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.



THE racing rumor mill is in over-drive with suggestions that alleged betting activities of several high profile Australian jockeys are currently under secret investigation.

If the reports that Letsgohorseracing has heard – and we stress they are widespread but unconfirmed – prove correct this will rock the credibility of one of the leading states to the rafters.

We are assured that this investigation is not linked to the James McDonald inquiry which has been instigated by Racing NSW stewards and has been expanded to include some professional punters, one of whom has been warned off racecourses.

What we can tell you is that some of the jockeys who face the prospect of being charged are household names in Australian racing and every weekend carry the hopes of hundreds of thousands of punting dollars.

Letsgohorseracing hopes that the stories doing the rounds have lost nothing in the telling. We received several emails concerning this but for legal reasons were not prepared to run these as part of the WEDNESDAY WHINGE. Hopefully what has been written above will get the general message across without naming names and provoke some denial or confirmation from officialdom in the state concerned.



ALBERT WILLIAMS of REDCLIFFE, normally a critic of all things racing in Queensland, weighs into the debate over treatment of the Chris Waller stable by Sydney stewards:

‘THE message from the Sydney stewards and authorities is loud and clear – be careful who you criticize if racing has some control over your fate.

A social media post questioning whether team riding tactics had been implemented by the Chris Waller stable in a recent race at Canterbury has cost popular Australian Bloodstock co-director Luke Murrell a farcical fine of $5,000.

Can you believe that Murrell was charged by Racing NSW stewards with conduct prejudicial to the image of racing? He was found guilty of expressing the views of many other racing followers who made even worse comments on social media.

What Murrell stated on the Australian Bloodstock Facebook Page following the Canterbury race late last month was that the Waller-trained Zourkhan had settled much close than had been the case in the majority of his Australian runs.

His posting stated: ‘ he (Zourkhan) is ridden to ensure speed in the race for the stablemates who fight the finish out and Zourkhan the pest runs tailed out.’

What Murrell said was what many others were saying or thinking. Zourkhan sat outside the leader before weakening to finish sixth with stablemates Montauk and Estikhraaj running the quinella.

One assumes that he was found guilty of implying ‘something improper’ had occurred and that was seen to be a reflection on the credibility of the stewards and detrimental to the image of racing in general. Perhaps that’s correct but things not only need to be right when it comes to integrity, they need to be seen to be right by all concerned (from stakeholders all the way down to the mug punters).   

Murrell subsequently made an apology on Facebook stating that he should not have questioned the integrity of stewards, nor had he meant to insinuate that Chris Waller had cheated. But he was still able to be dealt with by officialdom as a registered owner and licensed syndicator. That in itself defies ‘freedom of speech or opinion’ which we thought was one of the cornerstones of our society in this country.

It hasn’t stopped the court of public opinion from expressing their views on social media. Here are a couple of examples over which Racing NSW has no control:

WHAT happened to Freedom of Speech, sounds like the result if he was challenging the authority of a junta run country. Wo Betide Anyone Questioning Our Decisions.

HOW dare he make a disparaging comment about Mr Untouchable!

EVERYONE was saying the same thing on course and I'm sure others would have been saying it online.

PRETTY silly comment but again an incident where Waller is an overly protected species. Would this be said about a lesser trainer I'm not so sure the outcome would be this harsh.

APART from Winx I find most Waller horses impossible to back if you go on form. If they had a huge run last time and ran 2nd or 3rd don’t back them next time they usually run nowhere.

That just about says it all!’




‘LISTENING to RSN the other morning I heard Chris Waller talking about being a victim of the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome amid the controversy of how races are run when there are multiple runners from his stable.

Waller has enjoyed enormous success and is a great trainer but that does not give him the right to any different treatment to anyone else, especially in Sydney where he is gaining the moniker of ‘Mr Untouchable’ in some circles, which is indeed unfortunate.

The racing media is reluctant to focus on the second string runners that win races in which he has favorites. What gets up the nose of the punters is when he tips one of those favorites and it goes like a busted bum.

Stewards can attempt to shut down any form of criticism from racing identities over whom they have some control but the punters will never be silenced and the more they try to silence them their roars of disapproval will increase.

Perhaps the stewards in NSW should focus more on conducting inquiries into races that punters are complaining about, some of which involved Waller horses and the tactics employed.

Since the Canterbury race there has been another which is the subject of an adjourned inquiry. It involves tactics used on Samar More at Newcastle.

Racing in blinkers for the first time, the Chris Waller-trained Samar More led a Maiden field by up to 10 lengths approaching the turn before running a 28 length last. Stablemates filled the trifecta placings.

It wasn’t a good look and although Samar Moore has been ordered to trial before racing again stewards do need to show they will not tolerate these sort of tactics rather than just accept the on-going stable explanations. At least that’s the general opinion of most punters whether they want to hear it or not.’




‘THE inquiry hasn’t even been completed and already the racing media in Sydney is tipping that a mandatory two-year ban may not be imposed on champion jockey James McDonald if he is found guilty of having a bet on a horse he rode to victory.

McDonald deserves to have his side of the story heard before we jump to any conclusions. What isn’t helping his case is that stories of Sydney jockeys betting or have an involvement with big punters has been doing the rounds for far too long.

To put it mildly many run of the mill punters have dumped Sydney racing in favor of Melbourne where they feel they get a better run for their money. Whether Racing NSW wants to hear it or not the sport there is too dominated by the major stables and has been on the nose for some time now.

Punters are far from happy about the way some races involving multiple runners from the Chris Waller stable are run. They are angry at action taken against anyone who speaks out about it. There is a perception that racing is not a level playing field in NSW.

Now we have Chief Steward Marc Van Gestel telling the Daily Telegraph that the minimum penalty for the charge imposed on James McDonald “applies unless stewards establish special circumstances”.

“(Special circumstances) can be a guilty plea, assisting stewards at an early stage of the investigation and there are a few other conditions there — for instance, impaired mental functioning or persons under duress,” he said. “Generally they are the provisions in which we could reduce a mandatory minimum.”

Whilst Van Gestel stressed he was speaking in general terms and not specifically about the McDonald case that is not how the punting public are interpreting the statement. They believe it’s a fair accompli that if J Mc is found guilty he certainly won’t be sitting on the sidelines for two years. That being the case what’s the point of having a mandatory sentence for this offence.’



JIM MUNRO of BRISBANE raises some interesting questions concerning the warning off of ANTHONY GARDINER, an alleged associated of top jockey JAMES McDONALD:

THE James McDonald charges for having an interest in a bet allegedly involving  punter Anthony Gardiner who has refused to be interviewed by Racing NSW stewards is an interesting topic of conversation.

Gardiner's warning off was done by Peter V'Landys, Racing NSW CEO, under a designated authority ...which implies that Racing NSW has given him an open brief to exercise this power which under the rules lies with the principal racing authority itself or the that's a departure from normal....which may or may not be legally enforceable.

“The decision to warn off Mr Gardiner was made by Racing NSW Chief Executive Mr Peter V’landys AM under his delegated authority”.

The second thing which is of crucial importance is the question whether Gardiner is subject to the rules of racing......the introduction to the ARB rules states inter alia and confirmed by AR2

“Any person who takes part in any matter coming within the Rules in this book contained thereby agrees with Racing NSW to be bound by them.”

AR 2 states

AR 2. Any person who takes part in any matter coming within these Rules thereby agrees with the Australian Racing Board and each and every Principal Racing Authority to be bound by them. [amended 1.8.03]”

“Warned off.” “Warning off.” A person warned off a racecourse is one who is not permitted to enter a racecourse under the control of the Club or body warning him off.”

NSW stewards have announced Gardiner is also banned from betting although that restriction is not contemplated by the Warning off rule.

To my mind the question is did Gardner consent to be bound by the rules if not he'll be in the same situation as RV found in Neville Clements' case who was involved in  an inquiry into Danny Nikolic’s activities? Clements refused to hand over his phone and was charged by RVL stewards and the RAD board disqualified him. Clements appealed to VCAT which set aside the RAD board decision on the basis that as an unlicensed person he had not consented to be bound by the rules of racing. To my knowledge RVL did not appeal that decision.

The most recent penalty imposed by Racing NSW on Brent Zerafa, an unlicensed person, was only enforced as he was a part owner of a racehorse that suggests if you're just a punter without any license or ownership you're not subject to the rules ...personally I think that's not how it should be.....but the rule hasn't been amended since 2003.’



BARRY NOLAN of BRISBANE sent this email:

‘GREG Miles will leave a giant pair of shoes to fill when he retires as Australia’s leading race-caller in June next year.

My mates and I have been great racing followers dating back to the days of Bert Bryant so we have been around for a while and reckon we know a good caller when we hear one.

But we cannot believe the debate that has followed the shock announcement by Miles to hang up his binoculars. We thought the obvious choice on a replacement was clear-cut.

Terry Bailey has more than served his time and moved to Melbourne from Sydney where he was the No 1 caller for SKY. There are some good callers in Australia but some of those listed well up in the markets that have been framed on a replacement for Miles aren’t, in our humble opinion, fit to lick Bailey’s bootlaces.

Bailey has been there a done that in the calling game – from his days in Queensland to the carnivals in Sydney and now in Melbourne where he does a fine job when called on to fill in when Greg is on holidays.

We have nothing against Mark Shean who was an excellent race-caller on the Sydney races having unfortunately been left without a job when TVN went to the wall. But we were shocked to read that a poll conducted by voted him a runaway winner as the Miles replacement.

And now we learn that Matt Hill, the one-time assistant to Miles and another former leading SKY caller in Sydney, has firmed from long odds to favoritism to return to race broadcasting. Hill has confirmed his interest in the job for which a replacement will be named before Christmas.

It might be a ‘novelty betting option’ but some of those listed in the market to take over from Greg Miles are laughable inclusions. Victoria Shaw, give us a break. Steve Hawkins – about the only thing he has in common with Terry Bailey – is that they both called the Gold Coast gallops; and Richard Callander – whatever happened to that big mouth from TVN – now we know they are joking.

On a serious note Bailey should be promoted and Shean given his job as a more than capable back-up – end of story.’ 



DANNY GROGAN of TOWNSVILLE weighs into the debate over financial problems confronting North Queensland’s biggest race club:

‘IT came as no surprise that David Fowler used his blog to give the Townsville Turf Club committee a backhander for resigning over the appointment of an administrator.

His dislike for this club and some individuals in Townsville is well documented. But might I suggest that there is a major conflict of interest with him not only commenting on the situation but also writing a blog when he is a high profile official of the biggest harness racing club in the State?

Fowler suggests that the RQ decision to threaten removal of the club’s license to race if the committee didn’t accept the Administrator’s appointment came as no surprise.

He said that even the TTC auditor expressed concern about its trading position without continued financial support from the controlling body. An external auditor voiced concerns about the dwindling cash reserves of another major TAB club in Queensland last year but the same didn’t happen there. The club reportedly got rid of the external auditor and RQ took no action. It suggests one rule for one club and one for another, even if it was a different Board in control.

Fowler says that: ‘As a club President, I am fully aware that running race meetings is not a profit making exercise.’ And goes on to say: ‘but I couldn’t see my committee fleeing the scene if a fresh set of eyes arrived to assist. It’s not a good look.’

Well for starters, as you well know Mr Fowler, no such action would occur while Kevin Seymour continues to call the financial shots at the Albion Park Harness Racing Club. But one wonders if it did occur and that club was faced with a similar pay packet to employ an Administrator how happy your fellow committeemen would be?

Let’s face it – don’t compare apples with oranges. The Townsville Turf Club, even it is parlous financial state, is arguably more successful than the ‘red hots’ at Albion Park could ever hope to be.

It’s just that because of the political pull that harness racing enjoys in Queensland it will continue to plod along as the third banana – not within cooee of the success that the greyhounds now enjoy – and will continue to maggot off the back of the gallops simply to survive financially.

Remember the old adage David – people who live in glass houses should be the last to throw stones.’



THIS contribution concerning the problems confronting the TTC was made by a PROMINENT RACING IDENTITY in TOWNSVILLE who, for obvious reasons, wants to remain anonymous:

‘THE meeting held between the Racing Queensland CEO, a high profile RQ Board member and the Townsville Turf Club to issue the ‘Administrator Direction’ was a non-event.

They had already made up their minds beforehand.

They were not too interested in what the Club had to say and the high profile official said he only had approximately 30 minutes to talk to the TTC as he had a prior engagement. I thought this meeting would have taken precedence over any other issues at the time.

For 20 of the 30 minutes he was there, all he wanted to do was tell his story about how many horses he owned and showed the TTC a video of his horse racing on Melbourne Cup day. 

After that he then proceeded to tell the TTC that he was a director of so many companies and that he did not need to take his director’s fees from Racing Qld. He then left and let the CEO take all the flack.

Well if this is the sort of person entrusted with running our racing in Queensland I think it is going to be a long, long, road ahead for our racing, especially outside of the South East corner.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS email only arrived late yesterday evening which did not give us time to seek a response from RQ. Should anyone there wish to answer what has been stated above they are welcome to unedited reply on this website.




READING the latest news, courtesy of Terry Butts of the North Queensland Register, on the diabolical situation forced upon the Townsville Turf Club, one wonders what motives RQ has for its decision to appoint an Administrator.

It’s time some of the politicians from the north and the LNP started to take a closer look at what is happening in Townsville and in particular if this involves some prime real estate that perhaps someone wants to sell to turn things around.

If the TTC deserves to have an Administrator appointed then there are several other clubs in Queensland that one could argue should be in the same boat. It would be nice to know if the stories are true that two of the biggest races on the calendar of a near Brisbane club are due for a prizemoney haircut and when this will be made public.

Stories also doing the rounds about complaints behind made to the Office of Racing and, if all else fails, higher independent Government integrity bodies, about how stabling is to be allocated at a major track; why contracts went away from the local industry and how the club squared up; and several other issues that are bound to create some nasty headlines for those concerned.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE are some of the questions asked on behalf of the industry by TERRY BUTTS in his ‘SILKS & SADDLES’ column in the NQ REGISTER this week about the latest happenings in Townsville:

THE plot thickens in Townsville – a special meeting of TTC members is scheduled on December 1 to elect a new committee.

It will (if it goes to RQ plan) replace the panel that resigned two weeks ago in protest over a Racing Queensland directive to appoint an auditor for 12 weeks at a cost to the club of around $200,000.

The ultimatum – that the committee must agree to the hiring of a Brisbane-based auditor within five days and the subsequent en masse resignations that followed has been the talk of the town – and in racing circles in faraway places.

But it is the action going on behind the scene that is the worry.

A certain TTC member is canvassing some members of the old committee encouraging them to re apply. And you have to ask for what reason. Is there an agenda or plan already in place?

Why would anyone wish to go on a committee that will be directed to hire the auditor and increase the TTC’s debt to RQ to over $400,000? And furthermore be under direction by RQ which has a very poor history of helping clubs out of financial difficulty. Just look at Mackay! Not to mention its own little disheveled financial mess at headquarters.

It is worth remembering too, that while under RQ administration, Mackay ‘forgot’ to invoice SKY for $70,000 the club was entitled to in broadcast fees over several weeks. That comes from a very reliable source.

And then there was the high flying number cruncher who was hired to get RQ out of the financial quagmire that it still remains bogged down in.




RACING Queensland has apparently refused Melbourne Cup winning jockey Michelle Payne permission to ride at the Magic Millions because she is now a dual license holder.

It appears the control body in the north supports the ridiculous stance being taken by Racing NSW in the wake of the Racing Victoria decision to grant jockeys with a dual license to train.

What possible harm can it do providing the dual license holder does not want to ride a horse for another trainer when they have a runner in the race? It has also raised some questions that dual license holders from the country have been allowed to participate in racing in Queensland in the past.



WHEN are stewards in Queensland going to look more closely at the fancied runners from a prominent stable?

Mug punters can tell when they are going to win or lose but those in charge of policing the meetings arguably don’t seem to care.

If a horse from this prominent stable opens short and firms significantly it bolts in. If it opens short and drifts alarmingly it races accordingly – and on most occasions – misses the start.

There is a pattern that has been established in recent months but not once has there been a question asked of this stable.

Punters are also concerned at the big moves when a certain trainer and jockey combine. Strangely the only time their starter gets beaten is by one of the roughest runners in the field. Perhaps it’s a coincidence but the other major chances in the race the pair contest on their winning mission seem to get lost.



THERE is yet another leak surfacing from the good ship Integrity better known as the RQ Titanic.

The standing down of Director of Stewarding Jamie Dart pending an internal investigation over who knows what was followed by an announcement that a non-steward lady is now doing his job.

Perhaps they should have mentioned that Dart’s job was offered to Chairman of Stewards Allan Reardon who refused it. Why wouldn’t he? Reardon should have been offered the top job to start with and besides he is said to be simply seeing out his contract before heading to retirement.

That being the case, why not look at Reid Sanders or Martin Knibbs, more than capable stewards who were in for the Director of Stewarding job originally?

If the story is right and QRIC is waiting until the New Year to advertise for a replacement from Dart – that’s assuming he is not returning – how much longer will the appointment process take before the role is again filled?

It’s just bad management – or at least that’s the general feeling emanating from the Albion Bunker.


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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