Jenny - Clean

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 a mixed bag, ranging from comments on the Danny O’Brien situation in Melbourne involving post race meeting swabbing to more concerns about the transparency of the selection process for the new boards of racing in Queensland. Once again many key racing identities have contributed to the Whinge but asked that their identity remain anonymous. We are allowing that to continue because we don’t want to see these people placed in the same position as this and other web sites who dare to criticize the new-look Racing Queensland. Keep them coming and we will keep running your concerns until these previous petunias accept that not only the racing media is subservient.

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

 

HAS ANYONE GOT THE BALLS TO BRING THE MAGIC MILLIONS HEAVIES TO HEEL?

IS there anyone who has the balls to tell the Magic Millions heavies that it is not their province to interfere in the running of the race day that bears their name once it comes under the control of the Racing Queensland stewards?

Complaints have flowed thick and fast about the treatment of owners and trainers, along with members of the racing media, trying to gain access with a normal RQ Media Pass, which should be the only one recognized by gate-keepers.

There is a suggestion that Magic Millions distributed their own Media Passes and some gate-keepers and attendants believed that these were the ones that should be recognized. This is not good enough and RQ should step in and tell MM to butt out of what is not their business.

There are stories emerging of a race-caller having to man-handle an over-zealous gate attendant out of the way who refused him entry with a RQ Media pass. Owners were refused entry to the enclosure when they had horses racing which caused some to say they would never return to the Gold Coast.

Leading trainers like John O’Shea and Robbie Heathcote have described the day as a ‘nightmare’ and called on the Gold Coast Turf Club to lift its act in a number of areas. Heathcote has gone on record as saying he wouldn’t be there if he didn’t have a horse running.

There are already too many people in the enclosure when the big races are being run and sooner or later someone is going to be kicked by a horse or trampled by one and there will be one hell of a legal action confronting RQ or the Gold Coast Turf Club.

This all comes back to too many people having their noses in the Magic Millions trough and too few officials having the guts to bring the Magic Millionaires to heel and let them know just who is running this race meeting.

Then again perhaps it is the Magic Millions who are running the whole show with the help of misspent taxpayers’ millions and the poor old industry is just being held to ransom, not to mention the owners and licensees who put the show on or heaven forbid even the poor old punters, without whom there would be no racing. What a joke!

 

OUTCOME OF VICTORIAN CORRUPTION PROBE TO BE REVEALED TODAY

VICTORIAN Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna will reveal the outcome of his corruption probe at a briefing today.

Perna invited public submissions months ago and received feedback from more than 2000 people regarding possible illegal behavior.

Among those who contacted Perna were strappers, jockeys and trainers.

Here’s hoping what comes of the Perna Inquiry will lead to an industry free of the handful of grubs that have dragged it down over recent years.

 

SCANDAL INVOLVING ‘ILLEGAL SALE OF HORSES TO ASIA’ ROCKS WA RACING

THE West Australian horse racing industry, still recovering from the shock of revelations surrounding the dealings of murdered criminal Stephen Ramon Cookson, is facing another scandal.

Racing and Wagering WA Chief Investigator Phil O'Reilly has confirmed to WAtoday.com.au that allegations have been made involving high-profile trainer Shane Edwards, who recently extended his operations to Malaysia.

The allegations include horses being sold overseas without the knowledge of the owners of the horses.

A Perth businessman confirmed to WAtoday.com.au that he had ‘paid $32,500 plus training fees for a horse that finished up overseas with a new name and a new owner.’

“I got nothing for my money. I never authorized a sale,” the businessman said.

“When I acquired an interest in the horse I was put off when I said I wanted to register my interest with Australian racing authorities.

“I signed a number of registration documents but I was always told there was some sort of mix-up with the papers.

“I'm furious this is wrong. I pay for an interest in a racehorse, it never races here, goes overseas without my knowledge or permission, and gets a new name and a new owner. How does that happen? This isn't over, I'm not the only one, I'm going to the Fraud Squad.”

Another respected and long-time participant in WA racing says he and his partners had agreed to lease nine horses to clients of the trainer to race in Singapore.

“We agreed to a lease on the basis of a sharing of prizemoney. We were astonished and alarmed to learn that our horses were sold without our permission,” he said. 

When asked who received the money from the unauthorized sale of the horses he said “not the owners.”

WAtoday.com.au has learned that as the result of a number of complaints, Mr O'Reilly conducted inquiries in Singapore last week.

Mr O'Reilly told WAtoday.com.au that he “will be speaking to former Perth trainer Shane Edwards about the complaints”

Mr Edwards trained the 2011 Perth Cup winner Guest Wing.

Attempts by watoday.com.au to contact Mr Edwards have been unsuccessful.

 

 LADY TRAINER LET LOOSE ON HIGH PROFILE OFFICIAL OVER START PROBLEM

THERE is a wonderful story doing the rounds about a dust-up between a prominent lady trainer and a high profile official of Brisbane racing at the weekend.

The trainer was blowing up about the way her horse was being handled by barrier staff who she claimed had not followed advice on how to load it.

The official – a former steward – apparently told her that she should educate her horses better, stop blaming others and the problems wouldn’t exist.

We can’t print what she said to him but needless to say it left nothing to the imagination and got a good send around the racetrack especially from those who agree with what the lady trainer had to say.

Some were suggesting the official should be more worried about the break-ins at his track where the racing grapevine suggests even the club colors were pinched recently.

 

THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY OPPOSED TO ARABIAN HORSES GRACING THE TURF AT EAGLE FARM 

THE rumors are strong that secret negotiations are underway to have Arabian horses race at Eagle Farm.

The story goes that the organizers of Arabian racing are heavily cashed up and prepared to fund some very nice improvements and track facilities to accommodate their sport.

Those involved in the gallops industry are less than impressed. Many find it hard to accept polo at Doomben which they say is doing nothing to boost the finances of the Brisbane Racing Club coffers.

The last thing they want is what many regard as a prostitution of thoroughbred racing, especially if there is any suggestion of Government support or heaven forbid – prizemoney funding.

 

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

 

WE received numerous e-mails voicing continuing concerns at the appointment process for the new Racing Queensland Boards and speculation that prominent businessman and harness identity Kevin Seymour is a leading candidate. Here are the two we chose to run in the hope it gets the general message across from both sides of the fence.   

MAJOR CONCERNS ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING BEHIND THE SCENES IN RQ

‘AS a senior official of a TAB club I would appreciate you allowing me to tell the industry some home truths about what is happening behind the scenes.

Because I cannot afford a backlash against my club for speaking out I would ask that you refrain from naming me which no doubt will attract the usual criticism of your web site and this forum.

But trust me what I am about to say is what many others, including officials of race clubs, are uttering around the industry and it needs to be published.

Firstly there is growing anger and concern at the transparency of the appointment of these new Boards, in particular the Queensland all Codes Board. This is not meant as a disparaging remark against the independent panel. After all they will only make recommendations. The final say is up to the Minister (or the Government) and most know who is calling the shots on racing there.

Many industry observers were pleased to see the name Kevin Seymour emerge as a possible candidate for the major Board. Those of us in racing who know Kevin well have no concerns about him favoring harness racing over the gallops. He is a successful businessman who realizes that the major code has to be successful for the minor codes to survive.

Our understanding is that Kevin threw his hat in the ring because he, like many others, is concerned about the appointment process. Transparency has become a very dirty word in all of this.

What concerns us most is that Campbell Newman is apparently taking a back-seat role, more worried about his own personal rating and is prepared to let his Treasurer, Tim Nicholls, call the shots on racing. The close ties that have developed between Mr Nicholls and the man who will run racing in Queensland is a major worry.     

Favoritism was a dirty word when Bob Bentley ran Racing Queensland. Most thought it would be gone forever when his Board was shown the door. But is it?

You won’t read anything about it but the feeling between the Sunshine Coast Turf Club and the new powers-that-be at Racing Queensland is at rock bottom. Several others clubs are not happy – Mackay believes they are being victimized in the new race dates schedule which will see that club lose four TAB meetings.

There are the usual and not unexpected claims that the Brisbane Racing Club has and will continue to receive ‘prime’ treatment but the way the Government, at the behest of RQ, is throwing good money after bad in Toowoomba has angered many in the country and some in the south-east corner.

The prospect of a country voice on the new All Industries Board seems to rest with the chairman of Harness of Greyhounds being appointed from outside the metropolitan area. The gallops have no hope but we understand if Mr Seymour has his way the Harness Board chairman will hail from Townsville and he would make an excellent choice.

I could go on forever about the appointment process and Integrity – or lack of it – in Queensland racing, but at the risk of you not running my e-mail I will cut it short and hope that you do. Please call me to verify the legitimacy of my concerns and those of many others. But I have to remain anonymous.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: WHEN an official of the standing of the gentleman who has written this e-mail is not prepared to sign his name for fears of reprisals for his club, then something is terribly wrong in racing in Queensland. He is respected, experienced and I have never known him to speak out like this before. I share his concerns about the transparency of the appointment process. This web site is receiving daily complaints about the treatment of clubs, especially the Sunshine Coast and favoritism of others, namely Toowoomba. If Kevin Seymour has in fact applied for a position on the All Codes Board, why should the industry turn its back on someone of his background not only in business but in the harness field? I have to admit it presents a headache from a conflict of interest situation when the new TAB Privatization deal is up for grabs and as the major shareholder of Tattersalls he would have to disqualify himself from discussions. But as I said when Bob Bentley was being criticized for holding positions on both the RQ and Tatts Boards, perhaps the industry should look at these joint roles as complimentary rather than conflicting. Racing cannot afford to turn its back on the likes of Kevin Seymour if he wants to help the industry out of a giant rut. It would be interesting to know, just the same, if the stories are correct that he is not totally convinced that the current process is transparent.                

 

‘STRONGLY OPPOSED’ TO THE APPOINTMENT OF KEVIN SEYMOUR TO QACRIB

‘I write on behalf of many gallops stake-holders who are strongly opposed to the appointment of Kevin Seymour to the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board.

Our hope is that former Judge Carter will stand by the convictions he had against Bob Bentley being there when he was on the Tattersalls board and adopts a similar opposition to Kevin Seymour on the basis of a conflict of interest.

My reason for not wanting Mr Seymour there has nothing to do with his business experitise but moreso his involvement and closeness to harness racing.

Many of us in the gallops industry have not forgotten the ‘wish list’ that was forwarded to the LNP about a year ago reportedly on behalf of the harness industry. One of the things that was leaked from that ‘wish list’ was a desire for harness to get far more of the TAB distribution pie than it currently does.

It is a general opinion of those involved in the thoroughbred industry that harness should only get what it deserves, which is far less than the current percentage and a lot less than they are wishing for. If, for political reasons, the harness folk were to enjoy a better TAB return then the greyhounds would suffer immensely and so would the gallops which is already struggling to keep in touch stakes wise.

Little has been said about the future of Albion Park since the LNP dispensed with the Bentley Board plan to relocate the harness and greyhounds to a new complex at Deagon. That was until we read what Terry Butts wrote this week. Does that mean Albion Park will then be sold? If so the Government or Racing Minister needs to declare who to?

Under the speculation that Butts put forward the poor old greyhound industry is again going to be treated like a third banana whilst they continue to produce better turnover and far more punter popularity than harness racing.

There are too many questions that need to be answered and too many clouds hanging over the appointment of Kevin Seymour for the industry just to stand back and watch it happen.’ – As I am the brother of a prominent gallops trainer I would ask that my name not be used.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We will run again the piece from the Silks & Saddles column by Terry Butts that the above e-mailer is referring to:

THE problem for the thoroughbred industry – not just country racing which will be lacking a voice on this important board – lies in harness racing having too much influence.

If the mail is correct about Kevin Seymour being an applicant for the QACRIB then harness racing will have a second representative on the Board when the minor code chairman takes up automatic representation as well.

It could then become a numbers’ game and if may mail is right the greyhound industry will need all the help it can get from the other minor code. In fact three people with minor code interests could out-vote the two from the gallops.

To take that situation a step further I would like to reproduce an e-mail that I received a few days ago from My Spy in the Deagon Bunker, who over the past six months has proven spot-on with the news that he has leaked to us.

Hi Terry,

Thought you would like to let your readers know that the bunker is coming to life again.

All the talk is the appointment of the three wise men to oversee the selection of the various new Boards.

As most people already seem to know the composition of these Boards it beggars belief why these three have been appointed. Most guess it’s easy money if you can get it.

So we have an old cop, a stalwart of the Old Guard of the QTC and a retired Imperialist to apparently decide who runs our multi-million dollar industry.

At least they have something in common. They have all spent the latter part of their working lives being handsomely provided for by the public purse. It would seem it is a habit that is hard to break.

The other looming news is the big comeback by the harness industry people with their little representative in here now jumping from the back of the Bentley horse to that of Dixon.

It is no secret they were on the nose under the previous regime. Now their main backer not surprisingly seems to have the ear and captivation of the powers that be so much so that we can look forward to the announcement of their new complex in the Jacobs Well/Pimpama area.

That is probably no great shock except that the greyhound mob are going to be filthy (not that that is going to be a big concern to the revamped QTC Control Body).

The greyhound industry has been promised their own stand-alone complex by various Governments over the last few years to replace the Parklands facility. They were pinning their hopes on the construction of their own complex at Logan.

Alas that will not happen. They will be joining their natural enemies further south at Pimpama/ Jacobs Well. Looks like the fun times are here again.

Regards from Your Man in the Deagon bunker.

 

ALBION PARK SHOULD HAVE UNDERGONE AN ‘AMBITIOUS REDEVELOPMENT”

‘EVERY Thursday night I see my much-visited Greenbank RSL jam packed with vehicles.

The one thing that comes to mind it is the only entertainment centre in the region with no competition and it operates for long hours every day. It is carpeted, air-conditioned and serves budget priced meals. Its ambience is very engaging.

Any new tracks should take into account the feasibility of producing multiple activities and to serve a local population.

As Shakespeare (Julius Caesar) said: “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”

Such a time now exists for racing in Queensland if people have the courage to seize it.

Kevin Dixon, Chairman of RQL, in The Sunday-Mail made some telling points notably racing can’t keep going down the same path: racing won’t be getting too many more chances to get it right: racing can’t keep depending on the government for a solution.

I am totally dismayed that Albion Park, now RQL owned, has not undergone an ambitious redevelopment. To me the potential is enormous. Albion Park’s redevelopment could be a terrific income producing windfall and the best bet so far to lift racing out of the doldrums.

High rise office dwellings, ample parking for workers, appealing restaurants, a child care centre, discos, poker machines etc. Sadly, the depth of the only entrepreneurial exercise that I can recall is, that on the top floor of Albion Park, there is a men’s relaxation parlor which in a form guide wouldn’t be too encouraging. Amazing, that Albion Park in such a densely populated area, fails to attract patronage. It wasn’t until a short time ago, a lift was installed and that only happened because Anti-Discrimination became involved.

Oh, not my kingdom for a horse but for racing to become Entertainment Centres/Business centres as has occurred overseas.

From my school-days Physics I remember “Inertia is the tendency for a body to remain at rest …” Come on Kevin – the appointment of qualified visionary Board members and not fishing mates is crucial for the resuscitation of racing or it will be doomed “in shallows and in miseries.” - Jim Carlton Greenbank.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The whole Albion Park situation was allowed to become too political under the Bentley era. The greyhounds claimed they were second rate citizens. The court case which challenged the sale of Albion Park faded into insignificance when the Government changed and I understand has been dropped. Deagon took over as the political hot potato and unfortunately Albion Park was all but forgotten. Now we have strong speculation that even Logan has been scuttled from the greyhound wish-list and that the minor codes will head to a new complex further south off the Gold Coast highway. What will become of the old Creek, which should have long ago been developed into a night racing circuit except that the lighting and noise would have disturbed the perfect lifestyle of an old National Party tart and his friends who lived nearby? Few will forget the heady days of the Albion Park trots when Silks was jammed to the rafters. Imagine what could happen there now with poker machines, a betting auditorium etc provided the foundations didn’t sink into the quicksand. It all seems lost in the political landscape that confronts the racing industry for the years ahead. And you are right Jim, it is ‘qualified, visionary Board members’ that are needed to run the show not ‘fishing mates’ or ‘yes men.’       

 

PHOTO FINISH BETWEEN THE ‘TWO DICKOS’ FOR ‘SILLIEST STATEMENTS IN RACING’

‘IT’S still a photo finish between the ‘two Dickos’ - Racing Minister Stephen Dickson and Racing Queensland Chairman Kevin Dixon – when it comes to the Award for the Silliest Statements in Racing.

First we had the Minister telling the RQ Awards Night of a pledge to have Queensland overtake Victoria and New South Wales as the leading racing state in Australia. There was even muffled laughter and suggestions of ‘who put what in his drink?’

Then we had RQL Chairman Kev suggesting that the answer to the prizemoney woes is not asking the new Government for more money, insisting there is a way forward but not really telling us what that is.

There was a story doing the rounds at Eagle Farm on Saturday – when the old Racing Editor was seen in deep conversation for quite some time with the new Racing Editor – that a story to appear the next day would send a message to Government.

Now we all know who the former Racing Editor pushed the barrow of. Some of us on reading the quotes from Mr Dixon the next day – especially the one about ‘not asking the Government for more money’ – suspiciously wondered whether this was reverse racing psychology at work.

“We have to produce a product that is attractive to sell,” Mr Dixon told The Sunday Mail. “If you don't earn the money, you have no right to ask for it. There is a lot we have to get right.”

Now let’s stop at ‘there is a lot we have to get right.’ I am sure they don’t need to be reminded that step one is be to get the new TAB Privatization Agreement right but that sounds like a ‘mission impossible.’    

 Dixon went on: ‘If we continue going down the same path, then we are going to be a basket case. We're not going to get too many more chances to get it right and participants are perfectly right to be worried. But saying the Government needs to come up with money isn't the solution.”

If the Government isn’t the solution that leaves us with the TAB and corporate bookmakers but unfortunately on both fronts Queensland has been left far behind.

Then we had the final gem of a quote from Mr Dixon: “We have to make racing relevant. We need to have high quality, high integrity racing that people want to bet on.”

With all due respects that smacks of hypocrisy coming from a Chairman of an Interim Board that has reportedly closed down the Integrity Department. Perhaps they have plans there to improve things but it’s taking a hell of a long time and there doesn’t appear to be any urgency from officialdom or Government. 

Everyone knows south-east Queensland horses are bleeding across the border to northern NSW chasing the better stakes. Sure, steps have been taken to overcome this problem, but won’t be put in place until July. By then it could be too late.’ – Albert Williams, Redcliffe.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Good to hear from you again Albert, Rather than repeat my thoughts about the integrity of racing in Queensland and what will or will not be done to improve the situation, let’s look at what Racing NSW chairman John Messara had to say in the last week, which is indeed worrying from a Queensland perspective. He listed the highlight of his first year in the chair the landmark ruling from the High Court which secured racing funding from wagering operators not only in NSW, but also nationally. But Mr Messara pointed out a worrying anomaly where NSW racing, when compared with Australia's other major thoroughbred racing jurisdiction Victoria, receives $70 million less a year in funding from TAB despite having 200 more race meetings each year and a much larger geographical area to service. He then went on to say: “As far as we are concerned, the prizemoney increases announced last year are only stage one. Further increases are needed if the industry is to stay viable, but it's important that each increase is thoroughly sustainable – we don't want to take two steps forward and one back.’ If the clubs in northern NSW get a further boost then one could argue that the increases announced for the Gold Coast and other clubs will not even dent the exodus of horses from Queensland to start there.


WAS THIS A MASSIVE BACK-FLIP BY O’BRIEN OR ARE THE MEDIA PLAYING GAMES?

‘MY friends and I are close followers of racing in Victoria but to say we are a little confused over the Danny O’Brien situation would be an understatement.

One wonders if the Sun Herald and The Age aren’t playing games and using Chief Steward Terry Bailey as a pin ball. We all know that the major racing paper is still smarting after being done over big time in the racing scandal issues in this state.

Patrick Bartley writes in The Age on one day of O’Brien praising stewards for increasing the frequency of drug testing - despite two of his runners being detained at Flemington on Saturday after a ‘spike’ in a pre-race bi-carb test.

O’Brien reportedly tweeted: “Kudos to [Racing Victoria chief steward] Terry Bailey and his team, ramping up the testing regime. Very happy to see them target-testing winning stables. Keep it up.”

Then one day later Matthew Stewart reports in the Herald Sun that: Furious trainer Danny O'Brien says he has been ‘thrown under a bus’ as a result of Racing Victoria's indiscreet handling of drug tests of two of his horses (Kutchinsky and The New Boy).

The Herald Sun quoted O’Brien as protesting that: “The last 48 hours has been a disaster for my stable since news of this testing was put in the public arena. The innuendo has been constant and utterly unfair and unnecessary. When does RVL ever show any discretion? I have an unblemished record yet I had to endure this nonsense.”

O'Brien contacted RVL chief executive Bernard Saundry demanding the test results be fast-tracked and later that day in a news bulletin Racing Victoria confirmed that the tests were clear and the matter was closed.

"Originally I was told it would take days but there was no way in the world I was going to cop it. I knew they'd come back negative," O'Brien told the Sun-Herald.

He called on chief steward Terry Bailey to show more discretion in protecting trainers from innuendo. "RVL has a long history of this,” he said, adding that he was ‘dumbfounded’ the rationale for the testing of his horses was, according to Bailey, that he had a successful day.

From an outsiders’ perspective it seems to us that once the heat went on O’Brien changed his tune. Either that or he was encouraged to get the one section of the racing media that wants to belt Bailey mercilessly to do the job for him.’ – Ryan O’Halloran, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It certainly was a massive back-flip by O’Brien when you read the quotes. You did however overlook his final quote to Matt Stewart of the Sun Herald that: “I'm all for full-on drug testing but it's up to RVL to conduct testing discreetly, without tarnishing reputations of innocent people.”  Stewards in Racing Victoria are leading the way in protecting punters and this new type of after-race testing is a strategy that other states should follow. Trainers in Victoria had better get used to the idea as Bailey has said that from March 1 it will be increased considerably. Perhaps the identity of those stables tested needs to remain anonymous to protect trainers from ‘unwanted’ publicity. Either that or they test every winner later along with some chosen at random.     

 

SYDNEY RACING SHOULD ‘CLEAN UP ITS OWN BACKYARD’ BEFORE CRITICIZING MELBOURNE

‘WHAT a lovely little feel-good story it was in the Sydney Telegraph by Racing Editor Ray Thomas in which he started by declaring that Racing NSW Chairman John Messara could look back with a sense of accomplishment and achievement.

If Mr Thomas wants to make his alley good with the new racing boss then that’s fine. We’ve come to accept this ‘suck up’ attitude from some of the leading turf scribes of this era who prefer to praise those in charge rather than question on behalf of the punting public.

What I want to take Mr Thomas to task over is the question that he posed to Mr Messara that read: Racing's integrity has suffered a real body blow by a series of scandals in Victorian racing. Is this a fight racing can't win?

I know that the following comments will be branded as those coming from a parochial Victorian but might I suggest that at least we are doing something to clean up what is happening on the track. Can the same be said for New South Wales, in particular Sydney racing?

Ask any big punter and he will tell you that without the right information you are just throwing your money away betting on the main meetings in Sydney. These are on the nose.

Form reversals certainly suggest there is some mileage in what is being claimed. You only have to look at last Saturday’s Stewards’ Report from Rosehill Gardens where there were well over a dozen inquiries into poor performances or riding tactics. That shouldn’t be the norm for a major race meeting of the week.

But it is nothing new. Every Saturday fancied runners are either blowing like a gale and  racing well below expectations. Is this just a coincidence? Many don’t think so.

The form in Sydney racing is almost impossible to follow. In some races horses are allowed to just jog along in front without any pressure being applied whilst in others, where the speed maps suggest there is no pace, the anticipated leaders get attacked.

I understand how difficult it must be for the stewards to police these sorts of things especially when some of the trainers, regularly before them, seem to have a book full of excuses. But unless something is done soon Sydney racing will degenerate into a joke.

For Mr Thomas to suggest that racing scandals in Victoria are dragging the image of Sydney down is sheer nonsense. He should stop sucking up to officialdom and start writing about the form reversals. But I don’t expect that to happen.’ – Sean Ryan, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I would still rather bet in Melbourne any day than Sydney Sean. To be fair Ken Callander doesn’t miss the form reversals in his column in the Sydney Telegraph. Only this week he wrote:

RACING is not an exact science, but I am still trying to work out how California Storm improved from sixth of seven at Gosford when favourite at her previous start to win at Rosehill on Saturday and how Riva De Lago came from fifth of nine when also favorite at Warwick Farm to win easily. One encouraging point is both horses were easy in the market. It is more worrying when such form reversals are accompanied by betting plonks.’

It must be frustrating for Ray Murrihy and his panel to watch these form reversals week in, week out but part of the answer to your question rests with what John Messara said to Ray Thomas on this issue. “It's a fight racing must win, because if we don't win it, all our efforts to attract and look after fans, punters and owners will come to nothing. We don't want the benefits to go to cheats. That's why Racing NSW has established the Investigations and Surveillance Unit, why we've invested $1.5 million in new drug detection equipment, why we are developing a regimen of minimum penalties for integrity offences and why we want to license vets. I don't believe any sport on which gambling is conducted will be as closely scrutinized by its regulators as the NSW thoroughbred racing industry. The preservation of integrity is a fundamental objective.”


WHY AREN’T OFFICIALS OF RACING QUEENSLAND SHOUTING THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS?

‘IT has to be the best kept secret in racing in Queensland and one wonders why officials aren’t shouting it from the roof tops.

The Government has invited public comments as part of a review into the operations of QCAT (the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal) which has come under fire since it became part of the racing appeal process three years ago.

Those who are disgruntled with the way QCAT handles appeals – the major criticism being the lack of knowledge of the racing industry by some of those who sit on the panel – should be making their feeling known now.

Racing Queensland is well aware of the disharmony in the industry over the QCAT decisions and the delay in handing those down. Why they wouldn’t have advised the stake-holders of their rights to protest the use of QCAT as an appeals body remains a mystery.’ – As I am a licensee I had better not reveal my identity but feel this is important for all to know.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The powers that be seem to be too busy worrying about getting the ‘right team’ appointed to the control bodies that will run Racing Queensland that matters of this importance pale into insignificance. Rather than me rave on, here is the information paper that appears on some obscure Government website that you have until February 22 to make submissions on:        

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Jarrod Bleijie is inviting the community to have a say on the operations of the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) as part of a review that starts today.

Mr Bleijie said QCAT was established in 2009 to make decisions on a range of civil matters and also to review the decisions of government agencies and other statutory authorities.

“QCAT is an important part of the state’s justice system and because of the types of matters heard many people have at some time had an involvement with it,” Mr Bleijie said.

“We have drafted a consultation paper that outlines the terms of reference for this statutory review and also canvasses a number of questions about how QCAT operates.

“The terms of reference require a review of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 to determine whether it meets its objectives or if amendments are needed.

“The review will look at appeals in the minor civil disputes jurisdiction, the legal representation of parties and QCAT’s regional services.

“QCAT was established to promote economical, informal and quick resolution of disputes and this review is an opportunity to make sure it is achieving this.

“The Government recently announced a trial of Justices of the Peace (JPs) in QCAT which will start next year.

“We hope the results of this trial will show the use of JPs reduces the cost of hearing disputes and improves the administration of Queensland’s justice system.”

Mr Bleijie reiterated the Government’s commitment to be open and transparent and encouraged interested parties to make a submission.

“This Government is about giving the people of Queensland access to information and data and allowing them to provide input on decision-making processes,” he said.

“This review will take into account the views of all Queenslanders, so if people would like to raise issues that are not contained in the paper, I encourage them to do so.”

The closing date for submissions is Friday 22 February 2013. To download the consultation paper or for more information please visit www.justice.qld.gov.au.

 

DISILLUSIONED OWNERS WANT TO KNOW WHY THE INNER TRACK IS BEING USED

‘THERE is an argument doing the rounds in Toowoomba that the current committee has stuffed the cushion track and have been done over by their mates at Racing Queensland when it comes to replacement meetings on the inner track.

Some say that ever since the new chairman took control and adopted his ‘my way or the highway’ approach, things have fallen apart.

There is talk of a health and safety issue with the on-site stables. Some trainers say there is a risk using power there.

Some believe the catering should be looked at, especially the aging equipment and doubling up of power points everywhere in the kitchen and tent.

I was at the trots before Christmas and could not get a feed as I was told only reheated stuff and nothing on the board was available. How hard is it to have some pies chips and gravy?

Anyway back to the track – I voted for a return to the grass as the cushion cannot reach its use-by date quickly enough with current bunch running the show apparently not knowing how to maintain it.

Now I am really pissed off after reading in The Courier-Mail that 21 meetings will disappear from July and won’t be run on the inside grass track.

Someone has been handling the truth rather recklessly somewhere. We were assured that Toowoomba would not lose meetings during the reconstruction project.

The committeeman I spoke to said a loss of only a couple meetings was guaranteed as Bob (chairman Frappell) said that his good mate Kevin (RQL chairman) Dixon would look after him and the club.

Well so much for the old mate’s act. Little wonder so many business people valuing their reputations have left the committee before time and no decent business people have run since for committee positions.

What about us owners who race at Toowoomba?

I have just retired a few horses and was about to buy into three more there with friends but have now decided against it.

Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.  We owners do not want an additional $500 a month in bills to transport our horses to Brisbane or other tracks when we like to race locally on consistent surfaces.

We see Sunshine Coast owners and trainers coming here due to the heat in the track making it race more like a heavy or a slow surface.

Maybe more trainers like Norm Hilton and Ron Maund will leave the club to look after the owners and train elsewhere. Tony Gollan now being based in Brisbane says a lot for the TTC.

My friends and I have now bought into four new horses from the MM Sales and will travel to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast to enjoy our racing with our families.

So the committee of the TTC may see an exodus of owners also taking their horses from local trainers instead of not having a track to train on or race on.

The cushion is a great training surface according to trainers, and the committee is saying: ‘Trust us we will move it to the old inner track. Trainers are having doubts about the wood chip replacement working.”

YES, right.....if you cannot maintain it on the outer, how the f… will you maintain it on the inner track?

Five months of non racing or quality training track for owners of horses in Toowoomba and time for trainers to relocate to a place other than here.

Thanks and yes I finally do not trust any of the committee through personal experience.’ – Don’t expect me to sign my name and be harassed every time I go near Clifford Park.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have verified the authenticity of this e-mail and understand the concerns of the writer if he is identified. That is why we will continue to adopt this policy while the new RQ continues to adopt its current approach to any form of criticism. Bob Frappell, chairman of the TTC, is welcome to respond if he is allowed to by RQ. Then again Bob does not reply to anonymous e-mails. My understanding is that there will be Sunday racing on the Downs to replace the lost Toowoomba meetings. Dalby is a fine complex that could well accommodate TAB racing and should have more dates. As for the inner track at Toowoomba, there appears to be safety issues involved. If there isn’t, why is RQ keen to steer clear of the track and why wasn’t it used as a grass racing surface to compliment the cushion to start with?  

 


GREAT RACENET READ ON PATHETIC BOOKMAKERS IN BRISBANE IS WORTH REPRODUCING

RACING Queensland has been accused of allowing bookmakers in Brisbane to operate without any accountability or surveillance and stewards with failing to protect the punters.

In the interests of the racing public we have been asked to reproduce this article written on racenet.com.au by Peter Lawrence and call on RQL to stop pandering and protecting bookies in the north.

It reads:

On Saturday, Australian punters were again the big losers in the release of on-course fluctuations from a Brisbane racecourse, writes Peter Lawrence.

Sadly, such is the regularity of this anomaly that it didn’t even raise a mention in the media. The Brisbane stewards, whose brief is to protect punters, seem oblivious to the issue.

Punters have long suffered the absurd fluctuations that come from Brisbane racetracks. They have nothing to do with money bet on course and everything to do with a lack of accountability.

As in all walks of life, when you are allowed to get away with whatever you please, in the end you become complacent because there is no fear of any consequences.

On Saturday we saw that Brisbane bookmakers are under no surveillance at any time and can operate however they choose, without fear of consequences. Complacent is an understatement when you look at the betting fluctuations of race six. The field jumped with the SPs at 150 percent.

The two favorites, Indubious and La Frisson Belle, opened on-track at $2.90 and started at the same quote. Officially, that is.

However, the betting in the ‘true’ market place tells an entirely different story. At the jump, Indubious was quoted at $4.80 with Bet365, $4.60 with Supertab fixed odds and $4.50 with Tatts Bet fixed odds. He was $4.40 and $4.20 with other corporates.

La Frisson Belle was almost universally between $3.80 and $3.90 when they jumped with the corporates. Yet, Queensland stewards sent out an official fluctuation of $2.90 for both horses.

My thinking is Queensland bookmakers are so bereft of any punting skill that the only string to their bow is to take advantage of the poor best fluctuation punter and then no doubt dine-out that evening on how clever they are.

Recently, these same ‘bookmakers’ convinced the Queensland authorities to reduce the minimum bet on the rails to lose $500. That is in 2013 money. The equivalent of about $100 in 1985. In that same year, the minimum bet on the rails was to lose $5,000.

How completely absurd is it, that OFFICIAL fluctuations are taken from two bookmakers who only have to bet the punter to win a round of drinks at the bar? The REAL starting price of Indubious was somewhere between $4.40 and $4.80. That was the REAL price in the REAL marketplace.

The punter deserves to be told the TRUTH. But it seems not in Queensland Racing.

This is not an isolated incident. It is repeated meeting after meeting in Brisbane, seemingly without anyone being interested in overseeing the situation.

So here are the Monday questions for Queensland stewards.

Why do you let this situation go on week after week?

Are you oblivious to the reality of what is happening in the real market place?

Why do you continue to rely on only a couple of bookmakers to source your prices, when the real market place tells a different story?

Do you understand that it is your brief to protect the interests of punters?

How is it that you seem completely focused on protecting the interests of on-course bookmakers rather than overseeing what is fair for punters?

Punters deserve answers to these serious questions.

In closing, let me say that I didn’t have a bet on this race in question and that I would never bet best fluctuation in Brisbane under any circumstances. I know the pitfalls.

But punters deserve protection and they are getting none from Queensland stewards. Why not is a very serious question that all punters should be asking?’

And here are but a few of the responses that came in immediately to racenet after this appeared which shows what the punters think of Brisbane racing:   

‘BRISBANE is pathetic. Last time I went, the bookies had the early TAB prices exactly. At least the TAB comes closer to true odds at the close but the Brisbane Bookies stay at the early TAB prices. No one will bet with them. They must be only making money by laying off with Betfair and others.’ – Bert.


‘QUEENSLAND racing dropping its on course bookies limits to $500 says it all. A racing industry that is so behind the times and living in the past, how can anyone allow this to happen? The prices in Queensland should be taken off the corpoartes, they have had their chance to be competive. Queensland racing is embarrassing anyone and has been for a long time..... Has anyone got the balls in the industry to do anything or watch it have a slow death.’ – Hank.


‘THERE was a photo of just a couple of people sitting in the Eagle Farm grandstand last Saturday taken as the placegetters came through the gate and an article how Brisbane Racing has low attendances outside the Carnival Racing in the Sunday Mail the day after. Now you know why as you can even get better odds at the TAB and don't have an admission fee to walk through the door.’ – Buck.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have been told by some bookies operating in Brisbane that the problem is twofold. Firstly integrity is lacking to such a degree they tread warily and secondly they are scared of being a victim of a couple of well informed colleagues who spend more time betting than fielding. One has to wonder why either would be a concern when what they are required to bet to lose now is nothing short of a joke. No doubt racenet will now join a couple of other Brisbane-based websites on the ‘banned’ list for daring to criticize racing in Queensland. It’s time officials ordered betting stewards to do their job and ensure proper fluctuations and stepped up integrity on Brisbane racing  - but don’t hold your breath waiting.

 

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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