Jenny - Clean

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.



TERRY BUTTS in his ‘SILKS & SADDLES’ column in the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER, reported on the annual meeting of the TOWNSVILLE TURF CLUB:

QUEENSLAND needs more racing administrators like Kevin O’Keefe who has all but been forced out of his key role in the industry by frustration with control bodies not to mention ill-health.

O’Keefe launched a salvo at those running the show at Racing Queensland in his annual report for the Townsville Turf Club and it would be difficult to find an objective racing follower or stakeholder who would not agree with his sentiments.

Here’s part of what O’Keefe had to say in his annual report and here’s hoping someone at RQ takes it aboard:

RACING Queensland is the Control Body of the racing industry in Queensland. All other Australian States have been very supportive of the Racing Industry by increasing prize money and investing in a capital works program to attract participants and the general public.

 Racing Queensland unfortunately has the total racing industry in a non-buoyant mode where loss of prize money, transfer of race dates to mid-week meetings are denying the Clubs the opportunity to create income to further support the Clubs viability. Saturday Race dates have proven there is sufficient income to support the Club’s financial position.

 In contrast to prize money cuts, Administration costs such as licensing, nominations and acceptance fees along with registration fees have been raised to no doubt support the deficits Racing Queensland appear to have or have created. Is this due to the ‘DO NOT MENTION’ the UBET deal being a failure or lack of Racing at Eagle Farm whilst in reconstruction mode?

Perhaps it may be assisted by the fact the bureaucratic system at Racing Queensland has grown dramatically which pushes up costs whether necessary or unnecessary.

We are advised:

Compliance staff has been increased by 300%. (Non-compliance by Clubs administration staff is utilised to withhold administrative funding).

Promotion staff is in excess of five. Results?

Maybe this has been created by the Greyhound live baiting dilemma? Or is it an over-kill at great cost to the overall Industry.

One has to query how it all works in Queensland considering:

(a)The Racing Industry is controlled by the Queensland Government via;

(b) The Racing Minister via;

(c) The Office for Racing a Queensland Government Statutory Body via;

(d) The Racing Queensland Board via;

 (e) The Three Codes Boards via,

 (f) The Bureaucratic System of Racing Queensland via;

 (g) The Racing Queensland Licensed Clubs the majority who are Incorporated bodies under the Australian Corporation Laws where the Directors are held personally responsible under its laws.

 Or like the Townsville Turf Club is an Incorporated Association and not an Incorporated Company under Australian Corporation Laws.

 The Question: How can a State Government Statutory Body who controls the Clubs racing dates, the prize money levels, Club compliances, Club funding via administration subsidies etc indemnify the Directors of any Club when the threat of insolvency is created by the system and not of their doing?

Now it has been announced Racing Queensland has incurred a loss of $21 million plus for the previous financial year with a budgeted loss of $12 million plus for 2016/2017 financial year. What chance has Clubs of surviving when the administration has obvious financial problems?

It is common knowledge Mackay is a good example where Racing Queensland took over the Club from the Committee who were moved aside. Racing Queensland incurred the Club’s loss to $300,000 plus then threatened to close the Club down if the Committee did not return to take over control. Racing Queensland left the debt with the newly formed Club Committee.



DES WALKER of MELBOURNE weighs into the Melbourne v Sydney debate:

‘BEING a proud Melbournian I have to take yet another Sydney scribe to task over his assertion that those north of the border are setting the pace in racing on and off the track.

Regardless of what happens in the administrative bunkers, the fact remains that Victoria has always been and will continue to be the leading state in Australian racing.

Our spring carnival is the best in the world – let’s not even try to compare it to the Sydney Autumn or that rank failure The Championships.

Victoria attracts the biggest crowds, not only to its major race days but also top shelf sporting events. Sydney can only dream of filling grandstands and stadiums to the same degree.

Almost every day of the week – and especially on Saturdays – our race fields numerically make Sydney look like a joke. And before some astute follower from bleak city reminds us that only two rivals turned up to challenge Winx that was a one-off compared to some of their feature races which without the Waller and O’Shea numbers would degenerate into a farce if they haven’t already.

I could even remind the Sydneysiders that the majority of punters – big and small – don’t have the same confidence to bet on their racing which is dominated by the major stables and big jockeys. How often do we see a second-string Waller stable runner upstage the heavily backed or drifting favorite from the same barn?

Sure, Darren Weir has dominated in Melbourne in recent times but rare is the occasion when one of his stable second-strings scores an upset and in fact his strike rate with favorites, might I dare to suggest, would leave Waller standing.

Now, I’ve saved the best for last, when it comes to the administration side of racing there have been problems in more recent times in Victoria which are being addressed right now. We don’t approach running racing with the same mentality as Sydney where few, if any, would dare to challenge the ‘my way or the highway’ stance of John Messara (who interestingly has decided to take the first train out long before his contract is over) leaving Peter V’landys at the helm of the good ship Racing NSW regardless of who takes over as Chairman.

The way that ‘white elephant’ Racing Australia is run – here’s hoping Racing Victoria never heads down that track. It’s good to see nothing’s changed in the Sydney racing media when it comes to praising their own and bashing the rest.’



ALBERT WILLIAMS, of REDCLIFFE, steps away from his normal attack of racing in Queensland to give Sydney a sideswipe:

‘I had to check twice to make sure it wasn’t Ray Thomas who had written the item suggesting that Sydney racing not only had the best horses but the best administrators.

Obviously Chris Roots is still suffering the after-effects of too much time in the sun during his stint in the Deep North of Queensland.

Here’s hoping he doesn’t feel the need to repay the confidence shown in promoting him to a gig with SKY Channel like all the good turf scribes seem to be rewarded with in Sydney.

Roots is right when he suggests that two weeks into the spring carnival and Sydney has the best horses. But that’s a cyclic thing and how often have we seen Melbourne invaders dominate in the autumn?

As for the best administrators well here I go with a bit more V’landys’ bashing. They can pump up his tyres all they like but I won’t have a bar of what he does unless it benefits NSW racing.

Just have a look at what the SKY Channel deal has done to the coverage in other states. Victoria was forced to go its own way and Queensland, despite its loyalty to the broadcaster, plays second-fiddle most Saturdays to coverage of the second rate provincial meeting in NSW.

Might I suggest Mr V’landys looks after those who look after him and his boss, John Messara and that seems to work at the highest level of racing in Australia.

There might be some problems at the top on the administrative side of racing in Victoria but give me the way they run the show south of the border every day of the week compared to what happens in NSW where all but the big trainers and stables have been virtually run out of Sydney racing under their elitist policy.

Roots makes reference to the fact that Racing NSW CEO V’landys ‘cops more than his fair share of criticism’ but ‘has delivered time and again for the sport.’ He just forgot to add the rider ‘the sport in NSW often at the expense of other States’.

I am the first to admit that the structure of the administrative side of racing in Victoria needs to change but until Sydney can boast a carnival like they enjoy every Spring and the crowds to go with it, please don’t shove down the necks of those who follow racing closely how wonderful things are going in NSW.

In closing let me say we owe the Sydneysiders a debt of gratitude in letting their drawcards help boost the Spring Carnival with Winx and new Kid on the Block Hartnell the star attractions in Saturday’s Cox Plate.

I guess after Winx wins we’ll have another dose from Roots and company of how Sydney is proving the success story of the Spring. Grin and bear it fellows, while racing in Victoria enjoys the spoils of these blockbusters.’        




‘CAN someone explain to me the point of continuing with the VCAT hearing to give Danny Nikolic a license to ride again after his racecourse ban was last week reinstated by the Court of Appeal?

Even if VCAT were to ridiculously – in the opinion of many – rule that Nikolic had the right to ride again, how can he if there is a ban imposed on him from entering a racetrack?

It all sounds a bit silly and superfluous even continuing with the VCAT hearing while this ban is in place. But I guess the on-going saga will continue to make the lawyers even richer and Nikolic that much poorer as another court is found to appeal the process.

First we had the Supreme Court overturning a decision that a police ban against Nikolic attending racecourses was unlawful. Last Friday the Court of Appeal reversed that decision.

Justices Chris Maxwell, Stephen Kaye and Robert Osborn said in a joint decision that the Racing Act gave the Chief Commissioner the legal power to ban people from racing venues ‘to ensure the integrity of horse racing’ and, if necessary, to depart from the ordinary rules of procedural fairness ‘to protect highly sensitive intelligence or investigative processes of Victoria Police’.

They said this described the type of information that had been withheld from Nikolic in this case. The judges also said that the public interest in not disclosing the ‘sensitive information’ meant there was no obligation to afford Nikolic procedural fairness in this way.

From my viewpoint it’s a win for the good guys and back to the drawing board for ‘Dan the Man’.’




‘ONE wonders how the owners of The Cleaner are feeling now about their decision to take him away from trainer Mick Burles?

The Cleaner was a cult hero under the care of Tasmanian Burles winning 19 races, including successive Dato Chin Nam Stakes.

As is their right – and in their wisdom – the owners decided to remove the horse from Burles’ stable and transfer him to Peter Gelagotis in Victoria where one could argue he failed to fire a shot.

After The Cleaner again struggled to recapture a glimpse of his best form in the Coongy at Caulfield on Saturday, jockey Steven Arnold recommended what most race fans have been thinking for a while – retirement for the grand old nine-year-old.

“If that’s Steve Arnold’s recommendation, that’s good enough for us,” said Gelagotis – and that’s where the story should have ended. But he had to follow up with an excuse – that The Cleaner came to them his stable with an injury and that they had to nurse him back to soundness.

There’s no doubting Gelagotis is a top trainer but the fact remains that some horses go better in some stables than others – and The Cleaner was never the same after he left old Mick – soundness problems or not.’



GLEN TUCKER of BRISBANE sent this email:

‘EXPECT more propaganda in the mainstream racing media pumping up the tyres of the new Eagle Farm track.

Top trainer Robbie Heathcote reportedly gave a glowing endorsement of the Farm not surprisingly after landing a winning treble last Saturday.

About the only good news for the punters however was the success of the Heathcote-trained Saluter which was the only favorite on the eight races to actually salute.

Tiara Star ran second in the opener (running favorite after the Tony Gollan-trained debutante, which was early favorite, drifted to an unbelievable $8 on race morning and ran last).

Favorite Just Keep Giving beat one home in the second; plunge runner Desert Man ran second in the third; One Inch Punch ran fourth in the fourth; another Gollan flop, Another Slipper, ran favorite and beat one home in the fifth; Sunny Fame ran 8th behind Heathcote winner, Beckoning Light in the seventh; and two equal favorites, Sunny Victory and  Starocity, ran 6th and 11th respectively in the last, sending punters home poor but happier in the knowledge that Eagle Farm was getting back to its best racing surface.

In closing I would just like to say that there are some awfully strange fluctuations in Brisbane racing at the moment. It’s dynamite following the shorteners with the corporate bookmakers from the time betting opens. The winners seem to be getting backed on the morning of the race and the early shorteners are blowing like gales. It’s a pattern that that our ‘you beaut’ new Integrity Unit might have a look at or get someone to explain to them.’

EDITOR'S NOTE: AT least the track is playing much better than it was and there has to be further improvement ahead. As for the state of play on race days well that's another story. We have received several emails and calls about the well known racetrack identity who laid a favorite for a stack from a leading stable during the past week. Perhaps our new Director of Stewarding might like to ask a few questions and have a look at the Betfair records. He's got the new job so let's see if he's up to the task.


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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