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.

 

'MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF THESE OUT OF CONTROL MEDIA IDENTITIES'

DARYL BYRNES of SUNSHINE COASTsuggests a cure for media identities flouting the Rules of Racing:

‘IT is time that the authorities made an example of some of these out of control, high-flying media celebrities who think they are bigger than racing itself.

This isn’t a problem that occurred overnight. It goes back to the days when high profile media identities in this country had alleged links to major crime and underworld figures.

There were allegations of SP prices being manipulated when official postings were done by the mainstream print media. This is not a fairytale story. It was actually raised at Commissions of Inquiry.

Then we had an ‘untouchable’ media high flyer in one state using his credentials to gain access to jockeys’ rooms and running messages for bookmakers and big punters. It was happening under the eyes of top stipes and nothing was being done about it.

One could argue that failed syndication groups, backed by high profile media men, have cost small investors millions of dollars over the years. In more recent times there have been allegations of racing identities promoting the sale and syndication of horses that they had a financial involvement in. Some have been dealt with.

There was an inquiry into why a high profile SKY Channel identity tipped a horse in a race in Sydney other than the one he backed which he received a text from an associate telling him would win. That cost him his career with the broadcaster despite his explanation of the circumstances surrounding the ‘mistake’.

Now we have an inquiry into alleged kickbacks involving another high profile celebrity tipster who reportedly has admitted receiving more for his share of a horse sold to Hong Kong than his fellow owners but insists he has done nothing deceitful.

Some media folk are giving the industry and their colleagues a bad name. Punters are wondering how serious they can take their tips – especially if they examine the results. What in the hell is going on?

Whatever, the time has come for racing authorities – stewards and the like – to set an example and exhibit a zero tolerance to cheating or dishonesty from the media as well as licensees. The same rules should apply to all involved. Let’s face it – the rewards are apparently extremely high for those prepared to bend the rules.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: I was interested to read that Richard Callander has voluntarily stood down from his roles as journalist and presenter from G1X.com.au, pending the outcome of the inquiry. G1X CEO Simon Mackay said Callander’s offer to stand down has been accepted in the best interests of Callander and G1X. “Without pre-empting the outcome of the the inquiry, G1X is a transparent organization whose values are based on the highest standards of trust and integrity,” Mackay said. “Richie has been a wonderful employee and ambassador of and for G1X, and it was he who volunteered taking a break from his employment with G1X in the best interests of the company. The inquiry provides him with the opportunity to express himself while assisting the stewards with their inquiry.”

HERE’S a story on the Stewards’ Inquiry by CHRIS ROOTS for FAIRFAX MEDIA:

RICHARD Callander labeled it ‘racing’s dirty little secret’, the world of secret commissions and kickbacks in selling horses as he, Chris Waller's racing manager Liam Prior and jockey Glyn Schofield faced stewards on Monday about the sale of Lil Caesar in November 2014.

The difference between the invoice price of $200,000 on October 28 and the $140,000 the owners were told and paid in November 2014 was centre of the inquiry.

Callander told stewards he had been in racing his whole life and there are ‘backhands’ and ‘commissions’ paid in nearly every horse sale. “It happens every single day in racing in every sale,” he said.

It was agreed Callander invoiced Hong Kong trainer Danny Shum for $200,000 via Schofield for the horse, which Waller thought had limited ability. It has since won four races in Hong Kong. On October 28, Waller emailed Callander and Prior at 9.13am asking what price they had got for Lil Caesar. Callander said he did not reply because he did not know at that point. However, at 11.22am he emailed Schofield an invoice for $200,000, which was forwarded to Shum.  

Callander said he was ‘protecting’ the owners and trying to act in their best interests to keep them from having a bad experience in racing. He believed the price was $140,000, even though he invoiced for $200,000 he wasn't expecting to get that much.  “I have grown up in racing and 200G doesn't mean you are getting 200G,” Callander said. He was surprised when Schofield transferred $200,000 into his account on November 12, 2014. 

 The next day Schofield went to Callander's house and was paid $10,000 in cash for ‘an amazing job’ to get so much for the horse.

The jockey also admitted he received a $10,000 commission from Shum, five per cent of the deal, which had been paid to Schofield's account along with the $200,000.   

Callander was the managing owner and had five per cent of Lil Caesar. Once the horse was sold he moved $129,405.20 for 95 per cent of the horse into the Waller racing account, which was paid to the owners. “I made one error of judgment in not contacting the owners [at the time] and telling them we had got the bigger amount and asking how they would want the [extra] money dispensed,” Callander said. “I have contacted them all now [personally] and they have all been paid [their share of the extra $50,000].”

On top of the $10,000 given to Schofield, there was the missing $50,000 that it appears was split between Callander and Prior. Callander paid Prior $24,000 in five separate deposits. Prior admitted his actions appeared to be deceitful and dishonest. He had told the owners there was an offer of $130,000 that was negotiated up to $140,000. The inquiry was adjourned until a day to be fixed.

 

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES JUST HOW GOOD WAS THE WINS OF CHAUTAUQUA?

BOB QUIRK of MELBOURNE writes:

‘THE jury might be out on whether Exosphere is the star colt the experts were labeling him but punters are unanimous that the ride of James McDonald in Saturday’s Lightning Stakes was out of character and one of his worst in a big race.

But the dunce’s cap at Flemington wasn’t confined to J Mc with champion rider Damien Oliver winning few fans with his fumbling of the whip on Terravista, which undoubtedly cost that horse the race.

With genuine excuses for two main rivals, it has prompted the question: Just how good was the win of Chautauqua and was the Team Hawkes-trained ‘superstar’ lucky to snare the Group 1?

Some might call it fortunate in the circumstances – despite the fact the horse came from a seemingly impossible position to win. But would that have been the case had McDonald not chosen to plot the worst part of the track on Exosphere or Oliver been able to get at Terravista with his whip?

Time will tell when we see a re-match of these horses, no doubt over a longer trip.

Chris Roots said it all in a column item in the Sydney Morning Herald: What was James McDonald doing on Exosphere in the Lightning Stakes – and what happened to Damien Oliver's usually safe hands in the same race?

It will be a long time before you see either jockey make errors like that again.

The 1000m Group 1 dash down the Flemington straight showed how little room for error there is in the high pressure sprints.

In a race that featured five Group 1 winners, McDonald found himself awkwardly positioned behind $101 chance Va Pensiero after 100m on the inside part of the track, which wasn't the place to be, with the rest closer to the outside fence. It was game over.

Exosphere ran the same last 600m as Terravista, even though he got to the centre of the track, which had been harrowed before the meeting. It was a bad effort to be beaten by 1-1/2 lengths.

However, the Betfair in-run figures suggest punters weren't too interested in him as he got to $6.20 but was only 13 per cent of betting. The most trade, 70 per cent, was done on Chautauqua, which got to $26 before his late charge to victory.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am not prepared to blame James McDonald as much as the way the Flemington track played, especially in the straight races on Saturday. I just about throw up every time I hear the Track Manager in an interview repeat his throwaway line: ‘Well apart from Cup week there hasn’t been a major problem’. He has to be dreaming. Flemington is an embarrassment and if he cannot provide a better surface for what should be the best track in the country, especially on its showcase week of the year, they should look at finding someone else to do the job.             

 

‘JOE PRIDE NEEDS TO GET HUGH BOWMAN BACK ABOARD TERRAVISTA’

AND there was this one on the same topic from DANNY FERGUSON of SYDNEY:

‘ONE can hardly blame trainer Joe Pride for feeling all the emotions – disappointment, frustration, perhaps even anger – following the narrow defeat of Terravista in Saturday’s Lightning.

Pride had good reason to blow up. Damien Oliver’s ‘mishandling of the whip for five strides’ – as noted in the official Stewards’ Report – no doubt cost Terravista the win and more anguish for Pride who was seen going from the elation of thinking he had won to slumped over in despair when the photo finish verdict was posted.

It emerged after the Group 1 just how fortunate Dwayne Dunn had been on Chatauqua, as vision was shown which revealed Oliver had got his whip tangled up after fumbling with it in the drive to the line. He was not able to use it for a crucial few strides, which allowed Chautauqua to get into contention and get up to win.

Who can blame Pride for tweeting – some might say sarcastically after the big race: “Even WBS (world’s best sprinter) needs a jockey who can hang on to his stick.”

At his last two starts Terravista has been desperately unlucky – when ridden by two of the best, Oliver at Flemington and James McDonald (who I thought slaughtered Exosphere in the Lightning) when a forgivable seventh in the Manikato.

MEMO JOE PRIDE: Move heaven and earth to get Hugh Bowman back on board next start. The horse goes best for him!’

 

THIS COST CUTTING EXERCISE COULD BE COSTING BETTING TURNOVER

JUSTIN DOYLE of ROCKHAMPTONsent this interesting email with a message that Racing Queensland should take aboard:

‘WITH so many discussion items relating to the Queensland racing industry to ‘whinge’ about, I would like to bring your attention to one smaller issue in particular.

For a month or so no official betting fluctuations have been sent out from many Provincial clubs on race day, including Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville etc. Apparently the same was evident with last Sunday’s Ipswich meeting.

I understand this has been brought about by RQ’s termination of betting stewards in certain areas in order to cut costs. In a time where UBET’s pari-mutuel turnover, which funds the industry, is continuing to decline, it is clear that no one with an understanding of the average punter was consulted before instigating this decision.

Betting fluctuations are a key stimuli for pari-mutuel betting and especially so in the final minutes of betting on each race. Official fluctuation shorteners showing ‘overs’ on the totes are usually supported by many punters (small, medium and large) given the confidence boost they take on by knowing these particular runners are fancied.

In my time as Chairman of the Rockhampton Jockey Club I was always aware of the effect of on-course betting moves and the stimulus to late tote betting and our race caller, Russell Leonard, always notified punters of these betting moves in the final lead-up to the start of the race. It is a service to racing’s most important customer the punter.

We all know that without the punter there is no betting and therefore no UBET contract (no matter how good or bad) and eventually no funding whatsoever. If I were UBET I’d be offering RQ the money to pay the race day betting steward in order to reintroduce this service to the clubs and punting public alike.

Along with the Tuesday race dates the deletion of the race day fluctuation service will see turnover continue to decline on these meetings where one day RQ will no doubt find racing volume in these areas unsustainable due to poor returns.

I’ve been down that road as a Chairman during the Bentley era where we worked hard to find solutions and did so on many fronts for the RJC but I cannot see any positive outcomes for any non-South East Provincial TAB clubs in the future with a Board dominated by non-racing people.

Be warned small decisions such as this one that slide by eventually tighten the noose that may strangle some struggling clubs north of the Sunshine Coast.’

 

‘HOW NOT TO SUCCEED IN QLD RACING WITHOUT EVEN TRYING – ASK UBET’

ALAN TUCKER of GOLD COAST sent this email:

‘ANOTHER flop by UBET and more excuses and ‘pigs might fly’ forecasts.

The drop of almost four per cent – that represents more than $13 million – in wagering for the half year period to the end of December comes as no surprise to those who have been following the fortunes of UBET.

You can rebrand a product but that doesn’t make it any more attractive to customers. Punters – in the main – are simply more interested in betting with UBET’S TAB rivals interstate and the corporate bookmakers where they get more bang for their buck.

The drop for the first six months has been blamed on punters switching to Fixed Odds. Well how about releasing some figures to support that excuse. And why wouldn’t those running the show at UBET explain why they don’t want to enter the early battle for the punting dollar by posting Fixed Odds markets as early as their rivals do. It shows a weakness and lack of confidence in their own ability to frame markets.

To say it is smart business is a cop out. The story goes that UBET even lost on Fixed Odds betting on the Melbourne Cup which was won by a despised $101 outsider. They have to be kidding! Whoever was responsible for that should have been punted.

The sad aspect from the racing industry point of view is that turnover on UBET has a major bearing on prizemoney outcomes. It again raises questions over the TAB deal, which was done by the previous Board and Government, and whether it was the best possible outcome which was questioned by two Board members who resigned at the time over lack of consultation.

Talk about the need for inquiries. Those boofheads in the LNP Government back then who crowed about this TAB deal should be answering some questions and perhaps new Racing Minister Grace Grace should pose them when she is under fire during the debate soon on the pros and cons of the new Racing Integrity Bill.   

Some key industry personnel who are getting too involved in the politics of the future of racing in Queensland, stirred up by the LNP-motivated Racing Unity Group and others, should be more concerned about the TAB deal and the results forthcoming than helping stir the pot about the costs of Integrity changes which are definitely overdue and needed in racing in Queensland.’

 

'THIS MOB WON'T STOP UNTIL THEY GET THEIR MEN RUNNING SHOW'

DREW WHITEMAN of NORTH QUEENSLAND weighs into the debate over the much maligned Racing Integrity Bill:  

‘POLITICAL activists within the racing industry in Queensland – and they are there by the score – won’t stop until they destroy the proposed Racing Integrity Bill.

They don’t care about integrity, the cornerstone of any gambling entity. All they want is to ensure that men they can influence are back in business running the show.

Whether they have to convince the Katter Party members of Parliament that the changes will kill off country racing or run a fear campaign that the costs of the new Integrity Commission will bring the industry to its knees financially (if it isn’t already there), whatever it takes to destroy anything that might limit the control of these faceless men.

Use anything at your disposal – familiar faces in the LNP who know nothing about racing but can gain a headline or two with outrageous claims on the floor of the House, politicians with balance of power in a minority Government who can be used, pressure groups supposedly formed to unite and save the industry (remember that floperoo, We Run As One). Do all that it takes as long as the end result is political chaos and upheaval for an industry going backwards at the rate of knots.

And I forgot to mention use your ‘mates’ in the racing media to ensure some political point scoring and resist any form of change that might wrest some control from those who have had too much say for too long behind the scenes on what happens in racing in Queensland.      

There are some aspects of the Racing Integrity Bill that need a re-think – like separating the three codes and ensuring that the right people are appointed to Boards – whether they have racing experience or not. Problem is those who can steer the ship away from those looming icebergs aren’t interested in jumping aboard. They’ve had a gutful of the industry politics and the character assassination they are subjected to if they try to do the right thing.

And as for this fear campaign being waged in the media about the costs of the new Integrity Commission – one might argue that is just another ploy to ensure policing of the industry isn’t ramped up from the ‘she’ll be right’ mentality that has existed for far too long and resulted in punter confidence in gambling on the Queensland product slump to an all-time low.

If Racing Minister Grace Grace is pressured into watering down the Racing Integrity Bill – before or after it is debated in the House – it will be a ‘DISGRACE’ – and as has happened so many times before the big loser will be the industry in Queensland.’     

 

‘CALL IT WHAT YOU LIKE – THE PROTEST DECISION WAS THE RIGHT ONE’

DON HALLETT of MELBOURNE writes:

‘THOSE critical of the protest decision in the C S Hayes Stakes at Flemington last Saturday are falling back on the new phrase in racing – referred interference.

They argue that heavily-backed favorite Palentino was a victim of circumstances which caused the trouble to Tivaci and led to the protest being upheld on the arguments put forward by the Perry Mason of the riding ranks, Craig Williams.

It is not often that protests as far out as 900m from home are upheld but I believe this was the right call by the stewards. Palentino might have come from behind Tivaci to beat him but you have to take into consideration the severe interference that horse suffered and the extra ground that he covered from the time the trouble occurred.

Sadly, officialdom jumped the gun and got the presentation and official photos taken with the connections of Palentino before the protest had been decided which was rather embarrassing for all concerned.

Just on the subject of stewards, one aspect of this that has gone largely unnoticed is that there are some well known identities in Victorian racing involved in the ownership of Palentino, including at least one high profile official but it didn’t make one iota of difference to the stewards’ panel when deliberating on the protest decision. One wonders if that would have happened in some of the other states in this country.’

 

‘TIME FOR RACING OFFICIALDOM TO STEM SOCIAL MEDIA COMMENTARY’

ALAN SMITH of MELBOURNE sent this email:

‘IT’S time racing moved to rein in outrageous and slanderous comments being made on social media.

Racing Victoria Chief Steward Terry Bailey got it right when he stated: ‘I am the first one to say that freedom of speech is open to everyone but when you use social media to make cruel or extremely disappointing accusations against people that's where the line must be drawn.’

Bailey was referring to an inquiry that has been opened into comments by Manny Gelogotis concerning the failure to scratch his stable’s starter. Morinho. after it was cleared by the veterinary surgeon then performed badly in the Orr Stakes recently.

“We were disappointed with some claims that were made about some of our senior staff. We have a code of conduct around social media which all in racing are fully aware of by now,” Bailey said, referring to criticism on Queensland radio and in the social media by Manny Gelogotis.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Constructive criticism is fine but there needs to be some control of below the belt, defamatory comments concerning officials, licensees and other industry individuals.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stewards do have the power to ask licensees to explain comments made on social media. It is more the bitter individual letting off steam and talking through whose pocket, in a defamatory or slanderous manner rather than constructively criticizing, that they have no control over at this stage.

 

THE CIRCUS COMES TO TOWN AND THE RATBAGS RUIN IT FOR REGULARS

JUDY ANDERSON of BRISBANE writes:

‘HERE we go again – another big crowd for a promotional day targeting young racegoers – that ended in disaster for regular patrons at the Brisbane races.

The Girls Day Out promotion at Doomben on Saturday attracted a reported crowd of 6,000 – terrific considering that was better than turned out for the BTC Cup last Winter.

But the behavior of some of those at the races on Saturday drove more regular patrons away. There are many who now simply refuse to attend on these promotional days for young racegoers.

I remember the time when my aged mother – who loved just to sit in the stand, chat with her friends and have a couple of bets – was the victim of some of these morons and this occurred in the members’ stand on a Tattersall’s Young Racegoers’ day.

She went to the toilet and found that glad wrap had been placed over the seat. Then she had to dodge drinks being throwing by patrons in the bar. That is not to mention the language of some of the young women and the topics they were discussing whilst she was in the toilet.

It seems these young racegoers cannot enjoy a day out without misbehaving or carrying on like imbeciles. Reports suggest that was the highlight of the Girls Day Out for some.

Officials have to decide between boosting their crowds on special occasions and driving regulars away.

There’s a simple solution: Build and big ‘pig pen’ for these young racegoers, lock them in it for the day and let them do what they like. But separate them from those who want to enjoy a nice, peaceful day at the races without being harassed.’

  

‘GOOD ADVICE FOR RACING: IF IT WORKS – IT’S PROBABLY BANNED!’

AS a LICENSED VICTORIAN TRAINER I would ask that my NAME not be USED but I feel this message is worth reproducing:

‘I was just wondering how many stakeholders of racing caught up with comments made by an international nutrition expert at a recent World Anti Doping Code conference.

It’s a ‘must read’ and for those who missed it. I hope you will reproduce the following:

Montreal, 10 February 2016

The World Anti-Doping Code requires its Signatories to implement, evaluate and monitor information, education, and prevention programs for doping free sport. This includes providing Athletes and others with information to manage the risks of nutritional supplements.

In this first edition of WADA Talks of 2016, we sat down with dietary supplements expert and Chair of the IOC Medical Commission’s Sports Nutrition Group, Professor Ron Maughan, to discuss supplements and their associated risks.

On the hazards, Maughan warns against supplements that contain undetectable traces of banned substances which can result in a positive doping test for athletes. “The sample may pass a certification process, but once you feed it to a human, the doping agent appears in the urine sample. That’s hard to get your head around” he says.

Maughan also highlights the challenge in providing one clear message to athletes on a topic as complex as supplements. “While there are some supplements that can help, they all carry risks. We cannot reliably quantify the risks as there are too many unknowns” he says. And although he would like to give athletes a simple message, he says “it is simply impossible!”

His advice to athletes considering adding supplements to their diet is simple: “If it works, it’s probably banned, if it’s not banned, then it probably doesn’t work!” In other words, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

HIS FINAL WORDS – IN MY OPINION – SHOULD BE PINNED TO THE FRONT GATE OF EVERY TRAINING ESTABLISHMENT IN THIS COUNTRY.’

 

STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED IN THE MAINSTREAM RACING MEDIA

GOLD COAST TURF CLUB SHOWS AN INTEREST IN NIGHT RACING

NEW chief executive Dale St George says the Gold Coast Turf Club will embrace regular night racing if it doesn’t result in losing its weekly Saturday afternoon timeslot.

BRAD DAVIDSON reports for the GOLD COAST BULLETINthat GCTC track manager Steve Andrews insists night racing “should have happened 10 years ago” on the Gold Coast and some industry participants agree.

Currently, Queensland night racing is shared between the Sunshine Coast (Fridays) and Toowoomba (Saturdays).

Racing Queensland plans to introduce a day-night Wednesday racing program at the Sunshine Coast next season.

St George feels the Gold Coast would be perfect for night racing due to the region’s strong tourism, coupled with the club’s state-of-the-art hospitality facilities and picturesque views of the iconic Surfers Paradise skyline.

St George, who took over as GCTC chief executive last November, said the club had already received international and domestic interest around the night racing concept.

“We have one group that wants to put on five night races,” he said.

“It’s a major company in Australia and we are in discussions with them about getting some races going if they supply and pay for the lights temporarily.

“They want to do this for their people and in the past we’ve done quotes for Japanese companies who want to bring about 1200 people in and do the same thing.

“I think it is a fantastic concept but it is down to whether we can get the lights and we also don’t want to lose our regular Saturday meetings.

“But we’ve got the restaurants, the Events Centre and a massive tourism population and it would probably work here more than other places because we do have that tourism.”

A Wednesday night timeslot would also help Racing Queensland tap into the lucrative wagering dollar in both Hong Kong and Singapore by scheduling the last few races in conjunction with the first few races in those cities.

The Gold Coast also has the right climate to cope with persistent racing, evident by the grass track’s ability to recuperate quickly following heavy rain.

Andrews said racing twice a week on the Gold Coast could work if the club had two tracks to race on.

“If we had a synthetic track as well then it would work,” he said.

“We could do something like Singapore do and maybe have four races on the synthetic and four races on the grass.”

Racing Queensland did not rule out the possibility of night racing on the Gold Coast when quizzed yesterday.

“The introduction of a Wednesday night racing program is a strategy that Racing Queensland has been exploring for some time and will see the introduction of day-night race meetings at the Sunshine Coast for 2016-17,” an RQ spokesman said.

“Future infrastructure requirements to facilitate further night race meetings will also be considered in the next few months.”

Funds allocated for stage two of the Gold Coast Turf Club redevelopment, which has no start date at this stage, could be used for lighting.

However, the main priority remains the installation of a tunnel to increase horse safety and an all-weathered training track which could also be used as a second racing track.

 

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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