. There is no wider view or consultation from a business management perspective.

The question being widely asked: Is this the best bang for our buck and is it in the best interests of Queensland racing? 

It’s no secret that many were very much opposed to the destruction of the turf racing surface in the first instance and bitterly opposed to the process employed to establish a cushion track. There are still unanswered questions about what happened there.

One trainer wrote: “In fact I have handed my trainers’ license in and ceased my 20-year membership of the Toowoomba Turf Club. I am not the only one, which is not a surprise – but what is surprising is that no-one has bothered to find out why. 

“The same people who are slapping each other on the back congratulating themselves on the vote to re-establish the turf surface are basically the same people who destroyed it.

“What is missing is a strategic analysis of the best options and a business case developed by people who know how to do so.

“Queensland will continue to struggle whilst they determinedly look to the future with past lessons unlearnt. It may well be the right decision but again the process is questionable.

“An evidence-based case is needed reviewing all options, and taking into account all the interested parties, not just the 200 remaining members.

“If I could start a list of groups and bodies to be consulted could I suggest – the Regional Development Committee; Toowoomba City Council; Regional Tourism; Regional industry participants including owners, trainers and breeders; Potential Investors; Project Development Groups and most certainly current Regional Investors (mining to start with).

“The talent pool to solve the problem in a professional way needed to be a little deeper. Do things the same old way and you will get the same old results.”



THE number of Queensland-trained horses crossing the border to race at northern New South Wales venues must be a matter of increasing concern for the authorities in the Sunshine State.

Over one third of those nominated for the Ballina meeting on Friday are from stables in south-east Queensland.

The clubs north of the border are suffering badly with far better prizemoney on offer in northern NSW with payments back to 10th of $275 and a starters’ subsidy of $200. Clubs in south-east Queensland simply cannot compete without some assistance.

Instead of playing politics and worrying about who is going to be appointed to what Board and who will look after the integrity interests of those that matter in racing in Queensland, it’s time for officialdom to get off their backsides and address the real issue – that of a lack of prizemoney in the north.


And here are the e-mail contributions we have elected to run with apologies to those who missed out this week:



‘THE silly season has arrived when the national racing spotlight focuses on the Gold Coast and the mainstream racing media and officialdom bare their backsides for the Magic Millionaires.

Gai Waterhouse declares the Magic Millions Classic should be granted Group One status – similar to the call for some years by a former co-owner of the organization in John Singleton, for whom she trains.

The mainstream racing media wax lyrical about the attributes of this great race day but make little mention of the crappy track that doesn’t afford every runner a fair chance or the fact that there will be uncomfortable conditions on a stifling hot day for the punters who think they are in for a special treat attending one of Queensland’s biggest race days of the year.

Not to mention the number of upsets that the meetings traditionally throws up proving a bonanza for the bookmakers and a graveyard for the punters.

But why worry – it’s such a great tourist attraction. Or is it?

Studies have shown that the Magic Millions Race Day doesn’t attract the international or interstate visitors that warranted millions in handouts – not to the Gold Coast Turf Club but to the Magic Millionaires who run the show, specifically one of the country’s richest men in Gerry Harvey.

Perhaps instead of spending so much money on bringing overseas celebrities to the event to bolster the publicity and image of the event beyond what it is entitled to, Magic Millions should allocate a million or two to a consolation for the Two-Year-Olds that missed out on qualifying for the big race.’ – Sam Baxter, Brisbane.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The suggestion about running a consolation for those two-year-olds that miss out on a start in the Magic Millions Classic certainly has merit. If they can afford to bring these celebrities from overseas to attract publicity for the carnival surely there are sufficient funds in the bin to enable a consolation race for attractive prizemoney as an extra incentive for those who buy yearlings at the MM sales.



‘CAN someone tell me how the authorities at racing in Queensland have allowed the Magic Millions Race Day over the years to attract primary status as the major Saturday meeting?

Is a race meeting that is restricted entirely to horses sold at the MM sales entitled to that status or could those who race horses in Queensland complain that this is a restraint of trade from their perspective?

One would have thought that TAB and industry funds have to be provided on a weekly basis for the major metropolitan meeting that is open to all-comers. That is not the case on MM Saturday when the Gold Coast meeting is not only granted primary status but the secondary meeting (in Brisbane and at Ipswich for years) is conducted for only midweek stakes.

The problem is that for so long the Magic Millions’ owners held the gun at the head of the Queensland Government (Labor at the time) and Racing Queensland wailed that this great tourist attraction would be lost and so would millions in economy to the state.

So an outrageous amount of money was paid by the taxpayers of Queensland to the millionaires who run the private enterprise organization, allegedly to keep it in the Sunshine State when let’s face it, the event would not have worked as successfully anywhere else.

Then we have the sales and therein lies the questions that the racing media should be asking instead of simply making their alley good by promoting the event and joining the cue to the MM social trough.

Of the 900 yearlings to be presented for sale, less than 50 are actually Queensland-bred – or so I am told. What a disgrace!

How is that promoting in any way the Queensland breeding industry when we are watching the dollars cross the border faster than the south-east trainers chasing the getter prizemoney in northern NSW?’ – From a struggling Queensland trainer who doesn’t want to divulge his identity for obvious reasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: WHILST I have no problem with the Magic Millions race day being the primary meeting there should be racing in Brisbane for metropolitan prizemoney on the same day. I couldn’t agree more that it is a restriction of trade for those who do not, or cannot afford, to buy MM horses. They are entitled to expect a Brisbane meeting for the same stakes as any other Saturday during the year. It shouldn’t be changed just because the MM is on, which after all is a restricted sales related meeting, which is arguably why the main races are not entitled to attract Black Type status.



‘IT doesn’t appear to be stable gossip but information received is that there is a special incentive (for fillies) in this year’s Magic Millions (Two-Year-Old) Classic.

Complete details are not available but it would appear that, along with Queensland Racing, the sponsors of this event collectively, have put up a special incentive.

Rumor has it that there will be a reward for any female owners whose horse finishes this race.

The finite details as to what placing needs to be achieved to gain the special incentive are not readily available.

However, the sum proffered is apparently around $300,000, with Queensland Racing contributing upwards of $80,000 to the overall pool.

With due respect to female owners, it seems a little discriminatory but also a little strange that Queensland Racing, with the state of their finances, could find in their empty tin $80,000.

Perhaps the promise of the contribution is a hangover from the previous over-generous administration.

This information is to be used as you wish in the interests of horse racing in Queensland and to the much overlooked punter who hardly rates a mention in the overall hierarchy, especially now with exotic wagering returns going backward but that whinge is for another day! - Richard Dee, E-M-U Publications.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I get the impression Richard that what was initially proposed has been somewhat watered down for the launch of the incentive package that is part of this year’s Magic Millions Classic.

Below is a story that appeared on a year ago concerning this:

MAGIC Millions had female punters lined up at the starter’s gate in the Magic Millions Sales Complex at the Gold Coast Turf Club yesterday (January 8, 2012) to officially launch a $500,000 incentive for women to own thoroughbred horses.

The lofty ambition to drive interest in employment opportunities and raise awareness about women’s involvement in the racing industry was discussed in a new owners’ forum and high tea.

The initiative was launched by two of Australia’s most prominent businesswomen, Katie Page and Gai Waterhouse, who addressed a 200 strong flock of influential females at the Magic Millions Sales Complex on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

“Women still earn 17 per cent less than men in Australia for the same job. We have a long way to go and I hope the half-million helps,” Page said.

“I promise you that participation of women in racing will be different from today. This is an exciting sport and it should be 50 per cent women and 50 per cent men. Nothing under that is acceptable.”

While the Magic Millions Racing Women scheme was announced last November, the famous Magic Millions yearling sales was the perfect place to push the point.

Mention was made by a few well-heeled single gals that they would have liked to hear a better investment strategy to join the horse owning throng than ‘get the money from your husband,’ but seemed satisfied with Gai Waterhouse adding: “Katie by this concept has opened the door for all women and your friends to get involved with myself and the others, but make sure you have a lady trainer please.”



A TRAWLTOO FAR - For those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share.

This extract from our National Anthem has been taken literally to heart by the Pirates of the Caribbean aka Corporate Bookies who perceive this as an open invitation to hoist the main sail and plunder our wealth.

The super trawler of Australian Racing is already here. Their predatory habits scour the racetrack netting Australian dollar for remittance overseas. Governments are ashamedly in clandestine talks over arrangements with Corporates.

A recent ruling (Tabcorp v Sportsbet) included a broadside from one of the judges, Arthur Emmett, about the shortcomings of gambling regulation, which read:

"It is blight on our nationhood and a travesty of sensible administration and good government that there are eight different regulatory regimes concerning lawful gambling in Australia, with an overlay of federal intervention."

 I call upon Ozzie-Mite Dick Smith, on his white charger, to promote discontinuation of paying this Roman like tribute to overseas companies.

The Corporate Bookies have used the trading laws of Australia to line their wallets while the slowly withering racing fraternity gasp for increased prize money to offset rising costs and improve facilities; the BRC shortly will be reduced to running trackside chook raffles. Perhaps, we can use laws to preserve the industry and stop these imported “stand and deliver” Dick Turpin highwaymen channeling our funds overseas.

I wouldn’t be counting on the backing of public trainers to support action in making any changes as someone else pays their way. Peter Moody remarked in an earlier document that “Racing here (meaning England) is for the upper class who are looking for ways to spend their money.” Is this being mirrored here? The history of serfdom has not entirely died out – we still have the gaiety of the landed gentry and the common folk.

As much as we give respect to the Eureka Stockade, what should be remembered about this is that supporting crowds, initially numbering in the thousands, dwindled into about 120 behind the stockade when the troops finally charged early Sunday morning,1854. It was the action of the few who had the courage of their convictions, who faced the fateful consequences of their stance that wrought eventual benefits to those who watched from the sidelines.

Following on from Terry Butts’ article on the pilfering by sanctimonious Corporate Bookies (who should be driven out of the temple) could the following be a solution?

Trainers or owners, when naming a racing animal, could trademark that name by using legal means. They then assign the rights to the use of that name only to the controlling body, to the relevant totalizer bodies and local bookmakers.

This may initially be costly but syndicates could be a start. Bulk billing with a legal identity also would be helpful. In no uncertain manner should an individual attempt this but should do so through an association.

The owner of a trademark may initiate legal proceedings for trademark infringement to prevent unauthorized use of that trademark.

There is a tale that a person suggested that since dear old mum had passed away that others should help clean mum’s place up. The reality was they cleaned mum’s place out. The grab was on.

Similarly, there are boundless riches on the table of racing for all to share in. But, by inaction or otherwise by standing back, we allow others to snatch beneath our noses; we willingly accept these pirates sailing away laden upon the toil of our efforts.

I become very riled when I imagine the immense caravanning of Australian dollars from our shores as Corporates don’t have training expenses, injury setbacks and early morning rise and shine.  I have a business for sale where you are guaranteed to make a profit and someone else pays all the expenditures. Any takers?

Government legislation is essential instead of sitting on their posteriors and raking the taxes off the gambling table no matter from whence or how it comes. Gambling and sport urgently needs legislation ; at the moment Cricket Australia is very concerned, that the types of betting being offered by bookmakers, is a threat to cricket’s integrity.

If trainers or owners trade marked their animals, then we would have a classical Mexican stand-off!

These thoughts are just an old man’s ravings………. Of course there are other ways of bringing about change …… history shows it has manifestly been often successful from the grass roots but with sorrow……’ - Jim Carlton, Greenbank.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The last thing you will ever be guilty of Jim is ‘an old man’s ravings.’ Most thinking people in racing agree with your thoughts on corporate bookies and the inaction of the authorities (both Government and racing) to rectify the situation. Now another major British corporate agency has taken over one of the biggest corporate operators in Australia. Something needs to be done before it is too late for racing in this country.   


AS far as the punters are concerned racing has been on the nose in Queensland for a long time. Those in the know might not be able to tell you what will win, but they can tell you what horse won’t.

It seems things aren’t much different when they run a race off the track as well – if you can use the election for the new control board of racing as an example.

Those supposedly in the know are claiming that they can not only tell you who will be on the Board but also can declare who won’t.

They are declaring it the best quinella certainty in Racing Queensland history. Kevin Dixon will be Chairman and his ‘chosen one’ Greg Hallam as the other Government appointee. The rest have no hope despite what their credentials might be.

Officials of stake-holder groups are being told of ‘smart advice’ to support the Dixon-Hallam team. There is nothing wrong, I guess, with candidates for prime positions encouraging groups to vote for them.

What some of us are questioning is: What will be our fate long-term if we support someone else? In a level playing field you would assume that all will be treated equally. But the political history of racing in Queensland has shown that not to be the case and why would we suspect anything will change?

Time will tell. But if Dixon and Hallam are the anointed ones when the Racing Minister or the Government goes through the motions of making appointments then more than a few industry identities are going to be questioning the transparency of the selection process.’ – As a prominent racing identity in Queensland I don’t want my identity revealed, at this stage, for obvious reasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: There are a couple of reliable sayings in racing that ‘those who know don’t tell’ and ‘those who tell don’t know.’ Not that I am for one minute suggesting Kevin Dixon or Greg Hallam should not be selected to the top two spots, but here’s nothing they earn it on their merits and that others, with fine credentials to fit the required CVs, are on equal footing from the start. There’s one sure way of letting the industry decide – publishing the credentials of the leading candidates before the appointments are announced.



‘THESE blokes in the country – spearheaded by Silks & Saddles man Terry Butts – can bleat all they like. There is no chance of those running the show behind the scenes allowing a country representative – especially the one that they are supporting – onto the new Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board.

Kevin Dixon is calling the shots with Tim Nicholls who is driving the Steve Dickson truck for the Government. Whoever Dixon wants to ride shot-gun with him on the new all powerful Board will be there. And the word is strong that his choice is Greg Hallam. He certainly wouldn’t want someone who might rock the boat.

Much has been made in industry circles of a close friendship between one of the head honcho women at the company deciding the short list and the wife of a high profile racing official but it doesn’t matter who they choose because at the end of the day the final say rests with the Minister and who is advising him.

What a waste of money and a total charade and they reckon things were bad when Bob Bentley was running the show! Nothing has changed. It’s just a different mob calling the shots.’ – Andy Schofield, Sunshine Coast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It will be a massive broken promise if the LNP Government and Racing Minister Stephen Dixon don’t deliver on a country voice on the new Queensland Racing All Codes Board. The Minister has already hinted that if the best candidates aren’t from the country then that might not happen. I know of at least two candidates who would make excellent choices and have credentials to meet all the criteria but one fears they have wasted their time seeking support for their nominations if the decision has already been made. It’s a bit of a joke that at the end of the day the Government selects the appointees, especially, as Terry Butts wrote in his column, when the Racing Minister admits he is a ‘green horn’ and is obviously driven by remote control when it comes to some of these important decisions.   



‘AS a trainer of long standing in the country I am absolutely appalled by the attitude and behavior of my supposed colleagues at the Queensland Trainers’ Association.

They are so south-east Queensland heavy that what happens to country trainers does not seem to matter to them. Terry Butts was right when he wrote that some believe they should be re-named the Brisbane Trainers’ Association.

Some of those running the show at the QTA have shown over the years how well they can play the political game in Queensland racing – jumping from one party to another – depending on who is in Government.

That’s their prerogative but surely those running racing in Queensland – including the new Minister – should be showing much more loyalty to the legion of industry support the the Government has in the country.

The QTA is far from a representative voice when it comes to the training brigade in Queensland. But they seem to be hell-bent on shoring up the support of Kevin Dixon and his cronies to ensure that they are recognized as such.

Country trainers and our representatives are far stronger numbers-wise but we are being treated second rate because, it appears, we have not supported Kevin Dixon and Greg Hallam as our preferred representative on the new control board.

If you are to believe the industry scuttlebutt the whole process is a farce and the decisions on who will be appointed by the Minister and the Government had already been made before the close of nominations.

It seems the more things change in racing in Queensland, the more they stay the same.’ – It would not be in my best interests to make my identity public on this topic. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s plenty I would like to say on this one but I am keeping my powder dry at this stage and will leave it to colleague Terry Butts and what he wrote in his Silks & Saddles column during the week that pretty well sums up the sorry situation:

PERHAPS the Queensland Trainers’ Association, said by a senior member to be ‘fraught with different fractions,’ might follow Racing Queensland – and have a name change.

Brisbane Trainers’ Association would be more apt.

It should be pointed out too, that the Rockhampton Trainers’ Association, with perhaps more members than the QTA, has officially supported another candidate for the advertised positions.

The country racing folk are left to live in hope that Racing Minister Steven Dickson will honor his word that the outcome of the  new Board will be made independent of any political or any other outside influences.



‘THE performance of the supposedly long-suffering Brisbane bookmakers has been copping quite a blast on the forums of some of the racing web sites in recent times.

Under the head-line of ‘Brisbane Bookies a Disgrace’ fielders from Brisbane and Adelaide were taken to task about the percentages they have been betting, with claims that these are far from competitive.

We are lucky here in Brisbane that regardless of statistics to the contrary, we have a new broom being put through the place. Perhaps I should have said new boss (in Kevin Dixon) rather than broom.

My words are meant as a compliment. In the very near future our new Integrity Department will be operational.

Even if the Commissioner is to be part-time this is a role for a person with the experience of well known Gold Coast legal identity Bill Millican.

His long experience in the racing industry would help to sort out the uncompetitive bookies who are just there for wages compared to those who operate only on a ‘good thing.’

Millican’s ability to negotiate and settle any problem of the Bookmakers’ Association should be a stand-out for Racing Queensland. His administration skills from his days as Chairman at the Gold Coast Turf Club would prove to be of terrific assistance to Mr Dixon.

Gone would be the days when the integrity of some bookmakers came under question for having prior knowledge (telepathic senses) of a race result which in turn explains the prices on their ‘betting boards.’

With Millican and Dixon at the helm of Integrity it would give racing in Queensland a great opportunity to start pulling together.’ – I request that my identity not to be published.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because I have had a long association with Bill Millican from his days in North Queensland in the courts and as a footballer prior to his racing and legal involvement in the South, I thought twice about running this e-mail. But having seen the identity of the sender I know that his thoughts are legitimate and that there are plenty of people in racing who believe that Bill would make a fine Racing Integrity Commissioner. He certainly has the legal and racing background to fill the role. The only thing I have to agree with is the suggestion that Bill would join Kevin Dixon running Integrity. If it is to be independent one would hope the control body chairman had no influence in the running of Integrity.   



‘IS the Newman Government, the new Racing Minister and their chairman-elect of Racing Queensland so out of touch with industry realities that they aren’t aware how much ill-feeling their decision to build a new turf track has created toward Toowoomba?       

As was pointed out in a column on your web site earlier in the week, not only is the decision being questioned but outside of the Darling Downs it is being ridiculed.

The sad aspect is that one suspects the Newman Government has no idea of the politics being played behind the scene, that the Racing Minister Stephen Dickson hasn’t got a clue of the financial problems confronting the industry and that most believe the only reason the finance has been found for the project is that RQL Chairman Kevin Dixon has given it his nod of approval.

This is seen as the first step toward what is going to happen in racing in Queensland under the new hierarchy. Clubs seen as Dixon-friendly will be looked after. Sound familiar? It used to happen when Bentley was there and those now supporting Dixon were the first to bellow.

Whilst the cushion track is being replaced with strathayr Toowoomba will race on Sundays apparently on the inner grass – that’s the track that was considered by many in the industry not safe enough to be used for race meetings previously.

If that’s the case why are they going to race on it now? If it’s not the case why then could it not have been used for racing on without going to the expense of building a new track? And who is going to have to race in the poison chalice Saturday twilight spot in the absence of Toowoomba? We suspect it will be the Sunshine Coast. 

Too many questions and not enough answers?’ – Paul French, Toowoomba.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is my understanding that the Sunshine Coast will race twilight on a Saturday during the construction period at Toowoomba because of the lighting at Corbould Park. But once again I will let what colleague Terry Butts wrote on this issue do the talking for me:

RACING Minister Stephen Dickson’s surprise decision to support a new turf track at Toowoomba is questioned – if not ridiculed by the vast majority.

Surely any proposal to be spend more money at Clifford Park should be at the bottom of the list of projects that are needed on racetracks all over the State.

Or at least that’s the feeling of everyone outside the Darling Downs and the holy grail – aka as the area south of Gympie.

Let us just recap.

The decision to install a synthetic track at Toowoomba was taken by vote of members. The result has been an abject failure.

 A track, once the pride of Bernborough’s birthplace and home of many other stars of the Queensland turf, is now shunned by punters Australia wide.

 Sometime in the future the re-turfing of Toowoomba should happen so that great races like the Weetwood will again attract the best sprinters the State can muster.

 But if plain and simple fairness dictates Toowoomba shouldn’t get a second bite of the cherry so soon when there is so much more money needed elsewhere, including of course the prizemoney pool.

 Frankly there is no case for a new turf track at Toowoomba.

 And the Minister must surely know that. Or he has been listening to the wrong people?


 ‘I read an article in the Sydney press last Sunday giving the usual blast to racing in Victoria, in particular their handling of the Damien Oliver betting scandal.

 I do not know why it was handled the way it was by the Integrity Department in Victoria but time may tell.

 My suggestion is that the author of the article I am referring to, Sydney Morning Herald racing writer Chris Roots is only guessing tooi, but hey why spoil a good story by researching for the facts?

 From memory when this scandal broke last August there were TWO JOCKEYS NAMED.

 One was from Victoria (Damien Oliver) and one was from New South Wales (Jim Cassidy).

 Stewards in both States had identical levels of proof on the offences committed by their respective jockeys. This proof appeared in a national newspaper one day leading up to the biggest racing carnival in the country.

 Regardless of how long it took RVL to finalize the Oliver case is one thing butwhen racing reporters highlight the Oliver case but turn a blind eye to what has or has not happened to the Cassidy chapter, well that amazes me.

 There has not been one word of criticism about the apparent slack Integrity Department action on the Cassidy issue in NSW.  

 The body language of master scribe and Root’s work-mate, Max Presnell, when he speaks of Jim ‘the Pumper’ or Ray ‘Marshall’ Murrihy gives one the impression that the ‘lead photo’ used on his day to day articles has a story connected to it. Perhaps the photograph  was taken after a social get together with the boys. The mind boggles.

 Clean up your own rotten backyard NSW, before you start to bag ours.’ - John (Jack) Williams, North Melbourne.

 EDITOR’S NOTE: Racing writers will always kick up for those in their home state. I suspect the New South Wales – Victoria rivalry in racing will exist long after we are all gone. Sometimes it is healthy. But when commentators in the broadcast and newspaper media (on both sides of the border) seek to take cheap shots at integrity in other states they should thank their lucky stars they don’t live and have to write about racing in Queensland where it is virtually non-existent and despite a promised restructure there are many who fear we are heading back to the Russ Hinze era when how you were treated depended on who you knew. In many cases, and I can provide examples witnessed first-hand, especially at the red hots, stewards were powerless or afraid to take the necessary action.        

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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