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.


PERCY DUTTON, a proud and unashamed fan of racing in VICTORIA, gives NSW Racing officialdom and media a nice workout:

‘IF at first you don’t succeed then try, try, try again!

That certainly has to be the motto of Racing NSW’s dynamic duo, John Messara and his trusty sidekick Peter V’landys.

It seems they will leave no stone unturned in their desperate bid to upstage racing in Victoria.

Sadly, they can boost prizemoney for Sydney racing as much as they like. They will never blow wind up the arse of Melbourne as long as their backsides point to the ground.

Victorian racing will remain No 1 and the pacesetter for horse racing in this country for one simple reason. The quality of the product is head and shoulders above what New South Wales has to offer or can ever hope to achieve.

The Sydney racing media were waxing lyrical as the Racing NSW ‘love child’ SKY Channel hosted the sport’s worst kept secret on Tuesday – an announcement that Sydney Saturday stakes would soar to a record $100,000 per race from October 1 as the centrepiece of a wide range of prizemoney increases across the State.

According to a report by Ray Thomas for News Limited, Racing NSW will distribute total prizemoney of more than $204 million across the three tiers of racing – nearly $30 million more than its main competition in Victoria. Minimum Melbourne Saturday prizemoney remains at $85,000 per race.

Well Mr Thomas standby for Victoria to not only counter the NSW offer but raise it before long. Not that they need to. All the money in the world can be thrown at Sydney racing, it will never compete with Melbourne.

Surely that should have been evident to those still hell-bent on usurping Victoria’s No 1 standing. Did they not learn a lesson from that massive flop, The Championships? It has failed to get within cooee of the quality of horses or crowds attracted by the Spring Carnival in Melbourne and officials can blame that on anything they like, particularly the Sydney weather which is even more fickle south of the border.

Ray Thomas, already regarded as the ‘spin doctor’ for Messara and V’landys, couldn’t control his delight with a comment piece under the headline: ‘Dynamic Duo Deliver the Goods for NSW’.

It was the usual finger-down-the-threat stuff we have come to expect from him declaring ‘how far NSW racing has come in the last five years’ under the leadership of Messara as Chairman and V’landys as CEO.

‘In 2011, minimum Sydney Saturday race prizemoney was pegged at $65,000 and was struggling to keep apace with Melbourne. But since then Messara and V’landys have dragged the sport out of the doldrums and deserve kudos for delivering on their promise to return NSW to its status as the premier racing state.’

Why then is Sydney racing of such a sub standard compared to Melbourne on most Saturdays of the year? It’s largely because of lack of competition for the big stables domination, headed Chris Waller and the O’Shea-Godolphin team. The smaller players have been driven out of the big city.

Even the Fairfax turf racing team joined the bandwagon with Chris Roots reporting that the Australian Turf Club already had several Melbourne trainers looking for stables at its tracks and ‘the list is only going to grow with the prizemoney rise’.

That is certainly good news. The big stables can do with some competition. The other positive was the new initiative, the Horse Welfare Fund, which is designed to ensure all thoroughbreds are placed in appropriate care once their race careers are over.’



BEN QUIRK, of BRISBANE, questions how much further racing in Queensland can fall behind the big southern States:

‘THE announcement of massive prizemoney increases for racing in New South Wales has again highlighted how far Queensland is continuing to fall behind.

Once again it has raised that idiotic statement by the Racing Minister most of us prefer to forget in Steve Dickson who promised that under the leadership of the LNP Government Queensland would finish ‘a furlong in front of the southern states’.

Dickson must rate as the greatest ring-in racing in Queensland has seen since Fine Cotton. Sadly he was guided by the man who now wants to be Premier in Tim Nicholls and another forgettable figure in little King Kev Dixon, the RQ Chairman who promised so much but delivered so little. 

At least when Bob the Builder Bentley was running the show, prizemoney in Queensland kept pace with the southern states. He was never silly enough to declare it would ever be on a par. But he did his best to compete and paid the price of being shown the door because of the tough decisions associated with keeping pace in the stakes race.

The latest prizemoney increase for NSW highlights the tough job confronting the new Board appointed to run racing in Queensland by the Labor Government. But rather than appoint Industry Advisory Panels and do even more consulting they should get on with the job of hauling the industry in the Sunshine State out of the quicksand.

There is a massive problem for south-east Queensland clubs trying to compete with those just across the border in northern NSW where the prizemoney boost has to attract many more northern starters. Owners aren’t idiots and nor are trainers. Who can blame them for chasing the best returns for their investments?

The LNP Government has plenty to answer for during their time in control of racing. They pushed through a new TAB deal which most believe is increasingly starting to look like a ‘real dud’. Despite arguments from Board heavies who resigned in protest after claiming they were shut out of the consultation process, details still have not been released on how good – or bad – this new TAB deal was and whether there was political interference in the process, as has been alleged.

Prizemoney increases hinge largely on returns from that TAB deal and, of course, turnover which unfortunately is on the downward spiral because of a lack of confidence in the local product where every time new integrity measures are proposed these face a mountain of protest from stakeholders.

Of course there are those who prefer to blame the turnover fall on the closure of Eagle Farm and therein lies another problem that can be laid squarely at the feet of the LNP and, in particular, Tim Nicholls who promised it would be up and running before work had even commenced. Too much politics was played which caused this massive delay but there was also arguably a lack of foresight by the Kevin Dixon Board who didn’t have a Plan B in the event of a major delay to the project.

Instead of being a furlong in front as we were promised by the two Dickos and Tim the Toolman who had the remote control, racing in Queensland is now a couple of furlongs behind.

And don’t expect things to get better too soon – unless this new Board can perform a Mission Impossible and turn the good ship RQ Titanic into a business that Chairman and stockbroker Steve Wilson declared recently he would invest his own hard-earned in.’  



STU WILLS, an occasional contributor to the WHINGE from the DARLING DOWNS, poses the question:

‘HOW many experts does it take to change a light bulb in Queensland racing?

Talk about consultation – with the numbers appointed to these three-code Advisory Panels one could argue they will be too busy discussing what needs to happen to get anything done.

With all due respects some struggle to run their own clubs or stakeholder organizations and should be left to do those jobs without interfering in the running of racing.

Why appoint Boards, or high paid administrative staff, if you are going to have Advisory Panels of this magnitude to put their two bob’s worth in as well?

It all comes down to this common cry of ‘not enough consultation’. Trouble is they spend so much time consulting that things get put in the too hard basket and the job never gets done properly.

This could only happen in Queensland.

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE is a Media Release from Racing Queensland that the above comments obviously refers to:

RACING Queensland has (on Monday) announced the establishment of new industry advisory panels across the three codes of racing in the state.

Designed to play an important role in the future of the industry in Queensland, the industry advisory panels will meet quarterly to assist Racing Queensland in the process of formulating strategy and making decisions on important industry matters.

Each advisory group is made up of a cross section of key industry representatives. The list of representatives on each panel is outlined below.

The groups will be chaired by Racing Queensland Directors with specific code experience and will be attended by representatives from Racing Queensland management.

Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer Dr Eliot Forbes said the industry advisory panels were part of the organization’s commitment to listening to industry stakeholders across all codes and regions.

“We have looked to appoint a mix of members, as well as expertise on a local, state and national level,” said Dr Forbes.

“Racing Queensland is committed to working with its stakeholders in order to address matters of concern and help shape the future of the industry in this state,” said Dr Forbes.

“We are proud to announce a structured framework for industry consultation.

“The advice from the panels will be of critical assistance for Racing Queensland as it formulates and implements its strategy and makes decisions on important industry matters.”

Greyhound Advisory Panel

First name


Panel Chairman (RQ)



Metro Club



Metropolitan Trainer



Country Owner



Country Club



Metro Club CEO









QRIC - Commissioner



QRIC - Chief Steward









Harness Advisory Panel

First name


Panel Chairman (RQ)












Owner/Trainer/Media/Country Club



Owner/Trainer/Driver/BOTRA Pres



Albion Park Club Chairman/Media



Redcliffe Club Chairman



QRIC - Commissioner



QRIC - Chief Steward









Thoroughbred Advisory Panel

First Name


Panel Chairman (RQ)









Metropolitan Trainer



Metropolitan Trainer



GC Trainer





















Jockeys Association






Owners Association



Trainers Association



QRIC - Commissioner



QRIC - Chief Steward









THIS email came from a LONG-TIME LICENSEE who welcomes the introduction of stricter penalties but prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons:

‘WITH all due respects, the new, supposedly tougher Queensland Racing Integrity Commission runs the risk of degenerating into a laughing stock if it continues to bow and scrape to stakeholders.

Commissioner Ross Barnett obviously had to undertake some consultation process in regards to the new tougher penalties being proposed but if they are allowed to be watered down too much he might as well stick with the status quo.

I read with interest where leading trainers Tony Gollan and Rob Heathcote met the Commissioner last week to air concerns about the penalties and were given an assurance that the Commission does not intend to ‘over-penalize trainers for minor infringements’.

One would have thought if licensees were not infringing the Rules then they had nothing to worry about. It’s the same old story though. No-one in the industry wants to be moved from the ‘comfort zone’ that has existed under a series of politically motivated  control bodies and laid-back stewards for far too long.

They talk about the need to improve integrity of racing and it is long overdue in Queensland where turnover on the local product is far from encouraging which has been blamed on everything but the real reason – a lack of punter confidence in the product.

Add to that this farcical situation where trainers with positive swabs to cobalt are beating the charges on appeal because of a technicality concerning the Act and it is little wonder that Queensland is becoming the standing joke of racing in this country.’



WE received several emails bagging SKY Channel for its failure to cover the iconic Birdsville Cup race meeting over the years, and specifically last weekend, with some questioning why Racing Queensland have not lodged a protest with the national broadcaster.

Here are the two contributions that we have chosen to run hoping the views expressed get the feeling of all who contributed across:


‘THE on-going snub of the Birdsville Cup meeting was just another example of how badly SKY Channel treats racing in Queensland these days.

One could argue that had the meeting been run in the NSW outback that SKY would have spared no expense to have a big team on the ground to ensure the best coverage.

They can’t blame the weather that saw the two-day meeting reduced to one and postponed to the Sunday. Organizers worked day and night to ensure racing went ahead despite the wet weather.

The only one to let the side down was SKY. They announced a couple of weeks ago that Birdsville this year was a victim of cost cutting. No expense has been spared ensuring that racing in NSW gets wall-to-wall coverage – no matter where a TAB meeting is run – and the big loser in all of this has been racing in Queensland which is a high price to pay for loyalty over many, many years.

No-one needs to be told how important the Birdsville Cup meeting is on the bush racing circuit in Australia. It is arguably the most famous of its type in the country – the Melbourne Cup of the bush.

SKY can hardly argue about the costs of travelling to the outback to beam pictures of this iconic event to the nation when it makes an annual pilgrimage (and did so recently) to cover the Cup meeting at Roebourne (ever heard of it?) – an old gold mining town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Roebourne is 30km east of Karatha and over 1500km from Perth at the gateway to the many national parks of the interior of WA. It is absolutely back of Bourke.

Birdsville might be perched on the edge of the Simpson Desert but is no more off the beaten track than Roebourne. Thousands drive, bus and fly in from all over the country to witness the Holy Grail of Bush Racing every year.

Unfortunately that doesn’t include our only national race broadcaster. They felt the costs were too prohibitive. Yet this week they will converge on Cairns in droves for the Amateurs which is more a social event than a race meeting. Then again there are more political Brownie Points to be earned by heading there.’




‘LONG before the SKY Channel cameras promised to cover racing off the beaten track, Queensland Events, an arm of Tourism Queensland, showcased the Birdsville races to the world.

Far sighted tourism ambassadors in the Sunshine State saw merit in financing live TV coverage of the Birdsville Cup meeting not only throughout Australia but also off-shore. They felt it would draw tourists to Australia – or more specifically Queensland – and it did.

The arrival of SKY promised so much and we have watched it grow. Unfortunately these days some of those who were loyal supporters of the race broadcaster from the start are being treated very shabbily, specifically racing in Queensland at the expense of massive coverage of the sport in NSW which was reportedly orchestrated by Peter V’landys.

Good luck to Racing NSW but what about contractual obligations. Birdsville has been the last victim of this disgustingly one-sided approach to race coverage by SKY. The Winter Carnival in Queensland was another and so is racing every Saturday when the major metropolitan meeting in the north plays second fiddle to the second rate TAB meeting outside of Sydney.

SKY promised to bring us racing from all parts of the globe. What they didn’t say it would be at a price – and that price is coverage of the local product. The failure to cover Birdsville was blamed on cost cutting. While punters were deprived live pictures from Birdsville on Sunday they could watch racing from the United States and Britain, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, France, Ireland, Germany and even Chile on the same day. has been the best thing that ever happened for Victoria – at least the punters there don’t have to put up with the second rate treatment from SKY anymore and are assured of watching live local gallops every day these are run. SKY is now the NSW answer to Pity if you happen to come from Queensland or South Australia.

There is a story doing the rounds that a wealthy businessman with interests in racing and harness racing is keen to spearhead a company to takeover SKY. And he isn’t based in NSW. The sooner that happens the better!’



EDITOR’S NOTE: AS per usual there has been little or no criticism of the SKY decision to abandon coverage of Birdsville in the mainstream racing media. That was left to TERRY BUTTS of the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER to do their job in this column item:       

YOU really have to wonder about SKY – the country’s one and only national racing telecaster.

Management is obviously of the mistaken belief that NSW leads the way, and that no one is remotely interested in racing outside that State.

SKY’s No. 1 Channel – Racing Central – brazenly continues to ignore Victorian racing, easily the best in the country, and SKY’s second rate coverage of Queensland is well known and arrogantly continues, almost every race day.

But on Sunday SKY stooped way below the edge by snubbing Birdsville and  frankly, its licence to continue should be subject to a high level inquiry.

The telecaster elected to provide live coverage of most Australian TAB meetings that day and found time over its three channels to provide coverage of Korea, Singapore, Scottsville (South Africa), St Cloud (France), Germany and from the Hippodrome in Chile – plus two meetings from the U.S. (Golden Gate and Del Mar), two from the U.K. (York and Fontwell Park) and the Irish meeting at Dundalk as well.

But that’s not all.

There was live coverage of nine greyhound meetings in Australia and New Zealand and nine harness meetings including two from the U.S. and one from Tager (Slovakia) and another from a place named Linnunlahti in Finland. Can you believe that?

Riveting stuff!

Yes all these meetings from all over the globe – and not a single shot from Birdsville, undoubtedly one of this country’s best known and revered race meetings.

Why? You are entitled to ask.

Surely the answer wouldn’t be because Birsdville is not located inside the NSW borders.

Or is it?

Really the only thing SKY has got going for it nowadays is Michael Maxworthy. And I am sure he would have been happy to cover it, just as it was when Graeme McNeice called the tune.

And the race caller on Sunday for 4TAB (which covered the meeting) was none other than SKY’s Brisbane-based Josh Fleming.

How could SKY possibly ignore the iconic Birdsville race day, yet provide live coverage for these other non de script fixtures from all over the globe?





TREVOR ‘Colgate’ Stewart is a name that most racing people in Queensland would never have heard of.

But to those involved in the industry around Birdsville and Betoota the bloke is a ‘legend’.

All involved with the recent annuals at the two outback centres say that without the work and time he contributed neither would have gone ahead.

‘Colgate’ is the Works Foreman for the Diamintina Shire Council and his team worked day and night to ensure the big wet didn’t stop either meeting at Birdsville or Betoota.

As one racing wag said when the postponed Cup day at Birdsville came to a close: “Eagle Farm officials ought to do themselves a favor, sack the track curators they have and employ this bloke. He could be the answer to their prayers”.

* UNFORTUNATELY we didn’t have a photograph of ‘Colgate’ Stewart so we ran one of a bare-footed Peter Moody enjoying his stint on the sideline and a stopover in Birdsville for the Cup.




SAFETY has always been and always should be a priority when it comes to racing.

But we have received a couple of emails from racing enthusiasts who are a little confused over the current problems which have caused a temporary closure of racing at Beaudesert.

It seems the problem focuses on the running rail which failed to meet the safety standards of the latest compliance audit. Racing Queensland has ordered its replacement before the club can race again.

Where we are confused is that our understanding is that former track ‘experts’ for RQ in Warren Williams and Bill Schuck oversaw the installation of this running rail at Beaudesert and had also performed previous audits where, as would be expected, it met compliance requirements. Then along comes a new track ‘expert’ and he declares it unsafe.

Some of the stories doing the rounds are quite unbelievable. One suggests track staff had to support sections of the rail while races were run recently. If that was the case why did we not see them standing there when there was coverage of the meeting on SKY and surely there is no way that stewards would have allowed that to happen?

That aside if the Beaudesert running rail is unsafe it is our understanding that there are similar rails being used at TAB tracks throughout the State. Will each of these also fail a compliance audit and racing be closed while such are replaced or is the situation so much different at Beaudesert?

It’s time new RQ CEO Dr Eliot Forbes issued a Media Release clarifying the situation instead of letting stakeholders and the industry learn what is happening from racing’s bush telegraph.



RACING Victoria has announced the framework for its Minimum Bet Limit policy that will apply to approved Wagering Service Providers betting on Victorian thoroughbred races from 1 October 2016.

RV announced in May 2016 its intention to implement an MBL before undertaking comprehensive stakeholder consultation to determine the most appropriate framework. Responses were received from 480 stakeholders including punters, WSPs, industry participants, media and regulators.

While each segment offered tailored views, there was a fundamental acceptance of the MBL framework implemented by Racing NSW in 2014 and a desire that this be matched by RV for consistency.

Having considered the feedback, RV has determined that its MBL will largely mirror that currently offered to punters wagering on NSW thoroughbred races.

The MBL on Victorian thoroughbred races will apply from 9am (AET) race day for day meetings and 2pm (AET) race day for night meetings and allow punters to win up to $2,000 on any one metropolitan win bet and $1,000 on any one non-metropolitan win bet.

RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said: “We have listened to our customers who were strong in their views that the MBL framework in place in New South Wales is an appropriate one and that for consistency and familiarity it would be beneficial for all if we mirrored it.

“It is our desire for the MBL to take effect from 1 October 2016 and while we acknowledge that this is a looming deadline for WSPs we see the synergies with the New South Wales model providing opportunities for a timelier implementation ahead of the major Spring Racing Carnival meetings.

“Our objective throughout the consultation process was to identify an MBL framework that is effective and appropriate for all stakeholders and ensures that Victorian thoroughbred racing remains their product of choice and we believe that the model will achieve this.”

In announcing its MBL, RV has advised that it has not yet finalised its customer dispute resolution process and its sanctions for non-compliance by a WSP. Finalisation of both, which are required to effectively manage the MBL, will be a key priority for RV over the coming weeks ahead of its scheduled launch.




GLEN WALSH, who still likes to have a punt on BRISBANE RACING, sent this email:

‘LITTLE wonder punters aren’t interested in betting on the new Eagle Farm track.

A sparrow farted overnight on Friday and the circuit was rated an unbelievable Heavy 8 for Saturday’s meeting (God only knows what it would have been had some real rain fallen). It was upgraded half way through the card to a Slow 7.

But that was just the beginning of the nightmare for those still prepared to have a bet at Eagle Farm, or worse still trying to assess the form.

How did Rocky King manage to win the Open Handicap – I will call it that rather than the Flying to avoid making a goose of myself after they charged through the first 600m in a less than slick 39.48secs which you could just about cover on foot?

Rocky King failed to fire at four runs last campaign and from two starts this time in had managed a last of 13 at Grafton and a last of 10 at Eagle Farm, beaten 11 lengths after being a spent force on the home turn.

The ever-vigilent Eagle Farm stewards had to interrupt their afternoon tea and scones break to hold not one – but can you believe it – two inquiries into the race. The first involved the massive form reversal by the winner Rocky King and the other into the ride by Michael Cahill on the Sydney visitor El Sasso which finished third after settling last in the slowly run affair. Not that I am suggesting anything untoward, but Cahill has a terrible record on favourites lately.

Rather than me attempt to explain the outcome of these two inquiries, here are the detailed Stewards’ Reports:

ROCKY KING – Trainer T. Bourke was questioned regarding the horse's improved performance. He stated that he was disappointed with the rider's efforts at the horse's previous start on 13 August as the gelding tended to over-race when being restrained behind the leader. He added that ROCKY KING, prior to that start, had won a trial over 1270m at the Sunshine Coast in good fashion. The explanation was noted.
EL SASSO – M. Cahill was questioned regarding his riding of EL SASSO in the early stages. He stated that he was instructed by the Snowden’s to attempt to get cover and he did that immediately after leaving the barriers. He added that EL SASSO, when being steadied, was inclined to over-race and after leaving the 1000m was inconvenienced by ELLAWISDOM, which shifted out to his inside, resulting in his mount being forced wider. He further added that he believed that in the early stages of the straight he felt his mount was better suited improving to the inside as he was of the opinion that today's racing suited horses racing between 2 and 6 wide, however, in his opinion EL SASSO only finished the race off moderately. Trainer Paul Snowden, when contacted, confirmed the instructions and indicated that EL SASSO, when exposed early, pulls very hard and does not finish races off and the stable had given instructions to jockey Cahill to find cover. He added that the tempo of today's race, when it developed into a sprint home, did not suit the horse and added that he was satisfied with jockey Cahill's riding of the horse in the straight, particularly saving ground to the inside.

So there you have it – just more reasons not to bet at Eagle Farm – or should I say racing in Brisbane?’




‘I often see Matt Stewart being bagged for something controversial he has penned for the Herald Sun but I am a fan of his and want to congratulate him on the column about Chris Waller and Winx.

Matty made a good point about Waller not being able to dodge wet tracks forever with his ‘champion’ mare Winx, which we saw occur again at Randwick last Saturday.

What happens if it’s a bog track when the Cox Plate is run? Do the stewards in Victoria withdraw the mare on the basis that Waller has twice previously decided not to run her in similar circumstances? That’s hardly likely.

This is not a criticism because I am from Victoria and Winx and Waller are Sydney-based. I may look like a fool eventually but I am yet to be convinced about her Victorian credentials on the basis of that Cox Plate win.

She did find the fast lane on a disgracefully biased Moonee Valley that day and if my recollection is correct there was some interference caused at a vital stage to one of her main dangers while other rivals were struggling to make ground out wide.

Don’t misunderstand me. Winx is an outstanding mare. But I believe what she does this Spring in Victoria will determine if she is as good as Black Caviar or Sunline. I just hope it is a level playing field this Cox Plate day and that she has some quality rivals to determine whether she’s the ‘champion’ that the Sydneysiders have crowned her.’     


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.