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.


STEFAN MEIER of PASCOE VALE SOUTH, a regular contributor to the Wednesday Whinge, sent this email concerning Hong Kong coverage on

‘AS predicted, neither the good folks at nor RVL proffered up any reasoning as to why the TAB cannot access their race replays for their new form product.

Hamstrung by RVL's stupid policies the TAB offer up an audio replay only in their website form guide. Totally useless, and about 30 years behind the times. Still the silliness of RVL and rolls forward unabated.

Last week we had the grand announcement that Hong Kong racing would be broadcast on's free to air channel and other platforms. Now seriously, anybody and I really mean anybody with even half an ounce of an idea of how Hong Kong works, knows or should know how Hong Kong feel about corporate bookmakers. Just by the mere fact they don't even allow their tote co-mingling partner the TAB to bet fixed odds or even run a jockey challenge on their meetings would tell you everything. A clause was even apparently included in the deal that no logos or promotions for corporates were allowed.

Up until what transpired I really thought the Channel 9 kidnapping in Beirut saga was one of the worst corporate clangers in history, but popping up with a giant Crownbet fixed odds screen with their prices and a host spruiking them before each Hong Kong race on their first night must now surely take the mantle. I did actually hear a fizzing noise in Melbourne the next day, must have been the steam coming out of the HKJC's executive board's ears over in Hong Kong.

A flurry of communications back and forth has apparently smoothed things over for the time being and the deal somehow remains in place. However, the point is it should never have happened in the first place. There are only two alternatives, not as suggested on RSN on Monday mornings Jury Duty show that it was just a mere case of a slight misunderstanding between the parties, no I refuse to accept that drivel of an excuse. It was either:

A) A complete and utter failure at board level to recognize the terms of the contract they had signed and agreed to, OR

B) A deliberate attempt to deceive the HKJC and promote anyway, probably in the hopelessly misguided delusion that because their platforms are geo-blocked to Australia, (Tee Hee) they'll never ever find out anyway.

Either way it is a damning indictment of the organizations management. The next chapter awaits for the good ship, desperate for more content it has taken on Hong Kong. More may follow, who knows? But to my eye the more and more desperate they get for viewers by taking on more racing, the further and further they will be getting away from what they were trying to achieve in the first place and more and more start looking like Sky Channel 78 than Channel 78.

Maybe they could steal Dusseldorf harness and Taby racing from Sky for the night programs instead of endless Race Day Recap over and over and over, that could be a start, I'm sure Crownbet would be happy to oblige with a market!



MUCH has been made in the past week of the harsh hand the Weather Gods dealt racing in Queensland when the reopening of Eagle Farm had to be rescheduled.

Those feeling a little depressed at having to wait a week for Super Stradbroke Saturday should spare a thought for their racing colleagues south of the border.

The Racing NSW photograph of the flood damage once again inflicted on the Lismore track in the wake of the massive storm cell that travelled down the coast says it all. It will be a lot longer than a week before racing resumes in that centre.

Racing NSW controls a Benevolent Fund which can be accessed by racing participants in times of need and Chief Executive Peter V’landys has confirmed that hardship payments will be available to trainers affected by the floods.

V'landys said improvements to drainage on race courses around the state had helped them to cope with the rain of the past couple of days. The main concern was Lismore racecourse, which was flooded and had water lapping the top of the winning post.

“The reports we are getting are encouraging from most tracks. Coffs Harbour, which has always had problems handling heavy rain has coped well this week after the work done there. They could race there this week if they had too,” V'landys said. “Lismore is the main concern.”

It makes the Whinges that we are about to run concerning the inconveniences of a day lost to racing in Brisbane pale into insignificance when one considers the enormity of the battle confronting Lismore before that club can race again. But officials and stakeholders have been there before and no doubt they will beat the odds again.




‘THE Brisbane Racing Club was on a belting to nothing no matter which way they jumped with the Oaks meeting cancellation last Saturday.

Had they erred on the side of caution and made an early call when the forecasts were bad for the weekend weather they would have looked silly had the storm cell not arrived until Sunday.

As it was the forecast wasn’t 100 per cent accurate with the heavy rain and strong winds deluging Brisbane on Saturday morning when even the previous day the forecasters were predicting it to arrive later that afternoon.

In my view the only mistakes that have been made in this long-awaited return to racing at Eagle Farm are these:

(1)  For all concerned a race meeting should have been run on the track as a dress rehearsal. Trials are not good enough. That would have given all concerned from the jockeys to the trainers, the owners, the racing public and importantly the punters a more accurate guide of how the new track will play next weekend.

(2)  Stewards and officials should not have pussy-footed around last Saturday morning. They were only delaying the inevitable by saying it was on at 7am then calling it off soon after 9am. Even if the track played well when horses galloped on it there was always going to be heavy rain within hours and that meant safety and visibility concerns.

Here’s hoping that the decisions made to date don’t come back to haunt all concerned when racing returns and that Super Saturday lives up to all the hype when it finally arrives.’



AS I am a licensee I would ask that my identity be withheld but I would respectfully suggest that my thoughts are those of many involved on the day:

‘REGARDLESS of how well the new Eagle Farm track was draining in the early hours of Saturday morning it was a reckless call at 7am to declare the meeting would proceed.

Even the greatest fans of the BRC were shaking their heads. Anyone who looked at the forecast was aware that the decision was fraught with danger.

With the storm cell preparing to dump the heaviest rain in a decade on Brisbane you didn’t need a crystal ball to predict the meeting had little chance of survival.

It should have been called off then and there. While the State Emergency Services were telling people not to drive and to stay indoors, officials of racing in Queensland were encouraging them to attend the reopening.

One wonders what would have happened had a staff member on his or her way to the races, or a stakeholder with horses in a float or heading there to ride had been struck by a fallen tree. Would the club or RQ been responsible and could legal action be taken and succeed?

It’s all too silly for words. Racing can always wait for another day. Getting there alive may not.’




‘AS usual there was nothing but a positive slant put on the handling of the postponement of Oaks Day by the local media outlets.

The same could not be said for south of the border where one high profile Melbourne turf writer described it as ‘Eagle Farmageddon’.

Listening to several trainers from Sydney and Melbourne who had horses engaged at the Oaks Day meeting on interstate radio and not one of them was in favor of the meeting proceeding.

Paul Snowden in particular was critical of the early decision to proceed when he spoke to RSN in Melbourne. In some ways even top local trainer Rob Heathcote appeared to share his sentiments.

Whilst they accepted that the track would drain quickly – no matter how much rain – there was the problem of horse and rider safety coupled with visibility and this was never going to be overcome with the forecast as bad as it was.

In the end sanity prevailed apart from the blanket rejection of a solid support from some sections of the industry for the meeting to be run on Sunday.

This was immediately ruled out by the powers that be, especially the BRC, one suspects largely because of the added wages bill even though they blamed it on damage that would be caused to the track too close to the Stradbroke. One has to question whether 24 hours would have made that much difference.

So now we head into a Super Stradbroke Saturday with all the hullabaloo about the return to racing at Eagle Farm after an absence of two years on a brand new track featuring for the first time two four Group Ones at the one meeting.

It all sounds terrific provided this does not share the spotlight with a track that doesn’t serve up a level playing field – one that perhaps plays only to the front-runners. Regardless there will be no gloom and doom in next Sunday’s coverage – all bouquets and balloons from the ‘spin doctors’ in the print and broadcast media.’



FOR some strange reason there was plenty of interest in this photograph run in a major interstate publication of the track inspection at Eagle Farm last Saturday morning.

It seems some of the narks wanted to know what the lady in the photograph was doing there with Chief Steward Allan Reardon.

Rather than run some of the comments that we received – several of which were even too out of line for us to publish – might we suggest that the lady in question has forgotten more about horsemanship (probably should read horsewomanship) than the majority of those who were questioning her presence.

Despite opinions to the contrary, we at letsgohorseracing are only interested in publishing objective criticism and that will be restricted to the job that the stewards, under the chairmanship of Allan Reardon do, when we feel it is necessary.



‘ALL industry stakeholders – including the punters – should back the call by Des O’Keeffe for an immediate review of the controversial whip rules which are destroying the competitiveness of racing.

O’Keeffe, the CEO of the Victorian Jockeys’ Association, was right when he described the rule as an embarrassment after apprentice Ben Allen copped his second suspension in eight days at Sandown last Saturday.

It’s time that Racing Australia bowed to pressure and extracted their finger on this issue. There is a meeting of that austere body on Friday and that is when action should be taken. No-one wants to see horses belted but the rule has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. It is time we stopped pandering to the fruit loops in the animal liberation movement.

Under the current rule, jockeys are only allowed to use the whip five times before the 100m mark, but can use it without limitation after that point. Since this latest version of the rule came into effect last December there have been more than 1700 offenders nationally which has netted $270,000 in fines.

EDITOR’S NOTE: THE Australian Racing Board was the butt of many jokes within the industry. Even a name change hasn’t changed that situation. MATT STEWART looked at two contentious issues confronting RA in his column BLINKERS OFF in the HERALD SUN:

THERE was a joke that the Australian Racing Board’s ­office was just a table and chair in somebody’s garage.

The ARB was regarded as a toothless tiger, a powerless ­figurehead in a disjointed ­industry of self-interested state governing bodies and racing clubs.

Then it changed its name to the more authoritative-­sounding Racing Australia and started laying down the law.

It amended the whip rules. And botched it.

Des O’Keeffe is usually softly spoken, but his blood was boiling in the stewards’ room at Sandown on Saturday.

O’Keeffe, the head of the jockeys’ association, was in the room with 17-year-old Ben Allen, who had just breached the whip rule for the 11th time since January.

Allen had just returned from a five-day holiday for over-whipping at Flemington and copped eight days for the same offence at Sandown, meaning he will miss two ­important metro meetings.

Allen and three other ­apprentices infringed the whip rule at Sandown and the tally of breaches since the rule was amended in December — a five-strike limit before the 100m, then unfettered — is now a staggering 1770 ­nationally.

More than $270,000 in fines have been collected by state bodies.

Allen gave Noela’s Choice a light back-hander turning for home — a “farcical non-hit’’ according to O’Keeffe — and struck a forehand just three strides before the 100m, putting him two over the limit.

O’Keeffe described the rule as an “embarrassment’’ and acting chief steward Rob Montgomery didn’t appear to disagree.

The ARB said perception of cruelty had been a major factor in creating a new rule, but the logic seems at odds with the damaging perception of unfettered whipping in the last 100m, the most watched, ­replayed and scrutinised part of any race.

O’Keeffe said it was hoped Racing Australia took the ­advice of stewards, who have asked for the rule to be changed, with a likely recommendation of more strikes before the 100m and restricted use from the 100m to the ­finish.

Racing Australia also faces a backlash over its decision to plonk both ends of the horse racing spectrum in the same rule book, subjecting breeders to the same rules that govern racing, including drugs/medications and welfare.

Many of Australia’s leading breeders last month signed a letter of complaint to Racing Australia and Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula.

In the letter, they said: “In no other agricultural pursuit does the end user regulate the primary producer. This proposal is akin to Coles or ­Woolworths being granted authority over beef and dairy farmers because they are the farmers’ biggest customers.”

The breeders argue John Messara’s role as boss of an ­industry body that now rules racing and breeding means the Arrowfield Stud owner is ­extremely conflicted.

They say they should be bound by rules drawn up by the Stud Book — births, deaths and marriages for horses — and not the rules of racing.

Racing Australia bought the Stud Book for $18 million from the Victoria Racing Club and Australian Jockey Club 18 months ago. Through various fees, the Stud Book generates about $3 million in revenue ­annually.

The securing of the Stud Book was seen by many as a power grab by Racing Australia, which finds itself engaged in battles with breeders and also little people wielding whips.



TERRY Butts broke the news in the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER that Mackay Turf Club CEO Ross Prowd pulled the pin last week, which was no great surprise to most, but the timing was a bit odd.

Prowd will finish duties at Ooralea on June 25 – just a week before the Mackay Cup.

Long-time committeeman and current chairman, Lou Kinsey, told Butts the only day that Mackay can make a profit is when theclub raceson a Saturday. In the upcoming season it has just one Saturday – Cup day.

“We have 28 days all up – not enough – and most are Tuesdays and Thursdays.We just can’t make any money. Yet if we had three Saturday dates we could wipe out the debt that RQ has left us in two years. It’s really that simple,” Kinsey said.




PANTHERS Group chief executive Brian Fletcher has implored the NRL to find a role for Ray Murrihy, believing racing's outgoing chief steward is the man to get to the bottom of the match-fixing scandal.

ADRIAN PROSZENKO & BRAD WALTER report for FAIRFAX MEDIAthat Fletcher has had a long association with Murrihy during his 26 years as chief executive of the Hawkesbury Racing Club, which ended when he took on the Panthers role. Murrihy himself has also exited the racing game, retiring after overseeing integrity issues on NSW tracks for the past 21 years.

Murrihy is no stranger to the NRL, having been engaged to assist the governing body's probe into betting irregularities during the infamous Cowboys-Bulldogs match in 2010 that resulted in Canterbury forward Ryan Tandy being convicted of match fixing. Murrihy, who retired on Friday after 46 years as a steward, was also a consultant during the Storm salary cap scandal.

"The expert in the game of detecting irregularities in the sporting world is Ray Murrihy," Fletcher said.

"With him retiring, it could be a great time for the NRL to employ one of the best. He could track gambling trends, what the players are up to and so forth.

"Give him a role in the integrity department and use his expertise, that would be proactive."

Murrihy, described by Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys as the "Black Caviar of stewards", wouldn't rule out working for other sporting bodies.

"I have had a good innings in racing and leave without any regrets," Murrihy said.

"If something came up in the future, so be it, but I did some work which was enjoyable for the NRL a few years on the Storm and the spoon and the Bulldogs and North Queensland.

"I know no more of this situation other than what I have read."

The NRL will be under pressure to devote more resources to integrity issues after renewing its agreement with Sportsbet until the end of 2020. The deal is worth $60 million in exchange for the right for the online betting company to become the code's official wagering partner and have first rights to advertise with rugby league's official betting partners. The NRL had been without a wagering partner for a period because of the severe backlash to the saturation coverage of Tom Waterhouse.

The NRL has a range of educational programs to educate players about the perils of betting. In the case of Tandy, the fix occurred just five weeks after Bulldogs players attended a compulsory session on the dangers of gambling.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has made it clear anyone found to be involved in match fixing will be banned for life.

"It all gets back to the person," Fletcher said.

"You know the rules, the rules state what can and can't be done, so if you break the rules you're in trouble. You can't go and watch what everyone does all the time, that's impractical.

"You can always get your mate down the road to put a bet on. If he goes to the TAB and gets on, what happens there?

"It's like everything else, if you do get caught, the bigger the penalty, the bigger the deterrent. You look at John McEnroe and he was fined about $3000 for swearing – if they had fined him $30,000 the first time it probably wouldn't have happened again.

"If the rules are clear and you get life [for match fixing], that will be a big deterrent."


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.