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.

WE apologize to those whose contributions did not arrive in time for this week’s Whinge courtesy of another glitch in the system at Telstra which closed down their email deliveries  well into last night. Little wonder many of their ccustomers believe that Telstra these days couldn’t organize themselves a root in a brothel.



LETSGOHORSERACING has unconfirmed but reliable reports that the new Queensland Racing Integrity Commission is investigating links between prominent bookmakers and leading jockeys.

The investigation initially targeted one specific bookmaker and up to five jockeys but this has apparently been expanded to include two other bookies – one in Sydney and another outside the mainstream racing area in Queensland.

There have been rumours circulating for years that a high profile bookmaker in the metropolitan area had several successful jockeys on his speed dial. But nothing was ever done about this.

Intelligence received by QRIC since it was established has apparently been sufficient to launch an investigation and there is even talk that this is being led by the top cops of the unit in conjunction with a former ‘gun investigator’ from interstate who was an expert at ‘fence jumping’.

With the powers available to QRIC they should be able to delve into telephone records of jockeys and bookmakers. We are reliably informed this could also include staff and associates of bookmakers and even where ‘burner mobiles’ were obtained.

If this ‘top secret’ investigation – which has been privately confirmed by a source close to the Integrity bunker – hauls in a big fish standby for the tenpins to drop and some ‘big names’ to be caught in the net.

We are also told that QRIC has been asked to delve into serious allegations involving links between a major stable and some high profile industry identities that occurred in the past. For legal reasons we cannot elaborate on this situation.



KEVIN HODSON of BRISBANE raises some interesting questions:

‘IS this hullabaloo over the draft set of mandatory penalties for Queensland racing participants a storm in a teacup?

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett, faced with the difficult task of cleaning up an industry that lost punter confidence long ago, found himself quickly under fire.

The media described the proposed changes by QRIC as a ‘bombshell’, went all shock horror warning that it would place Queensland on a collision course with Racing Australia; and has adopted the ‘scare tactic’ of suggesting a simple mistake could cost a trainer his or her livelihood.

Give the guy a break. Commissioner Barnett is simply trying to eliminate the ‘cheats from the industry’ and even the racing media knows they are still out there. Surely there would be some provision for extenuating circumstances and such would be applied when charges were laid.

Instead of painting a picture of endless trainers sitting on the sidelines for giving their horses what they thought was a ‘simple vitamin’, the stakeholders – and the racing media – should be encouraging rather than condemning Commissioner Barnett.

But before we all get our knickers in a knot over yet another drama to confront racing in Queensland please consider the following.

Even if new penalty standards are established under Section 58 of the Racing Integrity Act ‘to provide for the good management of the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound codes’ would Queensland not have to gain approval for these nationally before such were implemented?

If one state tried to go it alone with changes to existing penalties, then surely they could hit some hurdles and find themselves disenfranchised by the national body which I am sure neither Racing Queensland nor the Government of the day would allow to happen.’



ALBERT WILLIAMS of REDCLIFFE, a regular contributor to the WHINGE, weighs into the penalties debate:

‘THE reaction – perhaps I should call it overreaction – to the proposed changes to mandatory penalties for serious Rule breaches suggests that the stakeholders of Queensland racing have had it too good for too long.

One could argue that this ‘comfort zone’ that has existed between licensees and stewards is responsible for the lack of confidence that exists when it comes to punting on racing in Queensland and could be a major reason why turnover on the local product continues on a downward spiral.

Stakeholders were already wary of the new Racing Integrity Commission established in Queensland. It seems that any form of change, seen as a means of improving the image of the three codes, will meet with resistance.

Greyhound racing continues to be dogged by problems since the live baiting with the courts throwing a spanner in the works with a ruling that video footage was obtained illegally. Harness racing has been on the nose for years and more people now want to punt on the dogs than the trots. Thoroughbred racing remains the hope of the side despite the fact that betting on the local product continues to slide downhill at a faster rate than an out of control roller-coaster.

Ask any long-term punter on racing in Queensland and most will blame the perceived ‘soft’ stance by stewards of the past as a contributing factor to the betting demise. Too many good stewards, for perhaps political reasons, seemed reluctant to enter down the track of inquiries that were controversial. Some were so well accepted by licensees that there was a protest when two Chief Stewards were given the heave-ho by the powers-that-be, albeit because they didn’t fit into the political landscape of that time.

A new broom in Integrity was long overdue but since it arrived – courtesy of the minority Labor Government – nothing but hurdles have been erected. This isn’t change for change’s sake in Queensland. If the industry is to regain public confidence it is essential. Tougher stances, standards and perhaps even penalties need to be implemented.’




‘WHAT hope is there for greyhound racing in Queensland if prosecutions of live baiting offenders are overturned because video footage of the alleged offences are declared by the courts to have been illegally obtained?

A case against a greyhound trainer has been thrown out after a judge ruled the footage illegal. This followed a District Court at Ipswich being told in a pre-trial hearing that animal rights activists obtained the video illegally after trespassing on private property to secretly install cameras.

Anyone who watched the 4 Corners expose would have been outraged by the live baiting activity. Ethically the footage may have been obtained illegally but morally someone needed to do something in an effort to end this abhorrent practice.

How do the courts – or control bodies – expect disreputable trainers who use live baiting to improve the performance of their greyhounds to be caught? Surely they don’t think it will work by stewards contacting kennels and making an appointment for a visit to check out what is going on behind fences and closed doors.

The situation didn’t work in the past when stewards couldn’t effectively police live baiting and control bodies had members who admitted they knew it was occurring but did nothing about it.

What’s the answer then? The obvious is to give powers to the new Integrity Unit that enables them to ‘spy’ on training facilities without the threat of that being declared illegal. And if they want to plant cameras without knowledge of trainers they should be allowed to do so without fear of trespass infringements. If a trainer or a kennel has nothing to hide then this should not concern them.'



WE have had a couple of emails from a region outside Brisbane concerning a lover’s tiff between two well known racing identities.

One is a leading official for a TAB club and the other an opinionated racing man who upset his ‘buddy’ by attacking the QTIS success that prominent breeder Stan Johnston has enjoyed with his horses.

As one contributor commented: “Stan Johnston has arguably done more for racing in Queensland with his galloping road show than any other owner. He deserves every cent of QTIS money his horses earn and puts as much back into the industry as he takes out. He’s a legend in bush racing in this State.”

We’re reliably informed that the ‘lover’s tiff’ does have a happy ending though, according to another email received from a follower of racing in the region concerned: “Don’t worry they will soon kiss and make up. It’s very much a quid pro quo relationship. Each needs the other for what he can provide behind the scenes and therein lies a story that we’ll save for another day”.




WONDER what the former leading Labor Party racing identity thinks about the bikie laws being implemented by the Government he served so well for so long as he embarks on another country road trip?

This one-time hard-hitting, outspoken Racing Minister, who brought about major change to control of the sport in Queensland, has been doing a road trip on his Harley Davidson – at least that’s the brand we are told that he rides.

Rather than a 60-plus version of The Wild One, those who have seen him decked out in his leathers astride his machine chasing adventure and dodging the frustrating pace of the daily grind, suggest he would fit more into a scene from Wild Hogs.

Thanks to the contributors from the Downs who made us aware of this after the former high flying pollie was seen bedding down for a night at the Cambooya Pub.  




WE received this email from a prominent member of the Race Club in question who, for obvious reasons, wishes to remain anonymous:   

‘DID the Chairman of a prominent TAB club in Queensland just learn that one of his key staff was a director of a company that went belly up?

The rumour mill is buzzing that the boss is far from impressed – not so much about the hurdle hit by his trusted right hand man but more so that he wasn’t told about it long ago.

Story goes that the other director in the failed company had to declare himself bankrupt and sell his house. But the now well entrenched racing administrator managed to escape a similar fate.

Things have not been all that cosy among the hierarchy at the club concerned and some members are posing the question will there soon be a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic?’



THIS photograph was sent to us by a thoroughbred enthusiasts who hasn’t got much time for dog racing and even less, he insists, for the Animal Liberation movement:   

‘’THERE are times when the animal liberation movement just lose all credibility.

They won plenty of Brownie Points exposing ‘live baiting’ in the greyhound industry which has resulted in the sport being closed down in NSW in the wake of the 4 Corners report.

In the eyes of many that was ‘over-kill’ and defeats the purpose, only serving to destroy a viable industry and the thousands of jobs of many good people who are involved.

Recently the animal liberation group distributed a photograph which suggests to some they are simply ‘dumb as dog shit’.

It contains two shots – one of a racing greyhound and another which is supposed to be a greyhound lying on its back relaxing in its post racing days. Problem is the second dog is not a greyhound – it is a Borzoi.

The Borzoi, also known as the Russian wolfhound, is similar in shape to the greyhound and is a member of the sighthound family, but it has a fluffy coat. The greyhound has been bred for racing. Both make terrific family pets.’   




IT is a sad but undeniable fact that the Townsville Amateurs are no longer a shining light on the north Queensland racing calendar. In fact, events of last week would indicate the lights are just about out

TERRY BUTS reports in his ‘SILKS & SADDLES’ column for the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER that the NQ Amateur carnival was once regarded by many the best carnival in the north (Cairns included).And visitors came from all over the west, many from the south and a large contingent or regulars from the north as well.

In a preview of this year’s meeting held at Cluden on Saturday, the club recalled the days when thousands converged on Townsville “for an extended weekend of fun, festivities and top class horse racing.

“Since the very first race meeting was held in 1911, the affectionately titled 'Amateurs' has faithfully reflected life in North and Western Queensland through good times and bad, droughts, floods, fires and two world wars.

“The club has a mix of town and country members and, in recent years, there has been a strong growth in the numbers of younger members.”

And the preview bravely concluded” This ensures that the annual carnival will maintain its status as a social and sporting icon for vast numbers of people throughout the North and West of our State.”

That is as bold prediction in the current climate for Saturday’s meeting attracted the poorest crowd on record.

Gone are the days of a bumper two day meeting that in the good ol’ days was preceded with a massive seafood smorgasbord and Calcutta on the lawns of the Casino on Thursday night.

The Amateurs Ball on Friday night was rated for years as the best of the season, and the recovery at the track on Sunday was also a sell out. Those social highlights too have gone.

So has the original race date that for some reason was switched from late October (W. S. Cox Plate day) to a date wedged between the Townsville Cup and Cairns Amateurs. The Cup distance was also altered from 1400m to 2000m-all in defiance of the old axiom: If it’s not broken why fix it?

 Seems it all started to roll downhill when Carlton United pulled out of sponsorship- and many blame the outbreak of EI back in 2010 that just happened to coincide with amateur week. 

The hasty and ill advised decision by RQ chairman Bob Bentley to abandon all racing in the state that day proved a financial disaster from which the club has not recovered.       

The threatened demise of the amateurs is clearly shown in the prize money. In 2010 it was $125,000.

Last Saturday total prize money was rock a rock bottom $90,000.

Such a shame!



BOOKMAKERS will explore offering betting on a quick-fire form of horse racing set to be legalized in Queensland in an attempt to make up for revenue losses when NSW’s greyhound racing ban takes effect.

ADAM PENGILLY reports that FAIRFAX MEDIAunderstands quarter horse racing, sprint races conducted by a shorter and stockier breed than their thoroughbred cousins and popular in America, is on the cusp of being ratified north of the border.

The legislation could open up a whole new betting product for Australian punters, who will be able to wager on the Twenty20-style of horse racing where events are run over distances spanning 400 metres to 800 metres in condensed programs.

It could go some way to recouping losses to be sustained by bookmakers when Premier Mike Baird's ban on the $335 million NSW greyhound racing industry starts on July 1 next year.

The Australian Quarter Horse Racing Development has earmarked Queensland tracks at Gympie and Warwick for its start-up venture if it gets the final tick of approval from the state's government. And it believes it could be racing as early as January next year.

It's understood some Australian bookmakers have internally discussed the prospect of betting on quarter horse racing – and most said they would consider promoting the product if and when it began.

Ladbrokes has begun streaming American quarter horse races on its platforms.

"If we were comfortable from a legal and ethical perspective, we're absolutely interested in the product and how we could offer it to our customers," a Ladbrokes spokesperson said.

Wagering giant Tabcorp has estimated the closure of the NSW greyhound racing industry will sap five per cent of its overall turnover, while previously indicating it will source alternative racing to make up for the shortfall.

The company said on Friday it was unaware of any developments on the local quarter horse racing front, but would explore options to offer it as a wagering service if legalised.

"We're not aware of any progress in Queensland for quarter horse racing," a Tabcorp statement said. "If it did eventuate and we were approached to offer betting we would consider it as we would any other new product."

The Australian Quarter Horse Racing Development estimates it has a pool of 400 horses to source from for its initial meetings before breeders concentrate their efforts on expanding local programs.

Unlike thoroughbred racing, Australian quarter horse breeders can use artificial insemination, meaning they can source frozen semen – or straws – from top American stallions to influence local bloodlines.

"We're obviously working towards more online betting and there is market share in Australia," Australian Quarter Horse Racing Development executive director John Cotter said. "The obvious [global appeal] is Asia time zone-wise and Ladbrokes has started streaming quarter horse racing from the States into Australia.

"From our perspective we've always tried to market the quarter horses as, a) a working man's horse because it is, and b) a completely different form of racing with a small number of venues and it's two hours versus saturation so we've looked at streaming [our races]."

A proposed $60 million project for quarter horse racing in the Mary Valley near Gympie was announced in 2014 on the premise of also creating a host of employment and business opportunities in the region.

It has stalled on several occasions, but renewed efforts to get the unique style of racing off the ground have increased in recent months.

Should it succeed in Queensland the Australian Quarter Horse Racing Development has plans for expansion interstate.

"From our perspective we've got two tracks lined up and we've got all our systems and procedures in place ready to go," Cotter said. "If we can at least get a race date we can also go down to NSW and say, 'you've got the infrastructure, how do we team up and what do we need to do'?"

A Racing Queensland letter to all of the state's race club secretaries in March said "given a large enough pool of horses and regular racing at some point in the future there may be an opportunity for wagering to take place on these events [other than thoroughbred and standardbred horses and greyhound racing]". 

It appears that time is nearing with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission liaising with the Australian Quarter Horse Racing Development over matters such as stewarding.

Australian quarter horses have traditionally only competed in campdrafting and barrel racing events.           


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.