Jenny - Clean

THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE has a new look but won’t be dispensing with the theme and focus on the THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY side of what is happening in racing. The Whinge will continue to provide an opportunity for The Cynics to Have Their Say. Thanks again for your support for the most read column on this website and one of the most read on racing websites in the country. Our popularity continues to grow despite the bagging it cops from some high profile officials, especially in Queensland, who cannot cope with constructive criticism of any kind. We encourage supporters – and critics – to continue to contribute but plan to restrict the Whinge to less than 10 of the best items each week. Our message to those who continually bag us is simple: IF YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT YOU READ, THEN DON’T REVISIT THE WHINGE.



BOB REID of SUNSHINE COAST weighs into the debate over the motives of the Queensland Racing Unity Group:

  ‘I would like to raise something that I found quite interesting on reading the ‘Silks & Saddles’ column by Terry Butts on the wonderful job being done by the Queensland Racing Unity Group to ‘keep the bastards honest’ in their interim role of running the industry in this State.

When stakeholders asked for details of the new TAB deal done by the previous Board, headed by Kevin Dixon and under the direction of LNP Racing Minister Steve Dickson and his Treasurer Tim Nicholls, they were refused information on the basis that it was commercial in confidence.

Yet now we have QRUG asking the Labor Government about ‘the whereabouts of UBET’S initial $37.5 million payment to RQ under the deal brokered by previous Chairman Kevin Dixon’.

One has to ask how QRUG is privy to commercial in-confidence information or was it supplied by someone associated with the previous Government or previous Board if the figure is in fact correct.

And if it is, why then is QRUG not questioning why two former Board members in Barry Taylor and Brad Steele resigned in protest at lack of consultation from Dixon and his cronies during the negotiations of the new TAB agreement which they have made no secret since could have been much better than that brokered.

Now QRUG claims to be non-political despite the well known fact that the Doomben rally which led to its birth was organized over a fly-blown steak burger or two at a Kilcoy race meeting where the brains trust were largely identities closely associated with the LNP and the former Dixon Board.

And by the way to call QRUG ‘powerful’ is stretching a long bow. Sure it has some key stakeholder groups involved but a rally that attracts 400 is hardly representative of an industry that involves tens of thousands of people.

My friends and I have supported racing in Queensland for years but we do not support QRUG because we believe it is politically motivated with ties to the LNP and is only interested in stirring the pot and feeding information to Opposition racing lobbyist Jann Stuckey.

What can we expect in the wake of the liquor lock-out fight by the LNP, who, no doubt benefit greatly from political campaign donations from the hotel industry, a QRUG led call through their racing media mates for rejection of the Racing Integrity Bill and more consultation while they get their people into interim spots running the industry in Queensland?

No thanks – QRUG brings back memories and sounds like a remake of that other rank failure – We Run as One!’



DON SHERMAN of BRISBANE sent this email:

‘IT seems that the majority of those making submissions – and aren’t there some politically motivated individuals among them – strongly oppose the new Racing Integrity Bill which will be debated in the Queensland Parliament next month.

That is their right and the system that has operated to date hasn’t – in the opinion of most – worked effectively, therefore the need for change is obvious.

It would seem that most stakeholders are scared of change. Most industry groups don’t want those running the show to have no background in, or knowledge of, horse racing. Licensees are obviously frightened by the change to integrity but isn’t that a good thing considering the cloud that hangs over punter confidence in racing in this state?

One thing’s for sure. The amalgamation of the three codes has not worked. Gallops want to cut the minor codes adrift – and who could blame them? Perhaps the answer is a combined administrative and integrity body for the three but separate Boards to control each.

Having the majority of Board members appointed with no background in racing, harness racing or greyhounds is fraught with danger. But the current system, where appointees bring too much political baggage from personal involvements and ties with racing, hasn’t worked either. It leads to accusations of favoritism and pork-barreling in the decision-making process. One only has to look at the accusations thrown at the Bob Bentley and Kevin Dixon Boards to justify that statement.

So where does this lead for the under siege racing industry in Queensland which continues to degenerate to joke status in the eyes of those watching intently from interstate? Another crap fight – more debate and even less action. The last thing racing needs here is another inquiry or more reviews. It’s time to make some appointments – for better or worse – get on with the job, get rid of the ‘interim’ people who have been running the show badly for too long and start addressing a few issues like the financial state of racing in Queensland and the need for a tougher integrity stance to ensure that things like ‘live baiting’ do not reoccur.

As I see it the opponents of the proposed Racing Integrity Bill are the same ones who resist any form of change in Queensland. Many were those who supported the Kevin Dixon Board, which arguably is responsible for the mess the industry is now in and they were backed by the LNP Government whose finger prints are all over any form of change through their mouthpiece – this politically motivated Racing Unity Group.

Nothing will change in racing in Queensland while political in-fighting dominates the decision-making process behind the scenes – and responsibility for that lies at the feet of both the LNP and Labor Parties.’




THE mail is growing stronger by the day that the Victorian-based is locked in talks with the Brisbane Turf Club to jump ship from SKY Channel.

Major race clubs in Queensland have had a gutful of the treatment they are receiving from SKY in favour of wall-to-wall coverage of everything racing in NSW.

If the BRC finds a legal loophole in the SKY contract that allows them to shift to or at least share coverage (on Channel 78) with the new Victorian broadcaster it will open the floodgates for other clubs in Queensland to follow suit.



AN interesting story is doing the rounds about the financial situation confronting a former love-child club of the Kevin Dixon Board.

It follows leaks of a fireside chat between a old 'goat rider with LNP ties' and an 'I know nothing' RQ high-flyer concerning the perilous financial future confronting a major south-east Queensland club.

Story goes the 'goat rider' was less than complimentary of those running the show at the club concerned and the RQ 'heavy' countered with a suggestion that after receiving a poultice of money (not sure whether it came from the previous Board or since their departure) the financial picture looking ahead was even more grim.

The more things change the more they stay the same.



STORIES emanating from a certain sacked official of the former RQ hierarchy that one-time chairman Bob Bentley is calling the shots behind the scenes are way off the mark.

These are a smokescreen for the hotline from Deagon which is linked directly to a certain identity at a major club not that far down the track. There are concerns in the Bunker at the influence this bloke has on certain RQ people in key positions who are struggling to do their job without outside help.

Sad aspect of the story is that despite them believing he is doing things in their best interests, behind the backs of those who are relying on his advice, the identity in question is having a big laugh with his high profile racing mates at their expense.



BEN DOYLE, formerly of QUEENSLAND, but now living in MELBOURNE, sent this email:

‘IT’S a bit rich for Allan Reardon to criticize the way his counterparts in Victoria police racing when he oversees what punters regard as the weakest state in Australia when it comes to integrity in racing.

Reardon has worked with the high profile panels in Sydney and Melbourne since he was controversially punted from Brisbane when the infamous Dr Bob Mason was running the Integrity Department. It was a disgusting decision.

But it is also fair to say that in the eyes of some he didn’t measure up in Victoria and few tears were shed when Queensland welcomed him back with a hefty retirement package once there was a new administration headed by Kevin Dixon. For some strange reasons they turned their back on the chance to have arguably the best steward in the land, Terry Bailey, return home at that time.

Reardon, like one of his good mates and predecessors, Steve Railton, is a pin-up boy with licensees which unfortunately sends a message to the punting public that they are ‘too soft’. Many who follow racing in Queensland closely reckon ‘Railo’ failed to fire a shot when he took over as Chief Steward from the highly-respected and much feared Ray Murrihy. Those same critics consider Reardon has hardly had the licensees shaking in their boots since his return and believe that his retirement is long overdue.

On the subject of leniency when it comes to the use of whips, one could argue that Reardon is right when he says the Victorians need to impose harsher penalties. One only has to look at Damien Oliver’s use of the whip on the upset winner of the Colac Cup on Sunday.

But just because a young jockey (Regan Bayliss) fronting his panel is now based south of the border, does that mean he should have let him off with a fine? Reardon should have had the courage of his convictions and imposed a harsher penalty. Not doing so – and then criticizing the Victorian stance on the issue – smacks of hypocrisy.

Perhaps if the Chief Steward in Queensland was to address the issue of alleged team riding – instead of making excuses for some of the top stables and jockeys – and inquire into why so many fancied runners miss the start or adopt out of the ordinary riding tactics he might earn some long lost respectability in the eyes of the punters who regard integrity in racing in the north as nothing short of a joke. They gave up punting there long ago and believe that betting in Brisbane on a Saturday should come with the warning that it is ‘a wealth hazard’.

Here’s hoping that the new top cop – due to replace an old top cop – doesn’t just sit on his behind as Integrity Commissioner and actually gets the ball rolling when it comes to looking into the seedy side of Queensland racing – that’s the one that too many reckon doesn’t exist.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: BRAD DAVIDSON, the most objective (and the best) racing writer in Queensland – in my opinion – hit the nail on the head when he wrote this column piece in the GOLD COAST BULLETIN:

RACING Queensland stewards missed their chance to make a stand on the new whip rule at Doomben on Saturday.

Apprentice Regan Bayliss, a jockey with a bad record in relation­ to this rule, escaped suspension despite striking Mr Epic eight times, three more than allowed, before the 100m mark of Race 7.

Bayliss was fined $2000 which doesn’t even cover his earnings for the winning ride.

Sure the horse may have been laying in down the straight but you could argue the three extra strikes with the whip before the 100m mark was the difference between the horse winning and losing.

Respected Brisbane jockey Jim Byrne said recently stewards should take a race off a horse for serious breaches of the whip rule but this doesn’t seem to be on the radar of stewards.

A suspension at least should have been handed out to Bayliss and jockeys won’t start ­taking the new whip rule seriously until stewards do first.



AS I am a well known owner in VICTORIA, I would ask that my identity be with-held (for obvious reasons):

‘CONGRATULATIONS to the Board of Racing Victoria for resisting pressure from some frustrated owners and sections of the media to relax the rules for positive swabs to Ibuprofen.

Whilst most sympathize with the plight of those who have horses returning positives to the anti-flammatory substance long after they have been taken off the medication, to have declared them exempt would have sent the wrong message to the industry.

There needs to be as close to zero tolerance as possible when it comes to the use of illegal drugs on horses and trainers need to be confident that when they start in races it is a level playing field.

The Racing Victoria Board decision – as unpopular as it has been in the eyes of those with some nice gallopers caught in the middle of the Ibuprofen saga – sends the right message and for that they need to be applauded – regardless of whether there is a threat from some of legal action or not.

At the end of the day it is the responsibility of the trainer not to take a horse to the races that has an illegal substance in its system. Whether there are mitigating circumstances or not, there can be no exceptions to the Rule.’



A high profile HARNESS RACING identity with a long-time passion for the industry made this contribution but asked (for obvious reasons) not to be identified:

‘I’M not going to sugar coat this. I’m going to say it how it is. Harness racing in Queensland is struggling big time with a lot of issues on and off the track.

The Integrity Department in harness racing is non-existent and there is no confidence in any of the current harness stewards, or in their ability to do the job.

In the opinion of many the majority of stewards overseeing harness racing don’t seem to have a clue what they are doing, what the rules are, or how to apply the rules. None can arguably read a race or know what to look for. There is very limited harness racing experience in the stewards’ panel. To be a good harness steward it would help greatly if they were from the industry. They have no-one with harness experience trying to police harness racing.

Prime examples of this are contained in a recent Saturday night Albion Park Stewards’ (perhaps I should say stupids’ but that would be too unkind) Report, which reads:

Driver S Graham (YERRINGTON BOB) was fined $200 under Rule 162 (1) (c) for communicating to other drivers in the race when racing in the position behind the leader entering the front straight with a lap remaining.

Let’s look deeper into this.

1. The steward on the turn into the straight heard the driver communicating to other drivers, as did other people standing along the fence line at the home turn,  

2. One stable had five runners in that race out of the 11, behind leader, death, one-one, four back fence and one out four back in the running line. 

S Graham was driving the horse behind the leader, with stablemates in death and one-one. He was allegedly heard communicating to drivers on his outside.

3. The steward heard communication between the driver and to his stablemates, yet never apparently thought of questioning those drivers or inquired into what was said.

4.  A driver communicating to drivers of  stablemates during a race would be seen by some as collaboration, or, at worse, if questions were asked by the stewards, they may have found a more serious breach of the rules and maybe even given thought to a serious charge.

5. The steward heard the communication, and yet did nothing bar fine one driver. It would have been in the best interests of the punting public to get all those drivers in and question them, but this didn’t happen.

The big question – there were five stewards but reportedly not one of them thought to ask the drivers what was said. If this is the best they can do, then harness racing is stuffed.  

The next question is: why are the stewards so inconsistent? 

At a recent Wednesday night Redcliffe meeting two drivers were fined for whip use. Personally, I don’t have a problem with whip fines if they are warranted.

Driver one copped $200 for crossing his reins before the 200m mark – hardly a breach of the rules and one where commonsense should be used and the driver spoken to.

Driver two cops $200 for excessive use of the whip, again if it was excessive, it was justified, but – in my opinion – it wasn’t excessive and wasn’t justified.

Another race at Redcliffe a driver belts his horse 21 times in the straight. He was never going to win or run second, and he was never going to lose third. Those in the stewards’ tower didn’t see this. How the hell was this missed? It was excessive in every aspect. 

Where is the consistency in stewarding? There were four stewards on duty at Redcliffe and not one noticed this. It’s time for RQ to hire people with a strong harness racing background to become harness racing stewards – ones who know the Rules and know how to enforce them.

Also regarding multiple stable runners – one would think it would be in racing’s best interests for the stewards to inform the public just prior to the start of the race what their tactics are as a way of reassuring the punting public everything is above board.’



JOHN THE FIREMAN, a regular contributor on all things racing in Queensland, sent this email:

‘I’ve been watching your site and waiting to see comments on your proposal of the way forward for Queensland Racing. I have been surprised to see little positive or negative or other views.

My concerns remain plenty and if you just wipe the past as a joke and disgrace, what is the best way of going forward.

Regards the future, I still remain worried as nothing is communicated fast regards  what the right models could be for this state that creates a future and potential growth.

They just seem to fix things on a reactive basis as they appear. Latest example QTIS sale was probably going to be a disaster if buyers didn’t know what the system was offering.

Seems we have ended up with a deal that still delivers and gives some back and helps to bring the industry back to the black.

I believe your ideas to be a good starting template.

I still believe the industry doesn’t ‘get it’ that the past ways have to go and change has to happen now!

My concern is still that a lot of work has been done previously with reports, that identify changes that have to implemented, but they must continue to gather dust at RQ.

I put a few ideas forward for RQ as simply as I can:

Harness Racing

Sell Albion Park – past its time, as  can’t deliver a modern racing model track that helps to improve the product and is multifunctional.

There is land between Brisbane and the Gold Coast that could be used to create a modernised old Gold Coast track design, stands and facilities which could accommodate both a new one turn track design that Greyhounds need and want and Harness can achieve a bigger modernised Track design. All of this will help the product going forward and revenue. Also animal welfare is increased by better tracks.

Keep Redcliffe as a provincial race club.

You can’t keep Albion Park surface so hard to maintain race times.

The money from sale should create a new facility and give the two codes money to create extra income streams to help with future prizemoney.

This could possibly all be done without putting pressure on the TAB infrastructure fund .


Integrity beyond approach and work towards the changes now needed that many expensive reports identified for modern racing to survive long term.

Simply put RQ need to develop a range of models for all the areas. I think currently eight (as the message is that every area wants racing to continue/ in some form). Stakeholders in these areas need to see the current situation and a couple of other models and what change could achieve by joining clubs, facilities and making hard decisions. If it is in front of people to see and compare the decision will be clearer and easier to support and accept the change. Letting each area develop their modern model going forward with help should stop a lot of arguing and giving ownership may help to start the process that has to be done.

Country horses need to be accommodated through programming (mix of class and benchmark) – extra races for them on city/provincial track meetings. Take a seven race program out to nine races and eight race program out to 10.

Why? Because this will give them an opportunity to race on good tracks and race at TAB tracks and create better turnover for country horse on those races.

A transport rebate would be required to make it viable for trainer/owner. NSW has a rebate and the country racing changes now, that are helping the product.

Remember with NSW country racing changes coming, SE Queensland horses will be going over the boarder more. So RQ has to look at some changes for local racing.

Racing Queensland

Has to work with UBET for the best we can get (as we did have the upper hand going into the negotiations) and SKY needs challenging to see what else can be achieved in this area through a different provider or multi provider maybe. As currently SKY coverage for Queensland racing is second rate to what Sydney get to show.

Need to show what the modern changes will achieve long term.

Tells us what the infrastructure money identified through TAB deal is going to be spent on. As the money has been identified, there must be a plan for years to spend it.

Prizemoney within budget of TAB deal (base money/guaranteed + extra from percentage of wagering deal added on quarterly basis.)

I would still like to see a SE Queensland model. We don’t know the future of Eagle Farm and Doomben when modernised and how their master plan all fits in with RQ.

This area will have 450 on-course stables. What is the plan for the off-course horse population? How many tracks are needed to provide racing? Which ones can provide multifunctional and extra income? Which are training facilities or racing as well? Which clubs are more viable and which should amalgamate? Basically show us different models and how change will affect the future viability that is needed.

Worrying times as we need the right people and changes implemented ASAP and stakeholders to finally accept change has to happen.

The first sign of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and to expect a different result.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: It is obvious John that you are still very passionate about the three codes of racing in Queensland. You questioned why letsgohorseracing does not seem to have a vision for the future of the industry. There is a reason for that. In the current uncertain political climate we can’t see the point. Few racing folk – us included – have confidence in the way RQ is being run or the prospects of a suitable Board being appointed to oversee the way the three codes operate in future. We share a lack of punter confidence in the integrity of racing in Queensland. It’s a struggle to find officials who seem to know what they are doing at RQ and to appoint a CEO before the new Board is in place (regardless of how political or effective it will be) is downright dumb. Financial stability of the industry depends largely on the success of UBET and their new agreement with RQ. The least said about that the better. The amalgamation of the three codes has been a major drawback. Politics will continue to play a strong hand and so will favoritism of those clubs and organizations (like Magic Millions) who have an inside run with RQ or the Government of the day. It doesn’t happen in the big southern states and is one of the major reasons racing in Queensland will continue to sink into the quicksand and remain a furlong behind its rivals.




‘COULD someone please explain something that I found very strange on doing the form for last Saturday’s racing at Doomben?

The Two-Year-Old (race three) and Class 6 (race four) were both run over 1050m. Yet there were only 11 starters and three emergencies in the Two-Year-Old but 12 starters and four emergencies in the Class 6.

Don’t they permit as many starters in a Two-Year-Old? Or was this just another mistake at headquarters. It seems horribly strange to me.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: NOTHING that happens in racing in Queensland surprises me Dave but I think on this occasion the explanation might be that two-year-old field sizes are limited more when the rail is out which it was on Saturday at Doomben.   


DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the above e-mails should not be interpreted as those of JOHN LINGARD, the owner-editor 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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