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Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Aug-01, 09:15 AM Reply #1100 »
Another grouping of diverse issues starting with questioning the success rate of QRIC Racing Squad prosecutions which came up at the recent Qld Guvment Estimate Committee hearing on the racing minister's portfolio....only details released publicly by the QRIC involved some 7 or 8 harness racing trainers /drivers, former trainer or stablehand   arrested and charged with match fixing with a couple of other unlicensed persons apparently on the inside charged with other far only one Barton Cockburn has been convicted the other two prosecutions failed...while the rest are still to be tried...the question is why haven't the QRIC published details of the rest of those 45 persons mentioned by Ross Barnett whose privacy has been protected.......a whole lot more concluding with another Max Presnell expose which seems to be an unfinished story

JIM MUNRO, a popular harness racing identity whose thoughts on all three codes are highly respected, sent this interesting email concerning the recent Estimates Hearing on Racing:
‘DURING the Queensland Government Estimates Committee hearing on racing held last week John Paul Langbroek from the LNP Opposition asked several questions of Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, who was assisted by other officials.
One question asked of Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner, Ross Barnett, was how many charges had been made by QRIC and how many prosecutions have been successful.
In his reply the Commissioner explained that QRIC had processed over 1600 charges across three codes and while the Racing Crime Squad does not answer to him 45 persons had been charged with 89 offences by the squad.
Unfortunately, Commissioner Barnett neglected to inform Mr Langbroek  how many of those prosecutions had been successful and unfortunately for us who are paying for this process Mr Langbroek didn't press for a reply to his question on the number of successful prosecutions.
The answer is ONE.
While there have been several QRIC Media Releases on prosecutions for alleged match-fixing in harness racing there are only three of those harness racing prosecutions which have been reported as finalized and only Barton Cockburn resulted in a conviction for which he was fined $5,000. QRIC also disqualified him for life.
Both Dayle March and Leonard Cain were found not guilty of match fixing and it appears probable in the absence of any media reports that other persons named as being arrested and charged have not had the charges determined.

THE sectional times fiasco surrounding the win by Sabkhat at Doomben on Saturday has highlighted yet another anomaly for racing in Queensland.
In recent months we have received numerous WHINGES from punters highlighting their inability to access free sectionals for TAB meetings as occurs in the southern States.
As one wrote recently: ‘Why can’t I get sectional times on the Racing Queensland website similar to what happens interstate for races in NSW, Victoria and South Australia?’
And another contributor commented: ‘Sectionals are a great punting tool but to acquire them for TAB races in Queensland it seems I have to pay one of the private providers who want to charge an arm and a leg and then add their arguably useless ratings as part of the package.’
LGHR sought an answer to this discrepancy from Racing Queensland and was told the delay in the Eagle Farm redevelopment was to blame – that sectionals times would be available free of charge to punters when racing returned to the new-look headquarters.
We pointed out that whilst this would be a welcome and overdue innovation there was a need for a ‘sectionals’ service at all TAB tracks similar to what has been available to punters interstate for some time.
The RQ answer: ‘Hopefully the introduction of the sectionals system from Eagle Farm will progressively flow on to other tracks but that will take some time.’
It simply isn’t good enough at a time when punters are walking away from betting on racing in Queensland – fortunately not in the same droves as they are from the ‘red hots’ – unless you listen to propaganda from one media identity who misuses his access to the air waves of Racing Radio in what most in the industry regard as a major conflict of interest.
Nathan Exelby reported in The Courier-Mail on Monday that there was an amendment made to the official sectional time of Sabkhat’s blistering Doomben win that made more sense of the way the race panned out.
On course, the semaphore board showed an official time of 1min 18.28sec and sectional of 35.51sec. At that time, according to data provided by Daniel O’Sullivan of BetSmart, Sabkhat’s first 750m of 42.77sec would have been the fifth fastest run over the Doomben 1350m this decade.
However, the official times recorded after the race amended the sectional to 34.28sec, which put Sabkhat’s first 750m at a less frantic 44sec. The 44sec ranks him at 105 out of the 626 races run over the trip at Doomben since 2010.
The Sabkhat mistake was just another ‘bump’ in the road. That aside it’s time that RQ provided punters with a time-frame when they will be able to access ‘free sectionals’ similar to what happens interstate. This dragging of the chain has gone on for far too long but is par for the course in Queensland racing.
WE promise not to mention how badly the 'red hots' are traveling at Albion Park and risk a few more hand bags being thrown across the room but the Whinge lit up with more anger when the cost of the on-going Eagle Farm redevelopment disaster was revealed at the State Government Estimates hearings.
Again we relied on that eager racing media beaver from The Courier-Mail, Nathan Exelby, for the latest inside information on everything good and bad involving the Brisbane Racing Club. He’s so busy providing the news, it is little wonder that Racin’ Nathan is struggling to find winners on one of his myriad of outlets from print to radio and now coming off the bench to join that endless list of struggling tipsters at SKY.
Back to the state of play at Eagle Farm and Exelby reports that the Estimates hearings were told $2.8 million had been spent on the ‘renovation’ since July last year with a budget allocation of $3.7 million for the entire project.
As he rightly wrote: “It’s a long way from the ‘$1 million to $1.5 million’ originally speculated when the rebuild was announced last year.”
When questioned at the Hearings by Opposition Shadow John Paul Langbroek, our latest ‘on the ball and well informed’ Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe would not be drawn on a return date for racing at the Farm – largely because he, like everyone else involved in the project – hasn’t got a clue.
“I will not be making the mistake of predicting now when it will be available,” Hinchliffe told the Estimates hearings. “My measure, as it was back then and will continue to be, is having confidence in the participants in the industry and seeing the track successfully remediated and tested by participants.
“That is the only measure there will ever be. I am not going to be making predictions about a date now. What we need for the success of this new track at Eagle Farm is for it to be proven and demonstrated to be sustainable and reliable.”
As one contributor commented on the issue to the WHINGE:
‘Doesn’t Hinchliffe just ooze confidence? But at least he’s not declaring Queensland racing will finish a ‘furlong in front’ like that other predecessor ‘ :censored: ’ from the LNP. The people of Longman showed at the weekend they have about as much confidence in the team from the ‘goat riders’ as what the racing industry has. They haven’t forgotten the contribution made by Laurence the Loser and Tim the Toolman to this Eagle Farm embarrassment during their days at the helm not that Labor have done much better.’
Or as another emailer wrote: ‘It seems they can successfully build high rise units and shopping centres at Eagle Farm but the one thing they can’t get right and the most important of all is the track. BRC chairman Neville Bell says the shopping complex part of the multi-million dollar development of the Eagle Farm and Doomben racing precincts would prove a wonderful asset and income stream for the members. It’s a pity they don’t have a track capable of racing on at the Farm and don’t seem to know when they will.’
WHILE all the mainstream media focus remains on The Everest – despite its absurd abuse of stakes money – racing in Sydney has degenerated to such a degree that Chris Waller looks set to have a race at Randwick on Saturday exclusively for his own horses.
Adam Pengilly reports for Fairfax Media that Racing NSW was forced to scramble on Monday to find suitable rivals for Sydney's all-conquering Waller, who provided 11 of the 12 nominations for a restricted 2400m race on Saturday.
But the lone ranger who was set to take on the Waller army, Hawkesbury-based Jamie Thomsen, was leaning towards whisking his mare Praise Songs to a Kembla Grange race he had nominated her for on the same day.
Pengilly reports that Waller boasting upwards of half the field in off-season middle distance events is nothing new to Sydney racing, but it appears even he could break new ground with a cast of classy stayers who all share the same home.
Like it or not, there are no provisions in the Australian rules of racing for an event to be cancelled if one trainer boasts the entire field. What makes it worse from a punting perspective is that history has shown a second string almost certainly upstages the stable favourite when Waller has multiple runners in races in Sydney. 
VEGA MAGIC stole the spotlight with a stunning return to racing in the Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield and quickly snared a berth in Sydney’s over-hyped The Everest.
It seems all roads are headed to the multi-million dollar Sydney feature for anyone with a star sprinter but there is a strong argument that the same field could be achieved for less than half the absurd amount of prizemoney at stake.
Vega Magic raced in blinkers retaining his unbeaten Caulfield record with jockey Damien Oliver claiming had the horse not refused to settle he could have easily doubled his winning margin.
Team Hayes plans to remove the blinkers for Vega Magic’s next start in the Memsie but strangely will return them for The Everest, a race he was unlucky not to win last year.
THE sensational win by VEGA MAGIC tended to overshadow the one-act affair that another star, NATURE STRIP, made of the Lightning Stakes in South Australia.
It was billed as a match race with Magic Millions winning filly Sunlight but despite missing the start Nature Strip raced straight past her for the easiest of wins.
Nature Strip is still a contender for The Everest but questions have been raised as to whether his performance was stunning on Saturday or made look better but the disappointing return of Sunlight.
IT was Groundhog Day for Sydney punters on Saturday when ‘champion’ trainer Chris Waller again put them to the sword.
While the mainstream racing media continued their love affair with ‘crying Chris’ highlighting his staggering success rate no mention was made of stable form reversals and second string runners beating home favourites.
Saturday was no exception. The rot set in for Sydney punters in the second at Rosehill when Huanshan ($12 to $8) was successful while the heavily backed stablemate The Macallan ($4 to $3.2) could do no better than fourth.
Worse was to come in the Winter Challenge when Mister Sea Wolf ($13 to $9.5) turned in a typical Waller form reversal while the stablemate that the ‘experts’ all declared in Invizabeel tired to finish fifth after easing from $3.3 to $3.7.
Mister Sea Wolf had failed at four starts since finishing 3rd in the Doncaster Prelude in March. He was however a luckless fifth in the Octagonal but then got too far back when sixth in the Civic Stakes to stablemate Liapari (a dismal 14th to him on Saturday).
Once again the form of some of the Waller horses is impossible to follow but punters are just expected to grin and bare it. The improvement by Mister Sea Wolf didn’t even rate a mention in the Stewards’ Report.
PUNTERS also got burned at Caulfield when a second string for top trainer Darren Weir in ZEDINATOR won the race in which heavily-backed stablemate MOUNT KILCOY finished a dismal 11th.
Weir told after the race that despite their being excuses for the Mount Kilcoy failure he was not at all confident Zedinator would go near winning when he spoke with connections prior to the race.
Stewards reported that Mount Kilcoy, backed into odds-on, pulled up with a slow recovery and was lame in the near foreleg.
PERHAPS it’s just that time of the season but the favorites seem to be performing badly in Brisbane right now.
Only two of the nine were successful at Doomben last Saturday – SPURCRAFT which fell in at $1.8 and SABKHAT, $3 to $2.7, and never going to get beaten.
From a punting perspective there were more disappointments than success stories. These were spearheaded by the well backed Bluebrook, Makes You Think and Helfuchi.
There were some successful plonks at good odds at Doomben though. Big odds were bet about firmers Brilliant Jet, Archer’s Paradox and Arena Salon. The latter was a bit hard to find for some despite recent placings at Rockhampton and Beaudesert.
PUNTERS have caught on to a theory that horses from the David Van Dyke stable that drift in the betting rarely get the money.
One emailer pointed out to the WHINGE that another good example was the Sunshine Coast on Sunday when Golden Sheaf failed in the first.
Chasing a hat-trick of wins, Golden Sheaf was very easy in the market after opening at a short quote and ended up running last.
Stewards reported that a veterinary examination revealed Golden Sheaf to be lame in the near foreleg. Punters weren’t entirely happy with their lack of action on the failure.
One wrote: ‘With all due respects the ride of Hellyer on Golden Sheaf deserved some questions to be asked. He seemed to show no concern when the horse was running last early and despite making a short-lived burst on straightening it was never in a winning position. From a punters’ viewpoint stewards, the ride deserved to be questioned.’
IT seems one of the surprise surviving stewards of the 'Dr Dolittle' era hasn't taken kindly to some criticism from contributors to the WHINGE.
Hope he's reading because here we go again:
COMMISERATIONS to trainer KRYSTAL JOHNSTON and connections of the good money-spinner CRAIGLEA DEKEN which broke down in the Cleveland Bay Handicap in Townsville on Saturday.
Stewards reported: CRAIGLEA DEKEN – Faltered near the 500m and was retired from the race near the 200m. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to have severely injured its off front leg and as a result was euthanized on humane grounds.
Craiglea Deken raced 65 times for 16 wins and 21 placings, amassing over $310,000 in Stakes. The five-year-old was 10 times at the Townsville track and deserved, we are told, a more fitting demise.
Some of the stories emanating from how he suffered during the final minutes of his life (not to mention injuries suffered by a strapper trying to help out) was not surprisingly omitted from the Stewards' Report.
We are told it greatly distressed those close to the horse especially the trainer and jockey. If the message hasn't got across to their man in the north - it's the era of QRIC and a time to be a bit more transparent.   
THERE’S a world of difference between “Dr Nick” and Cameron Crockett, the linchpins in the Sharpe Hussler plunge at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
“Dr Nick” is a punter in the Zelkjo Ranogajec category, some say bigger, which I doubt as even Kerry Packer didn’t invest as many millions, amounting to billions, over such a long period.
And Cameron Crockett, son of Max Crockett, a breaker who has probably educated more horses than anyone in Australian turf history, tuned Sharpe Hussler, difficult to place in the bush, to a peak performance.
Surprisingly, on Saturday morning, came a call from my mate of over a half century, Max Crockett, in a voice toned to crackling sandpaper: “Maxwell … How do you tip a 50/1 chance?”
He was calling from an Orange hospital, where he is down with emphysema, but raised a cheer when Sharpe Hussler produced a breathtaking finish to score in the Hong Kong Sprint.
Sharpe Hussler was backed from $51 to $15 in a strong betting event. On paper, the opening quote didn’t look flash about the Mudgee-trained rising seven-year-old.
Yet the gelding’s credentials attracted the attention of “Dr Nick”, whose strength has stemmed from his anonymity. Rarely does one who bets so big stay off the radar for so long.
What is he a doctor of? Winning, as far as I can ascertain.
A rails bookmaker at Rosehill was close to comatose after Sharpe Hussler and could only gasp: ‘‘Dr Nick.”
Before Zeljko, most of the big punters had nicknames, even Packer (the Big Fella). Previously, The Fireman (Eddie Birchley) ,the Hong Kong Tiger (Frank Duval) and the Filipino Fireball (Filipe Ysmael) had their bursts in betting rings.
Of course, the horse-playing landscape has changed since coups were launched at the races and the ground trembled with thousands launched. Now it is done with a trigger finger on the mobile phone or computer.
Zelkjo is prepared to play a figures game, get a percentage win on a huge outlay, hardly the action of Hollywood George Edser, who luxuriated in the gambling aspects of finding a winner.
But the excitement of huge money going on added to the racecourse experience, the sense of occasion and while Sharpe Hussler was hardly a return to the times when Hong Kong Tiger was on the snarl, it produced a spark of the good, old days.
As I said, “Dr Nick” is shrouded in secrecy. Turning to the internet for some guidance, I was presented with, amongst other pictures, an unbearded Peter V’Landys, Racing NSW’s strong man.
After the Sharpe Hussler triumph and a short stint in front of the television cameras, Cameron Crockett was on the move.
“I’ve got to get to me horse,” he panted, also being the strapper. It was vintage Crockett. The horse comes first.
But how did he turn Sharpe Hussler around? “He’s a hard horse to place in the bush because of his benchmark rating and I even suggested to the owners it could be better for him to return to Queensland,” he explained.
“However, they wanted to leave him and, having his second preparation with me, I’ve learned a bit about older horses and also about travelling them over the mountain.
“I bring a pony with him and arrived at Rosehill on Friday. The way he walked to the track on Saturday I knew he would go as well as he could and that’s what I told the owners.”
The trainer doesn’t bet, nor does his father – with one exception.
“When we were breaking the [record-priced] yearlings for Tommy [Smith] and Neville [Begg], we would go behind the tote building [where trainers could see] and race for schooners,” Max Crockett recalled yesterday.

Giddy Up :beer:

« Last Edit: 2018-Sep-04, 05:44 PM by Arsenal »

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Aug-08, 09:04 AM Reply #1101 »
Another bumper issue of the WW today starting with speculation on funding the workers compensation issue a hot topic in times past between the QTA representing smaller country trainers and the larger metro stables  represented by the ATA with RQ seemingly having no knowledge of any such proposal ...they quite rightly say they are concentrating on getting some benefits from the 15% POCt for the industry.......controversy over the trainers award due to the unfinished charges against one of the top contenders....some thoughts on an apparent team riding scam over the jumps....CHAUTAUQUA ........and Poleline Pete has posted his last column after a change in management of the SM..once an exclusive racing scribe until he fell out of favour recent years he has diversified into politics with many connections on both sides of the line ...and finally a Max Presnell special well worth reading. :thumbsup:
THE Queensland Trainers’ Association has moved quickly to quell concerns among members in the country that Racing Minister Sterling Hinchliffe is poised to introduce a controversial Starters’ Tax.
QTA president Ross Shannon told LGHR (which has received several emails on the issue): “The topic was discussed at our annual general meeting in Rockhampton on Sunday.
“Whilst it is true that some individual trainers in the Brisbane area continue to raise this subject and demand action, at this point in time there does not appear to be a lot of substance to the current rumor.
“Following is advice that I received from a Racing Queensland senior executive when I asked if he could confirm or deny the content of the (latest) rumor.
“He replied:
“All efforts at the moment are around the point of consumption tax (POC) and trying to ensure a return to racing in Queensland. NSW are getting $25 million out of their POC and Queensland currently has no guarantee. Besides, given past history, any changes to WorkCover would need solid industry consultation.”
Shannon said the QTA was confident that unless the Racing Minister was working with individual trainers outside of the jurisdiction of Racing Queensland this rumor could be put to rest.
Unfortunately, some of his members in the north remain wary of Hinchliffe’s motives. “Why then has a leading Brisbane trainer been gloating that a secret deal has been done with the Racing Minister?" one asked.
“They have been after this for ages and one of his colleagues is in the middle of a very messy and expensive compensation claim at the moment that he would love to see disappear.
“Our mail is the latest Racing Minister has some very close ties to some influential trainers in Brisbane, especially in the Deagon area, and that the starters’ tax deal will just be announced without any consultation with country trainers.”
Former QTA President, JIM RUNDLE, weighed into the debate as well informing LGHR:
‘I am looking at all this as the person who headed the original campaign to stop this stupid idea of a Starters’ Tax to fund Workers’ Compensation premiums for trainers.
The original proved to be a failed LNP policy and I fail to see how a Labor Government Minister thinks he can add a silver lining to a failed LNP policy.
With this now in the public arena and RQ stating they are not planning to move on such an issue, the Minister now needs to confirm or deny that he plans to use his Ministerial power to burden the Queensland Racing Industry with a Starters’ Tax.’
SOCIAL media has been in over-drive the past week and LETSGOHORSERACING has received our share of Whinges as well concerning the annual Awards for racing in Queensland.
Whilst the mainstream media coverage has focused on the Horse of the Year Award being the most open in almost half a century, stakeholders have voiced complaints about eligibility criteria for the Trainer of the Year.
AAP reports that the Trainers’ Award will be fought out by Tony Gollan, who won his fifth straight metropolitan title and Toowoomba young gun Ben Currie who set a record for winners in the State title.
Feelings of some stakeholders were best summed up by this comment to the Murdoch-owned racing website,, by a prominent Darling Downs industry identity who wrote (in part – we have edited this for legal reasons):
‘THE Trainers’ Award has to go to Tony Gollan. Ben Currie cannot possibly be considered as he is facing 28 charges.
“Surely the industry cannot possibly consider awarding an individual under these circumstances. It’s embarrassingly laughable.
“Ben Currie has already been awarded the QTIS Two-Year-Old Trainer of the Year at a function that when it was announced the silence was deafening.
“He has won the Toowoomba Trainers’ Award under the guise of being the trainer of Currie Racing whereas in actual fact and admitted under oath by (his father) Mark at his stay of proceedings that he trains in partnership with his son.
“This is (in the opinion of the contributor, Watt Racing) a breach of the Australian Rules of Racing (as he alleges they are not a registered partnership).
“Ben Currie has had two staff disqualified for three months and one disqualified for 18 months. His father, Mark Currie, is currently on a stay of his two-year disqualification.”
The general thrust of the concerns expressed on the Trainers’ Awards issue is that before Ben Currie can be considered as a suitable candidate his charges need to be finalized as does the appeal by his trainer partner and father, Mark.
PUNTERS who have emailed the WEDNESDAY WHINGE have been unanimous in their praise for the decision by Victorian stewards to quiz tactics adopted by John Allen on Bit of a Lad in the Grand National Hurdle at Sandown on Sunday.
Rob Montgomery, who presided over the meeting, said his panel wanted to examine betting records from corporate bookmakers before continuing the inquiry.
Punters were concerned that Allen rode the Darren Weir-trained Bit of a Lad to get the favorite Self Sense beaten by constantly attacking that horse and benefiting the eventual winner, Cougar Express, which landed some good long priced bets. Cougar Express is trained by Jarrod McLean who has a close association with the Weir stable.
Stewards spoke with Weir, who was in Darwin for the Cup meeting. “He said he didn't tie down Mr Allen with instructions other than not to let Self Sense out of his sight,” Montgomery said. “The only way to beat him was to pressure him.”

Trainer David Brideoake praised the courage of runner-up Self Sense, which he said had been softened up by the tactics adopted on Bit of a Lad.
Some of the social media comments relating to Darren Weir, John Allen and Jarrod McLean are downright defamatory and basically surround punters concerns of team riding.
This is the first major controversial inquiry into tactics for the stewards in Victoria since the departure for Singapore of Terry Bailey and punters around the country will be watching with interest the outcome especially as it involves the leading stable.
THE reason punters around the country have more confidence betting in Victoria than any other State was further evidenced by Saturday’s meeting at Moonee Valley.
Just look at the number of well fancied runners that saluted – starting with Naantali, You’ve Been Had, Streets of Avalon and Call Me Handsome. Then there were the heavily backed winners Multaja and Morton’s Fork.
Saturday racing in Melbourne has its share of upsets as well but nothing like occurs in Brisbane or Sydney where at times the form of the Chris Waller stable leaves punters more than a little dumbfounded as does the approach of the stewards when this happens.
KEMENTARI might have found Pierata a shade to slick in the Missile Stakes at Randwick on Saturday but the Godolphin four-year-old star lost few fans.
One suspects the really firm track did not suit him and that he raced like a horse that was looking for 1400m, finding the trip a shade short.
Whilst the race threw up the predictable claims for a berth in the over-hyped The Everest, few questioned the quality of the form out of it. The first two are obviously class horses but The Monstar and Lanciato which were not far off them are hardly superstars.
TARZAN showed by his win in the Tim Bell Memorial at Doomben on Saturday that he is an above average short course sprinter.
The 1110m win was Tarzan’s first beyond his specialist 1000 to 1050m range and he worked both ends defying a betting drift to salute.
Trainer Stuart Kendrick has done a terrific job with the six-year-old who took his earnings beyond the $300,000 mark.
Jackson Murphy, who rode Tarzan as part of a successful double, summed up the win perfectly: “It was a super run. They wanted to use me from the gate but when I got there he was travellng so well I just had to keep him happy and rolling.” 
IF the emails that we received were any guide there were plenty of punters around the country celebrating after Red Alto upset the Waller Army at Randwick on Saturday.
It wasn’t so much that they had backed the Victorian stayer to win the Cindy Sullivan Memorial but more so the ‘power of one’ success story in Red Alto staving off the remaining eight runners that were all trained by Chris Waller.
Waller, receiving his eighth consecutive Sydney premiership award a short time later, summed up the situation perfectly: “As you saw in the last race, you can’t always be a winner, and that’s what is great about racing.”
In fairness, when it was realized that Waller would have all but one runner in the race, he agreed to donate his percentage of earnings from the race to the NSW Drought Relief Fund. That amounted to $4,262 for his horses running second to ninth.
‘I was at Doomben on Saturday for the National Jockeys’ Day. Part of the day is to raise money for this worthy cause.
Now I, as well as others, were surprised there was not one person collecting money or selling caps etc on course.
I believe there was money raised from certain groups who were celebrating in the marquee near the Nudgee Road entrance.
That’s all well and good but it would have been nice if during the day some of the well-paid people at RQ and QRIC had come out to collect as I know many wanted to give.’
YOU can always count on racing in Brisbane throwing up a winner that was virtually impossible for the punters to find.
Trusty Lad was the outsider in the five horse opener at Doomben on Saturday yet someone managed to back him from $21 to $13 and he landed the money.
At his only two starts Trusty Lad had finished on for fourth on debut at Toowoomba then was slowly away when 11th at Doomben.
Adding insult to injury for punters Trusty Lad knocked off the favorite Red Stina which drifted from odds-on to $2.5 and was beaten a nose.
IT’S time to stop pussy-footing around with the Chautauqua situation and call a halt once and for all to what has been a great career.
The way things are going Chautauqua will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
His refusal to jump from the barriers is proving not only an embarrassment for the great Hawkes Training Team but also the stewards who seem reluctant to put the grey out of his misery and ban him for good.
Perhaps John and the boys shouldn’t have been so cantankerous and given the American Horse Whisperer the chance to prove he could cure Chautauqua’s problems.     
FOR 40 years PETER CAMERON has entertained readers – largely of the Murdoch Media – will his columns on horse racing.
‘Paceway’ – as LGHR calls him (Cameron once covered the ‘red hots’, not that he likes to be reminded of it) had a style of his own and wasn’t scared to call a spade a shovel.
He was colorful (in the same niche as the great Sydney turf scribe Max Presnell) and his style was different, perhaps a shade difficult to follow for some of the younger brigade of racing followers who still read newspapers rather than the web.
Sadly, the new Editor of The Sunday Mail, made a few immediate changes and one of those was to dispense with the weekly Cameron column which had a huge following.
His predecessor Peter Gleeson is a keen racing man and wisely recognized the value of ‘Paceway’ to The Sunday Mail readership which will no doubt be many less now that they can’t have their weekly ‘fix’ of his unique column coverage of all things racing and politics in Queensland.
SOME racing followers will believe just about anything they read – take this tongue-in-cheek, entertaining story on the popular
Some of those who looked no further than the headline and the opening paragraphs still found the time to have a Whinge to LGHR.
They should have read right through to the last paragraph first.
Here is what was written:
RACING NSW have announced that they are exploring the possibility of an 'all-Waller' raceday.

The day would consist of nine races made up entirely of Chris Waller-trained horses.

The concept comes in the wake of Sydney's premier trainer having nine of the ten runners in the Cindy Sullivan Memorial Handicap (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

"Without having concrete evidence at this stage, it is our firm belief that punters enjoy betting on races where one stable have multiple runners," said a Racing NSW spokesperson.

"We've seen it down in Victoria with Darren Weir - punters somehow always seem to back the right Weir runner."

"It has forever been a dream of mine to train the card, so I'm certainly open to the idea," said Waller.

Racecaller Darren Flindell is said to be 'shook' by the proposal.

*The above is of course 'fake news'.
BUILT like Artie Beetson but with swift sidestep off either foot, Clive Evatt was a distinctive playmaker in Sydney betting rings.
MAX PRESNELL reports for FAIRFAX MEDIAthat Evatt, who died last week aged 87, was a founding member of the Legal Eagles, described as “a syndicate of three Sydney punters who between 1958 to 1973 changed the face of racecourse gambling”.
Apart from Evatt, the others, Don Scott and Bob Charley, didn’t have a legal bent.
"Because Clive [an old school friend of Scott] was a barrister and I had studied law myself, the Daily Mirror columnist, the late Frank Browne, called us the Legal Eagles," Scott divulged in Winning More.
"Clive was 6ft 7in [200cm] tall and weighed 115kg, wore a dark three-piece suit in a mid-summer heatwave, a black homburg hat, a Christian Dior tie, a brilliantly covered silk handkerchief and a massive pair of binoculars and he stood like a colossus.''
No doubt at the time many who practised law were even more fervent on the racecourse and were given credence as legal eagles.
Perhaps Michael McHugh, who reached the pinnacle of his profession, was linked with them. Yes, they were good friends, but McHugh always did his own figures – and still does.
And when it came to enthusiasm for the punt, Tony Bellanto, QC, was hard to beat. “I’m a logical man, and the favourite is the logical winner,” was his mantra. Wise guys would counter it was also the logical dead-'un.
Morgan Ryan, a solicitor, was another major player. The “little mate” of many in high places, he was well connected on the turf, particularly with Athol Mulley, a great jockey.
But the Legal Eagles were more technical and proved “scientific study can be rewarding”, according to Australian Horse Racing.
Sure, Browne gave them the title, but things turned sour after their coup on a nine-year-old Diatribe, explained by Scott as conforming to the teaching of Pittsburgh Phil, the learned American horse player.
Next start, Diatribe dropped dead without the Legal Eagles' support.
"Their operations were brought to my notice when Mr Clive Evatt junior, the largest and most active of the group trio, stood on my toe in the betting ring with all the enthusiasm of a water buffalo," Browne wrote.
Folklore has it that as schoolboys, Scott and Evatt went to Gosford races with a ten bob stake and were still betting late that night at Dapto dogs.
Scott, with the appearance of a Toulouse-Lautrec on good legs, gave the impression of being more studious.
Even before he linked with them, Charley – always lean and immaculate with a landed gentry background – was a racecourse regular and astute form judge.
After they quit, Scott, now deceased, continued and became one the great authors on how to play the horses.
Why did Evatt drop out? One theory maintains the figures were going berserk because the Fence Jumpers, a bold team of nobblers with potent go-slow drugs, were plying their trade: leaping over stable security and even doping guard dogs en route.
Another centres on the Australian Jockey Club when it was more difficult to get into the members' enclosure than to break out of Long Bay jail. Evatt was apprehended with a press pass issued genuinely, but the AJC committee took exception.
Ironically, Charley later became the AJC chairman and one of the longest-serving racing administrators of our time.

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« 2018-Aug-15, 08:53 AM Reply #1102 »
It's Exhibition day in Brisbane today the EKKA a public holiday with a poor restricted class meeting at Doomben which strangely enough attracts possibly the biggest attendance of the year but it's a far cry from the good old days when the QTC Exhibition carnival ran over three days Sat Wed Sat and in one remarkable feat the legendary trainer H  F Best produced Proletaire to win the major races all three days The Ascot h'cap 7 furlongs the Exhibition h'cap 10 furlongs and the Metropolitan H'cap 12 furlongs today the highest rated race is a benchmark 75....I'm going to golf wouldn't have a bet even using someone else's here's the Wednesday Whinge.

AS the fallout continues from the ‘slaughter job’ that ‘top’ jockey Brad Stewart did on hot favorite Ef Troop at Doomben last Saturday there is a consensus of punters’ opinion that stewards have been equally derelict in doing their job.
Whilst some have questioned whether Ef Troop is over-rated, the majority believe that Stewart should have been charged with failing to position his mount to give it every chance of winning the race.
Adding further intrigue to the already questionable tactics are suggestions from south of the border that one of the biggest bets in Australian racing history was lost when Ef Troop sat four wide and finished a certainty beaten second.
Is this panel of QRIC stewards, who are already the laughing stock of punters around the nation for simply noting the explanation of Stewart rather than take any action, simply sitting on their backsides and ignoring claims that a major corporate bookmaker laid a bet to lose $1 million on Ef Troop from one of the biggest punters in the land?
As unbelievable as it sounds, the sources that have brought this to the attention of LGHR are reliable and closely connected to the bookmaking industry. They claim it involved a big punter with links to former NSW international rugby league stars and that the corporate involved is in the news and advertising heavily at present.
What makes the situation even more annoying is that jockeys in Queensland – primarily apprentices – are being taken to with a big stick (a la Corey Bayliss over a bad ride and Michael Murphy for whip use in recent times) while Stewart (regarded by most punters as one of the best in the land) is given a slap on the hand for an out-of-character ride that cost punters around the country hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Here’s what some had to say in their WHINGES about this latest integrity farce in Queensland racing:
‘THE gallops in Queensland are going down the same track as the ‘red hots’ and punters continue to walk away in droves. How can you have any confidence in the stewards when they adopt this sort of couldn’t care less approach to a slaughter job on what looked to be a certainty.’
‘WHAT a joke, Stewart appears to have successfully thrown stewards off the scent by admitting he rode a bad race. All the more reason he should have been charged with failing to give the horse the best chance of winning. This is a horse that led the Magic Millions field from a wide alley (albeit knocking some down in the process). On Saturday he was racing a far inferior field (some had been beaten in bush Maidens). Stewart showed no early urgency, then sat him four wide with a big weight when resuming from a break. We’ve all seen his riding abilities so it has to be ruled a very out-of-character performance by a quality jockey.
‘HOW could the stewards possibly take no action against Brad Stewart for his ride on Ef Troop? He’s one of the best jockeys in Queensland yet a youngster like Corey Bayliss, far less experienced than Stewart, cops six weeks for taking the wrong option on Tumbler. What’s the point of having stewards at all in Queensland?’
‘FOR those who are suggesting that Ef Troop, which started $1.45, was too short for the average punter to back, spare a thought for those of us who jumped in at the $1.8. Yeah the bookies were generous early on.
‘STEWART gave it no hope at all. You would struggle to find a punter who backed the horse and expected to see it four wide with no cover in a small field. There have now been three shocking rides on three shot priced favorites in a month in Brisbane racing. Little wonder punters are reluctant to bet there.’
‘STANDBY for one of the spin doctors for racing in Queensland in the mainstream media to not only alibi the ride of Brad Stewart but to drag out some obscure statistic suggesting that odds-on favorites have a better record there than they do in NSW and Victoria. Tell that to the punters who have continued to burn their money on what look like good things but blow from odds-on to black odds taking them out of the statistical equation all because some bookies know they can’t win.’
‘DID you happen to notice that after he slaughtered two favorites early in the day at Doomben, Stewart could have won on a broomstick, producing a successful double including a roughie at $26 in Fiery Heights that blew most quadrella punters out of the water? And he continued that hot form at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday. My mates and I have given Brad a miss from back in the days when he rode for the late Bruce McLachlan. We restrict our bets in Queensland these days to the best young jockey in the north in Matt McGillivray.’
THE drought relief fund-raiser planned for Brisbane is a great initiative but the industry in general should look at something major on a national scale.
Why not one major race day throughout the nation when all of those involved donate their earnings and a percentage of prizemoney won to our struggling farmers?
And that would include jockeys, trainers, owners and those in the racing media who enjoy several jobs. Surely they wouldn’t miss a single day’s wages!
We have seen worldwide over the years major fund-raisers for needy causes with some prominent business, entertainment and sporting identities involved.
Imagine a national race day, combined with a telethon (involving the race broadcasting networks as well), culminating in concerts at the big tracks starring some star drawcards that could be televised as well with all proceeds going to a Drought Relief Fund.
Many involved in the racing industry are suffering the effects of this terrible drought in country areas and, whilst initiatives like the one proposed in Brisbane are welcome, something more on a major scale is needed.
Here’s a chance for the racing industry to upstage the Federal Government whose promises in this area are falling well short of what is needed to save our farmers.
Cynical Facebook comment in response to the generous $1 million donation from Racing NSW to the Drought Relief Fund: ‘If Racing Queensland provided that much the place would be bankrupt’.
WE have received several emails from Queensland contributors urging the local industry and administrators to support a move for Daylight Savings to be introduced in the northern State.
The general feeling is that with Queensland out of step with New South Wales and Victoria, various sections of the industry suffer as a result.
Queensland normally starts later and finishes later making for a bigger day for those who want to follow the three States. It’s enough time out of a Saturday as it is especially for punting dads who have family commitments.
The problem is particularly highlighted at Spring Carnival time like Melbourne Cup Day when the first race in Melbourne is run at 9.30 (or close to) Queensland time and the last is over mid-way through the afternoon.
The farmers have enough problems on their plate at present without wanting to wage another war against Daylight Savings.   
ANOTHER Saturday of Weir domination with Victoria’s super trainer winning seven races – four at Flemington and one each at Moe, Morphettville and Newcastle.
Highlight of his weekend was the success of Voodoo Lad in the G3 Aurie’s Star at Flemington which staked a claim for one of the few remaining berths in the over-hyped The Everest.
“It was a good day at the office,” Weir said. “I am not sure why Voodoo Lad was not as well found down the straight as he was runner-up in the Newmarket.”
Weir also won at Flemington with Choisborder, $21 to $10, which upset the odds-on Gold Mag; Theanswermyfriend, $4.8 to $7.5, upstaging the better backed stablemate
BRAD Widdup’s second season in the training ranks in Sydney began impressively when stable star Sandbar got out to surprisingly good odds before winning Saturday’s Listed Rosebud at Rosehill.
The bulk of the horses trained by Widdup are owned by Damion Flower, who has established Platinum Park at Hawkesbury. He was responsible for convincing the long-time foreman for Darley and Godolphin to branch out on his own.
Despite working hard from a wide alley with 59kg, Sandbar, $10 to $6.5, proved a shade too strong for the Chris Waller-trained Charge. Favorite Plague Stone, which got the blows in the betting from $2.8 to $3.7, was set a task by Hugh Bowman before finishing 4th.

NO punter will ever question the training talents of veteran Brian Smith but most concede they find his horses hard to follow.
The injury-plague Order Again took a few fences to mend those fences with a strong comeback win at Doomben on Saturday defying an alarming betting drift to run at $5.
Despite being slow to jump Order Again swamped the field to beat Time to Torque in the Open Handicap. He took full advantage of a breakneck early pace to clock 1.17.69, breaking the previous class record of 1.17.73 which had stood for 14 years.
Order Again is headed to interstate Spring campaign designed by Smith to compensate connections for missing last year’s Queensland Derby when favorite after winning the Grand Prix because of hoof issues.

Jockey Larry Cassidy declared: “He would have won the Derby had it not been for his bad feet. Brian is a master and to get him back to the races is an outstanding effort.”
FROM a punting perspective the only bright side to another dismal day following fancies from the stable of ‘champion’ trainer Chris Waller at Rosehill on Saturday was the success of heavily backed Paret in the last.
Waller was successful earlier in the day with Quick Defence but as normally happens on a Saturday in Sydney it was backed at odds while a stablemate that was more heavily favored performed terribly.
Quick Defence had been placed once in has last 10 starts. He dropped significantly in class after striking trouble over the track and distance when fifth at his previous start and was backed from $15 to $8.5.
His three stablemates in the race – Estikhrraj ($6 to $4.6, ran 4th), Trafalgar ($8 to $11, 5th) and The Macallan ($3.8 to $3.6 favorite, 7th beating only one home).
Stewards questioned the tactics on Trafalgar and eventually advised apprentice Weatherley to follow instructions in future. They also queried the poor effort of The Macallan. Jockey McEvoy said the horse raced too fiercely when it was unable to find cover. Waller produced one of his regular ‘get out of jail free cards’ and declared that the disappointing The Macallan would go for a spell – yet another one up the rear end for punters who follow Walley World.
Not to worry all’s well as Winx will be back to claim the spotlight, cause Kiwi Chrissie to cry and dominate the headlines next weekend.
IF Team Williams is to emerge with another Cups hope in the Spring it certainly wasn’t produced at Flemington on Saturday.
Crocodile Rock pulled up lame at his second run from a spell, again failing to produce the promise he showed last time in when runner-up to stablemate Almandin in the JRA Trophy. That was over the same track and trip last September and the seven-year-old appears to have lost a leg in the interim.
Stablemate Sir Edwin Landseer, making his Australian debut, was specked at odds but dropped out to finish 12th to The Statesman. In fairness it was his first run for more than a year and the Galileo five-year-old has only won the once in 10 starts in Ireland.
IT might have been done to death early in the WHINGE but spearheading ‘The Ugly’ has to be the ride of Brad Stewart on Ef Troop while his effort a race earlier on Jadentom was rated by most punters as not much better.
The Ef Troop inquiry outcome has left a sour taste in the mouths of those punters still prepared to risk their hard-earned on the risky Brisbane favorites. Most want to see Stewart replaced on the Tony Gollan-trained youngster when it is next produced.
Jadentom, after racing wide, failed to reproduce his big first-up winning effort from Townsville and the Hatch stable blamed the long trip north rather than the Stewart ride for his defeat.
Interestingly, the race was fought out by the Gollan stablemates Shesees Everything (easily best backed in the race from the time betting opened) and My Girl Hayley. Stewart is reportedly the No 1 rider for Gollan these days although most punters feel safer backing anything that Matt McGillivray rides for the stable.
THIS is an example of several emails received by LETSGOHORSERACING on this issue that needs addressing by the powers-that-be in racing in Queensland.
“I have been told that on the morning of August 8th, the Racing Minister (Sterling Hinchliffe) attended a secret meeting at Racing Queensland.
This was an invitation meeting to all tracks, all codes.
What could be so important that required a confidential meeting without any trainers/owners/participants of any code could be aware of?
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are guessing but assume it related to the behind-the-scenes moves to convince the Government to divert more funds to racing from the Point of Consumption Tax. But we are only guessing. The Racing Minister needs to be more transparent, as does the Government and Racing Queensland. Not only the industry but also the racing public in general are entitled to be better informed where taxpayers money is involved. If POC was not the issue discussed at this secret meeting, then what was?   
WORLD-FAMOUS horse whisperer Monty Roberts has raised his voice to a dull roar but nobody seems to be listening when he says he can save the career of troubled sprinter Chautauqua.
“Chautauqua wants to run!” Roberts, 83, told ANDREW WEBSTER of FAIRFAX MEDIA from his home in California. “I want the public of Australia to know that Chautauqua wants to race. There is a problem stopping him from racing and I could educate the whole Hawkes team with what the problem is. I am sad that I am not being allowed to help this horse.
"I’ve seen enough videos of him now to know what to do with him. I know in my own mind exactly what’s going wrong with Chautauqua. But I can’t start telling them because they won’t know it. They can’t try it because they don’t know how to try it. John Hawkes would know more about training horses in one single cell of his body compared to me. But I know equine behaviour and I have the utmost confidence I could help Chautauqua but I am handcuffed. I could tell them within four or five days if he could race in The Everest."
The Grey Flash’s career is in serious doubt after he again refused to leave the barriers at a trial at Rosehill last week.
Roberts, who calls himself "the real horse whisperer" having helped hundreds of racehorses overcome problems coming out of the starting gates, said Chautauqua’s managing owner, Rupert Legh, had been in contact with his camp since then.
"Mr Legh has had six or so conversations with my daughter, Debbie, in the last couple of days saying that he’ll be having some meetings and he will be in touch because he does not want to retire Chautauqua," Roberts said. "Well, if they don’t want to retire him, they need me desperately."
Legh wasn't in a position to comment on Monday night as he was travelling back from the US.
Team Hawkes needs to convince Racing NSW stewards that Chautauqua, who has won nearly $9 million in prizemoney including three consecutive TJ Smith Stakes, deserves at least another trial to prove he is ready to come out of the gates.
"We would want them to provide evidence that they are doing something different," Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel said. "We need to protect the reputation of the sport, and we would need new advice that they are doing something different for us to lift the embargo on Chautauqua."
Van Gestel would not speculate if evoking Roberts’ name would be enough to ensure the horse was given another opportunity to trial.
As reported in the Herald last week, Legh had approached Roberts about coming to Sydney to help the Hawkes stable before there was a sudden change of heart on the eve of last Tuesday’s barrier trial.
"It’s important that the public in Australia knows that I have no anger with anybody," Roberts said. "To say they 'snubbed' me is not a word I use for this at all. They chose to follow John Hawkes. In my opinion, that was showing confidence in John Hawkes."
Roberts dismissed claims that Chautauqua’s refusal to leave the barriers for the sixth time in a row suggested the horse was ready to retire.
"Horses are flight animals," he said. "Chautauqua wants to run. They get together in a group when they are days of age and they run against one another because Mother Nature says the predator will eat the last one out of the meadow. So they race. His particular problem may have nuances that I have to see and deal with, and watch the affect of, before I say it’s time for him to race.
“There is a chance that this horse does not want to race anymo it’s about a billion to one. This horse wants to race again. He would love to race again. Racing is not his problem. He has another problem. I know — I know — that I am right about it. I’ve seen it in 150 other horses. They have this crazy thing called a starting gate, that’s where the problem is.
"If they [the Hawkes stable] think they can do it themselves, I will be very sad. I want assurances that we would have bilateral agreements on anything that we would do. That John Hawkes would look, see and agree. That Mr Legh would look, see and agree. And I would look, see, and agree."

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« 2018-Aug-22, 09:35 AM Reply #1103 »
Not too many serious issues as I read them and quite a lot to get through the planned harness & greyhound facility at Mudgeeraba is an interesting option since the trots and dogs were turfed out of Parklands......NSW stewards ban a Currie entry when he is on a stay in QLD seems to be a contradiction inconsistent with the QLD stay.......the appeal process in QLD is unwieldy IMO and needs to be simplified considerably by a more effective process QCAT isn't the answer some better system is needed




SYDNEY has the greatest show-stopper in Australian racing but even WINX cannot draw the crowds to racing that the big ticket days attract in Melbourne.

The brains-trust of Racing NSW, spearheaded by the country’s most high profile CEO, Peter V’Landys, has tried everything to upstage the Victorian Spring Carnival.

Multi millions in stakes have been thrown at The Championships and The Everest but the crowds attending both pale into insignificance compared to the biggest block-buster in Australian racing, the Victorian Spring Carnival.

The big Cups and the Cox Plate will always be the most popular race meetings of the year. When Makybe Diva won the first of her three Melbourne Cups in 2003 the official attendance was a record 122,736, which was only surpassed by the Derby Day crowd of 129,089 in 2006.

In 2007, the VRC introduced a new ticketing strategy which would cap attendance figures at 120,000 to avoid overcrowding. Victorian contributors to the WHINGE argue that this is a problem racing in NSW will never have to deal with.

Critics from south of the border are quick to point out that when Sydney was boasting a $10 million show-stopper to rival the Melbourne Cup the much-hyped The Everest last October attracted the biggest Randwick racing crowd of the century – but it peaked at 33,512 – only a third of the attendances at the big Spring races.

The ‘spin doctors’ for racing in NSW, spearheaded by the mainstream Sydney media and SKY Channel, were waxing lyrical over the crowd of 11,793 that turned out to Randwick last Saturday to watch Winx record her 26th successive win.

In fairness, CHRIS ROOTS of FAIRFAX MEDIA, was quick to predict that this crowd ‘should nearly be doubled for her next appearance, when she will be racing over a mile, a distance that allows her greatness to shine through.’ Who knows why the distance would make a difference but it will probably be her only other Sydney appearance before heading to Melbourne for the Spring.

In April last year a record crowd descended on Randwick to watch Winx win the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The attendance of 26,801 overtook the 25,535 who witnessed Black Caviar's final race at the 2013 TJ Smith Stakes.

Last October a crowd of 20,282 turned up at Flemington to watch Winx win the Turnbull Stakes, well up on the previous year’s attendance of 11,294 and the biggest Turnbull Stakes meeting attendance since 2009 of 20,736. Later that month a sell-out crowd of 32,617 watched Winx win her third successive Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

Sydney racing officials continue to maintain that Winx is the greatest drawcard in Australian sport and that this is worth more than $1 million in ticket and merchandise sales every time she races.

Apart from the big ticket Spring feature days in Melbourne it would appear that only outrageous prizemoney (a la The Championships and The Everest) and gimmicks (to attract the younger generation who are not regular racegoers) are all that will attract crowds back to the track in NSW and Queensland.

Three days before 11,793 turned out to witness the stunning comeback by Winx at Royal Randwick, the Mekka Wednesday meeting (coinciding with the Brisbane Exhibition) attracted 13,500 patrons to Doomben last Wednesday.

Brisbane Racing Club chairman Neville Bell told Nathan Exelby of The Courier-Mail that excluding members, the attendance was the equal of Stradbroke day and the third biggest on the racing calendar.

“It’s an important day for the club with regards to our finances,” Bell said, despite the fact that hardened Brisbane race-goers avoid it like the plague. “It’s at a time where they can have a party and let their hair down before getting serious about end-of-year exams.

“We don’t pretend it’s a racing crowd that come here on this day, but it was encouraging to see the grandstand about two-thirds full during a few of the races, which means they are taking an interest in the racing.”

On Wednesday there were 140 ­security staff and 40 police ­officers on course as part of the strict conditions needed to host such an event. TV NEWS showed footage of sniffer dogs at the gate and patrons being denied admission.



INDUSTY stakeholders have questioned why the Currie stable seems to be treated differently in Queensland to New South Wales.

Racing NSW stewards last month invoked a rule which stops trainer Ben Currie, who is facing 28 racing charges including race day treatment and shockwave therapy, from nominating horses in that State.

That didn’t stop Ben from unsuccessfully trying to nominate a horse to run in his father Mark’s name at Murwillumbah on Friday.

It seems unclear whether Mark Currie, who has been stable foreman for his son in recent years, has been disqualified for two years over the race day treatment of Ben’s horses but is allowed to continue to train in Queensland on a stay of proceedings.

Mark has not had a horse run in his name since February 2013 at Eagle Farm. He tried to nominate Apoloboom (formerly trained by son Ben) for Friday’s Murwillumbah Newmarket.

BEN DORRIES has reported exclusively for popular website Racenet that Racing NSW issued a show cause notice against Mark Currie as to why the provisions of AR50, to reject or decline to receive nominations of horses trained by him, should not be invoked.

And that the provisions have been invoked, meaning Mark Currie cannot enter Apoloboom on Friday - or any other horses in NSW until further notice. This was despite submissions to stewards from lawyer Peter Boyce on behalf of Currie.

 “Racing NSW Stewards are of the view that any hardship suffered by Mr Currie by the invoking the provisions of AR50, is outweighed by the prejudice to, and undermining of, the image, interests and integrity of racing in NSW if he was permitted to nominate (and race) horses in NSW while the serious charges issued against him are yet to be finalized.

"In those circumstances, the “balance of convenience” is against Mr Currie and, accordingly, Racing NSW Stewards rule that, acting under the provisions of AR50, nominations of horses trained by Mr Mark Currie will be declined to be received and/or rejected until the charges issued by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission as detailed above have been finalized.”

It’s an interesting stance compared to that taken by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission in relation to the Currie stable.


Here’s an example of emails we have received on the matter. This one from regular contributor JOHN WATT (John Watt Racing) of TOOWOOMBA reads:

‘CURRIE Racing’ tried to beat the system but came off second best again when Racing NSW were right onto an apparent attempted stunt to race a horse over the border.

No nominations from Ben Currie will be accepted in NSW pending the outcome of the QRIC investigation and pending appeal.

So ‘Currie Racing’ attempted to race a horse, Apolobloom in the Newmarket this Friday at Murwullimbah by transferring the horse to Ben Currie's father Mark, who up until today (21/8) was not barred from racing in NSW even though he is training on a stay of a two-year disqualification.

Apolobloom was nominated for Friday's Newmarket at Murwullimbah (see RISA) and had slipped through the nominations under the trainer of Mark Currie. 

But the attempt to by-pass the system failed to come off with Racing NSW right onto it.

Mark Currie is now also banned from racing horses in NSW pending the outcome of his appeal.

Well done to Racing NSW Stewards who certainly are protecting their racing image.’



JUSTIN DOYLE, a well-known racing identity in QUEENSLAND, makes one of his regular contributions to the WHINGE:

‘AS a racing tragic, who has been involved in the industry on many fronts since my teenage days, I have never been so concerned for the future of the provincial TAB clubs in Central and Northern Queensland.

Rockhampton, Townsville, Mackay and Cairns all run on the smell of an oily rag with all the clubs having experienced serious financial losses during the past five years.

This year we may see some improvements in the bottom line but the majority of those improvements relate to cost-cutting rather than revenue growth.

Rockhampton, however, is more likely to go backwards due to some one-offs such as staff redundancies and the fact that no winter racing carnival appeared in the 2017/2018 season due to a date change.

Most of the losses relate directly to the allocation of midweek TAB race dates with Tuesdays providing the major losses followed by Thursdays.

The current race day administrative funding simply does not cover these clubs for these midweek TAB race dates, not to mention the ever increasing costs of track maintenance and other race day related expenses such as the ambulance etc.

If Racing Queensland does not increase the race day administrative funding in order for these clubs to remain financially viable we will soon see one or two, or all of them, in administration, which a few of these clubs have already experienced in the past.

Along with that funding, these clubs also need to be afforded the opportunity to increase revenue via additional Saturday race dates which then puts the onus on the committees of these clubs to perform and be accountable for the opportunity.

Both Rockhampton and Townsville should be racing on at least one Saturday per month allowing the administrations to budget an outcome that could see them reach a break-even point each month.

Furthermore, their Cup meetings should be granted P1 status and not have to compete with the Gold Coast on their big day.

Just last month we saw the Rockhampton Cup meeting provide more betting turnover than the Gold Coast and their Friday Newmarket meeting soaring to a level where the Newmarket Handicap set a new benchmark for turnover on a Queensland provincial Friday race. Similarly, Townsville’s carnival meeting also performed very well in terms of betting turnover.

One key point to the Rocky Newmarket’s huge turnover was the fact that it ran into a twilight time-slot due to the delays with riders with cancelled flights arriving late to the track.

Clearly there is a market for Friday/Saturday twilight race betting, so surely throwing the Northern clubs a bone and granting some more attractive dates conducive to higher turnover and an opportunity for the clubs to make a dollar would be on Racing Queensland’s radar.

But no, the clubs continue to endure the under-funded Tuesday/Thursday graveyard shift on behalf of the industry as their financial woes worsen each year.

It is noteworthy that every Non-TAB country club is afforded the Saturday opportunity and, whilst I understand the social conscience decision behind that move, I know the administrators at the provincial clubs cringe over it.

With a new team at work at RQ, I suggest (new CEO) Brendan (Parnell) rallies his troops and looks at the plight of these clubs as a matter of urgency.

RQ should be investing in their future by providing the necessary funding and opportunities for these clubs to survive unless that is the grand plan is to see them all collapse.

If that is the plan, you won’t have long to wait…’



INTERESTING email to THE WHINGE concerning the search for a replacement for TERRY BAILEY as CHIEF STEWARD in VICTORIA:

‘I noted with interest an article in the Fairfax press concerning the search for a replacement for Terry Bailey as Victoria’s Chief Steward.

If the story is correct they seem to be scrapping the bottom of the barrel which prompted my friends and I, who are long-time followers of racing in this State to pose the question:

Should they look no further than in their own backyard? Robert Cram has done the hard yards under the leadership of Bailey and seems to be going a good job in his acting capacity of Chief Steward. Why not give the job to him? Looking for someone high profile isn’t always the answer.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The FAIRFAX MEDIA item referred to above was written by Sydney Morning Herald Racing Editor, CHRIS ROOTS, and reads:

THE interview process to find Terry Bailey‘s replacement as Racing Victoria Chief Steward has thrown up some interesting candidates in the past week.

It is understood that a former steward had been offered the position and turned it down, while another former NSW bush steward, who has become a jockey manager in recent times, was surprisingly interviewed for the top job.

Stewards from metropolitan panels around the country have been interviewed as Racing Victoria attempts to fill the position before the spring carnival gets into full swing.





TOP jockey Jamie Kah has given punters good reason not to walk away from South Australian racing.

At a time when punting confidence was start to slump, Kah provided a confidence boost which was highlighted by her four winning rides at Morphettville last Saturday.

All were well tried but the highlight was the win by the promising Dollar For Dollar in the Group 3 Spring Stakes for the Tony McEvoy stable.

Kah, the equal of any lady jockey in the land and on a par with most of her top male colleagues, has ridden Dollar for Dollar eight times for six wins and is now likely to accompany him on a Spring campaign in Melbourne. 



WALLEY WORLD regularly features in the ‘bad’ news section for the past week with second stringers from the Chris Waller stable saluting on a Saturday ahead of their more favored stablemates.

Last weekend was a rare exception with Winx stealing the spotlight at her comeback while Fiesta won the Silver Shadow Stakes and Kaonic made it a stable treble in the Nicholas Moraitis.

‘Breathtaking’ is the one word that best describes the win of Winx – her 26th on end which was befitting a better crowd than the one than turned out at Randwick to watch her win in a canter.



IT was a terrific weekend for the Tony McEvoy stable winning the Quezette Stakes at Caulfield with Sunlight and the Spring Stakes at Morphettville with Dollar For Dollar.

Magic Milions winner, Sunlight, bounced back from first-up six lengths second to the brilliant Nature’s Strip in the Listed SA Lightning to out-bob Humma Humma in the Quezette.

Luke Currie put the bad memories of Flemington a week earlier behind him when he reunited with Sunlight to score the narrow but courageous win.




QUEENSLAND filly, OUTBACK BARBIE, arguably should have beaten FIESTA in the Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

The general consensus seems to be that jockey James McDonald took the wrong option which cost him more than the neck the Tony Gollan-trained youngster was beaten by.

The Stewards’ Report read: 

Outback Barbie – slow to begin. When questioned regarding his riding, rider J McDonald stated his instructions were to be more forward, but after being slow to begin he was obliged to settle further back than he had anticipated. He said, after following Fiesta in the run, he commenced to shift off with a view of improving to that runner's outside in order to secure clear running. He added that when he identified Meryl and Secret Lady to his outside he was not of the opinion that those runners would have allowed him to secure clear running as they were unfancied and for this reason he elected to remain racing behind Fiesta with a view to follow that runner through. J McDonald further stated that when then held-up on the heels of Fiesta he again elected to come to that runner's outside, but was prevented from doing so when Futooh shifted in to secure clear running between Meryl and Secret Lady and this then forced him to remain racing behind Fiesta for some distance and being held-up on that

runner's heels. He said that when Fiesta obtained clear running near the 200m he commenced to ride his mount forward and, after shifting across the heels of Fiesta approaching the 100m to obtain clear running, Outback Barbie then finished the race off well. After considering his explanation, Stewards advised J McDonald that his best option in the circumstances would have been to endeavour to secure a run that had presented between Meryl and Secret Lady in the early part of the straight. He was advised, however, that given his explanation, the Stewards determined the option he took to remain racing behind Fiesta was not unreasonable in the circumstances.



PUNTERS had a general WHINGE over the Randwick stewards questioning of Jason Collett over his ride when runner-up to Winx on the bolter Invictus Prince.

One wrote: “No-one is riding better than Jason. How stewards could question a ride on a horse that was a despised outsider that finished second to the best in the land beggar’s belief. There are so many other rides they could be focusing on every Saturday of the year in Sydney.”

Invictus Prince, at $151, was beaten two lengths by Winx in the Winx Stakes. The Stewards’ Report read:

INVICTUS PRINCE: When questioned regarding his riding in the straight, J Collett stated that, after having a trailing position behind Religify, he elected to endeavour to make ground along the rail making the home turn. He said in the early part of the straight he elected to keep his mount balanced when racing towards the rail, whilst his mount was still travelling well with him, and inside the 250m he placed Invictus Prince under full pressure, where it commenced to make good ground in the straight.



IT seems a large section of the north’s racing community is simply aghast at penalties handed down by QRIC stewards to three trainers last week.

Some are particularly vocal, if not incensed that Mackay’s John Manzelmann, with three previous doping convictions, was fined, while two other trainers from Townsville and Mareeba - with no prior convictions - were outed for nine months.

Ron Finch pleaded guilty to using over-the-counter products of B12 and vitamin booster VAM. Manzelmann pleaded guilty to using caffeine and another illegal drug theobromine on horses at Gladstone and Pentland last November.

“It is just not fair,” said Finch, who, like Mareeba horse dentist and hobby horse trainer, Gareth Horner, has posted an immediate appeal.

QRIC stewards (D. Ausrich, P. Gillard and P. Lane) confirmed Manzelmann had three previous breaches of the same rule (with different substances).

“There is need  for a penalty to serve as both a specific deterrent to Mr Manzelmann and a general deterrent to the wider industry to illustrate the negative impact that breaches of this kind have on the image of the sport”, the Stewards stated.



SOCIAL media criticism is certainly being monitored more these days by the powers-that-be and as Victorian bookie Jonathan Walsh discovered – be careful what you say if you are a licensee.

Walsh wound up facing a charge of conduct prejudicial to the image of racing over comments he made on a YouTube platform about needling horses.

Walsh made remarks about betting on horses from a prominent Victorian stable (we won’t name it but how does that song go – I’m Henry the Eighth I Am). Stewards took him to task over alleged comments made that ‘it depends on how big the needle is.’

Acting chief steward Robert Cram said Walsh had also ‘gesticulated with a needle’ in the You Tube clip and made further remarks about ‘needling a horse in the rump.’

Walsh, who was far from impressed by the charge, pleaded guilty and was fined $500.




RACING Queensland is investigating whether to transform 54 hectares of floodplain next to the M1 into the new home for greyhounds, harness racing, concerts and the Gold Coast Show.

ANDREW POTTS reports for the GOLD COAST BULLETIN that all were booted out of Parklands five years ago to make way for the Commonwealth Games athletes village and are lobbying the State Government to back a bold $25 million plan at Mudgeeraba.

The land, between the Gold Coast City Council’s Firth Park sports complex and the Pacific Motorway at Mudgeeraba, was bought from developer Nifsan Group last month for $1.2 million.

Its new owner, the Nerang-based Turner’s Engineering, has agreed for Racing Queensland and the State Government to investigate the site.

The proposal, developed in the past two years by the harness racing club in consultation with other displaced Parklands groups, would include:

* Show main ring.

* A harness racing track.

* One-turn and straight greyhound tracks.

* Race stables.

* Pavilion building.

* Dual grandstand.

* A sideshow alley.

* Polocrosse fields.

* A showground capable of hosting large-scale rock concerts such as the defunct Big Day Out, which was once an annual mainstay at Parklands.

Itemised accounts for the project show acquiring the land would cost $3m. The harness racing track ($2.46m), race day stables ($2.38 million), earthworks ($3 million), lighting ($2 million), grandstand ($4.5 million), greyhound tracks ($2 million), drainage ($1.5 million) and car park ($1.5 million) are other big-ticket items.

Harness racing will cough up $15.3 million, including the money for the land, and the greyhounds $9.1 million.

The Gold Coast Greyhound Club became defunct after the closure of Parklands but the Gold Coast Bulletin has been told a new one would be established.

If approved, the Mudgeeraba site could be transformed within 18 months.

The project’s backers recently met with Racing Queensland, Mayor Tom Tate and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe in the hope of securing the necessary government and funding support.

Harness racing club president Barry Grimsey said the site presented many opportunities.

“Racing Queensland showed some interest and we will come back to them on the hydrological status of the site,’’ he said.

“They are keen to find a good location and this is a great site.

“It would create a lot of employment and opportunities and would bring life back to the industry.”

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last night said: “I’ve met with the club and am aware of their proposal, which is now being considered by Racing Queensland.”

Cr Tate did not want to comment, but has previously expressed support for the revival of harness racing on the Coast.

The Mudgeeraba land is one of several sites that have been looked at as a possible site for a showground. Another is a site in the city’s far north on the corner of Zipfs and Alberton roads.

Its status as a floodplain is seen as a potential deterrent to its suitability as a home for the show.

The cost of raising the land’s level is understood to be significant and a hydrological study of its suitability will be critical to the bid.

The harness racing club has long sought compensation for the loss of Parklands.

In the past five years it held some stand-alone meetings at Albion Park in Brisbane but this has since stopped.

In 2013, the State Government promised the harness racing club $10.2 million in compensation. It was never paid.

The club last year withdrew its bid for that compensation as talks for a new site began.

However, not everyone is in favour of the Mudgeeraba proposal.

Hinterland councillor Glenn Tozer said he was worried about the impact it would have on the nearby Mudgeeraba Show and felt other locations were more suitable.

“The Turner family have long supported the Mudgeeraba Show Society and I am confident they would not want to do anything which would endanger the long-term future of the event, especially with 2018 being its 90th anniversary,” he said.

Mudgeeraba Show did not respond to requests for comment by The Bulletin.

Turner’s Engineering was founded by Mick Turner when he moved to the Gold Coast in 1954.

It is based in Nerang and remains a family business.

A Racing Queensland spokesman said no final decision had been made on a site.

“Racing Queensland sought expressions of interest for the provision of up to two sites for both greyhound and harness racing some time ago,” he said.

“We have had some sites identified and due diligence is continuing.

“No final decision has been made.”



WINX'S achievements will be celebrated with her image on a $1 postage stamp to commemorate her Australian record 26th consecutive win.

AAP reports that Australia Post has announced it will release a commemorative stamp in honour of the mare who racked up her 19th Group One win in the Winx Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

"It is a fitting tribute to such a significant sporting achievement and amazing racehorse," Australia Post philatelic manager, Michael Zsolt said.

"The beautiful artwork on the stamp, and what it represents, will no doubt appeal to horse racing enthusiasts and collectors alike."

The stamp features Hugh Bowman riding Winx.

"She's really become an Australian icon who'll be remembered for generations," Bowman said.

"For her to be commemorated in this manner is a great honour and a very worthy distinction."

Winx is owned in partnership by Magic Bloodstock Racing, Debbie Kepitis, and Richard Treweeke, and trained by eight-time Sydney premiership winner Chris Waller.

The stamp issue will be available online and by mail order from August 20 and in post offices from August 23

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« 2018-Aug-29, 09:24 AM Reply #1104 »
Lots to read in this issue of the Wednesday Whinge starting with a spirited defence of trainer John Manzelmann from prolific owner Stan Johnston about  penalties imposed for positive swab offences comparative to a couple of other NQ trainers...and other reflections ......Birdsville V Cairns Amateurs...I've been in Cairns during amateurs week many years ago after an afternoon at Cannon Park backed up to the trotting at the more trotting sadly ...... I can relate to the complainant about the home delivery copy of the Sunday Mail....mine although wrapped in plastic was saturated after the rain on the it was unreadable...had to fork out for another one from the paper shop ....race track bias...unfair critics of race caller Rick Macintosh....  CHAUTAUQUA given another chance...and other issues  and to round this issue up is a positive story from Honkers where leading trainer John Size talks about a new training centre established in mainland China.




ONE of Queensland’s biggest thoroughbred owners Stan Johnston has gone into bat for John Manzelmann insisting the embattled Mackay trainer is a ‘victim of the system’.

The outspoken Johnston is concerned that Manzelmann has been branded a ‘drug cheat’ by his critics after escaping with fines for positive swab tests to caffeine despite having previous convictions.

“I am worried that our industry is starting to self-destruct. The reason I am speaking out is that in the John Manzelmann case only half the story is being told.”

In last week’s WEDNESDAY WHINGE we addressed concerns from trainers in the country in an item which read:

IT seems a large section of the north’s racing community is simply aghast at penalties handed down by QRIC stewards to three trainers last week.

Some are particularly vocal, if not incensed that Mackay’s John Manzelmann, with three previous doping convictions, was fined, while two other trainers from Townsville and Mareeba - with no prior convictions - were outed for nine months.

Ron Finch pleaded guilty to using over-the-counter products of B12 and vitamin booster VAM. Manzelmann pleaded guilty to using caffeine and another illegal drug theobromine on horses at Gladstone and Pentland last November.

“It is just not fair,” said Finch, who, like Mareeba horse dentist and hobby horse trainer, Gareth Horner, has posted an immediate appeal.

QRIC stewards (D. Ausrich, P. Gillard and P. Lane) confirmed Manzelmann had three previous breaches of the same rule (with different substances).

“There is need  for a penalty to serve as both a specific deterrent to Mr Manzelmann and a general deterrent to the wider industry to illustrate the negative impact that breaches of this kind have on the image of the sport”, the Stewards stated.

JOHNSTON feels very strongly about the Manzelmann situation. “John is not a drug cheat. The circumstances are that horses he trained returned two positives after he administered Papaya (Paw Paw) treatment. There was no mention on the bottle of it containing caffeine.

“QRIC tested bottles that John had and they returned positives to caffeine and another drug. They then went to the factory on the Gold Coast that makes and distributes the treatment and bottles tested from there came up positive. The company remains adamant there is no caffeine in the product but there is no way John could have known that this Papaya treatment contained prohibited drugs.”

Johnston says instead of declaring Manzelmann a ‘drug cheat’ his critics should explain the circumstances behind the positives. “Every trainer is a chance of getting a positive these days because they all make mistakes.”

He also made special reference to Ron Finch who has been sidelined after a horse he trained returned a positive to cobalt. “There is no way Ron would have given it to the horse deliberately. It was obviously a mistake but stewards don’t have room to move on cobalt penalties these days which is unfair.

“I believe in the case of cobalt trainers should get one warning. After that stewards are entitled to throw the book at repeat offenders or any trainer deliberating cheating with drugs,” Johnston said.

“I am worried about our industry. There are people like John Manzlemann being declared drug cheats when they are innocent victims. We are cruelling our own industry. People are bitter, jealous or ignorant. Some trainers are using as excuses for horses getting beaten in races won by Manzelmann that it is not a level playing field.

“As an industry if we see someone doing wrong in any way we should alert the stewards. Then it is their job. We want a level playing field but we have to rely on the stewards to get on top of it. Opening our mouths and declaring trainers drug cheats is causing disruption to our industry and we end up losing owners which we can ill-afford.”



ONE of the newest contributors to the WHINGE – ‘RUSSELL COIGHT’ of CAMBOOYA – makes some interesting comparisons about two iconic race meetings in Queensland over the next two weeks.

They call it the ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’ but a visit to the annual Birdsville Cup carnival (this Friday and Saturday) is an experience that no horse racing enthusiasts will ever forget.

Perched on the edge of the Simpson Desert in south-west Queensland, Birdsville is home to 120 residents but once a year that number swells to more than 6,000 visitors who drive, bus and fly in from all over the country to witness the Holy Grail of Bush Racing.

ONE week later thousands will converge on Far North Queensland for the annual Cairns Amateurs (Friday and Saturday week), which is much more than a horse racing carnival – in fact it offers something for everyone.

The FNQ Amateurs have grown from a small country race meeting in 1959, designed to bring the city and country together, to a carnival that now attracts national media, betting and television coverage.

It’s a carnival where the horses often take a backseat role to the personalities, politicians and celebrities who want to be seen there along with some of the biggest names of the Australian turf.

Our contributor ‘RUSSELL’ suggests:

THE Birdsville Cup carnival and the Cairns Amateurs are poles apart – and some are those who attend. Normally few comparisons are made because the Far North commands more personality and political attention with the horses that race there more recognizable to the punters.

Birdsville will be telecast nationally for the first time this year with half of the wagering proceeds being donated to the Drought Appeal and the meeting will have full coverage. Punters might not know some of the bush horses that race there as well as those at the Amateurs in Cairns but it will be interesting to compare the TAB turnover on both.

Racing Queensland deserves a pat on the back for clinching a deal with SKY Channel to telecast the two-day carnival from Birdsville. Unlike Cairns, it won’t be just another race meeting. This is outback racing at its best. Sadly, in the past, it has not attracted the media attention that the Amateurs do.

The races, the crowds and personalities who attend and even the media are poles apart. There are would-be’s if they could be from the social set across the country who will converge on Cairns hoping to be seen there – along with some high profile politicians. They wouldn’t be seen dead swilling done a can in the dusty Birdsville outback or rubbing shoulders after the races with those congregating at Brophy’s Boxing Tent.

Sadly, the same will apply to the racing media – SKY caller Josh Fleming will be relishing the opportunity to get back to where he cut his teeth. One might argue that 4TAB’s David Fowler will be much more at home sipping champers with the social set at the Cairns Amateurs.

That’s racing but it’s par for the course with the print and broadcast racing media which has for too long had their noses in the trough on the Amateurs gravy train which has meant Cairns got the lionshare of the publicity while Birdsville was treated more like a sideshow. 

Comparisons will no doubt be made suggesting turnover highlights how the Amateurs are more popular with punters. Just as an exercise what someone should do is compare the Birdsville holds to that of the Toowoomba gallops or even better the ‘red hots’ at Albion Park or one of that code’s other venues that has been left in the wake of greyhound popularity in more recent times.’



TRACK manager TONY SALISBURY correctly forecast that there would be a leader and fence bias at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

But feedback to the WHINGE suggests that punters were still far from impressed and unless something is done to correct the situation turnover will be down on future Valley meetings.

BEN DORRIES of RACENET reports that officials are confident the under-fire track will be right for Winx’s shot at a fourth Cox Plate in October. One might suggest it won’t matter how the track is playing, that barring bad luck the champion mare will just win.

As contributors to the WHINGE have pointed out if a jockey fails to position his horse to give it the best opportunity to win he can be charged. Yet on Saturday the club produced a track at the Valley that did not provide the same opportunity to all runners yet it was just written off as ‘one of those things’.

In several interviews during the afternoon trainers expressed their dismay at the way the track was playing. Some even declared runners would not be ridden out of their usual pattern which meant they had little chance of winning. Punters might have been forewarned but they still got a bum deal.

One could argue that the horse with the best run to suit the bias and not the horse with the best ability were the winners of many races on the day. Those back in the field trying to make wide runs just about went around for the practice.

Top trainers Darren Weir and David Hayes were both critical of the way the track played. Weir described it as ‘racing terrible’. It was left to Salisbury to face the music after the Valley made a disastrous return – racing for the first time in almost two months after undergoing a mini-renovation.

He blamed the bias on ‘climatic conditions and extra moisture’ in some sections of the track. But confidently predicted it would be corrected by the spring.

Sadly Salisbury took a shot at Weir. “He’s the State’s leading trainer. At the end of the day he has made these comments but with all due respect he has turned around and said he knew nothing about tracks.”

A repeat of Saturday’s performance and the punters will be questioning whether Salisbury knows enough about tracks either.



BOUQUETS to Racing NSW Chief Steward Marc Van Gestel for rejecting suggestions that Chautauqua should be allowed to continue to race despite his refusal to jump on terms with the field.

Social media threw up the idea that because Chautauqua proved competitive in a classy trial field after bombing the start last Saturday that he should dodge being barred by stewards.

The suggestion was that if punters knew he could miss the start and still wanted to back him that was their choice. But Van Gestel said stewards would be derelict in their duty if they allowed a horse to race that continued to ruin his chances by refusing the jump.

BUT their decision to provide another reprieve to Chautauqua, after hearing submissions from connections on Tuesday, was not as well received by some.

Responses received by LGHR included:

“There seems to be different rules for different stables and owners.

“How many more chances are they going to give this bloke? Seven times he has failed to jump properly at trials. Why allow them more time to re-educate him? And who is this mysterious Mr Q who seems to be the new secret to Chautauqua getting his act together? It’s all turning into a farce.”





THE ability of boom three-year-old BRUTAL to win the Listed McKenzie Stakes against the bias at the Valley last Saturday has only built on his reputation.

Brutal was surprisingly beaten for early speed but rallied to score a hard fought win on a day that was dominated by front-runners or on-pacers.

He is now unbeaten after two starts but Team Hawkes are undecided whether he will be set for the Caulfield Guineas or the Coolmore Stakes – an enviable situation to be in.



THE Kris Lees-trained GRAFF maintained his unbeaten record and burst into Golden Rose contention with a comeback win in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

“I thought he would run very well but the gap in the field shocked me a bit,” Lees said. “The blinkers have always been there in the background for him, and we had them on in the Sires in Brisbane when he was scratched at the barrier.”

Graff will run next in the Run to the Rose then the Golden Rose before heading to Melbourne where he could clash with Brutal in the Caulfield Guineas or Coolmore.



WE’VE included this story in the ‘good’ but it could easily have qualified for the ‘ugly’ with many punters after the shock defeat of the odds-on Multaja which looked like the good thing of the day at the Valley on Saturday.

Golden girl MICHELLE PAYNE bagged her first city win as a jockey-trainer at the expense of MULTAJA and declared it ‘almost as good as winning the Melbourne Cup’.

Payne was caught wide throughout but still managed to score narrowly on three-year-old filly Sweet Rockette by a nose from the hot favorite.

“The Melbourne Cup is the pinnacle but this is right behind it,” Payne said. “I know how good she is at home and wanted to take her to Moonee Valley and run her on a good track and find out how good she is.

“I knew Multaja (second place) would be hard to beat but when she was in my sights I knew nothing could beat us from behind so I just tracked her up to the corner and then went to the outside and to my surprise we grabbed her.”




ANOTHER horror story for punters, courtesy of the powerful Waller stable, which had four runners in the middle distance handicap at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

The race was won by TUMULTUOUS, a drifter from $6 to $11, charging home atone for an unlucky effort when held-up at Doomben at its previous start.

The hard luck story of the race was the heavily-backed stablemate EXOTERIC, $5 to $3.5 favoritism, on which Jim Byrne is still trying get clear. The Stewards’ Report read: ‘Was unable to obtain clear running after passing the 400m when the gelding was reluctant to obtain a tight run between runners and went to the line without being fully tested.’

PUNTERS were again questioning how hard the favorites are to follow at the major Saturday meeting in Queensland after only two were successful at the Sunshine Coast.

NAVY, heavily backed from $3 to $2.2 in the first, failed to handle the class rise and finished 8th; EXOTERIC, $5 to $3.5, never got clear when 6th to a Waller-trained stablemate; GUARD OF HONOUR, $2.5 to $2.25, was trapped wide without cover throughout when 7th; BERGERAC, $2.8 to $2.6 was nailed on the line; and PRESSWAY, $2.8 to $3.1 will be spelled after tiring to run 7th.



THIS was an interesting WHINGE received from a BRISBANE-based contributor who subscribes to home delivery of The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail.

“I am of the old school who still likes to have my daily newspapers home delivered – have done so for years.

But it’s wearing thin. My wife is trying to convince me that there is no fresh news in the paper these days and that all we want can be found on the TV through free-to-air or pay TV.

I am a keen punter and one of the few who still likes to have a bet on the Saturday meeting in Brisbane or wherever they run since Eagle Farm was closed which seems like an eternity ago.

Can you believe this? The edition of The Sunday Mail that was thrown over my fence in Brisbane on Sunday morning between 6 and 7am did not have the full results for the Sunshine Coast races the previous afternoon.

That’s right 12 hours later and there were only eight races published with a note at the bottom: ‘Race 9 results not available at time of publication.’

One has to ask what time they went to print. It must have been very early the night before. The results could have been sent from Corbould Park to Bowel Hills by carrier pigeon and they could have published an edition of The Sunday Mail in plenty of time for it to be delivered by push bike to my home the following morning.

We’re getting used to this second rate treatment from the monopoly Murdoch Media, especially when it comes to football results but now it seems if a race is run late (the last at the Sunshine Coast was early evening under lights) that there will be a flow on effect to racing as well. Not good enough Rupert! You are about to lose yet another long-time subscriber.’




SOME of the suggestions on social media were way out of line after punters who bet in the run were left badly burned by a race-caller’s error last Friday.

The Maiden Plate at Bendigo was won by the Alderson-trained Turn the Tide at $31but it was May Be Fate (which ran 8th) that traded at $1.01 in the run because of a mistake.

May Be Fate carried white silks with yellow and navy sleeves, while Turn the Tide sported white silks with royal blue sleeves and cap.

Race-caller Ric McIntosh got them confused in the run – a blunder that led to a string of bets being placed on May Be Fate at the farcically short odds with over $1,500 being matched at $1.01 in the run.

McIntosh is an extremely popular caller, who liked most of his colleagues, does a terrific job, at times under trying conditions and circumstances. They are human and all of them, on occasions, make mistakes.

But McIntosh didn’t deserve the bagging he copped on social media. We won’t do it justice by repeating some of the published comments. Let’s just say these were unfair, undeserved and defamatory.   



BRISBANE punters accept that Doomben needs a rest after the work-load it has carried during the absence of Eagle Farm.

But they are far from happy at the programming which will result in race-less Saturdays in the major metropolitan venue in Queensland for three successive weekends. (Gold Coast raced one Saturday and the Sunshine Coast has primary status the next two).

One regular racegoers commented to the WHINGE: ‘At least we don’t have to travel to Toowoomba but this has a flow-on with the Sunday venue changed most times when the Sunshine Coast is racing on the Saturday. It just goes from bad to worse in south-east Queensland’.

The shift to the Gold and Sunshine Coast hasn’t altered the normal pattern of poor performance by some of the better backed runners. One contributor suggested: “The gallops are headed down the same track as the ‘red hots’ where next to nobody goes these days but the mainstream media turns a blind eye to the reason why”.





IT has been a bumper first few months of 2018 for JOHN SIZE, with a 10th Hong Kong trainers’ championship locked in the bag, a slew of big-race victories and the prestigious honour of being inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.

Size, though, is not one to rest on his laurels and he is already looking ahead to what the upcoming 2018/19 season has in store as one of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s first dual-site trainers.

Size is one of nine trainers who have shifted to a dual-site model during the off-season, with two-thirds of their string based at Sha Tin and the other third based at the Club’s new Conghua Training Centre (CTC) on the Chinese Mainland. The handler’s first horses arrived at the Guangdong site on 20 July and the Champion Trainer is pleased with their progress so far.

“From what we’ve seen in the first month or so, it’s all positive, particularly the health of the horses,” Size said. “The facility is good, they obviously started working on it a long time ago and everything that you’d hope for in a training centre seems to be in place.

“It was very pleasing to see the horses, when I first went up there, they’d done very well – they looked good, they were in very good condition and I think the relaxed environment is helping some horses to do a bit better. I guess that was predictable because Sha Tin is pretty busy and the other one is the opposite, it’s a refreshing place.

“So it is all coming together now. They’ve got some systems being set up now where they are going to have trials and gate practice and jump-outs and things like that, we’re in the initial stages of getting that done.”

Among Size’s 21 horses now residing at CTC is G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1000m) winner Premiere, one of two Hong Kong Group 3 winners at the site along with Tony Cruz’s Lion Rock Trophy (1600m) victor The Golden Age.

Premiere won all four of his starts during the 2017/18 season, but a fetlock injury sustained after a barrier trial in June saw his preparation come to a halt. Size is using the state-of-the-art facilities at Conghua as part of the rehabilitation process for the Dylan Thomas five-year-old, with the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy a potential target again in January.

“He’s not one who would run early in the season,” Size said. “He’s had two different types of injuries, but he’s working now and he’s in very good shape. He’s one of those horses that went to Conghua and did very well immediately. He’ll train up there for a while and we’ll see what stage he can get up to. He’s not a horse that needs any education at this point in his career, he knows what to do, so we’ll keep him up there and then bring him back to prepare him when we’ve found a race.

“Maybe that might not even be necessary,” he continued. “If horses prove that they can race well straight from the centre, then there’s no need to change them around too early. That’s something we’ll be watching for early in the season, because that’s going to be pretty important. Eventually, they’ll have to be racing from there, coming down only a few days before a race – that’s the idea of the centre – but obviously, we’ll see what effect that has.”

In fact, Size’s Conghua stable is notable for featuring a range of different types of horses. Progressive four-year-old Gunnison is one to catch the eye, as is the hardy Money Boy, a veteran of 21 starts last season. Among the most fascinating is Mr So And So, twice placed at Group 2 level in Australia, who has trialled well at Sha Tin but is yet to make his Hong Kong debut.

“At the moment, I’m sending up a variety of horses and then seeing how they respond,” Size said. “I’ll learn more by sending up different types and I can then see how they go with it. I am still in the stage of learning how to use the facility, so to do that, you need to have experience with it and that can only be gained through a range of different horses.

“Mr So And So is an example. He’s a PP (private purchase) and he already knows his job, but he’s another type that is interesting given he is fairly new to the Hong Kong environment. He’s one of those that I thought might benefit from being up there and I think he has.

“In the end, trainers are going to have a multitude of different reasons for sending up horses that they think will be suited up there. Every individual trainer will have a rationale behind who is up there and it will be right under their system. For me, I’m still trying different approaches and seeing what works and what doesn’t.

At time of writing, 129 horses are based at Conghua, with Size and Danny Shum having 21 horses each at the site. Chris So (20), Me Tsui (19), Dennis Yip (14), Caspar Fownes (10), Tony Cruz (10), Paul O’Sullivan (eight) and John Moore (six) also have horses stabled at the complex.

The new Hong Kong racing season begins next Sunday (2 September).

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« 2018-Sep-05, 08:43 AM Reply #1105 »
A big issue this week starting with a stroll down memory lane coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of night harness racing when the lights were turned on at Albion Park .....and what a night that was as described in the lead story. :clap2:





WHAT a shame harness racing cannot survive on memories!

Night racing at Albion Park celebrates its 50th anniversary on Saturday evening and there are many who say that the flags should fly at half-mast to commemorate the demise of the sport in Queensland.

Surprisingly, LETSGOHORSERACING is not one of them. We are saddened by the current state of affairs but believe it would be fitting for the powers-that-be to use this historic event to end the uncertainty over the future of the ‘spiritual home’ of harness racing in this State.

What a significant role Albion Park would play if someone had the foresight to install a synthetic track for day and night gallops racing which could have subsidized the retention of harness and greyhounds there as well.   

Nothing will change the fact that Albion Park (as a harness venue) will struggle to ever again draw the crowd of 14,000 who attended on that memorable night – September 7, 1968 – or the unbelievable ring of 60 bookmakers that fielded. But the Creek deserves to retain its place in racing history and folklore in this State.

Those fortunate enough to have been there and seen the Sam Zammit-trained and driven Curly Adios win the opening race beating Harleray on opening night will also recall the success later on the card of the first real star of night racing in Queensland in Stormy Water at the odds of 6-1 on.

Who will forget those amazing early Brisbane pacing carnivals contested by some of the biggest stars in harness racing – the likes of Hondo Grattan, Paleface Adios, Gammalite, Popular Alm and Queensland’s own home-grown legend, Wondai’s Mate – to name but a few?

Albion Park back then was the biggest drawcard in night-time entertainment in Brisbane – overtaking the fights at Festival Hall and long before the Broncos were even heard of. It was common-place for punters to flock from the afternoon gallops and join the thousands at the Albion Park trots (many making a detour for a steak and a few coldies off the wood at the Brekky Creek). It became a tradition. That was decades before Silks Seafood Restaurant become more popular in the 80s.


BUT sadly, all good things come to an end.

In his wisdom and love for harness racing the Minister for Everything Russ Hinze made the bold decision to close the famous sand gallops track at the Creek to make way for the speed pacing capital of Australia.

In 1982 Albion Park was purchased from the Brisbane Amateur Turf Club and redeveloped for future use by harness and eventually greyhound racing.

It started with a bang early in the 1983-84 season when the greatest superstar the sport had seen back then – Popular Alm – attracted a crowd claimed to be more than 20,000 to the newlook Albion Park when he won the Queensland Pacing Championship on the opening night in a track record time of 1:55.8.

The honor role for the Queensland Pacing Championship from Albion Park’s inaugural year of night racing included some headliners like Don’t Retreat, Paleface Adios, Rip Van Winkle, Koala King, Gammalite, Double Agent, Preux Chevalier and Wondai’s Mate.

 ‘Poppy’ won six consecutive races at Albion Park, including the Australian Pacing Championship and also set a new Australia mile record of 1:54.5. On October 29, 1983, he became the shortest priced favorite in Australian harness racing history, winning at Albion Park at 100-1 on.

While the wheels gradually started to fall off the success story that was night harness racing – some still insist the sport never deserved the ‘red hots’ reputation it inherited. The crowds fell away and so did its popularity as a betting medium. These days it arguably runs last of the three codes, trailing even the greyhounds despite their ’live baiting’ woes of recent times.

The 14,000 and 20,000 strong crowds that flocked to Albion Park for those big opening nights in the 60’s and 80’s will never be replicated even if Albion Park survives for years to come with new facilities (albeit scaled down) that the sport and patrons deserve. The 60 bookies who once fielded became zero and will arguably remain so with the sport relying on TAB and telephone betting to the corporate bookies for turnover these days.

While everything else was going backwards it would be remiss not to admit that the quality of horses, trainers and drivers continued to rise. Blacks A Fake and Be Good Johnny kept the Queensland flag flying. It is also fair to say that since Russ Hinze, no individuals have done more for harness racing than millionaire businessman and harness benefactor, Kevin Seymour and his wife Kay. Their love affair with the sport has contributed greatly to its survival.   

Albion Park isn’t Robinson Crusoe when it comes to tracks facing demise. Queensland once boasted harness venues as well at Redcliffe, Gold Coast, Rocklea, Maryborough, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Gympie, Warwick, Dalby, Boonah, Mackay, Charters, Towers, Innisfail, Cairns, Ayr, Marburg and just across the border at Tweed Heads. Sadly only a handful has survived.


PERHAPS it is timely to let our readers in on a little secret. Had it not been for LGHR, current Albion Park Chairman David Fowler may never have been introduced to harness racing.

It was a normal day on the return trip from working at the Ipswich gallops that he asked what was happening that night and got invited along to a midweek meeting at the Creek that was to win ‘the Bantam’ over to the trots forever.

In a tribute piece that appeared in The Courier-Mail recently Fowler admitted his love affair with Albion Park when he wrote:

EVERY sport deserves a spiritual home. A place to aspire to. Where the best engage in competition, ultimately to win or lose.

Think Suncorp Stadium (rugby league), the Gabba (cricket) and Eagle Farm (thoroughbred racing).

Albion Park is harness racing’s spiritual home and has been since the lights were turned on for the sport in 1968.

Of course, that followed, and was in partnership with, a rich heritage of thoroughbred racing tracing back to the late 1800s.

It would be hard to think of a harness racing great — equine or human — who didn’t have an Albion Park feature race on their respective CVs.

But Racing Queensland, the state’s controlling body, want to consign that rich tapestry of history to the dustbin and move the sport out of the city.

This is wrong on so many fronts.

They earnestly believe the industry will be better off with two new tracks in either outlying suburbs of Brisbane or even southeast Queensland provincial centres.

Their vision is clear but their specifics are not. We are yet to know where these new horizons are located.

THESE days LGHR and David are poles apart in our thinking on most racing issues but on Albion Park we agree. There needs to be a place for that venue in the future of racing in Brisbane. Is it too late to convert it to a night gallops venue or a standby when other tracks are out of action because of rain? Considering the millions wasted on the Eagle Farm redevelopment many would argue it isn’t.


WE at LGHR might be living in the past, but if we had any influence in the elevation of identities to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame during the era of night racing at Albion Park, well here goes:

Our headline acts would be the late RUSS HINZE and KEVIN and KAY SEYMOUR. Big Russ put Queensland harness racing on the map not only in Australia but also internationally. The money he ploughed into the sport (especially facilities) might have upset the gallops fraternity and seemed somewhat absurd back then but his foresight reminds us of another perhaps ahead of his time with a concept called The Everest. ‘King Kev’ has his critics but has been first and foremost a benefactor to the code. He has also invested plenty as an administrator, owner, breeder and absolute lover of the game. There are a lot of others who played a pivotal role on the official side of the sport and one that deserves a special mention is former Test cricket great, the late Peter Burge, a Chairman of the Albion Park Club in its heyday.

AS a trainer-driver we saw none better than ‘KT’ – KEVIN THOMAS – he was world class. The Dixon’s, the Rasmussen’s and the McMullen’s have contributed generations to the success story. Bill, who hailed from Charters Towers in NQ where he cut his teeth on the sport before moving to Townsville, then Brisbane, passed his vast knowledge onto son Grant. Dad Vic showed the Rasmussen girls the harness ropes from the time they could walk on a property near Woodstock west of Townsville. It was humble beginnings for a family that has become a household name. John McMullen was pioneering the American adventure in harness long before Lazarus was even dreamed off. His family has followed in his footsteps.

WONDAI’S MATE paved the way for some top class pacers to emerge from Queensland, like BLACKS A FAKE and BE GOOD JOHNNY (apologies to those not mentioned) but it was ‘The Mate’ and the Reinke family, the late trainer Merv and his driver son Darryl, who will always be folklore in harness racing in Queensland.

No mention of the good times in the sport would be complete without mentioning the contribution of SILKS RESTAURANT to the success of Albion Park when it was redeveloped in the 80s. There was no better seafood smorgasbord in town and some went there just for that rather than the racing.

A special mention as well to bookmakers like ANDY PIPPOS (who lined up week after week for years at the gallops and trots in Brisbane), LINDSAY GALLAGHER (an institution at Albion Park although LGHR upset him by once tongue-in-cheek suggesting he had a crystal ball and only laid those nailed to the ground) and VINCE ASPINALL (who soldiered on alone at the Creek in a more recent era when all of his colleagues had turned the lights out).

In the media no look back at night racing at Albion Park would be complete without mention of ROD HILL (more an institution some might say at Rocklea but he loved the Creek and played a significant role there as well), the late WAYNE WILSON (whose love affair with harness racing has been well documented) and PHIL PURSER (the author and website pioneer who never really got the credit he deserved for his long-time contribution on the once great website justracing).

As the now Publisher of LGHR, who covered the trots for 15 years in Brisbane before moving onto the gallops, I prefer to remember the good times – like when the new Brisbane Sun entered the newspaper marketplace and coverage of harness racing went through the roof. Frank Moore (Rupert’s de facto owner some said) even opened his pockets for a sponsorship deal at Albion Park, Unfortunately as Editors changed so did my fortunes. The one who insisted my coverage convert from ‘spin doctor’ to ‘keeping the bastards’ honest’ moved on (thanks Harto) and his successor (a blow-in from Adelaide) was wined and dined by those with influence which saw me replaced as trots writer. I preferred not to suck-up and survive but lost my appetite somewhat for the sport I had loved so much and fought so hard for after that. Sadly that passion has never returned.

One of my best memories of the good times covering harness was however watching my associate, Robert Craddock climb the sports journalistic ladder to the stage where today he is an absolute superstar. ‘Crash’ always had more writing ability in his little toe than I could wish to possess in my entire body. I just hope that The Courier-Mail asks him to write a feature on the last 50 years of Albion Park night harness racing for Saturday’s special event. In his style that readers have come to enjoy, it would no doubt be a terrific read even at a time when so much space has to be devoted to the more popular football finals.       

Back to the trots and ironically you probably didn’t know, but Queensland’s first harness race was run at Eagle Farm racecourse on August 11, 1888, by the Brisbane Driving Park Club. The way things are progressing at snail’s pace with that track’s problems, harness racing may well be relocated to the Farm before the grass grows well enough for the gallops to be run there again.

Just kidding, but in seriousness, here’s hoping something positive comes out of the 50th anniversary of night racing at Albion Park on Saturday.

When the first night meeting was held back in the late 60’s Joh had just become Premier. And in the 80’s Russ left us with the ‘legacy’ of the speed pacing capital when he was Racing Minister. It would be fitting for Anastasia to make a timely announcement on a positive future for Albion Park to coincide with Saturday night’s important anniversary.

Now before I write too many more nice things about people, places and events and give the Whinge a bad name, I’m off to Chemist Warehouse to get that re-fill of my ‘angry pills’!





THE good news for followers of DARREN WEIR was his huge day at Caulfield which netted five winners including the first Group One of the season.

The bad news was that Weir had three outside hopes in the $1 million Memsie Stakes and blew punters out of the water with the success of HUMIDOR which firmed from $31 to $21.

“He's a great horse. I said to (jockey) Damien (Lane) when I bunked him on to be strong late and he was strong late.”

Humidor scored a last stride short head victory over the Godolphin runner, Kementari with a half head to another Weir galloper, the early big Cups fancy, Kings Will Dream.

Favourite Vega Magic, $2.50, sprinted clear on the home turn but he couldn’t sustain the finish he did a month earlier when a dominant winner of the Bletchingly Stakes and wound up fourth.

“He ran well but I just think that rain before the race just took away his kick a little bit but he still ran well,” jockey Damien Oliver reported.

Weir was much more upbeat after the race than he was prepost maintaining he wasn't surprised with Humidor's performance as he had seen a change in the horse since last spring when he pushed champion Winx when she won her third Cox Plate.

There are a host of options for Humidor this spring including the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington and even a trip to Hong Kong for International Day. And, of course, there is the Cox Plate and Weir said the horse was likely to go there again despite his lack of confidence.

“He had the absolute perfect run in the Cox Plate last year and couldn't beat Winx so I don't think he’ll be able to beat her this year.”

Weir was successful earlier in the day at Caulfield with High Church ($13), Miss Gardenia ($6, a race in which he trained the trifecta), Night’s Watch ($3.3) and Native Soldier ($15).



REIGNING The Everest champion, REDZEL, staked claims for another huge pay-day with a comeback win in the G3 Concorde Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

Redzel drifted from odds-on to start at $2.3 following a plunge on Invincible Star (backed into $2.35) but proved too strong with a near track record run.

Invincible Star was the most recent horse picked up for The Everest by slot-holder Greg Ingham, who's GPI Racing signed the mare up on the strength of impressive trial wins at Warwick Farm and Randwick.

But after showing good speed, she yielded quickly to Redzel's challenge and could not resist the finish of outsider Kaepernick either as she battled into third place.

For Redzel’s co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, the performance backed up what they had been seeing on the training track. “It's very satisfying knowing what we have got in front of us,” co-trainer Paul Snowden said after the race.

Snowden said Redzel would stick with the proven formula of last year by following his Concorde success with a run in The Shorts at Randwick in a fortnight, giving him a month into The Everest.



CHRIS WALLER might not have had as many winners in Sydney as DARREN WEIR did in Melbourne but still dominated the feature races at Randwick.

Waller won the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes with last season’s ATC Oaks winner, Unforgotten and quinellaed the G2 Tramway Stakes with Comin’ Through and perennial bridesmaid Tom Melbourne.

Waller went to great lengths to declare that Unforgotten would dodge a clash with star stablemate Winx on her way to the Caulfield Cup next month.

“There are so many options in the spring. I could have gone Epsom and Cox Plate with her bar for Winx. That is what we did with Winx and that was the making of her career. She won't be taking on Winx I can tell you that.”

Tom Melbourne once again failed to win on the track and again later in the stewards’ room as the import’s losing record stretched to 25 when outgunned by stablemate Comin' Through in the Tramway.

Tom looked set to break his 30-month drought when he burst through late but he just fell short of Comin’ Through with Dixie Blossoms flying home late for third. It was the 11th time in his past 25 losses that Tom Melbourne has finished runner-up.

Jockey Michael Walker said an international race – the Japan Cup in late November – was on the cards for Comin’ Through. But Waller has his sights set a little lower. “I prefer a race like the Underwood. He will be handicapped out of an Epsom so we thought the Makybe Diva next would be suitable.”




THERE was a sensation at BELMONT in PERTH on Saturday when top jockey WILLIE PIKE protested against Rebel King, winner of the Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes, on the grounds of team riding.

Pike claimed By Decree, ridden by Julien Kokotajlo, had actively aided the winning stablemate, ridden by Mitchell Pateman.

Stewards failed to agree highlighting the fact By Decree was showing a tendency to lay out when ridden along by Kokotajlo and dismissed the objection.

Stewards explained their decision to dismiss the unusual grounds for protest.

“In relation to the objection hearing after considering all of the evidence presented and analysing all of the Hawkeye vision from various angles, it was established that shortly after straightening BY DECREE showed an inclination to lay outwards and when ridden along by Jockey Kokotajlo drifted outwards slightly with REBEL KING (M. Pateman) which was following being allowed to improve into marginal running to the inside of BY DECREE which continued to shift ground slightly.

“Jockey Pateman then appealed for sufficient room as BY DECREE was rolling outwards and shortly after this Jockey Kokotajlo responded by moving outwards further and he looked to his inside to ensure his mount did not tighten and cause interference to REBEL KING (W. Pike) as he is obligated to do in assuring the safety of other riders and horses.

“Stewards were satisfied that Jockey Kokotajlo's actions were related to safety in taking action to prevent interference and were not designed to deliberately advantage any other runner.

“Jockey Kokotajlo was reminded of his obligations to ride competitively at all times and make every effort where possible to prevent his mounts from shifting ground resulting in other runners being able to improve and further Jockey Pateman was reminded of his obligations to ensure he has full racing room prior to allowing his mounts to improve.”


THERE was more frustration at Randwick on Saturday for punters trying to follow the form of multiple runners from the powerful Chris Waller stable.

The lesser fancied COMIN’ THROUGH proved too strong for stablemate TOM MELBOURNE in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes while THE LORD MAYOR turned him form around and landed some good bets in the Schweppes.

While Tom Melbourne finishing second came as no surprise he was well tried from $7 to $5 with the winner Comin’ Through $9 to $8.

The Lord Mayor, firming from double figure odds into $7, improved dramatically on his first-up 13th of 15 at Randwick when a $5 chance. Punters preferred stablemate Bringham Rocks, well backed at $5.5, which came from last for third.


THE experts were way off the mark with some of their ‘good things’ that went like mules in three States last Saturday.

JAAMEH, declared by many in the first at Caulfield, started the day badly for punters when it finished last after drifting alarmingly from $2.3 to $3. Jockey Regan Bayliss said the favorite may not have been suited by the slow pace. Team Hayes could offer no explanation for the flop.

VEGA MAGIC failed to reproduce his first-up Bletchingly win when beaten into fourth place in the Memsie at Caulfield. Jockey Damien Oliver felt rain before the race may have contributed to the defeat.

MORE SUNDAY, a huge tip and big go in the first at Randwick was the first horse beaten and dropped out to run seventh. It was blamed on the colt’s failure to adapt to the clockwise direction of racing.

STREETS OF AVALON delivered a quick KO blow to Sydney punters on the back of the flop by MORE SUNDAY when he beat one home in the second. His defeat was also blamed on racing in the clockwise direction.

LE REMAIN wasn’t the same horse that won first-up in the Show County when seventh in the Tramway but he was forced to race wide without cover.

ORDER AGAIN was never going to beat PRIORITISE when an easing favorite in the second at the Sunshine Coast. The horse wanted to lay in under pressure in the straight placing jockey Larry Cassidy at a disadvantage.

LADY CLARE, the debutante plunged into favoritism, ran last behind Spending My Time at the Sunshine Coast. She failed to recover after suffering interference.

LOOKS LIKE ELVIS was never going to win when sixth to Bel Burgess. The trainer told stewards the horse got further back than desired and was required to make too long a run.




RACING Queensland may not have heard the last of an incident that occurred in Toowoomba on Sunday if an email to the WHINGE is any indication.

Here is what we received from a stakeholder who, for obvious reasons, asked to remain anonymous at this stage. She wrote:

‘QRIC and RQ have made a big deal of animal welfare in the wake of the live baiting at the greyhounds, concerns about hurdle racing and more recently the push to have use of the whip limited.

After what happened at Toowoomba on Sunday I am wondering how serious they really are. So incensed am I – and some others – that we plan to take the matter further with the RSPCA, especially in view of the pathetic penalty imposed on the trainer in question.

‘The horse in question was in our opinion so stressed by what happened earlier that it performed poorly. Perhaps it should not have been permitted to run at all.’

Here is the Stewards’ Report from Toowoomba on the incident in question:   

After receiving a complaint from two QRIC swab officials, Stewards found Trainer Mr. J. Dann guilty of a charge of improper conduct under AR. 175(q) in that he struck ON A HIGH on three occasions in the vicinity of the wash bay following the running of Race 7 today. Mr. J. Dann was fined $300. In determining penalty, Stewards took into consideration Mr. Dann’s prior good record in relation to this rule.

Separately, stewards reported:

ON A HIGH – Jockey M. Hellyer reported that his mount did not feel comfortable in its action and, for this reason, he was reluctant to continue riding the mare out to the finish. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the mare to have a high heart rate, and to be exhibiting a poor post-race recovery.





HONG KONG’S season-opening fixture drew a crowd of more than 74,000 on Sunday and the eager mass at Sha Tin Racecourse raised a ripping roar for Zac Purton when the champion jockey moved his title defence off the mark with victory in the day’s Class 1 feature.

The spectator approval was no doubt inspired in some degree by his mount, Winner’s Way (130lb), being the 3.3 favorite for the seven-runner HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup (1200m). But, while trainer Tony Cruz had produced the six-year-old fit to fire for his early-term assignment, Purton ensured an ‘A grade’ result.     

“It was a perfect ride from Zac, he got the horse into the race at the right time,” Cruz said after the Australian had settled back and then sprinted in the straight.

Winner’s Way overhauled front-running stablemate California Fortune (110lb) mid-stretch and Purton ensured there was enough left to repel a late challenge from runner-up Born In China (123lb).

“It was a really strong field today but Winner’s Way is a horse that needs pace on and he got that,” Cruz noted. The winning time was inside standard at 1m 08.27s, with Winner’s Way clocking 22.67s for the final 400m – swifter than all of his rivals.

The handler will point his Group 3 scorer towards the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on 9 December: “There’s no other choice than for us to go to the (Group 1) Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) and we’ll just go to whatever 1200m and 1400m races we can between now and then.”

Purton, meanwhile, expressed the view that while the admirable Starcraft gelding – a six-time winner from 23 Hong Kong starts – has earned his shot at the top bracket, he will need to step up again.

“I think he’s probably just off the best horses here; he probably just needs to improve a little bit more if he’s going to be a competitor in December,” said the rider, who added a second score atop King Opie in race five. “Winner’s Way’s done a great job to get to where he’s got to and he carried a big weight today. It was a good win again, there’s no fluke to what he’s been doing – he’s very honest.

“He’s lost a bit of his gate speed as he’s got further into his career; they went along very fast and he was off the bit, but he wasn’t off the bit struggling, he was relaxed the whole way and that meant I was then able to get a beautiful run from him. He gave me a good kick and then he had to fight the last 150 metres. He likes to win, though, so that’s a great asset and it’s good to see him go and do that today.”

Born In China was a neck second under Douglas Whyte, while the Richard Gibson-trained Wishful Thinker (113lb) – lightly-raced and competing from 11lb out of the handicap – charged late to take third under Karis Teetan.

Last season’s SIN G1 Kranji Mile hero Southern Legend (133lb) finished a little under six lengths fifth for trainer Caspar Fownes.

“That’s about what I expected from him today,” Fownes said. “He had a lot of weight over a trip that was too short and he was first-up since May. He likes his racing though and he’s had a good blow so he’ll go to the 1400m (Celebration Cup) next and then step up to 1600m from there. I think you’ll see more third-up and then fourth-up he should be just about there before peaking in the Hong Kong Mile in December.”

Turnover for the 10-race card was HK$1.253 billion, the second-highest figure since 1996.

Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very pleased with the start to the season; we had the second-highest attendance and the second-highest turnover in more than 20 years.

“The crowd created a great atmosphere throughout the afternoon, and it says a lot about the enthusiasm of Hong Kong’s racing fans that they came here in numbers despite the heavy rainstorm that hit Hong Kong this morning.

“We are optimistic with our target prediction of a 3% or 4% increase in turnover across the season, and it was pleasing to see commingling increase from HK$104 million on this day last year to HK$158 million for today’s meeting.”

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THE feelings of MOST PUNTERS who have their say through the WEDNESDAY WHINGE is that new CHIEF STEWARD PETER CHADWICK faces a mission impossible cleaning up racing in south-east Queensland.

Whilst most insist that Alan Reardon should have been consigned to the retirement paddock much sooner, the racing public in general believes the legal system in the north is stacked in favor of those prepared to bend the Rules.

NATHAN EXELBY, in his column THE VERDICT in THE SUNDAY MAIL wrote: CHIEF stipe Peter Chadwick wasted no time opening the account in his new post, with apprentice Clayton Gallagher becoming the first scalp of the new regime, incurring a 16-day suspension (last Saturday at Doomben). Gallagher pleaded guilty to careless riding after his win on Defence Missile. Stewards also opened an inquiry into interference in the second race and later suspended Brad Stewart for 13 meetings for his ride on Prue’s Angel.

That prompted this response from ALBY WHITEHEAD, who describes himself as a life-long punter on Queensland racing whose patience is wearing well and truly thin:

‘I want to welcome Mr Chadwick with the message that his new home should have had a big broom put through it a long time ago. They kick the crap out of the ‘red hots’ but the gallops are just as bad but don’t attract the same negative publicity.

Instead of starting out by taking a big stick to an apprentice the new Chief Steward should start looking at the rides of some of the senior jockeys – like Brad Stewart on the odds-on Ef Troop a few weeks back (albeit before Mr Chadwick’s arrival) and Jeff Lloyd aboard another odds-on favorite Asharani on Saturday. Both were rated ‘victims of wide runs’ but I would have thought a better description might have been ‘given a sore back’.

Watching the races from Brisbane on TV I noticed Mr Chadwick sharing some friendly banter with Jeff Lloyd at the scales after his copybook ride to win on Tawfiq Boy two races earlier. Like many other punters there was a need for him to have a less than friendly chat with the old hoop after his performance on Asharani.’



BRIAN McLEOD of BRISBANE made this interesting observation about Saturday racing in Queensland:

‘IT’S deadly for punters wanting to back an odds-on or short-priced favorite at the major metropolitan meeting in south-east Queensland on a Saturday.

Saturday there were three early shorties – Asharani, which went the way of many favorites from the Van Dyke stable, and got beaten – one might say after a pretty ordinary ride from Jeff Lloyd.

Fiji Flyer blew from odds on to $2.8 and was beaten by the well-tried Defence Missile which was gifted an easy lead and never looked like being beaten.

Then we had From Within which started $1.7 despite some of the good judges questioning whether it would be suited with the sting out of the ground. That proved wrong when it bolted in but by then the punters were a bit gun-shy after having their fingers burnt on the two previous that looked good things.

It’s just typical of how many of the favorites perform at the major Saturday meetings but there seems to always be acceptable excuses from a stewards’ perspective while the punters are left to ponder why they missed the start, were trapped wide, never got clear or generally performed like mules for no apparent reason.

Just look back at a couple of ugly rides from a punter’s point of view on Ef Troop (Brad Stewart) and Asharani (Jeff Lloyd). These blokes would hold their own with the best jockeys in the land but on occasions seem to ride like inexperienced apprentices.’

IN Sydney and Melbourne the worst punters seem to have to contend with are multiple runners from the stables of champion trainers Chris Waller and Darren Weir. In Brisbane the nightmare is working out whether a hot favorite will run to form or flop badly.

There seems to have been reluctance in the past to see any sort of strong action from the stewards against high profile identities in the industry. Perhaps the racing police are sick of belting their heads against a brick wall at appeals level with a smart lawyer seeming to find a loophole to beat anything from ‘hitting horses’ to ‘not giving them every chance of winning’.

Your ‘mission’ Peter Chadwick, if you choose to accept it, is to win back the punters who are walking away from betting on racing in south-east Queensland because they no longer have the confidence to bet.       





NATURE STRIP earned a slot in THE EVEREST with a track record breaking win over 1000m in the G2 McEwen Stakes at the Valley last Saturday – but is he a genuine winning chance?

There are plenty of good judges questioning whether the brilliant speed that Nature Strip possesses will be sufficient to run his rivals off their legs or whether the big finishers will run over the top of him at the end of 1200m.

Trainer Darren Weir says Nature Strip is the fastest horse he has trained. The speedster is fourth favorite for THE EVEREST at $8 behind Redzel, Trapeze Artist and Vega Magic.



GODOLPHIN import HOME OF THE BRAVE is not likely to seek a slot in the $13 million The Everest despite his impressive win in the G2 Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Home of the Brave beat Epsom favorite D’Argento and Trapeze Artist, second favorite for The Everest, with stable spokesman Darren Beadman suggesting trainer James Cummings had plenty of other options.

 “James has mentioned the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes as an option,” Beadman said. “He is a horse that runs with purpose so a race like that (The Everest) would be suitable but there are options for him.”


AAP reports that the Queensland Cabinet is set to discuss the Point Of Consumption tax with a decision on allocation due within a fortnight.

The news agency understands there are divided opinions in Cabinet on how the tax, which should raise about $70 million, will be spread.

Cabinet is believed ready to make a decision on Monday week which will then go to a review committee.

The POC, which is a 15 per cent levy on all bookmakers betting on Queensland races, comes into law in three weeks’ time.

NSW racing codes have been promised about $40 million from its POC and Victoria is also expected to get a boost.

The Queensland Government is committed to making up a payment by Racing Queensland back to UBET for its deduction.



LEAN MEAN MACHINE would normally be included in the ‘good’ section of our look back at weekend racing but qualifies for the ‘bad’ with his win in the G2 Run to the Rose coming at the expense of a more strongly fancied stablemate.

It was groundhog day for Sydney racing on Saturday with yet another Waller fancy being beaten by a stablemate rated an outsider in the betting. On this occasion it was Zousain $4.8 finishing fourth to Lean Mean Machine $14.

Whether the win of Lean Mean Machine was aided by the heavy track, it was the most impressive of the day. The handsome galloper powered home to beat the unlucky Graff which was trapped wide.

Winner of the G2 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Doomben in May, Lean Mean Machine was having his first start since he failed in the Gr1 JJ Atkins won by The Autumn Sun at Doomben in June.

Graff is now the $4.6 favorite for the Golden Rose in a fortnight ahead of Lean Mean Machine and The Autumn Sun at $8.

Waller also trains The Autumn Sun which was Golden Rose favorite before finishing a luckless third on Saturday in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes behind Tarka and stablemate Dealmaker.


IT’S hard to understand some of the ‘good judges’ declaring the defeat of heavily-backed APPROACH DISCREET at the Valley last Saturday as not that disappointing.

Granted the Darren Weir-trained youngster did a bit of work to get across but raced outside the leader and eventual winner TAVIRUN which did far more early yet raced away in the straight.

It was yet another occasion at the city Saturday meeting where the declared ‘good thing’ of the experts performed below expectations.



DOOMBEN seemed to have benefitted from the break while Saturday racing in Queensland went to Gold Sunshine Coast for three weeks.

But the racing public is still none the wiser on what is happening with Eagle Farm.

The last news out of the BRC bunker suggested it would be December before the new-look Farm was ready for racing and then it might be only the one meeting before the New Year.

Surely some of the ‘spin doctors’ for RQ and the BRC can pen a ‘feel-good’ piece on the progress of the redevelopment to at least keep the punters and the racing public up to date on what is happening with Eagle Farm.

Is it too much to ask them to do their job and risk offending those who prefer to sweep the Farm farce under the carpet?




NO edition of ‘the ugly’ look back at weekend racing would be complete without recording the ride of Jeff Lloyd on the odds-on Asharani at Doomben.

Punters who listened to the pre-race raps from trainer David Van Dyke (he said she was on trial for a Melbourne trip for the Thousand Guineas) and took the shorts would have been in need of a tranquilizer after Asharani saw more of the outside fence than the rail and beat only one home.

Those who backed the horse and then had to listen to the SKY host suggest it was disappointing would have been even more angry considering no mention was made of the Lloyd slaughter job.

They could at least take some comfort from stewards requiring the horse to trial before racing again but little from the fact they didn’t question Lloyd concerning his tactics. Their report reads:

ASHARANI – Began awkwardly and was then bumped shortly after. Improved on to heels approaching the 600m and shifted wider on the track. When questioned regarding the horse’s performance, jockey J. Lloyd explained that his mount over-raced in the early stages and was caught wide before being restrained near the 500m to obtain cover behind GLOBAL CHOICE. He added that when placed under pressure from the 500m the filly failed to quicken as anticipated and proved very disappointing. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities and a swab sample was taken. Trainer D. Vandyke was advised that in light of today’s poor performance the filly would be required to trial satisfactorily prior to racing again. Mr Vandyke undertook to report to stewards anything that becomes evident in coming days which may have had an effect on the performance.



IN response to various Australian State/Territory Governments introducing Point of Consumption (POC) taxes on wagering revenue, Betfair wishes to advise of upcoming changes to the Discount Rate available to our customers.
These changes are not something that we take lightly. Nationally, POC taxes impose an incremental 11% tax that Betfair must pay on top of Product Fees and GST (approximately 40% and 9.1% of wagering revenue respectively). After POC taxes, Betfair will pay approximately 60% of its wagering revenues in fees and taxes before operational expenditure, payroll and company tax, and capital expenditure.
Betfair works hard to educate State/Territory politicians as to the uniqueness of the betting exchange and the importance of our punters to the broader wagering industry. We will continue to work hard to provide our customers the best possible prices while remaining a viable business.
We advise that, from 1 October 2018, the discount on the Market Base Rate for Betfair’s customers will change to the following table:

Betfair Points



Discount Rate






















In addition, a customer’s address will determine the maximum discount they are eligible to receive. In the table below, we have set out the maximum discount rate which will apply to each State/Territory. The maximum discount rates have been set taking into account the POC tax charged in each State/Territory.

Resident of

POC tax rate on wagering revenue

Maximum discount rate

Date applicable

South Australia



From 1 October 2018




From 1 October 2018

Australian Capital Territory



From 1 January 2019*

Western Australia



From 1 January 2019*

New South Wales



From 1 January 2019*




From 1 January 2019*





Northern Territory




New Zealand




*Until 1 January 2019, residents of the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria will be eligible to a maximum discount rate of 60%.

The new ladder (set out above) was the best solution to ensure that all customers are treated equally, that the betting exchange remains vibrant, and that a customer is not overly disadvantaged based on where they live. This is evident by Betfair putting in place a solution that now allows South Australian customers to be eligible for the Discount Rate again.

Unfortunately, the ladder change by itself is not enough to deal with the significant incremental tax, and therefore Betfair has made the decision to introduce caps on the Discount Rate by State/Territory.


FUJITSU Limited and Fujitsu Frontech Limited have announced that their jointly developed biometric-enabled cashless betting machines will be put to use by the Japan Racing Association.

The betting machines will allow users to place bets without using cash by simply holding their hands out to the machine and using their JRA-UMACA contactless membership card.

The JRA will begin operating the betting machines at the Tokyo Racecourse on September 22. Users link their pre-registered palm vein information with their JRA-UMACA card, which can be loaded with money.

This enables highly secure placement of cashless bets as well as payouts, authenticating the user with their unique bio-signature when they touch their JRA-UMACA card to the cashless betting machine and hold out the palm of their hand.

The JRA will initially operate the machines at the Tokyo Racecourse, and plans to expand the service to the  :censored: ushima, Chukyo, and Hanshin racecourses, and subsequently to all racecourses nationwide as well as WINS off-course betting facilities.

The Fujitsu Group actively supports the JRA's digital transformation by contributing to the improvement of fan services, providing solutions that can be used both safely and conveniently.

Previously, when purchasing a betting ticket at a racecourse or at a WINS betting facility, customers faced a number of issues, including excessive coins when change was returned, and the loss of betting tickets.

Given this, JRA decided to deploy cashless betting machines where users could place bets without printing out paper betting tickets by registering their personal information onto their members-only JRA-UMACA contactless cards, which can be loaded with money in advance.

JRA is using Fujitsu's cashless betting machines featuring palm vein authentication as they make counterfeiting difficult and offer high recognition accuracy to verify members of JRA-UMACA, which offers anonymous memberships.

Features of the Cashless Betting Machines

Enables simple placement of bets and payouts without cash. The cashless betting machine reads the user's members-only JRA-UMACA card, as well as betting information, such as the betting application ticket in its existing format, and then the betting ticket purchase can be made when it authenticates the user through the veins in their palm. The purchase information is recorded on the JRA-UMACA card making it unnecessary to print a paper betting ticket, and if they make an accurate prediction, winnings will be paid out to the JRA-UMACA card automatically.
Secure operations with a high authentication rate through palm vein authentication. These cashless betting machines now feature the Fujitsu Group's palm vein authentication technology, which has a global track record of usage in areas including bank ATMs and corporate PC access management. Verification with palm veins, being information contained within the body, makes it difficult to fake. With its high authentication accuracy and lack of physical contact, the technology ensures that personal authentication can be completed easily and hygienically. Palm veins can be used to authenticate a person even when reissuing a lost JRA-UMACA card, and the system also prevents unauthorized use by third parties, such as a person finding a lost card.
Additionally allows the purchase of WIN5 tickets and bets on races outside Japan. With the cashless betting machines, users can now also purchase WIN5 tickets and place bets on races outside Japan, which could previously only be done online. Immediate payouts will automatically be added to the user's JRA-UMACA card balance.


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« 2018-Sep-19, 08:19 AM Reply #1107 »
Another bumper issue of the Wednesday Whinge with the focus on Fleminton Michelle Payne in the hot seat again for her social media comments fined $300 for using the derogatory word " absolute bullshit" Licensed jockey Michelle Payne pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct, the misconduct being that she used the term absolute bullshit when referring to the RV Track Preparation Policy on Twitter which was posted this morning. Michelle Payne was fined the sum of $300 the track was rated as a Good 3 ........and big betting bookie Rob Waterhouse wasn't impressed by the Rails ring ......hard to believe but there were more bookies and clerks in the ring than punters ..he only wrote 100 tickets on course for a hold of $2300 chicken feed ......and a massive line up of overseas imports in quarantine headed for the Spring Carnival almost half of which will remain in the care of local trainers plus other interesting news and views.

MICHELLE PAYNE might be a ‘pain in the arse’ for officialdom when it comes to her controversial tweets about the state of the tracks in Melbourne but as a trainer – and a jockey – she is entitled to have her say without being silenced or censored.
Granted, Victorian Chief Steward Robert Cram made a valid point when he told Payne: ‘You’ve got form in this area’ which prompted another fine – this time of $300 – smaller than her previous ones involving Sandown and the departed track manager from Flemington, Mick Goodie, who has found a new life in Queensland racing.
Cram’s description of Michelle’s latest tweet regarding the Flemington track last weekend as ‘rude’ and ‘insolent’ is debatable in the eyes of many in the racing industry around the country not to mention the locals who wholeheartedly agreed with her assessment.
In the lead-up to last Saturday’s meeting Payne threatened to scratch her runner, Sweet Rockette, if the track ‘looks too firm’, labelling the situation as ‘absolute bulls---‘. She ended up running the three-year-old filly which ran 4th in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes.
Payne felt she had to respond because she was frustrated the track hadn’t been watered. Cram accepted her frustration. She sympathized with the situation that track manager Liam O’Keeffe had been confronted with and subsequently apologized for the tweet.
That doesn’t alter the fact that the Flemington track was rated a Good 3 after heavy rain that was forecast for the morning failed to arrive. Payne, like many other stakeholders, believed O’Keeffe should have watered the track on Friday. But he was in a no-win situation.
Payne said O’Keeffe had told her he wished he could have watered the track before the meeting. He doesn’t have the crystal ball that the Weather Bureau possesses but even they can’t get it right.
Instead of continuing to fine and chastise Payne for saying what most were thinking stewards should be pressuring officialdom to have the Rules amended giving track managers the flexibility of being permitted to water on race morning if forecast rain doesn’t eventuate.
Payne said track managers, regardless, should be able to water the day before even if rain was forecast to make sure the track had some give in it. Wasn’t that the situation some time ago following complaints that the international horses faced the prospect of breaking down if tracks were too hard and in the old terms tracks were required to be in the ‘dead’ range for the start of meetings. Why not revert to the same?
There were horses that felt the hard track at Flemington on Saturday. With the Spring Carnival on our doorstep the last thing racing needs is bad publicity from locals and international visitors regarding the track surface resembling a ‘bitumen road’.
Payne is right when she says: “If there’s rain forecast for Saturday, they should still water the track on the Friday. If the rain doesn’t come then the track has been watered and it will be fine for the horses. If it does then it might be a Slow 6 which is still fine for racing. That way we won’t get a track which is too firm and horses won’t pull up sore.”
Payne has now been fined $500 for criticising the state of the Sandown track, $300 for Saturday’s tweet and last year she copped $1500 for attacking then Flemington track manger Mick Goodie.
In retrospect perhaps someone in a much higher role was sharing her thought process when she tweeted: “Maybe Mick Goodie’s position needs to be reviewed? He has no one to answer to, gets away with it time and time again. It’s not very nice to upset people but I’ve been there many times (to) our premier track, walked it and felt like going home.”
Ironically, the services of Goodie at Flemington have since been disposed of and he is now working with the big losers in Australian racing in Queensland where his seemingly mission impossible is to get the greatest embarrassment and track redevelopment disaster in the land at Eagle Farm back in action by Christmas.
Good luck to him but if it doesn’t succeed it will just be another failure for Racing Queensland – which many in racing believe them to be masters at. Ask any racing follower and they will highlight the failings of racing in the Sunshine State from lack of punter confidence in integrity to administration of the sport and even things as easy to oversee as Racing Awards which have hit an all-time low in the eyes of many.   
But back to the final word on Michelle – here’s hoping these fines do no silence or censor her completely. Perhaps she should word her criticism differently but Payne simply has the guts to echo the sentiments of many others in the industry and most agree with her that the rules should be changed. If they don’t heed her warnings it is only a matter of time before this becomes yet another major issue of for the ‘fruit loops’ in the animal liberation movement who simply don’t understand the intricacies of horse racing.
ROBBIE WATERHOUSE shoots from the hip when it comes to all things racing and his look back at Saturday’s big meeting at Flemington could easily have qualified for the ‘good section’ on the WHINGE this week but as you read on it becomes ‘more ugly’.
Here’s what Rob had to say:
‘I took the opportunity of fielding at Flemington Saturday. A great day’s racing and the opportunity of seeing the wonderful new members’ stand was too good an offer to refuse, despite it being a very cold spring Saturday.
It was a great day of racing. The grandstand is wonderful – the megastructure possesses real “wow factor”. Well done to the VRC, and the engineers/construction companies who have made this stand a reality.
But it is hard to contain my disappointment with the new Flemington bookmakers’ rails.
Said plainly, it was horrible. There was virtually not a punter in the ring in either the pubic or members. Bookies and clerks would have outnumbered punters 10 to 1 at any time.
On a day like Saturday – a Group 1 Saturday, I’d expect to write 1,000 tickets over the nine races on the card at Flemington, especially when the Group 1 race was close to 5-1 the field. I’ve written 2,500 tickets in the modern era on similar race days.
On Saturday, I wrote 40 on-course bets for the day, to turnover a meagre $2300. Sacré Cœur!
I’m a “top odds” bookie, wanting to do business. In my career, I’ve worked at some poor meetings – e.g. Orange dogs on a wet night in winter. Saturday at Flemington was worse. I don’t think I’ve worked at a meeting writing less than a 100 “briefs”.
I concede Flemington was cold and, at times, wet. But it was hopeless on Saturday, a Group I day with the new stand. I fear the worst for future the rails at Flemington.
It should be said… the rails bookmakers now work inside at Caulfield, Sandown, most meetings at Moonee Valley, Randwick, Rosehill and Canterbury. We must be where people naturally are.
At every English course, the bookies are in front of the stands, on the grass. Over the garden bed, over the horse tunnel, between the members and the public would be good.
On the floor of the members would also work (where lounge areas are currently).
In the spirit of constructive criticism, there are several “teething” problems with the new stands that can be fixed:
•   Inexplicably there are now no fluctuations screens for punters in the ring (let alone an over weights and allowance board). An unwelcome change from the last fifty or so years.
•   The provided betting-board screens are the “good-value” ones (i.e. cheap), unable to be read if wearing sun glasses! The ones we always use elsewhere, ones that work are “depolarised’’ and can be read.
•   Moreover, I hate my betting board being totally out of my reach and not easy for me to see. Several times Saturday, my board went blank while I was blissfully unaware. Hardly an ideal situation should it happen at 2.55pm on Tuesday 6 November.
•   The heaters provided are totally ineffective.
•   It is the only time as a bookmaker I’ve had to be at ground level, meaning beneath the punters as the ground drops down, I find it quite peculiar. There is something in the science of looking at another object at eye level, not having to adjust one’s eyes as you contrast up or down.
•   Rain water drains from the ring straight to where the bookmaker and the clerks stand. No good Saturday.
•   I am worried a punter will miss the step from ledge at the back of the ring. I think it should all be smoothed off.
AS expected WINX stole the spotlight of racing at Randwick last Saturday with another amazing win that took her tally to 27 straight.
She gave not only one of her greatest fans, legendary sports broadcaster Bruce McAvaney a fright on straightening but also many others before moving into top gear and making her rivals look second rate.
What a pity it was another ‘crap’ crowd that turned out to see the superstar of Sydney sport (with apologies to those in Racing NSW officialdom and their spin doctor mates in the racing media trying to pump it up).
At least the sports and racing mad fans of Melbourne town will turn out in much bigger numbers when she heads there now en route to an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate success.
THE strong headwind took its toll on many fancied runners in the Flemington straight last Saturday but one that survived was boom colt Brutal, adding a Listed win to his impressive resume.
After facing the breeze throughout, Brutal was headed by Leonardo Da Hinchi at the 100m mark but he fought back courageously to prevail in a head-bobbing finish.
In all likelihood Brutal will tackle the stallion-making Caulfield Guineas, but co-trainer Wayne Hawkes was typically non-committal suggesting the stable would let the horse guide them.
GODOLPHIN import Avilius maintained his unbeaten Australian record with another impressive win in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick and in the process overcame the ‘Waller Wall’.
The margin wasn’t huge but there was a touch of arrogance about the performance. Avilius proved too strong for a field that included an amazing seven runners from the Chris Waller stable (the best of those was runner-up Brimham Rocks).
Avilius is now favourite for The Metropolitan in which he has 54kg and cannot be penalized for the Kingston Town win. He has emerged as a potential big Cups candidate in the Spring for Godolphin. 
THE starting price of $12 suggested that the majority of punters did not heed the advice of top trainer Mick Price that Grunt would improve when he returned to racing at Flemington.
Perhaps the presence of topliners Humidor, Kementari and Kings Will Dream proved a major distraction for those who were fans of Grunt after his G1 win in the Australian Guineas.
After a fifth and an eighth at Caulfield in two runs since a spell, Grunt went to a new level in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes with a runaway win over Kings Will Dream who lost few fans from a big Cups viewpoint.
Downside of the race focused on the popular Sydneysider Happy Clapper which bled from both nostrils and will be banned from racing for three months.
IT was hardly good news to read that Queensland racing officials are ‘hopeful’ a horse can gallop on the track before the end of the year.
The Brisbane Racing Club and RQ accompanied a large group of trainers on an inspection of the track last week. BRC Members have also been invited to participate in a guided tour. Work on the much maligned track almost resembles a sideshow.
Eagle Farm has been undergoing ‘remedial work’ since May last year after originally being closed for two years for major renovations in 2014. It has been one of the biggest track redevelopment disasters and embarrassments in the recent history of Australian racing.
Mick Goodie, the former Flemington track manger, was on hand to answer questions from the trainers who viewed progress on the track. He is reportedly is confident Eagle Farm will make a successful comeback but the best the racing public can hope for is one meeting in December and two in February – at this stage.
FEELINGS are mixed on whether owner Stuart Ruse should have suffered an 18 month disqualification for the ‘crude’ name of a filly.
Many believe Racing NSW stewards have been too harsh whilst others say an example needs to be made to halt this occurring.
The filly made her debut in early September at Newcastle under the name ‘Andiamo Fica’ which translated from Italian to English means ‘Let’s Go C*nt’.

Ruse was charged and found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interests and/or image of racing, with stewards alleging he was aware of the English translation when he submitted the name application.

Stewards also found him guilty of providing false evidence in claiming that he was unaware of the rude translation. He pleaded not guilty to both charges.
THE Spring Carnival features are taking shape after it was confirmed a further 27 horses from Europe have entered quarantine ahead of their trips to Melbourne in two weeks.
Following the arrival of three Godolphin-owned gallopers in Melbourne last weekend, a further 22 horses - including headliners Benbatl and Best Solution - entered a pre-export quarantine facility at Newmarket on Thursday night.
A further five horses - led by 2017 Epsom Derby runner-up Cliffs Of Moher - have also begun their mandatory two-week pre-export quarantine in Ireland at the private facility of their premier trainer Aidan O'Brien.
They will all spend the next fortnight in their temporary homes, before boarding a flight to Melbourne that is due to touch down on AFL Grand Final Day (September 29).
In addition to the 27 arrivals from Europe, high-class Japanese stayers Chestnut Coat and Sole Impact are due to enter quarantine in their home country on Friday before landing in Melbourne on Monday, October 1.
Their arrival will take the total number of internationals quarantined at Racing Victoria's Werribee International Horse Centre to 32, which is the maximum capacity.
The European contingent is headed by Saeed bin Suroor's multiple Group 1 winner Benbatl, who has accepted The Valley's invitation to take on the world's highest-rated horse, Winx, in the $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) on October 27.
Another notable traveller is Benbatl's stablemate Best Solution, who on Tuesday was assigned the second-highest weight (57.5kg) for the $5.15m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) and the $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Trainer Charlie Appleby is sending highly-progressive stayers Cross Counter and Hamada from his Moulton Paddocks stable in the hope of securing a first win for Godolphin in the Melbourne Cup.
They will be joined on the flight to Australia by their stablemates Emotionless, a leading contender for the Caulfield Cup, and Comicas, who will target sprint races during the Spring Racing Carnival.
Other noteworthy raiders that entered quarantine include Roger Charlton's Northumberland Plate winner Withhold, currently the second favourite for the Melbourne Cup; Count Octave, trained by frequent Spring Racing Carnival visitor Andrew Balding, who won the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes with Side Glance in 2013; and his stablemate Duretto, whose last run produced a gutsy victory in the Listed Chester Stakes at the start of the month.
Red Verdon, whose trainer Ed Dunlop saddled Red Cadeaux to three runner-up finishes in the Melbourne Cup, will also be on the plane; as will Prince Of Arran, the well-travelled galloper trained by rising star Charlie Fellowes, who spent a year in Australia working for Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman.
Cliffs Of Moher will have company in the form of his stablemate Yucatan, who holds Caulfield and Melbourne Cup entries, plus fellow Ballydoyle residents Fleet Review, Spirit Of Valor and Intelligence Cross, who will all target sprint races across the Spring Racing Carnival.
Ten of the 27 Europeans will remain in Australia once they have completed their mandatory two-week quarantine period on Saturday, October 13, having been purchased by Australian owners or sent to local trainers by their current owners.
They a Dal Harraild and Pharrell (both Ciaron Maher and David Eustace), Langley (Darren Weir), Finche, Shraaoh and Casterton (Chris Waller), Gustavus Vassa (Lindsay Park), Marathon Man and Sound Check (both Mike Moroney) and Danon Distance (trainer to be advised).
Paul Bloodworth, RV's General Manager - Racing and International Operations, said: "We're looking forward to welcoming some of the best horses from Europe to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival.
"These horses generate great interest in Victorian racing both here and back in their homeland.
"It's very satisfying to again see horses from some of the world's leading stables targeting our carnival, as well as newcomers such as Charlie Fellowes, who is hoping to share in the record prizemoney on offer in our major races.
"Going on his current international rating of 123, Benbatl will be the second-highest-rated international horse to have competed in the Spring Racing Carnival, and 16 of the 27 boast an international rating of 110 or above so there's great quality as well as tremendous depth among this year's internationals."
Following is a list of the horses in quarantine in England:
•    Benbatl (Saeed bin Suroor);
•    Best Solution (Saeed bin Suroor);
•    Prizemoney (Saeed bin Suroor);
•    Comicas (Charlie Appleby);
•    Cross Counter (Charlie Appleby);
•    Emotionless (Charlie Appleby);
•    Hamada (Charlie Appleby);
•    Count Octave (Andrew Balding);
•    Duretto (Andrew Balding);
•    Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop);
•    Prince Of Arran (Charlie Fellowes);
•    Withhold (Roger Charlton);
•    Dal Harraild (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace);
•    Pharrell (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace);
•    Langley (Darren Weir);
•    Casterton (Chris Waller);
•    Finche (Chris Waller);
•    Shraaoh (Chris Waller);
•    Gustavus Vassa (Lindsay Park);
•    Marathon Man (Mike Moroney);
•    Sound Check (Mike Moroney); and
•    Danon Distance (Trainer to be advised).
Following is a list of the horses in quarantine in Ireland:
•    Cliffs Of Moher (Aidan O'Brien);
•    Fleet Review (Aidan O'Brien);
•    Intelligence Cross (Aidan O'Brien);
•    Spirit of Valor (Aidan O'Brien); and
•    Yucatan (Aidan O'Brien).
Following is a list of the horses that are scheduled to enter quarantine in Japan today:
•    Chestnut Coat (Yoshito Yahagi); and
•    Sole Impact (Hirofuma Toda).
Following is a list of the international horses that are currently completing their post-arrival quarantine at the Werribee International Horse Cent
•    Blair House (Charlie Appleby);
•    Folkswood (Charlie Appleby); and
•    Jungle Cat (Charlie Appleby).

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« 2018-Sep-26, 09:02 AM Reply #1108 »
Bad news for the future of the racing industry with punters a dying breed figures indicate new and younger faces aren't attracted to horse racing as the lead article concludes....race clubs battle to attract paying customers ......while the local clubs enjoy a massive advantage .....other news and views whose gotthe biggest dick contest other issues to read and consider...a good all round up for everyone.

THE sad state of affairs facing the racing industry in Australia was exposed at a recent conference when it was revealed that the average age of punters has risen in the past decade from 50 to 63.
Max Presnell, in an interesting article for the Sydney Morning Herald, reported that the majority punters – the major contributors to the industry’s cash flow – were getting older rather than younger.
Even allowing for the lost generations of race-goers who no longer can be attracted to tracks around the country for the main meetings of the week every Saturday, there is still the opportunity for them to bet at the club, pub or even from the comfort of their homes.
For some reason the demographic from late teenagers to those in their forties aren’t interested in betting on the ponies. Perhaps they have been lured to sports betting where they can chose – head to head – between two teams.
Presnell was encouraged to write his article by another success of racing’s latest superstar, Winx, and here is what he had, in part, to report:
OLD-TIMERS, human and horse, and Winx, are the current biggest revenue-generators driving racing. The average age of punters – the major contributors to the industry’s cash flow – in 2010 was 50, but now is 63, according to a recent Gaming, Wagering and Racing conference.
Despite the once-in-a-lifetime experience Winx produced at Royal Randwick (on September 15), only 14,519 were present to savor her 27th consecutive win. So much for the younger generation, which was well catered for by the Australian Turf Club with high-volume disco music between the races – an affront to the ear of the over-70s in the wit’s row that views Randwick events from the third floor.
The even older demographic – average age pushing 80 – at the table of knowledge on ground level in the members’ stand near the betting ring had to turn their hearing aids down a few cogs.
Once, horses getting long in the tooth were viewed with scepticism: those older than six years were listed in the race book as ‘a’ for aged, a description of which to be wary.
Walking through the betting ring, a horse player the upside of 90 asked: “What are you going to write about Winx now?”
“I did but see her walking by but yet will love her till I die.”
Not Fenton, but Thomas Ford.
THE battle for the entertainment dollars is huge these days. How can race clubs compete?
Just compare the track and the licensed club. There are dress regulations at the track, you have to pay to go through the gate and the right to lose your money, if you want to have a drink then there is either the designated driver required or you have to pay taxi fares and wait on ranks filled with drunks after the last; then if you want to enjoy a beer and something to eat you are asked to pay ridiculous prices.
At your club there are no such dress regulations, a courtesy bus (on most occasions) is provided to and from your home, drink and food is discounted and you don’t pay to go through the door for the privilege of losing your money.
It’s a no-win situation for the race clubs who have to rely on big days to break even. And on some of those, which are devoted to the young members and trying to get the lost generations back to the track, the ‘oldies’ (for the want of a better word) on most occasions dodge the days like the plague.
Special days devoted to younger players are gold mines for the club’s food and beverage income but how much do they bet?
Friends recently attended a midweek city race meeting and told of paying a ridiculous amount to go through the gate and similarly atrocious prices for food and drink. To make matters worse they said you could have fired a canon through the public areas and the betting rings without risk of hitting anyone.
Tough times ahead for racing but dwindling racetrack attendances aside the situation where the average age of those who bet the most is getting older needs to be addressed before it is too late.
FORTUNATELY, for racing in Victoria, the Spring Carnival is the savior.
The same cannot be said for Sydney where instead of worrying about getting their own house in order, officialdom seems hell-bent on trying to destroy the success story that Melbourne has.
Racing Victoria CEO, Giles Thompson, last week lashed out at his NSW counterpart, Peter V’landys, accusing him of threatening to move some of the Harbour City’s key races to November out of pure jealousy over the success of the spring carnival.
And full marks to Thompson for having the guts to speak out against the man who sees himself as the nation’s racing builder. V’landys has done plenty of good for racing in NSW but should stop sticking his nose in matters south of the border.
MICHAEL LYNCH reported in The Age that last week V’landys spoke with Victorian Racing Radio Station, RSN, floating the idea that NSW racing could perhaps get better traction and more bang for its buck if some of its major events took place in November when there is more clear air.
In the autumn, when Sydney’s big racing showpiece The Championships are staged, racing has to fight for space against the NRL, the AFL and the impending A-League finals. November is when the Melbourne Cup is run in Victoria and the last two weeks of the hugely successful Victorian spring carnival is staged. The sporting air is generally clearer at that point with the AFL and NRL seasons having finished and Test cricket yet to get underway: racing has the chance to own the sports media cycle.
That is something Victorian racing, with its Cup carnival, has done for decades and Thompson and his organisation are not about to sit back and allow V’landys and his crew to crash their party.
NSW had been down on its knees a decade ago and was a genuine sleeping giant, Thompson said, giving credit to V’landys and his team for reviving the sport through initiatives such as The Everest, the $13 million invitation-only sprint race, which has generated year-round hype.
‘‘No doubt the management and board have done a great job in bringing them back to where they should be, but that doesn’t mean [in comparison] that Victoria is doing a bad job,’’ Thompson told a media lunch in Melbourne on Thursday.
‘‘Peter and I have very different styles. He [through his threats of a fixture rejig] is trying to get outcomes out of his government in NSW to boost NSW racing.
‘‘There’s a certain amount of envy that comes from looking at the Victorian spring racing. We have one of the great carnivals around the world ... and that is going to create envy.’’ Thompson said, with some irony, that if the NSW initiatives had not worked in the autumn then it was perhaps understandable that they might want to try the spring.
Thompson was also the target this week of criticism from leading owner Nick Williams.
Williams told that the controlling body should restrict itself to programming and integrity and let Melbourne’s three metropolitan race clubs get on with spending the funds that come into the sport through RV.
“I would almost be calling for a dismantling of RV except for doing programming and integrity and the like – they should be passing the money through to the clubs; I think the clubs do a better job,” Williams said. “We have got an absolute lack of leadership in the governing body in this state.’’
Thompson was sanguine about the Williams spray, suggesting he agreed that the state was lucky to have three strong clubs to put on racing in Melbourne.
But, he said, ‘‘I don’t agree with his assessment of RV’s role. I think his view is that RV does nothing more than get in the way, but what we do is provide the glue that brings together the whole industry.’’
V’LANDYS and WILLIAMS can pontificate politically all they like about the rights and wrongs of racing in Sydney and Melbourne. But at the end of the day when tens of millions of dollars are wasted on The Everest and other ‘gimmick’ events in NSW, the crowds will still pale into insignificance compared to those attracted – on an annual basis – for the big week of racing at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup carnival.
SUCCESS attracts an unwanted side-effect for the big stables in this country and it doesn’t matter if these are based in the big smoke or the bush.
The victims include Darren Weir in Melbourne, Chris Waller in Sydney and even Ben Currie in Toowoomba and John Manzelmann in Mackay.
Some might say Peter Moody was the first victim who quit his super successful training career in the wake of the damage done to him by the cobalt saga. In his new life, in other fields of racing, Moody has proved an overnight success. A trainer from Victoria who accompanied him to the recent Birdsville Cup meeting quipped: "It's like being with Mick Jagger. Everyone wants a selfie or an autograph. The bloke's a superstar.'
Regardless of the number of horses a trainer has in work, when he or she enjoys a successful run the rumor mill goes into overdrive that they are ‘using something special’.
Adding insult to injury it is inevitable and an occupational hazard (given the huge number they have in work) for the major stables to encounter a problem or two with swabbing irregularities which then sees gossip move into overdrive.
Such is the healthy state of racing in Victoria that the industry could survive without Darren Weir (not that it would want to). But one wonders if that would be the case for Sydney where without the numbers that his stable provides every Saturday some races would have to be scrapped (especially the staying events, eg last weekend when he had nine acceptors in one race). Part of the blame for the situation there rests at the feet of officialdom who forced the smaller stables out of Sydney. They once made up the numbers.
Ben Currie is hardly a blimp on the Brisbane racing map these days but take his starters out of the weekly Toowoomba meeting and it would struggle to survive. Clifford Park is below average Sunday standard at present with Queensland punters favoring the more competitive Sunshine Coast fixtures where the racing is more competitive and not so many second string runners are upsetting stable favorites in small fields.
To be fair Toowoomba is filling a temporary void on a Sunday. The Sunshine Coast has been forced to step up to the plate on occasions as the major Saturday venue with Eagle Farm still sidelined and Doomben showing the effects of too much racing. In a perfect racing world – where the industry wasn’t the laughing stock of the nation with its track redevelopment debacle – Sunshine Coast would be predominantly a Sunday and Friday night venue whilst Toowoomba would fit the twilight Saturday timeslot that it so successfully pioneered.
Looking north, we have champion bush trainer John Manzelmann, based in Mackay, but without whose numbers some of the iconic (some might call them picnic meetings) of the bush would not survive. Because he has so many numbers, he wins the majority of races and that draws the crabs, especially for a trainer – like Currie – who has had his moment in the sun with QRIC.
The Wednesday Whinge has over recent months received many emails from contributors – from industry participants to the punting public – wanting to have their say on the above issues. Sick of being accused of unfairly criticizing one particular stable we have refused to run most of these – not to mention the ‘sick’ threats that are made to us when we do from his ‘supposed’ legion of fans.
But here are a couple received in the last week concerning the two Queensland trainers in the crossfire of this unfortunate situation that we have decided to publish:
THIS one was contributed by a prominent owner who races horses on the DOWNS:
‘SUPPORTERS of leading Toowoomba trainer Ben Currie highlight the fact that his strike rate is one of the best in the country.
Statistics don’t lie but it should be noted that from his 50 runners for the month of September (to Sunday) 12 winners were at his home track of Clifford Park, two at Ipswich and one at Sunshine Coast. No mention of Brisbane.
Currie has a fantastic strike rate at Toowoomba were the majority of his stable start. But even his legion of supporters has to agree that the results there have pumped up his strike rate.
Some have likened his results to that being achieved by Darren Weir in Melbourne and Chris Waller in Sydney. Whilst Currie has nothing like their numbers to work with, if he was being compared for city success to that duo his strike rate would look pretty ordinary (at least over the past month but there’s always room for improvement).
Currie’s meteoric rise as a young trainer has divided the racing industry, especially on the Downs. Some say he is a victim of tall poppy syndrome and that he and his dad have been singled out for harassment and unfair treatment by stewards. Others want the pair of them kicked out of the industry. There’s no in between.’
THEN there was this one from a racing follower in NORTH QUEENSLAND concerning JOHN MANZELMANN, whose reputation, character and ability as a trainer was recently given a resounding thumbs up by popular and successful owner-breeder Stan Johnston in this column. The latest Whinge reads:
‘THE north’s iconic two-day country race meeting is on this weekend at Ewan.
Hardly a dot on the map – but the venue on the old beef road between Charters Towers and Greenvale – will be packed to the rafters by party-goers and punters from all over the State from Thursday.
Nowadays Ewan is run as a professional meeting due to the rapidly changing pattern of racing Australia-wide in recent years. There is simply a severe shortage of amateur riders.
Ringers today ride motor bikes for mustering – not horses – and the near century- old Ewan Amateur Club was forced a few years ago to go pro – albeit with great reluctance.
And, in many ways, it is not the same race meeting of old.
Mackay trainer, John Manzelmann, recently found guilty on charges that include a positive caffeine swab, has 17 runners over the two days and many argue the merits of such a dominant role by one trainer.
Frankly, Manzelmann seems to have a virtual mortgage on what is generally and had been universally regarded as a family fun day, where kids are VIP.
Swab offenders, including first timers, are often disqualified for nine months or more by Queensland stewards. Manzelmann’s $2,500 fine is the subject of continued and sustained debate.
And a shortage of jockeys has not perturbed Manzelmann either. He has prominent Gold Coast-based professional Chris Whiteley riding for him over both days.
With 10 races (at a minimum of $200 per ride and the pick of the Manzelmann horses), plus a $1,000 bonus for leading jockey of the meeting, Whiteley will bag a potential $3,000 or more with percentages.
Not a bad day’s work for a jock at an old bush  meeting once renowned as one of the very best and sadly one of the last REAL amateur clubs in the country – where they once raced for ribbons and a bet on the side and where everyone was just glad to party.
Mac Core, long time president and patron, might even shed a tear in his beloved whiskey glass.
No, really it’s just not the same anymore.
And it’s not just the absence of the much revered Mac – a man of great substance, a story-teller extreme – and a gentleman who will be remembered as long as horses gallop down the dusty straight of Ewan... as they will on Friday.’
THE amazing last-to-first win by The Autumn Sun in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill was the highlight of last Saturday’s racing.
The Autumn Sun, which won the Group 1 J J Atkins at Doomben in June, had lost his unbeaten record and Golden Rose favoritism when an unlucky third in the Stan Fox Stakes.
Trainer Chris Waller, who quinellaed the race, said: “I thought Zousain was home but I think he might have been beaten by a pretty special one.

"When the draw came out he was 11 of 11 so it wasn't going to be easy but I'd rather him there because I know how good he is and for him to finish off over the top of a good field it was pretty special.
"He is a Derby horse and the owners are hell-bent on winning a Derby so that obviously comes first and foremost.

"His value however has fortunately skyrocketed again today. He'll have a price tag now and maybe he can tick the box of winning a Derby as well."
THE international invaders, spearhead by popular UK-based Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, signaled their return for the spring when Jungle Cat won the Group 1 Sire Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.
Appleby said he aimed Jungle Cat for the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes after he won the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai in March, which was his last start.
He said Jungle Cat was “a seven furlongs horse” and there weren’t many options over that distance in Europe so he decided to target this race. There were 1400m races in France but they were run on “easy tracks” and Jungle Cat loved firm tracks.
Appleby said he would let the dust settle on what Jungle Cat’s next start would be but he doubted it would be in The Everest.
He said Jungle Cat won in the style of a horse which would be suited by 1600m and he would look at him having his next start in the Toorak Handicap (1600) at Caulfield on October 13.
THERE was nothing ‘bad’ about the win of Courseshewill in the first Queensland two-year-old feature of the season in Queensland.
But some punters and those who have followed racing in the north for more years than they can to remember were critical of stewards allowing Courseshewill to start without competing in official trials.
The Liam Birchley-trained youngster was the only two-year-old to start in the Pat O’Shea Memorial Plate on Sunday ‘sight unseen’. He finished powerfully to beat smart triallist Arnwood and Badoosh.
“There was a time when unless a two-year-old trialled publicly it could not start in this race. It’s unfair on the punters and the rivals,” one veteran racegoer said. “This isn’t unique to racing these days, especially on the Downs, where there are more jump-outs than trials. So much for this whole transparency BS we keep hearing from QRIC”.
To be fair to Birchley, who had won the race twice previously with Paprika and Sin City, he had publicly declared that official trials were unavailable for the horse and definitely put no knock on its ability.
“She is a lovely filly and is paid up for the Magic Millions,” Birchley told AAP. “She is an all-female bonus horse. I have learned not to get ahead of myself but the Millions is naturally our aim.”

The race marked the last race call of Paul Dolan who has been a fixture in gallops and greyhound circles in Queensland for 45 years. It was a fitting farewell for one of the nice guys of the industry who will continue to call at select bush meetings in the State.
WITH so many starters there is rarely a race meeting in Sydney on a Saturday where a Chris Waller-trained fancy doesn’t figure in the Stewards’ Report.
The most notable from last weekend were Youngstar, which ran an unlucky third to stablemate Noire, in the Shannon Stakes.
The report read: Near the 200m, when endeavouring to improve into a tight run between Kingsguard and all Too Huiying, Youngstar made contact with all Too Huiying, which shifted out, and as a result became unbalanced. In this incident, Youngstar was accidentally struck by the whip of C Reith, rider of All Too Huiying. Youngstar then raced in restricted room for some distance near the 100m to the inside of Kingsguard and was not able to be fully tested until near the 50m.
What the stewards didn’t say is that by the time Youngstar overcame all these difficulties her well backed stablemate Noire had come with an unimpeded run down the outside where she should have been to take the prize.
Then there was the Waller-trained last start winner Invincibella which ran an unlucky fourth in the Golden Pendant in what can arguably be described as not one of Hugh Bowman’s better rides.
The Stewards’ Report read:
Invincibella - from its wide barrier was shifted in behind runners in the early stages. When questioned regarding his riding from the 600m and the reason he did not shift to the outside of Eckstein soon after straightening, H Bowman stated that after following Eckstein that runner shifted off to improve near the 500m. He said when he formed the view that Eckstein was not travelling well and he observed both Prompt Response and Daysee Doom, two fancied runners, he elected to improve to the inside of Eckstein with a view to saving ground and improving between runners. He added, after making good ground on the turn and in the early part of the straight, both Prompt Response
and Daysee Doom did not quicken as he had anticipated and this resulted in Invincibella being badly held up on the heels of Prompt Response for some distance. H Bowman further stated that he then elected to endeavour to secure clear running to the inside of Prompt Response, but was disappointed between Prompt Response and Princess Posh and did not secure clear running until inside the 100m, whereby Invincibella commenced to improve. He said over the final 50m he again could not test his mount when held up on the heels of Champagne Cuddles. Whilst the Stewards advised H Bowman that in their opinion his best option was to follow Eckstein and shift to that runner's outside on straightening, they found his decision to seek runs through field was not unreasonable in the circumstances, given he was electing to follow two fancied runners into the race and that Eckstein at that point was under pressure.
WHETHER punters who backed Invincibella would have been as understanding of Bowman’s predicament is debatable but needless to say it was another ‘good thing’ beaten from the Waller barn.
IT had to be the most unusual explanation of the day at Caulfield when jockey Brendon Davis was asked to explain the flop of plunged Darwin sprint star Captain Punch.
The Stewards’ Report read, in part: Knuckled on jumping away. Raced three wide without cover. Rider Brendon Davis reported that his mount would be better suited on a firmer track.
Granted, Captain Punch is accustomed to racing on what some might describe as a ‘bitumen surface’ in Darwin but how much firmer track does it need – when it raced on Saturday, Caulfield had been upgrade to a GOOD 3.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline wily ole dog

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« 2018-Sep-26, 09:21 AM Reply #1109 »
THE battle for the entertainment dollars is huge these days. How can race clubs compete?
Just compare the track and the licensed club. There are dress regulations at the track, you have to pay to go through the gate and the right to lose your money, if you want to have a drink then there is either the designated driver required or you have to pay taxi fares and wait on ranks filled with drunks after the last; then if you want to enjoy a beer and something to eat you are asked to pay ridiculous prices.
At your club there are no such dress regulations, a courtesy bus (on most occasions) is provided to and from your home, drink and food is discounted and you don’t pay to go through the door for the privilege of losing your money.
It’s a no-win situation for the race clubs who have to rely on big days to break even. And on some of those, which are devoted to the young members and trying to get the lost generations back to the track, the ‘oldies’ (for the want of a better word) on most occasions dodge the days like the plague.
Special days devoted to younger players are gold mines for the club’s food and beverage income but how much do they bet?
Friends recently attended a midweek city race meeting and told of paying a ridiculous amount to go through the gate and similarly atrocious prices for food and drink. To make matters worse they said you could have fired a canon through the public areas and the betting rings without risk of hitting anyone.
Tough times ahead for racing but dwindling racetrack attendances aside the situation where the average age of those who bet the most is getting older needs to be addressed before it is too late.

Some wonderful points there and so are the answers

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Oct-03, 09:28 AM Reply #1110 »
The problem with Qld politics is there are only two parties with the capacity to form guvment far as the racing industry is concerned both are as disinterested in racing as the other so with the best of intentions and no matter how well any campaign is designed  to get a better deal it's more than likely to fall on deaf ears the PoC is an excellent example of how QLD stands alone on this issue and the disparity in distributing the funds....while both NSW & Victoria have imposed a PoC 8% and 10% with significant benefits to racing..... thoroughbreds in particular ..dunno whether the trots or dogs benefitted .....but they should have shared if only to a lesser extent ....whereas  our political masters  have almost doubled the former PoC in NSW  with 15% so there's more capacity to increase funding to the three codes if the guvment had the will to do so....the cost of administering the racing industry needs to be closely examined ..too many chiefs and probably fewer Indians would free up a some millions to be spread amongst the participants....although the disharmoney between the three codes isn't helpful to achieving a better outcome for all or any of them.... added to which is the vastness of the State and the spread of race meetings that don't contribute to the base TAB funding ...a smaller population and few if any new faces taking up the punt things look bleak...... not much hope for any changes on the horizon either as I see it..just an opinion.



HIGH profile QUEENSLAND racing identity JUSTIN DOYLE sent this interesting email:

WHILST plenty of racing enthusiasts will be writing to LGHR regarding the disgraceful Point of Consumption Tax decision be aware that another important issue is being overshadowed by it.

And that’s just how Racing Queensland wants it to play out.

All TAB clubs were sent their new Club License Agreement on September 20th along with a letter demanding the signed document be returned before September 28th along with the following veiled threat:

"Please note incomplete or late Agreements may impede your Club’s eligibility to conduct race meetings.” (Mary Collier, did you really sign this?)

At this stage I believe many clubs have so far refused to sign the new agreement given that it commits many clubs to another year of financial failure. It is also noteworthy that the new licensing agreement has blown out from what used to be a simple 5-6 page document to a 40 page document with some rather interesting clauses.

The one regarding conflicting sponsorships is especially worrying as XXXX sponsor many regional clubs in different capacities but if RQ sign with Carlton any club with a XXXX deal would have to relinquish it. In the BRC’s case the opposite applies as they presently have a Carton sponsorship.

As a former Chairman of the Rockhampton Jockey Club I know that the funding offered to them will see a $250,000 loss as a probable outcome for the financial year given their expenses to professionally provide race day product to RQ. That is not to mention their training centre operation with 120 stables on course, an equine pool, training track, walkers etc.

How another northern provincial club without any training facilities running a similar amount of race meetings can be offered more funding than the RJC bemuses and angers me. Nonetheless in my estimation that club like every other TAB club have not been offered anywhere near enough funding to provide product to achieve a break even financial result.

Hence this makes the POC decision by Government all the more distressing for the clubs along with ALL racing participants.

The RQ Board and new CEO’s failure to deliver the industry a positive outcome on this vital issue is seemingly just another failure without consequence for both parties.

Given that failure, it is time that a united industry pushed hard for a complete structural reform of racing in Queensland. In total there are approximately 42,000 racing participants in Queensland with about half located in regional areas across the State.

Industry leaders must unite these voices so that both political parties understand that the industry is in dire need of assistance immediately and that our votes and the votes of our friends and families will go elsewhere if they cannot provide same.

I note Rob Heathcote’s call to arms regarding the POC announcement and his statement that he will be in the forefront of the fight but I reiterate that the fight requires a united industry fighting for a whole of industry solution not just a South East Queensland solution. Rob would make an excellent part of any leadership group to achieve change but regional representation is a must.

At present in Queensland racing participants are experiencing a host of failures and disappointments such as the Eagle Farm debacle, poor owner returns, ownership leakage to NSW & Victoria, underpaid jockeys with almost the worst deal in the country, underfunded clubs struggling to survive and by far and away the worst funding deal with UBET where only 60% of revenue is returned to the industry compared with 80% in Victoria. Now the so-called savior in the POC has eluded the industry.

It is time for all to act!



ANYONE who has followed the fluctuating fortunes of the three codes of racing in Queensland over the years would concede that the last thing needed is more millions spent on infrastructure.

The last thing the industry needed to hear in the wake of the Point of Consumption Tax windfall is that not one cent will be allocated to prizemoney increases – something that is needed most to, at least, try and keep in touch with the southern States.

It would seem to an uninformed observer almost half of the $70 million raised by the POC in its first year will be reinvested in projects other than from where it came – the horse racing industry.

In a Media Release last Saturday, Treasurer Jackie Trad said POC revenue would be used to provide significant funding boosts that benefited communities across the State. Considering the plight of the industry in Queensland one would have hoped the entire amount – in the first year – would have been ploughed back into racing alone, especially prizemoney.

The Treasurer explained what someone with racing knowledge must have told her: “Until now, large wagering companies paid tax where their headquarters are located, rather than where bets are placed. Thanks to our changes, the money people bet in Queensland will come back to Queensland and will be reinvested in Queensland.”

Trad said Racing Queensland would receive a $20 million grant this financial year to be used on two new racing facilities, as well as additional financial support to ensure there was no negative impact on the State’s racing industry.

The mail is strong that the new racing facilities will be harness and greyhound – hopefully there will be some finality to the on-going Albion Park saga. But most agree that neither of the minor codes needs major infrastructure with the crowds that these attract, especially the ‘red hots’.

The POC, which became law on Monday, means that all bets on Queensland events will be taxed at 15 per cent. The industry had been hoping that the $70 million raised in the first year would result in payouts, similar to NSW and Victoria, which have been used for prizemoney increases.​

Sadly the Government has been badly advised again with tens of millions to be spent on facilities for the minor codes rather than prizemoney for the one that keeps them going – the gallops – meaning that racing a horse in Queensland will continue to be less attractive to owners, many of whom will continue to move their investments interstate.

To make matters worse LGHR has learnt confidentially that the corporate bookmakers are planning to react to the POC Tax by boycotting betting on racing in Queensland to such a degree that the industry will face catastrophic turnover retaliation from punters.



STIRLING Hincliffe, riding on the coat-tails of the Treasurer’s announcement, showed – in the eyes of many – why he is just the latest in a long list of arguably useless Racing Ministers in Queensland.

Hinchliffe said a ‘significant portion’ of the $70 million raised in the first year of Point of Consumption Tax revenue, would go to the racing industry, including new greyhound and harness racing facilities.

Contributors to the Wednesday Whinge have questioned whether Hinchliffe cannot do the figures or simply doesn’t know what he is talking about – highlighting that of the $70 million there had been $20 million allocated to new harness and greyhound facilities and almost $18 million more would be used to forgive a debt owed to the Government by Racing Queensland.

Treasurer Trad in her POC announcement said: “As part of this package we will also forgive $17.8 million of debt owed to the Government by Racing Queensland, putting them in a better financial position to keep growing this important industry.”

That prompted this response from one of our WHINGERS: “Talk about the Government putting Racing Queensland in a better financial position to keep growing the industry, they have to be kidding!

“Trad is singing from the same hymn book as the less-than-impressive RQ Chairman Steve Wilson who claims the economic contribution of racing is significant at $1.2 billion a year (which most would agree with) yet RQ has recorded a consolidated loss of $3.2 million for the last financial year (said to be a major turnaround on the massive deficit from 2016).

“Wilson is quoted as saying: ‘There has been a big turnaround versus the financial year ended 2016 going from a parent company loss in that year of $19.9 million to one of $1.2 million this past year, while increasing payments to participants by $10.8 million.’

“Why then does the industry appear to be going backwards. Prizemoney might have been increased but Queensland is dropping further behind the major states. We don’t need more infrastructure at the trots which is being made look second rate by the dogs. And let’s not talk about the Eagle Farm track redevelopment or integrity at the gallops or the red hots which in the eyes of many punters is a standing joke.”



GREG BLANCHARD makes some interesting points about the lack of jockeys for bush venues in QUEENSLAND:

‘LAST Saturday at Julia Creek nine horses were scratched due to no available riders.

This is a big problem especially in the north west of the State. Its a common thing not to have enough riders.

About four years ago a young Korean boy, Alex Shin, who is like a son to me, was asked by RQ training to be a track rider for Grant Wiles in Julia Creek so he paid his own way and went.

After the stint there he went to Tony Sears in Toowoomba. Eventually after allocated jump-outs and given the OK by stewards and RQ training he was ready for barrier trials, only to be told he couldn’t get a licence because he didn’t have the right Visa.

So here we had a young guy’s dream shattered not to mention money lost to RQ for training.

I helped Alex to get to New Zealand where he is now an apprentice jockey and rode another winner last Saturday.

My point is that riders from overseas like Alex and a Japanese rider, Kozzi Asano, who I also helped to get to NZ, could of fill the void here.

Queensland used used to be the place where many Asian jockeys got their start – Nozi Tomizawa and Kenji Yoshida and many more.

Sadly it's the last place they want to come now. We used to have Hong Kong apprentices who are now lost to South Australia.

Racing Queensland lost Korean horse schools due to a Visa stuff-up a few years ago.

I have been told things will happen. Well it must, otherwise others will take the initiative like New Zealand did.’





MANY astute judges recognized long ago that BEN MELHAM was one of the best kept riding secrets in this country.

Melham landed his 16th Group 1 winner on Sunday when Holmesman burst into Caulfield Cup calculations with a win in the Underwood Stakes.

MICHAEL LYNCH reported for FAIRFAX MEDIA: As weekends go, they don't get much better as far as jockey Ben Melham is concerned.

The Melbourne-based rider landed a Group race double at Moonee Valley on Friday night when he scored on I Am A Star and The Taj Mahal for Shane Nichols and Team Williams respectively.

He then landed the Group 2 Premiere Stakes in Sydney aboard Santa Ana Lane for Anthony Freedman, who staked his claim for Everest glory in great style with a slashing late win at Randwick on Saturday.

And on Sunday, Melham's red-hot streak of form continued at Caulfield when he landed the Group One Underwood Stakes aboard Homesman, once again in the navy blue with white armbands and cap silks synonymous with the Williams operation.

It comes as something of a surprise to discover this was his first Group One winner for Williams, who has been one of his regular supporters in recent years in circumstances which, Melham admits, are not always easy for a jockey who is not attached to one of the training superpowers.

“It's hard at the minute if you haven't got a big stable behind you. You just have to pick the edges. Lloyd is a great supporter and help in a lot of these weight-for-age races. If you are not riding for a Weiry (Darren Weir) or a (David) Hayes you have to really work hard to pick the edges, to find some horses to take you places.”

For Melham it’s a question of quality over quantity, but the jockey almost pulled off the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups double for Team Williams aboard Johannes Vermeer last year when he ran third in the former and second in the latter, and he hopes Homesman might atone for those narrow misses this year.



CHAMPION trainer Chris Waller might have had eight runners but it was the might of Goldolphin, James Cummings and the old stager Hartnell that proved his nemesis in Saturday’s Epsom Handicap at Randwick.

As CHRIS ROOTS reported for FAIRFAX MEDIA: HARTNELL was back to the horse that was  a worthy rival for champion Winx as he proved too strong the next generation from the Chris Waller stable to take the Epsom Handicap.

The Godolphin import had won an Orr Stakes, Turnbull Stakes and Tancred Stakes but, if not for Winx, he would have a much greater Group 1 haul. He ran second to her three times.

The eight-year-old capped a remarkable career with a track record-breaking win as he lumped top weight in the Epsom – not bad for a two-mile winner at Royal Ascot before he came to Australia.

Hartnell ($20)  ran down a horse champion trainer Chris Waller had beaten the handicapper with in D’argento ($4.40 eq fav) to take the Randwick spring mile. Waller also had third and fourth in Unforgotten ($4.40 eq fav) and Shillilagh.

“I just really can’t believe it, but you know you have belief in your horse, and he’s a super horse Hartnell,” trainer James Cummings said. “He had 57kg, he’s just dropped in the ratings a few points. I had a good chat to Greg Carpenter only a couple of weeks ago and he reminded me these horses are tough, they’re trying to be lured into running in these big handicaps.

“We probably had two horses in the stable that could have won this Epsom, but there’s no more popular winner than Hartnell, that’s been a huge effort by the team.”

While the Godolphin team celebrated, it was Hugh Bowman that had been the last piece of the puzzle with masterful ride coming from back in the field and letting Hartnell roll through his gears.

Hartnell wore down D’argento to win by half head with Unforgotten, which got a long way out of her ground, finishing hard for third three-quarters of a length away.

It was Bowman’s first Group 1 in the Godolphin blue and he admitted that it was big moment in his career. “I don’t get many chances in these colours, and to get a group 1 is something unbelievable,” Bowman said. “It is something I will cherish.

The numbers game came to the fore for Waller in The Metropolitan when one of his eight was successful.

As CHRIS ROOTS reported for FAIRFAX: JAN Smith held The Metropolitan trophy and shed a tear for her late husband. It was hard to blame her after the horse named in his honor, Patrick Erin, had delivered on his mission in Australia.

Patrick Erin is throwback to days gone by – a tough New Zealand stayer. He is owned by people who love their racing but never imagined having a Metropolitan winner and maybe a Melbourne Cup runner.

But there was sadness here.

“Patrick died four months ago and we sent this horse over here earlier in the year hoping he could win a race,” Smith said. “He ran (sixth) in the Sydney Cup  and went really well but to win a race like this – Patrick would be proud.




IT came as little surprise to most that connections pulled the pin on a start in The Everest with Nature Strip after his flop in the G1 Moir Stakes at the Valley last Friday night.

In the eyes of many the jury has remained out on the true talents of the brilliant speedster and his fading sixth failed to enhance an already questionable reputation.

Viddora stole the show and demanded a slot in The Everest with her Moir win but it seems that the decision makers are more interested in lesser lights or a berth for Godolphin in the over-hyped and absurdly staked $13 million race.

As CHRIS ROOTS so rightly wrote for FAIRFAX MEDIA:

THE lure of   Godolphin's international brand is set to override commonsense for the Australian Turf Club, with Home Of The Brave set to edge out Moir Stakes winner Viddora for the final available slot in The Everest.



MOST punters would agree with the assertion of top turf scribe MAX PRESNELL in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD that jockeys should make their own luck and that ‘riding for luck’ is a nonsense.

Here’s what he wrote:

KERRIN McEvoy was a prime example of luck having little relevance in the turf’s heat of battle as Royal Randwick experienced wind-blown, record-breaking conditions on Saturday.

Luck is defined as success or failure brought about by chance rather than one’s own actions.

McEvoy had none of the aforementioned on Miss Fabulass, the hot favorite in the Group 1 Flight Stakes, and Brimham Rocks, his mount in the Group 1 Metropolitan, which should have scored.

If top jockeys get beaten on horses that should have triumphed, luck – in the main – doesn’t come into it. “Riding for luck”, bandied around constantly, is nonsense. Jockeys should make their own. Mistakes should be defined as a bad ride as accolades should be acknowledged for their brilliance. Admittedly circumstances can play a role.

When Miss Fabulass won the Tea Rose (1400m) two starts ago the touch of McEvoy was dominant on a filly of potential but still learning, inclined to tug, fight the bit; a situation that confronted the navigator on Saturday over the longer 1600 metres.

McEvoy had no option to take off wide around the 600m mark or clip the heels of those in front and possibly come down.

In a remarkable display of raw talent, Miss Fabulass was beaten in fourth place by only 0.3 of a length: tick for circumstances.

Yes, McEvoy did give Brimham Rocks, the Chris Waller stayer, a perfect ride before his short-half-head defeat to Patrick Erin, adding to the trainer’s already world record of stablemates beating better-fancied candidates.

Alas, the jockey declared a kilo overweight on the runner-up. Weights and measures students will tell you a kilo equates to a half-length, particularly in staying events.

On the subject of overweights regarding a Doncaster engagement, Gai Waterhouse on Saturday decreed: “I had jockeys tell me they could ride him at 51 [kilograms] but I am not giving away my advantage. He had 50kg and that’s what he will carry.”

McEvoy handled Brimham Rocks at 51kg and luck again crops up. But would I rather have the expertise of a fit, strong McEvoy or a dehydrated one, limp from wasting, or another hoop?

Ironically the Metrop was the only race of the nine-event program that didn’t produce a time record with winds reaching 44.5 km/h from the south and dropping to 33.6 and moving to the south-east.




AND on the subject of ‘lack of luck’, a couple of contributors to the WHINGE felt the ride of champion jockey DAMIEN OLIVER on the odds-on PRIZED ICON at Caulfield on Sunday was more in the ‘slaughter job’ category.

Here what one ‘sore loser’ had to say:

‘Now before his legion of fans start tell us that Olly was a victim of circumstances from a bad alley on Prized Icon, let’s take a long hard look at the ride.

‘In the opinion of me and my mates it was an absolute slaughter job. Sure we are talking through our pockets but after several close looks at the replay we are sure he could have slotted in rather than sit three wide the trip.

‘It is nearly two years since the horse had won but this was his race and his form this campaign was good enough to beat this mob. Instead he was given a sore back and sadly for Prized Icon he will have to wait for another dad for that elusive win which might never come.’     



IF the response of a few punters is any gauge the win by Native Soldier in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude was a far from popular one.

As one contributor to the WHINGE wrote: ‘Anyone who backed Native Soldier when it ran fifth to Encryption in the Danehill was entitled to believe this was a form reversal win.

‘I realize that the horse pulled up lame but he came out and led again from a worse alley over a longer trip and never looked like stropping. Darren Weir can certainly turn their form around in the space of a fortnight.

“This was more like the form he showed in the McNeil at Caulfield but talk about inconsistency. He was $3.3 favorite when he went like a busted in the Danehill and got out to $9 on Sunday.’

The stewards obviously accepted that lameness was the issue at Native Soldier’s previous start as his improvement didn’t even rate a mention in their report – might I suggest like a lot of other form reversals from the Weir stable?



TRAINERS and jockeys riding at Cluden in Townsville are unanimous in their view that the placement of the false rail since the Winter Carnival has been farcical.

‘What is the need for it to be out so far,” one trainer asked? “We can’t get any sense out of those responsible so we thought a bit of adverse publicity about this ridiculous situation might rattle a few cages.

“It would never have been allowed to happen under the previous administration headed by Kevin O’Keefe and when we had some real stewards running the show such a placement would never have been allowed to happen.

“The way the rail is now if you have a backmarker in a race where the pace is slow it is impossible to win. In other words not every horse in a race is being given its chance to win. Wonder if the Chief Steward realizes that is a breach of the rules that jockeys and trainers face if one gets beaten.”


 Giddy Up :beer:
« Last Edit: 2018-Oct-03, 09:34 AM by Arsenal »

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« 2018-Oct-10, 09:30 AM Reply #1111 »

THE question continues to be raised: Is PETER V’LANDYS the best thing since sliced bread for the development of national racing OR is he simply bogged down in sole promotion of New South Wales and hell-bent on destroying the Victorian success story?

A lack of respect that V’landys has created between officialdom in Sydney and Melbourne has now spread to the racing media with the Sydney ‘turf scribes’ seemingly seduced by his ability to provide dramatic headlines.

As MATT STEWART, the Racing Editor of Victorian based Radio Sport National, wrote: THERE is no longer even a flimsy facade of cohesion or mutual respect. Victorian officials are at war with Peter V’landys. They are fed up with his exaggerated claims and eccentric distractions.

Michael Browell, the chief executive of the Moonee Valley Racing Club, rolled his eyes and tapped his keyboard simultaneously last Friday, fed up with V’landys’ scatter-gun mid-week attack on anything and everything – mostly Victorian – and the “sycophantic’’ free hit V’landys appears to enjoy via the Sydney media.

Browell’s Melbourne Racing Club counterpart Josh Blanksby referred not to V’landys by name but as “the person in charge of NSW racing’’ in a tweet where he accused “the person’’ of using Saturday metro prizemoney as the only measure of success.

Stewart wrote of the race war between NSW and Victoria being as much about ‘personality as reality’. What he didn’t report is that as hard as V’landys and his Sydney racing media ‘spin doctors’ roll out the propoganda, the Harbour City will always run second to Melbourne, especially when it comes to carnivals. They can offer all the prizemoney they like but from the perspective of crowd and punting popularity the Spring Carnival will always finish a furlong in front.

Stewart highlighted the fact that ‘V’landys seems to be seizing on the perception of Racing Victoria, and its CEO Giles Thompson, as pent-up, non-transparent and dull.

Thompson holds a stoic line, pointing to a sheet of KPI’s that says Victoria has it over NSW in almost every department bar Saturday metro prizemoney.

The only vaguely combative thing Thomson said at a press lunch last week was that Victoria was the “envy’’ of other states.’

The racing media situation in Sydney is something that has attracted contributions to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE for some time. Observers have questioned if there is a conflict of interest between the work some of the leading scribes do for major newspaper publications and the ‘highly paid second jobs’ they now hold with SKY Channel and just who organized that nice little earn and if there are strings attached.

Stewart, who has never been afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve when it comes to his love and support for Victorian racing, rightly observed in his RSN column:

‘The Sydney media seems to have been seduced by V’landys’ “refreshing’’ personality point of difference, relishing his readiness to provide dramatic headlines such as his “disgust” at the NSW State Government’s refusal to hold an Everest barrier draw on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Some leading Victorian administrators are stunned by the lack of media scrutiny on V’landys, including his perceived conflict of interest over his role as a commissioner for the NRL, an industry that would seem to be competing in the same marketing, crowd and wagering pool as racing.

They also wonder when the Sydney media will show an interest in current action through the NSW Supreme Court involving Racing NSW and its CEO.

V’landys might be full of bluff and bluster but he also shapes up as a dangerous predator, with his eye on the month of November.

He is only half-fantasizing when he says he might relocate the crowd-poor Championships from rainy autumn to sport’s great vacant space; November.’

Adding insult to injury – yet more publicity to this Saturday’s event – has been the Opera House sideshow that has been played out in the mainstream media during the week and has arguably made some racing administrators, politicians and their media mates look pretty silly. 

The situation reached farcical stage when Racing NSW stewards saw the need to conduct the barrier draw for The Everest in private and suspend betting until it was confirmed publicly on Tuesday night with imagery plastered over the Sydney Opera House.

The Everest bill-boarding was to have been a key part of the controversial Opera House promotion for the race but, according to Racing NSW, was abandoned “to avoid any potential integrity risk”.

Racing NSW’s strong-arm victory in gaining access to the cultural landmark led to an enormous backlash in Sydney where almost 300,000 signed a petition against it and a large crowd of protesters turned out on the night.

This came after a belated apology from shock-jock Alan Jones for his on-air bullying of Opera House CEO Louise Herron as Jones and Racing NSW scrambled to salvage goodwill.

It remains to be seen if Herron will seek legal advice over the Jones assault, where Jones said she should be sacked for her caution over Everest branding on the Opera House.

It is not clear what motivated Jones to offer a conditional apology and whether “damage control” to Jones and Racing NSW – and NSW racing – just days out from the Everest played a role.

As one observer wrote to the WHINGE this morning:

“HERE’S an example of the one-eyed reporting of this Soap Opera fiasco in the Murdoch-run Sydney Telegraph:

THE plan to promote The Everest to the world has gone off in spectacular fashion despite an embarrassing attempt by torch and balloon wielding protesters to interrupt the show.

About 1000 hard-core protesters failed in their attempt to wreak havoc on the barrier draw light show that was beamed onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

White strobe lights from demonstrators dotted the sails before the barrier draw began but it failed to derail the unique promotion of the world’s richest turf race.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Scott Morrison backed the state government and Racing NSW over The Everest promotion, declaring it “common sense” to use “the biggest billboard Sydney has”.

As wowsers bemoaned the use of the Opera House to promote The Everest, Mr Morrison, who ran Tourism Australia before entering Parliament, launched a forceful defence of the light show, pointing to jobs and money injected into the state by the $13 million racing spectacular.

But last night the light-phobic loonies used their phones and handheld torches tied to selfie sticks in a vain attempt to drown out the light show.

Some even used lasers to project green dots over the barrier draw and let go a bunch of helium balloons.

The fact remains that at the end of the week all the drama might draw a few thousand more to another embarrassingly crowd-depleted feature race day in Sydney (that will be overly exaggerated by trackside mates in the racing media from SKY).

And they will be there to watch a race promoted as ‘the richest in the world’ when the same field could arguably have been assembled for a $1 million feature that will pale into insignificance in the eyes of the racing or general public compared to Winx attempting her fourth Cox Plate win or that two miler that will continue to be the flag-bearer at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.   



WITH Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe ordered to cut short his holiday and meet with an alliance of thoroughbred representatives to discuss an immediate boost to prizemoney for Queensland gallops we saw the need to advance the WEDNESDAY WHINGE to get this message across before a band-aid cure is offered and accepted.

IF the Queensland thoroughbred industry wants to retaliate to its perceived Point of Consumption Tax snub one could argue that strike action on Melbourne Cup day is not the most effective means of protest.

Their stance needs to be more united – taking in the entire industry and trade unions associated with its workforce BUT it should target Magic Millions week instead, which would damage the Labor Government much more.

Who will suffer if industry participants, including trainers, jockey and breeders stand down from ONLY the meetings at Doomben, Gold Coast and Toowoomba on Cox Plate Day and Melbourne Cup Day?

Only the clubs involved and let’s face it the racing at each venue on the first Tuesday in November is merely a sideshow to the main event at Flemington. If those three clubs don’t host a race meeting of their own on that day will they still be permitted to hold phantom meetings? Such a refusal would cost the reportedly financially embattled Brisbane Racing Club one of its biggest windfalls of the year. It’s a case of shooting yourself in the foot.

It will hardly make a difference to the public who will find another venue – such as a Cup day race meeting elsewhere or the local pub or club to patronize. And as for betting revenue that would have been held on the Queensland racing, well it would arguably be more than swallowed up by the big meeting in Melbourne which will attract the lion’s share of turnover on the TAB and with the corporate bookies in any case.

So, at the end of the day, whilst it might attract attention to the plight of the local industry in the Government’s Point of Consumption Tax decision, the strike will have little to no effect.

However, if the industry made a united stance and brought to a standstill Magic Millions week – the milking cow of one of Australia’s most influential men – in racing and politics – now that would drive a dagger into the heart of the Labor Government.

Imagine if the POC protest strike saw the richest race meeting in Queensland stopped because trainers and jockeys refused to participate. Imagine if the MM Sales were halted because breeders refused to present their yearlings for auction or unions associated with racing prevented the sales from proceeding.

‘Genial’ Gerry Harvey has already shown the political clout he has with racing officialdom in Queensland and Governments of all persuasions gaining millions of taxpayer dollars to support a private enterprise company simply because he threatened to move it away from the Gold Coast. Those involved soon produced figures to support how much the Magic Millions was worth to the tourist and racing revenue of Queensland when effectively it is the peak season on the glitter strip and the majority of the horses sold come from interstate studs and aren’t bought by Queenslanders.

IF the industry in Queensland is serious about a strike that will be effective they must target Magic Millions day instead of Melbourne Cup or Cox Plate by only a handful of major clubs backed by key bodies. The question is will certain groups, especially the breeders, be as outspoken in their criticism of the POC decision and the Government if it means offending or jeopardizing their cosy relationship with Genial Gerry. We suspect this suggestion – which is an absolute winner – won’t get off the ground and that ‘sweet talking’ Sterling will come up with an instant solution that the industry will swallow regarding prizemoney.

Imagine Premier Anastasia, Treasurer Jackie or Racing Minister Sterling – whose fleeting race day appearances are spearheaded with their noses in the trough during Millions week – faced such an embarrassing confrontation with their mate Gerry or the MM hierarchy.

That aside, it is time that the industry sought an explanation from the Government over the POC distribution fudging of the figures. Don’t expect this to be sought by the weak-kneed control body – after all they were appointed by the Government and aren’t likely to ask too many tough questions.

Commenting on the proposed strike action, a Government spokesman told The Courier-Mail that there will be little left over of the $70 million in revenue from the first year of the Point of Consumption Tax after a grant of $20million for new harness and greyhound infrastructure projects and the decision to forgive $17.8 million of debt owed by Racing Queensland.

When we went to school $37.8 million from $70 million left $32.2 million – if that in the eyes of the Government is ‘little’ then the racing prizemoney coffers can do with plenty of it to help bridge the ever widening gap between Queensland and the southern States. And what’s the bet that’s the pot the solution to the strike threat will come from?

The Government spokesman sounded like Pinocchio when he went on to say: “These two measures alone mean the Palaszczuk Government will be returning most of the POC tax to the racing industry this financial year. The action threatened by the industry’s representative bodies regarding stoppages or any other such changes will only hurt the punters and their own industry participants.”

How can it possibly hurt the punters? They will just invest their hard-earned at other venues than racing in Queensland. And as for the industry participants they are already the big losers – putting on the show for the Government to raise hundreds of millions now through a dud TAB deal before we even mention the POC without putting money earnt by racing back into racing. It’s a farce that never would have occurred in the days of Russ Hinze and Bob Gibbs as Racing Ministers. And don’t let the LNP tell you things would be different under them.

As prominent Downs racing identity Peter Bredhauer commented to The only ray of hope for racing in Queensland is to somehow get it devoid of politics. The current mob of politicians from both sides of Parliament wouldn’t know how to run a chook raffle let alone an industry like racing. If you want to stuff anything up just get politicians involved.”

Peter Moody, a passionate Queensland racing supporter, hit the nail on the head when he told The Courier-Mail:   

‘Don’t forget the fact that if the Government don’t have the confidence in the governance of racing to do the right thing with that money, and they look at some of the monumental stuff-ups – ie Eagle Farm – of recent times, racing is probably not promoting itself to say ‘hey give us the money we can do the right thing’.

“But at the end of the day, the Government can’t have the cake and eat it as well. They appoint the people to run racing.

“It’s a bit of a catch-22 but the end result is we do not want to see Queensland lagging further and further behind. Unfortunately, Queensland racing has been seen to be a political hot cake for many decades now.”

Treasurer Jackie has been warned from many influential quarters that ‘she is potentially killing the goose that lays the golden egg if she refuses to revisit her stance on POC Tax distributions.’

Tom Reilly, CEO of Aushorse, the marketing body of the Australian thoroughbred industry, sees Queensland as a vital part of the national racing ecosystem, but warns that it needs support to ensure its long term viability.

“If the Queensland racing and breeding industry doesn’t get an outcome from the POC Tax that is at least as good as the deal New South Wales and Victoria have done, the challenges to the State will be insurmountable,” Reilly said.

“This new revenue is money that is generated 100 per cent from racing (excluding the sport component). It’s only common sense the government needs to support that industry to ensure that revenue stream continues on.

“Jackie Tradd’s announcement last weekend is a case of trying to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The industry in Queensland is already behind the eight-ball and is just looking for a fair cut.”

A clear indication of the difference between racing in Brisbane and that in Sydney and especially Melbourne can be seen at any feature Saturday meeting. When the cameras swing to the winning connections after a race there are next to none to be seen in Queensland while in Victoria there are massive groups embracing, jumping up and down and celebrating the success.

Sadly, because the likes of Trad only attend big days like the Magic Millions and Stradbroke, they probably think that the majority of winning owners of big races in this country are the rich and famous, like the Sheiks and the millionaire breeders. In fact syndicates of mum and dad owners are starting to emerge but not in Brisbane because it costs just as much to get involved here as Melbourne where the return is greater and continues to grow courtesy of racing administrations and Governments who recognize the need to invest through prizemoney as well as infrastructure.

Sadly greed will continue to gut the gallops industry in Queensland while the ‘red hots’ gets more than its rightful share because of political pressures and people influencing the decision making process who don’t have the best interests of racing at heart.

Some technical issues with the Wednesday Whinge that's all for today.

Giddy Up :beer: 


« Last Edit: 2018-Oct-10, 09:36 AM by Arsenal »

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« 2018-Oct-17, 08:50 AM Reply #1112 »


TIMING is everything and the sooner those responsible for the thankless job of running racing in Queensland realize that the better chance they will have of regaining some lost respect in the eyes of the industry.

The last thing stakeholders wanted to hear on Tuesday – after almost a week of lost meetings due to the big wet – was how wonderful the Summer Carnival was going to be.

What they want to know right now is how officialdom plans to compensate them for the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost in prizemoney due to the abandonment of meetings because the deluge has made tracks across the south-east unsafe for racing.

This is the wrong time to be telling them that the ‘Queensland Summer Carnival is fast approaching’ and urging them to ‘set their horses to shine with over $15 million prizemoney and $1.6mn in bonuses on offer between November 17 and January 26.

Their focus right now isn’t on the ‘21 Black Type races across seven carefully spaced meetings’ leading up to the grand final – the $10 million Magic Millions Race Day at the Gold Coast on January 12.

They need to know when the prizemoney they have lost the opportunity to earn over the past week will be replaced – if at all – or whether officialdom will keep the lion’s share and simply offer a pittance extra race or two at up-coming meetings as has happened in the past.

It’s time for industry stakeholder groups to demand extra meetings – like double-headers at the Sunshine Coast where eight races can be programmed from lunch-time and another eight that evening to ensure prizemoney from these washed out meetings is not lost.

The last thing they need to know right now is about Summer Carnival riches that will largely go to interstate visitors or Magic Millions Day where millions of dollars of taxpayer and industry money finds its way into the pockets of one of Australia’s richest men and a week-long sales-related program that largely benefits a private enterprise company.

Is it little wonder that the lack of confidence disease that has seen punters walk away from racing in Queensland is spreading (albeit from different symptoms) to other just as important sections of the industry like owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders.

When will those running the industry or the Governments that put them there ever learn? Never, it seems! Little wonder Queensland continues to fall further behind the southern states in the prizemoney race when they can’t even ensure that the amounts already allocated are distributed every time meetings are lost because or rain.

As if the stint on the sideline for Eagle Farm wasn’t enough of an embarrassment for racing in Queensland not to mention the dud TAB deal or the latest controversy involving distribution of the Point of Consumption Tax by the Labor Government, it seems the industry is destined to stagger from one disaster to another.

Instead of worrying about the ‘red hots’ which arguably have little or no future after shooting themselves in the foot for far too long, if the powers that be are determined to provide infrastructure for the minor codes then it should include an all-weather gallops track to ensure there is a venue in the event of these big wets that cause so much chaos.

Imagine if racing still had Albion Park racing on a different surface to sand. The venue is perfect and the trots and dogs could ensure it was a multi-use venue. After all the trots is little more than a side-show to the main events from the other codes, especially the gallops these days, and if they want to survive this should be made a part of that contingency plan.




THE big wet that has deluged south-east Queensland in the past week has cost owners a mountain of prizemoney; trainers and jockeys a substantial earn; and the industry much more in betting turnover.

Abandonments were beyond the control of those running racing when tracks became unsafe for racing. Perhaps there should have been more postponements but the duration of the rain made that difficult to program.

What concerns most involved in racing in Queensland is the lack of news on how the industry will be compensated for the hundreds of thousands – even millions – lost because of these washed out meetings.

About the only thing that happened in a hurry was the postponement of last Friday’s Toowoomba meeting to Monday when an additional two races were added to the card.

What about the racing lost at Doomben, Gold Coast, Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast not to mention a host of other smaller venues? Surely we are not going to see the usual from Racing Queensland of a race or two added to up-coming programs. That is simply penny-pinching and not good enough.

More to the point what happens to the stakes money that is saved because races weren’t run. This policy has been allowed to occur for far too long by those in stakeholder groups who don’t seem to have the guts to take officialdom on.

Why not run double-headers at the Sunshine Coast – an afternoon and a night meeting on the one card – on a Friday to coincide with night meetings in Victoria or on a Sunday to coincide with Hong Kong.

Simply upping the ante to a nine or 10-race card is not compensating the industry for the prizemoney lost when an entire meeting is washed out. It’s downright cheating them of what they are entitled to! 



DESPITE the Border war debate and the Opera House debacle in the lead-up to The Everest, Saturday proved a point that two major meetings in two different States can work effectively.

The Everest might have attracted a fair bigger crowd in Sydney than the Caulfield Guineas meeting did in Melbourne but from a punters’ perspective the latter, with four Group 1’s on the card, was the winner.

And when it comes to crowds Everest Day will pale into insignificance – even if the open the in-field at Randwick – in comparison with the big meetings Cup week at Flemington in the spring.

From a future perspective the old cliché of ‘racing will be the big winner’ will be spot-on when Sydney and Melbourne officials focus on making Everest and Guineas Days major drawcards in their particular States.

Ray Thomas, Racing Editor for the Sydney Telegraph and regarded by many as the media pin-up boy of Peter V’landys and the ‘spin doctor’ for all things Racing NSW, was quick to boast that The Everest had become second biggest betting day in Australian racing with overall wagering turnover set to soar beyond the $100 million mark.   

Thomas was quick to highlight an 11 per cent increase on last year’s inaugural Everest turnover but neglected to mention that the record was contributed to significantly by betting on the Guineas meeting at Caulfield.

Punters aren’t interested in arguments over race clash schedules; or whether racing in NSW is waging an unwinnable war to take over as pacesetter from Victoria. All the Opera House controversy did was involve some high profile political and media identities in a crap fight that made headlines on the front pages of paper and arguably dragged more people to the races.

Those betting on the meeting are only interested in the contest between the horses in The Everest and to a lesser degree The Koscuiszko – where the best from the bush raced for a purse that would have one might suggest purchased the entire field. There is also the argument that the $13 million up for grabs in The Everest would have attracted no lesser field had it been run for $1-$2 million.

The sole race of topliners that fronted the starter and a ‘bog’ track for The Everest – when similar conditions confronted The Championships there was talk of moving it to November -  was never going to be as attractive for the racing purists or the punters as the G1 bonanza at Caulfield – a great dress-rehearsal to even bigger riches in the Melbourne Spring.

Ironically, it was a Sydney star in The Autumn Sun that captured many headlines after his stunning win in the Caulfield Guineas. Alas trainer Chris Waller does not want to threaten the party for ‘Bambi’ in the Cox Plate and he will be in the spelling paddock when he should be taking on super star Winx on Saturday week.

All that was missing at Caulfield last Saturday was the bog track which detracted from the Randwick meeting (but that was in the lap of the Gods) and many of the top jockeys (who could not be in two places at the same time). The fact that the timing of The Everest meant that the Caulfield Guineas had to be slotted later was of little consequence at the end of the day.   

The last thing Victorian officials should do is tinker with the card – leave it at 10 races and don’t move any of the features – and who cares if Sydney ups the ante with more money for The Everest. It arguably won’t alter the quality of the field already attracted one iota! 



RENOWNED cartoonist, the late Paul Rigby, was somewhat of a Nostradamus. He predicted the Opera House row long before The Everest was even thought of …. back in 1974!!!


Giddy Up :beer:

« Last Edit: 2018-Oct-17, 08:52 AM by Arsenal »

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« 2018-Oct-24, 08:58 AM Reply #1113 »



ALL of a sudden the somewhat outspoken and controversial British commentator Matt Chapman is Enemy No 1 in the eyes of the Australian racing public.

Chapman dared to say some things about wonder mare Winx that her legion of fans didn’t want to hear when he questioned the quality of the international opposition to her chasing an historic fourth Cox Plate success on Saturday.

“If Winx is this freak wonder mare at the age of seven and Benbatl gives her a race then all the Australians who say this horse is invincible need to be worried because he should not be able to give her a race.”

Reading some of the ridiculous responses on social media and even contributions to the Wednesday Whinge here at Letsgohorseracing, one would have thought Chapman had suggested Winx couldn’t win a two-horse race at Manangatang.

Rather than entertain some ‘Pommy bashing’ dating back to the convict era, let’s take a rational look at what Chapman had to say prefaced by his Cox Plate declaration: “I believe Winx will win. Every Australian has told me she’s the best in the world. If she’s not….uh oh!’

Chapman insists that the critics have missed the point he was trying to make when he questioned the quality of the opposition that Winx has beaten in her 28-race winning sequence.

“If the world handicappers are doing their job properly there is no way that Winx can be rated ahead of (England’s) Cracksman after his Champion Stakes win at Ascot last weekend,” Chapman said.

In an interview on After the Last with Shane Anderson of, Chapman was asked the English opinion of Winx to which he replied: “The point of the argument back home is: ‘Are the horses she is beating up to scratch?’

“We know Winx is going to win every time she turns up. No-one expects Humidor or any of the others to beat her. Back home we feel Winx is beating fairly moderate horses.”

Chapman said his sentiments should not be interpreted as anti-Australian or anti-Winx which has been unbeaten for four years. “I am a great fan of Australian racing and have been to three Melbourne Cups, including one won by Makybe Diva. I flew over to Australia for one day to watch Black Caviar win.

I am a huge fan of Winx but believe she should have come to Royal Ascot. Of course, the Australians are going to say ‘you should come here’ and highlight how Frankel never left the UK.

“Even if you are the greatest fan of Winx you would have to think that one horse in four years could have given her some sort of race. But that didn’t happen which suggests this group of middle distance horses in Australia is not a great one – the same as the sprinters in England aren’t and your horses have come over and beaten them.”

Despite the presence of some ‘perceived’ genuine international rivals in this year’s field of only eight for Saturday’s Cox Plate, Chapman still questions the quality of the field opposed to Winx.

“Benbatl, considered her main rival, is not rated among Europe’s elite racehorses. He is a decent horse but there is no interest in Benbatl as a star at home. He is between six to eight lengths inferior to Cracksman.”

Champan said Rostropovich, another international opposed to Winx on Saturday, had run second in a very low grade Irish Derby. “He should have no chance in a Cox Plate but it is Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore and you never rule them out.”

Interestingly he suggested that Hugh Bowman should not ‘sit back quietly’ on Winx and let Benbatl dictate. “Hugh Bowman doesn’t want to sit 10 or 15 lengths off Benbatl because this is one of those very strange European horses that seem to run better when he is abroad.”

From our perspective at LGHR we think Winx will win but couldn’t take $1.2 and believe that it would be unwise for Bowman to worry about just the one horse and get involved in any battle up front with Benbatl – which could just leave the door ajar for the Darren Weir-trained Humidor $16 to have the final shot and heaven forbid go one better than he did in last year’s Cox Plate and emerge in Aussie racing folklore as the ‘one who shot Bambi’.   



THERE has been speculation in Victorian racing that Robert Cram will be a soft touch following the departure of Terry Bailey (for Singapore) as Chief Steward.

As the media has observed – Cram’s empathetic style is markedly different to that of Bailey but he has already proven to have no time for fools, cheats or time-wasters as those who choose to take him on are swiftly learning.

Nevertheless, the panel under his leadership seems to have adopted the same approach to one of the best jockeys in the land in Ben Melham, a left-over of the Bailey days when critics would argue that Ben was seen as a ‘long-time’ mate of the controversial Danny Nikolic and paid the price for it.

Melham, one of the brightest talents on the Australian riding scene, is overdue for a change of luck in the big Cups. His close second on Homesman in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup following a third aboard Johannes Vermeer in last year before a second on that horse in the Melbourne Cup.

Amazingly, the Cram panel questioned Melham whether he had lost his balance near the finish line on Saturday, when in a desperate attempt to win, he resorted to vigorous hands and heels riding. He told stewards that Homesman laid in under pressure, affecting his ability to extract his best from the horse.

Punters, who have had a WHINGE to LGHR after the Cup, felt top jockey Damien Oliver should have been questioned about his ‘go slow’ tactics on Sydneysider Ace High which stopped like it was shot before the turn after setting a ‘working gallop’ in front.

‘Did the horse choke down?” one contributor questioned. No mention of that in the Stewards’ Report which simply stated: ‘Rider Damien Oliver could offer no explanation for the performance, which was below expectations. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any abnormalities other than a slow recovery.’

Oliver was entitled to adopt the tactics he did and could not have predicted Ace High would stop so quickly. But not only did it destroy the chances of backmarkers like Youngstar which ran the fastest sectional not to mention the chaos caused when it went backwards before the turn leaving the race to be fought out by those on the pace.

It begs the question whether the Caulfield Cup was the good ‘form race’ from the Melbourne Cup perspective that it has been in the past.   


By TERRY BUTTS, veteran racing journalist & racehorse trainer in North Queensland:

THAT iconic Aussie folk song A Pub With No Beer might have been penned a couple   hundred clicks down the road and many decades ago as well.

But there was a full dress rehearsal at the Innisfail Cup day carnival on Saturday – much to the disgust or disappointment of many early bird patrons, especially those who arrived trackside for the first race in Melbourne which started at 11.15am but, inexplicably, were forced to wait until 1pm for the public bar to open.

Yes, a bar full of patrons waiting in a pub with no beer.

And race clubs throughout the State are crying poor and begging for more funding.

But the Innisfail Turf Club’s response is one that would just about drive decent men to drink!

“We only have an eight-hour liquor license and we are having an after race party which goes until 9pm.”

Not bothering to inquire if the club had requested an extension of its license which is usually granted, I asked: “I must be in the wrong place. Are you catering for the racegoer or the party-goer”.

I didn’t wait for the answer but a short time later was invited to the committee bar – an invitation that on principal was politely refused.

This is the state of racing in North Queensland – and what a shame!

Innisfail has been one of the great and popular carnivals for many decades.

Forty years ago I was just one of 30 bookmkaers who lined the ring at Pease Park for the Johnstone River Handicap meeting on the Friday and the Cup on the Saturday.

Memory might be fading but I’ll bet the bar was open…long before 1pm – and probably still open for the Friday night Calcutta!

And no beer tickets either!

They are a new phenomena and about as popular on racetracks as a beaten favorite.

But that aside, there was plenty of action to keep the early crowd amused.

Word spread quickly that the QRIC coppers (we won’t call them stewards) were there like bees (at great expense no doubt) and managed to nab local trainer Greg Strickland with a horse (outside his stable) with a syringe. Strickland said it was ‘only Vitamin C – surely it’s not illegal.’

But the coppers proceeded and gave the trainer a docket that demanded his presence in Innisfail Magistrate’s Court next month.

The docket (which the trainer showed me) stated he had injected a racehorse with an ‘illegal thing’. Yes, they were the words.

I told the trainer the Magistrate might have a bit of fun with that – and not to lose too much sleep.

We all know how much success QRIC has had in the Magistrate’s Court.

Their record is appalling – and really it’s time they (QRIC) opted out of the industry and allowed more experienced stewards to run the game as they have done since the 1800s.

Incidentally, who were the two ‘helpers’ with trainer Strickland when the coppers pounced? It could be a shade embarrassing when their identity is revealed.

Good question but I’ll leave the answer for others.

EDITOR’S NOTE: LGHR has been told that GREG STICKLAND is a close relation of former NQ rugby league international Kerry Boustead.


GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE follows up on horses being scratched in the bush because of a lack of jockeys:

‘I wrote a few weeks ago about horses having to be scratched in the bush due to no jockeys being available.

Well here is what happened last Saturday where a total of 20 horses were scratched due to no jockeys being available to ride them. This included Mt Isa (two), Thangool (three), Mitchell (five), Toowoomba (yes, that's right, one), Charters Towers (four) and Stanthorpe (five).

Now the Government is giving $70 million over four years for bush racing, which is great, but we must do something about the lack of jockeys.

I know members of training went to career expos in the bush run by QUT this year to recruit future jockeys, track riders and strappers but how many did they attract?

Maybe they got plenty. Let's hope so. Ifirmly believe the use of the QRIC three-month Visiting Apprentice Form could help fill the gaps.

Back in 2012 (Roma trainer) Craig Smith had two Korean apprentices and last year two went to NSW (one with Sue Grills and the other Brett Bellamy).

I also had a lot to do with a Hong Kong apprentice Shenny Chan a few years ago who ended up with Todd Austin at Barcaldine. He won a lot of races and ran 2nd in the Country Apprentice Title of that year. Now the Hong Kong apprentices go to South Australia.



IF Treasurer Jackie Trad or Racing Minister Sterling Hinchliff hopes to regain a smidgen of respect they need to convince a disbelieving thoroughbred industry that it won’t be short-changed by their Government’s plan for redistribution of Point of Consumption Tax revenue.

There remains a cloud over how the $70 million from the Tax will be distributed in the first year with the industry headed down the track of strike action because not a cent appears to be redirected to gallops prizemoney as has been the case interstate.

In fact the racing industry believes there is an estimated $30 million shortfall that could be used to boost prizemoney that is desperately needed in Queensland where the State is falling further behind NSW and Victoria and some key identities are threatening to move their businesses away. Adding insult to injury is an apparently late revelation that this money is instead being directed to cover a 'secret' tax agreement with Ubet. 

An indication of how racing regards Treasurer Trad as a public relations nightmare can be gauged from the response to her reported comment that the Government is ‘sick of the industry looking for hand-outs’.

There needs to be some clarification from Racing Minister Hinchliff after he told Parliament: “Contrary to widespread reporting, equivalent of 100 per cent of (the POC Tax) will be returned to the industry this year.”

Hinchliff insists the Queensland Government support of racing is “roughly equivalent to New South Wales and Victoria.” Critics have argued that in contrast to Queensland introducing a 15 percent POC Tax for a prizemoney increase of zero; NSW has introduced a 10% tax while increasing prizemoney by $24 million; and Victoria an 8% tax and for a prizemoney increase of $12.4 million.

In the initial Media Release the Government stated that the POC Tax was estimated to produce $70 million in revenue in its first year and $100 million the next.

That was to be split into:

A one-off $20 million infrastructure grant to harness and greyhound racing.
And a $17.5 million ‘write-off’ of an existing $335mn loan Racing Queensland owes the Government.
In their joint statement Trad and Hinchliffe said racing infrastructure and key community programs like the gambling help line, emergency helicopter services and kids’ sports would benefit from funding from revenue generated by changes to taxes on large betting operators.

Trad said additional POC revenue would be used to provide significant funding boosts that benefitted communities across Queensland. “Until now, large wagering companies paid tax where their headquarters are located, rather than where bets are placed. Thanks to our changes, the money people bet in Queensland will come back to Queensland and will be reinvested in Queensland communities.

“Racing Queensland will receive a $20 million grant this financial year to be used on two new racing facilities, as well as additional financial support to ensure that there’s no negative impact on Queensland’s racing industry.

“As part of this package we will also forgive $17.8 million of debt owed to the Queensland Government by Racing Queensland, putting them in a better financial position to keep growing this important industry.

“The funding will also be used to provide over $7 million annually to support Queensland’s Emergency Helicopter Network - delivering care when Queenslanders need it most. $5 million each year will be dedicated to provide support for problem gamblers and their families. $2.5 million will also be invested in new funding for community sport this financial year, giving more children and young people the chance to ‘Get in the Game’.

Racing Minister Hinchliffe said a significant portion of the revenue would be directed to the State’s racing industry, including new greyhound and harness racing facilities.

“We have also ensured protection for small bookmakers, meaning on-track local bookies will be largely unaffected.

“We know that country racing is the lifeblood of country towns, which is why we have committed more than $70 million over four years to country racing.

“We have also provided, through the Racing Infrastructure Fund, $120.2 million for the period from 2014 to 2023.

“This funding supports racing infrastructure projects prioritized by Racing Queensland, including capital works for Eagle Farm, Doomben and Bundamba, and the country and regional capital works program.”

The POC initiative was an election commitment from the Palaszczuk Government and came into effect on 1 October 2018.

Since it became obvious that extra prizemoney was not in the equation and political debate has raged over just how well racing fares under the Labor Government and in comparison with the southern States, there seems to have been a component added to how the Government plans to distribute POC Tax revenue.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and whether the timing is right or not industry stakeholders have said ‘enough is enough’ and will voice their protest through strike action halting TAB racing in Queensland on Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup days.

Just who this last resort action will hurt the most is debatable. Punters will find other meetings to bet on (like the big ones in Melbourne); it isn’t likely to have any major negative effect on the turnover with TABs and corporate bookmakers; and clubs that rely on ‘trackside’ parties on these big days will proceed with ‘phantom meetings’ raising the argument whether the major sufferers from the strike will be largely those who have called it. In other words are the stakeholders shooting themselves in the foot with the timing of their strike action?

Feelings in the gallops industry have reached boiling point after learning how the Government plans to distribute proceeds of the new 15 per cent Point of Consumption Tax on all bookmakers betting on Queensland races.

Critics have argued that in contrast to Queensland introducing a 15 percent POC Tax for a prizemoney increase of zero; NSW has introduced a 10% tax while increasing prizemoney by $24 million; and Victoria an 8% tax and for a prizemoney increase of $12.4 million.
In the initial Media Release the Government stated that the POC Tax was estimated to produce $70 million in revenue in its first near and $100 million the next.

That was to be split into:

A one-off $20 million infrastructure grant to harness and greyhound racing.
And a $17.5 million ‘write-off’ of an existing $335mn loan Racing Queensland owes the Government.
The Treasurer has reportedly since added a further $35 million which would cover the tax of Ubet (Tattersall’s). It has been revealed that the betting giant has an agreement for Racing Queensland to meet any additional taxes that it owes. RQ insists it wants some of that money directed toward stakes increases. Key industry figures want to know where this $35 million was mentioned in the original Media Release from Trad and Hinchliff and why that amount should not instead be used for prizemoney boosts considering the millions that Tattersall’s milk out of what is regarded a ‘dud deal for the industry’ that they enjoy.

In their joint statement Trad and Hinchliffe said racing infrastructure and key community programs like the gambling help line, emergency helicopter services and kids’ sports would benefit from funding from revenue generated by changes to taxes on large betting operators.

Trad said additional POC revenue would be used to provide significant funding boosts that benefitted communities across Queensland. “Until now, large wagering companies paid tax where their headquarters are located, rather than where bets are placed. Thanks to our changes, the money people bet in Queensland will come back to Queensland and will be reinvested in Queensland communities.

“Racing Queensland will receive a $20 million grant this financial year to be used on two new racing facilities, as well as additional financial support to ensure that there’s no negative impact on Queensland’s racing industry.

“As part of this package we will also forgive $17.8 million of debt owed to the Queensland Government by Racing Queensland, putting them in a better financial position to keep growing this important industry.

“The funding will also be used to provide over $7 million annually to support Queensland’s Emergency Helicopter Network - delivering care when Queenslanders need it most. $5 million each year will be dedicated to provide support for problem gamblers and their families. $2.5 million will also be invested in new funding for community sport this financial year, giving more children and young people the chance to ‘Get in the Game’.

Racing Minister Hinchliffe said a significant portion of the revenue would be directed to the State’s racing industry, including new greyhound and harness racing facilities.

“We have also ensured protection for small bookmakers, meaning on-track local bookies will be largely unaffected.

“We know that country racing is the lifeblood of country towns, which is why we have committed more than $70 million over four years to country racing.

“We have also provided, through the Racing Infrastructure Fund, $120.2 million for the period from 2014 to 2023.

“This funding supports racing infrastructure projects prioritized by Racing Queensland, including capital works for Eagle Farm, Doomben and Bundamba, and the country and regional capital works program.”

The POC initiative was an election commitment from the Palaszczuk Government and came into effect on 1 October 2018.

Hinchliffe has claimed that the Labor Government support of racing in Queensland is “roughly equivalent to New South Wales and Victoria.”

That statement is regarded as almost as big a joke as former LNP Racing Minister Steve Dickson once claiming that under his Government Queensland racing would wind up ‘a furlong in front’ of NSW and Victoria.

In the understatement of the year top trainer Rob Heathcote said Hinchliff’s opinion was not shared by his constituents. “They delude themselves into thinking they are doing the right thing by the industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, TOM BOSWELL reports for the GOLD COAST BULLETIN that TOBY EDMONDS, leading trainer on the tourist strip, says he will seriously consider packing up his stable and moving south if the Government does not bolster prizemoney.

Speaking for the first time about the tax scandal, Edmonds said he badly wants to continue to support Queensland racing, but the Government needs to ‘wake up’ – and quickly.

“I think about (moving) all the time but we are here for a reason. We have our own property and family here. I want to race in Queensland but it’s becoming very difficult to keep supporting it. It’s not hard to do. We have six horses in Victoria at the moment who have all won Stakes races. To be quite truthful they are very professionally run and more welcoming. If the Government don’t wake up and tip some money back in so we can compete with southern states, we would seriously think about moving.”



THE QUEENSLAND RACING INDUSTRY PARTICPANTS’ ASSOCIATION today declared strike action inevitable in view of the lack of a positive response from the Government over Point of Consumption Tax distribution. 

The group issued a statement which reads:

AFTER years of neglect by various Governments and with the current negotiations reaching a standstill with no sign of a positive resolution, the move to industrial action by the racing participants of Queensland is unfortunately now unavoidable.

All participants in Queensland will stand-down on Saturday, October 27th (Cox Plate Day) for meetings scheduled at Doomben, Gold Coast, Toowoomba & Townsville, and then again on Tuesday 6th of November (Melbourne Cup Day) across all TAB meetings. At this stage we will keep our commitment to allow the non-TAB meetings on both these days to proceed.

This action has the full support of the four industry bodies comprising trainers, jockeys, breeders and owners and comes after a deadline yesterday for the Government failed to deliver the requested commitment to return 100% of the racing component of the Point of Consumption tax to racing.

Despite claims that 100% of this new tax will be returned to racing, the clear fact is none of this will be returned to thoroughbred racing this year. Prizemoney is our wages. Ten years ago our people were receiving 75% of what NSW racing delivered in prizemoney and now Queensland sits at 45%, and as all the other states embrace this new betting tax this gap will only widen further.

The significant financial investment from this new ‘betting tax’ given by the other States into their racing industries, is in stark contrast to what is shown in Queensland and whilst this industrial action is certainly not the industry participants preferred response, the Government’s lack of understanding of the importance of the current situation in Queensland, leaves us with no alternative.

Giddy Up :beer:

« Last Edit: 2018-Oct-24, 09:24 AM by Arsenal »

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THE historic fourth Cox Plate win by WINX provoked plenty of comment from our readers – not that the majority was of the WEDNESDAY WHINGE variety – but LETSGOHORSERACING decided to have our say on what would be a fitting finale to the career of one of the greatest champion gallopers of all time.

TALK of a Harbour City swansong for the legend WINX presents the opportunity for the best racing administrator in the country – Peter V’landys – to catapult Sydney onto the world stage.

If connections don’t want to take Winx overseas – and the wonder mare has nothing to prove after clinching a fourth Cox Plate on Saturday – why not invite the best to OZ to race her.

Peter V’landys was the driving force behind success stories like The Championships and The Everest. Why not the Showdown in Sydney (perhaps they could rename the Queen Elizabeth for one year) – a swansong where more millions are offered in stakes to lure the major racing countries to send their best to challenge Winx?

What a bonanza this would prove for the Sydney Autumn and it would silence that dwindling group of critics who continue to highlight the fact that trainer Chris Waller and owners Debbie Kepitis, Richard Treweeke and Peter Tighe have resisted the challenge to head overseas like connections did with previous champions like Black Caviar, Sunline and company.

As now retired former champion trainer Peter Moody, one of the biggest fans of Winx who endured his share of problems with the great Black Caviar winning at Royal Ascot, often says: “If they want to race her, then they can come Down Under.”

Why not! And Mr V’landys you are the one that could organize this blockbuster which would pack Randwick to the rafters. Might we dare to suggest that it would be more popular than The Championships and wouldn’t draw the same flak as lighting up the Opera House sails before The Everest? It would be a fitting finale to a great career for the wonder mare that has already won almost $23 million in prizemoney.

Controversial British commentator Matt Chapman questioned if English star Cracksman, winner of the recent Champion Stakes at Ascot, should be rated ahead of Winx in the World Rankings before her fourth Cox Plate win.

Commendably prepared to eat some humble pie and apologize to connections, after being labelled a  :censored:  by Chris Waller, Chapman was confronted by owner Debbie Kepetes at the presentation with a message: “You know what, he will probably still say Benbatl is not that good at home. He still won’t think she’s the world’s best, but my God, in my book she is. There you go Matt. They came. We conquered. Bring on everything you want to bring. She is amazing and please look at how she does it and appreciate what she’s done.”

Chapman gave credit where credit was due after the stunning win on Saturday where might we suggest the Poms and Irishman Aidan O’Brien were given a lesson in ‘tactics’ by the Waller stable. They are used to having a pacemaker in races and no doubt the plan was to try and upset Winx by controlling the Cox Plate pace with Rostroprovich and Benbatl. They were arguably out-foxed by Waller who elected to send stablemate D’Argento forward which left the internationals struggling to lead and Winx in the box seat in the small field.

But back to the point we wanted to make – and the timely invitation from Ms Kepetes to ‘bring on the best you can’, well why not? How about programming the Showdown in Sydney and inviting Europe, the UK, Ireland, America and Japan to send their best to challenge our champ before she heads to the breeding barn?

Winx might not have been to Royal Ascot, the Breeders’ Cup or even the Hong Kong International but this would be a fitting chance to silence the last of the doubters and send her off in style.

Just imagine our champion mare giving the likes of British superstar Cracksman, Japan’s Almond Eye and the dual Prix de L’arc de Triomphe winner Enable windburn. And for good measure the heir to her crown, stablemate The Autumn Sun, could be included in the field.

What a fitting finale and blockbusting drawcard to the great career of Winx that would be – food for thought Mr V’landys or something that Australian racing can only dream of?



AMONG the many contributions to the WHINGE we received in the wake of last weekend’s memorable two-day Cox Plate feature – some of which were critical of the MOONEE VALLEY track, this was an interesting one.


‘I watched in awe the wonder of WINX winning her fourth Cox Plate and what I am about to write should in no way be interpreted as criticism of her champion qualities but it needs to be said.

‘Might I suggest that the Cox Plate in 2018 could be described as a tale of two horses, two trainers and arguably the application of two sets of Rules of Racing?

‘In one corner we have Jarrod McLean, better known as stable foreman for Victoria’s top trainer Darren Weir and in the other Chris Waller, the Sydney counterpart of Weir who prepares the legendary Winx.

McLean had hoped to embark on a giant-killing role in the Cox Plate with Trap For Fools which came to his stable with some exemplary form in Western Australia. It’s history now that the horse’s nomination for the big race was rejected and the young trainer has wound up in hot water with stewards.

McLean has been charged with allegedly giving false evidence to stewards after an investigation into the ­stabling of Trap For Fools. He will be referred ­directly to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board.

Investigators claim McLean knowingly sent false information, via text messages to stewards regarding Trap For Fools on October 19, saying the horse would be sent to Darren Weir’s Warrnambool stables at 4.30am the ­following day.

RV’s Compliance Assurance Team visited Weir’s ­stables at 3.50am on October 20 and found the horse already there. Stewards allege that, when questioned about the discrepancy, McLean then told investigators Trap For Fools had arrived at Weir’s stables the previous night, between 6.30pm and 7pm.

Stewards claim the text message was false and/or ­misleading in “that Mr McLean knew at the time of sending it, Trap For Fools was already at Mr Weir’s Warrnambool stable and had been for some time”. They assert that Trap For Fools should have been at McLean’s Yangery complex, not at Weir’s Warrnambool base where McLean is Weir’s stable foreman.

Giving misleading evidence is a serious charge and could have dire consequences for McLean but any close observer of racing would have to pose the question: If you read between the lines and consider the close association between Weir and McLean, what are stewards suggesting? Should punters interpret that McLean was being assisted in his preparation of Trap For Fools for the Coongy Cup and Cox Plate by Weir? It’s an interesting scenario.

Then we have the other side of this Cox Plate tale that involves another contender in D’Argento, which, unlike Trap For Fools, was a starter and in a strange way may have played a more significant role than the majority of those fans cheering Winx on would know.

There are the ‘form experts’ who follow racing closely who believe champion trainer Chris Waller ‘out-foxed’ his international rivals by declaring a change of tactics with D’Argento. Hands up all of those who have seen the grey lead in his races! You won’t get many takers as it is contrary to his normal racing pattern.

When D’Argento ran favorite and fifth behind the European Benbatl in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes at his previous start he settled last. When he finished a close second to Hartnell in the G1 Epsom at Randwick before that, he settled seventh.

Yet it was at the 11th hour decided that in the small field in Saturday’s Cox Plate he would be ridden forward. Smart tactics one might suggest considering the on-pace bias that dogged the Valley track during the two days of the carnival.

Then there are those cynics who say it didn’t harm the prospects of stablemate Winx – not that she needed any help disposing of her rivals in the big race for the fourth consecutive time. Let’s face it she was a class above Benbatl (the import that finished second), Humidor (third despite pulling up lame and ending his spring campaign), Avilius (fourth, running on late as expected as he prepares to run 3200m in the Melbourne Cup),  Rostroprovich (fifth, the Irish Derby runner-up that was caught three wide in the small field), D’Argento (sixth, gone on the home turn), Savvy Coup (seventh, smart across the Ditch, but outclassed against these) and poor Kings Will Dream (broke his pelvis, retired from the race in the back straight and fighting for his life let alone his career).

Now, don’t think I am in any way suggesting Winx should not have beaten this bunch. She is a freak, a superstar, a genuine world champion and claimed an historic fourth Cox Plate, I believe, with something in reserve. What I am saying is that Waller may have out-smarted rival training legends like the Irishman Aidan O’Brien and the Sheik’s No 1 man, Sayeed Bin Suroor, who are so used to having ‘legitimate’ pacemakers in races in Europe and the UK, which is not permitted in OZ. No doubt they expected Rostroprovich (out for the exercise in preparation for her goal, the Melbourne Cup) to set the pace for Benbatl (his only hope of stretching the neck of Winx despite being rated a bit below the best of the staying crop back home).

Alas the plans of mice and men went up in smoke when D’Argento was left in front and dictating (yes, Kerrin McEvoy did report it was not his intention to lead). Don’t for one moment think that new Chief Stipe Robert Cram and his team were sitting on their backsides and didn’t suspect that some might believe there was a hint of ‘team riding’ here – which I am not suggesting for one moment. As the official Stewards’ Report reads: Dargento: Connections advised would be ridden closer; led. Rider Kerrin McEvoy reported that it was his intention to be more forward however it was not his intention to lead, but after having begun well and with not a lot of speed, he was left comfortably in the lead.

It made not one iota of difference to the result – Hugh Bowman was caught wide early but quickly slotted into the box seat in the small field. What I am hoping, in view of the ‘big stick’ approach being taken to the stable switch with Trap for Fools and the not so high profile Jarrod McLean, is that the spotlight is on Waller and D’Argento next time he steps out during the spring carnival and that a simple ‘change of tactics’ will not suffice. If stewards allow the grey to be ‘ridden quietly’ after the stable saw the need to have it with the on-pacers in a race as high quality and important as a Cox Plate, it won’t be a good look.

There will be those who will say I am Waller-bashing or guilty of the tall poppy syndrome of challenging a champion. That is a load of garbage. But like many others I believe this was an aspect of the running of the Cox Plate, amid all the Winx hype, that needed to be raised and not swept under the carpet.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: YOU make some interesting comparisons BOB. LGHR is happy to provide a platform for you to have your say. On the subject of the Valley track it was biased but the critics should spare a thought for the track manager and his staff. What more could they have done?



THE resolution of problems between industry stakeholders and the Queensland Government over distribution of Point of Consumption Tax revenue hasn’t halted the sniping as the following WHINGE contributions indicate.


‘CLAIMS that the Labor Government should have moved sooner to avert strike action at TAB tracks in Queensland last Saturday are a bit rich coming from the LNP.

At least Labor continues to do something to improve prize-money in Queensland. All the LNP did when they were running the show was make promises that they didn’t deliver on.

Then Racing Minister Steve Dickson absurdly claimed Queensland would finish ‘a furlong in front of NSW and Victoria’ under his Government.

And Tim Nicholls, then Treasurer and Member for the electorate covering the major racing precinct in Brisbane, failed to deliver on his promises concerning the redevelopment of the Eagle Farm track.

Delicate negotiations leading to deals like that struck between the Government and the racing alliance don’t happen overnight. By the time an agreement had been reached it was too late to program TAB racing on Saturday.

At the end of the day the strike did lead to the confirmation by Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last Friday of an annual $26 million boost in prizemoney for Queensland racing which leaves the LNP legacy looking quite sick.

One might suggest that the LNP, left with little else to say, were desperately saving face when Shadow Racing Minister John-Paul Langbroek suggested the strike could have been avoided if the Government had reached a deal sooner.

“There's no doubt that the deal should have been done way before yesterday (Friday) afternoon, it was a Government that refused to listen and refused to negotiate. What this has shown over the last couple of days is the arrogance and incompetence of the Labor Government when it came to implementing a new tax,” Langbroek told the media.

Sorry John-Paul what this has shown is that racing in Queensland is now better off by at least $26 million in prizemoney annually – and that’s $26 million more than the LNP failed to deliver to the industry they continue to tell us rakes in so much revenue and employs so many people.

Talk is cheap!’



THE there was this one from JIM MANLEY of the GOLD COAST:

THERE was a strong message from the end result to the strike action which resulted in a loss of TAB race meetings in Queensland on Saturday that should be heeded by the Labor Government.

It took the intervention of an independent, highly respected businessman and former NSW racing administrator in Gary Pemberton to break the deadlock in negotiations between the industry and the Queensland Government.

One has to ask how effective the Racing Queensland Board, headed by Steve Wilson and appointed by the Government, had been in the bid to break the deadlock over distribution of Point of Consumption Tax revenue.

Should this control body of high profile business identities assigned the task of ensuring racing runs profitably and smoothly not have been able to negotiate a quick resolution between angry industry stakeholders and the Government?

We keep getting told how hard new Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell and industry bosses worked toward this resolution but at the end of the day it appears that it was an outsider in Pemberton who virtually overnight brokered the deal which provided a $26 million annual prizemoney windfall for stakeholders.

Treasurer Jackie Trad and Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe released a joint statement acknowledging racing’s importance to the State’s economy but noted ‘racing hasn’t been at its best for a long time and continues to face challenges’.

The Government has committed an ongoing annual $26 million to be paid into gallops prizemoney, the first $18 million of which will be injected from Friday.

In return, the Government has asked for an undertaking from the industry that it will seek broader industry reforms to ensure racing’s long-term sustainability. The Racing Minister said reforms were likely to come with a change in the ratio of Non-TAB to TAB racing, where Queensland has the highest proportion of non-TAB meetings in the country.

“We want to see that change. Work with industry in a range of ways to improve the strength of the industry that feeds back into making it sustainable,” he said.

Now that will be interesting. How about double header TAB meetings on a Sunday with one in the south-east and another in the country and please no addition to the too many already allocated to Toowoomba where it seems to have degenerated into a one-horse race?

The gallops also awaits the response of the trots and dogs which are likely to now be looking for a Government hand-out as well. Most of us won’t have a problem with the greyhounds receiving their fair share or more – they pull their way.

But the ‘red hots’ are nothing more than a sideshow these days and deserve no more than they are already receiving which many believe is too much. Any one care to bet on the harness King-pin not pulling in some political favors. Don’t forget – bet responsibly!

Giddy Up :beer:

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« 2018-Nov-07, 07:42 AM Reply #1115 »



SADLY, the animal activists who hate horse racing have again had their moment in the sun (perhaps we should say the rain) with another starter losing its life after breaking down in the Melbourne Cup.

This is the one thing that all of those involved at the coalface of the racing industry fear most and so do the punters, even those watching the race that stops the nation through a drunken haze.

The protesters were out in force at one of the big events of Cup week as the photograph, reproduced courtesy of JULIAN SMITH and AAP, illustrates above. It was taken as the Cup parade travelled down Swanston Street in Melbourne last Friday. 

What the Cup day protesters have no intention of understanding is that fatalities happen in horse racing, just as they do on our roads. Despite what they may preach it can be unavoidable but racing in Australia is subjected to some of the strictest integrity and safety standards in the world. As hard as we try, this is a sport where tragedy is bound to happen and will continue to happen.

Banning horse racing or stealing headlines with outrageous protests of animal cruelty every time a horse suffers a horrific injury in a big race is not the answer. Whether the protesters like it or not, the Cup will be run again next year and every year after that – hopefully free of the unavoidable incidents like that which sadly claimed the life of The Cliffsofmoher at Flemington on Tuesday.

No-one was to blame for the injury suffered by this beautiful animal which saw him humanely euthanized after fracturing a shoulder soon after the start of the Cup. For millionaire owner Lloyd Williams and his son Nick, who only a year earlier were celebrating victory in the big race with Rekindling, the highs and lows of racing could not have been more evident.

Vets attended to the horse on the track but he could not be saved. The animal activists quickly reminded us through a mainstream media prepared to give them a platform to air their ugly protests that this was third time in five years that the Melbourne Cup had been marred by a horse’s death.

Now they are saying it’s time to stop the race that stops the nation. Good luck to them there. Their publicity machine was in overdrive within minutes of the death of The Cliffsofmoher with the cliam that: Every three days a horse is killed on an Australian racetrack.

Welfare in the three codes – gallops, harness and greyhound racing – has never been under the microscope more. There will always be an unscrupulous minority that  attempt to gain an edge with illegal practices and drug usage on horses but while integrity bodies and the majority of their fellow licensees want to see them hunted out of the industry forever, they are too often saved by smart and expensive lawyers who find loopholes in the Rules of Racing or convince courts that their clients are being denied natural justice. Instead of protesting at the tracks these animal activists should be outside court hearings and at the stables of those trainers with apparent unlimited funds to fight the system. Sadly the protesters don’t know the intricacies of racing nor, one suspects, do they care.

They don’t understand that for safety reasons jockeys need to carry whips (particularly on young horses) and are already limited in the usage of same. They also don’t understand that if there was no jumps racing then the majority of those horses that now compete would be condemned to the knackery or live out their lives in paddocks with little feed, cover or water – a cruel fate that they refuse to comment on. They are also ignorant of the hundreds of thousands who rely on racing for their livelihood, the worth of the thoroughbred industry to the country and the tourism value of our big racing carnivals.

When it comes to the animal liberationists why are their protests directed almost solely at horse racing? What about cruel sports, especially overseas, like bull fighting, cock fighting, dog fighting, live hare coursing, fox hunting, or the circuses and bear shows where animals from the wild are kept in captivity.

It seems horse racing, greyhound racing and rodeos are easier targets for these protesters. Is it little wonder that instead of getting their message across many are now being labelled fruit loops?

Ironically, the animal protesters and the racing industry participants are on the same page when it comes to the welfare of thoroughbred horses. They just go about their business of trying to make racing safer in different ways.



THIS was an interesting email we received from DAVID PHELPS of MELBOURNE in the wake of the latest call by animal liberationists for horse racing to be banned:

‘HOW many of these protesters would know the ridiculous rules that the authorities have been forced to implement when it comes to the use of whips in races?

The answer to that is probably very few despite the fact it has been a knee-jerk reaction from the control bodies of horse racing in this country to the publicity machine of the animal liberation movement.

Just take a look at the first two days of the Cup carnival at Flemington. Ben Melham, who rode Star of Carrum, runner-up in last Saturday’s Victoria Derby, was suspended and fined missing important mounts on Oaks and Stakes day.

Hugh Bowman, rider of Marmelo, runner-up in the Cup, suffered an eight-meeting suspension for his whip use (he will actually be sidelined for a month over the ride following careless riding and overweight charges as well).

In the eyes of some Robert Cram and his panel were headline-hunting at their first Cup carnival since the departure of former Chief Steward Terry Bailey for Singapore. Melham is a regular and easy target and one could argue that they went over the top with Bowman who must rate a terrific chance of having his penalties reduced on appeal.

But back to my original point and on the first two days of the Flemington carnival there was plenty more revenue raising (around $6,000 in fact) from whip usage fines with Kerrin McEvoy ($3,000 on the Cup winner Cross Counter), Michael Walker (A Prince of Arran), Regal Bayliss (Nakeeta), Dwayne Dunn (Sir Charles Road, Damian Lane (Zacada) all fined over their Cup rides and James McDonald also fined when he ran second on Le Romain in the Group 1 Kennedy Mile on Saturday.

One could question if stewards are focusing too much on whip usage and not enough on other issues. Whatever, it is all the result of an attempt to appease the protest movement who won’t be happy until they bring racing to a standstill. Hopefully, that will never happen.’



BOB WONDERS of SYDNEY who provided that thought-provoking WHINGE that prompted plenty of comment last week, has backed up with this little gem:

‘REMEMBER the high profile stewards’ panel who told Kerrin McEvoy when he returned from a successful overseas stint that he needed to adapt more to the Australian riding conditions.

That could have been interpreted as ‘he wasn’t up to the standard of the top jockeys Down Under’ at the time. There were occasions when he seemed to get caught napping, or blocked on the fence, but those who have followed Sydney racing closely had another theory for what was happening to McEvoy back then.

Could it have been that Kerrin, after riding several big winners in Europe for the powerful Godolphin stable, didn’t have the ‘welcome home’ mat rolled out because there were rumors that Sydney was a ‘boys club’ at the time and they didn’t want someone of his ability rocking the boat.

That could best be described as racetrack gossip and had it been the case the stewards of the day were the heavy-hitters of the racing police in this country and they would never have allowed that to happen. They obviously genuinely believed that after years in Europe, McEvoy needed to adapt his riding style more to the Australian conditions.

Kerrin might have battled for a time but once he hit his straps there was no looking back and those who weren’t around can’t even believe he could possibly have been under the microscope back then.

Two Everests and a couple of Melbourne Cups on the mantle-piece and McEvoy is now at the top of the riding tree in this country and still in demand to ride for the powerful Godolphin organization whenever they bring horses Down Under.

It is fitting that The Sheik’s first Melbourne Cup winner – after all those elusive attempts to win the big race – would be ridden by McEvoy in such amazing circumstances as occurred at Flemington on Tuesday when Cross Counter came from near last to score an amazing success.’ 




There was a touch of déjà vu to what he wrote in the days leading up to the Melbourne Cup that saw CROSS COUNTER end the MELBOURNE CUP drought for one of the world’s wealthiest owners, GODOLPHIN, the racing empire run by SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM, the RULER of DUBAI.

Here’s what Sam Duncan wrote, courtesy of FAIRFAX MEDIA:

THE Melbourne Cup has lost its common touch.

It was created way back in 1861 in the image of Australia’s egalitarian values. The design of the race is characterized by the notion of a fair go. It’s a handicap race - the best horses carry the most weight to level the playing field. This supposedly gives all horses a fair go. It’s all about equal opportunity.

As Australian historian John O’Hara puts it, “The real importance of the Melbourne Cup is to be found in what it symbolizes. The inherent uncertainty of the race and its promotion of the concept of equality of opportunity symbolized colonial Australia.”

But let’s be honest, the race is no longer a representation of Australian egalitarianism. It’s now a reflection of a new world of globalization and the business of sport.

It’s now what rich elites do for fun, leaving the Aussie battler with just two chances - Buckley’s and none. Perhaps that’s the way it’s always been. After all, it’s referred to as the “sport of kings” for a reason.

The evidence of this is overwhelming. Last year’s Cup winner, Rekindling, was trained by a 24-year-old Irishman, Joseph O’Brien, and owned by an Australian millionaire, Lloyd Williams.

Williams has something of an obsession with the Melbourne Cup and scours the world for the best stayers to compete in Australia’s mighty race. Whatever he’s doing is working. Williams has now won six Melbourne Cups and has another favourite, Yucatan, in this year’s race.

His fifth victory in 2016 nudged him in front of billionaire Malaysian entrepreneur Dato Tan Chin Nam, who won four Melbourne Cups, all trained by the legendary Bart Cummings.

Chin Nam’s best chance of a fifth Cup came in 2010 with his duel Cox Plate winner, So You Think. However, it was not to be as French-trained, American-bred stallion Americain stormed home to win. Americain was owned by Jayco caravans magnate Gerry Ryan and Melbourne entrepreneur Kevin Bamford.

Other rich winners include Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani, who won the 2011 Melbourne Cup with Dunaden. Sheikh Fahad is a member of the ruling Qatari royal family and worth billions.

Cummings, who won the Cup 12 times for millionaires and battlers, never really embraced the internationalization. He feared the international raiders took the place of hard-working Aussie horses, trainers and owners who support the Australian industry week in, week out. He wanted a cap on how many overseas horses were allowed in.

His grandson, James, is now the Australian trainer of one of the world’s biggest and richest worldwide stables, Godolphin. It’s owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and ruler of the Emirate of Dubai.

Godolphin hasn’t won the Melbourne Cup yet, but it’s back this year with the Cummings-trained Avilius and two highly fancied international horses, Caulfield Cup winner Best Solution and Cross Counter. Then there’s British billionaire Marwan Koukash, who has boldly claimed he’ll strip down to his underwear if his horse, Magic Circle, wins the Cup on Tuesday.

 A total of eight of the top 10 horses in early betting are prepared by European-based trainers. They’re here for the prestige but, make no mistake, they’re also here for the money, which has grown to a record $7.3 million this year. The winner alone will take home $4 million.

So it seems winning the Cup is now reserved for a select, privileged, wealthy few. This is not a strange anomaly, unique to the Melbourne Cup, or horse racing for that matter. Rather, it’s a sign of the times.

Popular sport in any era reflects the society in which it exists. We were once egalitarian and equal. In many respects, we still are. But in today’s global and commercial world, sport is business and money talks.

So to find the winner, your best bet may well be to do away with studying the horses and instead inspect the wealth of the rich and famous owners.

They spend money to win. And in the Melbourne Cup, at least in recent history, they usually do.

That’s now the world we live in.

Giddy Up :beer:


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« 2018-Nov-14, 07:58 AM Reply #1116 »


THE farcical situation confronting racing over the use of whips courtesy of the fruit loop – that should read animal liberation – lobby has intensified after the Melbourne Cup in which the jockeys of the three place-getters breached the ridiculous rules.

Veteran journalist Max Presnell asked a very much tongue-in-cheek question of Heather Neil, the CEO of RSPCA Australia, on the popular ABC radio show, Hoof On The Till.

“Are horse-drawn carriages in Melbourne kept under the same surveillance as races?” asked Presnell who later wrote in a column for Fairfax Media that these ‘cart horses look too good to be mistreated and I don’t query their handlers, but get disgruntled at suggestions of cruelty by racing men.’

Sadly – as Presnell conceded – the political clout of the animal activists has now reached the stage in this country where public, if not punter, opinion is storming towards more reform, where jockeys will be permitted to carry a whip but not use it during a race.

Ms Neil, described by Presnell, as the ‘charming if blinkered CEO of RSPCA Australia’, has responded with delight to the reaction of South African racing officials to public pressure on the issue. 

Thus, a whip-free race over seven furlongs at Turfontein was run recently, with a series expected to follow. South African officials figure the trials will determine if whip-free racing is feasible and in what capacity.

Presnell reported that it had coincided with Christophe Soumillon giving Thunder Snow a real shellacking in the Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs. Stewards in the United States turned a blind eye to Soumillon’s 16 clouts on Thunder Snow, but critics in Britain reckon that had he cut loose in a similar fashion there, particularly with the ‘rapid-fire style’, the penalty would have been severe.

Jamie Stier, now integrity playmaker for Racing Victoria, was involved in the creation of the British rules, which allow for action against any ride in which a jockey uses a whip more than seven times.

Soumillon’s 16 cracks of the whip would normally lead to a 19-day ban, plus more time if it was found he had hit with excessive force.

While Stier, speaking on Hoof On The Till was critical of the Australian rule, which has a basically a seven-strike limit until the 100 metres and few restrictions thereafter, Mark Van Gestel, the strong-arm behind New South Wales racing law enforcement, asked: “What’s the answer?”

Van Gestel stresses the stewards have the power of ‘discretion’, as do jockeys who can lose count with a big prize at the end of major races.

Presnell emphasizes that modern padded whips have hardly the power of a fly swatter. But the court of public opinion worldwide has become whip-shy and can no longer be ignored.

Ms Neil maintains punters would cop a no-strike edict sweet but Presnell says none that he spoke to at Rosehill last Saturday agreed. Alas it was an aged demographic, being hard to find anyone under 50 in the betting ring.



THERE was a message for Racing NSW and its head honcho Peter V’landys when the VRC Sprint Classic was run on the final day of the Flemington Cup carnival.

All the prizemoney in the world doesn’t guarantee the best field.

An arguably better field lined up for the Sprint Classic at Flemington for a mere $1 million in stakes compared to that which raced for an absurd $13 million in The Everest last October.

No doubt connections of Redzel, winner of The Everest for the second time, would disagree with the above sentiments. The Team Snowden galloper collected a cool $6 million for his last big win at Randwick and a paltry $25,000 for finishing fifth on Saturday.

In contrast, Santa Ana Lane, which some would argue is a better sprinter than Redzel (winners can laugh and losers can please themselves), failed to handle the Randwick bog finishing 6th in The Everest (collecting $350,000) but on Saturday made the Sydneysider look second rate in his VRC Sprint win on a dry track which netted $600,000 for his connections.

Redzel is a terrific horse and a winner of 10 races on good ground but seems to relish the heavy tracks these days. Santa Ana Lane is now a triple Group 1 winner for the Anthony Freedman stable.

Take nothing away from the ride of Mark Zahra but spare a thought for Ben Melham, sidelined by a whip suspension in the Derby that cost him the mount, because he remained loyal to a booking for Whoshot Thebarman in the Melbourne Cup.

Another point that shouldn’t be lost on the crew in Sydney who seem hellbent on tearing down the success story that is the Melbourne Spring Carnival, there were just over 40,000 at Randwick to see Redzel win The Everest. And that followed a mountain of publicity including the controversial Opera House sails fiasco.

There were over 67,000 at Flemington for the last day of the Cup carnival on Saturday taking the overall carnival attendance to more than 300,000 despite the dismal weather that greeted Cup day.

It just goes to show that you can throw all the money you like at events like The Championships and The Everest when it comes to drawcards the Melbourne Spring beats whatever Sydney tries to counter with year in, year out and will continue to do so.



A KEEN punter who rates Tony Brassel, Deane Lester and David Gately the three best racing media tipsters did an interesting exercise on the two big days of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

He compared the TOP 4 SELECTIONS of each of the trio and these are the results that he has provided us (which we have checked and found to be spot on):

SKY CHANNEL’S Brassel finished marginally in front after the 19 races on DERBY and CUP DAYS with 10 winners from his four selections, three of those were on-top selections.

LESTER from RADIO RSN in MELBOURNE had eight winners from his TOP 4 but did best of the trio with his on-top selections finishing with four.

GATELY from BEST BETS & RACING.COM finished with eight winners from his four selections, three of those on-top.

Looking at the exotics over the two big days and Brassel & Lester each netted two FIRST 4s, three TRIFECTAS & 5 QUINELLAS while Gately had one First 4, 2 Trifectas & 2 Quinellas.

The Melbourne Cup was an absolute nightmare for the star trio – not one of them found a solitary placegetter in their four selections.

Our contributor noted that while Gately highlighted the setback that Cross Counter had suffered and Lester conceded he was unsure, neither was as adamant as Ron Dufficy on SKY on Cup eve that the Godolphin runner had no hope.

The moral of his email was that any punter who followed the tipsters would have wound up the first two days of the carnival on the losing side of the ledger.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It should be taken into account that some of these guys do their tips days out from the meeting – Gately in particular for Best Bets is assessing the form on a Wednesday. Some of the big name tipsters in the mainstream racing print and broadcast have the advantage of tipping the previous day (some even on the day of the races) and still struggle to compete.



THIS comment piece by SYDNEY MORNING HERALD RACING EDITOR CHRIS ROOTS sums up perfectly what the MELBOURNE CUP is today:

IF you put a picture of the Melbourne Cup finish on a white background and asked anyone in racing where the race was run, they would almost certainly say somewhere in Europe.

The colours of the first five across the line are more familiar to Europe than Australia. The horses are most likely to race there than here for the majority of their careers.

The first Tuesday in November will always resound with Australians; it's our biggest sporting day, but unfortunately the two-mile race so loved no longer holds any relevance to our racing.

The once-a-year punters are now being matched by the once-a-year horses in Australia, here only for the Cup.

The custodians of the Cup, the Victoria Racing Club and Racing Victoria, will always be able to depend on tradition with the big race, but they have lost sight of what makes it great: Australian horses, trainers and jockeys.

While racing has moved forward in other places the Cup's attempts to become an international powerhouse race are becoming a retrograde step for it.

The Europeans are guaranteed a start in the race, which would be worth two years of racing at home, by the weights they are given. They are more likely to get under the handicapper’s guard making them even more competitive against our stayers, which are weighted to their best.

The VRC doesn’t pay travel subsidies, however it wines and dines the best of Europe with a lavish cocktail party during Royal Ascot. That's deemed more important than getting to carnivals around the country to support the local product.

Racing Victoria's handicapper Greg Carpenter has admitted the European three-year-olds are getting in light after consecutive victories. That will be reviewed, but he needs to look at Australian four-year-olds, which are pounded at the weights and why horses that race in Australia struggle to get into the race as they get older.



OBVIOUSLY, the answer isn’t banning the internationals. The Cup is no longer a trans-Tasman clash and nor should it be.

Without the internationals the Melbourne Cup would be a farce – just a better version of what we see in Sydney most Saturdays where a half dozen second rate Waller-trained stayers slug it out with a different result each week.

Plenty of cashed up racing identities in Australia, led by Teams Williams, are pooling their resources and buying big name European horses to contest the Cups.

The anomaly now seems to be that the European youngsters are getting in too light – a la the last two Cup winners in Rekindling and Cross Counter – and that anomaly needs to be addressed.

So does the qualification of the internationals. It seems there are so many races that aren’t up to Group 1 standard that it is easier to qualify for our biggest race overseas than it is here on Australian tracks.

But perhaps a boost to Cup day could be the addition of a 3200m race restricted solely to the locals – like a consolation for those who missed out on a start in the big two miler. They could call it the Makybe Diva after her great wins in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Rather than tinker with Oaks day – and pander to the social set rather than the poor old punter who has been loyal to Cup week for decades – the powers-that-be need to get things right with the race that stops the nation before the loony tunes decide it would be better run under lights at the MCG.

And while they are it these awards for riding and training excellence need to be looked at as well. How did James Macdonald and Team Hayes win those for the carnival just concluded? Without knowing the criteria and taking nothing away from what they did achieve, there were arguably far better performances over the four big days.




THE shock split of Tony McEvoy and champion jockey Jamie Kah was driven by Kah, according to her manager Nick Pinkerton.

RSN reports that while Kah has chosen not to comment on yesterday’s announcement – effectively fueling talk of bad blood – Pinkerton said McEvoy was asking more of Kah than she was prepared to give.

“Tony was asking for a greater commitment, which Jamie couldn’t provide,” Pinkerton said. “There is no bad blood. It’s all amicable.

“We will gratefully accept rides from the McEvoy stable. In-fact Jamie still hopes she will one day ride her first Group One for Tony.”

McEvoy has a reputation for being a hard marker with his riders and Pinkerton said “there had been one or two minor “things” along the way, but that’s all fine.”

“Nothing any different than any relationship between jockey and trainer,” he said.

Before teaming up with Kah, McEvoy split with Matt Neilson, who had ridden over 120 winners for the trainer.

Kah did not return calls but texted that “I’d rather not comment on mine or Tony’s decision at this stage” when contacted by an RSN producer.

Kah has ridden 65 winners from 215 rides for McEvoy in the last 15 months, stats that reveal she and the Angaston-based trainer had become one of racing’s great partnerships.

McEvoy described Kah as a champion jockey a few months ago, saying it was disrespectful to her status to describe her as a champion “female” jockey.

He said at the time that he was grateful for her availability and also praised her yesterday when confirming the split.

Pinkerton said it was difficult for Kah to commit to riding track for McEvoy at Angaston, at the expense of riding for other trainers.

“She’s there twice a week and it’s a three-hour round trip from where she lives (in the Adelaide hills) whereas it’s very easy for her to get to tracks like Morphettville,” he said.

“She just felt that if she put all of her eggs in the McEvoy basket that she would not be being fair to trainers like Will Clarken, David Jolly, the Hayes stable, Ryan Balfour.”

Andrew Mallyon will be flown in to Adelaide to ride for McEvoy on Saturday.



THE most dramatic overhaul in Cup Week history might be around the corner.

MATT STEWART, Racing Editor for RSN, reports that the Victoria Racing Club has pondered a dramatic change to Oaks Day for over a year, one that might mimic the late start-less races format of the famous Royal Ascot carnival.

VRC chief executive Neil Wilson said on track today that “”I think in the future Oaks Day will look a bit different. There might be a way to move it later in the day. We’re looking at a whole range of things.”

It is believed the VRC might consider a change as radical as reducing the number of races from nine to as little as six or seven and begin the program in the twilight, to attract workers who in recent years seem to have found it increasingly more difficult to negotiate an Oaks day “sickie.”

The setting sun already presents itself as a potential problem for twilight racing, given it appears on the horizon, right at the end of the straight, in the eyes of the jockeys, at around 7pm.

Wilson said a gap between races at about that time was an option.

Giddy Up :beer:

« Last Edit: 2018-Nov-14, 08:00 AM by Arsenal »

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« 2018-Nov-21, 07:29 AM Reply #1117 »


THEY are two of the best jockeys in the world but punters could be forgiven for thinking that they were watching a pair of raw apprentices hell-bent on destroying each other’s chances in a feature race in Hong Kong on Sunday.

As the South China Morning Post correctly reported, Zac Purton and Joao Moreira barbequed each other in front on full brothers Time Warp and Glorious Forever in the G2 Jockey Club Cup and in the process arguably gave neither a chance of winning.

Despite the suicidal early pace, which played into the hands of the back-markers, including the winner, Eagle Way from the John Moore stable, stewards concluded inquiries into both rides without taking any action against Purton or Moreira.

Hong Kong stewards, drawn from the cream of the crop in Australia, are renowned for their no-nonsense approach and to be fair they were in a no-win situation. Purton had signaled his intention to lead (with the Cruz stable adamant those were the winning tactics adopted when a form reversal last start winner) and Moreira on Glorious Forever under instructions to ensure Time Warp got no picnic in front and to apply more pressure than at their previous clash. In adopting these instructions to the letter, punters could argue that these two champion hoops destroyed any hope of wining that both horses had.         

Stewards Reports on both rides read:

When questioned, Z Purton (TIME WARP) stated that the tempo of the race throughout was strong as a result of GLORIOUS FOREVER challenging TIME WARP in the lead. He said as TIME WARP must lead in its races and preferably on the rail in order to produce its best, he therefore was reluctant to allow GLORIOUS FOREVER to improve its position forward of TIME WARP despite the race being run at a very strong tempo. He said TIME WARP came under heavy pressure rounding the Home Turn and after being headed by GLORIOUS FOREVER weakened noticeably in the Straight. The performance of TIME WARP, a last start winner and which finished tailed out, was considered unacceptable. Before being allowed to race again, TIME WARP will be required to perform to the satisfaction of the Stewards in a barrier trial and be subjected to an official veterinary examination.

When questioned, J Moreira stated that he was asked to ride GLORIOUS FOREVER positively in the early stages to take up a forward position. He said he was given the option of either racing outside the anticipated leader TIME WARP, however, if that horse slacked the tempo in the lead, it was acceptable for him to allow GLORIOUS FOREVER to improve into the lead. He said in accordance with his instructions he was able to obtain a forward position in the early stages and shifted in to race outside TIME WARP approaching the 1700m. He said after the 1700m GLORIOUS FOREVER improved to be racing about a neck in front of TIME WARP and he elected then to continue pressing forward to see whether GLORIOUS FOREVER would show sufficient speed to be able to cross TIME WARP. He said passing the 1600m TIME WARP was niggled along to maintain its position to the inside of GLORIOUS FOREVER and therefore he elected to steady GLORIOUS FOREVER and sit off TIME WARP. He said along the Back Straight he sat at the hindquarters of TIME WARP and then commenced to improve his position to race on terms with that horse at the 700m. He said it had been explained to him that GLORIOUS FOREVER was out-sprinted by TIME WARP at its most recent start and therefore he elected to improve at this time which was earlier than would normally be the case as he had sat off TIME WARP in the middle stages and he wanted to ensure that TIME WARP was not able to quicken and again out-sprint GLORIOUS FOREVER. He added after improving to race outside TIME WARP, GLORIOUS FOREVER then came under pressure rounding the Home Turn and did not finish off the race over the final 200m. Trainer F C Lor confirmed the instructions given to J Moreira and stated that he was of the opinion GLORIOUS FOREVER had been out-sprinted by TIME WARP when that horse was allowed to have an unchallenged lead at its previous start. He said accordingly he instructed Jockey Moreira if GLORIOUS FOREVER was not able to lead today’s race, he must ensure that TIME WARP was not able to establish a break on GLORIOUS FOREVER approaching the Home Turn.

Top trainer Tony Cruz lamented the ‘crazy’ speed used to attack Time Warp on Sunday saying his horse never stood a chance against the onslaught from younger brother Glorious Forever.

Cruz was livid post-race after stablemates Pakistan Star and Time Warp tailed off to finish a combined 40 lengths behind the winner, while his other runner Exultant benefited from the on-pace stoush to run second by a length in the Group 2 BOCHK Jockey Club Cup (2,000m).

John Moore’s Eagle Way (a Queensland Derby winner) took full advantage of the speed battle to come from last and win, putting him in a great position to go on to next month’s Longines Hong Kong International Vase (2,400m).

Time Warp surprised punters last start by winning over 1800m after finishing at the tail of the field in his three previous runs. However, the dual Group 1 winner showed he is still ‘rocks or diamonds’ depending on how the speed of the race pans out.

While Pakistan Star’s jockey, Karis Teetan, sat behind the leaders, the usual crowd favorite was uncompetitive in the straight, with stewards slapping both him and Time Warp with ‘failed’ runs. This means they need to trial successfully before racing again, putting their Hong Kong International Day preparations in jeopardy.

Cruz was understandably angry and frustrated after the feature in which he had three runners – the well-backed Exultant which stormed home only to be overhauled by Eagle Way; the enigmatic Pakistan Star which threw in another shocker to finish at the tail of the field with stablemate Time Warp, which is quickly becoming the most inconsistent big race contender in Hong Kong.

Cruz, a one-time top jockey in Hong Kong, didn’t hold back and let his feelings about the tactics used by Moreira on Glorious Forever be known to stewards following the race.

“They all went bonkers in front. It’s just crazy,” he said. “It was a stupid race. How can you ride a race like that? Zac (Purton, riding Time Warp) said it’s just ridiculous like that. The pressure was on and the horse never had a chance to recuperate and run his race.”

With Pakistan Star now flopping three straight times this season – all at single-figure odds – Cruz said he would inspect the horse this week to see if there was anything wrong with his star galloper.

“I can’t say too much until I get him checked out. There could be something going on so I’ll have the vet check him as well. I think they went too hard on him, chasing those two other leaders and they went bloody bonkers.”

For punters around the globe, who love a bet on the Hong Kong races, the only surprise was that stewards didn’t see fit to give Purton and Moreira some penalty or at least a dressing down about the tactics they employed which one could argue gave both their fancied mounts next to no chance of winning.   



IF racing authorities – especially stewards – are determined to ensure there is no conflict of interest in jockey managers operating tipping services then many punters will raise a far more important issue that they believe should be addressed.

That is overcoming the increasing problem with big stables having multiple runners and the second string hopes scoring upset wins over the ones that are more fancied in the betting or by the ‘experts’.

How many times do we see this happen, especially with the Chris Waller stable in Sydney staying races; Darren Weir in Melbourne (he could have seven starters in Saturday’s Ballarat Cup); and to a lesser extent with Tony Gollan in Brisbane (where he had three runners in the opening Summer Carnival feature last weekend)?

There was a time when stablemates were bracketed for betting purposes. These days some of the corporates even frame a separate market offering a ‘special price’ when big stables have two good chances in a feature race.

Most would agree that with the numbers that Waller and Weir have in some races it would be impractical to bracket stablemates in the betting. Just imagine the Saturday middle distance farce in Sydney where on occasions Waller has half or three quarters of the field.

Stables will argue that horses race for different owners and it would be unfair on them to have their runners bracketed with other starters. Owners are the lifeblood of the sport but so too are the punters and rarely a week goes by when fancied runners are beaten by lesser fancied stablemates.

Some might say it isn’t a good look. It certainly puts the microscope on how the beaten favorite was ridden, what the trainer said about its chances before the race and a comparison with the second string stable runner that saluted.

Unfortunately when it comes to predicting the chances of his runners pre-race, Chris Waller, is a pretty poor judge – or at least that’s the opinion of those punters who bet on Sydney racing.

Weir is regarded as more of a ‘foxy character’ and punters are wary of what he says in pre-race interviews. Racing media identities who interview him regularly refer to Weir as ‘glass half full’ when rating the chances of his runners and even joke about him playing down the chances of some stable fancies.

Gollan, who started the Queensland Summer Carnival with a bang on Saturday, had three runners in the Listed Keith Noud Quality at Doomben on Saturday and the roughest of the trio – Most Important – duly scored an upset win at $19.

It coincided with the release of a new Video Series from the Gollan Stable, which is distributed to owners, previewing chances in the lead-up to the main meeting of the week. To be fair to the leading Brisbane trainer he did not totally rule out More Important as a winning chance, warning that although his fresh form was not that great on paper the horse did run a terrific race first-up last time in.

Top trainers should be commended for the time that they allocate during a busy schedule to informing the public through the racing media on the chances of their horses each week.

Imagine the massive interruptions that Waller endures whenever Winx is preparing for another start. And it has to be remembered that Weir has over 800 horses on his books so satisfying the demands of those involved with the stable sounds like mission impossible without considering media requests.

Perhaps the answer to the problem that arose in Sydney on Saturday when a jockey manager showed good judgement in selecting another runner (for his tipping service clients) to upset the hot favorite ridden by his client (in a manner that rightly caused stewards to launch an inquiry) is to ban this conflict of interest and ask him to choose which service he wants to survive.

From a punters’ perspective the conflict of interest for a trainer trying to juggle the chances of multiple runners in races is just as big a problem but they can hardly be asked to start only one in a race.

Spare a thought for guys like Waller and Weir who have in the back of their minds the demands of owners who enjoy a punt and the need to inform the public without breaching any confidentiality or telling porkies that will get them into strife with the stewards.

At least the situation is a far cry from the days before SKY and RACING.COM were heard of when a newspaper racing scribe would phone up a trainer and ask about the prospects of his favorite the coming Saturday only to be greeted by a less than  courteous: ‘ :censored:  off’!



IN the eyes of the general racing public the new All-Star Mile planned to be run in Melbourne next March will have much more appeal than The Everest, the Sydney blockbuster that caused its creation.

The absurd amount of prizemoney offered for runners in The Everest - $13 million – is seen by most as pandering to racing’s rich and famous. The $5 million All-Star Mile will arguably have just as much public appeal but more importantly the field will be chosen by the fans.

While The Everest has ridden shotgun with controversy from Day 1 – where it was claimed Racing NSW simply ‘pinched’ the concept from the Yanks then used every media tart they could source to publicize it, even creating controversy by lighting up the Opera House sails for the barrier draw.

Two things are certain with the Victorian counterpart. It won’t take cheap publicity stunts to win the fans over. The crowd will be bigger no matter what gimmicks they continue to offer in Sydney. And, heaven forbid, it might even pinch the limelight from the planned NSW farewell for super mare Winx.

The inaugural All-Star Mile will debut at Flemington on March 16 next year with super mare Winx at the top of the wish list of starters. She is set to have her final campaign through the autumn in Sydney, but the $2.25 million winner’s purse could entice connections to divert to Melbourne.

The big winner of the Victorian concept is that a fan vote will determine 10 of the 14 runners in the weight-for-age event with RV retaining four wildcards to complete the field.

The fans will also get a slice of the winnings with each horse in the field having a voter attached, who then becomes a nominal owner for the day. If their All-Star is successful, the lucky punter could snare $250,000.

Key to the new concept is getting the three Victorian metropolitan clubs on board which shouldn’t present a problem with the plan to rotate the race annually between Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley.

The fan-voting concept has been used successfully in Japan with the G1 Arima Kinen over 2500m, known as the “people’s race”.  It has 10 runners selected by public vote with six added by the racing authorities. Since 2013, it has attracted more than one million votes each year.

The All-Star Mile will overtake the Hong Kong Mile ($4.29 million prizemoney), which is run in early December, as the richest 1600m event in world racing but standby for the HKJC to counter with extra stakes (and they have a huge betting turnover purse to fall back on).



JOAO MOREIRA (pictured in a SCMP caricature depicting the weight of money bet on him whenever he rides) might by arguably the best jockey in the world, but he wasn’t smart enough to pass the ‘written test’ required to ride permanently in Japan.

Their loss was Hong Kong’s gain – and although Moreira didn’t endure a saloon passage ride back to his old happy hunting ground – behind the scenes punters and officials can’t wait for his return.

The Brazilian shocked Jockey Club officials – and his fans worldwide – with the sudden announcement that he would be leaving Hong Kong after five seasons and three championships to try his luck in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The decision to jump ship caught the Jockey Club off guard and when there was talk about Moreira returning, Chief Executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges made it clear that Hong Kong ‘is not a place you can walk in and out of’.

Champion trainer John Size basically had to move ‘heaven and earth’ to secure the official green light for the Magic Man’s comeback to Hong Kong. His decision to bring Moreira back to the fold by applying for a stable-retained license ensured that the Jockey Club would not lose any face after feeling disrespected over the manner in which he departed.

Under Jockey Club rules, Size needed to get at least 85 per cent of his owners to agree to support Moreira as a retained rider, and those owners need to contribute at least $HK1,000 per month for each horse they own in the stable.

The Magic Man now needs to ride at least 75 per cent of those supporting owners’ runners, otherwise the retainer breaks down, but that shouldn’t be an issue given his ability to ride light.

It also means that if Size has a runner in a race, Moreira cannot ride for an outside stable unless the trainer uses an apprentice or a freelance rider with a claim. Sadly, this situation will almost certainly close the door on another epic finish to the Jockeys’ Championship with arch rival Zac Purton.

Sunday saw the Magic Man win a feature on the Size-trained Hot King Prawn at his first meeting back riding in Hong Kong since the announcement of his comeback. A story by TOM BIDDINGTON in the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST summed it up under the headline: ‘From Cheers to Boos & Back Again – Welcome Home Joao Moreira’. It read:

THE famously fickle fans who huddle around the Sha Tin parade ring gave Joao Moreira a spontaneous cheer before his first ride back in Hong Kong – but that appreciation turned to condemnation just a handful of races later.

Welcome back, Joao.

The ever-gracious Brazilian acknowledged the support, bowing and giving the thumbs up – and when the crowd turned he kept his eyes fixed forward to block out the noise and focus on the task at hand. In those moments, Japan – where he has plied his trade since departing – must have felt a lot further than 2700km away.

But after failing to collect a placing with his first six rides, the Magic Man Hong Kong knows best turned up, taking out the last three races on the card with Hot King Prawn, Raging Storm and Noble Steed to reiterate why he is one of the best jockeys in the world.

Of course, those grizzled punters stung after the Magic Man was beaten on a couple of favorites – they were particularly vicious after Glorious Forever went under – turned those jeers into cheers with a winner (or three).

As Jockey Club chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges noted: “It is a tough crowd, but this is Hong Kong.”

Even after that rough patch in the middle, the 35-year-old had plenty of praise for the fans, but he did want to provide a reality check.

“Hong Kong has received me in a very, very nice way. I couldn’t be any more pleased with the warmth that the people has passed onto me and I’m very much looking forward to it because I do want to respond to their expectations,” Moreira said.

“One thing I have got to say is their expectations may be a little bit too high, in particular being locked into John Size’s stable.”

While Moreira was keen to pour cold water on how many winners he will be riding once he resumes at Sha Tin for good on December 9, expectations cannot get any higher for Beauty Generation after another incredible performance in the traditional lead-up meeting for the Longines Hong Kong International Races.

John Moore’s superstar has a mortgage on the Hong Kong Mile – a third-straight victory this season in track-record time despite not having things go his way will do that.

He has lengths on the locals and given Sha Tin-based horses have won 12 of the past 13 renewals of the Group 1, all you can say to the visitors is good luck.

The latter two barbequed each other in front early, setting it up for backmarkers like Eagle Way and Exultant, while it looks to be back to the drawing board with the former, who looks a different horse to the one who claimed two Group 1s at the end of last season.

From a Hong Kong Sprint perspective, Hot King Prawn led from go to whoa, while Mr Stunning was gallant in defeat. They look the leading two local hopes.

It was fitting Moreira claimed the final feature before going on to complete the treble. For the past five years he has been synonymous with Hong Kong racing, and this was a firm reminder on what everyone has been missing out on.



GREG BLANCHARD, a regular contributor from NUDGEE, sent this email:

‘I recently wrote about the lack of jockeys and enforced scatchings in the bush and included some statistics.

Last weekend was lower on numbers with six without riders at Julia Creek and one at Gold Coast.

That followed an amazing total at bush tracks of 20 on Cox Plate day and nine at Cloncurry the following week along with a total of 21 on Melbourne Cup day.

One horse, Romani Star, was scratched on August 18 from Mt Isa, at Cloncurry on November 3 and again last Saturday.

What I found surprising last Saturday at Gold Coast in Race 5 was that Bloomin Arry was scratched because there was no suitable rider.

I believe that this problem involving a lack of jockeys in the bush will only get worse. Urgent action needs to be taken.’



CONTROVERSIAL cartoonist Larry Pickering has died, aged 76, following a long illness. His interest in horse racing has been well documented and featured in many of his illustrations (like the one above published in the wake of the Damien Oliver betting scandal).

Pickering died this week on the Gold Coast surrounded by family after a two-year battle with cancer.

The father of 11 checked himself out of hospital late last week to spend his final days with his family.

The four-time Walkley Award-winner became well-known in the 1970s for his work during the Whitlam and Fraser Governments, which was collected into best-selling books.

His work appeared in The Australian, The Canberra Times, The National Times and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He retired from his political work in the early 1980s before making a comeback in 2011 when he took on then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard who branded the right wing views expressed on his website as 'vile and sexist'.



MELBOURNE will host one of the richest horse races in the world next year, cementing its status as the centre of racing in Australia.

SCOTT GULLAN reports for the HERALD SUN that the new $5 million All-Star Mile will sit alongside the Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate as jewels in Victoria’s racing crown. And racing fans will get the opportunity to decide who contests the race through a public ballot.

The inaugural All-Star Mile will debut at Flemington on March 16 with super mare Winx at the top of the wish list.

Racing Victoria has been desperate to hit back at its Sydney counterparts after they launched the Everest concept, with its world-record prize money, to much fanfare two years ago.

Winx will be a priority. She is likely to have her final campaign through the autumn in Sydney, but the $2.25 million winner’s purse could entice connections to divert to Melbourne.

A fan vote will determine 10 of the 14 runners in the weight-for-age event with RV retaining four wildcards to complete the field.

The fans will also get a slice of the winnings with each horse in the field having a voter attached, who then becomes a nominal owner for the day.

If their All-Star is successful, the lucky punter could snare $250,000.

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said the key to the new concept was getting the three Victorian metropolitan clubs on board and the race will rotate annually through Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley.

“It’s totally unique, no one else can do it,” Thompson said. “We’re lucky enough to have three vibrant and different clubs.

“The core of the race will be the same year in, year out, but the experience will be totally different because the clubs will bring what they bring.”

The fan-voting concept has been used successfully in Japan with the Group 1 Arima Kinen event over 2500m, known as the “people’s race”.

They also have 10 runners selected by public vote with six added by the racing authorities. Since 2013, they’ve had more than 1 million votes each year.

“Our fans are passionate about racing,” Thompson said. “The fans just want to get involved and this enables them to get involved.”

Thompson said The All-Star Mile wasn’t a reaction to the success of The Everest or about getting bragging rights.

“Our autumn racing schedule is pretty impressive with Super Saturday … but we felt it could do with an injection of newness and innovation,” he said.

“This really does that; it will create a lot of interest and be the real feature event of the carnival. The two states are very different and bring different things to the racing calendar.

“This is something they couldn’t do in Sydney because they don’t have three different metro clubs for starters. Similarly, you could argue, could we do something like the Everest down in Melbourne? But it’s not about that, it’s about us bringing our own things to the racing schedule.”

On the prospect of luring Winx, Thompson said: “She could easily run in it; Chris Waller and the owners will decide that. There is no doubt people are going to be talking about how Winx should be running in it.”

The All-Star Mile takes over from the Hong Kong Mile ($4.29 million prizemoney), which is run in December, as the richest 1600m event in world racing.


1600m, March 16

Prizemoney: $5 million

1st: $2.25 million

2nd: $720,000

3rd: $360,000


Owners/trainers nominate horses by early January
Fans vote online for the horse they want from the list of nominations. Voting closes late February
The 10 highest vote-getters are selected for the race.
Four wildcards will be determined by March 5 to complete the field of 14 All-Stars.
Final field confirmed and barrier draw conducted on March 12.
Lucky fans allocated to each runner and becomes a nominal owner for the race with a chance to share in $500,000 prizemoney.


JOAO MOREIRA will make a stunning full-time return to Hong Kong next month after the Jockey Club gave him the green light to re-join the ranks as John Size’s stable rider.

TOM BIDDINGTON reports for the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST that the Licensing Committee confirmed the new arrangement on Saturday morning, which will see the Magic Man back in action from December 9 and continue through until June 9.

While the six-month period which Size applied for was granted – it is expected Moreira will be able to secure a full Jockey Club licence after that to complete his return.

“What he said to the club is he wishes to ride here for the long term,” Jockey Club executive director of racing Andrew Harding said.

“It’s been an interesting season so far and it will be interesting to see Joao’s reintegration in the months ahead.”

Moreira, who has ridden 717 winners in Hong Kong, is one of the best jockeys in the world and his return completes a remarkable turnaround since he made the decision in June to spurn the Jockey Club and chase opportunities in Japan.

The move back has been over a month in the making, the wheels put into motion once Moreira was unable to secure a Japan Racing Association licence after failing the written exam.

The Brazilian shocked Jockey Club officials – and racing fans worldwide – when he suddenly announced he was leaving Hong Kong after five seasons and three championships to try his luck in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The decision to jump ship caught the Jockey Club off guard and when there was talk about Moreira returning, chief executive Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges made it clear that Hong Kong “is not a place you can walk in and out of”.

But Size’s decision to bring Moreira back to the fold by applying for a stable-retained licence ensured the Jockey Club would not lose any face after feeling disrespected over the manner in which he departed, paving an avenue for his return.

Moreira will ride at Sha Tin this Sunday where he will partner Hot King Prawn in the Group Two BOCHK Wealth Management Jockey Club Sprint before returning for next month’s Longines Hong Kong International Races when his new licensing arrangements will kick into gear.

Under Jockey Club rules, Size needed to get at least 85 per cent of his owners to agree to support Moreira as a retained rider, and those owners need to contribute at least HK$1,000 per month for each horse they own in the stable.

The Magic Man now needs to ride at least 75 per cent of those supporting owners’ runners otherwise the retainer breaks down, but that shouldn’t be an issue given his ability to ride light.

It also means that if Size has a runner in a race, Moreira cannot ride for an outside stable unless the trainer uses an apprentice or a freelance rider with a claim.

So given the restrictions, it is unlikely Moreira and his rival Zac Purton will fight out another epic battle for the championship, which went down to the final day of last season with the Australian prevailing by two wins.

But Moreira’s return is a boon for the industry, strengthening the depth to the jockeys’ room and it will spark plenty of interest from fans who want to see how the dynamic works.

Giddy Up :beer:


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« 2018-Nov-28, 08:54 AM Reply #1118 »
Opening day of Eagle Farm with free admission is a suggestion from LGHR that RQ & BRC should consider.....this  would be an excellent PR initiative IMO although these days punters on course apart from major meetings are a little light on ........hard to believe that it's been 4 years since EF closed down ..I was there when they ran the trial day before the course reopened after the major restoration that was undertaken and I was most impresed how it looked ...and was not to know the centrepiece ..the race track itself wouldn't stand up ....hopefully this time it will last the distance....other issues in this week's Wednesday Whinge Qld is lagging behind in providing sectional times WA has adpted Vince Accardi's method which to me would be better if it followed the ATC trakus system in splits in seconds rather than top speeds in MPH other issues of interest ,

THE Queensland Summer Carnival moves into full swing at Doomben this Saturday but for many punters the highlight cannot be found among the 21 Black Type features with over $15 million in stakes or Australia’s richest race day, the Magic Millions in January.
It will be the much-awaited and long overdue return to racing at Eagle Farm on Saturday, December 22, after an unbelievably embarrassing absence of four years, discounting the failed comeback, all of which has made racing in Queensland a national joke.
They say that time heals all wounds and hopefully that applies to horse racing or the rebuilding of racetracks regardless of the cost (some who don’t support the sport or gambling have raised valid questions about how much better these taxpayer millions could have been spent on hospitals, schools or aged care).
That aside, as a gesture to the pain, suffering and patience endured by the punting public while Brisbane has been without its major racetrack for so long, surely the Brisbane Racing Club can see fit to offer ‘free admission’ on the day racing returns to Eagle Farm.
In the overall scheme of things – and the amount lost to the industry in trying to correct what has been a track reconstruction nightmare – the cost would be but a drop in the bucket.
More importantly, it would be an overdue public relations winner not only for the club but also Racing Queensland – something that has gone missing in action for far too long.
If funds are short then look for a sponsor – one of those who continue to make millions out of racing in Queensland every year. The corporate bookies come to mind but they are on war footing with the Government over the Point of Consumption Tax – but that doesn’t rule out two other options.
Tattersall’s (UBET) make a stack out of their sweetheart TAB deal (a dud one for the industry many would say) and here’s their chance to give a little back.
Perhaps Queensland Newspapers could jump in as a co-sponsor considering the rewards they reap from Form Guides (albeit their new sponsor is a corporate bookmaker in Ladbrokes) and those waste of space advertorial propaganda supplements promoting racing or special racing events which one could argue brings no more people to the track.
The feedback from trainers and jockeys seems to be positive about the capability of the new Eagle Farm surface being as ready as it ever will be for a return to racing. Rather than heap bouquets on the wonderful job done by RQ, the BRC and those responsible for finding a solution to four years of problems an objective racing media would be saying or writing at worst: ‘Too little, too late’ or at best: ‘It’s about time’. Instead we will no doubt have to endure more finger-down-the-throat arse licking about the wonderful job done by those who should have been blamed for this embarrassing saga and shown the door a long time ago.
Here’s hoping the problems of Eagle Farm are overcome and that racing returns to headquarters on a regular basis. But just reiterating: How about rewarding the punters for their patience by making it ‘free admission’ (perhaps with even a free betting voucher). There’s every other meeting of the year to rip them off having to pay to go through the gate for the privilege of losing their money (something that doesn’t happen when you attend the local Pub, Club or TAB or watch the action from the comfort of your lounge room – but that’s another story).     
RARELY a month passes when punters don’t have a WHINGE to LGHR about the lack of available sectional times for racing in Queensland.
That was again the case after the item by NATHAN EXELBY in THE VERDICT in THE COURIER-MAIL in the past week when he wrote:
WESTERN Australia is the latest State to join the sectional time bandwagon, with last week’s announcement that a new service will be launched in partnership with Vince Accardi’s Daily Sectionals.
Punters will be able to see 200m splits and cumulative times from the 1200m, together with each horse’s positions in running.
The service will cover all WA thoroughbred meetings that are telecast on SKY Racing.
Accardi said the data coverage would be “vital in assisting with racing integrity” in addition to being a “fantastic tool for the racing enthusiast, trainers, jockeys and owners”.
Queensland is yet to embrace the sectional times juggernaut.
Punters on Queensland races would no doubt welcome a similar service in this part of the world. When Eagle Farm returned after its first hiatus, it was mooted the Trakus timing system would be installed, but nothing eventuated.
It is understood plans are still afoot to have the Trakus system in use when Eagle Farm is fully operational again.
LGHR followed this up with RQ some months ago and was told that the free sectional time service – that was available to punters on Victorian, NSW and South Australian racing – had been delayed because of the problems with the Eagle Farm redevelopment which seemed a bit Irish to us.
We asked why this was isolated to Eagle Farm and the reason that free sectionals were not available for other tracks like Doomben, Gold and Sunshine Coasts etc.
The answer: It is all part of the Trakus sectionals system to be installed at Eagle Farm and then systematically over a couple of years at the other major TAB tracks. Again it doesn’t make sense why other tracks couldn’t have it installed before Eagle Farm.
We made a few inquiries and found that in most other states individual sectionals are taken from computer chips (tracking systems) installed in saddle cloths. If they can do it, why can’t Queensland? Another reason, punters say, that Queensland runs a distant last in all things racing.
THIS Whinge about the cost of the QUEENSLAND RACING INTEGRITY COMMISSION from a contributor, writing under the name of ‘SAFARI MICK’:
$28 million.....seriously?
In scanning an article by David Fowler this morning I almost choked on my toast.
The cause of this consternation was Fowler's report that included comments by (QRIC Commissioner) Barnett that: “The estimated $15 million integrity cost under the former Racing Queensland model was simply transferred across to QRIC with the additional funding now provided by the State Government. While the budgeted figure of almost $28 million for 2018/19 can be scrutinized and criticized, it's the Government that's footing the bill, not the stakeholders.”
Oh what great comfort, the Government pays.  It apparently escapes ‘Mr Plod’ that the racing folk of Queensland as taxpaying citizens have every right to be concerned as to whether their tax paying dollars are being invested wisely? And my guess is the overwhelming public opinion would be in the negative.
Surely a recent Internal Review provides a window into the wonder that is QRIC, at the same time raising more questions?
On 22 November QRIC issued the following media release announcing the reinstatement of a trainer’s license. “Mr Bailey’s license to train was suspended by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission effective on 23 October 2018, based on a pending animal welfare criminal charge which allegedly breached a condition of his license and his suitability as a licensee. Mr Bailey sought an internal review of his suspension and the internal reviewer has found in his favor in the interests of procedural fairness and  natural justice and has found to set aside the decision to suspend his license."
On 23 October (the Commissioner), one might argue desperate for success, announced: “A 61-year-old Licensed Thoroughbred Trainer from Cairns has been charged with Animal Cruelty under the provisions of Section 18 of the ACPA. Police will allege the trainer overdrove, overrode or overworked a racehorse while it was suffering an injury between October 5 and 20, 2018.  He has been given notice to appear in the Cairns Magistrate’s Court on November 12, 2018. QRIC has moved to immediately suspend the trainer’s license.”
What has not been disclosed is where the stuff up occurred?  Using the terminology "in the interests of procedural  fairness and  natural justice" the Internal Reviewer would appear to suggest that there were inadequacies, errors, or omissions, in either QRIC's initial dealing with Mr Bailey or in their handling of the suspension of license which, if tested, would have embarrassed QRIC?
So Mr Plod, which is it? How did your officers stuff up, and at what cost?
There's also no disclosure as to the extent of the cost of QRIC's conduct upon the trainer.
At least give taxpayers and the industry some outcome for their dollars, and remember transparency eh Sir, isn't that what QRIC's about? Yeah right!  And there's so much more that never gets fully explained to Government and taxpayers, isn't there?
When will Government make the ‘Plods’ of QRIC accountable and review performances, results, costs etc?  Regrettably, it's probably overdue!
$28 million! Really?'
EDITOR’S NOTE: AS this email only arrived overnight we will endeavor during the next week to get a response or at least offer QRIC the right of reply.
DAILY Telegraph Racing Editor Ray Thomas, regarded by many in racing as the ‘spin doctor’ for Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys, has started the push for The Everest to be granted Group 1 status.
Thomas argued in an article this week that the decision of Racing Victoria to introduce the All-Star Mile has indirectly strengthened the case to elevate The Everest, which was the brainchild of V’landys, albeit pinched from an American format.
Thomas talks about both races being an example of the innovation required to make racing more relevant and interesting to fringe sports fans but forgets to mention how The Everest is arguably for the ‘rich and famous’ who bid for ‘slots’ in the field and is worth an absurd $14 next year while the All Star Mile will start out at a much more realistic $5 million and the field selection will involve a vote from those who really help racing survive, the punting public.
The All Star Mile at Flemington next year will be the richest in the autumn and Thomas writes that there is already debate about if and when it should be made a Group 1 race which he says brings into question some of the reasons used to block the push to make The Everest a Group 1 race.
These include suggestions The Everest should not be elevated to Group 1 level as it is a restricted race with the field determined by the whim of slot-holders selections. He goes on to argue that every race has certain restrictions anyway — a Maiden can’t run in the Melbourne Cup, for example — and so will the All-Star Mile. The public vote will determine 10 starters in the new Flemington race, while Racing Victoria officials will select the final four starters.
Thomas admits there were also critics dismissive of The Everest claiming it was a gimmick race but asserts that they have subsequently lauded the announcement of the All-Star Mile and its novel concept. He’s probably referring to interstate rivalry between some identities in the racing media.
Sadly many of the valid points Thomas makes are lost on a racing public that has become too accustomed to his ‘spin doctoring’ of any idea flowing from Racing NSW or V’landys.
The All-Star Mile and The Everest – by virtue of their prizemoney – will attract top quality fields and promote Australian racing internationally. Whether there should be a waiting period before Group 1 status is granted remains debatable.
One thing is for certain neither will attract any better field because it is worth $14 million compared to $5 million and that is what gets up the noses of those who follow racing not to mention many owners who have provided the fields for the bread and butter races and support the sport just as much as others with the long pockets that enable them to bid for Everest slots.
THERE has been much debate as to whether WINX will be lured to Melbourne during her swansong campaign to contest the new All-Star Mile.
Standby for Racing NSW to counter with some equally attractive prizemoney boost in an effort to restrict the farewell starts of Winx to Sydney.
Fortunately her connections are such great promoters of racing and the industry in general that what is in the best interests of the mare has always dictated their decision-making process.
About the only criticism Winx has copped is that she never campaigned off-shore. Whether there is nothing to prove and that rivals can always come here and take her on remains a hot topic of debate.
Just imagine though the mouth-watering clash involving Almond Eye, the champion filly that won the Japan Cup last Sunday; the brilliant Enable, winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe twice along with the recent Breeders’ Cup Turf and Winx, after her triple Cox Plate success.
Rather than continue to take pot-shots and try to outdo each other, perhaps officials of Racing NSW and Victoria should be bidding for that block-buster. If a race like that couldn’t draw a half decent crowd to the track in Sydney then no amount of ‘free publicity’ or ‘jacked up prizemoney’ will.
GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE, continues his battle to overcome the problem of a lack of jockeys which is causing the scratching of horses at bush meetings in QUEENSLAND:
‘IN the last few weeks I have written about the lack of jockeys in the bush and how overseas apprentices could help.
In the past (Roma trainer) Craig Smith had two Koreans and a few years ago we had Hong Kong apprentices lost to South Australia, who have done a great job.
Gun Singapore apprentice Simon Kok is heading to Tasmania for three months in December. He has ridden winners for (top trainer) Lee Freedman, among others in Singapore.
I have attached the profile of Shenny Chan, a Hong Kong apprentice who was a great asset to country racing in Queensland when linked to the Todd Austin stable.

Giddy Up :beer:

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« 2018-Dec-05, 08:56 AM Reply #1119 »

IT’S always good public relations to say something nice about a foreign venue when you are a guest on a major occasion and no place better fits the bill than Hong Kong during International week.

Diplomacy rules with the Hong Kong Jockey Club – dating back to the days when the Brits ran the show – and stakeholders walk on egg shells ensuring they don’t offend.

Winx’ trainer Chris Waller, making one of his rare missions outside Australia to run Comin’ Through in the G1 HK Mile at Sunday’s International meeting at Sha Tin, was saying all the right things about Hong Kong racing to the local media.

Superstar jockey Joao Moreira had a lesson in diplomacy when he quit Hong Kong for Japan – only to fail a test that would allow him to take up a permanent riding contact there.

He was allowed to return to Hong Kong after champion trainer John Size moved heaven and earth with the Jockey Club whose boss Winfried Engelbrecht-Breges laid down the law to Moreira reminding him that this wasn’t a place where he could come and go as he pleased when it came to plying his trade.

Waller told TRENTON ACKERS, an Aussie racing writer who now works for the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, he is well aware of the ‘lucrative’ prospect of one day training in Hong Kong but is not prepared to give up his star Australian gallopers, at least for now.

Following the departure of trainer Michael Freedman and the looming retirement of John Moore at the end of next season, the Jockey Club is determined to lure a big name to fill the void.

The New Zealand native, who is now based in Sydney, has made no secret about his desire to evolve his stable into an international operation, with goals to send more horses overseas targeting big races.

“Gee, it’s a very lucrative place to train, I envy the trainers that are here,” Waller told the SCMP. “Where I am lucky however is turnover. There are always good horses not far away and we are spoilt over the past few years with some good ones, obviously Winx but now a couple of young ones.

 “That is the sacrifice you have to make, giving away those real distinct, good horses.”

With a quarantine stalemate between the Australian Government and the Jockey Club stifling the transport of horses between Australia and Hong Kong, Waller said he would have brought more horses to Sunday’s International meeting if a resolution was brokered in time.

The deadlock, which has dragged on for over a year, also put a red line through any possibility of Waller bringing Winx to Hong Kong last year.

“It is a bit of a shame because she has got a huge following over the world,” he said.


WITH Comin’ Through’s owner, Sir Owen Glenn, hell-bent on international success, Waller will travel the brother of multiple Hong Kong Group 1 placegetter Criterion to Dubai for the World Cup meeting in March.

 “You need depth in your stables to be able to bring horses. It would have been nice to bring a few, that’s for sure,” he said.

“Funnily enough, not being able to easily come (to Hong Kong) probably makes the desire to come even stronger. With our stable, we want to be more international and you can just see how hard it is getting to Europe and getting to the Breeders’ Cup, but Hong Kong is very achievable.”

While Comin’ Through is only rated a rough chance in the Hong Kong Mile, Waller said his horse relishes a change of environment and races well fresh.

“He is a horse that just lost a little bit of form. If you go back a few months he ran second in the Doncaster Mile and he won the Doomben Cup.”

Waller also hinted at a possible Hong Kong campaign next year for up-and-coming star The Autumn Sun, saying he had local owners keen on the prospect of racing on their home turf.

However, it will be a matter of timing for Waller with the colt set to have only a short time racing with a rich career as a stallion beckoning for the dual Group One winner.

“He is owned up here so obviously they’d like us to consider it, as long as it doesn’t affect the horse in any way,” he said.

Here’s what one of our contributors had to say about the Waller-Hong Kong situation: ‘Chris heading to Hong Kong – pull the other one! He’s got it too good in Sydney. The King of the Castle where rarely a week passes by and one of his second string horses doesn’t salute while the favorite goes woeful. It happened on Saturday. Of course the explanation always seems to be noted. And why would he walk away from one of the best teams of horses to compete against much better trainers in a foreign environment where he most certainly wouldn’t always get his own way. One million to one CW moving to Honkers’.     



The DAILY TELEGRAPH’S RAY THOMAS, regarded by many as the ‘spin doctor’ for Racing NSW and its high-flying CEO Peter V’landys, was hot off the blocks with another ‘exclusive’ this week.

What on the surface looks like just another Sydney ploy to try and destroy the success story that is Melbourne racing and its Spring Carnival may be even worse than it seems if the mail delivered by the well-informed MATT STEWART, Racing Editor for RSN, is close to the target.

Hot on the heels of the absurd prizemoney being offered for The Everest and The Championships, the latest brainchild of Racing NSW will apparently be ‘officially’ announced as early as today after Thomas was given an exclusive ‘earlier’ in the week.

As one emailer (from Sydney we might add) asked of the Wednesday Whinge: “When was the last time good old Razer provided some constructive criticism of anything in NSW Racing – from raising questions over integrity on the track to the big money races which seem largely designed to profit the major stables – not to mention the fact that the bread and butter trainers were hunted out of Sydney long ago.”

According to the Thomas ‘scoop’, the new race will be run during the Sydney spring carnival and, at more than $7 million, will be worth more than the Melbourne Cup and second only to The Everest which runs for the ‘rich and famous’ at an absurd $14 million.

Racing NSW officials deny they are attempting the mission impossible of taking over as the pace-setter in Australian racing or of upstaging the Melbourne Spring – which not even the blind mind at the gate with the Labrador is prepared to swallow.

But through some strange coincidence next year The Everest clashes with the Caulfield Cup and there is speculation that this new race could be run one week later, the same day as the Cox Plate.

If the mail from Matt Stewart is correct, Racing NSW is trying to sabotage the Spring Carnival. Here’s what he wrote in the column ‘UNBRIDLED’ this week:

Could Cox Plate day be in the sights of ransacking Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys?

A second, even more alarming pitch has emerged in the wake of our report this morning that NSW will announce tomorrow that Sydney will stage three $1 million-plus races during the heart of the Melbourne spring carnival.

But “Unbridled” now understands there might be a second scenario for three $1 million-plus races, one worth as much as $8 million, at Randwick on Cox Plate day.

The $8 million race, a source said, would be in direct competition to the Cox Plate.

This scenario is merely speculation but if correct would take already tense relationships between NSW and Victoria to all-out war.

When asked about the speculation Moonee Valley Racing Club chief executive Michael Browell texted; “Let’s just see what happens tomorrow.” Racing NSW is expected to reveal its plans at 10am (today, Wednesday).

No-one can stop V’landys from crashing the Melbourne spring carnival with rich pop-up races, an act of aggression described by one administrator as “utterly destructive.”

V’landy’s latest salvo, on top of the 2017 emergence of The Everest, which will this year collide with the Caulfield Cup, has shocked Melbourne administrators. In all likelihood, those administrators will meet in coming days to consider the latest Sydney move and whether V’landys can be stopped.

One said V’Landys was “trashing” the historically good relationship between NSW and Victorian racing and would ultimately harm both states.

Racing Australia chief executive Barry O’Farrell told “Unbridled” that nothing can be done to prevent one jurisdiction crashing into another’s territory, particularly if the proposed races were not pitched to include Group status.

In theory, RA is Australian racing’s governing body but it would require constitutional change to empower it to over-rule radical alterations to existing race programming.

O’Farrell said the Pattern Committee, essentially a sub-committee of RA, could only intervene if there was a pitch for new races to have Group status.

The Everest for instance, has no such status.

O’Farrell would not comment when asked if RA should be empowered beyond its key roles of implementing the broad rules of racing, managing the Stud Book and overseeing the sport’s technological advances.

“You’d have to put that to Frances,” O’Farrell said, referring to RA chairman Frances Nelson.

O’Farrell said the constitutional amendments required to enhance RA’s powers would be “complicated” and would require powerful individual race-clubs to forfeit some of their power, which he said was not likely.

Thomas reports in the Daily Telegraph that the introduction in the past two years of The Everest, which has been run on the same day as the Caulfield Guineas, has proven that the Sydney and Melbourne spring carnivals can co-exist. He insists that betting turnover, on-course attendances and television ratings have soared at Randwick and Caulfield on Everest Day.

What he doesn’t say is that the race crowds in Sydney on big days – even when the superstar Winx is running – are still a major embarrassment when compared to the carnival blockbusters in Melbourne.

And no amount of prizemoney will change that – but it could wreak havoc on the quality of the big races run in Victoria in the spring. It’s time O’Farrell declared where he stands as far as Racing NSW is concerned and the spineless Racing Australia stepped in and stopped what is regarded an all-out attack on the Melburnians from the Sydneysiders who seem to find it impossible to win if they are forced to compete on a level playing field. 



WITH all due respect to the innovative KOSCUISZKO concept, Racing NSW seems determined to pour more money into major races that will be won by the major stables, the big owners or the international visitors.

In contrast Victoria seems to spread the spoils across the bread and better contenders and this has reaped rewards that one could argue will never happen while the current attitude exists in NSW.

Just look back at the last week and the crowds that turned out for a new feature meeting on Sunday, when the Jericho Cup was run at Warrnambool not to mention the record of more than 10,000 who attended the Wodonga Cup last Friday.

Rather than us trying to explain, here is part of a report on the Jericho Cup from MICHAEL LYNCH in the MELBOURNE AGE:

AUSTRALIAN racing is known for producing sprinters and milers, horses who excel over short trips in helter-skelter dashes where speed, and then more speed, is the only desired quality.

So it’s something of a surprise that the latest innovation from Racing Victoria is a flat race over a marathon trip of 4600m, the sort of distance that even jumps horses rarely attempt save for curios like the Grand Annual at Warrnambool.

It is therefore fitting that the inaugural Jericho Cup is being staged at the same seaside venue, where the famous horse from World War I, Bill The Bastard, will be honored.

The race is named for the event first staged in the Middle East 100 years ago by the Australian Light Horse. Approaching the end of the First World War, the Australian troops were planning a major offensive against the Turks. In a bid to distract the enemy and not alert them to the fact that a major initiative was due to take place, the Australians organized a race meeting.

The main race was called The Jericho Cup over three miles and was won by Bill the Bastard, probably Australia’s Greatest War Horse.

IN the aftermath of Sunday’s different but popular meeting at the ‘bool that attracted the biggest crowd outside the Grand Annual carnival in May, here are extracts from a report by MICHAEL MANLEY of the HERALD SUN:

LESS than a month after training Santa Ana Lane to win the VRC Sprint Classic, Anthony Freedman claimed Australia’s longest flat race the Jericho Cup (4600m) with High Mode underlying the trainer’s versatility.

High Mode was ridden to victory by Clayton Douglas, who continued his love affair with the Warrnambool track, as in May he claimed the Grand Annual Steeple and Brierly Steeple on Gold Medals.

And garnering almost as much acclaim was the run of the 11-year-old warhorse Crafty Cruiser who finished second.

The inaugural running proved to be a huge success with an estimated 5,000 people in attendance.

Freedman’s racing manager Brad Taylor said the Jericho Cup wasn’t on the stable’s radar until one of his part-owners Darren Costigan spotted it and came up with a plan to get him to the race.

WODONGA is a township on the Victorian side of the border with NSW, some 300km north-east of Melbourne. It boasts a population of less than 40,000 and a good deal of those took the day off to join the 10,000-plus at last Friday’s annual Cup meeting.

For some reason Victorians seem to embrace major Cup meetings on any day of the week but the Sunday features are especially popular. There was a suggestion once that before being granted Saturday status some of the major Queensland carnival days outside of Brisbane should be run on a Sunday. The response from Toowoomba to this proposal was: “No-one would go. They have to get up the next day and go to work.”

Regardless there are still those in Queensland who believe Sunday would prove a better drawcard for Cup days in Townsville, Cairns, Rockhampton and (heaven forbid, wash our mouth out with soap) even Toowoomba.



TOWNSVILLE Turf Club president MALCOLM PETROFSKI has had a burr in his saddle since we ran some criticism from a contributor in the north last week.

The critic started his attack on the TTC committee with: 'TO say things under the new regime at Cluden are running smoothly would be gross misrepresentation with several sackings of key staff in recent months, resignations of committee and general dissatisfaction among the entire racing community.’

He was highly critical of the annual report and even had a pot-shot at the presentation of beer for Sunday’s racing meeting at Cluden declaring refrigeration had been turned off during the heatwave and that it would be served up ‘lukewarm’.

Petrofski responded with: If the natives you refer to are the members I would welcome their questions and input at the AGM on Monday night starting at 05:30PM at Cluden Park.

‘We like any business continually look for the best fit of people for positions, sometimes we get it right sometimes we get it wrong, in general I think we get a lot more right than wrong.’

The TTC boss fired off another email to us after Sunday’s racing meeting with an assurance that there had been no complaints about the coldness of the beer at Cluden that afternoon:

‘I took it on myself to drink a number of beers today, checking quality and for temperature, all very cold.

Interviewed 20 patrons all happy, one complained beer was to cold - can’t please everyone!’

After Monday’s AGM Petrofski fired this broadside at critics:

‘AGM over.

No curly questions?

Everyone there even signed their real name.

So the beer is still cold, no curly questions and the auditor spoke and was approved by the members for another year.

I don’t know what else to say?’



TALKING of the north and being left speechless, veteran trainer TERRY BUTTS, who for years penned his popular ‘Silks & Saddles’ column for the North Queensland Register, was back in the winner’s circle at Cluden on Sunday.

Former south-east Queensland galloper, Writtinco, debuted for the Butts stable and landed one of the plunges that Terry has become renowned for as a trainer of many decades.

But there was a downside to the win. Butts wasn’t there – or even aware that Writtinco had won.

He explained to LGHR: “I spent the day in the Townsville General Hospital. The f…n mare nearly killed me loading her onto the float to go to the races.

“She pulled back and charged out backwards over the top of me. I was very, very lucky. I didn’t know she had won until an hour after the race.’

But a few dozen sherbets (yes they were cold), a pocketful of loot and some TLC from long-suffering wife Cathy and Sir Terrence was that night back in the land of the living with a smile on his dial.



PUNTERS who regularly contribute to the WHINGE have questioned whether apprentice Nathan Punch should have been asked to explain his ride on the highly fancied Invincible Al at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

They believe that Punch was on a hiding to nothing the way the Valley track was playing and faced a mission impossible because of the race pattern of Invincible Al which requires him to be ridden back. The track appeared to be heavily favoring the on-pacers.

The RV Stewards’ Report read: Invincible Al - when questioned, apprentice Nathan Punch explained that he was instructed to ride his mount where comfortable. However, in his opinion, he was not travelling very well in the early and middle stages. He added that he wanted to improve his position earlier than he did, however he was caught to the inside of Thermal Current passing the 500m and had to restrain his mount to get to the outside of that gelding. He further added that when he got to the outside of Thermal Current, he did not want to put his mount under full pressure at this stage as Invincible Al only has a short sprint and is best saved for a final run.

Ironically, the story of the race can be revealed from the sectional times. Invincible Al ran the quickest last 600m of 33.24. The winner, Our Luca, which led, ran the same sectional in 34.04 – the only horse to record a worse time for the last 600m in the eight-horse field was Angry Gee (34.11) and it finished last.

That just about says it all!



THERE is an unconfirmed story doing the rounds, which we are led to believe is correct, that the popular Maurice Logue has been terminated as the Manager of the Training Department at Racing Queensland.

Logue was appointed the new head of training and jockey welfare at RQ during the era when Dr Elliott Forbes was CEO. He had filled a similar position in NSW for many years.

A former jockey, Logue won the 1983 Doomben Cup on Lord Seaman. He rode more than 750 winners during his riding career and was a popular choice for the role at RQ.

If the above rumor is correct perhaps RQ might like to issue a Media Release explaining the situation to stakeholders.




QUEENSLAND Racing Integrity Commissioner ROSS BARNETT (pictured) has responded to questions about the cost of running the body he heads in an email to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE last week. He writes:

‘EVERY Queensland taxpayer is entitled to question whether the money given to Government departments and statutory bodies like the QRIC is being spent well and providing significant value. As Commissioner I understand and expect that scrutiny.

We are answerable to the public through the Parliament via Question Time and the way we spend the money we are given is particularly scrutinised in the annual all-Party Estimates Hearings. I am also required to provide a performance report every three months to the Minister addressing our activities and achievements in a wide range of areas. Our performance in a range of our key responsibilities is also public knowledge through Stewards’ Inquiries, media reporting and our Annual Report. People should consider all of this information when forming a view about whether we provide value worthy of our budget.

A prosperous racing industry relies on strong betting turnover and increasing those numbers relies totally on confidence in the integrity of the industry. The strategic thinkers in racing appreciate that link and understand that stronger integrity is demonstrably good for business.   

There is ever-increasing competition for wagering dollars internally between the three codes and externally with an increasing array of sports which permit betting. In this environment community confidence in racing has never been more important both in terms of a level playing field for racing and protecting the welfare of racing animals.  The best response to concerns that will continue to escalate over time about both issues from anti-racing critics is to point out that the industry has a well-resourced, completely independent regulatory body with the powers necessary to ensure high standards.

There was also criticism of the internal review decision to reinstate the suspended license of a Cairns trainer. To me, this is further proof that the review system, although not flawless, generally works as intended. Decisions made by human beings in all occupations are not always perfect and we publicly acknowledge when errors are made in good faith but don’t withstand independent scrutiny. The industry is fortunate to have access to this immediate and free review option.                 

In our most recent survey 60 per cent of industry participants and 65 per cent of the remainder of the community believed that integrity had improved in the last 12 months. This result is just one significant example of the benefits we provide for the industry. While there remains opposition to the necessity for the QRIC by some, I believe in time participants will see this model as integral to improving the reputation of racing. The 243 reports we received in the past three months alone, many from racing participants providing information about suspected integrity and welfare breaches, suggest people trust us and support the work we are doing to improve the industry they love.’

Giddy Up :beer:


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« 2018-Dec-12, 08:22 AM Reply #1120 »
WHEN will Racing NSW realize that richer racing doesn’t necessarily mean better racing?
And ultimately it will not win the border war where no matter how many millions are wasted the Victorian Spring Carnival will remain the most popular.
Racing Victoria has been accused of sitting back and allowing Racing NSW supremo Peter V’Landys to throw grenades that threaten to harm their biggest races.
All of a sudden they have decided enough is enough and the reaction from Racing Minister Martin Pakula and VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott says it all.

CHRIS ROOTS, Racing Editor for Fairfax Media in SYDNEY, declared in an article:
‘RACING NSW is on a war footing with its Victorian counterpart and its biggest supporter after Tabcorp pulled its sponsorship for next year’s inaugural $7.5 million Golden Eagle.
Tabcorp was expected to be the major backer for the new race, for four-year-olds and to be held at Rosehill Gardens next spring, but had not signed a contract. It informed Racing NSW of its decision not to sponsor the race on Monday.
Tabcorp’s decision prompted a fierce response from Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys about the future of the race, which is due to be run on Victoria Derby day, November 2, next year.
“This is unprecedented but I’m confident the race will go ahead with another sponsor,” V’landys said. ‘‘We are already talking to different sponsors.’’
However, he saved his most cutting remarks for Tabcorp. “Tabcorp is a national company and not a Victorian company and we have strong relationships with them. They should be concerned [this decision] doesn’t destroy them,’’ he said. ‘‘We are continuing to work through a process and I think in a couple of days we will have a result.’’
There are strong links between NSW racing and Tabcorp including an exclusivity agreement that has Tabcorp as only betting company that can be a sponsor on NSW racecourses.
‘‘We cannot comment on commercial negotiations,’’ a Tabcorp spokesman told the Herald on Monday.

V'landys pointed the finger directly at Victorian racing officials over the Tabcorp decision, alleging they had used influence on the company.

TO many in racing the Peter V’landys response suggested the Racing NSW supremo can hand it out but struggles to cop a return serve. He has bombarded Victoria with concepts like The Championships, The Everest and now the Golden Eagle – some might argue all worth far more for the horses they would attract for lesser money.

MATT STEWART, Racing Editor for Victorian-based RSN, was quick to go on the attack in his column UNBRIDLED where he wrote:
The TAB’s pulling of its $500,000 contribution to the $7.5 million Golden Eagle is the first hint that someone not embedded in one border camp – in this case the wagering giant – has peered through the Peter V’landys spin.

That’s not to say the TAB hadn’t been poked and prodded behind the scenes.

The Victoria Racing Club, for one, has a very strong relationship with the TAB and the VRC has been extremely vocal in its criticism of the suite of rich races revealed by Peter V’landys this week, two to be run during Melbourne Cup week.

But pulling out was the TAB’s call after weighing up support of another disruptive Racing NSW project over the TAB’s enduring support of a Victorian event that is so successful it provides benefit to the entire racing industry – including NSW – and has earned its protected space.

V’landys’ unblinking, unthinking supporters have tossed up a number of fruity arguments to justify the Racing NSW CEO’s hand grenade approach, where a deeply flawed “I’m doing what’s best for NSW, that’s my job” mantra propels his rebel ventures.

The most tiresome is the hysterical “Victoria is asleep at the wheel and NSW is doing things!”. The reality is the numbers pretty much stack up between both states.
V’landys benefits from personality politics; ie, he is a radical genius because he snubs tradition (don’t we all love a rebel!) while Giles (Thompson) is pretty boring and the VRC are snobs.

Political types will say Donald Trump got elected on similar perceptions.

The instant success of the Everest has bluffed supporters into believing that whatever V’landys touches turns to gold, giving him carte blanche to do whatever he likes.
The Everest is successful not because of the “genius” slot concept poached from the US but because it’s run in spring, a season V’landys is now determined to invade with zero consideration for the bigger picture.

Vlandys’ “no-one noticed us” last spring whine to last week typified his tantrum-prone, zero-collaboration administration.

He sees something juicy and must have it; “Melbourne is uber-famous in spring, we’re not, let’s fix that, no matter what…”
So V’landys creates these three stupidly-rich races that will water down our already thin carnival horse ranks; compromised fields, stupid money, betraying the fundamental notion that richer racing means better racing.

Imagine if his mindset was contagious.

The VRC and others have said the three new Sydney races won’t disrupt the grand finals down here but they will chip away, especially at the jockey ranks.

Not one V’landys’ sycophant has offered a reasonable answer to these analogies, delivered on social media. They are – “would the French put on a $10 million all-stars tournament during Wimbledon or would Newmarket put on a big race during Royal Ascot?

There are many things V’landys can do to make racing better in NSW without ogling across the river and hatching disruptive plans.
Working out why Sydney race fields are alarmingly small might be a start.

The latter comment, in the minds of many who follow racing in both the big states, hit the nail on the head. While racing across the board in Victoria thrives on an annual basis, the off-season in Sydney is dreadful. Perhaps Racing NSW should be focusing some of this big money being wasted on pie-in-the-sky concepts on the bread-and-butter owners and trainers who keep the industry going all year long not just at carnival time.

Racing Australia should step in before this whole border war gets any further out of hand but it seems to be so weak that isn’t likely to happen. The two big states should be working together for the benefit of racing nationally.


SURPRISINGLY, the olive branch approach has been suggested by leading studmaster and former Racing NSW Chief, John Messara, according to this story from UNBRIDLED:
JOHN Messara, Australian racing’s most influential player, has urged the warring states to down weapons and collaborate.

Speaking on Racing Pulse, the leading NSW-based owner/breeder/administrator said “It’s a matter of mature people sitting down and trying to accommodate each other.”
“There has got to be a way where NSW can resolve some of its issues but at the same time Victoria can be part of the solution.”

Messara’s olive branch suggestion came as the war of words continued between NSW and Victoria, although Racing NSW chief executive peter V’landys today switched attack to the TAB for pulling out of a proposed $500,000 contr0butuon to the Golden Eagle’s $7.5 million stake.

Messara said he was “all for cooperation” and said “no-one likes to see conflict” but he said he sympathised with the plight of NSW.

He said Victoria benefitted from “free air” in the early autumn and late spring when the various football codes were either pre or post season.

He said the success of both the Everest and Caulfield Guineas on the same day was proof two states could enjoy the same date and same spoils.

Victoria has shown it can be consultative and conciliatory – the most recent example news that a breakthrough in the quarantine stand between Australia and Hong Kong is imminent.
RV Chairman Amanda Elliott was at the forefront when administrators from Hong Kong, Australia and relevant Government officials met last week to continue positive talks over quarantine.
The stand-off flared in October, 2017 when the Australian Government banned the direct importation of horses from HK after the opening of HK Jockey Club’s new training facility in Conghua in mainland China.
The Government was concerned over the potential for disease to be carried to Australia in a repeat of the equine influenza outbreak which almost destroyed Australian racing in 2007.
If agreement is reached between the parties, it is likely Australian horses could return home after three weeks by stopping in a third country.
CENTRAL Queensland racing historian JOHN DAY completed a labor of love with the publication of a book to commemorate the 150-year history of the Rockhampton Jockey Club.
With the help of RJC Operations Manager, Kelly Suli, Day has chronicled some amazing stories that have been played out in Rockhampton racing from 1868 to 2018.
“I was doing some research and discovered that 2018 was 150 years since the RJC came into being and also the centenary of the running of the Rockhampton Cup and Newmarket,” Day said.
“I approached the RJC to see if we could do something to celebrate this historic milestone. They consented and I had the idea for a book, so Kelly and I started putting a few things together. The project was completed in just six weeks."
Some of the highlights in the book include:
The first triple dead-heat in a horse race in April 1938 when Call Away, Suntuana and Edon Boy crossed the line together in the Labour Handicap over six furlongs.
Megaphone winning a race in Rockhampton before finishing fourth in the 1891 Melbourne Cup won by Malvolio.
In 1912 the thoroughbreds took a back-seat roll when a race of a different kind was held. Visiting American airman A B Stone raced his Bleriot monoplane against a car driven by S Taylor. On the fourth circuit the plane had lapped the car but the aircraft slowly began to lose altitude before veering off course and crash landing on the nearby cricket grounds. Stone escaped injury.
Jockey Frank Shean was one of Central Queenland racing’s success stories starting as an apprentice in Banana to being recently industry into the Racing Hall of Fame after winning the Epsom, Caulfield Cup, Williamstown Cup and Melbourne Cup – all in 1938.
A big crowd was in attendance at Callaghan Park when Italian movie star, Gina Lollobrigida, visited in 1975. She was in Australia raising awareness of multiple sclerosis.     
John Day has been involved in the racing industry since he was a child. He said it had been a wonderful journey of discovery. “There’s plenty of stories that people would not know about.
“In the 1890s a lot of horses came to Rockhampton by ship. They were unloaded at the wharf and raced at the old West Rockhampton track and were put back on the boat and away they would go to Townsville or Brisbane.   
The book is a great read and would make a wonderful Christmas present. It costs $20 and is available at the RJC.
GREG BLANCHARD of NUDGEE continues to chronicle the on-going saga of a lack of jockeys in the country:
‘LAST weekend there were seven horses scratched at the provincial meeting at Rockhampton, three at Charters Towers and two at Mt Isa because there were no jockeys available.
Racing Queensland needs to address this urgently. As mentioned before, Asian apprentices can be part of the solution.
The Training Department has had its ups and downs over the years but it must be given the support and right people it deserves.
In the world of bean-counters I think we have lost sight of the basic fundamentals of racing.
There are currently two Korean horse schools in South East Queensland. Both used to go to RQ but not anymore due to troubles in the past.
Some of these students are future track riders and jockeys. One would have thought a meeting with the people involved would have been a good idea.
LETSGOHORSERACING will be taking our usual break over the CHRISTMAS-NEW YEAR period now. We wish all our readers and contributors a healthy, happy and safe festive season and many winners in 2019.

Giddy Up :beer:


Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Dec-19, 07:26 AM Reply #1121 »


LETGOHORSERACING wishes our readers and contributors a happy, healthy and safe Christmas. We are taking our traditional annual recess until around MAGIC MILLIONS time. Enjoy the festive time with your loved ones and may you find many winners in 2019.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Dec-31, 08:20 PM Reply #1122 »

LETGOHORSERACING wishes our readers and contributors a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous NEW YEAR. We will return from our annual break around MAGIC MILLIONS time with a newlook website which will focus on promoting our LATE MAIL which is arguably the cheapest and most successful leisure ratings service in the land.



A BROAD range of owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders are set to benefit from more than $40 million in additional prizemoney that will begin rolling out across Victoria from 1 January 2019.

The increases are underpinned by a $33 million election commitment from the newly returned Labor Government to support increases to the minimum levels of Victorian thoroughbred prizemoney.  Racing Victoria (RV) has committed to boosting the package of prizemoney increases, which will be implemented across the next two years, beyond $40 million.

The increases are being made to drive further local and international investment in the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry which generates over $3 billion annually for the Victorian economy and supports the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs.

After providing an overview of the key prizemoney increases when first announced in October, RV has today outlined its plan for the distribution of the full package from 1 January 2019. The increases, which will be spread across all levels of the sport, are as follows:

                                                  New Minimum
                                             Prizemoney Per Race                 

     Country TAB - Standard                    $22,000      (up from $20,000)
     Country TAB - Premium                    $35,000      (up from $25,000 to $30,000)
     Country TAB - Night                          $35,000      (up from $20,000 to $30,000)
     Metropolitan – Midweek                    $50,000      (up from $30,000 to $40,000)
     Metropolitan – Public Holiday           $60,000      (up from $40,000)
     Metropolitan – Sat Standard             $125,000    (up from $100,000)
     Metropolitan – Sat 3YO Races
     and Staying Races (2000m+)          $135,000     (up from $120,000)
     Metropolitan – Saturday
     Pathways Race                                $75,000      (up from $60,000)
     Listed Races                                    $140,000    (up from $120,000
    Group 3 Races                                 $160,000     (up from $150,000)

RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the prizemoney increases will be welcomed by the 92,000 people that actively participate in Victorian thoroughbred racing.

“We’re delighted to outline the full suite of prizemoney increases that will come into effect from 1 January 2019. Our focus in delivering these increases is on ensuring that we reward participation at all levels of the sport to maintain a vibrant and growing participant base,” Thompson said.

“Minimum prizemoney will increase at all country TAB meetings from next month with over 170 now offering a minimum of $35,000 per race. This follows on from the increases already implemented this season for all country non-TAB meetings and every country cup.

“The increases announced today ensure that the minimum prizemoney for every category of Victorian race is the equal of anywhere in the nation. They also ensure that Victoria remains the destination to race a stayer or a three-year-old with Saturday metropolitan minimums rising to a record $135,000 for these races.”

In making the announcement, Thompson thanked the Labor Government for its ongoing support of the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry.

“The Labor Government are committed to ensuring that Victoria remains the premier state for thoroughbred racing in Australia and they have shown their support for all within our industry with this important investment in prizemoney across the state,” Thompson said.

“As we’ve stated previously, a vibrant and successful thoroughbred racing industry is great for Victoria and enhancing returns to our owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders, particularly at the grass roots, is crucial to that.”

Thompson explained that, with the increases in minimum prizemoney from 1 January 2019 and last month’s introduction of The All-Star Mile, Victoria will now be offering over $255 million in prizemoney and bonuses a season which represents an $82 million or 47% increase since 2015.



WHEN will Racing NSW realize that richer racing doesn’t necessarily mean better racing?

And ultimately it will not win the border war where no matter how many millions are wasted the Victorian Spring Carnival will remain the most popular.

Racing Victoria has been accused of sitting back and allowing Racing NSW supremo Peter V’Landys to throw grenades that threaten to harm their biggest races.

All of a sudden they have decided enough is enough and the reaction from Racing Minister Martin Pakula and VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott says it all.

CHRIS ROOTS, Racing Editor for Fairfax Media in SYDNEY, declared in an article:

‘RACING NSW is on a war footing with its Victorian counterpart and its biggest supporter after Tabcorp pulled its sponsorship for next year’s inaugural $7.5 million Golden Eagle.

Tabcorp was expected to be the major backer for the new race, for four-year-olds and to be held at Rosehill Gardens next spring, but had not signed a contract. It informed Racing NSW of its decision not to sponsor the race on Monday.

Tabcorp’s decision prompted a fierce response from Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys about the future of the race, which is due to be run on Victoria Derby day, November 2, next year.

“This is unprecedented but I’m confident the race will go ahead with another sponsor,” V’landys said. ‘‘We are already talking to different sponsors.’’

However, he saved his most cutting remarks for Tabcorp. “Tabcorp is a national company and not a Victorian company and we have strong relationships with them. They should be concerned [this decision] doesn’t destroy them,’’ he said. ‘‘We are continuing to work through a process and I think in a couple of days we will have a result.’’

There are strong links between NSW racing and Tabcorp including an exclusivity agreement that has Tabcorp as only betting company that can be a sponsor on NSW racecourses.

‘‘We cannot comment on commercial negotiations,’’ a Tabcorp spokesman told the Herald on Monday.

V'landys pointed the finger directly at Victorian racing officials over the Tabcorp decision, alleging they had used influence on the company.


TO many in racing the Peter V’landys response suggested the Racing NSW supremo can hand it out but struggles to cop a return serve. He has bombarded Victoria with concepts like The Championships, The Everest and now the Golden Eagle – some might argue all worth far more for the horses they would attract for lesser money.

MATT STEWART, Racing Editor for Victorian-based RSN, was quick to go on the attack in his column UNBRIDLED where he wrote:

The TAB’s pulling of its $500,000 contribution to the $7.5 million Golden Eagle is the first hint that someone not embedded in one border camp – in this case the wagering giant – has peered through the Peter V’landys spin.

That’s not to say the TAB hadn’t been poked and prodded behind the scenes.

The Victoria Racing Club, for one, has a very strong relationship with the TAB and the VRC has been extremely vocal in its criticism of the suite of rich races revealed by Peter V’landys this week, two to be run during Melbourne Cup week.

But pulling out was the TAB’s call after weighing up support of another disruptive Racing NSW project over the TAB’s enduring support of a Victorian event that is so successful it provides benefit to the entire racing industry – including NSW – and has earned its protected space.

V’landys’ unblinking, unthinking supporters have tossed up a number of fruity arguments to justify the Racing NSW CEO’s hand grenade approach, where a deeply flawed “I’m doing what’s best for NSW, that’s my job” mantra propels his rebel ventures.

The most tiresome is the hysterical “Victoria is asleep at the wheel and NSW is doing things!”. The reality is the numbers pretty much stack up between both states.

V’landys benefits from personality politics; ie, he is a radical genius because he snubs tradition (don’t we all love a rebel!) while Giles (Thompson) is pretty boring and the VRC are snobs.

Political types will say Donald Trump got elected on similar perceptions.

The instant success of the Everest has bluffed supporters into believing that whatever V’landys touches turns to gold, giving him carte blanche to do whatever he likes.

The Everest is successful not because of the “genius” slot concept poached from the US but because it’s run in spring, a season V’landys is now determined to invade with zero consideration for the bigger picture.

Vlandys’ “no-one noticed us” last spring whine to last week typified his tantrum-prone, zero-collaboration administration.

He sees something juicy and must have it; “Melbourne is uber-famous in spring, we’re not, let’s fix that, no matter what…”

So V’landys creates these three stupidly-rich races that will water down our already thin carnival horse ranks; compromised fields, stupid money, betraying the fundamental notion that richer racing means better racing.

Imagine if his mindset was contagious.

The VRC and others have said the three new Sydney races won’t disrupt the grand finals down here but they will chip away, especially at the jockey ranks.

Not one V’landys’ sycophant has offered a reasonable answer to these analogies, delivered on social media. They are – “would the French put on a $10 million all-stars tournament during Wimbledon or would Newmarket put on a big race during Royal Ascot?

There are many things V’landys can do to make racing better in NSW without ogling across the river and hatching disruptive plans.

Working out why Sydney race fields are alarmingly small might be a start.

The latter comment, in the minds of many who follow racing in both the big states, hit the nail on the head. While racing across the board in Victoria thrives on an annual basis, the off-season in Sydney is dreadful. Perhaps Racing NSW should be focusing some of this big money being wasted on pie-in-the-sky concepts on the bread-and-butter owners and trainers who keep the industry going all year long not just at carnival time.

Racing Australia should step in before this whole border war gets any further out of hand but it seems to be so weak that isn’t likely to happen. The two big states should be working together for the benefit of racing nationally.


SURPRISINGLY, the olive branch approach has been suggested by leading studmaster and former Racing NSW Chief, John Messara, according to this story from UNBRIDLED:

JOHN Messara, Australian racing’s most influential player, has urged the warring states to down weapons and collaborate.

Speaking on Racing Pulse, the leading NSW-based owner/breeder/administrator said “It’s a matter of mature people sitting down and trying to accommodate each other.”

“There has got to be a way where NSW can resolve some of its issues but at the same time Victoria can be part of the solution.”

Messara’s olive branch suggestion came as the war of words continued between NSW and Victoria, although Racing NSW chief executive peter V’landys today switched attack to the TAB for pulling out of a proposed $500,000 contr0butuon to the Golden Eagle’s $7.5 million stake.

Messara said he was “all for cooperation” and said “no-one likes to see conflict” but he said he sympathised with the plight of NSW.

He said Victoria benefitted from “free air” in the early autumn and late spring when the various football codes were either pre or post season.

He said the success of both the Everest and Caulfield Guineas on the same day was proof two states could enjoy the same date and same spoils.

Victoria has shown it can be consultative and conciliatory – the most recent example news that a breakthrough in the quarantine stand between Australia and Hong Kong is imminent.

RV Chairman Amanda Elliott was at the forefront when administrators from Hong Kong, Australia and relevant Government officials met last week to continue positive talks over quarantine.

The stand-off flared in October, 2017 when the Australian Government banned the direct importation of horses from HK after the opening of HK Jockey Club’s new training facility in Conghua in mainland China.

The Government was concerned over the potential for disease to be carried to Australia in a repeat of the equine influenza outbreak which almost destroyed Australian racing in 2007.

If agreement is reached between the parties, it is likely Australian horses could return home after three weeks by stopping in a third country.



CENTRAL Queensland racing historian JOHN DAY completed a labor of love with the publication of a book to commemorate the 150-year history of the Rockhampton Jockey Club.

With the help of RJC Operations Manager, Kelly Suli, Day has chronicled some amazing stories that have been played out in Rockhampton racing from 1868 to 2018.

“I was doing some research and discovered that 2018 was 150 years since the RJC came into being and also the centenary of the running of the Rockhampton Cup and Newmarket,” Day said.

“I approached the RJC to see if we could do something to celebrate this historic milestone. They consented and I had the idea for a book, so Kelly and I started putting a few things together. The project was completed in just six weeks."

Some of the highlights in the book include:

The first triple dead-heat in a horse race in April 1938 when Call Away, Suntuana and Edon Boy crossed the line together in the Labour Handicap over six furlongs.

Megaphone winning a race in Rockhampton before finishing fourth in the 1891 Melbourne Cup won by Malvolio.

In 1912 the thoroughbreds took a back-seat roll when a race of a different kind was held. Visiting American airman A B Stone raced his Bleriot monoplane against a car driven by S Taylor. On the fourth circuit the plane had lapped the car but the aircraft slowly began to lose altitude before veering off course and crash landing on the nearby cricket grounds. Stone escaped injury.

Jockey Frank Shean was one of Central Queenland racing’s success stories starting as an apprentice in Banana to being recently industry into the Racing Hall of Fame after winning the Epsom, Caulfield Cup, Williamstown Cup and Melbourne Cup – all in 1938.

A big crowd was in attendance at Callaghan Park when Italian movie star, Gina Lollobrigida, visited in 1975. She was in Australia raising awareness of multiple sclerosis.     

John Day has been involved in the racing industry since he was a child. He said it had been a wonderful journey of discovery. “There’s plenty of stories that people would not know about.

“In the 1890s a lot of horses came to Rockhampton by ship. They were unloaded at the wharf and raced at the old West Rockhampton track and were put back on the boat and away they would go to Townsville or Brisbane.   

The book is a great read and would make a wonderful Christmas present. It costs $20 and is available at the RJC.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2019-Oct-15, 05:51 PM Reply #1123 »
Extensive coverage of racing issues in the

Giddy Up :beer:
« Last Edit: 2019-Oct-15, 06:33 PM by Arsenal »

Offline Arsenal

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« 2019-Nov-11, 07:02 PM Reply #1124 »

ARCHIE BUTTERFLY is too good a writer with too big a following to deprive him an outlet for his thoughts on all things racing, sport and politics. We at LGHR have decided to provide him with that outlet conditional on him adopting a different style that still gets his message across so long as he accepts our editing of his copy to ensure that we don’t get tarred with the same censorship brush. The last thing we need is to share the same jail cell as Archie – remember what happened to Lester Piggot – lol? Let’s face it, there needs to be an independent outlet with some ethics prepared to provide a coverage that protects the punters and doesn’t rely on the ‘suck up and survive mentality’ of not only some of our racing scribes and commentators.     

GiddyUp :beer: