Jenny - Clean

THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE is back for 2017 and won’t be dispensing with its theme which allows contributors to have their say on the THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY side of what is happening in racing. Thanks again for your support for the most read column on this website. Popularity of the Whinge continues to grow despite the bagging it cops from some high profile racing identities, who cannot cope with criticism of any kind and are too used to the spin doctor treatment they have received for too long from many in the mainstream media. We encourage the critics to continue to contribute and will provide a platform for them to air their grievances provided they remain balanced and constructive and do not border on defamation.



STAKEHOLDERS are becoming increasingly concerned but little is being written in the mainstream racing media about how much taxpayer and industry money the Queensland Government and Racing Queensland are contributing to the Magic Millions carnival.

All of a sudden the penny has dropped and there are those in the industry who are starting to ask questions and these include some owners who had horses contest Australia’s richest race day recently on the Gold Coast. With an election not all that far away it’s time the Opposition started demanding some answers as well.

Owners who were lucky enough to qualify a runner for the $2 million Classics at the Gold Coast recently, had the smiles wiped off their faces and want to know why it incredibly and unbelievably wound up costing them money if they didn’t finish in the top five.

Here is the information that was forwarded to us from a syndicate in country Queensland who had a starter in the Two-Year-Old Classic which finished between sixth and 16th. We advised them to remain anonymous at this stage. Here is their story:

‘LIKE many other owners who dream of one day racing a horse good enough to win a major race we pooled our money and went along to the Magic Millions yearling sales. We were fortunate enough to buy one good enough to qualify for the big money on offer for the Two-Year-Old Classic.

Even though our hopeful did not figure in the finish we knew that if he ran 6th to 16th we would receive $10,000. But to our amazement not only did we not receive the $10,000 in advertised prizemoney but instead a bill from Racing Queensland (we subsequently learnt on behalf of Magic Millions) for $5,250.

Despite the fact that to our knowledge there is a Rule of Racing that trainers and jockeys cannot be paid percentages of prizemoney earned for runners that finish further back than fifth, we were told that 10 per cent of our $10,000 had been deducted for the trainer and five per cent for the jockey (in total $1,500). They also charged us an acceptance fee of $13,750 to start in the race despite the fact that you pay close to $5,000 to make your yearling eligible for the MM series when he is purchased.

Little wonder the phone lines were running hot at Racing Queensland when these bills started arriving. But they passed the buck to Magic Millions telling angry owners like us to contact the company for an explanation.

When you start doing the sums Magic Millions is getting almost $5,000 for every yearling paid up for the series (taking all those sold into account that number would be in the thousands and the amount received in the millions). That’s not allowing for the commissions on the sales of those yearlings – which we understand at the January sales were seven and a half per cent per horse. Considering the record prices paid, it’s just another ‘King’s ransom’ for genial Gerry Harvey and his Magic Millions company. And we haven’t even mentioned how much it costs breeders to enter a yearling for the sales. There are the obvious overheads but it sounds awfully like a license to print money.

What makes it even harder to accept is confirmation recently that the industry is paying half the RQ contract – tens of millions – over seven years for the Magic Millions to stay at the Gold Coast (not that it would work anywhere else). After all it is a private enterprise company and the profits alone appear to be astronomical but none of those are being pumped back into racing in Queensland.

Now the Government will tell you that the tourist industry is a big benefactor and that is justifiable reason for yet another handout apart from that which the industry and RQ are paying to Gerry and the MM pacemakers. It seems that the Labor heavies like Anastazia, Grace, Jackie and Kate have been so well looked after on the big week by Gerry’s ‘handbag’ that they have convinced the Government to pour $10 million more into the MM Sales and Carnival.

That’s taxpayers’ money – apart from the industry handout at a time when Racing Queensland is tens of millions in debt – and we are supposed to swallow that Magic Millions puts heads on beds at the Gold Coast during peak season when most families don’t come there for the horses, they are there for the many other attractions and beaches that the tourist strip has to offer.

Go figure!

EDITOR’S NOTE: There needs to be an explanation from RQ, firstly why they are acting as a debt collector for Magic Millions and whether there is some Local Rule of Racing that enables percentages to be paid on prizemoney to horses that finishing from 6th to 16th in the Classics. If this is not the case then who is receiving this money? Surely a trainer and jockey cannot be paid a percentage of prizemoney for preparing and riding a horse that runs last.

I gave up trying to work out the priorities of Government and Racing Queensland Boards of all political persuasions long ago. Of one thing I am sure – it is far from a level playing field, racing in Queensland is continuing to fall further behind the southern States, the deals being done that seem to favour corporate bookies are hard to fathom (forget about not wanting to legislate for a Minimum Bet Limit, how can you possibly reduce the return from corporate bookies on the basis it will increase the business they do on the local product when it is on the nose with the majority of punters anyway – but that’s another story)? While those who can afford to pay their own way – like Gerry Harvey and his Magic Millions – are delivered outrageous handouts at the expense of the industry and the taxpayers, even some of the bigger clubs in the state have to take prizemoney haircuts across the board not to mention the raw deal that country racing is receiving where some clubs are struggling to survive financially and RQ is proving more of a hindrance than a help. The answer’s a pineapple.



OUR piece last week about Mrs Brown’s boy, Ian, doing a Bradbury and taking over as Acting Director of Stewarding for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission attracted some interesting responses.

One was from a high profile steward, who wished to remain anonymous, claiming ‘Brownie was the best man for the job’. A couple of others we weren’t prepared to run because we suspect some mischief making about ‘family ties’. But there was an interesting one that could open a big can of worms if it isn’t more racing scuttlebutt.

It came from an insider at the Bunker who suggests that the reason nothing is being said about the fate of the former Director of Stewarding is because a story doing the rounds suggests that he could soon turn whistle-blower with an interesting ‘tell all’ story for anyone in the media who wants to listen.

If the mainstream boys aren’t interested, we at letsgohorseracing would certainly like to hear what he has to say and publish his side providing our lawyers don’t declare it ‘too hot to handle’.

And on the subject of the Integrity boys, good to see them keeping up the heat on a prominent stable in the south-east corner of the state. Their visit to the centre also netted some interesting intelligence about the latest illegal treatment of horses and how some trainers are allegedly avoiding swab detection. Don’t be surprised if a starter or two are impounded for 24 hours or more in the not too distance future – unless the trainer in question has a fancy lawyer who finds a loophole to stop racing in Queensland from becoming the level playing field it deserves to be.   



MAX NEWTON of the SUNSHINE COAST sent this email overnight:

STEVE DICKSON will be right at home as Leader of One Nation in Queensland now that he has defected from the LNP where most in racing will remember him as the biggest goose to hold down that Ministerial portfolio.

“I believe under Steve’s knowledge, experience and under his leader leadership that the State will power ahead,” Pauline Hanson told a press conference on the Sunshine Coast after a slip of the tongue saw her declare Dickson the Member for Bundamba instead of Buderim.

All that was missing in the response from Pauline’s latest great hope for next year’s State Election was a declaration that ‘One Nation would finish a furlong in front of the two major parties.’

After making a similar ridiculous claim about Queensland racing overtaking the big southern states when he was LNP Racing Minister, those of us who follow this industry and politics cannot wait for the comedy show that will be provided by Dicko and Pauline.




‘SHORTLY after his appointment as the new Chairman, high profile businessman Steve Wilson said if Racing Queensland was a public company he would not hesitate to buy shares in it.

Sadly that confidence has not flowed through with many industry stakeholders not only rating the new Board short-sighted in their decision making but also believe they have many of their priorities wrong.

The latest controversy over Racing Queensland’s refusal to follow the lead of the major southern states and introduce a Minimum Bet Limit is only the tip of the iceberg in this growing lack of confidence in those running the show.

Nathan Exelby, writing in The Courier-Mail, was correct to suggest that the MBL despite creating huge discussion was not an issue that would determine the success or otherwise of the new Board and executive.

But, as he pointed out, it has highlighted an appealing lack of leadership and a scant regard for punters from those whose job it is to better serve the industry like the Racing Minister Grace Grace and the RQ CEO Dr Eliot Forbes. It is hard to understand why they seem to be protecting the interests of the corporate bookmakers who have done nothing but plunder the profits of racing in this country and send them offshore as well as treat any successful punter like garbage.

The bottom line is that Racing Queensland needs to protect the interests of one of the key groups that they rely on to keep the wheels of the industry turning – the punters. The control body needs to ensure every avenue of revenue and profit making is assured to reverse their multi-million dollar losses not to mention provide more prizemoney not just to try and keep in touch with rival states but also to give back what they took away to try and right the ship finance wise.

It’s a concern when Dr Forbes has a history of what some might call ‘flying united’ with the corporates, especially in Tasmania where they were allowed to get too firm a grip in this country. What makes it harder to swallow for stakeholders is the support the good doctor is getting from the Racing Minister and RQ Board chairman.

Instead of declaring outright that the Government has no intention of introducing legislation that would implement minimum bet requirements in Queensland, the Racing Minister is under an obligation to explain why, especially when it has been implement so popularly and successfully by NSW and Victoria.

Instead of joining the Premier and heavies from Racing Queensland at ‘Gerry and Katy’s’ annual party on the Gold Coast that the industry is largely funding, Grace Grace should find herself some advisors with ‘real knowledge’ of what the racing industry needs in Queensland instead of using highly paid spin doctors to churn out the garbage we are currently receiving – like ‘monitoring what’s happening in other jurisdictions’.

Blind Freddy could tell her that NSW and Victoria are not only a ‘furlong in front’ of racing in Queensland but there is no chance of the Sunshine State ever bridging the gap while decisions are made that will drive punters away, cut into turnover and consequently cost the industry in the north much-needed revenue and profits.




‘POWERFUL wagering lobby groups, like Fair Wagering Australia, are wasting their breath calling for a vote of no confidence in, and the resignation of, Racing Queensland CEO Dr Eliot Forbes.

We read where RQ Board chairman Steve Wilson has defended his embattled CEO, declaring he is ‘delighted’ to have Dr Forbes at the helm. Glad to hear he’s got the confidence of the boss – and no doubt Grace Grace who is in a photo finish with Steve Dickson as the worst Racing Minister Queensland has seen.

If some of these RQ Board directors – who have the obvious business acumen to help haul the industry out of the financial minefield it remains in – took the time to prize themselves away from the air-conditioned comfort and wining and dining of the corporate boxes or committee rooms on race days they might learn just how disenchanted many industry stakeholders are.

The jury is certainly out on Dr Forbes after his ‘support for the corporate bookmakers’ during his days at the helm of Tasmanian Racing was outed recently in a circular from Fair Wagering Australia – the mouth-piece of those least listened to in racing in this country – the punters. Surely they deserve a voice on control bodies, especially if some of those who are considered by many to do so little but receive so much, like the influential breeders lobby is up there, front and centre.

Last year RQ continued to post a multi-million dollar loss. This was despite the commercial-in-confidence decision to financially support a private company in Magic Millions and its owners, among the wealthiest husband and wife teams in the country, to the tune of tens of millions of industry money over a seven-year period. It’s an outrageous restriction of trade providing industry funds for a race meeting that is basically restricted to sales related yearlings not to mention what, in the opinion of many in racing, is misuse of industry funds when across the board racing in Queensland has been forced to cut stakes and is struggling to keep in touch with NSW and Victoria – let alone compete.

One would think that every means of making money that could be ploughed back into stakes or at least reduce the massive debt of RQ would be implemented without second thoughts. Such is not the case and the obvious ‘love affair’ between some at RQ and the corporate bookmakers should be a matter of concern for the industry’s major contributor, UBET (Tattersall’s) but their conspicuous silence on recent controversial happenings is quite mind-blowing. Perhaps they are just waiting for the merger with the big southern TABs, which all but seems a fait accompli and will save the baby of the tribe from eventual oblivion.

But getting back to my original point – it’s a waste of time for these powerful punting groups to expect a say in what it is happening in the racing industry and they are wasting their breath calling for the resignation or a vote of no confidence in high profile administrators like Elliot Forbes.

They will have more impact influencing top punters to no longer bet in Queensland or on racing in Queensland. That will see its market share continue to dwindle. If RQ wants to turn its back on the punters then let that State pay the price for their short-sightedness with NSW and Victoria benefitting from millions in lost betting turnover.

As professional punter Daniel O’Sullivan observed: “There’s no doubt in my mind that there will come a time in the future where Racing Queensland look back and lament the decisions of the current Board to encourage a biased wagering landscape and allow market share to be lost to other jurisdictions.”

Hopefully by then there will be a change in Government. The LNP has already slammed Labor’s policy of favoring multi-national corporate bookmakers who don’t pay the taxes they should in Australia, saying the refusal to implement a Minimum Bet Limit would send valuable punting dollars to southern states.’



ALBERT WILLIAMS, of REDCLIFFE, a regular contributor on all things racing in Queensland, writes:

‘DOES anyone remember the time – not all that long ago – when millions were wasted by the then Racing Queensland Board on that farcical ‘We Run as One’ campaign.

Stakeholders and supporters of the three codes marched around a cow paddock west of wherever behind ‘little King Kev’ Dixon and his merry men and women declaring the three codes would unite and succeed.

We’re still waiting. It died a quite death. The big loser was again the industry which footed the hefty bill for this marketing farce.

As they say the more things change the more they stay the same. One could be mistaken for believing that some now running the show in racing in Queensland – from the Minister to the RQ CEO – had reignited the ‘We Run as One’ theme. The only difference being that on this occasion they seem to be in bed with the multi-national corporate bookmakers who operate outside the rules, discriminate against successful punters, then send their massive profits off-shore without paying sufficient racing taxes or ploughing what they should be back into the industry off which they maggot.

RQ powerbrokers, along with the Racing Minister, refuse to explain why they will not legislate for a Minimum Bet Limit which the major southern states like Victoria and NSW have had the foresight to do. What is it about the racing industry in Queensland – does it have a ‘death wish’?

Before the control body and the Government got their act together there were mixed messages about what was really happening. Once they realized how embarrassing this looked, the spin doctors stepped in to limit the damage and here too we know have the ‘head honchos’ trying desperately to give the impression that they ‘run as one’. Punters aren’t idiots and nor are the stakeholders.

It would seem an ideal time for the resurgence of the Queensland Racing Unity Group. One major hiccup and they seemed to disappear as the fighting force that the industry so desperately needs. There’s another election just around the corner and although the message from those at the head of QRUG is that they want to steer clear of politics, it’s time to start influencing all sides of politics when it comes to racing.

This is going to be a bitterly fought election in Queensland and racing is a major industry with plenty of voters. Labor has let racing down in the eyes of many. Grace Grace has shown she knows little about the workings of the industry and her Department is ‘brain dead’.

The LNP is on the nose with many in racing especially as Tim Nicholls is now the leader. Few have forgotten how the Eagle Farm redevelopment – smack in the centre of his electorate – took so long to complete and many blame his Government back then for that disaster. There is also the problem that the one MP racing would accept with open arms as the right man for the Ministerial role is Ray Stevens and he seems to be fruit out of season with Tim the Toolman.

Then we have Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, which along with the Katter Party and a few independents could easily hold the balance of power. Some in racing saw them as light at the end of the tunnel until Steve Dickson jumped ship from the LNP. Very few have forgotten his showing as a one-time Racing Minister who declared Queensland would finish ‘a furlong in front’ of the southern states with the plans his Government had for the industry. Enough said – if that clown has anything to do with implementing racing policy then God help racing in this State.

Just when you thought a new broom would sweep clean the remnants of the damage some say was done by the Dixon Board and others blame on the Bentley era before him, the time has come for Wilson and his crew to start delivering but the signs are far from promising in the opinion of many who have watched racing in Queensland stagger from one disaster to another.



FROM a TRAINER in MACKAY who prefers to remain anonymous for obvious reasons:

‘DO we call it ‘dumb’ or ‘desperate’ – the proposal by the Chairman-to-be of the Mackay Turf Club to make trainers pay $10 for the use of race day tie-up stalls.

Of course the trainers are angered by the over the top suggestion which some say is the final nail in the coffin for the already struggling Mackay racing industry.

But desperate times call for desperate measures and racing in the country is getting little or no help from the powers-that-be in Brisbane.

There was a time when the Government cared about country racing. Labor, from the days when Bob Bentley put the axe through so many clubs outside the metropolitan area, couldn’t care less.

But the Bentley legacy did leave Mackay with one of the best tracks in country Queensland only to see the a Racing Queensland takeover that current hard working and popular Chairman Lou Kinsey describes as an ‘absolute disaster’.

It’s hard to challenge his assessment when you consider that under the management of RQ the MTC from being $300,000 to $500,000 in the red. If that was a public company running the show the shareholders (in the case of racing the industry) would sack the directors.

Everyone knows that the success and failure of the major country venues rests with race dates. They just cannot survive without Friday, Saturday or even Sunday racing. But RQ is too busy looking after their buddies – like Toowoomba – which would have been on the ropes years ago without the financial handouts from the Government and control body. It helps to have friends in high places.

Not so for clubs like Mackay and Townsville which are struggling through a disgusting lack of support from RQ. We have now seen successive chairmen of both clubs (Kevin O’Keefe in Townsville and Lou Kinsey in Mackay) largely blame RQ for the financial fix their clubs are in.

As Kinsey told Terry Butts of the NQ Register:

“When RQ took over administration of our club in 2014 we owed $300K.

“They handed it back to us in 2016 and the debt had blown out by $200K – and yet they demand we pay the lot.

“Well we can’t. It’s that simple.

“We lose money every time we race midweek – but RQ refuses to give us Friday or Saturday dates.

“Put simply, they are forcing us towards closure”.

“Rockhampton and Townsville are marginally better off with Saturday date allocations but they too are having financial difficulties.

“The future of racing in the area is not good and RQ is definitely not helping.

“That they can give $10 million to a private company to stage a Magic Millions race day is abominable.

“It makes your stomach turn.”

Sadly, Kinsey says the RQ Board member in country Queensland has never been near his club. Perhaps she is too busy attending the Cairns Amateurs.

“There is supposed to be a Queensland Racing Board member based in Cairns. I have never spoken a word to her. I don’t even know her name.”

As a prominent official from the north once said: “If we were the Toowoomba Turf Club, and not the Townsville Turf Club, our future would not be in jeopardy. But that’s how the political cookie crumbles in racing in Queensland!’



LANCE ANDERSON of ADELAIDE sent this email:

‘THE lawyer for the South Australian jockey that had a ‘brain snap’ in a race at Morphettville recently is entitled to his opinion when it comes to penalty but in the opinion of many he has to be dreaming.

Wayne Pasterfield has reportedly suggested that Jost Cartwright’s riding misdemeanour in that now infamous Adelaide race deserves nothing more than a two month suspension and perhaps a hefty fine.

He has compared the ride that that of champion jockey Damien Oliver when he won the Blue Sapphire Stakes at Caulfield last October on Flying Artie after cannoning into other runners.

Pasterfield has also made comparisons with the notorious ride by former Melbourne Cup winning jockey Greg Hall when he knocked several runners down on the way to success on Merlene in the 1996 Golden Slipper.

Speaking on Racing Radio RSN in Melbourne, the Sydney-based Pasterfield said: "I suppose the most serious offence I can recall of this nature would be Greg Hall in the Golden Slipper, and I think he got two months and a $50,000 fine.”

Veteran racing folk cannot recall a more serious offence by a jockey that threatened the safety of his fellow riders and some even believe he should be facing a more serious charge. Most are calling for him to be given a life ban.

Whatever the outcome the career of Cartwright will be lucky to survive. It will be interesting to see if rival jockeys make a stance in the event of a minor penalty and refuse to ride against him in future.’


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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