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.



JOHN PHELPS of GOLD COAST sent this email:

‘THERE has already been some racing media speculation that South African jockey Doug Whyte will suffer ‘a hefty suspension’ if Perth stewards find him guilty of not riding Scales of Justice out to the finish of the Kingston Town Classic last weekend.

One has to question consistency of penalties if that occurs. A precedent has been set in a similar $1 million race during the last Magic Millions Carnival on the Gold Coast.

Queensland jockey Ryan Wiggins was fined $1,000 on the same charge when he made a celebratory gesture near the finish on Feltre and lost the MM Trophy by a half head to Tinto.

That has since been regarded as a controversial decision by RQ stewards amid behind-the-scenes rumors of a conflict of interest in the process but for legal reasons I won’t go down that track.

Ironically, retired Brisbane lawyer Bill Andrews is a part-owner of both Scales of Justice and Feltra. As one racing column posed the question: What odds an owner losing two million dollar races in similar ‘unlucky or unfortunate’ circumstances?

The difference in the two races one could argue are these:

Wiggins had the race won on Feltre and lost it due to his celebratory salute.

Whyte maintains that although he stopped using the whip, he was still pushing with his left hand and trainer Lindsey Smith says he had no problem with the ride and that the horse was beaten on its merits.

On that basis if Whyte is given ‘a hefty suspension’ as suggested, there is no consistency in penalties and it will again raise the question why Wiggins got off so light with a $1,000 fine?

The other question that needs answering is why the Perth stewards waited so long to open their inquiry into the Whyte ride. The superstar jockey was on his way to the airport – he had to catch a flight back to ride in Hong Kong the following day – and they interviewed him by telephone.

Stewards say it resulted from concerns raised after they viewed hawk-eye vision of the finish and the Whyte ride. One would hope that is the case and not the hysteria created by the talking heads of SKY Channel over whether Scales of Justice would have won had Whyte not apparently stopped riding the horse.’




‘WHAT’S the point of bringing one of the world’s best jockeys all the way from Hong Kong to ride your horse in a $1 million race Down Under if he goes to sleep a few strides from the finish?

Regardless of what the ‘Durban Demon’ has achieved on the international stage at the end of the day this is one race his fans and critics will remember for all the wrong reasons.

Douglas Whyte has pleaded not guilty after Perth stewards charged him with not riding runner-up Scales of Justice out to the finish in the $1 million Kingston Towns Classic won by Stratum Star last Saturday.

Trackside hosts for SKY Channel, which covered the event live, were hot on the Whyte trail before the horses had even returned to the enclosure. They questioned whether he had misjudged the finishing line and stopped riding 20m out.

Whyte maintained what happened made no difference to the result and that being forced to work from an outside draw, then being pressured for the lead, had forced him to press the ‘go’ button earlier than he had wanted to.

“It wouldn’t have mattered if I hit it two or three times,” Whyte told stewards while querying whether he was being charged with not using the whip (quite the opposite to the problem that confronts most jockeys these days of over-use).

In his defense trainer Lindsay Smith and Scales of Justice managing owner Chris Wells had no concerns with the Whyte ride. But stewards maintained they were not privy to hawk-eye vision which had set off the alarm bells.

It will be interesting to see if Whyte, as was claimed by connections after the race, will return from Hong Kong to ride Scales of Justice when he contests the Australian Cup in the autumn.’



‘CURLY’ ANDREWS of SYDNEY sent this email:

‘SOME might say Darren Weir was lucky to win the Kingston Town Classic in Perth last Saturday with Stratum Star courtesy of an alleged miscalculation by Doug Whyte on Scales of Justice.

Whatever, the results will show that Stratum Star returned to his best form in the $1 million and Weir celebrated another Group 1 with a $5,000 shout of the bar at Ascot.

It was Weir’s 17th Group 1 win and one he might have felt was fortuitous in the circumstances.

Tongue-in-cheek might I suggest his $5,000 would have been better spent servicing the truck that was taking his horses to the Pakenham Cup day meeting. It broke down and one of the top chances on the day failed to arrive on track and missed a start.

His fortunes turned around when the stable team finally arrived on track in time for import and stable newcomer Gallic Chieftain to win the last.

Whoever was responsible – and perhaps it wasn’t Weir but the buck stops with him – surely trucks carrying millions of dollars in horseflesh to racetracks need to be in A1 condition and a back-up on standby to ensure that (barring accidents) there are no major roadblocks in getting starters from the elite stables to the track.’



AS a LONG STANDING MEMBER of the TOWNSVILLE TURF CLUB, I ask that you withhold my identity because I don’t want to be in the RQ firing line for being critical:

‘FORGIVE me but I am a shade confused by this situation that has evolved in Townsville racing.

As a member of the club I understood the reason that the previous Chairman and his Committee resigned was because they were not prepared to accept a direction to appoint an external auditor for three months at a cost of $150-$200,000.

That resulted in the need to appoint a new committee, which occurred last week, and now we have the new Chairman declaring immediately the likelihood that they will not accept the RQ demand.

From what I am led to believe RQ has given the new-look TTC committee an extension to decide whether to appoint this auditor and accept a $200,000 loan from RQ to clear debts.

That’s well and good but why couldn’t they have offered a similar deal to prevent the previous committee from resigning without the threat of taking away the club’s license to race if they didn’t adhere to the RQ demands.

To make matters worse I am also assured on good authority that on the same day as the new committee was appointed RQ offered an olive branch to the former Chairman and his committee asking them to reconsider and return to run the club but apparently they refused.

It’s all a bit confusing. Having said that, I can only wish new Chairman Mal Petrofski and those brave souls, some might unkindly call them fools, the best of British in taking up the challenge to try and resurrect racing in Townsville to the fine club this once was before the control body took a sledge-hammer to it.

But I can’t help thinking there is an agenda in all of this and here’s hoping it isn’t that valuable piece of real estate that could be the pot of gold at the end of the poison chalice for those looking to control the ranch.’


EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE’S what the most informed racing media man in the north, TERRY BUTTS, had to report on the Townsville situation in his ‘SILKS & SADDLES’ column in the NQ REGISTER this week:

PROMINENT local businessman Malcolm Petrofski, the new Chairman of the Townsville Turf Club, has vowed to kick-start a revenue raising program to get the club out of its financial woes.

He has called on current members of the TTC to join-in by each introducing a new member to the club that would boost membership to around 800.

“That’s a priority – the more members the better”.

Mr Petrofski said RQ had also given him an extension to decide on whether to accept the RQ demand to install an auditor for three months at a cost of $150-200,000, should the TTC accept a $200,000 loan from RQ to clear outstanding debts.

“They have also agreed that we could seek alternate finance from other sources, in which case we would not need their auditor”.

It seems the new Chairman might opt for the latter and has promised that he would not accept the RQ offer without a vote by members at a meeting on December 22.  

A relative newcomer to the racing industry, Mr Petrofski was the sole nominee for the position of Chairman.

He became Chairman at a special meeting of TTC members last week that was called to install a new committee following the resignation of the previous committee three weeks ago.

Others elected are vice president Ross Donovan (better known in recent times as the owner of champion sprinter Our Boy Malarchi), former policeman and solid supporter of the Olivia Cairns stable Graeme Deveney, and local businessmen Graham Ede, and long time owners Peter Malpass and Graham Nichols.

An RQ lawyer and an accountant Michael Campbell also attended but dodged several questions from anxious members with a standard: ‘I am not able to comment etc etc’.

It was somewhat disappointing response from the man who has been giving northern clubs as ‘tough time’ in recent months.

Members who attended the meeting simply wanted to know exactly what role the new committee might have – given events that saw the previous committee resign for refusing to act on a RQ directive to engage a Brisbane-based administrator for a seemingly outrageous sum – for three months work, mind you.

It will be interesting to see what occurs now in Townsville. There are still two vacancies on the committee but the feeling is a highly qualified local accountant may be appointed soon which might alleviate the need for the RQ administrator.

RQ might then take a step back and concentrate on helping the club return to the black by replacing the totally unfinancial Tuesday and Thursday TAB meetings with Friday, Saturday or Sunday race dates.

Or would that be too simple?

Meanwhile, it is business as usual at Cluden with CEO Michael Charge reporting that the large contingent of members who turned up to the meeting on Thursday was an encouraging sign.

“They have pledged their unity and strength to work together to forge a strong future for the club”, he said.




'I am wondering if it’s my imagination or how many other punting folk out there have noticed the number of well backed runners at the south-east Queensland TAB tracks that are missing the start lately.

Here’s hoping this isn’t a trend that we can come to expect or that the stewards are seeing what my mates and I – who have been keen punters for a long time – believe is more than a coincidence.

Queensland racing doesn’t want to get labeled in the ‘too hard’ basket as has occurred in Sydney where they seem to still be procrastinating over what to do about the findings of an investigation into alleged widespread betting by top jockeys and their associates – or so the racing rumor mill suggests.’  



MARK OGILVIE, a former VICTORIAN, now living in NORTH QUEENSLAND, sent this email:

‘I am inclined to agree with the sentiments of Terry Butts in his ‘Silks & Saddles’ column in the North Queensland Register that the career-ending penalty imposed on trainer Brian Cox was ‘over the top’.

Let me emphasize from the start that in no way do I condone Cox laying his hands on a steward to try and stop him from searching property in his stable.

But when you compare the penalty imposed on him compared to other on more high profile licensees then you just shake your head. Making matters worse, Cox has now been denied a stay of proceedings while he appeals the three and a half year disqualification.

Little wonder he is talking about walking away in disillusionment from a industry to which he has contributed so much.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: FOR those who missed it here is what Terry Butts wrote on the issue: 

THEN there was the case of trainer Brian Cox who was disqualified for three and a half years after stewards found an anabolic paste (Nitrotaine) in his fridge after a tip off from a disgruntled staff member.

Cox, son of the legendary Ollie Cox has trained for 45 years-straight from school- and never ever had another job. Nor, more importantly had a positive swab.

After the incident every horse in his stable (25 or more) were swabbed and even underwent hair testing with not a single positive.

The manhandling charge involved Cox (highly strung by nature) trying to resist the steward from searching the fridge.

Cox was handed a life sentence. A sentence that reflected no recognition of his contribution, devotion and commitment to racing in all those years.

 He has created training records that will never be broken in his area. He was the master of Vlad Duric, Mark Zahra, Luke Currie, Steve Sharman and Troy Baker to name just a few.

Quite clearly he shouldn’t have had the stuff (a muscle building steroid) in his fridge. But it is not a performance enhancing treatment.It was controversially banned a few years ago by the breeders’- dominated Australian Racing Board. Many still believe (this writer included) that anabolic steroids in geldings should not have been banned for several good reasons. But unfortunately it is and its use easily identified by swabbing.

And Brian Cox shouldn’t have resisted the stipe. And he knows that.

But three and a half years?

After all they didn’t find a fridge full of cobalt. And he didn’t have $10,000 on the winner of a race at Mooney Valley in which he had the favorite.

In racing it is not who you are....

Or is it?

Cox, a broken man, has appealed the severity of the sentence.

He has been crucified by his peers- but hopefully the Life of Brian is not over yet.


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.

Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

Login Form