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..

IT was a mixed bag in the e-mail box this week ranging from comments on the $1,000 fines imposed on Victorian jockeys who had ‘pocket money’ bets; fallout from the QCAT appeal by Dan Nikolic; more concerns about the RQ Board appointment process in Queensland; a disturbing e-mail concerning a respected Clerk of the Course in Toowoomba; and much more including our popular feature: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly side of racing in the past week. And for those who are interested letsgohorseracing is now on Twitter.





WE at applaud Racing Victoria for forcing the closure of a rogue website blog that made outrageous and defamatory allegations.

The suggestion that Peter Moody had 40 positive swabs was both absurd and damaging for the credibility of the champion trainer. Then there was an allegation that Damien Oliver was tipping to high profile officials, including RV Chairman, Michael Duffy.

Legal action forced the closure of the website and an e-mail we have run in today’s Wednesday Whinge discloses what some have know for quite a while – the rogue blog was authored by the brother of a leading trainer.

There are plenty who would like to see letsgohorseracing closed down but unfortunately providing an objective voice for racing stake-holders, especially the punters, and rocking the official boat that some in the mainstream racing media are not prepared to do is not reason enough.

The reason we provide the Wednesday Whinge as a forum is because of the lack of control of ‘chat rooms’ on some racing web sites where they seem to accept that defaming people is acceptable.

And before the usual officials and their mates start whining us running e-mails without identifying the source, the only reason we do this is because these people (some of them high profile administrators and licensees) fear what will happen if they are identified.



FOLLOWING initial consultation with Brisbane Racing Club, on-course bookmakers have agreed to a number of positive changes aimed at strengthening the metropolitan betting rings. 

In a Media Release yesterday, the BRC announced that effective immediately, all Eagle Farm and Doomben bookmakers have agreed to field on Brisbane meetings.

The segregation of bookmakers as either ‘local’ or ‘interstate’ will no longer continue, with all bookmakers being able to put up boards on ‘all venues’.

BRC Chairman Neville Bell said, “We know the average age of bookmakers is increasing and we are seeing fewer new bookmaker applications. It is clear we needed a strategy to strengthen the betting ring.”

“We plan to meet with the bookmakers again to further discuss ways they can take advantage of imminent changes to Queensland legislation enabling them to better compete with their interstate counterparts by betting pre-post or online.”

These new measures are to be combined with recent changes to the assessment of prices to take into account corporate bookmaker markets. 



THE Australian Racing Conference will be held in Melbourne starting tomorrow with the Hall of Fame Induction dinner in the evening and running through to the Blue Diamond Stakes meeting at Caulfield on Saturday.

Conference will be opened by Victorian Racing Minister Denis Napthine with some of the guest speakers to include: News Limited CEO Kim Williams; Tabcorp managing director David Attenborough; James Henderson chief executive of the Dynamic Sports and Entertainment Group and Amanda Stevens, one of the world’s leading authorities on marketing and selling to women.

Some of the discussion panels will comprise: BETTING: Tom Waterhouse, Alan Eskander (Betstar), Craig Nugent (Fixed Odds, Tabcorp), Giles Thompson (Betfair) and Cormac Barry (Sportsbet). MEDIA: Trevor Marmalade (comedian, author and racehorse owner), Bruce Clark (TVN & RSN), Shane Anderson (RSN and Sky Racing), Les Carlyon (legendary journalist and author), Peter Maher (3AW) and Dr Turf (SEN, racehorse owner and racing commentator). OFFICIALS: Bernard Saundry (Victoria), Peter V’Landys (NSW), Richard Burt (WA), Mike Symons (MRC), Stephen Ferguson (BRC) and Scott Whiteman (CRV),

Conference will be attended by racing administrators, committeemen and women, track managers and stewards.  




WE continue to receive e-mails and phone calls from stakeholder groups complaining that they are being not only ignored by the powers that be at Racing Queensland but on most they occasions not even consulted on important issues involving them.

One major and extremely representative group from within the industry complained that there have received no replies to several letters and telephone calls made to RQ in the past month.

And when they go to the Racing Minister’s Department these concerned industry stakeholders are claiming that one of his officers is downright rude and has told at least one of them not to call back.

There have already been claims that this particular bureaucrat has a direct line to RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon, which should be of some concern to Racing Minister Steplhen Dickson with confidence in his Office among some stakeholders at an all-time low.

One prominent figure in a leading industry body e-mailed us: ‘And for this highly unprofessional treatment by Racing Queensland the industry pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages. It is nothing short of appalling. We desperately need independent blood when the new Boards are appointed. The worry is that won’t happen.”



A COUPLE of prominent officials at both ends of the state need to be kicked into gear by their Club Chairmen or Racing Queensland.

One from the Brisbane Racing Club retaliated angrily to news on this website last week of a tweet from a racing media identity about the flies in the press room at Eagle Farm.

We are told that an official of the BRC allegedly stuck his head into media room on Wednesday and retorted: ‘If you don’t like the flies then close the door.’

Nice one mate but this could soon become a Workplace, Health and Safety Issue, especially as the flies are enjoying ‘pigging out’ on the complimentary snack that the BRC provides to the working media. Here’s hoping that isn’t halted as a result of this.

And at the other end of the state we had a Cairns Jockey Club committeeman alleging telling a trainer who complained about stones on the Cannon Park track: ‘If you don’t like it, then f... off.’

It seems the track curator was not all too impressed by the track either and made his feelings known which could have led to his dismissal. More of that could be heard at a wrongful dismissal hearing.

As for the track well RQ, which finances its construction, has sent some experts to the far north and truck-loads of stones have been removed. It seems the trainer, a highly-respected veteran in the far north, deserves an apology from the out-on-line committeeman.



OUTGOING TVN chief executive Peter Sweeney will front his board next Wednesday to explain the deal with Channel Seven that is costing the racing aggregator $2.2 million a year, while the free-to-air broadcaster pockets more than $8 million.

The MELBOURNE AGE reports that insiders have called it the best sporting deal done by Channel Seven as the majority of production costs are covered by TVN. It gets a clean feed of vision and has been able to sign Tom Waterhouse to a $5.5 million advertising agreement. "It is a great business outcome for Seven and a great breakthrough for viewers," Seven's chief executive Tim Worner said when the deal was announced.

Waterhouse outbid Tabcorp for the advertising rights to the coverage. Tabcorp had a final-offer clause but would only go to $3 million.

The fact TVN pays Seven $2.2 million for the airtime for 27 meetings and does not share in any revenue has TVN board members fuming.

The Melbourne Cup carnival comes under a separate deal.

Sweeney will be asked to explain the benefit of the Seven deal to TVN's bottom line and why there is not some revenue sharing written into the deal.

The deal is believed to be binding. It has been signed for two years with a three-year option in favour of Channel Seven, so could cost TVN $11 million by the end of that period.

The TVN board was put in place on Christmas Eve last year and its first task is to clear more than $20 million debt to start to give returns to shareholders the Australian Turf Club, Victoria Racing Club, Melbourne Racing Club, Moonee Valley Racing Club and Country Racing Victoria.

It wanted to get away from the perception of overspending of the past, which is highlighted by the reported $12 million paid in 2007 for publications Winning Post and Best Bets, which were valued at only $3 million in last year's annual report.

The agreement with Seven signed within a fortnight of the board being put in place has shattered that image.

Sweeney steps down in March and may have overstepped tight parameters he was given to operate within by signing the Seven deal. A search has started for his replacement.




THE suggestion by Jack Rush QC, legal representative for Danny Nikolic, that the controversial jockey’s behavior toward Chief Steward Terry Bailey was not as detrimental as the betting scandal that resulted in a 10-month ban for Damien Oliver, created an e-mail backlash overnight.

For legal reasons we had better not run what some had to say about Messrs Rush or Nikolic. In a nice way they suggested that any licensee who threatened a Chief Steward or his family deserved life not a two year disqualification.

There was also a strong belief that as one e-mailer suggested: ‘How could you possibly compare in seriousness a pygmy having a bet with another pygmy threatening someone to the degree that Nikolic did of Bailey?’

All this website would like to say on this issue is Heaven help racing in Australia if the price you pay for being found guilty of threatening a high profile steward and his family is a two-year disqualification reduced to a one-year ban and a one year suspension.   



THE good news for those who have already e-mailed protesting the VCAT decision in the Danny Nikolic versus Terry Bailey case is that Racing Victoria are far from impressed as well.  

The MELBOURNE AGE reports that just hours after disgraced Nikolic had a two-year disqualification reduced, Racing Victoria indicated it was considering charging the jockey over further matters relating to the case.

Nikolic had been disqualified for two years on two charges relating to threats he made to Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey during a race meeting at Seymour in September. An appeal was turned down but Nikolic then applied for a review of the penalty.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on Tuesday reduced the penalty to one year of disqualification and one year of suspension, leaving him eligible to reapply for his riding license in September. If a license is granted, Nikolic could ride trackwork and in trials, though could still not compete in races (until September 2014).

Head of Racing Victoria Integrity Dayle Brown confirmed RVL was looking closely at laying charges over Nikolic's behaviour during his appeal hearing to VCAT.

Brown said the integrity division would consider other matters, including that Nikolic admitted lying to the RAD Board at the original hearing when giving evidence to VCAT.

As well, Brown said that an incident in which Nikolic allegedly threatened former Tasmanian chief stewart Wade Hadley during the course of the VCAT hearing that began in early November last year would be looked at. Nikolic is also due to appear in the Magistrate's Court in May on unrelated assault charges.



SUPERMARKETS in the United Kingdom, France and Germany have admitted that there is horse meat in the home-cook burgers they are selling.

Even Burger King in Britain and Europe has had to admit that there is horse meat in their burgers. But to date the main offender is the big overseas supermarket chain known as Tesco.

Within hours of the news that Tesco's ‘all beef hamburgers’ contained 30 per cent horse meat, the jokes had hit the internet. Some of these included:

“I'm so hungry, I could eat a horse.....” I guess Tesco listened.

Anyone want a burger from Tesco – yay or neigh?

Not entirely sure how Tesco are going to get over this hurdle.

Waitress in Tesco asked if I wanted anything on my Burger. So I had £5 each way!

Had some burgers from Tesco for my tea last night – I still have a bit between my teeth.

A woman has been taken into hospital after eating horse meat burgers from Tesco. Her condition is said to be stable.

Said to the missus: “These Tesco burgers given me terrible trots.”

“To beef or not to beef, that is the equestrian.”

A cow walks into a bar. Barman says, “Why the long face?” Cow says, “Illegal ingredients coming over here stealing our jobs!”

I hear the smaller version of those Tesco burgers make great horse d'oeuvres.

These Tesco burger jokes are going on a bit. Talk about flogging a dead horse.

After a solid diet of horse-flesh, one bloke noticed his face grew longer and his ears went pointy. His doctor referred him to the Town Hall where he was issued with a licence to crap in the street.


Now here is the e-mail contributions that we have elected to publish this week with apologies to those who missed out:



‘THE $1,000 fines imposed on three jockeys for having small bets will attract its share of criticism but one would hope that the decision by Racing Victoria not to enforce mandatory minimum penalties for such offences now makes more sense.

Victoria came under fire, especially from New South Wales, when it refused to accept the minimum penalties recommended by the Australian Racing Board which would seen jockeys who bet disqualified for two years.

Can you imagine the situation if RV stewards had been forced to impose two year bans on Michelle Payne, Michael Walker and Anthony Darmanin for having what amounted to ‘pocket money’ bets?

As it was the fine of $1,000 incurred by each jockey were rated by most as somewhat of a joke, especially considering some of the bets were so small and on obscure sports outside of racing.

Now we have the situation whereby NSW and Queensland have agreed to enforce these rules that if a top jockey in Sydney or Brisbane has $10,000 on a horse or a battling hoop at Gilgandra or Cloncurry is caught in the local Pub or Club TAB having a $50 bet, stewards have to impose a mandatory minimum penalty – or that’s how it now seems.

What a farce. The penalty certainly will not fit the crime.

No-one is suggesting that jockeys should be allowed to bet – even if they are the worst judges in the world – but circumstances of an offence must be allowed to dictate the deterrent otherwise it is just a crazy situation where the smallest of offenders will seem to be victimized.’ – Joe MacLeod, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rather than have my say I feel this situation was perfectly summed up by MICHAEL LYNCH in a COMMENT piece in the MELBOURNE AGE which reads:

RACING Victoria's stewards, integrity officials, tribunals and sundry staff charged with upholding the rules must be thinking of putting in for pay rises, such is their level of activity in recent times.

Hardly a week goes past without a trainer of some note or a jockey (or three) being hauled before the beak to explain some dodgy deeds.

For the trainers its mainly about raceday treatment of horses with substances. Where the errant jockeys are concerned, it mainly involves betting although in another celebrated case it has been the fallout from the long-running saga where leading rider Danny Nikolic was alleged to have threatened the chief steward, Terry Bailey.

Betting, standover tactics, treating horses to get them to perform better: it all sounds a bit like the Wild West out there, which is exactly the image racing, and its rulers, need to dispel.

Black Caviar is a one-horse marketing phenomenon, but she won't go on for ever selling the sport.

Hence the interest in getting tough, singling out the sinners, going public with their follies, and doing so quickly.

Justice must be seen to be done, swiftly and fairly - even if some might argue that at times it is rough justice or that a mountain is being made of a molehill.

Integrity is the key issue for the sport. Without people believing in what they are seeing, there is no confidence: without confidence there is no investment, and without the punting dollar there is no industry.

Or at least not the multibillion-dollar industry that currently exists, supporting jobs in metropolitan and rural areas throughout the state.

The wagers of the riders fined on Tuesday were small and, certainly in comparison with the now disgraced champion Damien Oliver, their offences trivial. In light of Oliver's 10-month ban - widely held in public opinion to have been extremely generous - Michelle Payne, Anthony Darmanin and Michael Walker might have felt that a day in the sin bin would have been adequate punishment for them, especially as, in value terms, most of the bets were not on racing but on sport.

But rules are rules and, as many of us have found out, not knowing that the speed limit was 40km/h in a built-up area does not prevent us from getting a ticket, a fine and perhaps a disqualification.

Having set the betting dog running, the stewards have no option but to pursue the quarry to the end. If it serves as a warning to other riders tempted to have a more substantial investment than a couple of dollars on an all-weather race at Lingfield (what were you thinking, Michael Walker?) then it will have served its purpose.



SOME close friends of Robbie Hawkswell, who say he has been forced to quit as a highly respected and experienced Clerk of the Course in Toowoomba, have written this e-mail in the hope that someone will listen to their concerns about the Clifford Park racing scene and might even encourage him to stay on.

WE were prompted in some ways to send in this e-mail after reading on your site that Toowoomba Turf Club chairman, Bob Frappell, doesn’t reply to criticism and your perception that he has to get permission from his good mate, RQ Chairman, Kevin Dixon, before he does.

‘As great friends and long-time admirers of the talents of a fine horseman in Robbie Hawkswell we cannot sit idly by and watch what is being done to him in Toowoomba.

We can tell you that Robbie is still waiting for a reply from the TTC and Mr Frappell to an e-mail that he sent them in early December advising that he was standing down from Clerk of Course duties because he couldn’t work for the club anymore.

The problem largely is that one of Mr Frappell’s trainers is reportedly paid to look after the TTC Clerk of the Course horses. Someone chose to ‘ace’ (term for a tranquilizer) the horse that Robbie uses to ride on race days and nights.

Admittedly it was renowned for bucking and bolting on some riders, and whilst he would sometimes buck with Robbie, he knew the horse and had him worked out pretty well and never had an issue with him. It was only when they would put inexperienced riders on the horse that he would try his tricks.

The trainer in question blew up deluxe at Robbie and the other Clerk of the Course when asked: ‘Who’ had given the horse ‘whatever’ it was given. He denied doing it and said his wife was with the horse and she might know. Her reaction to the situation resulted in a blow-up with Robbie.

Apparently this all started because Robbie wouldn't use the bridle they wanted him to use that he had unsuccessfully experimented with months early. He preferred to use his own (which had a Norton bit).

Those who watch Toowoomba racing closely would know of an incident where Robbie had to rev his horse up to catch a starter whose jockey was hung up and screaming for help when it bolted on the way to the barriers.

He had to pull his horse up quickly when he got beside the horse and jockey in trouble and in doing so cut the lips on his horse but that’s no big deal. Most horses that are renowned ‘pullers’ wind up with cut lips from the bit.

The situation has reached the stage where Robbie can no longer work for the TTC which is a crying shame. He is highly respected by the jockeys who feel safe when he is working at race meetings.  

But Robbie has told us that he has far more important things to do in life than to turn up and ride horses that have been ‘aced’. The night that he suspects his Clerk of the Course horse was treated with the tranquilizer it was stumbling and losing its footing throughout the meeting.

Robbie says that when you have to chase rider-less horses at full gallop that can be pretty dangerous on a horse that you suspect has been ‘aced.’

He actually went to the TTC office during the race meeting in question and advised them of what he felt had happened. He was told that they would meet with him the following Monday. That never happened and he has decided to stand himself down.

We write this e-mail to you fearing this has all been swept under the carpet and that RQ will do nothing about it. This is reaching a stage where it could have a disastrous sequel and if the issue is not addressed Toowoomba will have bigger dramas on its plate than the blow up between a couple of lady jockeys.

It seems that not a week goes by when there isn’t a drama in Toowoomba racing. There was a fight at a recent meeting between a licensed trainer and a track-work rider. Blood was flying everywhere. The smaller bloke was giving away 30kg but he left the ‘big mouth’ worse for wear. The next morning the big bloke looked like a bus had hit him.

Those who were watching the Clifford Park coverage on SKY would have heard that a race had been delayed with caller Pat O’Shea saying they were waiting on the ambulance to return after Mel O’Brien’s nasty fall and a patron requiring attention. Well you now know who the patron was – a licensed trainer.

The TTC is dead set in Disneyland if they think the new grass track will bring the horses and people back here. The joint’s on the nose big time. It needs a bomb through the office and a complete new Committee.

We believe that if you asked around you would have people wanting Neville Stewart (former Chairman) and Allen Volz (former CEO) back here quick smart.

Allen was first class and Neville achieved a lot for racing in Toowoomba, I hear people say this and that about Neville but he is that far in front of Bob Frappell it's not funny. This is all just our opinion but after watching both we know who ran a better show.

We also read in the Wednesday Whinge about a certain person close to the committee likely to get the contract for upgrading the grandstand. This isn’t just some work around the on-course horse barns. It has to go to contract.’ – Unashamed friends of Robbie Hawkswell, whose services should never be lost to racing in Toowoomba.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For those wondering what ‘acing’ a horse means I am told by colleague Terry Butts, a licensed trainer with decades of experience, that it is the administration of a mild tranquilizer. I repeat my offer to Bob Frappell, as Chairman of the TTC, to respond to this e-mail and show that he is prepared to answer the concerns of local stake-holders. I have done some research on this subject and discovered that Bob should know from first-hand experience how valuable and respected Robbie Hawkswell is as Clerk of the Course. It would seem that if a Clerk of the Course horse is being ‘aced,’ RQ and its stewards should be investigating or at least having the horse swabbed before each meeting. To me this is a Workplace Health and Safety Issue. As for the alleged million dollar plus that the TTC is apparently seeking to upgrade the grandstand, if that isn’t independently tendered out by RQ then the Government and the Racing Minister should be asking some questions.



‘AS much as most of us want to see the two Coast clubs succeed, Brisbane has to be the hub of racing in Queensland.

Talk about confusion – the SCTC says it has not only won back more than half the Sundays it feared had been lost ‘but is now on course to become the centre of Queensland racing next year.’

Then we had Racing Queensland Chairman Kevin Dixon ‘unveiling plans to transform the Gold Coast Turf Club into a back-up metropolitan track similar to Warwick Farm and Moonee Valley.’

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that although only one club runs the two tracks in Brisbane, it would be folly for too many major meetings outside of carnival time to be lost to Eagle Farm or Doomben.

The once-a-year Ipswich Cup meeting is more than enough at that venue for most regular Saturday racegoers – or those that have survived the assault from the clubs, the pubs and in-home live TV coverage of racing.

Regulars aren’t keen to battle the traffic or the enormous crowd that turns out and ensures Bundamba racetrack is far from comfortable for their once a year Cup day.

Those who travel to the Sunshine Coast on any weekend will tell you that the traffic is chaotic. Sometimes it’s the same on the Gold Coast highway. Granted the facilities and space at Corbould Park are far superior to Bundall but an upgrade is currently underway.

Perhaps the stories suggesting more major Saturday meetings at the Gold and Sunshine Coast were parochially written by the newspapers on both Coasts. Here’s hoping so!

Kevin Dixon told the Gold Coast Bulletin that their new track would fill a similar role to Warwick Farm, Canterbury, Moonee Valley and Sandown which complement the major city tracks interstate.

The Bulletin claims this bold move will catapult the Gold Coast into hosting potentially more than 10 metropolitan meetings a year, some of these over the summer months to give the Brisbane tracks a rest.

Dixon said the upgrade of on and off-track facilities, which begins this month, would allow the facility to be transformed into a metropolitan venue.

"In every major capital city track there are metro tracks and near metro tracks that perform a function. In Queensland we have the two major metro tracks, but we don't have a substantial back-up support.”

The Sunshine Coast Daily reported that in the next 18 months Corbould Park was primed to host ‘a welter of division one race meetings offering prizemoney normally available only at metropolitan tracks.’

One can assume that means more stand alone Saturday meetings at the Sunshine Coast with one ‘industry source’ telling the local daily: “I can see the Sunshine Coast drowning in race meetings during the next 12 to 18 months. They may race 80-90 times through 2014. It will be a racing Mecca equal to Doomben.:

SCTC chairman Don Jackson said; “We could manage 80-85 meetings racing Saturday and some Sundays.”

If we can assume that as many as 20 Saturday meetings are to be hosted at the Gold and Sunshine Coasts instead of Brisbane, one has to pose the question of what the future holds for Doomben?

Now the old bogey of putting it on the market and upgrading Deagon as a bigger training centre wouldn’t be right – or would it? – Max Murphy, Gold Coast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: THERE is certainly a need to relieve the pressure on the city tracks but one would have thought the first place to start would have been by removing many of their midweek fixtures. Certainly during redevelopment works at the Gold Coast there will be a need to use the Sunshine Coast more often as has occurred with Toowoomba. There is certainly merit in more metropolitan Saturday meetings at the two Coasts but Brisbane punters are not used to travelling and the call will go out for support meetings in the city which will only defeat the purpose of resting Eagle Farm and Doomben. As for the sale of Doomben, well that highlights again the need for some independence on the new control Board to oversee any plans to RQ has which might be viewed by some as ‘conflict of interest’ or ‘not in the interest’ of all industry stakeholders.  



WHILE the mainstream racing media continues to promote Kevin Dixon as the best Chairman of Everything in Racing, largely because they believe he is ‘past the post’ regardless of the selection process being implemented, we continue to receive e-mails of concern from industry stake-holders.

They want new Boards for each of the three codes and an over-riding body that is free of political influence, with no conflicts of interest ensuring that the entire state and not just the south-east corner gets proper recognition and most of all they want representation on the all-power All Codes Industry body from the country and not just the metropolitan area with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman to be independent and not either chairman of the gallops, harness or greyhounds.

Here are some of the e-mails of concern we are receiving about the selection process which we will continue to run in the hope that someone in the Government is listening:



‘IF there is any political interference in the appointment of these racing boards then all hell is going to break loose for the LNP Government.

In the wake of the scandal surrounding Ros Bates, the Arts and IT Minister who resigned before she was sacked, Premier Campbell Newman can do without the sort of crap fight in racing that haunted the Labor Party.

Much was made of the appointment process to the RQ Board of Bob Bentley, his conflict of interest as a Director of Tattersall’s and the ‘jobs for the boys’ allegations thrown up about the selection of Bill Ludwig.

Now I am not suggesting that anything untoward will happen but the all three codes are well aware of the links between Kevin Dixon, the current RQ Chairman and the influential Treasurer, Tim Nicholls not to mention the suggestions of an ‘extremely close friendship’ between Racing Minister Stephen Dickson and Peter Boyce, a Sunshine Coast lawyer being tipped as a possible chairman of the All Codes Industry Board.

Both gentlemen (Dixon and Boyce) may well have the right credentials for the job but if there is even a hint of political interference in the process before or after the Independent Selection Panel makes its recommendations then the Government could have a controversy to rival the Ros Bates affair on their plate.’ – Max Price, North Queensland.


And this one:

‘EVERY stake-holder in the racing industry in Queensland should have a story from The Sunday Mail last weekend attached to the stable or refrigerator door.

It could well come in handy when the all-important appointments to the Gallops, Harness, Greyhound and All Codes Industry Boards are announced.

If there is even a hint of political interference in the process – and that is what many in the industry currently fear – then another scandal will erupt for the Campbell Newman Government and this one will involve racing which ‘Can Do’ would be well aware he can do without.

There are already rumors sweeping the industry that need to be scuttled. These involve the influence that the former Chairman of the BRC and the current CEO has on a leading political figure.

Besides that the word is widespread that a Sunshine Coast lawyer with close ties to the local Turf Club is a lot closer to the Racing Minister than many in the industry were aware.

Considering the promise from the LNP Government that all future Board appointments will be heavily scrutinized in the wake of the nepotism allegations that forced Arts Minister Ros Bates to quit, the racing board process needs not only to appear to be interference free but there cannot be the slightest suggestion that outside parties are influencing political decision making.

If there is no gallops representative from the country on the All Codes Industry Board and it is stacked with appointments from south-east Queensland, suspicious will be running high especially if those being touted as ‘shoe-ins’ because of their connections turn up on the final list.’ – As a senior official of a major club it is not in my best interests to be identified (for obvious reasons).

EDITOR’S NOTE: The last thing racing in Queensland needs is a return to the Russ Hinze days when it was ‘no holds barred’ on and off the track for the ‘in’ people. Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls would be all too aware of the poison chalice that racing can be for any Government. One would imagine that the last thing they would want to create is controversy to the degree that Labor inherited when many believed the Bentley Board was a political tool of the Government. I think Kevin Dixon should be RQ Chairman. He has made some positive steps designed to start the process of turning the industry around. As the boss of RQ he would have automatic appointment to QACRIB but it would be politically dangerous to appoint him Chairman of that Board as well. Peter Boyce is an extremely popular racing and legal identity, who recently was awarded an Order of Australia. Regardless of whether he deserves to be on the RQ Board or not, the fact that he is seen as a ‘mate’ of the Racing Minister is a major stumbling block. It wouldn’t worry me but if Boyce is appointed to QACRIB it again raises the question of a lack of country representation which is a must and there are a couple of excellent candidates who would do the industry proud and enable the industry and the Government to avoid another political crap fight.



‘THIS racing industry of ours in Queensland never ceases to amaze me.

Why attendances have dropped to an all time low can be blamed on more reasons than there are ‘deadens’. Some of the scuttlebutts that were doing the rounds on Saturday were classics.

Poor old Ms Bates (the Government Minister who resigned) was hung and quartered every 15 minutes.

Some character wanted to tell anyone that took his head out of a race-book how ‘Can Do’ and his supporters made the Bates Jnr appointment look child’s play.

The story went that some character was promoted from the lowest of low classifications (in the Public Service) to an SES 2, whatever that means, without having the position advertised or applications called.

Now the reason I mention this bit of scuttlebutt is that it leads up to the Selection Panel that is in place to select the Board members for the different racing codes.

The majority of opinions had all appointments being subject to a final say of Mr Kevin DIXON.

The selection panel would do as they were told and so forth.

I do not know two of the panel personally but if anyone thinks the Honorable Bill Carter will NOT do the honorable thing and be guided by his conscience then they are in for one hell of a shock.

Apart from one or two ‘rogue’ appointments that will be politically wise to ensure a strong ‘CAPTAIN,’ I am certain Bill Carter will prove he is his own man.’ - Bruce Lemon, Ipswich.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have stated before and will repeat it here that I have the utmost faith in the Independent Selection Panel doing the right thing by the industry. I am glad Bruce that someone has raised the point about Bill Carter. If – and I say that with the greatest of respect – there is political interference in the selection process after the panel has produced a short list Bill is one member of that panel that I am confident will not just sit back and cop it.   



‘MY beef this week is about the alleged interference that is occurring in the everyday running of racing Queensland from the CEO of a major TAB club.

I won’t name him but most would suspect who I am talking about. His interference is becoming a major concern for officials at many other clubs, especially those who are not being consulted.

There is no room in the new-look RQ for ‘old mates’ and that is the fear that a lot of long-time officials have for the future if a couple of the current appointments wind up on the new QACRIB which will over-see the three codes.

The gentleman in question is too close to the current RQ Chairman and the powerful politician who many believe controls the Racing Minister. That is why the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of QACRIB need to be independent of the three codes Chairmen who will be automatically appointed to that body.

If the selections that we are hearing wind up running the show then some clubs might as well close up shop and RQ might as well move to another part of Brisbane because that is where the major decision making process will occur.’ – Bob Donaldson, Sunshine Coast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Let’s not beat around the bush Bob and I suspect you are connected with one of those clubs who believe they are not getting a fair go at present. I am pretty sure you are referring to Stephen Ferguson, the CEO of the Brisbane Racing Club. There is no question that his expertise is well recognized by RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon from the days when they worked together at the BRC. I have no idea whether Dixon is consulting Ferguson on the direction that RQ is heading. The job of CEO at RQ should be advertised when the new control board is in place and if Ferguson wants it, he should then apply. If he doesn’t then RQ should not be asking his advice on anything outside the affairs of the BRC. I guess it all rests on the appointment process but unless there is an independent chairman of QACRIB then those ugly words ‘conflict of interest’ will continue to haunt the new Board.       



‘WITH reference to the Herald Sun story last Sunday of a questionable blog site regarding ‘tips and hits’ I gave a thought to my late Dad.

He was quite adamant that when garbage and/or grubby lies were generated it would always be from a looser.

The interesting story about the looser in this particular article is known to many to be the brother of a prominent trainer.

The trainer has an opportunity to clear himself of any association with the lies from his sibling by reporting to RVL and clearing the air.

To DOB a mate might be regarded as un-Australian but when it comes to a brainless brother I would think a trainer should consider his own family and their future.’ – Ken Raff, Melbourne.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have heard the trainer’s brother scenario and it’s time his identity was made public. Here’s the story concerning this web site by MATT STEWART in the HERALD SUN:

SOME of racing's rogue elements are more difficult to rein in than others.

Blogs and forums are rogue territory and near-impossible to be held to account for accusations that would not survive the first legal test of traditional media.

A racing website called Lucky 88 posted two scandalous blogs earlier this month.

They survived for a week or so - being fed to the site's claimed 2000-plus subscribers - before being pulled down amid concerns that Racing Victoria and its lawyers were investigating.

Lucky 88's first claim was that the Racing Victoria board was corrupt, that Damien Oliver was given a lenient sentence for race betting because he tipped to the RVL board and had threatened to name names.

Lucky 88 claimed Oliver had regularly tipped to RVL chairman Michael Duffy.

There is no evidence to support these allegations.

It claimed that RVL had swept a handful of positive swabs to Peter Moody-trained horses under the carpet because Moody was too successful, too famous, to expose.

Blogs are a fact of life and are virtually unstoppable.

But in the case of Lucky 88, Racing Victoria has had a gutful - and so has Moody.

RacingB*itch, a site that originates from Hong Kong and claims to be the most-read racing site in the world, provided a link to Lucky 88 when it published its Oliver and Moody claims.

Lucky 88 consequently gained enormous exposure within world racing circles.

Racing Victoria chief executive Bernard Saundry last week said although its solicitors were unlikely to pursue Lucky 88, its forensic experts would try to expose its authors.

Saundry said the claims were "absolute rubbish, total lies".

Moody said he usually ignored innuendo about his career, but this time he was tired of "grubs" who spread "crap".

"I'm just really disappointed that a public forum with what claims to be a wide readership can get away with making such outrageous claims against racing's governing body and its participants," Moody said.

"Whoever this grub is deserves to be tracked down and identified."



‘THANKS for publishing my e-mail last week and for taming it down a little. I often forget that some of us are of the old school and prone to no-to-politically correct ramblings.

I received several calls from friends who ready it congratulating me on being forthright enough to have my say. So I guess now I have to keep going with a few fresh ideas for racing and here are a couple of more you might want to publish.

The Sunshine Coast Turf Club used to open their bar at Corbould Park on a Friday night for a couple of years and the crew still speak fondly of the great nights they had.

Why not do it again?

Mackay has the new bar/entertainment facility. Sunshine Coast is the same. And Beaudesert has had some great press on their upgraded areas.

Here’s the challenge for those clubs – put on a few beers once a month to start with just to get some social feeling back into racing.

We have lost a lot of the simple good times since we have been racing seven days a week so let’s take time out to smell the roses. It seems the only time we all get together is to run a benefit for someone. Let’s change that.

On another issue, memberships of clubs are poor. Why not have a club membership drive? Encourage every member try to get one person signed up and along to the races then provide some free tickets to the next meeting to the new member. It could have a flow-on affect.

Clubs that have big membership bases are able to lever more out of politicians than poorly subscribed ones.

All the best in racing and I will try to put forward a couple of ideas on a regular basis and hopefully get the ball rolling.’ - John Madden, a long-time passionate supporter of racing in Queensland.

EDITOR’S NOTE: IT’S a pity there weren’t more people like you John, supporting racing in Queensland –on and off the track. Your ideas have potential – keep them coming – and who knows someone in the right place might even (despite their denials) read what we publish on this website and decide what you are suggesting is worth following up on.


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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