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 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 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.





RATHER than run ‘Whinges’ that we received concerning UBET closing down Fixed Odds betting at a couple of major provincial venues in Queensland, we decided to investigate the matter further and here is what we discovered.

ONE of the first jobs confronting the new Queensland Racing Integrity Unit will be an investigation into ‘stings’ allegedly instigated by commission agents at major provincial venues on behalf of one of Australia’s leading punters.

UBET unearthed the well planned operation where a half dozen punters, led by a woman thought to be from Rockhampton, would simultaneously attempt to place sizeable Fixed Odds bets on the same runner.

This was thwarted at a recent Mackay race meeting when Fixed Odds betting was temporarily closed. When the punters involved relocated to the nearby TAB at the Boomerang Hotel UBET was forced to close Fixed Odds betting at that venue as well.

Our investigation has revealed that the woman who leads the group of well informed punters, who have been successfully plundering UBET with Fixed Odds bet, was asked to leave the Ooralea track when Mackay Turf Club officials were contacted by the Chief Operating Officer of UBET.

When the woman punter thumbed her nose at the direction (in fact we understand she gave the CEO of the MTC a pleasant ‘get stuffed’), UBET then closed Fixed Odds betting at the track. The woman and her associates then moved to the Boomerang Hotel where management was told of the operation before UBET closed Fixed Odds betting at that venue.

A UBET spokesman told letsgohorseracing: “We are happy to accommodate punters wanting to have a bet but when a concerted effort is made by a group to back the same horse at the same time our Fixed Odds margins are placed under extreme pressure.”

Steps have subsequently been taken to ensure the problem cannot be repeated. “We have made changes to our automated software. They can still bet but now we can risk manage the situation,” the spokesman said.

It is our understanding that this problem (reported at one time occurring at the Albion Park dogs) soon graduated to a new group of gallops punters and occurred at Ipswich, Rockhampton and twice at Mackay requiring Fixed Odds betting to be temporarily closed.

The UBET spokesman said: “These people are extremely successful in their betting activities. We just couldn’t afford to have a situation where they were all trying to get on at the same time.”

There are reliable reports that the group work as commission agents for one of Australia’s leading punters based in Sydney. The identity was linked some time ago to an alleged ‘sting’ at races in south-east Queensland where messages were supposedly being relayed to jockeys as they rode along the fence in front of the grandstand on their way to the start of races.

There is no suggestion that this alleged practice has anything to do with the latest betting operation which has involved horses at venues in various states, the majority of which are successful.

The new Queensland Racing Integrity Unit, which comes into operation at the beginning of July, will almost certainly be asked – in conjunction with stewards – too examine the background to the situation and links of the people involved.



AS an interesting sequel to the above, we received several emails suggesting that if the feedback is any indication, last week’s Racing Queensland Integrity Forum did little to satisfy or appease some sections of the industry that this major change will prove an overwhelming success.

Commissioner Ross Barnett stepped up to the plate to explain the new structure which becomes operational on Friday July 1 to invited stakeholders.

The promo that accompanied the invite explained that the aims of QRIC were:

To enhance public confidence in the racing industry

To gather information

To place a great focus on integrity

To improve treatment of racing animals

To operate efficiently and effectively

To educate participants along the way

One contributer suggested that if you were to read between the lines, that means:

To win back lost punter confidence in racing in Queensland which is near on a mission impossible

To encourage stewards to open a few more running and handling inquiries and, if necessary, to even include some high profile stakeholders in that exercise

To provide support to stewards prepared to ‘jump fences’ and ‘raid a few stables’ – similar to the approach adopted in Victoria – to silence the rumors that horses are receiving more and more performance enhancing drugs which cannot be detected in the swabbing process

And, perhaps even more importantly, silence the gossip mongers who claim that live baiting is still occurring in some sections of the greyhound industry.

The new Appeals Process is what has divided most opinion from those involved in the industry and those who follow or watch it carefully.

Under the new QRIS:

The Racing Disciplinary Board will be disbanded after June 30

A free, internal review process will be a licensees first option.

If he or she is not satisfied with that outcome they can then got to QCAT

An Interval Review does not give licensees an automatic stay of a decision. They must apply to QCAT at the same time.

Free appeals means many more will take that option that would occur if a fee was imposed. It is important that the powers that be appoint the right person as ‘sole internal review controller’. Those privileged to know who that is are insisting that the industry will be delighted.

Could it be Ray Murrihy, the former Chief Steward of Racing NSW, who recently retired? Some say that creates a conflict of interest because of his past involvement with many RQ stewards.

Perhaps they should have considered approaching highly respected legal identity Jim Murdoch, who would have to relinquish his training license. There would be no-one better credentialed to do the job than Jim who consistently proves a thorn in the side for stewards by successfully representing jockeys and trainers at appeals.

Commissioner Barnett and his new Integrity team will be under the microscope from Day 1. He will need to deliver – and quickly – or the scavengers that are hovering will soon swoop.



GLEN CASEY of IPSWICH sent this email:

‘IN a column in the Queensland Times this week, Mayor Paul Pisasale described the Ipswich Cup meeting as the biggest day on the Queensland racing calendar.

Officials are claiming a crowd of more than 20,800 – not quite a record – but better than the return to racing attracted at Eagle Farm a week earlier.

 In another story in the same newspaper the Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said ‘betting was 10 per cent higher than we have seen for the last five years thanks to the sheer volume of people that came through the gates’.

That begs the question was Mr Kitching referring to TAB turnover on the meeting on what was held on-course on the tote perhaps even combined with the bookmakers holds.

The reason I am asking is because a well informed source told me that the betting holds on UBET on Ipwich Cup Day were disappointing.

And why wouldn’t they bet? The meeting was second rate, the field for the Eye Liner was one of the worst regular carnival followers can remember and it reinforced the opinion in some quarters that Ipswich, Toowoomba and possibly even the Sunshine Coast should have Sunday for their big carnival days rather than a stand-alone Saturday feature. In the case of Toowoomba it might even work better on a Friday night.

Here’s hoping when a post mortem is done on the carnival that RQ or UBET release the official holds on these big days so that the industry and racing public can see what is being bet on major meetings of the carnival to determine those that are standing on their own two feet and those that aren’t.’



MICHAEL HANLEY of BRISBANE poses an interesting question on behalf of punters:

‘FOR two weeks in a row punters have been served up tracks that are not up to standard for major winter carnival meetings.

Considering the storm that caused the Oaks meeting to be abandoned a week earlier, one could argue that the problems encountered were excusable on Stradbroke day when Eagle Farm was reopened after an absence of two years.

The same could not be said for Ipswich last Saturday – a track that inevitably plays badly for the Cup meeting and one where it seems officialdom could not get the rating right despite a strong message from those riding on it.

We head back to Eagle Farm for the Tatt’s Tiara meeting next Saturday and the lead up weather has been perfect so there should be no excuses. If the track plays back again the axe needs to fall but of course it won’t because there will be plenty of alibis from the mainstream racing media.

Track problems are not unique to Queensland. Sydney and Melbourne have theirs as well. Moonee Valley was hardly a perfect surface for the punters last Saturday – in fact it was nothing short of a disgrace. Randwick and Rosehill have been playing badly during the wet weather as well.

But the question can rightly be raised if a problem exists next Saturday whether they should have waited until after the Winter Carnival and given the new Eagle Farm surface more time to consolidate. After two years would a few more months have made that much difference?

Here’s hoping at the end of the day that not taking the safer option does not come back to bite the Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland in the backside.’



‘I don’t know Kevin Dixon or Bob Bentley but I almost threw up when I read yet another patronizing comment piece by Nathan Exelby to the Racing Queensland Board sacked by the Labor Government.

With all due respects to Mr Exelby’s position as Racing Editor for Queensland Newspapers, might I suggest he stop hanging off the coat-tails of ‘little Kev’ Dixon and Tattersall’s and started asking a few tough questions about this ‘terrific’ TAB deal.

Exelby wrote: “Minister Grace has described racing’s $97.4 milion cut of the 30-year Tatts Licence agreement (the Government pocketed the remainder of the $150 million) as ‘not a lot of money’ despite the fact it was a new revenue stream for the industry.”

A good investigative journalist might have a fireside chat with Barry Taylor (former deputy to Dixon on the All Codes Board) and another member of that Board (harness racing representative Brad Steele) and ask them what they thought of the 30-year License Agreement.

Story goes that both gentlemen resigned in protest from the All Codes Board alleging a lack of consultation from Chairman Dixon and the LNP Government and steadfastly maintain that a far better deal went begging for the industry. There is much more to be told from that story but it seems there isn’t a racing journalist with the inclination to chase it.

Then we have Peter Cameron in his TRAPS column in The Sunday Mail suggesting:

Racing Queensland’s new Board is elusive. But LNP’s former RQ chair Kevin Dixon was conspicuous with VIPs at the Stradbroke. Eagle Farm bosses may sniff an LNP comeback.

Heaven forbid, might I suggest that the return to Dixon to run racing in Queensland would be the industry’s worst nightmare?



THE Victorian Jockeys’ Association for spearheading a push to reverse these ridiculous new whip rules which have cost riders throughout the country more than $300,000 since being introduced last December. Statistics reveal Victorian jockeys have incurred fines nudging $100,000 — and the apprentices have found it the most difficult to adapt to the rule that limits the use of the whip to five times before the 100m mark. Queensland has the most jockeys suspended with 22, followed by NSW (18), South Australia (13) and Victoria (nine). Some in the industry blame it on precious from ‘fruit loops’ in the animal liberation movement. Others claimsit is just downright revenue-raising. Whatever, it seems that at least Racing Australia is bowing to pressure to have the rules fine tuned.



DEBATE is still raging over the highly insensitive questioning of comeback trainer Tony Vasil by Michael Felgate on We won’t intensify the controversy by repeating the question Felgate asked of Vasil except to say that it was totally out of bounds. Although Felgate has subsequently apologized for ‘the way the question came out’ there are many in the industry who believe he should be stood down for a period as punishment by to prove that such on camera behavior won’t be tolerated.  



TROT TACTICSis a popular column that has been distributed in Queensland for years by Denis Smith who made some interesting observations this week that we are sure he won’t mind us reproducing.

MANY years ago (mid 90's), this column conducted a small exercise to determine the influence, or lack of it, wielded by the print media on wagering turnover on the three codes of animal racing in Queensland.

Run over a four week period, the methodology employed was the simplistic approach of measuring the areas (in square centimetres) devoted to stories and photos of the relevant codes. These areas were then expressed as a percentage of the total area.

Where am I headed?

Interestingly, the percentages of published area very closely matched the existing percentages of total wagering turnover enjoyed by the individual codes. At the time the three codes were running approximately at the agreed distribution of 76% gallops, 15% harness and 9% dogs.

We wind the clock forward to October 2011 and the performance of harness has come under the spotlight, and not favorably.

Racing Queensland has prepared a discussion paper on sustainability of prizemoney and bonuses to rectify the situation. The following points are to be considered in arriving at a solution.

(1) Wagering on harness has been declining for a number of years.

(2) Year to date March 2011 wagering turnover on harness is down 13.8% or $5.9 million with eight more TAB meetings having been held in the previous financial year.

(3) Fixed odds activity made up 19.7% of overall wagering on Queensland product through UNITAB as compared to Year to date March 2009 of 5.07%.

(4) Revenue from ALL wagering turnover is 2.2% down on the prior year as returns on ‘fixed odds’ betting are lower than ‘tote’ but it all goes into the one pool for distribution purposes. Actual wagering market share for the period was gallops 75.14%, harness 9.97% and dogs 14.69%.

It is now 2016 and both the horse racing codes are well into the highpoint of their respective racing calendars, "the Winter Carnivals".

Last weekend this writer ran the rule over the Friday edition of The Courier-Mail and found 195 square centimetres of story/photos devoted to harness in a sponsored feature, while gallops merited 702scm. The Sunday Mail provided no less than 3637scm for the gallopers, feature stories and graphic photos, while devoting a mammoth 49scm to harness. No photos, no story, just a 12.5 cm column of Albion Park results from Saturday night. The score in Monday's Courier was equally impressive, gallops 1642scm, harness zero!

If you think that the huge disparity is just the Winter Carnival ‘hype’, be advised that The Sunday Mail of April 24 ran to 3960scm.

Yes, Harness has its problems, but, our handicaps should be restricted to 10metre increments in standing start races, not the additional impost of near zero coverage in Queensland's major newspaper!




HE’S only been retired for a matter of weeks, but Racing NSW’s former Chief Steward Ray Murrihy is one of the most sought after “super sleuths” in what is fast becoming a corruption-riddled world of just about any sport which can be wagered on in Australia.

Like most of its global counterparts, Australian sport is rapidly becoming infected with, and dragged into a web of criminality and corruption where match fixing, the use of performance enhancing, and the ridiculously named “recreational” drugs is nearing rampant proportions.

Murrihy has been in the hot seat for most of his working life. He has pursued the cheats and criminal elements in NSW racing relentlessly since he stepped into the challenging role of Chief Steward, and during his time in the role, has taken no prisoners. Unlike his counterparts in other States, and particularly Victoria, Murrihy can never be accused of dragging the chain in ensuring investigations are concluded speedily and charges, where necessary, are laid with little time for the inevitable media circus which has been a striking feature of the protracted near year-long hiatus in the cobalt cases in Victoria and the second installment of the circus about to begin with the appeals process about to commence.

To Murrihy’s credit, he dealt with the NSW cobalt cases in track record time, and, importantly, he prosecuted his cases successfully. No messing around here, and tolerating a disrespectful and anarchical social media outbreak of playing the man and not the ball. And this explains the respect that Murrihy has demanded and won from even his most notable adversaries, who at some stage have fallen foul of his fearless approach to upholding the integrity of racing.

But in some of his public comments since retiring, and in relation to the recent match fixing NRL allegations, Murrihy has been almost Django Unchained.

Free at last, free at last, he has exposed both the leadership and strategic vacuum which has afflicted Australian racing for such a long time. Racing’s inability to “sell” its simple and factual message: that Racing created the role of the steward to monitor and protect its integrity well over a century ago, and which has become its albatross.

Yes, Racing created the Stewards’ role, and why? Because, as Ray Murrihy put it so simply when interviewed by Paul Crawley in the Telegraph, “Racing started out with people gambling on horses, whereas football started out on the basis where it was a game and it is only in more recent times that sporting organizations not only footy codes but tennis, cricket that held out their hands and said ’we want part of the action’. And of course along with that comes the responsibility with the integrity of it”.

Incredulously, such a potent historical fact has escaped the bunkered up members of Racing Boards and their Chief Executives - and their henchmen and women of racing administrations - who have yet again failed to “seize the day” and use opportunities which are gifted to them in proactively defending the sport which pays their inflated remuneration packages. It is rare for racing to be able to beat its own drum about anything. And if past history is any guide, nothing will change.

Racing the world over has been painfully slow to point to the bleeding obvious historical fact that because of its inextricable link with the gambling model on which it was, and continues to be based, it had integrity processes in place long before every other sport had a “white light” moment, and, before you could even say “Usain Bolt”, the horse had literally bolted and systemic corruption had already infiltrated the games, which had, what we now recognize as a delusional pristine misconception about them. No, sport and games are no longer played for the “outdated” spirit of competition where the best man or woman or team emerged as victor. That was pre-sports betting days. Ask Sepp The Blatterer.

Perhaps the headline grabbing racing media types at News Limited can take up on this theme and pontificate in their waffling editorial pieces which no one other than the declining numbers of largely semi-literate racing fans read, or, for their sins, are punished when they switch on their racing radio or television stations and see and hear the same buffoons using racing’s version of pidgin English and continue their meaningless gibberish.

Murrihy also makes the very valid point about the impact of exotic betting options on match fixing in sport. It is the very reason why Racing has to join the fight with every other sport across the world and regulate against insidious betting types like in-play betting, or in racing, the betting on the run exotic product. It is yet another reason why the racing.comarrangement with corporate bookmakers – selling their soul to the highest bidder from the corporate bookmaking sector, who are lobbying hard to introduce these insidious forms of gambling - is so flawed.

Gambling, once confined by borders to each country, has been globalized for a considerable time, something which has escaped the mindset of administrators who congregate at their regular gabfests and pass meaningless resolutions to dismantle illegal billion dollar turnover corporate bookmaking organizations operating out of countries like the Philippines and in Caribbean tax havens. They talk the talk, but are hobbled. Why? Most are either cut off at the knees, and up the bloody Khyber in their thinking.

The Australian’sBrendan Cormick, a highly respected racing writer, conducted a brilliant interview with Ray Murrihy in which he articulated, very succinctly, the challenges facing racing and, in particular, its integrity function. “The last two years of my life have been about dealing with cobalt and the law on a daily basis. It has just been incessant, you can’t detach yourself from it. It’s important for racing that these matters are dealt with and that we get to the bottom of it and the people guilty of offences are given appropriate punishment”.

It is a difficult proposition to argue against. Yet more than ever, and with the development of social media, the court of public opinion, has assumed a significant role and a loud voice in challenging, often without any factual or logical basis, the judgments of the law enforcing arm of racing.

With public expectation and scrutiny of the conduct of racing at unprecedentedly high levels, Murrihy rightly points to how racing deals with a plethora of important social and community issues such as welfare both staff and equine, employee rights and compliance with government regulators reflected in the rules of racing.

But the most telling point made by Murrihy is what he describes as the decline in “the level of respect for officials charged with policing sports over the past decade, coinciding with the growth of social media”. To blame social media alone would be to ignore completely the abject failure of the governing bodies of racing, in particular to protect its officials from public vilification in the conduct of what unquestionably is the most difficult job in racing.

Where other sports and some prominent international racing administrations strictly police a code of participant and player behavior towards stewards, umpires and officials, Australian racing, and specifically Victorian racing, has been derelict in its duty and obligations towards establishing an environment of respect for both the institution and its stewards and officials. And in this instance, not just from licensed persons and their increasingly vocal Goonish Ying Tong cheer squads, but from a section of the racing media whose headline-grabbing agendas fuel the flames of fires which need to be fought with water and not fire.

They have literally thrown their Chief Steward under the proverbial freight train making him Chief spokesman about anything and everything from stewarding to policy. He is de facto Chief Executive and might as well keep the seat warm for the next six months or so. Having said this, he should know better. He’s been sucker punched and has allowed himself to be played all wrong. Egg on his face? More of an omelette. And it will not go away.


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