This is an interesting piece from 2016.
With Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald off to jail....this is worth a read again.
Power, conflict and the NSW racing industry
By Kate McClymont
March 4, 2016 — 10.11pm
Normal text sizeLarger text sizeVery large text size
Messara: There's no such thing as a Dundeel at the track
John Messara's perceived power in the racing industry is such that a string of prominent industry figures declined to be quoted on concerns about Mr Messara's conflicts of interest.
One racing executive pointed out that the media "won't write a bad word" about Racing NSW because of the commercial arrangements surrounding the publication of form guides and the broadcast rights to races.
Alan Jones and John Messara share a laugh at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale Day on January 6, 2016, at the Gold Coast.
Alan Jones and John Messara share a laugh at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale Day on January 6, 2016, at the Gold Coast.CREDIT:BRADLEY KANARIS
Asked if Sky Racing commentators were allowed to say anything critical about him or Racing NSW, Mr Messara said: "That's the sort of rubbish people would say. Anyone can write what they like, they have editorial independence."
However, Fairfax Media has obtained the editorial policy which Racing NSW negotiated with Sky Racing. It requires Sky employees to depict the racing industry "in a positive manner" and "not to be disparaging, critical or negative of Racing NSW".
Ken Callander, the legendary racing writer for Sydney's Daily Telegraph, resigned last year because of what he perceived to be editorial interference in his copy when it came to writing anything critical of Racing NSW or Mr Messara or Peter V'Landys, Mr Messara's right-hand man and the chief executive of Racing NSW.
"The Daily Telegraph is a propaganda sheet for Racing NSW," said Mr Callander of the rumoured $4 million to $6 million per annum the paper receives from Racing NSW to publish the form guide.
(Fairfax Media also has a smaller commercial agreement with Racing NSW for a form guide.)
"I accept the editor is in charge of the paper but I didn't want to be a party to what I saw as one-sided comment," Mr Callander said.
Mr Messara's clout is also buttressed by his friendship with broadcaster Alan Jones with whom he owns horses, including It's A Dundeel.
"A lot of people are scared of Alan Jones. If Alan Jones wasn't involved with Messara, he wouldn't be nearly so powerful," said one industry figure.
Both the Telegraph and Jones have been supportive of Mr Messara's goals at Racing NSW. As he lobbied the state government to return more money to the racing industry, both the tabloid and the broadcaster championed the issue.
NSW Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, was given rare positive coverage on the front page of the Telegraph when declaring his party would support taking less money in taxes from betting revenue.
Jones was more forceful: during a robust interview with Premier Mike Baird on the eve of the last election he tore into the Premier on radio for not publicly committing to a better deal for racing. Liberal sources have claimed that the bruising interview left Mr Baird privately fuming.
Mr Messara has supporters on both sides of politics.
In May 2008, the then head of the trainers' association Anthony Cummings was surprised to receive a call from Moses Obeid, the son of notorious Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.
Mr Cummings has since told associates that he was taken to lunch by Eddie Obeid and then-minister Ian McDonald to lobby him for industry support for a spot for Mr Messara on the Racing NSW board.
Mr Macdonald and Mr Messara had worked closely together to resolve the 2007 equine influenza saga which threatened the Hunter Valley breeding industry.
In September 2008, Mr Messara was appointed to the Racing NSW board. However, a probity auditor ruled that the selection process had been flawed and would have to be re-done.
Jones was furious about this turn of events and Callander's reporting on it. "The dissidents have for months found a mouthpiece in the racing writer Ken Callander, whose performance in all of this has been absolutely appalling . . . his credibility shot to pieces," fumed Jones on air.
Callander retaliated: "'The Parrot' is upset because his mate John Messara was one of the losers" due to the flawed election process, he wrote. Callander also criticised Jones' failure to mention "he is best mates with John Messara … and is a part owner with him in super stallion Redoute's Choice."
The previous year the estimated $50 million per annum stud fees generated by Redoute's Choice had been in jeopardy after the government imposed a lockdown on the movement of brood mares because of the EI crisis.
Jones' crusade about the potentially catastrophic effect on the breeding industry came to the attention of the ABC's Media Watch which pointed out that the broadcaster had a 4 per cent stake in Arrowfield's star sire, Redoute's Choice.
"So could it be, Alan Jones's interest in getting the horses moving was more than a detached concern for the industry?" posed Media Watch host Paul Barry.
But Jones' campaign bore fruit. "There is one bloke in Macquarie Street who has been working his butt off and doing a damn good job in difficult circumstances and this is the Primary Industries Minister – Ian Macdonald," said Jones in September, 2007.
"I think you should be running the trains, the desalination plant and everything," he enthused.