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.




‘IF something can go wrong in racing in Australia, you can count on a Queenslander.

It seems ironic that Queensland Rail and Racing Queensland share the same initials as both are responsible for public relations disasters.

Normally I take my family to Melbourne for Cup week but this year we decided to stay at home and head out to Eagle Farm.

I might as well have been on Mars. A major power failure blacked out the track and to have any hope of seeing the big race we had to pack the family up and head home.

Now I don’t know if the power failure can be blamed on the Brisbane Racing Club or sources beyond their control but surely there should have been a back-up generator in case of an emergency such as this.

We were told to expect a huge crowd at Eagle Farm for Cup day. Perhaps it was the rain but the crowd was nothing like we thought it would be. That probably made it easier to get out of the place – along with hundreds of other angry racegoers who were heading back out the gate even before the Melbourne Cup had been run.

There was no TV coverage, you couldn’t get a bet on, the mobile and computer coverage was frozen because of over-load. It was a minefield.

I read tonight (before sending this email) where the BRC chairman said the problem was harder to fix than first imagined. He promised a full inquiry into what happened. That’s a bit late for us. Surely the public who didn’t get what they paid for are entitled to a refund.

But this is just an on-going saga for Queensland where the ‘lights’ don’t only seem to be out at Eagle Farm. It’s the whole industry that seems to be in the dark.

I have been following racing and my family have had interests here for years. The idea of holding a Day-Night fixture of 12 races has merit but was last Friday (at the Sunshine Coast) the ideal time to introduce the first of these experimental meetings.

Surely the previous weekend to coincide with Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley would have been more opportune. To hold 12 races on one card leading in the weekend before Melbourne Cup week is downright dumb. There are only so many horses to go around and all it did was restrict the number of races run at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday, then at meetings on Melbourne Cup Day and even Ipswich later in the week.

Then there is a story doing the rounds – one of many which paints the new Integrity Unit as a Keystone Cops operation. I am told a high profile official of the Australian Jockeys’ Association flew to Brisbane late last week to represent a Rockhampton-based jockey at an appeal hearing.

The story goes – and I am assured this is correct – that when the hearing started there was no steward there to represent Racing Queensland so the Judge asked that contact be made with the new Queensland Racing Integrity Unit to see what was happening. When that call virtually fell on deaf ears the story goes the Judge just upheld the appeal.

The wheels of racing justice certainly seem to be spinning on their axles in racing in Queensland but like the rest of the joint perhaps it’s just ‘lights out’.        




ALAN COSTELLO of MELBOURNE sent this overnight email in the wake of another Melbourne Cup disappointment for Godolphin:

‘RATHER than spend more of their oil rich millions trying to ‘buy’ a Melbourne Cup win perhaps Sheikh Mohammed and the Godolphin crew should employ Lloyd Williams as a consultant.

Williams became the most successful owner in the 156-year history of the big race when Almadin provided his fifth Cup success on Tuesday. He had won previously with Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007) and Green Moon (2012).

It is even a more remarkable achievement considering Williams, at 76, is the secret behind the success of his Cup runners in more recent years – selecting and purchasing horses to target this one big race specifically and then playing a key role in their preparation and training.

Sheikh Mohammed gang tackled this year’s Cup in a desperate bid to end his run of outs but his quest will have to wait another year. Goldolphin had five runners on Tuesday from three different stables in two Hemispheres with the John O’Shea Sydney-trained Hartnell performing best, finishing a creditable third.

Since he set up Godolphin, Sheikh Mohammed has had five placegetters, including three seconds in the Cup, four for Dubai-based trainer Saeed bin Suroor and the latest with O’Shea.

Even in the pre-Godolphin days he had Melbourne Cup runners with Colin Hayes – the best of those was Kudz which ran third in 1989.

It’s been a long and frustrating journey for the world’s biggest owner and this was the year that was supposed to end the drought. Despite the suggestion from Goldophin Chief Executive John Ferguson that they were ‘absolutely delighted’ with how the team had performed, in reality it was a disappointing result.

That gets me back to my original point – Lloyd Williams must be doing as much right as Godolphin is doing wrong in their quests for the Holy Grail of Australian racing. After the win by Almandin, Williams posed an interesting question: “At 76, is it possible for me to catch Bart?” – referring to the late Cup Kings record 12 Cup wins as a trainer.’




‘LET me state from the outset that I am no battler and have raced a handful of horses over many years with limited success – but never in my wildest dreams would I expect to have one good enough to even start in the Melbourne Cup.

That is why the comments of Lloyd Williams, the most successful owner in the history of the race that stops a nation, got right up my nose earlier this week – and that was before his success on Tuesday with Almandin.

In no way am I envious or jealous of what Mr Williams has achieved in racing, business or of his wealth or ‘horse power’. He invests his money very wisely and deserves every success and return he achieves.

But please Lloyd don’t jam down our necks this crap about the Cup being ‘open’ to all comers, not just corporate interests with the deepest pockets. You should have qualified that statement with the rider: ‘All comers who can afford to participate’ and that rules the majority out.

Mr Williams had ownership or an interest in five horses chasing his fifth Melbourne Cup which ended in success. Now I haven’t even mentioned the oil rich Godolphin Sheikh who gang tackled our great race with a record five runners this year.

“I won the Melbourne Cup with What A Nuisance in 1986. When I got him he was a broken-down hurdler,” Williams said. “And last year, Prince Of Penzance was beautifully trained by Darren Weir to win the race and he's not coming from a huge financial background.

“I don't think when you talk about Melbourne Cups or 3200m races that it is just down to the wealthiest. The race is littered with examples of horses from obscurity coming and winning our race. I love the race because I'm a Melburnian. I'm 76 and have been watching Melbourne Cups for 70 years. It's so much part of the sporting landscape.”

Good on you Lloyd but that sporting landscape is changing and unless you are rich – very, very rich – don’t expect to be a participant as more and more of the world’s wealthiest owners head down under trying to plunder the riches of our big race and making it even harder for run of the mill owners to compete.

In fact I think it will eventually get to the stage where the Melbourne Cup will be so dominated by the Europeans and Japanese – if not imports purchased by wealthy owners from top local stables – that pressure will mount on authorities to run a Consolation – they could call in The Bart Cummings – over 3200m restricted totally to the home grown, trained and owned product.’ 




‘RACING can be a great leveller as internationally acclaimed jockey Kerrin McEvoy proved with his success in this year’s Melbourne Cup.

There were those who bagged the crap out of McEvoy when he returned to ride in Sydney after many extremely successful years contracted to Sheik Mohammed’s powerhouse in Europe.

At one stage even the Sydney stewards questioned whether his riding style was adapting to the Australian scene and it was rumoured that he was on the outer with some jockeys who saw the one-time No 1 rider for Godolphin in Australia as a threat to their ‘cruisy’ links with the big stable in Sydney.

McEvoy persisted but eventually decided to cut his ties with Godolphin and try his luck as a freelance. There were no such petty jealousies when he made Melbourne his base and it wasn’t long before he was again one of the most sought after jockeys in the land.

There were those at Godolphin, especially European-based trainer Charlie Appelby, who not only admired his talents as a jockey but also regarded him as a good friend. When he headed Down Under for the Spring it was McEvoy who was offered rides and returned instant dividends with Country Cups successes. Even O’Shea engaged McEvoy when stable jockey James McDonald was suspended.

Despite the big team – their biggest ever – that Godolphin had here to win that elusive Melbourne Cup, McEvoy was never in contention to ride one of them as he had already snapped up the early mount on Almandin, regarding it weeks ago as a great chance of winning the big race.

It must have been with some degree of delight that he won the big race for Lloyd Williams in a year when Godolphin thought they not only had the numbers but also the horses to ensure the Cup was theirs.’




‘FRANKIE Dettori might be regarded as one of the best jockeys in the world but his ride on the highly-fancied Wicklow Brave in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup can best be described as an absolute slaughter job.

From the outside alley of 24, Dettori made a bee-line for the car park down the straight the first time, then put his foot to the floor and gassed the European invader. By the time the field turned into the home straight Wicklow Brave was looking for an oxygen chamber.

When asked how the horse performed, after dropping out to finish a distant 22nd, Dettori provided a sharp three word reply: ‘He was flat’.

That had to be the understatement of the year. As usual, no-one bothered to ask him about the tactics he adopted.

The Melbourne Cup hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Dettori who has twice finished second but in the process last year on Max Dynamite copped a month suspension and a $20,000 fine for causing interference.

Irish trainer Willie Mullins, regarded by many in Europe as a genius, has stuck loyally with his mate Dettori despite suggestions that a bad ride cost Max Dynamite a win over Prince of Penzance last year.

After this year’s even more pathetic riding performance from the Italian ‘superstar’ if Mullins wants to keep inching closer to that elusive Melbourne Cup win he might just have to engage a top local rider or find a suitable European replacement for Dettori.’  




LAST week I read where someone had a whinge about the use of Shane Dye on the coverage of the Spring Carnival and I agree after listening to his inane comments again on Derby Day.

But I am hoping you will indulge me as I have a shot at another of the guest panelists on in Hayley Moore, the one-time UK jockey turned race caller who went headline hunting with her attack on Michelle Payne.

It seems Hayley, the sister of champion British jockey Ryan Moore, disagrees with our Michelle when she insists that racing is a ‘sexist sport’. Moore says she hasn’t noticed the problem but as one prominent lady jockey said to me: ‘She must be living under a rock.’

Perhaps it wasn’t a problem for her personally. She grew up alongside her brother, Ryan, considered one of the world’s best jockeys and worked at her family’s stables before forging a ready-made career as an analyst and commentator.

She’s entitled to express disappointment at Payne’s comments about racing being a ‘chauvinistic sport’ but one wonders why she would not be supporting a fellow female jockey seeking a better deal for women participating in racing.

In what has to have been a headline-grabbing moment, Moore said she had not seen any sexism in racing – if jockeys were good enough, they got a ride. I completely disagree (with Payne). I think that if you're good enough and proven enough, you will get the opportunities.”

That’s probably why I am told only one lady jockey rode in the nine Group races at Flemington on Derby day.

As for her call for Australia’s favorite female in racing to focus more on the positive than the negative, one can only hope that under her breath Michelle would be  whispering: ‘How many Melbourne Cup winners have you ridden Hayley? You can get stuffed!’



THE dust still hasn’t settled on the controversy surrounding the appointment of Jamie Dart as Director of Stewarding for the new Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

But our SPY in the BREAKFAST CREEK BUNKER tells us there is just as much dissention over the appointment process for another investigator. This has nothing to do with the ability of the former policeman who was appointed but he says there are claims of a conflict of interest in the appointment process.

There is also an unconfirmed report doing the rounds that there is a technical hitch we aren’t being told about with the appointment process for Detective Superintendant Mark Ainsworth, who is seen as an integral part of QRIC.

Story goes that because Superintendant Ainsworth was seconded to Racing Queensland in the role of Integrity Advisor in the wake of the 4 Corners greyhound expose to oversee the implementation of the MacSporran Commission’s recommendations, under some obscure Government legislation he cannot join QRIC. This has something to do with appointees not being allowed to join another Commission until a certain period has expired.

If Racing Minister Grace Grace or Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett wish to clarify this situation or answer the email received from a staffer within their own ranks printed below they are welcome to an unedited right of reply.

Here is what our SPY in the BREAKFAST CREEK (formerly DEAGON) BUNKER had to say in an email to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE. For legal reasons we have edited some sections of this:

FIRSTLY, I would ask that my identity be withheld as I am currently working in the Breakfast Creek bunker here at Albion.

Well QRIC (the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission), with its obsession for appointing police and ex-police officers, knows no bounds.

Apparently they have just appointed another investigator who is another former cop –Joshua Elliott. (LGHR has been told that Elliott was a former respected Drug Squad policeman who quit the force and has been working in a picture framing business)

The panel to select this new member was headed by Tracy Pelling. She would be familiar to many close to racing as the policewoman who, according to integrity insiders, had to be pulled into line during the greyhound saga last year for allegedly making unsubstantiated policy comments when her role was to investigate the despicable actions of a certain few.

Since those days Ms Pelling has been elevated to the role of Head of the Queensland Racing Crime Squad.

Might I suggest – and I am sure any thinking person in the racing industry would agree – that there can be no ‘cloud’ when criteria are applied to job selection processes? As the old ‘saying’ goes when it comes to integrity and stewarding and policing of the Rules, things not only have to be right, they must also be ‘seen’ to be right.

Many in the ‘bunker’ believe it isn’t a good look when one logs onto new appointee Joshua Elliott’s Facebook Page and none other than Ms Pelling is listed as ‘A FRIEND’.

This being the case – and it’s there for anyone to see – there has to be an argument that at the very least Ms Pelling should have taken no part in the appointment process. There has to be a conflict of interest.

From inside the ‘Breakfast Creek Bunker’ – and from many stakeholders who are monitoring every move of the new QRIC – the calls have only begun for the Racing Minister to investigate this appointment immediately and take appropriate action. We await some response from those in authority.’




MAL McKENNY of the GOLD COAST sent this email:  

‘ANYONE who follows racing closely would agree that the proposed merger of gambling giants Tabcorp and Tatts is a win-win for everyone barring the corporate bookmakers.

It’s long overdue and should have happened years ago with road blocks from the competition authorities based on a monopoly which shows their total ignorance of the wagering landscape in this country.

Instead of asking questions about how more and more of these predators from overseas were being allowed to operate on Australian racing and pump their profits off-shore, the authorities were blindly protecting them.

At long last sanity has prevailed, one suspects with a little behind-the-scenes pressure from the likes of Senator Nick Xenaphon (he might not like gambling but he is just the bed-fellow that racing needs).

With one giant TAB in this country there will be a genuine and real competitor for the corporates. Just watch and some of the smaller entities will fade away and die while the bigger ones struggle to make the profits they have plundered from gamblers in this country for far too long.

It would never have been allowed to happen by an organization like the Hong Kong Jockey Club – the biggest horse racing entity in the world. It should never have happened here either but for organizations like that white elephant Racing Australia (the former Australian Racing Board), the weak-kneed control bodies in many states and politicians who were happy to skim profits off turnover from the TABs but wouldn’t get off their backsides to boot the corporates out of this country.

The absurd profits that the corporate bookmakers make – while many close down accounts of any punter who proves successful without being answerable to anyone – can be reflected in what they spend on advertising. That has now moved from not only costly prime-time TV timeslots but also to the major newspapers.

Their profits are obscene, their rules self regulated and they seem to remain unanswerable to the local racing authorities or Governments. Well times are about to change. They are about to get some real competition and it can’t happen quickly enough.’




‘THE racing media have a job to do and as such need to be on-side with top trainers like Chris Waller but whatever happened to protecting the interests of the punting public.

With Winx in the equation there is never going to be any tough questions or critical stories relating to how horses from the stable of the champion trainer are ridden in run of the mill races.

That shouldn’t mean that stewards should adopt any different approach to Waller and other leading trainers to a ‘Joe Nobody’ of the training ranks.

Anyone who watches Sydney racing closely could argue that for too long few too many questions have been asked about form reversals and second string horses winning on some occasions when a big stable has saddled up favorites.

Punters are a fairly easy going bunch. No longer do we see the trackside protests that once would occur. That’s for two reasons – crowds no longer flock to racetracks and those who dare to voice their disapproval run the risk of being frog-marched off the track by heavy-handed security guards. Don’t laugh, it has happened.

These days a legion of punters has voiced their protest at what is happening on the track by refusing to bet in Sydney. We saw it happen in Brisbane where the turnover slumped badly and officialdom tried to deflect the blame onto the absence of Eagle Farm and then the new track which was not a level playing field at the start.

Punters – especially those off the track who watch all the action up close and personal courtesy of magic coverage on SKY Channel these days – are starting to register their protests on social media. There are calls for them to be reined in. But why should they be providing it is an objective comment or criticism?

They were screaming ‘team riding’ after a race at Canterbury on Wednesday of last week. And these weren’t just your ordinary ‘Percy the Punter’. One of those calling loudest for some action from stewards was a prominent syndicator. It isn’t a good look for Sydney racing when you read some of the comments.

Without reproducing what was said those who spoke out in the social media sphere felt the Waller starters were playing tag team. But their objection fell on deaf ears with stewards opening an inquiry but, as per usual, accepting the Waller stable explanation and doing SFA about what happened. The way I see it, with all due respects to the stewards, one could assume there is an open invitation for Waller to basically do what he likes.

After taking evidence from a jockey and a stable representative stewards ruled that the punters had read the race wrongly and that there was no evidence of wrong-doing. The Waller stable claimed instructions were for Zourkhan to sit fourth, fifth or sixth, one off the fence with cover. But the five-year-old was up there challenging favorite, Beretta, from the Kris Lees stable for the lead.

The suicidal speed battle set the race up for the back-markers which just happened to be the Waller stablemates, Montauk and Estikraaj, which swooped home to fight out the finish – the former winning in a photo. Beretta tired to finish third and Zourkhan dropped out six lengths behind the winner after doing too much bullocking up front.

The way I see it punters have two choices – to waste their breath and continue protesting or to move their betting activities to Melbourne where the stewards seem keener to protect their interests and they just might get a better run for their money.’




‘IF Racing NSW wants to protect its claimed reputation as the ‘pacesetter’ in Australian racing then it needs to lift some of its archaic rules from the dark ages.

Full marks to history-making Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne for contemplating legal action over a ruling which has essentially banned her from riding in that State.

Payne has taken advantage of changes to the system in the most advanced state in Australian racing – Victoria – to take out a dual license which allows her to train and ride. NSW has taken a stance against jockeys who train and will not allow them to ride in that State.

Interestingly, the Australian Jockeys’ Association has strongly backed the stance of Payne and other dual license holders (which now includes another leading lady jockey in Victoria in Linda Meech) and earlier this month described the ban as ‘perplexing’.

Payne told Fairfax Media: “I can't really understand it. If people are worried you've got horses in the stable at home and you're riding for someone else ... I just can't understand it. And secondly, how has it got absolutely anything to do with riding a horse for someone else like (the policy) in Victoria? I can absolutely not understand it. It doesn't make sense.”

Of course Mr ‘Smart Arse’, Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys, who wants to run everything in Australia to suit Bleak City, offered this gem in response to Payne’s threat of legal action: “That's her prerogative. If she wants to pursue it legally, that’s the beauty of a democracy.”

Funny set of standards you and Racing NSW adopt Mr V’landys – you defy convention and crap in the face of a body as powerful as the Hong Kong Jockey Club, refusing to accept what happened under their rules by relicensing a jockey who they sent to jail (Chris Munce), yet you turn your back on a female who has created history and attracted more publicity in the space of a year for racing in this country than you could ever hope to achieve in a lifetime.’


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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