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.


EDITOR'S NOTE: WE received several emails relating to the excellent interview host DAVID FOWLER conducted with Racing Minister GRACE GRACE on The Press Room on RadioTAB on Monday. These are the two that we have chosen to run in the hope that the opposite views are expressed:


SID CHAMBERS of BRISBANE didn’t see too many positives in what the Racing Minister had to say and raised some interesting aspects to her interview with DAVID FOWLER:    

‘AFTER listening to an interview with Racing Minister Grace Grace on 4TAB, I have to question whether there is a touch of hypocrisy in the Labor Government’s plan to press ahead with a new Racing Queensland Board with four independents.

My reasoning is based on the understanding that the Labor Member for Gladstone, Glenn Butcher, has been appointed the new Head of the Parliamentary Committee overseeing changes to the industry based on recommendations of the Macsporran Report.

Despite strong protests from stakeholders, Labor plans to press ahead with an all-powerful Board to run the three codes where it will be a requirement that four of the seven appointees have had no direct involvement in the racing industry for the past two years.

On that basis is there not a conflict of interest for Mr Butcher to oversee the changes when he heads a syndicate that races a horse which won at Doomben last Saturday? It’s fine for the Racing Minister to suggest that here is a passionate racing man now chairing this Parliamentary Committee But hypothetically where does he stand if the stable and trainer he is connected with were to be involved in any inquiry or investigation?

It is not good enough to have one rule for the Board appointments to be independent but ignore that when selecting a new Head of the Parliamentary Committee to oversee the controversial changes.

I am not suggesting anything improper has. or will occur under his watch, but the trainer who prepares Mr Butcher’s horses has been in the spotlight of the stewards on occasions – both in relation to ownership credentials involving a recent impressive carnival winner and other issues which those close to the industry would be aware of and so should the Member for Gladstone unless he has been living under a racing rock.

Perhaps Racing Minister Grace and Committee Head Butcher should have a fireside chat with some long standing members of the RQ stewards’ panel – John Hackett would be a good one to start with – and discreetly seek their opinion on some of the issues raised above. She might learn why stakeholders, the racing public and especially the punters lack confidence in not only the product but also what is happening integrity and appointment-wise at RQ.

Ms Grace did mention in the interview that there are integrity issues she is concerned about in the three codes and how she wants to be sure that punters – like her father who has $5 each-way bets at the New Farm TAB – are getting a run for their money on a level playing field.

She went as far as saying that the problems with integrity were not restricted to the greyhounds and that is one thing she got right. Anyone who follows the gallops or trots closely will testify to the need for stronger policing of those two codes as well.

I won’t take Ms Grace to task for her early statement during the interview that the first thing she did when elected ‘was take a trip out to Boondall’. She probably meant Deagon unless there was a circus in town and it was showing at the Entertainment Centre. Otherwise she would have had to travel a bit further to bring on the clowns.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: YOU raise some valid points Sid. One issue you did not raise which I wish to after listening to a replay of the interview was the admission by the Racing Minister that she receives weekly briefings on integrity from Racing Queensland and that these contain serious issues relating to all three codes. I would like to know who is providing these reports and if it is the current Integrity Department or the Acting Head of Integrity at RQ, it raises the question: As the ones responsible for policing the three codes, if you admit to the Minister that there are integrity issues, then what the hell are you doing about it?     



ON a more positive note ALBERT WILLIAMS, from REDCLIFFE, a regular contributor and, at times, harsh critic of Racing Queensland, sees some light at the end of the tunnel:

‘WHAT a breath of fresh air it was to hear a Racing Minister who only recently inherited the role, speak with such authority and enthusiastic vision for the industry in Queensland. It is long overdue.

Grace Grace pulled no punches in her interview with David Fowler who asked some tough and interesting questions. Full marks to her for not just kicking greyhound racing in the guts yet again but making it clear that on the issue of integrity the gallops and harness are hardly squeaky clean.

Not too many will agree with the Minister on the subject of retaining the three codes under one umbrella. But as she says, Macsporran looked for other alternatives but none were suitable or sustainable.

On the subject of all the submissions she has received from various stakeholder groups and individuals, Ms Grace said there were two main objections to what the Government was proposing. One was that the new Board would contain too many people who knew nothing about running racing and the other involved the costs of setting up a separate Integrity Unit.

“With all due respects to the people making those submissions there were not too many convincing arguments about why one is better than the other,” she said. In other words the critics don’t want change but can’t come up with a viable alternative – and that has been the problem confronting racing in Queensland for decades.

One has to admire Ms Grace for wanting to see a level playing field when it comes to integrity in all three codes in Queensland – it is long overdue – just ask any punter who has been around for some time.

It was interesting that she would give an assurance that the new-look Integrity arm would cost the industry not one cent more than it is paying at present. One could suggest this is quite a bargain when you consider the firepower that is being brought aboard.

I was also interested to hear the Minister insist that on reports being received concerning integrity there are grave issues that need addressing, not just in greyhound racing but in the other two codes as well. Her words were something to the effect of: “I am saying there are also serious integrity issues in harness and gallops”.

If these boof-heads in the LNP fight to stop the legislation that will see a higher standard of Integrity for the industry in Queensland, the racing public and the punters will want to know why?

As for the doubts about the make-up of the new Board, many of us are still uncertain but it was reassuring to hear the Minister say that those appointed would not necessarily have no knowledge or experience but rather no direct involvement in certain areas in the past two years – which apparently is par for the course in other industries as well.

For the first time in a long time after hearing a Racing Minister in Queensland speak, I can see some light at the end of the tunnel not only integrity-wise but for the sustainability of the industry which the Government is currently propping up to the tune of $32 million.’



WE continue to receive numerous emails about the policing – more to the point allegations of a lack of integrity – in racing in Queensland. Punters were obviously not too impressed by the ride of internationally experienced jockey Robbie Fradd on the promising Right or Wrong at Doomben on Saturday. Some comments, which we obviously elected not to run, were downright defamatory but here is an objective view that hopefully gets the general message across.


‘FOR a jockey with the international experience of Robbie Fradd, one could argue that his handling of the promising Right or Wrong in the Listed Members’ Cup at Doomben last Saturday was downright disgraceful.

Some might call him a victim of circumstances but I would think a ‘slaughter job’ would be a more appropriate description of the ride.

Perhaps I am talking through my pocket. I don’t share the opinion of connections that Right or Wrong could develop into a horse of Doomben Cup potential but he is very smart, in my opinion and deserved his odds on quote (although I did notice bookies were prepared to lay him at the shorts) and clearly should have beaten his rivals on Saturday.

What angered me more were the reasons offered for the bad ride by Fradd when questioned regarding his tactics by stewards. I won’t go down the track of the alibi comments made by Bernadette Cooper on SKY Channel before that inquiry was even opened. Now that SKY can see what a ‘real expert’ from the female ranks has to offer in their NSW appointment Priscilla Schmidt, perhaps it’s time they looked at punting Cooper in favor of someone who is a bit more objective in their assessment of rides.

But back to Fradd, a proven rider who has matched it with the best internationally, and his side of why Right or Wrong went down. I fail to agree with his assessment of the pace – even according to caller Josh Fleming – it was solid from the outset. As for being obliged to race three wide, my viewing of the race saw him move into a deep position without cover and just press forward. He rode Right or Wrong like the best horse in the race but he just asked it to do too much work.

I’m no jockey but I’ve been around racing for a long time and in my opinion it was nothing short of a slaughter job – unlike his ride on Wild ‘n’ Famous in the second last.



And there was this one on the same subject from MARK ALEXANDER of BRISBANE:

‘DON’T you just love some of these guys and gals in the mainstream racing media?

They bleat about the cost of a new Integrity Unit for racing in Queensland but not a whimper from them when a hot favorite is give a sore back by a top jockey who then arguably treats stewards with contempt in the excuse provided for the slaughter job.

I’m talking about Right or Wrong – as if most punters weren’t aware – where the ride was the topic of much controversy and conjecture at Doomben on Saturday but attracted little comment in the mainstream media – as usual.

What hope have the punters got in Queensland racing? Good things continually bite the dust, horses from top stables go like Phar Lap when heavily backed one week then like Radish when they are betting ring wobblers the next.

Stewards seem content to just go through the motions. The time has come to put the broom through the stewards’ panels in racing in Queensland and replace them at least with some ‘young guns’ or ‘hard old heads’ who don’t want to just get through the motions every week or simply win popularity contests.

Turnover on racing in Queensland – especially Brisbane – continues to slump. They blame everything but integrity when it is the root of all evil and until the situation is addressed betting will continue to dive. The professionals departed the scene long ago, now even the small punter is starting to question the wisdom of betting here.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: INTERESTING comments by BILL MUMFORD, one of the part-owners of RIGHT OR WRONG, in an interview with STEVE HEWLETT on RADIOTAB. Bill pulled no punches saying he was still in a state of shock after the defeat of Right or Wrong which he blamed on the ride, adding that Paul Hammersley would be the new jockey for the promising galloper when he next started.

And for those who missed it here is the RQ STEWARDS’ REPORT from Doomben concerning the ride: RIGHT OR WRONG – Jockey R. Fradd was questioned regarding the riding tactics he adopted in the early stages, and the reason for him leaving a trailing position behind KALANDULA approaching the 1300m and riding forward, which resulted in him being forced 3 wide without cover throughout. Jockey Fradd explained approaching the first turn when the tempo of the race was genuine he attempted to shift around KALANDULA and obtain the position one off the fence trailing SNIPPETS LAND. He further added that soon after entering the back straight the pace of the race slowed and runners to his inside improved and he was unable to obtain the position behind SNIPPETS LAND and therefore was obliged to race 3 wide. Stewards noted the explanation.




‘THERE’S a simple solution to the controversy over whether horses should be scratched after incidents at the barriers.

Racing authorities should introduce a rule that whenever a starter is involved in a mishap – whether the horse be kicked by another runner, strung up in the stalls, bumps its heads on the barriers – it is automatically a late scratching.

Then standby for all hell to break loose when a highly fancied runner for a big race is withdrawn. It is obvious that vets can’t win no matter which way they jump at present.

If they give a horse the all clear after an incident at the barriers and it goes on to win or place nothing is said – no praise for the right decision – but if the same horse performs poorly the first one to get the blame is the vet.

There can be no exceptions to this rule – even if the incident appears to be only a minor kick or bump or legs caught up in the back or front of the stalls. It is obviously difficult to assess in an instant just how much damage has been done. There might look to be none but once the horse races and puts pressure on a ‘hidden’ injury, it is obviously in pain once it cools down. And surely vets can take on board what jockeys have to say but they don’t have the expertise in that field and it might be argued that some could be desperate to have their mounts start.

This has become such a volatile issue – as highlighted by the Mourinho and Manny Gelagotis incident which has seen him dealt with by stewards over comments made and now will go to the RAD Board on appeal.

If that appeal is upheld – and the biggest critic of the Racing Victoria stewards in the racing media in Matt Stewart (Herald Sun) is obviously pushing for that – then have the rule changed and the only one the whingers can blame then will be themselves.’  

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE is the story by MATT STEWART in the HERALD SUNthat the above email refers to:

GIVEN the volatile issue and the volatility of those involved, it wasn’t all that surprising there were fireworks at a Racing Victoria stewards’ inquiry late last week.

Manny Gelagotis had been fired up since his trainer brother Peter’s horse Mourinho was passed fit to run after being barrel-kicked by another runner behind the gates before the Orr Stakes a fortnight earlier.

According to one report, there was “screaming’’ between the passionate and animated Gelagotis and chief steward Terry Bailey.

Stewards charged Gelagotis with misconduct because he had publicly questioned the competence of Racing Victoria’s chief vet, Dr Brian Stewart. Gelagotis argued horse welfare came first, politeness second. He said he became most angry when Bailey claimed Gelagotis wouldn’t have been so upset if the horse had run a place.

Mourinho seemed to justify Gelagotis’s anger by the way he ran — very poorly.

On Saturday at Caulfield, unkicked behind the gates, he ran a much better third.

Gelagotis was fined and will appeal to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board where his passion, for what would seem an important issue, will not have abated.

His passion for all things — anything — can distract when he’s on to something important. On this occasion Gelagotis appears justified in his anger because it’s not just those connected to Mourinho who pay the price.

Punters are clobbered if decisions such as the one involving Mourinho are made with a greater inclination from vets to pass horses fit to run rather than pull them out.

Mourinho was barrel-kicked, not brushed, at the Caulfield 1400m start. Three jockeys witnessed it. His rider, Vlad Duric, seemingly didn’t have the perfect angle because he was on the horse.

The previous Saturday, Peter Moody’s two-year-old filly Mandee bolted to the start in the Chairman’s Stakes at Caulfield and ran her race early. She was allowed to start and ran down the track.

At Launceston last Wednesday, Player One, third favourite in the cup, became upset in the barriers, threw himself to the ground, rolled and lashed out.

He was passed fit to run, a decision that left jockey Craig Newitt flabbergasted. Player One was virtually pulled out of the race at the 600m.

Newitt says he regrets not being more vocal to the vet behind the barriers. He says he probably should have refused to ride it, as he did a horse at Werribee a few years ago.

He says that horse trotted “pretty rough” to the barriers and he told the vet the horse shouldn’t run. The vet trotted the horse about and declared it fit to run, just as Newitt unsaddled it and suggested to the vet: “Here, if you think it should run, you ride it.’’

Newitt’s stance that day should be a template for jockeys in these situations.

Some have a knack of keeping quiet because they’d rather race and hope for a cheque rather than pull out.

No vet in his right mind would overrule a jockey behind the barriers. The Newitt ultimatum should be the standard line from jockeys to vets.




‘WHAT price publicity when it comes to the three codes of racing these days?

It seems if you are harness racing and have a benefactor like Kevin Seymour then you can buy all the space you want in the Murdoch press.

This was indicated when a new feature, Trot Spot, was introduced in The Courier-Mail which is obviously funded by associated advertising from the Seymour Group.

Does this mean harness racing will benefit at the expense of space that would otherwise be allocated to the gallops, which far more punters want to read about.

And one might pose the questions: When was the last time the greyhounds – apart from bad publicity associated with the live baiting scandal – received any positive press, in the form of a feature story on a dog – in The Courier-Mail?

The TAB pays the Murdoch media for its Form Guides and in return there is no criticism of anything bad about a useless and unpopular rebranded entity like UBET in Queensland.

Now we have the ‘red hots’ paying for positive publicity, so one can assume we will read nothing about how they are the worst performing of the three codes and continue to piggy-back on the gallops to survive in Queensland.’



WE received a couple more emails concerning the Sydney stewards’ inquiry into the Hong Kong sale of Lil Caeser with serious charges laid against racing media hot-shot Richard Callander, Chris Waller’s Racing Manager Liam Prior and top jockey Glyn Schofield.

This is the one that we have decided to run largely because it wasn’t ‘too hot to handle’ legally in the hope that it gets the general message across before stewards hand down penalties in another sad chapter for racing in NSW.

ANDY JACOBSEN of MELBOURNE sent this email:

‘FULL marks to Ray Murrihy and his stewards’ panel for charging the trio involved in that Hong Kong sale, especially an identity with the profile in the media and public spotlight of racing like Richard Callander.

But many of us were disappointed that more questions were not asked publicly of top trainer Chris Waller who some are arguing must have known about this situation considering the horse was in his stable and his closeness to those who have been charged.

Stewards need to make an example of Callander as too many media identities are becoming involved in deals behind the scene with racehorses and the like. If they get behind a cause, or a syndication or whatever, their profile in racing can prove a big seller (and I won't talk about the charities they are involved with). One would question whether that will be the case with ‘Big Richie’ in the future.

As for Liam Prior, if he fails to beat this charge it is impossible to see how Waller can afford to retain his services as Stable Manager. It sends the wrong message to owners. One would also assume he has to cut all ties with his good mate Callander who has done neither the trainer’s or the stable’s profile a great deal of good in all this.

Integrity is a ‘dirty word’ in racing these days as was so well highlighted in a column in the Racing Bitch. Rather than me try and repeat what was said there would you be kind enough to reproduce what they have written on the issue?’

EDITOR’S NOTE: I am a great fan of the Hong Kong-based RACING BITCH and would be delighted to run this item which is indeed thought provoking. We absolutely agree with some of the comments made about the integrity of racing. Interestingly, where we are based in Queensland, this has been at rock bottom for too long but moves to improve the situation are being criticized because of the cost. Here is the piece from RACING BITCH:

RICHIE, Richie, Richie, you silly little big boy. Thought you could be racing’s Gordon Gecko, didn’t you? You’ve certainly opened up a pallet load of a cans of worms of all shapes and sizes, big boy. Yet more convincing evidence that maybe everyone in racing should be forced to sit an IQ test before being passed as being suitable to be part of what has become an industry whose integrity is in tatters.

Why would anyone want to be associated with it? Where’s the pride in ownership? Racing so desperately needs a Damage Control campaign of global proportions.

If drugs, corruption, race fixing and the infiltration of criminals is not a sufficient cross to bear, we are now being served a separate course of financial stings through the sale of horses overseas where owners are being duped big time. Coming hot on the heels of the charges laid against Brent Stanley and Glyn Schofield in Melbourne, it is another shot across the bow for racing’s integrity, or what is left of it. Where will all of this lead to?

Richard Callander’s pathetic attempt to ‘spin’ his way out of trouble in the Racing NSW stewards’ inquiry into the sale to Hong Kong of the Chris Waller trained Lil’ Caesar, in a deal involving Glyn Schofield and Waller’s Racing Manager Liam Prior, has placed him in more scalding hot water than he might have realized.

His ‘racing’s dirty little secret’ comments referring to secret commissions and kickbacks, alleging that there are backhands and commissions paid in nearly every horse sale and that ‘it happens every single day in racing in every sale’, provides more ammunition than can be found in a ‘munitions repository for the growing number of racing’s detractors to use against the sport. Tellingly, it is another black mark against the once mighty sport and another compelling reason not to own racehorses.

It also adds to what increasingly is starting to sound like very hollow noises made by governing bodies and the racing media constantly patting themselves on the back foot about ‘upholding the integrity of racing’. What integrity? Is anyone really naïve enough to believe that there is integrity in racing, or in any other sport for that matter? Or is ‘Integrity’ just a tired old euphemism for something else?

Callander’s evidence to the stewards’ inquiry was all over the place. It was a dog’s breakfast. Actually it reminded us of Fat Boy Slim when his mouth runneth over tipping all those Chris Waller runners.

Yes, the ultimate sale price for Lil Caesar was $200,000, of which Glyn Schofield received a $10,000 cash commission for facilitating the sale, and the owners received the quoted sale price of $140,000, not the ‘real’ price of $200 large, with ‘Richie Richboy’ and Liam Prior trousering the spare $50,000. And despite ‘Richie Richboy’s’ belated atonement: “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, I have contacted them all now (personally) and they have all been paid (their share of the extra $50,000), it begs the very obvious question as to whether these owners would ever have seen the color of their share of the ‘real’ sale price if the whistle hadn’t been blown on this unsavory transaction? And if some or all of these owners were mates of the ‘big fella’, it makes the whole scandal even more sordid. And it will get messier, kids. Promise. Other ‘dirty little secrets’ will be revealed and everyone thrown under the bus as part of the mad scramble for survival.

As Sydney Morning Herald Chief Sports Writer Andrew Webster reported in his sports column, ‘Richie Richboy’s’ bestie Chris Waller has been dragged into the Lil Caesar spider’s web. Webster reports stewards have interviewed Waller who is listed as an owner in the ‘Boomski Two’ syndicate, one of the former owners of Lil Caesar. Boomski?

Webster poses some interesting questions: “The question being thrown around in racing circles is what it means for the trainer (Chris Waller)? For starters Racing NSW investigators have spoken to him (Chris Waller), but he is not expected to be called to front any inquiry. But surely Waller will have to cut ties with Prior and Callander – a close associate – if the allegations stand up”.

Whilst Racing NSW Chairman of Stewards Ray Murrihy has cleared Waller of any involvement in the sale of Lil Caesar, Waller himself has stated that he will await the outcome of the stewards’ inquiry before reviewing Prior’s position with the stable.

Callander meanwhile has ‘stood himself down’ from his active role with racing website G1X, with The Australian newspaper reporting G1X Chief Executive Simon Mackay stating that Callander’s offer to stand down had been accepted in his best interests and that of the company – duh - adding ‘without pre-empting the outcome of the inquiry, G1X is a transparent organization whose values are based on the highest standards of trust and integrity.’ Yep.

‘Trust’ and ‘integrity’ – so often bandied around, sometimes with indiscriminate haste in racing circles, as if racing has some sort of ownership patent on them. And yet, racing has contributed so much to devaluing trust and integrity, treating these values with sanctimonious disrespect.

We wonder aloud if ‘Richie Richboy’ will ever return to G1X? Or has he become a liability? And from what is being spoken about, does the racing website, in its present incarnation – and it continues to be a chameleon, almost as if no one has a clue what to do with it – have a long life span? Could it all be just another brick in the John Wall?



MICHAEL CHARGE, CEO of the TOWNSVILLE TURF CLUB, sent this email concerning one we ran last week:

‘I would like to clarify the comment piece by (former Rockhampton Jockey Club chairman) Justin Doyle in theWednesday Whinge last week.

The Townsville Turf Club has and will continue to send out official betting fluctuations from our on-course bookmakers. This was the case at our Friday TAB meetingsheld onFebruary 19 and 26.

The TTChas a strong ring of four bookmakers now at midweek race meetings and it is the Clubs intention to continue to provide this service through the APN to its on-course and off-course punters.

I am aware that other regional Clubs,such as Mackay and Rockhampton,have ceased this service. However,the Townsville Turf Club will continue to forge on.

I also confirm that the TTC has provided the Betting Steward to Racing Queensland for many,many years now, withthis same person conducting the Price Assessment role for the Club.

There is a push throughout parts of Australia to end the APN and betting fluctuation service from race tracks due to the growing strength in Fixed Price Betting.I am aware that Racing Queensland has under their own decision requested Clubs now note the Starting Price for all races as it appears post-race on the UBET website on official results paperwork and not our on-course bookmakers.

The TTC will continue to provide alternatives and interaction for the punter. Itis hard enough to encourage people to attend race days (particularly midweeks). Weshould not be turning the punters away and encouraging them to sit in their lounge rooms in front of the I-Pad and TV instead of supporting local Race Clubs and venues.

It is about time we all looked at the big picture and service to the punters, owners, industry and patrons alike before our industry declines any further than it has over the last 10-15 years.


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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