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.




IT can be fraught with danger making a prediction that someone has been appointed to an important position in racing but emailers, texters and even callers to letsgohorseracing are adamant that Racing Queensland used Stradbroke Day to unofficially welcome its new Chief Executive Officer.

The much-awaited announcement of who will inherit the ‘poisoned chalice’ of RQ – since the unwarranted and disgraceful decision to dispense with the services of Darren Condon over a year ago – is set to be made at the start of next month.

If our mail is correct the appointment has already been made and the role will be filled by Dr Elliot Forbes (pictured), the current CEO of TasRacing. Once again we are giving the ‘informed’ sources a platform to express their views.

Dr Forbes, who, according to reports snatched the position at the 11th hour from Victorian Paul Bittar, the one-time head of British Horse Racing, was seen being shown around at Eagle Farm on Saturday by a couple of key Racing Queensland heavies.

We should mention that he is a member of the Australian Racing Board and they were guests of the BRC for the special occasion but the RQ seemed to have sorted out the Tasmanian official for special attention.

Dr Forbes was appointed CEO of TasRacing almost four years ago. He had been that body’s Chief Operating Officer since 2010. He previously worked in senior racing roles in the United Arab Emirates and as an equine veterinary surgeon in Macau, Qatar, Australia and the United Kingdom.

As Chief Operating Officer for TasRacing, Dr Forbes led the project team for the $10 million redevelopment of Devonport racecourse, which features Australia’s first Tapeta synthetic surface.

Here’s hoping our tip about Dr Forbes is closer to the mark than the one concerning former broadcaster Alan Thomas being appointed to the RQ Board for which he was being head-hunted but apparently showed a lack of interest.



TOWNSVILLE punter Andrew Symington is one who will never forget the opening of Eagle Farm – for the wrong reason.

TERRY BUTTS reports in his ‘Silks & Saddles’ column for the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER that Symington took a $50 a fixed price all-up double on Executed ($16) to win the Lightning all up Under the Louvre ($12) the Stradbroke – a net result of $9,600.

But when Queensland Oaks Day was abandoned and the Lightning (same field mind you) transferred to last Wednesday, UBET cancelled his bet.

Andrew is still fuming – as you would be.

“When I called UBET – they were very dismissive and said the bet was cancelled because the race wasn’t run within 24 hours of the bet being placed.

“I am just another mug punter getting ripped off,” he said.

PS:The $50 stake went on to Under the Louvre to return $600 – just $9,000 short of the original wager.

EDITOR’S NOTE: WE sought some clarification on this from BRAD TAMER of UBET who told us: Thanks for the opportunity to present the back drop to this situation. I can understand Andrew's disappointment but I disagree with his view that he has been ripped off. This is because UBET has merely acted in accordance with the Wagering Rule which requires UBET to refund final field monies placed on a race which is postponed. In this particular instance Andrew's multi reverted to a single bet on UTL therefore the payout of $600. I would also like to add that the opportunity to repeat this multi did exist for several days leading into Wednesday albeit at a different price.



ALBERT WILLIAMS, of REDCLIFFE, a regular contributor to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE weighs into the debate about the EAGLE FARM track last Saturday:

‘OPINIONS are obviously very strongly divided on just how the new Eagle Farm track played for Saturday’s Stradbroke Super Day opener.

The mainstream racing media, spearheaded strongly by top broadcaster David Fowler, were adamant that ‘a lot of nonsense was being spoken by the critics’.

Peter Lawrence, a highly respected commentator on all things racing, led a volley of criticism and even went as far as suggesting that ‘anyone who puts a remotely positive spin on the Eagle Farm surface last Saturday is seriously deluded.’ (For those who missed it you might reproduce what he wrote for another website).

I have been following racing in Queensland – and throughout the country for that matter for decades – and felt although the new track was far from perfect the club had the right to feel satisfied looking forward provided the right maintenance is carried out.

It looked to chop up midway through the card and there was a ‘no go’ zone toward the inside – pity someone didn’t remind ‘champion jockey’ Damien Oliver of that before he rode the favorite Azkadellia into the quicksand in the Stradbroke.

There must have been some ‘Nervous Nelly’s’ among the BRC and RQ officials leading up to the first race on Saturday. The last thing they needed was another public relations disaster.

Much has been made of the timing debacle but that is being corrected. The big screen got plenty of bouquets but punters questioned why some of the interstate races could not be shown on it.

Here’s hoping at the end of the carnival when they do a post mortem that the one thing the Stradbroke meeting proved is that there needs to be more Super Days and less big days. In my opinion they don’t need seven carnival meetings at Eagle Farm and Doomben – half that number would suffice.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: FOR those who might have missed it, here is what PETER LAWRENCE had to say on the popular racing website RACENET which I am sure that neither he nor they will mind us reproducing.

THERE were lots of pats on the back for Eagle Farm on Saturday, but according to Australian racing expert Peter Lawrence ‘it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be’.

Lawrence writes, After two years waiting for the new track, everyone was falling over themselves to be positive. They wanted it to be a success. Reality was just a pesky nuisance when it came to reviewing the day’s events.

So let’s be honest here. The Eagle Farm track on Saturday was an unmitigated disaster and the course curator who made the decision to water the track on Thursday should be dismissed - Immediately.

What an incredibly inept decision after the track received two hundred mils of rain the week before.

I spoke to one of Australia’s leading jockeys since the meeting and they told me it was like riding on quicksand, particularly in the last half of the meeting.

That would be where the big races were, right? You know, the Group I races worth millions of dollars?

Officially rated a good (4), the track deteriorated markedly throughout the day.

By the last four races on the card, the four feature Group I events on Queensland’s biggest day, the results look like those expected on a heavy surface, with the times akin to slow at least.

Any form student who is serious about retrospective form analysis, knows that this meeting needs to be treated as if run on a heavy track.

And before anyone mentions the time for race four, it is a further embarrassment for the race club that they would even post such an obviously erroneous number.

Anyone with even the most basic understanding of times can see immediately that this time was incorrect by more than two seconds, both the official final figure and the last 600m sectional, even without checking the video.

But hey this is 2016 racing in Australia. Let’s not let a pesky thing like getting the timing right on a brand new track get in the way of putting on a party.

So let’s examine those four feature races of the day.

In the Group I JJ Atkins, only two horses finished within 6-1/2 lengths of the winner, with the field spread out over 42-3/4 lengths. The 1600m took 1.37.82. A good track.

To the Queensland Derby, where only three horses finished within 7-1/2 lengths of the winner with 34 lengths from first to last.

Incredibly in the Stradbroke, only two horses got within seven lengths of the winner with 25 lengths from first to last. This quality field barely managed to break 1.24 for the 1400m, so only three runners broke 1.25.

And then the crowning glory of the Queensland Oaks. Only three horses got within eleven lengths of the winner with the last horse seventy lengths away. More than half the field was beaten more than twenty lengths.

Before bookmaker and renowned form student Rob Waterhouse headed off overseas on holidays last Thursday he tweeted, "Eagle Farm a soft (5) but the course curator plans to water, he must be mad.”

A response came from Racing Queensland assuring everyone that the sun and wind would "soak it up” - It didn’t.

The result was a shambles after about four races as the track started to deteriorate, as all wet tracks do.

Racing is a multi-billion-dollar industry, put on by the punter. Without the punter, owners would race for ribbons and the price of horses would be three fifths of bugger all.

Yet here we have the biggest day in Queensland racing, ruined by a course manager who presents a seriously water affected track.

It’s a crazy situation that seriously defies belief.

Turnover drives prizemoney and for punters to bet they need to have confidence in the track.

In this last season we have seen Victoria Derby day destroyed by track bias.Cox Plate Day a total joke because of track bias.

The lamentable Sydney Carnival at Randwick, run on a cow paddock despite tens of millions being spent on a new grandstand.

And now Stradbroke Handicap day ruined because the modern course curator just can’t stand to present a good track for racing. They are obsessed with tinkering with the surface.

Massive prizemoney is up for grabs, but in many cases a roulette wheel would serve just as well to decide the results on our feature racedays.

Anyone who puts a remotely positive spin on the Eagle Farm surface last Saturday is seriously deluded.



DANNY GRAY of GOLD COAST sent this email:

‘CROWD figures at carnival race meetings in Queensland have been the subject of much debate this year.

This all started with claims by long-time locals on the Darling Downs that the crowd was nowhere near what was posted for the stand-alone Weetwood Day in April.

But those that have caused the most debate have been at Doomben and now for the Eagle Farm opener. Many who were at both venues for their big days argue that the numbers seemed much lower than claimed.

Even if there was 20,000 plus for the return to racing at Eagle Farm last Saturday it was still 4,000 less than the crowd posted for Magic Millions day on the Gold Coast in January and some are already suggesting will be below that attracted by Ipswich for its big Cup meeting this coming Saturday.

Much to the infuriation of some racing heavies Brisbane carnival race crowds are being compared to those attracted by the Broncos for home games, many of which are more than double and even treble.

It just goes to show that the Brisbane Racing Club needs to have a long hard look at just how successful their fancy marketing tactics and highly paid consultants have been and whether they should try a new approach in future.

Instead of ensuring the every need of their high flying corporate guests are looked after they should start listening to the paying public who part with far too much to come through the gate for big race days only to receive what they describe as second rate treatment.

They are paying for the privilege of broken down elevators, stand seating covered in bird shit, blocked views of race finishes because late arrivals are allowed to stand in the grandstand corridors, over-priced food and drink that you have to line up for 30 minutes or more to receive. Why wouldn’t many just head to their local pub or club? It doesn’t take as long to get there, admission is free, they aren’t ripped off for food and drink and they can watch the races in comfort. All that is missing is the atmosphere, if some jerk isn’t blocking your view and offering a ‘get stuffed’ if you ask him to sit down.’




‘WHY don’t people want to go to the races in Brisbane not only on any given Saturday – but even to the carnival blockbusters – anymore?

Some will say it’s not restricted to Brisbane and use The Championships in Sydney as another example of the public snub of racing.

But it doesn’t happen in Melbourne during the spring carnival when Flemington seems to continue to be packed to the rafters.

Perhaps therein might lie the answer. It comes down to the stars performing on the track. Sadly Brisbane did not offer a top-line drawcard on Stradbroke day. The majority who attended wanted to see the new track and the facilities.

After a two-year wait and the outlay of $50 million this project is entitled to be a success story. Racing in Queensland deserves it, so do the stakeholders and the supporters, but just how many of them will return. If the opening day crowd was the best they could hope for perhaps the answer is playing some Broncos home games on the Eagle Farm infield – an impossibility of course with the on-course stabling etc that is being built.

Trace back through the years of carnival racing in Brisbane and there is a common thread to attracting big crowds – a champion or peoples’ horse. One could argue it goes back to the days of Bernborough and the likes of Gunsynd or in more recent times Black Caviar. History was dotted in between with many other stars of the turf that drew tens of thousands to Eagle Farm and Doomben.

Might I arguably and respectfully suggest that the BRC could throw the gates open some days, it would make no difference unless there was a top horse that they wanted to see. It’s as simple as that!’



RATHER than some racing identities getting their knickers in a knot over contributions and comments in the Wednesday Whinge we are introducing a ‘THUMBS UP & THUMBS DOWN SECTION’. Several emails on the one subject will be combined into one; comment that needs toning down will be handled appropriately and issues of a more personal nature will be edited on legal advice with those too hot to handle unfortunately dispatched to the rubbish bin.


THUMBS UP section this week:

WE received a couple of very complimentary emails (far from Whinges) about the job done by JOSH FLEMING who took over as the SKY racecaller when Alan Thomas retired. It was his first Stradbroke meeting on a new track and the fields were far from small but Josh didn’t miss a beat and his calls were not only professional but entertaining. Contributors wrote that Fleming goes about his business in a no-fuss manner, gets few accolades and certainly doesn’t chase the limelight.



THUMBS DOWN contribution:

THERE is plenty of talk within racing circles about the dressing down that a high profile media identity gave to a popular talk show host in front of a number of staff at a prominent racing radio station. Those who witnessed the verbal attack say it was bordering on ‘bullying’. The high profile identity won few friends with his behavior. They are sad that the host is too nice a guy to fight back and copped it on the chin keen not to make waves as is his demeanor.



PETER ‘RED’ ALEXANDER, a well-known racing figure in SOUTH-WEST QUEENSLAND, sent this email:

‘TRAINERS in the south west were notified by text message at 5.15pm on Wednesday, June 8, that that an additional two races had been programmed for Roma races on Saturday, June 25.

After some inquiries there then appears on the Racing Queensland website that the races scheduled for Cunnamulla on June 18 had been postponed.  Further inquiries reveal that the meeting had been postponed due to compliance issues, whatever that means.

The last meeting in the south west area was at Charleville on May 14 and the next meeting will now be back at Charleviille on July 9. There was a meeting at Tambo, 200km north of Charleville, scheduled for last weekend which was unfortunately washed out like a lot of others.

This now means that the trainers and jockeys in Charleville, Cunnamulla, Quilpie and Augathella will not have had a race meeting in the immediate area for eight weeks unless they were prepared to travel a minimum of 300-400km to participate at Roma.

Is Racing Queensland intent on restricting racing in the south-west to the point where the participants find it unviable to keep horses in work to only have the chance to compete once a month or have to travel vast distances?

If Racing Queensland would have consulted with other clubs in the area I am sure that they would have offered to fill the void.

This just highlights the opinion of many stakeholders that Racing Queensland is in complete disarray and doesn’t seem to care about anyone outside the south-east corner of Queensland.’



TREVOR MOLONEY of MELBOURNE sent this email:

‘WHEN will this toothless tiger Racing Australia finally get off its behind and do the job that it is supposed to be doing?

The latest inadequacy in the role being played by this national control body involves the workload for young jockeys and the price they are being forced to pay.

It’s been called a ‘disaster waiting to happen’ forcing the Victoria Jockeys’ Association to call on Racing Victoria to follow the lead of Western Australia and employ all apprentices then sub-contracting them to trainers and stables.

The situation was brought to a head in comments made after Tom Sadler fronted an inquiry into his ride on Lonrockstar. The work-load endured by the apprentice in the week leading up to his controversial ride was described by a psychiatrist as ‘absurd’.

As Matt Stewart wrote in a column in the Herald Sun this week: The work requirements of many young jockeys are well known and still accepted by many within this industry of buttoned lips and hard slog. But these lifestyles are shocking to the outside world, and rightly so.

Two days after Sadler was suspended for three weeks for failing to give Lonrockstar every chance of winning, ­senior rider Steve Baster was in the stewards’ room at Flemington last Saturday, sticking up for young Regan Bayliss who was outed for causing interference.

Baster revealed to stewards that Bayliss had ridden track trials at 4am on Friday, then driven to faraway Swan Hill, where he had six rides, before returning to Melbourne, arriving home at 9pm before again rising for trackwork on Saturday.

As Baster said: “It’s too much. It’s an ­accident waiting to happen.’’ VJA CEO Dex O’Keefe says the night and day racing commitments are putting young jockeys in physical and mental jeopardy and described it as “A disaster waiting to happen.”

What will it take for Racing Australia to move on this issue – the serious injury and heaven forbid even the death of a young jockey?’


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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