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.



‘SO racing’s worst kept ‘secret’ has again reared its ugly head and this time the authorities – police and racing – need to address this disgustingly serious situation to protect the interests of all concerned.

For two decades top trainer Gerald Ryan has been the subject of unspeakable innuendo relating to his surprise and quit exit from Melbourne to Asia amid allegations that he sexually abused apprentice jockeys and stablehands.

Over the years Ryan has denied any wrong-doing and because he was never charged with any offence made his way back into the training ranks in Australia through the backdoor in Queensland.

But the accusations refuse to go away and now are the feature of a stunning expose in Fairfax Media which has put the blow torch back on police and racing authorities to open a fresh investigation.

Ryan has refused to comment which comes as a surprise to many who are also asking why the controversial identity who has made the latest allegations of sexual assault by Ryan – Danny Nikolic – did not raise it earlier or, in particular, as part of a recent VCAT hearing to have his riding license reinstated. There are also those asking why Ryan has not launched defamation action over the Fairfax story considering the serious attack on his credibility.

The majority of the racing media, whilst they would never condone what Ryan is being alleged to have done, have a great working relationship with the trainer who they respect for his achievements and accessibility.

One of them raised the controversial issues that have clouded his life and quoted Ryan as saying: “Do you know, I never go out anywhere now without somebody being with me,” he said. “And why? It’s simple. If I have someone by my side all the time, no one can invent a story about me.’’

That being the case one would think that Ryan would be the first to want the issue resolved and his name cleared once and for all. If he has nothing to hide then it should be all systems go.'



MAX ANTHONY of MELBOURNE sent this email:

‘AS one of those who has never been entirely comfortable with the handling of the Gerald Ryan affair by Racing Victoria many moons ago I was delighted to read where Racing NSW has launched an investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse.

It comes as no surprise to many involved in racing that Ryan has refused to comment on claims made by Danny Nikolic that he was sexually assaulted by the leading trainer 20 years ago. 

It has never been a secret in racing that Ryan has been implicated in a series of other alleged assaults on apprentice jockeys and stable hands at the Melbourne stables which at the time belonged to VRC chairman David Moodie.

Whatever happened back in the day when Ryan was alleged to have committed these assaults, he was never charged but, according to reports, handed in his trainer’s license and made a quick overseas exit from Victoria. Surely someone investigating the claims, either police or racing stewards, should have questioned why he left so suddenly.

The Fairfax ‘exclusive’ has opened some ugly wounds and now there is nowhere for Ryan to hide. Full marks to Racing NSW for ensuring he faces the music this time and that this matter is cleared up – for all concerned. Ryan is entitled to the presumption of innocence in the meantime as he maintains he is.

Stakeholders and racing followers were sick in the stomach when they read the following in the Fairfax report:

  • FOLLOWING a string of accusations against Ryan, Moodie called a meeting of all staff at Hobson's Lodge in April 1996. According to reports at the time, Moodie asked if anyone had been sexually harassed – and more than half of the 22 employees raised their hands. Within days of the meeting, Ryan went on a month's leave from Hobson's Lodge, while an investigation was launched by stewards from the VRC, which was responsible for oversight of the sport in Victoria at the time.
  • MORE than 30 people were interviewed by VRC stewards, including 22 stable hands, six jockeys, three apprentice jockeys, and an owner believed to be Moodie. The VRC informed Ryan that he would have to ‘show cause’ as to why he should keep his trainer's licence, at a hearing on June 6, 1996. On June 3 – just three days before he was due to defend the serious accusations – Ryan handed back his licence to the VRC. At the time, he was Victoria's leading trainer, but did not explain his shock departure.
  • SEVERAL alleged victims and their families are scathing of the racing industry's handling of the sexual abuse allegations, and some say the allegations may explain (Danny) Nikolic's fiery attitude toward the racing establishment.
  • GAIL Goring, the mother of former jockey Mark Goring, says her son was routinely groped by Mr Ryan as a 15-year-old apprentice. She says the VRC and Moodie should have done more to protect staff at Hobson's Lodge from the trainer's predatory behavior. Mrs Goring said her son was one of several jockeys to provide a victim impact statement to the VRC but he never reported the assaults to police because of fears it would damage his career prospects. “When this matter came to a head, I asked Mark why he hadn't said anything. His answer was 'who's going to believe me against Gerald Ryan?” In August 1997, Mrs Goring sent a letter to the VRC pleading with them to never issue Ryan with another license in Victoria. “Inspector Mark Flanagan of the vice squad, racing division, advised Mark to press charges because he was a minor at the time. Mark declined to do so because he thought the immense interest and publicity could be detrimental to his career,” Mrs Goring said in the letter. At the time, Mrs Goring says, she was given an assurance from former chief steward Des Gleeson that Ryan would never work in Victoria on his watch. In 2003, Mark Goring was killed in a race fall at Tatura.
  • FORMER jockey Jamie Evans told police he was working as an apprentice from 1986 until 1988 at the Epsom training centre in Mordialloc for trainer Kath Smith, whom he was boarding with. In 1986, while riding at Geelong racecourse, he was injured by a horse and took two powerful pain medication tablets. “I became very drowsy after about 20 minutes,” he said. At the time, Gerald Ryan was a fellow jockey, but much older than Evans, who was 17 at the time. “I looked up to him, he was like a mentor to me.” Driving home with Ryan, Evans said he fell asleep in the front passenger seat but woke up at the training centre in Mordialloc to find Ryan performing oral sex on him in the car. He told police he ran from the car onto the street, hailed a taxi and went to Mrs Smith's house, but didn't tell her what had happened. “From that day onwards I started drinking heavily, started taking pills to numb the embarrassment ... my life started to spiral out of control,” Evans said. Then, Evans said, in 1996, with Ryan now a trainer, his friend and fellow jockey Danny Nikolic told him Ryan had sexually abused him after he had fallen asleep. Evans told police that a stewards' inquiry was opened after a media report about allegations against Ryan and a meeting was held between Nikolic, Moodie, and a group of stewards. “Danny told me Gerald Ryan walked into the conference, threw his hands in the air and said: ‘I can't help it, I like blokes’.”

These excerpts from the Fairfax investigation make it imperative that police and racing authorities demand a ‘please explain’ from Ryan, who deserves the opportunity to defend himself, but must face his accusers.

Any inquiry must also include an interrogation of several key identities from the era when this was alleged to have occurred. There needs to be questions asked of David Moodie, who doesn’t seem too keen to talk about it to the media and Des Gleeson, who, after all, was the Chief Steward at the time who allegedly told the mother of one young jockey that Ryan would never get a license back in Victoria under his watch. The question has to be asked of Gleeson: Why? And if the situation was so bad, should more have been done to address the concerns back then?’      



AS I am a LICENSESEE in QUEENSLAND I would ask that my identity be withheld: 

‘WITH the cloud that was hanging over Gerald Ryan, one has to question what the authorities in Queensland were doing in issuing him with a license to train again in Australia.

It’s fine to say that Ryan was never charged with committing an offence but surely those responsible back then knew that he had thrown in his training license in Victoria and left almost overnight for Asia amid a cloud of controversy.

Surely, if the QR Board back then did their due diligence on the issue they would have spoken to the authorities in Victoria, in particulary, the highly respected Chief Steward Des Gleeson, who reportedly told the mother of one of the apprentices allegedly sexually assaulted that Ryan would never be relicensed in Victoria under his watch.

Instead we are told that Queensland Racing back then reissued Ryan with a license on the advice of a high profile lawyer who suggested they had no option because he had been charged with no offence.

There are mixed reports about what happened back then. One suggests Ryan got his license back through a Regional Association in Queensland with close ties to a prominent owner who was a close associate of the trainer and that because that license had already been granted the control body had little choice but to follow suit.

That report is denied by a Board member of QR at the time who says the decision to grant Ryan a license to train again in Australia was certainly not taken lightly, that there was much dissent among the Board members but in the end they acted on legal advice.

He highlights the fact that the QR Board relicensed Ryan in 1997 under the strict condition that he ‘not be allowed to hire any male staff under the age of 21’ which, with all due respects, raises some interesting questions that for legal reasons I had better not raise.

This ‘strict condition’ was subsequently lifted when another QR Board – if my recollection is correct – allowed Ryan to have an apprentice after receiving a letter from the boy’s father, who had ridden with Ryan and confirmed that he had no problem with his son joining the trainer’s stable on the Gold Coast.

Ryan gradually climbed back to the top of the training ranks – and his stable was expanded from Queensland to New South Wales with even talk in more recent years that he might even return to Melbourne, especially after his old mate David Moodie took over as Chairman of the VRC.

Ryan still has training bases on the Gold Coast and at Rosehill. While the authorities in Queensland have been conspicuous by their silence, at least Racing NSW is doing something following the resurfacing of these allegations.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys has confirmed that they are ‘thoroughly investigating the matters raised’ in the Fairfax Media exclusive, but stressed ‘every person is entitled to due process and natural justice’.

While that applies to Gerald Ryan, there needs to be some ‘natural justice’ for the alleged ‘silent victims’ before the curtain finally falls on this sad episode in Australian racing.’  



ALBERT WILLIAMS, a regular contributor from REDCLIFFE, has his say on WINX:

‘MOST of the champion gallopers to emerge in this country – like Black Cavair – were given the chance to beat the world in their own backyard.

Will our latest superstar Winx ever get the chance to emulate that feat?

More the pity, it seems highly unlikely.

Some will say she has nothing to prove and that if the world wants to challenge her, then rivals can come here.

There are always risks involved in international travel – one could question if Chautauqua will ever be the same after his all-conquering visit to Hong Kong considering the way he raced this spring in Melbourne.

But, as they say in the classics, you’ll never, never know, if you never, never go!’




‘IF the organizers of The Championships had a problem attracting international visitors this year, imagine the headache that confronts them next year.

What trainer would want to make the trip Down Under to take on Winx in any of the rich weight-for-age classics?

The fields opposed to her are likely to be small but that shouldn’t stop the crowds from turning out in record numbers.

Winx drew them to the Valley for the Cox Plate. If she can’t attract a decent crowd to the much-maligned The Championships next year then there is little hope for racing in NSW.’




‘LETSGOHORSERACING has continued to shove down our throats how the integrity system in Victoria and their stewards, headed by Terry Bailey, are the best in the country.

That is despite the embarrassment that is heading their way in the finalization of the Cobalt cases of Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh which have cost these two top trainers and the industry millions of dollars in legal fees.

But that story will keep for another day. What I would like to raise with you are a couple of issues out of the Cox Plate meeting at the Valley on Saturday.

The first involves the ride and tactics adopted by Hugh Bowman on what was considered by many the good thing of the day, Lady Le Fey, hot favorite for the fifth.

With all due respects to Bowman’s ‘champion’ qualifies as a jockey, even a raw apprentice would have realized by this stage that the fence was a ‘no go’ zone. Yet Hughie cut the corner and took the shortcuts but bogged down on the inside to finish a tiring sixth.

While stewards were busy questioning the tactics adopted on winner Kaniana from the Darren Weir stable, they didn’t bother asking Bowman or trainer Chris Waller about the same on favorite Lady Le Fey.

The only mention the ‘Lady’ attracted in the Stewards’ Report was this:

Lady Le Fay (NZ) - sixth placegetter; rider Hugh Bowman was fined $400 for failing to ride his mount out to the winning post. In assessing penalty Stewards were of the view his actions may have had a bearing on fifth place.

Surely, as one narc suggested, Bowman wasn’t testing the inferior ground on the inside to see if he should adopt that path on Winx in the Cox Plate later in the day. After all he gave the outside a good sound out on one of the favorites, Who Shot Thebarman in the Moonee Valley Cup.

And on the subject of that particular race might I dare to mention – can we criticize the great one after the blitzkrieg by Winx? Well, here goes, the Cup was another example of a second-string from the Waller stable upstaging its more fancied stablemate.

Again I was a bit surprised that the stewards didn’t see fit to question Waller over the big improvement by Grand Marshall, which was $31 to $19. At its previous start Grand Marshall ran ninth in The Metropolitan. In addition, Who Shot Thebarman was seventh in the same race and met his stablemate 3.5kg better for beating him home. Before that Grand Marshall ran last of six in the Hill Stakes beaten only 12 lengths.

With all due respects it was a bit hard to see him winning the Moonee Valley Cup – but not  a question was asked of the form improvement. Strange as it may seem, the ‘Marshall’ could now be an outside chance of giving Waller his first Melbourne Cup.’




‘IT’S that time of the year where if you want to watch the big races then prepare to be subjected to an array of talking heads posing as ‘experts’.

At least this year the racing action will be live on SKY and and not restricted to Channel 7 where we have to wade through coverage of everything off the track that will send the racing purists among us batty half way through the Cup week coverage.

I have always been a big fan of Jason Richardson and the team on but the ‘in jokes’ and continuing pumping up the tyres of those on the Get On crew is starting to wear thin with a lot of us. When you replay all the specials that the ‘genius’ David Gately tipped the previous week, any chance you might mention that he forgot to tip Winx?

But the real ‘turn off’ again this year is the return of Shane Dye from wherever he resides these days. One gets the impressions listening to his comments on Cox Plate day on that Shane doesn’t bother watching OZ racing too closely.

Let’s stick to the ‘experts’ like Clint Hutchinson, the ex Hong Kong form guru who has been a real coup for, as has their lady in the mountaing yard, Lizzy Jelfs, not only good on the eye but she knows her horses and can pick a winner.

Shane’s excuses for the terrible ride by Hugh Bowman on Lady Le Fay last Saturday when the ‘champion’ jockey elected to stay in the quicksand on the fence was nothing short of pathetic. “You can’t blame Hugh. He had no choice but to stay on the rail,” said Shane.

Give us a break mate – whatever they’re paying you it’s 100 per cent too much.'




‘SHEER greed is the only way to describe the decision to run a night racing meeting at Moonee Valley on the eve of the Cox Plate.

To blame the wind for what happened to some of the runners last Saturday was farcical. It was the state of that awful track which needs ploughing up.

Much was made of the decision to leave the rail in the ‘true’ after last year’s debacle. What difference did it make? None!

Jockeys were skirting off the fence soon after the meeting began on Friday night and by Saturday – no-one with the exception of Hugh Bowman on a hot favorite – wanted to go anywhere near the rail.

It’s a ridiculous situation when the field in the weight-for-age championship of the world is forced to scout out wide because the race is being run as the second last after two days of racing on a track that should be restricted to just the one big meeting that weekend.

What’s wrong with holding the night racing on the Friday at Cranbourne with a couple of feature races and transferring the Manikato Stakes to Saturday and making the Valley a big 10-race card for its major meeting of the year?

Standby now for what will be served up at Flemington. If it’s anything like last year then the track manager deserves to be shown the door. That was an embarrassment for the showcard event of Australian racing.’     



SALLY WILLIAMS of MELBOURNE sent this email:

‘I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of Patrick Bartley in The Age that Racing Victoria missed a perfect marketing opportunity to promote Michelle Payne as the ‘face’ of this year’s Melbourne Cup.

It was stunning to read how RV officials ignored advise from public relations experts to sign the Melbourne Cup winning jockey on a five-year contract just days are her history-making win.

Bartley reported that some of Australia's most influential marketing and public relations experts lobbied Racing Victoria to sign Payne believing as the first woman to win the $6 million race she would have been an invaluable asset to racing on the national and international stage.

Instead Payne signed with a rival non-racing marketing company and who could blame her? It will go down as ‘one of the greatest missed opportunities in sport’ – a contract which sadly restricts her from speaking at some major racing events.

When you look at the amount the legal fight on Cobalt cases has cost Racing Victoria it would have cost a pittance to lock Payne into a Cup marketing deal. Just another dumb decision by those involved in the decision-making process!’


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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