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.



GLEN GORDON of BRISBANE has his say on integrity – or lack of it – in racing in Queensland:

‘GOVERNMENTS and industry administrators can build state of the art tracks and training facilities, boost stakes by millions of dollars and offer all the incentives on earth to stakeholders and fans but it is all worthless unless there is punter confidence in the racing product.
No price can be placed on integrity or policing and these days unless racing has the right people to do this job the vote of no confidence from punters will be reflected in betting turnover which is the lifeblood of the industry.

Therein lies a message for the Government (minority or otherwise) and the powers that be at Racing Queensland as their new Integrity Unit begins operation. It was a major step in the right direction to appoint one of the state’s most distinguished police officers as Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner.

Ross Barnett, a Deputy Commissioner in the Queensland Police Service, has started in his new job heading up a new look body which Racing Minister Grace Grace says is being established to ‘strengthen public confidence in racing, maintain strict animal welfare standards and ensure punters get a fair go.’

Those last few words suggest that the new Racing Minister, the Labor Government and Racing Queensland accept that policing of racing in this state is not what it should be. That begs the question: Why not put a broom through the present stewards’ panel? I am not for one moment suggesting there is incompetence but more complacency and arguably that is why there is no punter confidence in racing in Queensland.

Ross Barnett needs to be made aware of this and therein lies another problem for the new Integrity Commission. There are reliable reports that although Commissioner Barnett is a terrific policeman – whose investigative skills and experience are second to none – he knows little about the three codes of racing. That is why he needs to surround himself with support staff who knows the industry inside out.

What is the point of him taking advice – or being guided – by the current stewarding hierarchy, with all due respects to Acting Head of Integrity Jamie Dart and Chairman of Stewards Allan Reardon when many of the problems that now exist have not been overcome on their watch.

Ask the majority of those who have followed the industry closely for years and they will argue that Dart, who was Queensland Greyhounds Chairman of Stewards at the time of the live baiting fiasco, is not the man for the Head of Integrity role at RQ.

Ask those same people and they will tell you that Allan Reardon has a stack of stewarding experience working with the panels in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne but unfortunately most believe he is past his ‘use by’ date and hasn’t fired a shot since returning from Victoria on what has been described as a ‘hefty six figure pre retirement package’.

Those in the know who were aware that there was a time when RQ could have lured Terry Bailey and some of his best integrity men from Victoria to head up a new-look stewarding force in Queensland question why those approached turned their back on that opportunity. It makes no sense and it had nothing to do with money. Now we have those who resisted that change arguing that the new Integrity Commission will cost the industry too much despite the Racing Minister insisting any extra will be paid for by the Government.

Racing in Queensland desperately needs a ‘gun’ Integrity Unit like that which operates in Victoria where stewards aren’t afraid to jump fences, raid stables and expose those who are prepared to break the rules.

There are serious allegations that in Queensland racing it is not a level playing field – that some trainers and stables have start – stories of  ‘no go’ zones in certain regions where there are serious allegations from insiders that illegal substances are not only being used but traded. It is not good enough but nothing is happening about it.

Punters have deserted some tracks in Queensland for some time now – the Gold and Sunshine Coast have bad reputations and even Brisbane on a Saturday there have been races with a definite stench about them where little has been said or questioned.

What is the point of having a new Integrity Commissioner if he is going to take advice and rely on information from those now overseeing the policing of racing in Queensland where there are obvious integrity problems?

MEMO ROSS BARNETT: As a smart copper you should know that the job will only get done if you surround yourself with the right people. The first thing you need to do is to look outside the square for intelligence on what is happening in the industry and put a broom through the current stewarding panel. At least now that Integrity has been separated from the Administrative arm of RQ there will hopefully be none of the interference in your operation that has allegedly occurred in the past.’



STAN SEARLE of the DARLING DOWNS sent this email on the same subject:

SOME of us had visions of the Keystone Cops taking over the policing of racing in Queensland after reading the ‘Traps’ column by Peter Cameron in The Sunday Mail.

It was music to our ears that racing’s new top cop Ross Barnett, who has been appointed Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner, has Gold Coast racing firmly in his sights.

But the band started playing ‘believe it if you like’ when we read how RQ Chief Steward Allan Reardon was ‘well equipped to join’ Barnett in investigating problems at the Gold Coast where Cameron suggested ‘excuses from beaten jockeys are rivaled only by blatant form reversals’.

We have all been told how lucky the industry is to have a highly respected policeman with the background and investigative skills of Barnett heading up the new Integrity Unit. What they forgot to tell us is that he apparently knows little about racing.

Now if Reardon – who does know plenty about racing with experience as a top steward in the three eastern states – is going to be Barnett’s eyes and ears when it comes to the ‘crooks in racing’, unfortunately that presents a problem to many.

For Cameron to suggest Reardon is a ‘gun’ steward is almost laughable. What was the last major scalp he claimed – or name one serious inquiry he has opened involving a high profile racing identity since he returned from Melbourne. With all due respects it has been feet under the table and more ‘pop’ than ‘gun’ stuff since Reardon returned on what many see as a ‘retirement lifestyle’ set up by the Kevin Dixon RQ Board.

Sure there are problems in Gold Coast racing but to target that area specifically when the distribution network for illegal substances is known to be another prominent region (which some are starting to suggest seems untouchable) is an insult to a popular and hard working chief steward in Ian Brown and his team.

The narks are starting to question whether the ‘Downs Syndrome’ that has dogged racing in Queensland for too long will continue despite the new all-powerful Integrity Unit or if we might just see a bit of fence jumping like occurs in Victoria. Then again that sounds like a Mission Impossible.’



ALBERT WILLIAMS, of REDCLIFFE, a regular contributor to the WHINGE, pays out on Racing NSW CEO PETER V’LANDYS:

‘DOES Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys think we are a mob of morons north of the border?

His assurance there is no intent by Racing NSW to assert its influence on .'love child' SKY Channel to snub coverage of racing in Queensland is an insult not only to the industry in the north but also to the followers of it.

SKY has done nothing to promote Queensland racing except on odd occasions after protests from the Brisbane Racing Club. With the re-opening of Eagle Farm and the Winter Carnival not all that far away one expects an awakening of interest in coverage of the Queensland product – albeit on a short-term basis.

V’landys has been quick to blame race timing and lack of space between events for the poor deal that Brisbane racing is suffering of a Saturday. That might be the case but is it justified when a major metropolitan meeting in the north plays second fiddle to wall-to-wall coverage of the secondary provincial meeting in NSW.

The bottom line is that SKY should be rebranded SKY NSW. Victoria showed the second rate broadcaster the door and did their own thing which has proved a terrific success and has been welcomed by the industry and punters alike.

Queensland should follow suit – or at least the BRC is looking at that with talks underway. It’s time SKY was told that a contract works both ways. If racing in Queensland, more specifically Brisbane, is being treated like crap then SKY is not delivering on its part of the contract.

But please spare us the violins Mr V’landys when it comes to Racing NSW giving two hoots about Racing Queensland. The only time you want to know us is when it comes time to support you guys in another of your 'losing' battles with Racing Victoria in your bid to be No 1 in this country – which will never happen.’



AS I am an official of a Queensland race club I would ask that my identity be withheld:

 ‘MY friends and I have been involved with and following racing in Queensland for longer than we care to admit and one thing the industry never gets right is the appointments of people to run the show.

History shows that since the control of the QTC was dispensed with by Bob Gibbs and the Labor Government of that era the Boards elected or appointed to oversee the three codes, and specifically the gallops, have been far from successful.

These have either been dogged by political pressures or loyalty to specific clubs or stakeholder groups and this has seen the industry continue to sink into the quicksand. It just hasn’t worked.

Bob Bentley was seen as a Labor stooge who looked after his mates but arguably left racing in Queensland in a far better state financially than Kevin Dixon and his LNP buddies who one could suggest hardly delivered on what they promised.

The latest appointment process, not surprisingly bogged down in controversy, has been all but completed. All that we await are the names of those who will prepare to walk down the plank that is racing in Queensland.

It won’t matter who gets the nod – depending on what side of racing’s political fence you sit – there will be mixed emotions when the announcement of the new Board is made soon by the Government.

One name that keeps bobbing up is former Brisbane Racing Club CEO Stephen Ferguson who resigned late in 2013 to take up a role as National CEO of the Australian Hotels Association in Canberra.

We keep hearing that Mr Ferguson isn’t interested in returning to racing in Queensland and one would not expect his close ties with former Treasurer Tim Nicholls to do him any favors with the minority Labor Government.

In fact Mr Ferguson was the one-time favorite for the RQ CEO role that went to his under-study at the BRC in Darren Condon who was later sadly thrown under a bus in the live baiting debacle that hit greyhound racing.

Mr Ferguson made the fatal mistake apparently during the interview process for the RQ CEO role of calling a spade a spade when asked what he would do to correct the ship. It offended some of the minor codes and unfortunately they had high profile representation on the interview panel. He was buried alive.

The rumor mill now is suggesting that Mr Ferguson might be interested in more than a CEO role and that he could return as a member of the newlook Board. That could be good or bad, depending on which side of the political racing fence you sit.’



PERCY WALL, of SYDNEY, who rates himself a serious not leisure punter, sent this email:    

‘THE market framers, the form experts and the punters in this country must be a bunch of real dills when it comes to Sydney racing.

That is certainly what the results suggest after the Randwick Guineas meeting on Saturday which threw up more than its share of boilovers.

Punters were on their knees after two races. Not only did favorite Honesty Prevails race well below expectations in the Reisling Stakes but the winner, French Fern, was the despised $31 outsider in the field.

Then Capitalist looked anything but the youngster that won the Magic Millions when sent out a $1.22 favoarite in the Todman Stakes and never looked like overhauling the roughest runner in the field, Kiss and Make Up at $18, which heaven forbid is now being declared a strong Slipper prospect.

Punters were well and truly ‘Hollering for some help’ when First Seal and Our Boy Malachi (not one of Tommy Berry’s better rides) bit the dust in the Canterbury Stakes.

Hugh Bowman nailed the coffin firmly on favorite backers when he got boxed up on $1.3 favorite Press Statement in the Guineas. Whether that horse would have beaten Le Romain with a clear run depends on who you talk to. For ours the Waller star will be back on his pedestal next start, all will be forgiven and it will be put down to one of those bad luck stories that seem to haunt punters on a weekly basis in Sydney racing.’



ROB ANDERSON of MELBOURNE poses an interesting question:

‘I just wanted to ask a question of letsgohorseracing which relates to emails and comments published in the Wednesday Whinge.

I read recently where action has been taken against industry participants for ‘inappropriate postings on social media platforms’ under Australian Rule of Racing 175.

That gives stewards the power to penalize any person who in their opinion is guilty of engaging in the publishing or posting on any social media platform or channel any material, content or comment that is obscene, offensive, defamatory, racist, threatening, harassing, discriminating or abusive to any other person or entity involved in the racing industry.’

Is this an effort to silence industry stakeholders from criticizing officials and how does it apply to forums like the Wednesday Whinge?’

EDITOR’S NOTE: AS long as you confine your comments to objective criticism there is nothing to worry about Rob. We at LGHR support the implementation of this Rule. Twitter and Facebook are the major offenders when it comes to unacceptable attacks on individuals in racing. So are some of the website blogs which fail to be controlled by operators and moderators. Some of this malicious content will eventually be tested in court. We have been guilty in the past of running emails from mischief-makers. Now we make every effort to confirm the authenticity of those making controversial contributions. As for those involved in the industry who fear retribution from officialdom for simply speaking out (which has occurred in some racing jurisdictions in the past) we will continue to afford them anonymity where we see fit. It’s a bit of a farce though dealing with individuals who talk through their pocket or attack others in racing through social media when our politicians continue to use ‘privilege’ in Coward’s Castle to stretch the truth and destroy the reputations of innocent people who have little chance of defending themselves.



AS I am a TRAINER in CENTRAL QUEENSLAND I would respectfully ask that my name be with-held (for obvious reasons):

‘SOME licensees and racing followers in central and north Queensland are shaking their heads at the special attention stewards seem to be paying to Rockhampton at present.

You may have read the article by Terry Butts (in his Silks & Saddles column this week) concerning random raids on stables and spelling farms in the Rockhampton area.

What we want to know is why stewards and integrity are focusing on Rockhampton and not other areas, specifically the Darling Downs, where similar raids might just prove far more rewarding.

It’s also a bit of a joke when a visiting trainer to the Rockhampton carnival was in strife but nothing ever came of that raid which was over a year ago. We won’t mention where he was from.

Here’s hoping these raids have nothing to do with the fact that a new, more powerful Trainers’ Association has now emerged which is far more representative of the one that some might say had much closer ties to RQ (now and in the past) than this one does.

Racing in Queensland needs to be a level playing field – and that involves everything from integrity to administration and financial handouts. At present there seems to be far too much favoritism for one specific region and that has been going on for a few too many years now.

While Central and North Queensland battle to get even a loan it would seem the pork-barreling continues. But it doesn’t stop there with many in the industry convinced that the root of some integrity evils rest in this part of the racing state as well.’




RACING Victoria welcomed the increased engagement, contribution and achievements of women in the thoroughbred racing industry as the world this week celebrated International Women’s Day.

In the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry, women now represent;

• 23 per cent of jockeys (up from 10 per cent in 2005);
• 24 per cent of trainers (up from 19 per cent in 2005); and
• 49 per cent of stable employees (includes track riders and stablehands);
• whilst 40 per cent of Victorian race clubs are managed by women.

Following 2015 Emirates Melbourne Cup winner Michelle Payne’s elevation to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women this week, RV Chief Executive Bernard Saundry said the industry was committed to being more inclusive and diverse and hoped Payne’s win would inspire more females to get involved in racing.

“On this International Women’s Day I want to acknowledge all the female participants who make a valued contribution to the success of the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry from jockeys to trainers, stable employees, owners, breeders and administrators,” RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said.

“In particular, I would like to congratulate Michelle Payne on her numerous honors since her historic Melbourne Cup victory, including yesterday’s induction onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women, and I am delighted that her talent, commitment and passion has been able to promote the increased engagement of women in the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry.

“Since Michelle’s historic Cup win we have experienced an increase in the number of enquiries from women interested in pursuing a career in racing and we were delighted to welcome a further six young female riders (out of a class of seven) into our Apprentice Jockey Training Program in January of this year.

“This continues a trend over the past decade that has seen the number of licensed female jockeys more than double within Victoria and our Apprentice Jockey Training Program progress to a position where we now effectively have an equal representation of male and female riders across our 50 students.”

Mr Saundry, who has recently been appointed to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s ‘Elite Sport Male Champions of Change’ group, added that he was pleased that racing was trending in the right direction to encourage more opportunities and pathways for women in racing across its many vocations.

Mr Saundry further explained that RV has recently launched a series of educational workshops as part of the organisation’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to recognise the unique contributions and perspectives that employees bring to the workplace. It is hoped that the pilot program can expand to sectors of the industry throughout 2016.

In light of recent media reporting regarding the publication of female jockey and trainer honorifics in form guides, Mr Saundry also took the opportunity today to confirm that RV is actively seeking for all form guides to be gender non-specific in recognition of the fact that participants compete as equals in the sport.

Mr Saundry also wished the Victorian Wakeful Club – a group of like-minded female racing enthusiasts – best wishes for their annual Lady of Racing Luncheon this Thursday with jockey Katelyn Mallyon and industry participants Cheryl McCarthy and Karen Morphett the finalists for the Club’s 21st Lady of Racing Award. With past winners ineligible, Payne is not among the finalists having claimed the honour in 2011.


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.