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.

 

NSW APPEALS SYSTEM HAS BECOME THE JOKE OF AUSTRALIAN RACING

ADRIAN KELLY of MELBOURNE sent this email comparing the appeals systems in NSW and Victoria:

‘JOCKEYS continue to manipulate an appeals system in NSW that is fast becoming the joke of Australian racing.

The farcical situation involving champion hoop Hugh Bowman in the past week would never have been allowed to occur in Victoria.

It all revolved around the prize mount on mighty mare Winks for her return to racing at Warwick Farm and, on the surface, it appears that Sydney stewards permitted Bowman to manipulate the system.

Good luck to him but there is more than a shade of hypocrisy in the way that appeals are permitted – on one hand permitting the use of a stay of proceedings to gain mounts and on another knocking back the stay to ensure the jockey returns in time to take a prized mount.

Had the same events confronted Bowman in Victoria he would have been confronted by what most would consider a fairer outcome for all concerned.

In a bizarre chain of events that started at Canterbury last Wednesday, Bowman was suspended on a careless riding charge. Australia’s top rider told stewards he wanted to fulfil commitments as far ahead as this Wednesday at Warwick Farm. (Jockeys who are suspended in NSW have nine days to begin any suspension).

Bowman forgot to mention that he was being promoted as one of the drawcards of the Coffs Harbour Cup meeting the day after Warwick Farm (this Thursday) when his suspension was due to begin. 

After lodging an appeal Bowman was riding on a stay of proceedings when he was again suspended at Gosford, the day after his Canterbury ban was incurred.

Although sidelined media commentator Richard Callander once joked that it took ‘Hughie an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes’, Bowman was not slow thinking on doing the sums. He was quick to realize that if he was to lose his appeal over the Canterbury setback, back-to-back suspensions, starting on Thursday, would cost him the comeback ride on Winx on August 20.

Milking the farcical system for all it was worth in NSW (and good luck to him) Hughie did a backflip and asked stewards if he could start his Gosford suspension on Sunday. Worse still they allowed him to do it despite a day earlier permitting him to honour commitments to those who had booked him early for Warwick Farm this Wednesday.

As Adam Pengilly rightly commented in Fairfax Media: ‘Hugh is massaging the system to work best for him – and to preserve the most cherished ride in the country, which he is entitled to do under the current rules.

‘But how can a system – and stewards – allow suspension dates to be a moving feast at the expense of forward-thinking owners who perhaps a couple of weeks in advance were clamouring for him to be on their horses at Warwick Farm?’

SUCCESSFUL APPEAL BY SHINN HIGHLIGHTS FLAWS IN THE RULE

THE Bowman ‘joke’ comes hot on the heels of lawyer Wayne Pasterfield providing RACENET with an exclusive insight into what went down at Blake Shinn’s successful appeal against a month suspension over his ride on Thud at Rosehill in June.

Shinn was found guilty of failing to give his mount every chance of winning or finishing in the best possible position. Stewards considered he did not come to the outside when the opportunity arose in the straight – instead staying near the fence when clear running came too late.

Pasterfield told RACENET: ‘The confusion among many in racing arises because of the vagueness of the legal interpretation of the rule itself.

The leading case of Kerrin McEvoy for his ride on Shakes in 2010 and carried through to present cases indicates that to be guilty of an offence under this rule, a jockey ‘must be guilty of conduct which in all the circumstances falls below the level of objective judgment reasonable to be expected of a jockey in the position of the person charged.’

The rule is not designed to punish jockeys who make an error of judgment unless those errors are culpable by reference to the above criteria.

So what the hell does that all mean?

It is a very difficult legal concept to absorb, interpret and then explain. Better lawyers than me have read cases in this area and walked away with a migraine.

What it seems to suggest is that the rule is specifically aimed at jockeys.

All jockeys make errors of judgment - whether they go too early, go too wide, go too late, get too far back, take runs inside other horses.

But to be guilty of an offence under this rule, the error must be culpable.

The definition of culpable is not clear and that is why the stewards often lose appeals under this rule.

That is, their interpretation of the rule is different to that of the Appeals Panel.’

Pasterfield believes that ‘whilst (AR135b) exists in its current form, and whilst its legal definition in the eyes of the Appeals Panel remains largely unexplained, we are going to continue to have jockeys charged under it.

‘They will almost always be found guilty by the stewards who present their own evidence and interpretations to themselves, the jockeys will continue to appeal and the vast majority of them will be successful unless the ride was sufficiently culpable to lead to a finding of guilt.

In layman’s terms, the ride has to be an absolute shocker for a jockey to be found guilty of this offence and must be more than a mere error of judgment.’

SO we have Bowman ‘milking’ the system relating to stays of proceedings and Shinn, along with others, taking advantage of what appears to be ... of the Rule relating to positioning of horses to give them every chance.

Before we give NSW racing too much of a bagging about flaws in the appeals system perhaps it might be wise to wait and see what happens with these Cobalt cases in Victoria. If those trainers fighting to overturn long bans are able to do so on a technicality involving the legality of the testing laboratories and not whether they used the drug or not, then there will be egg on the face of the Victorian system as well.’ 

 

IS DOMINATION BY A MAJOR STABLE GOOD FOR RACING IN ANY STATE?

GLEN TAMBLYN of SYDNEY posed an interesting question in this email:

‘AFTER following racing for most of my life I have come to the conclusion that the worst thing that can happen is for any state to be dominated by one particular trainer or stable, like so often happens in Sydney.

It has long been my pet hate in NSW racing with Tommy Smith, as great as he was, dominating to such a degree that I believe he won 33 successive premierships over three decades.

Since taking over the training business from her late dad, Gai Waterhouse has won seven premierships – but compared to T J her domination of the Sydney scene will be short-lived, especially since the arrival of Chris Waller.

Can you believe it? The new ‘King on the Block’ has now won six premierships and in the season just ended established a record for the number of Sydney wins in a season – achieving more winners than either Smith or Waterhouse had previously been able to. The frightening aspect for his rivals is that Waller seems to become more successful each season.

It is music to the ears of the statisticians and the racing media wax lyrical about their new ‘love child’ but just how good is it for the punters? You don’t see too many figures produced on his percentage of success with favorites or the number of second string runners from his stable that salute on a regular basis.

For me when a stable dominates to such a degree that a ‘champion’ trainer finds it difficult to predict which of his multiple runners has the best hope that takes some of the gloss off his or her success. Waller, on most occasions, seems to have trouble sorting the wheat from the chaff when it comes to pre-race selections.

Such has been the domination of the big stables in Sydney that the smaller ones have struggled to survive or been forced out in more recent times. Waller has even made the might of Godolphin look awfully minute under the training leadership of John O’Shea.

With family commitments, his passion for Sydney racing and a successful stable in Melbourne, it seems unlikely that Waller will look to training overseas (like Hong Kong for instance) in the foreseeable future, so his domination is certain to continue for the next decade or so.

The hope of those wanting to see that monopoly broken down no longer rests with Waterhouse and most agree that Godolphin will not pose a threat with O’Shea at the helm. Instead the hope of reducing the Waller domination seems to rest at the feet of the Snowden’s or Hawkes’ and to a lesser degree with Lees.’

 

DOES BYRNE DESERVE THE BAGGING HE COPS FROM SOME CRITICS?

BOB RIDLER of GOLD COAST isn't a big fan of top jockey JIM BYRNE:

‘FOR many followers of racing in Brisbane the premiership winning performance of veteran jockey Jeff Lloyd was the feel-good story of the year.

For my mates and I there was dual reason to celebrate. Not only are we great fans of Lloyd but we have little time for his main rival Jim Byrne who, in our opinion, isn’t as good a rider as he thinks he is.

Having survived a stroke – mild compared to that which Jeff endured – never in my wildest dreams would I have contemplated a return to something as risky as race riding (even if my occupation was that of a jockey). Lloyd has beaten the odds on and off the track and at 54 is spanking the backsides of rivals less than half his age.

Byrne has been a premiership winner of the past and no doubt will wear that crown again, courtesy of his association of Tony Gollan who looks set to dominate the training ranks in Brisbane with Rob Heathcote content to scale down his stable numbers.

What irks us about Byrne is that he always seems to be whining and whinging about something or other. We also haven’t forgotten some of his colossal riding stuff-ups during the season – like the day he decided to get into a Kamikaze battle with a female jockey at Toowoomba – she got suspended (overturned on appeal) and he didn’t even get questioned.

Then there was the most forgettable ride of the year for him, the Doomben 10,000, when Byrne had an apparent brain snap on Hooked. His ride prompted trainer John Thompson to tell the racing media: “There were two Group 1s today, the race and the spray I just gave my jockey."

A lesser occasion was Byrne’s protest on Upstart Pride at Doomben – alleging excessive whip use. I think it was Rob Heathcote, trainer of the winner, Dream Choice, who told stewards: “If you uphold this, I will take up greyhound training in NSW.”

You may have guessed it. We are not Jim Byrne fans. In fact we think Jimmy Orman could prove his nemesis in years to come. He would have finished closer in the season just ended but for an untimely late suspension.

Such is the lack of depth in the training ranks that Gollan looks set to dominate again in the new season. Across the board he does well but his record in the big races is not that strong the past couple of years. According to his PR men in the racing media, Gollan has invested wisely in new stock.

Time will tell. In our opinion one thing’s for sure. He should focus on easier pickings in Brisbane as he will struggle to be competitive with a stable in Sydney against the likes of Waller and co.’      

EDITOR’S NOTE: Before LETSGOHORSERACING cops a backlash over the above comments concerning Jim Byrne or anyone else, we are just the platform for racing folk to express their views.

 

THUMBS UP

BREDHAUER BACK FROM HIS CROCODILE DUNDEE STINT IN  TERRITORY

DARLING DOWNS racing identity PETER BREDHAUER has been enjoying one of his most successful runs as an owner with recent winners in Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Bredhauer has done just about everything in racing from an early career as a jockey, to race-caller, bookmaker, club and control body official, outspoken media personality and now still operates Darling Downs Bloodstock.

He has just returned from a holiday in the Northern Territory where the horse he has a share in – the former Peter Moody-trained Handsome Tycoon – won last Saturday’s Palmerston Sprint in Darwin.

It was the first time any horse had completed the Pioneer Sprint – Palmer Sprint double in the same year. Trained by Gary Clarke, Handsome Tycoon has knocked up winning since heading to the Territory but has probably weighted himself out of Darwin racing and might be heading back to Melbourne.

Bredhauer, who bounced back from life threatening prostate cancer surgery not long ago, has recently visited the winner’s circle with the Pat Carey stable in Melbourne, a youngster he has with John Meagher on the Gold Coast and continues to enjoy success with Craig Smith in Roma.

Never one to be backward in expressing his thoughts on racing, Bredhauer, like many others, is disillusioned with the direction racing in Queensland is heading and will scale down his local ownership and increase that interstate in the future.

 

THUMBS DOWN

RACING B*TCH ACCUSED OF GETTING JOLLIES FROM BAGGING OZ RACING 

JIM HEALY of MELBOURNE sent this email, the motives for which still have us scratching our heads, but it’s worth a run:

‘AS a regular reader of the Whinge I want to take you to task about accepting requests from readers to reproduce items from the RacingB*tch out of Hong Kong. I am not a fan and believe that well read website gets its jollies out of bagging Australian racing.

Why give it more airing just because some local readers want to ensure the subject gets another send around? Here is an example of the garbage that I am talking about from one of their latest columns and before someone suggests I am guilty of what I am complaining about this is purely an example of why I despise what they write.

Commenting on recent problems which have seen Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula call on all parties to meet to iron out their differences we are subjected to the following:

These chameleons (jokers? penguins?) have suddenly converted, at a minute before midnight, to assuming the role of ‘protectors’ of the image of Victorian racing with such calls to arms as ‘Racing must rise above it all’ – echoing the bleeding obvious to what RacingB*tch has been publicly stating since its inception: Australian racing is a dysfunctional and a conflicted mess dominated by polarizing individuals, motivated by self-interest and greed. If Australian racing had been around in ancient times, it would have shared billing with some of the barbaric games at the Colosseum in ancient Rome.

What rankles is the blatant cynical ‘Eureka Moment’ of some of these commentators, many who find it difficult to communicate outside their 140 character comfort zone. They are the very same ones on the radio programs and newspaper columns and social media who have given cylinder loads of oxygen to the high profile and lesser light trainers and their cheer squads to trash the Victorian racing industry, the governing body and its senior management and Integrity department. Suddenly, they wish to be seen as visionaries? Suddenly they see that they’ve been backing the wrong horses? Suddenly they furiously back peddle to be patron saints of the little people?

“The Victorian racing industry is headed towards self destruction if it can’t pull itself into line and fast. Rather than there being a desired approach to strengthen the industry with a united front, including administrators and participants, racing consistently finds itself in turmoil with internal battles and power plays being broadcast publicly that does nothing but harm the sport”. Truer words have never been spoken before by none other than Shano aka Shane Anderson. Welcome aboard the Titanic, Shano. Or is this another desperate attempt to jump aboard another bandwagon?

Isn’t it a tad sanctimonious when less than a year ago, you were rolling out the welcome mat to the likes of Peter Moody, and some of his brethren in the training ranks who had no hesitation in using RSN and racing.com to take the baseball bat to their industry administrators. Moody’s incessant and tedious slogan-riddled and strident verbal assaults on the Victorian industry and its administrators have kept racing in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Moody was a welcome guest on Shano’s RSN radio program. Through his Racing.com interviews, he gave Moody an ‘open season’ licence to vent his tiresome rants. And yes Shano, ‘running a public commentary on all things said only serves them poorly’. It’s just a pity you didn’t set up a road block when you were just another wannabe radio shock jock at the dead people’s radio station and a wannabe sports reporter on racing.com. We might not have needed to ‘rise above it all’ as you are exhorting your twitter followers to do. And one other observation, Shano; your comparison with the AFL and the fine imposed on one of its coaches ‘over unsubstantiated accusations of umpire bias’, is spot on. Good to know you’re reading this blog. And seizing the opportunity to try and reinvent yourself.

To be fair to dear old Shano, he isn’t the only commentator to experience a ‘white light’ moment. Enter the Herald Sun’s Matt Stewart, funnily enough his new soul brother, which was certainly not the case a few years ago. He wrote this gem in his column: “Factions and poisonous crusades are gnawing away at a sport that usually has a great sense of community and respect for rules. People with chips on their shoulders keep hammering away and they seem to be growing in voice. They started hanging out together, bringing others into their snide circle”.

Really, Matt? Think we know who you are referring to. What’s happened, matey? Didn’t you go hard enough defending their plight – and their legacies – on racing? Didn’t you write column after column seeking absolution for their transgressions? Yes Matt, ‘they do not represent racing’. We told you that a long time ago, but you, like many others have had, their hearing aids were on mute. Problem is, mate, in the media, self-interest and a cheap headline always trumps any other interest or moral argument.

The situation is so out of control, thanks to the leadership vacuum in Victorian racing, that it took Racing Minister Martin Pakula to put the inmates of the Victorian racing asylum on notice. How embarrassing for Racing Victoria Chairman – and astute businessman – David  Moodie and his hapless ‘The Plodder’, aka Chief Executive Bernard Saundry. Then, again, arrogance and golden parachutes are immune to embarrassment. The nests have been feathered and what’s needed if possible are a few more golden eggs.

Clearly, neither have the balls to herd the inmates back into the asylum where they belong. The pathetic kindergarten type feather duster smacks on the backsides of MRC Chief Executive Brodie Arnold and Chief Steward Terry Bailey by Victorian racing’s aspiring Kevin Rudd on his doomed mission to save the UN in Bernard Saundry was, hopefully, the last straw for Pakula.

Thankfully, he intervened, and demanded a ‘pow wow’- not exactly an inspiring term – with with Racing Victoria hierarchy and the Race Clubs. And having listened to a meandering onslaught of words from Racing Integrity Commissioner “My gal” Sal Perna when interviewed recently by the consistently excellent Michael Felgate, we hope he’s invited and adds some Pow. There’s certainly no Wow factor. If this too ends up being another meaningless love-in and boulevard of broken promises, then it’s shallow showbiz. There’s no point.

Has Martin Pakula finally lost patience? Is he really going to throw the book at the lunatic fringe that’s been operating as a law unto itself? Does he have options in his hip pocket instead of being caught up in another tedious game of musical chairs with Spanky and The Gang?

Pakula is passionate about racing and wants the best outcome for the sport. This is clear. He has been generous in his funding for Victorian racing, above any of his counterparts in the other states. The hostile and poisonous environment that pervades racing should be an affront to the Racing Minister and all those who have contributed to its dominant position in the Australian racing lexicon. But now is the time to show real leadership. No more Can Can shows with dancers out of step with reality and no direction of home. No more excuses for real leadership. But again, we wonder, where are these people? The Human Resources well is dry. No one wants any part of its rebuilding process.

We know only one true leader in the global racing industry, and he wouldn’t take on this gig for all the yum cha in China. So, let’s hope, this “pow wow” won’t become another “show cause” in corporate tap dancing.

Victorian racing is in freefall. It is an indictment on Moodie and Saundry- and their leadership or lack of it, that it is in this pathetic state. They garner no respect. And with Saundry about to board the “last train to Clarksville”, Moodie is in grave danger of hitching a ride with the “The Plodder”.

What was once covert undermining among some of the main players is now well and truly out of the closet and being played out in the open. It is unquestionably why racing in Oz is so incapable of exciting even a ripple of community and generational interest outside the spring carnival. Bad news travels like Black Caviar down the Flemington straight. Disunity is death. And Victorian racing is closer to entering those funeral parlours that pop up on RSN with their wacky advertising.'

Amen!

 

STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED FROM THE MAINSTREAM RACING MEDIA

CRICKET GREAT A SURPRISE WELL-WISHER AFTER WILLIAMS’ TITLE WIN

WELL-WISHERS from all parts of Craig Williams' racing world flooded the jockey with congratulations on winning his fifth Victorian Jockeys Premiership on Sunday, and there was one among the throng that would surprise most.

PATRICK BARTLEY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIAthat as Williams packed for a 10-day break in Hawaii, he spoke of his long friendship with one of the world's finest fast bowlers, West Indian Michael Holding.

It was a friendship forged nearly 20 years ago when Williams was based in England and was riding trackwork at Newmarket for revered English horseman Sir Michael Stoute.

"Every morning I would arrive at trackwork and Michael Holding was there. After a few days, we shook hands and started chatting and here we are in 2016 and he's taken time away from his commentating to wish me all the best," Williams said.

Speaking from his home in Newmarket, England, Holding said that he was genuinely excited at "another premiership going Craig's way".

"Craig is extremely meticulous. In every little thing he does in his career. It's the only way to reach the top of your sport," Holding said.

Williams said that after he and Holding had struck up a friendship, the fast bowler would invite him to Test matches around England and socialise later.

"He taught me so much about life. Sure he told me things about cricket that I would never have learned in a lifetime, but more importantly he had been at the top of his sport in a wonderful cricketing nation and I think his handy titbits has stood me in good stead.

"Just working harder and harder was the recipe for continued success," Williams said.

Holding was one of the world's premier fast bowlers, forming a lethal West Indies attack with Andy Roberts that terrorised batsmen in the 1970s and '80s. He took 249 wickets in 60 Tests and earned the nickname "Whispering Death" with his rhythmical, cat-like approach to the bowling crease.

"Michael loved going to the track. He really enjoys being involved in racing and his incredible memory was amazing. He only had to see a horse once and he would never forget it.

"Here in Australia we rely on brands to identify horses. Michael has just got that unique memory," Williams said.

Holding, 62, said it was not a late-in-life venture going to trackwork and enjoying racing all over the world.

"When I was growing up, my brother Ralph had a godmother who owned horses in the West Indies and I would tag along and that's probably where I got my real interest in the horses.

"In one of my trips to Australia, I had an extremely strong build-up of form and knowledge but travelling around with the commentating has made it that bit harder to keep up with. But I own a home in Newmarket and spend the summer there and I used to walk from home to the track or ride my bike."

One of Europe's leading jockeys Ryan Moore is a regular at Newmarket and has also made friends with Holding over the past few summers.

"Ryan Moore is an outstanding jockey, he has the same traits as Craig Williams. They're studious, they know where they are in races and more importantly, they know who's going to be first, second, third and what pace will be on and where the best spot will be in a race.

"And then they're out on the track walking it, looking for the best parts or the worst parts. That's why I say as sportsmen it's that meticulous touch that makes all the difference."

Holding is broadcasting the Test series in England and divides his time between Newmarket, the Caribbean and a home in Miami.

Williams said whenever they're in the same country they go to the races or cricket and he believes that since 2000, when they first met, their relationship has become much stronger.

But it seems no matter how close the premiership jockey is to Holding, there are no plans for the one-time fastest bowler in the world to don the whites and play in the jockeys' cricket XI next summer.

 

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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