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« 2018-Mar-28, 08:11 AM Reply #1050 »
A mixed bag in this edition of the WW getting to the bottom of the Eagle Farm debacle.......demands for an independent inquiry to finalise the blame game... some pointy jabs at Hinchy which won't help.....Townsville.. Speculation on Terry Bailey moving to Singapore....and Frog Juice that's a newby.......finally the punters' lament on POCT & Corporates John Smith v  Terry Butts...all worth a browse but not much drama.
THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE – but you can HAVE YOUR SAY on any day of the week:



‘THE time has come for the new Racing Minister to launch an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the debacle that is the new track at Eagle Farm.

Instead of simply using departing Racing Queensland CEO Elliot Forbes as the sole scapegoat for this embarrassment, Sterling Hinchliffe needs to ensure that the others responsible pay the price as well.

The new Racing Minister was right when he told State Parliament: ‘There have been too many excuses from Racing Queensland and others, too little clarity about what exactly are the impediments to finishing the job and quite frankly, too little clarity on what it will take to ensure that the track at Eagle Farm is once again ready for racing.’

But he lost the support of many in the industry by following up with: ‘I stand in this House today, and say – it is time for the blame and finger pointing to end – in favor of working together.’

That sends a message Minister that Dr Forbes was solely to blame for this four-year failure to get the new Eagle Farm track right.

It’s time you called on the Brisbane Racing Club to show their CEO Dave Whimpey the door as well. But don’t stop there, open an investigation into some of the contracts involving this new track, ask who was involved, who stood to benefit and why the materials used were not up to standard and if they have caused the problem.

IT IS TIME TO ALLOCATE BLAME – not to protect those who have allegedly played a role in this disaster. Failure to launch Minister will simply add fuel to the fire for your critics who haven’t forgotten your Queensland Rail misadventure and have concerns about your links to the Property Council and some big developers.

Blame for the botched handling of the Eagle Farm track redevelopment cannot be laid squarely at the feet of one man. Sure, Elliot Forbes is partly responsible but so are a lot of others who need to be exposed.

And by the way surely stories that Evergreen are involved again in the Eagle Farm ‘patch-up’ job and that former Track Curator Bill Shuck is working for them is an April Fools’ Day joke.’



ALBERT WILLIAMS, of REDCLIFFE, a regular contributor to the WHINGE, brings back the memories of a DYNAMIC DUO best forgotten for what they did for racing in BRISBANE:

‘TALK about the pot calling the kettle black or more to the point people who live in glass houses not throwing stones, I almost fell off my armchair when I tuned into the television news the other night.

Here was former Treasurer Tim Nicholls and his little Sir Echo, Kevin Dixon, from the days when he ran racing at RQ by remote control, blasting the Labor Government over its handling of the Eagle Farm redevelopment.

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t it ‘Tim the Toolman’ as Treasurer and member for the electorate where Eagle Farm is situated who told industry stakeholders and racing followers on April Fools’ Day in 2014 that within 12 months they would have this remarkable new track thanks to the foresight of the LNP Government? Who was he kidding?

Here he was on the TV news kicking the crap out of Labor for mismanaging the whole affair and calling racing in Queensland ‘dysfunctional’. And his little Sir Echo, the bloke that many believe did the biding of the LNP when in charge of RQ in Kevin Dixon, followed up adding his two bob’s worth of criticism as well. Just when we thought he had gone for good – or retreated to the Toowoomba Turf Club directors’ lounge where he belongs.

Give us a break fellas – in the eyes of many in racing both of you were as much to blame for the disaster that is Eagle Farm as those running the show today. Do us a favor and return to your kennels of politics and racing.’



TERRY BUTTS, our MAN in the NORTH, suggested this might be of interest to racegoers in the south-east in view of the Eagle Farm debacle, especially the emails concerning former Townsville Turf Club chairman KEVIN O’KEEFE:   

IN the wake of the EAGLE FARM disaster there are plenty in the north convinced that had Kevin O’Keefe not taken a stance the new track in Townsville would have suffered the same fate.

Racing Queensland basically forced the Townsville Turf Club committee to resign en masse at the height of the battle over redevelopment of the track claiming the club was in financial trouble.

There were plenty in the north celebrating the departure of Elliot Forbes as RQ CEO as they had did one of his ‘henchmen’ some time ago who it was felt set out to destroy them and the club for political reasons.

Here’s how one former director, CHRIS McMAHON, summed up the situation:

‘In view of the announcement of the demise of Elliot Forbes AND the sorry state of the Eagle Farm track, it further deepens my:

Knowledge that we were always in the right in resigning, and

Without Kevin’s (O’Keefe’s) constant management of the construction of the track, it would have ended up like Eagle Farm.’

And this, which was sent to a number of racing stakeholders in Townsville by ALEX DICKINSON:

‘The events (involving the departure of Elliot Forbes) have sparked me into doing this. That is – the state of the Eagle Farm track.

Unfortunately this story won’t make the front page of the paper and it should.

You deserve much credit and praise for the Townsville race track and racing surface. Those included in this email know that you battled, fought, spent an incredible amount of time to make it how it is.

‘You should be credited formally for:

Getting it for Townsville

That it has stood up to the very high standard – unlike the track at Headquarters (in Brisbane)

RQ (and others) took undue aim at you (KOK) and us (the TTC committee) in recent times for wasting money or not managing our affairs appropriately and essentially ousted us.

Recent events confirmed that your efforts (and a little help from us I would like to think) have saved RQ $7 million (plus) as our track has not gone to shit and it should be noted that though we struggled in very hard economic times to break even in a farcical turnover model, we have not cost the tax payer or RQ $25 million plus turnover like Eagle Farm.’




‘THERE has been plenty of talk in Melbourne town about Terry Bailey quitting as Chief Steward to take up a highly paid appointment with Singapore Racing.

LGHR makes no secret that we believe Bailey to be the best steward in the country and we wouldn’t blame him for moving on after the pressure he has endured in the job for far too many years in Victoria.

When asked about the possibility of a move Bailey laughed and told us: ‘It’s a great place Singapore and the racing there is going terrific.’

Questioned about reports he had been seen in Singapore recently, Bailey said: ‘I was there for a holiday with my family.’

Not everyone will agree with us that TB would be a big loss to the stewarding ranks in Australian racing, but being betting men we are LGHR feel an announcement about his future might be firming to odds-on before too long.



CLEM McPHERSON of BRISBANE sent this email:

‘ONE could argue that the appointment of a new Chief Executive of Racing Queensland is one of the most important in the recent history of racing in this State.

As Nathan Exelby reported in the Sunday Mail: ‘The wait is now on to see just who will be prepared to stick their hand up for the poisoned chalice that is the Racing Queensland chief executive position.’

Reports suggest Elliot Forbes fell on his sword following mounting pressure over the continued delays to the reconstruction of the Eagle Farm track.

Darren Condon, the CEO who preceded Forbes on a permanent basis, was shown the door as a scapegoat for the greyhound live baiting catastrophe when many others – especially the Dog Board were equally responsible but did not pay as high a price in the long term.

There are reports that Brendan Parnell, the former SKY Channel boss now in an over-paid job with the TAB in Queensland, is favorite to take the job. Parnell has his critics – some say he did nothing about the SKY snub of coverage in his Home State and that he will be out of a job at the TAB when the merger is finalized.

Then there are mounting reports that Paul Bittar, a former executive with Racing Victoria, who was one-time Chief Executive of British and also New Zealand horse racing and now works for a corporate bookmaking giant, will pip Parnell for the job.

Bittar, who undertook a Review in more recent years of the Integrity Structures of the Victorian racing industry, is not everybody’s cup of tea either. One prominent Australian thoroughbred official, on hearing the news, commented: “I have a dossier on him longer than Joel Garner’s arm’.

No mention of the duo that your website threw up last week in Scott Whiteman, the former GCTC CEO and now boss of Country Racing Victoria or VRC Racing Manager Martin Talty who was dismissed recently apparently because he disagreed with boss Amanda Elliot over the archaic balloting conditions for the Melbourne Cup.

Perhaps the choice of CEO should be taken out of the hands of the RQ Board. But whatever happens as long as racing in Queensland isn’t subjected to another dose of ‘Dr Dolittle’ diplomacy – we’ve had two of those and both have been rank failures in the eyes of the industry.



STAN STEWART of BRISBANE sent this interesting email:

‘JUST when we thought things couldn’t get any worse for the racing industry in Queensland there are serious suggestions that some stables are using a performance enhancing drug known as ‘Frog Juice’.

The substance, Dermorphin, is found in the skin of a South American monkey frog and acts as a strong pain-killer and stimulant when administered to horses.

There is good news however. ‘Frog Juice’ can now be identified in post-race testing in America and there are suggestions that authorities in Australia will be sending swabs taken from suspect stables to the States for testing.

The question is how long will it take for our slow-to-move Integrity Unit to have second tests done overseas on suspect swabs from certain stables who seem to have some horses performing above their level in Queensland?

In November a United States District Court jury found a veterinarian and pharmacy guilty of multiple charges for their roles in introducing and delivering Dermorphin for illegal use in horse racing in Louisiana.

Dermorphin is only one of many doping methods that have plagued racetracks in many countries over the years, though it’s definitely the most exotic — narrowly beating cobra venom, which has been used as a pain suppressant.

Frog Juice is reportedly administered to racehorses under the tongue shortly before they race which has raised a few eye-brows (rightly or wrongly) following certain recent incidents in south-east Queensland which have been brought to the notice of stewards.

The substance was not being found in horses in the United States using traditional post-race testing but a more sensitive assay has been designed that can detect the drug. Australia needs to get up to speed on this, especially Victoria in view of what has happened there in recent years.

Because the volume of Dermorphin being used is believed to exceed the natural supply, there is some suspicion that the product is being artificially produced in America.’




THE need for ‘official trials’ rather than ‘jump outs’ where horses are not identified was again highlighted when a youngster having its first start was plunged in early Fixed Odds betting on the meeting at Doomben last Saturday.

Alloraine, a Falvelon filly making her debut for the Tony Sears stable, firmed from $26 to $4.8 before easing to run at $6.5. After being set an impossible task to lead from a horror draw she, not surprisingly, got tired and ran last.

Her failure aside, punters were entitled to know that she had won a jump-out in good style at Clifford Park where only those ‘with inside information’ or smart enough to attend the trials and check her markings and identity were expecting the plunge.

To be fair Sears told SKY prior to the race – but long after the good odds were gone – that she was above average and had worked as well as some of the better horses in his stable.

Interestingly, Peter Bredhauer, a keen follower of the trials in Toowoomba, was reportedly blamed for ‘knocking off’ the price. We can assure you that PB didn’t have a cent on the horse but did know how well she had performed unofficially.

Perhaps Alloraine will bounce back and show her true potential in a much richer race (hopefully from a better draw) providing she gets a start at Toowoomba on Weetwood Day.

Time will tell but in the meantime those running RQ should tell Toowoomba and other clubs to identify runners in all trials (and jump outs) like they do in far more successful jurisdictions like Hong Kong so that the punters, who keep racing afloat, aren’t kept in the dark and treated like mugs.



JOHN SMITH (yes it is a legitimate contributor) has asked to comment on the piece that TERRY BUTTS wrote recently concerning CORPORATE BOOKMAKERS in the NQ REGISTER. Because his SILKS & SADDLES column has been discontinued we are happy to run the response in the WEDNESDAY WHINGE:

‘THERE are a number of commentators with the view that increased taxes could provide an environment for SP Bookmakers to flourish and/or movement to the Asian exchanges or offshore bookmakers.

In that instance Australian Racing and Governments would receive nothing for that turnover. It wouldn’t be difficult if Alan Tripp in Vanuato is remembered. For what it is worth I share that view.

Mr Butts has decided to play the individuals and not the issue, I will try not to do the same but can’t guarantee that position.

In the late 1970s I worked as a bookies’ clerk for bookmakers in Brisbane, when turnover tax was being regularly increased and protest meetings were occurring. I clearly remember that the increase forced a number of bookies to hand in their license and the authorities realised their mistake and reverted to lower taxes. Make no mistake bookmaker margins are paper thin and the difference between profits and losing is very thin.

Richard Irvine has been at the forefront on the Minimum Bet Rule which has been a godsend to racing and punters.

I’m aware of the comments from Cormac Barry and it seems that he merely articulated his view, not sure why Mr Butts would have an issue with that. Rather than the viewpoint of arrogance, the view of Mr Butts on that point tells us more about him.

What is forgotten is that corporate bookies attempted to be licensed in NSW, Victoria and the other States, but were rebuffed at the direction of the Racing bodies, no use complaining now that it doesn’t suit.

To suggest that racing survived long before the corporate parasites arrived is unbelievable. Mr Butts view demonstrates an individual clearly out of touch on what is happening in the world of racing and technology. The introduction of the internet has completely changed the dynamics. I remember when IAS first posted bookies prices on the internet, I realised that punting would never be the same again.

If corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges do not survive and are taxed out of existence, then where does Mr Butts suggest people such as myself bet. I have no intention in returning to the track and betting with the TABs due to the high commission rates and the outrageous practice of rounding down.

For anybody not to understand that punters pay for taxes is difficult for me to grasp, so there is little point in pushing that point.

On the issue of problem gambling I agree that more needs to be done, however my understanding is that poker machines are a bigger problem.

It is agreed that corporates offer bonuses in this competitive industry. Not much different to licensed clubs and casinos offering free accommodation and meals etc to play the scourge of poker machines.

I would be astounded if the ban on credit betting is being ignored as the fines are very significant, perhaps rather than a blanket statement Mr Butts can submit authentic cases to the responsible bodies for investigation.

What seems to be forgotten is that not all corporate bookmakers are foreign-owned, some are Australian-owned, or commenced this way.

With the addition of the Point of Consumption (POC) tax there are now four points of tax for corporate bookmakers and they a

A tax in the Northern Territory

Race fields tax

Point of Consumption Tax

Normal company tax

In conclusion I repeat my earlier comment, if corporate bookies and the betting exchange don’t survive where do people like me bet? If there are no corporate bookmakers perhaps the alternatives previously noted will be it, but everybody needs to understand that no fees will return to Governments or racing."

Giddy Up :beer:

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« 2018-Apr-04, 09:11 AM Reply #1051 »
Some worthwhile whinges this week.....  the Doomben track overload.....the replacement for Alan Reardon( Surely Not) Terry Bailey .....Sydney stewards inconsistency & double standards ......staff exodus from Radio a few others not to get too excited over.

IMO If UBET or  Radio TAB  does dismiss staff  after the merger..... on the face of it.... there would be massive redundancies  which  the six and seven figure over paid silver tails at the top of the totem pole would probably just  shrug their shoulders and  describe the sackings as just an expense of  business ...never mind the effect on those long serving workers  .....

As for the comment attributed to Neville Stewart  showing his preconceived ideas about staff relations ....maybe having  a  blood rush to the brain.....  there would be massive industrial upheaval and contentious legal/industrial proceedings resulting in massive costs to RQ's budget....if heaven help us he ever gets his size 11's in the door.

That's all from me Giddy Up :beer:

THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE – but you can HAVE YOUR SAY on any day of the week:


RICHARD ANTHONY of BRISBANE shares the concerns of many about the state of the DOOMBEN TRACK heading into the CARNIVAL:

‘LET me preface this by saying that I am in no way critical of the great job the Doomben track has done in trying circumstances nor the mission impossible faced by the curator and his staff.

But like a lot of others I am concerned that Queensland will face another major embarrassment in the eyes of racing nationally when the spotlight swings to our Winter Carnival.

Doomben has deteriorated to the stage where it is like Eagle Farm was originally before it had to be closed and a new track laid. Had they not ballsed up that project from Day One this whole sad tale would never have eventuated.

But Racing Queensland – regardless of the prizemoney being offered – now faces a boycott from interstate stables fearing that Doomben will not be a level playing field during the carnival.

It is no secret that unless a horse has raced on the pace – not further back than the first half dozen and at times in the first three of four – winning has been impossible at Doomben for the last two Saturday meetings.

For some time trainers, jockeys, owners, punters and officials have bemoaned the fact that Doomben has deteriorated to such a stage that it is a waste of time starting of supporting backmarkers or those drawn out wide that cannot race on the speed.

Just imagine the situation on Doomben 10,000 or Stradbroke Day if the first four in the run in most races are the ones that fight out the finish of most races. That’s the embarrassing prospect confronting officialdom in the wake of the Eagle Farm track debacle.

Doomben has done a terrific job filling the gap but it is now paying the price. The track is stuffed and needs and rebuild. But because of the diabolical situation involving Eagle Farm it has to walk the tightrope of seven carnival days in the space of two months.

A couple of meetings have been transferred already to the Sunshine Coast. Some argue that Stradbroke Day should be run there. But even that track is starting to feel the pinch – so much rain and a heavy track saw them come in like Brown’s Cows last Sunday but it has still got a better chance of recovering than Doomben does.

What has made the situation worse in the eyes of many has been the lack of foresight on the part of Racing Queensland in continuing to program Wednesday racing at Doomben when these meeting should have been transferred to Ipswich.

Add to that the continual movement of the rail to try and protect the inside section for the carnival and this has created track bias. What can we expect come carnival when they move back to the true? Will horse drawn the fence be advantaged?

You know things are bad when even the mainstream racing media starts to criticize the Doomben. Nathan Exelby, writing in The Sunday Mail, reported: “Doomben’s torrid workload was laid bare for all to see (on Saturday), with the inside section resembling a travelator, rendering those parked back in the field virtually no hope for the most of the day.

“Inexplicably, two midweek meetings were recently programmed at the venue, and there’s another one slated in for April 11. The Brisbane Racing Cub tried to have (Saturday’s) fixture relocated in a bid to give the track a breather, but the request could not be accommodated.”

Blame for this falls squarely at the feet of Racing Queensland which is responsible for programming. What’s the story – don’t the dills running the show understand the seriousness of the situation?

Racing Minister Sterling Hinchliffe has said ‘heads must roll’ if this Eagle Farm fiasco isn’t resolved. With this is part of the problem Minister and perhaps it is time for you to do a major cleanout of the whole place.

Like him or hate him, former top RQ administrator and Toowoomba Turf Club Chairman Neville Stewart was asked recently what he would do to pulls racing in Queensland out of the quicksand into which it is sinking.

Stewart replied: “I would walk into headquarters and request everyone to write on a piece of paper what they job required. By the time that was answered I would reckon half of them would be out the door”.’




‘WHEN I opened my copy of The Sunday Mail – sadly I am now the only one in my street who still gets it delivered – I thought I was reading an April Fools’ Day joke.

But there it was in black and white in the Punters’ Bible – Nathan Exelby’s Race Day Verdict – the news that Queensland is likely to get a new Chief Steward from July 1.

Current boss Allan Reardon’s highly paid contract expires on June 30 so hopefully that means he will be put out to pasture for good – something many of his colleagues are secretly praying for – not to mention the long-suffering punters who still bet on racing in Queensland.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett apparently plans to search ‘internationally’ for a replacement this time.

One might suggest if Terry Bailey is planning a move from Melbourne to Singapore he needs to look no further than Victoria.

Then again the last time that Bailey showed some interest in the Queensland job the roadblocks that were placed in his path by some high profile officials were both political and inexplicable.

This raised the question back then from some cynics: Were they really serious about cleaning the place up and when Reardon was given the job there were those who felt he was simply in retirement mode which is sad because Al was once regarded as the best reader of a race in the country.’



STAN STEWART of MELBOURNE weights into the debate involving the RACING NSW STEWARDS:

‘YOU might recall a couple of weeks back I suggested in a contribution to the Whinge that the racing public throughout Australia – especially the punting fraternity – believed that the powerful Chris Waller stable gets too much start in Sydney racing.

Well after last Saturday’s meeting at Rosehill my mates and I are prepared to argue that the policing of racing in Sydney is not a level playing field under this panel of stewards.

Kerrin McEvoy showed some initiative to win the Tancred Stakes on Victorian Almandin and stewards fined Liam Howley, the new head trainer for Lloyd Williams, for failing to advise a change in tactics.

Stewards were disturbed that Almandin dropped back to last from a wide gate at his previous start in the Australian Cup at Flemington but in that event Damian Oliver had to scout the fence because it was slower out wide.

Chairman of Stewards Marc Van Gestel says the Rule regarding the public being informed before a change of riding tactics is there to protect the punters. What about the Rule of jockeys being required to position their mounts to give them every chance of winning.

Had McEvoy not shown the initiative aboard Almandin and pressed forward it would arguably have not won the Tancred. What was he expected to do – hand it to Gailo Chop on a platter by allowing the fellow Victorian to get away with easy sectionals and prove impossible to run down in a race where some felt it was also vulnerable at the trip.

If the Racing NSW stewards feel so strongly about implementing the change in tactics rule why does there seem to be a different stance when it comes to the Waller stable.

Let’s hark back to the recent Saturday success of the Waller-trained Multifacets, backed from $21-$12 while the more fancied stablemate Zourkham eased in price and ran fourth.

At his previous start, at a night meeting at Canterbury, Multifacets got too far out of his ground settling last and running home for fourth without ever looking a chance. He stepped up in class to a Saturday race and settled on the pace before proving too strong. Not only was this a change of tactics but also a form reversal from the stable which we have become so accustomed to in Sydney racing with little being questioned by the stewards.

To make matters even more complicated here is what the stewards reported after this race:

MULTIFACETS: 30 minutes prior to the running of this event trainer Mr C Waller notified the stewards the gelding would be ridden in a midfield position. Ten minutes before the running of the event jockey G Schofield approached the stewards and indicated his intention was to settle in a handy position from its wide draw, as he felt the gelding was not able to make up sufficient ground in the straight should it be ridden in its normal racing pattern. Announcements were made to this effect. Subsequent to the race G Schofield confirmed his intention was to be in a handy position, as he did not feel he would have the necessary speed to cross Nat King Cu and Tamarack, which were drawn to his inside. He said when both these runners did not go forward and Cyrus Rocks, drawn to his outside, went forward, Multifacets was able to use that horse to gain a more forward position than he had intended. Trainer Mr C Waller advised stewards that, whilst his intention initially had been to take up a midfield position, as notified to the stewards 30 minutes before the state of the race, he agreed with G Schofield’s assessment that the gelding, if possible, could take up a more forward position. Mr Waller added that, other than the gelding’s last start Canterbury on 2 March 2018, the tactic adopted by G Schofield was similar to its previous racing pattern. Stewards advised Mr Waller that, whilst appreciating his transparency in respect to notify changes of tactics, in this circumstance he would be required, under the provisions of AR135A, to notify changes in tactics no later than 30 minutes prior to the racing starting.

IN other words Waller was again allowed to bend the rules without any penalty. In the case of Almandin, McEvoy adopts tactics which does the right thing by the punters and because of no notification the trainer gets a dressing down from stewards and cops a fine. They will no doubt argue that Waller did the right thing but the stable changed tactics twice – the last 10 minutes before the race – which is hardly fair on punters either and they weren’t penalized were they?   

This whole thing was a farce. Even 30 minutes prior to a race starting does not help punters if it involves tactics for a horse in a treble or quadrella that is already underway. Tactics should be required to be notified first thing in the morning. Of course, depending on how races are run, these have to be flexible but this was simply a massive change from settle last to racing on the pace.

As I said last time I had my Whinge, if these stewards in Sydney are the best in the world, with all due respects to Mr Waller’s opinion, all I can say is God help the punters in other venues around the country.’ 



BARRY HANSEN of the GOLD COAST sent this email about the future of 4TAB:

‘DID veteran race-caller Steve Hawkins see the writing on the wall and will he be the first of many to exodus the TAB in Queensland under the merger?

Hawkes shocked the racing industry with his decision to resign from his long standing calling job at the Gold Coast and also in sales at 4TAB.

The mail has been strong for some time that the axe will fall on many positions at the TAB – one of them the high profile Brendan Parnell who is rumored to be heading to Racing Queensland as new CEO.

It is in the Radio TAB workforce that there are a lot of nervous Nellies, among them chief caller David Fowler. The story goes that the merger hierarchy believes there is too much duplication and that SKY caller Josh Fleming can do just as good a job.

In the meantime the industry – especially those in racing await the debate promised on Press Room between the Bantam and controversial website operator Archie Butterfly over whether or not harness racing is badly done by in Queensland.

This was to occur on Monday but there was no Press Room because of the Easter holiday and we all know that neither 4TAB nor the Bantam would welch on a dare especially if supporting the ‘red hots’ is a mission impossible.’           



LGHR COMMENT after receiving several emails on this TOPIC:

RACING is always full of conspiracy theories and the latest doing the rounds is that top stables have used their numbers to shut star sprinter Mr Marbellouz out of a start in the Toowoomba Weetwood.

Despite winning six of his seven starts, Mr Marbellouz is on the minimum for Saturday’s feature sprint and No 17 in the ballot of 22 entries with only 14 starters permitted.

Top trainers Tony Gollan (Brisbane) and Ben Currie (Toowoomba) have eight entries although one of Currie’s (Publishing Power) will struggle to secure a start as well.

Regardless of whether the young duo want to see Mr Marbellouz in the Weetwood, their runners ahead of him in the ballot have earned those places and are entitled to a start for their connections.

It is ridiculous to suggest that the Toowoomba Turf Club should use ‘special powers’ to include Mr Marbellouz in the field. Even his trainer Kevin Kemp, who has won the race four times, would agree with that and has entered his new stable star for a Class 6 Plate on the Weetwood-Cup day card.

Saturday is that time of year when the racing diehards again head up the range to Toowoomba for the start of the Winter Carnival, even though Winter doesn’t start for another two months.

Many still maintain that this big day should have proven itself as a successful Sunday meeting before being allocated major Saturday carnival status. Then there are those who believe the Weetwood should have retained its Show Holiday timeslot when the locals would turn out in their thousands.

Regardless, it is what it is and Doomben certainly needs a break from racing. Apart from waiting to see if Mr Marbellouz secures a start the other big question is how many winners will the Ben Currie stable land on the day.

Melbourne has Weir, Sydney has Waller and Toowoomba has ‘Big Ben’ whose stable strength has grown to such a degree that he now dominates most meetings on his home track. Perhaps the bookies should frame a market on how many winners he will train on Cup day. His one good things looks to be back-to-back Cup wins with Honey Toast.



BARRY KING of GOLD COAST sent this email voicing concerns on SKY CHANNEL coverage of the THREE CODES in QUEENSLAND. 

‘SKY Channel never ceases to amaze some of us who follow the three codes of racing closely.

My mates and I only bet on the gallops these days. We were once great fans of the ‘red hots’ but they wore us down with too many dodgy races and not enough action by stewards for what we believe are political reasons.

What gets right up our nose is the constant quick switch to Sydney and NSW provincial race coverage and previews cutting short the coverage of racing in Queensland.

It continues to occur despite promises that it wouldn’t. No doubt they will step back up to the plate during the carnival to try and prove everything is OK again.

But to the point of this email and that is how in the hell did the Marburg trots earn wall-to-wall coverage on Sunday. At one stage a race and preview was even shown on the main SKY ONE channel before reverting to SKY 2 to run alongside of the Victor Harbour ‘red hots’. Both had next to nothing in their holds.

You would have sworn the Marburg trots meeting was the Interdominion or the Miracle Mile the way SKY covered it. Here was this young lady being filmed interviewing the drivers before each race and providing full preview coverage.

While this was going on the investment figures were being shown on the three state TABS. Queensland was struggling to get past $1,000 (yep that’s correct a total of $1,000) and so were the other two TABs with a minute to go before jump time and the turnover total didn’t improve much.

My questions are these:

Who paid for the SKY wall-to-wall coverage of Marburg?

Was it approved by Racing Queensland and, if so, can someone reveal how much it cost the industry?

Were strings pulled by the political power-broker in harness racing who has major TAB shareholdings to ensure this non-event gained far more significant live coverage than it deserved?’       





WERE punters disadvantaged being kept in the dark about a tactically superb ride by Kerrin McEvoy on Almandin in Saturday’s Tancred Stakes at Rosehill Gardens? And did a fair result come from a Mark Zahra's whip breach aboard Levendi?

Again track bias reared on a major program where the official reading was a good four after a seemingly perfect week for grass and played a role with Almandin.

Obviously Racing NSW stewards were disturbed about the change in strategy by McEvoy taking up a more prominent position which most turf students would agree is the best way to navigate weight-for-age races, especially when there is only one major rival, in this instance Gailo Chop.

Alas Liam Howley, the new head trainer for the staying mastermind Lloyd Williams, didn’t inform stewards so they could pass it on to the public.

Being a newcomer Howley later received a good, old dressing by the prosecutor Mark Van Gestel.

With McEvoy, Australia’s best saddle navigator in distance races, nothing less, particularly as the pattern developed, should have been anticipated.

Earlier on the program there was a strong propensity towards horses racing in front or near the lead.

Peter Ellis who walks the tracks searching for the best ground in races for top Victorian trainers, including Darren Weir, deduced there was a fast lane four or five horses off the fence at Rosehill on Saturday and the going in the straight faster than the previous ground thus early comers to the hot spot were advantaged.

The exceptions were Spright (Star Kingdom Stakes) and Osborne Bulls (West App H'cp) but with explanations.

I’d have been surprised had McEvoy ridden Almandin differently without the side-line prompting.

Stewards were disturbed that Almandin dropped back to last from a wide gate at his previous start in the Australian Cup at Flemington but in that event Damian Oliver had to scout the fence because it was slower out wide. Saturday confirmed Almandin was beaten by the bias at Flemington, rated a good three.

The rule regarding the public being informed before a switch in riding tactics has never impressed me. The best jockeys ride on initiative and adapting to circumstances that don’t come onto the radar for new age map makers, mainly armchair generals deducing how a race will be run. Sure, it’s a guide but not an official chopping block.

Perhaps being informed about runner-up Miss Que ($11 to $9) going forward in the final event, adjusting to conditions, was a worthwhile leg up. Well, it put more pace in the race that enabled Osborne Bulls to storm home and win.

Also, a breach of the whip regarding a result raised eyebrows with Levendi in the Tulloch Stakes for which Zahra incurred a suspension and $1000 fine.

Zahra hit his mount eight times, three over the limit prior to the 100 metres. Levendi scored in the last couple of hops. Does three clouts keeping in touch with a rival equal a short head? In laying down the law for suspensions the stipes take into account the “totality” – 17 for Zahra but could not be satisfied Levendi gained an advantage so they didn’t proceed with a protest.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Apr-11, 07:52 AM Reply #1052 »
The Wednesday Whinge .....It's All About Ben...Ben Currie......LGHR sent Ben a series of questions........and he responded in a well written composition without going into the specific allegations which he dismissed as rubbish...lot of pressure on him now with the QRIC surveillance and the same should be said about QRIC which went public now they need to produce the evidence ..if there is any to be found.

WEDNESDAY WHINGE – but HAVE YOUR SAY any day of the week:


QUEENSLAND’S top trainer BEN CURRIE has been the victim of serious and unsubstantiated allegations for so long now that what happened on Weetwood Day in Toowoomba was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

Currie has declared an inquiry into ‘suspicious activities at his stables’ on Saturday morning a ‘witch-hunt’. His critics in the racing industry – the number of which is growing by the week – are concerned the inquiry will be a ‘white-wash’.

LETSGOHORSERACING believes it is neither a ‘witch-hunt’ nor will it be a ‘white-wash’ but certain steps need to be taken by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to win back those who have lost confidence in the system.

CCTV footage from the stable needs to be produced and swabs taken on the day must be sent overseas (to Hong Kong and America) where there is a greater chance of detecting illegal drugs than the technology currently available in Australia.

Failure by Currie to hand over the CCTV footage will sew a seed of doubt in the eyes of a legion of disbelievers while the credibility of QRIC will be questioned if they leave no stone unturned in an effort to see if any alleged ‘hits’ are being used.

There are many who already maintain they blundered by allowing the Currie horses to start and win feature races on Toowoomba’s biggest day.     

As Nathan Exelby reported in the Murdoch Media it wasn’t a good look for the opening day of the ‘winter’ Carnival but pressure has been mounting on QRIC for some time to address the growing concerns being raised about the amazing success the Currie stable has been enjoying.

Many rival trainers, industry stakeholders and members of the punting public are claiming that racing in south-east Queensland is no longer a level playing field. To put it bluntly the allegation (not our words but theirs) is that Currie is arguably enjoying ‘start’.

Conspiracy theories are nothing new to horse racing but in Queensland the alleged ‘start’ that ‘they’ are referring to comes in various forms – some point to Currie’s reportedly unorthodox training methods and question whether these are borderline legal or more importantly ahead of the game when it comes to swabbing techniques being used in Australia. ‘They’ highlight his arguably lucky escapes from swabbing charges on technicalities and insist if the current inquiry is to clear him then testing must be done overseas where the latest in highly sophisticated ‘hits’ can now be detected.

Call it ‘tall poppy syndrome’ if you like (it happened with Chris Waller and his crest-of-the-wave rise in Sydney racing) but there are those who insist Currie has ‘start’ with officialdom – an unhealthy closeness to people with political and racing influence and there have even been some outrageous allegations of ‘links’ with stewards and crime figures. Nothing, of course, that can be substantiated and such was the seriousness of the rumour mill at one stage that QRIC issued a Media Release denying an association between ‘a trainer and a steward’ amid claims that stables were being tipped off when ‘drug raids’ were planned.

The great appeal of horse racing is that the track is a place where politicians and priests can mix with prostitutes and pimps. The Currie stable has a great mix of owners from all walks of life.

That, too, has led to innuendo that some of the ‘respected businessmen’ who race horses with Currie are allegedly connected to the ‘underbelly’ of crime in Victoria which is being investigated by Federal Police amid fears they are behind major gambling syndicates that are becoming more heavily involved in the racing scene.

In one of several debates LETSGOHORSERACING had recently with Currie, where he voiced concerns that what we published focused only on the negatives and not the positives involving his stable, we raised a number of issues of concern that had been contributed to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE over the past year concerning his stable.

He, of course, questioned their credibility but we have, on record, some damning statements made to us about his training procedures and life off the track provided by identities that are creditable and some might say ‘closer to home’ that he would like.

At his request we recently sent Currie a list of questions (many of which we never published) but he ‘refused to dignify most of them with a response’ claiming they were simply the ‘basis for a good crime novel’.

For some months Currie has been under fire on social media blogs – some of the criticism that has been published – is, in the opinion of our lawyers, defamatory. Rather than head down that path we gave Ben the opportunity, only a couple of weeks before this situation flared up last Saturday, to answer his critics.

The questions we raised with him were legitimate and sent to us over recent months by a mixed group – from respected trainers to racing officials and people closely associated with his racing family not to mention run-of-the mill punters.

The Nolan family has been ‘racing royalty’ on the Darling Downs for generations. We have spoken to some from the inner-sanctum and can assure you that not every one of them is a fan of ‘Big Ben’.

As for his claims that we are out of step with the mainstream racing media and only want to criticise rather than give credit where credit is due, well we don’t have to work with Currie on a weekly basis like the broadcast media and turf scribes do. As such we don’t have to genuflect and grovel at the feet of his supposed training greatness. We have watched with interest as he has achieved more in two years than generations of the Nolan family did in a lifetime. Interestingly, he was catapulted into a training career when his father, Mark, a close friend of Peter Moody, was outed over a positive swab.

Some of the questions we raised with Currie which he would not dignify with answers included:


AS a member of a family that has generations of involvement in the training of racehorses in Toowoomba why have you been more successful in a short time than other training members of your family have been in a life-time?

WHAT do you say in answer to the critics – many of them experienced trainers – who claim it is not a level playing field competing against you?

YOU admit to adopting some ‘different’ training methods – there have been reports of stewards finding blood stored in refrigerators and oxygen tanks at your stables. Is this correct and what are these used for?

DO you or did your stable at any time regularly fly a well-known veterinarian from Melbourne to treat your horses?

THERE have been suggestions that your horses are notoriously late to arrive at the track. A scan of Stewards’ Reports shows that you have been fined for late arrivals, especially in Toowoomba, where your stables aren’t that far from the track. Why is this so?

WHAT do you say to those who claim you have owners linked to identities in the ‘underworld’ in Melbourne and that you enjoy political and official start in racing in Queensland?

THERE was a situation in State Parliament last year where the Opposition Racing Spokesman accused then Racing Minister Grace Grace of receiving tips from you? Did you ever tip to her at the races or anywhere else?

DURING the same debate in Parliament it was suggested that a key member of the Parliamentary Sub Committee on Racing had horses in your stable. Is that correct and can you see how it could be perceived that you have connections in the right places?

DOES the Chairman of the Toowoomba Turf Club have a horse in your stable and could this be the reason that other trainers on the Downs are complaining that you received an inside run with on-course stabling that should have gone to other trainers?

WHAT do you say in relation to allegations that trainer John Zeilke was virtually forced to leave Toowoomba and transfer his stables to the Gold Coast because he was fed up with the bad blood between your two stables?

ARE you working with a small group of rival trainers in Toowoomba because the situation reached the stage where your domination of races there was becoming embarrassing? This is the allegation of a group of smaller trainers who claim they are just left to pick up the crumbs. We have looked at results going back months and can’t find any races were horses from your stable and those of the trainers allegedly linked to you fought out the finish.

WHAT would you say if LGHR told you that some members of (or close to) your racing family on the Downs (one a retired veterinarian) have questioned your training methods?


THIS is part of what BEN CURRIE wrote in response:

‘YOUR column (the WEDNESDAY WHINGE) doesn’t seem to include anything positive regarding the racing industry in general, so I’m  amongst good company there as you also continue to write negative pieces on myself and other key industry members under the guise of ‘keeping the bastards honest’.

I find it interesting that you are quick to point out that it’s not the LGHR opinion, it’s that of many of my ‘racing colleagues’ and ‘family members’ - and NONE of whom can be named for legal reasons.

I also find it interesting that so many of my racing colleagues and now also allegedly family members are using your column as a vehicle to vent. Interesting that none of these people say anything directly to me, and none are prepared to put their name to print. It’s very peculiar.

I viewed the list of questions that you sent to me (that apparently the public have a right to have answered) and it had all the trappings of a good crime novel.

(These involved) links to underworld crime, drug associates and issues, robberies, police involvement, political favors and corruption, and the on-going innuendo regarding the ‘unfair playing field in racing!’

Based on these writings and allegations I am surprised that I am able to run a business and am not in jail, or in a rehabilitation centre!

Suffice to say, I’m not even going to dignify this with a response, other than what rubbish. And I would also add that if you have any evidence regarding any of this information I hope you’ve reported it to Crime Stoppers, so they can follow up with me directly.

I also don’t think there is a trainer in Australia who would outline their training techniques and regime for the general public and ‘the punters’ to view! A bit insulting to my loyal band of owners, that I should put the punters, or the general public, first! Last time I checked these groups weren’t paying my horse bills! That being said I think the general punting public has been very happy with the success they have experienced in following my horses, and I receive many positive emails that substantiate this. These supporters would also be happy to have their name in print.

I would however like to make some general comments regarding your list of questions as follows:

Firstly I’m not sure whether you’re aware but I am a full-time horse trainer and this is my livelihood. I am not a hobby trainer and I don’t have another job to support this hobby (I am assuming that the ‘smaller trainers’ that you quote, who are being ‘left with the crumbs’ in Toowoomba, are also more than likely to have other incomes).

Professional horse racing is not a playground where prize money needs to be ‘shared around’, with everyone getting a ‘turn to win’. It is also not an arena where you should be blaming others if you are not getting the desired results. When I lose a race I review what went wrong, in an objective and logical sequence, and adjust my training methods and tactics accordingly. This might mean to win a Maiden I have to take the horse to country Queensland rather than continue to place it against tougher opposition. Essentially I focus on my own business, and not the business of others, to gain results.

I am currently running in conjunction with my immediate family, the largest stable of horses ever based in Toowoomba. We operate this as a business. We place horses where they can win, hence the continuous travel across the State and interstate, with the focus being on winning races for our loyal group of owners, who support our business.

The Toowoomba Turf Club offered us additional boxes based on reputation for paying their monthly accounts (yes, they are running a business also) and having the horse numbers to support occupying a vacated barn. I was not aware that there was a queue of other trainers wanting access to these facilities.

There are various trainers based at Toowoomba who train horses for both past and current committee members of the Toowoomba Turf Club, some training   relationships spanning decades. I wasn't aware that this has ever been an issue, and in terms of the ‘public perception’ it seems interesting that this has only become an issue since I commenced training for a committee member.

My history in racing is common knowledge. A google search will give you numerous articles about how I got into the game, and my achievements and activities to date.

A search of RISA will also allow you to view Stewards’ Reports and internal reviews. If you re-viewed those sources you would note that I am rigorously swabbed, and actively participate in all integrity processes.

If you review my history you would also note that I completed a Communications and Marketing Degree at University whilst also training horses. You would also discover that I attend most horse sales across Australia and New Zealand.

I have also been a strong industry financial contributor with my on-going purchases of horses, putting finances back into this industry that I know and love. Through this I have built a strong base of owners, and developed positive and varied industry relationships.

We currently have 90 horses in work, (and fortunately for me a number of them very well bred), so I would expect that I should be winning at least a couple of races every week, given this number. It’s really not rocket science.

There are enough challenges in the racing industry at the moment, without people like yourself adding additional layers of issues which are not evidence based. The racing industry and community needs to band together, not attack from the inside, to address these challenges.

I will close with a suggestion that perhaps calling a column ‘Wednesday Whinge’ is simply encouraging ‘people’ to vent on what they perceive to be the negatives of the industry.

I also wonder where people find the time to continuously vent. Perhaps they should be focusing on running their businesses?  At any rate venting without purpose or action is not a healthy exercise, so I would suggest when you are receiving correspondence pertaining to me, that you direct these people to me, or to a source where their complaints can be investigated, in a fair and transparent manner, where natural justice is exercised.’


WE thank Ben for his response even if there were tough questions he didn’t want to dignify with an answer. As for his criticism of the Wednesday Whinge it has become a popular platform for all sections of the racing industry and public to have their say. If you and your supporters don’t like what some have to say, then don’t read it.

As for your suggestion that those with concerns about you or the way your stable operates should take that up with the appropriate authorities – that is just what they have been doing ben and that is why you are currently facing an inquiry into ‘suspicious activities’ at your stable. It’s not a ‘witch-hunt’ – it’s the stewards doing their job.

In conclusion we will run some of the emails that weren’t too hot to handle from our legion of followers (yes Ben we have plenty of support for what we do too). Sadly, most are too afraid to put their identities to these emails and texts because of fears of harassment and retaliation (we at LGHR can identify with that).

THE general consensus of opinion of the ‘Whinges’ we have received – and there have been many to this effect – are published below:

‘THE Currie stable will do another Houdini and the mainstream racing media will declare him a clean skin, wrongly criticized by jealous rivals and the best training genius to come out of Queensland in decades’.

‘HOW many ‘get out of jail free cards’ do this mob possess? Regardless of the outcome or how many hundreds of winners Currie trains there will always be a stench hanging over his success and no rival stable, trainer or punter will ever consider competing against him as a ‘fair playing field’.’

‘CURRIE cannot call this investigation a witch-hunt and declare no wrong-doing if he is not prepared to provide CCTV footage of what QRIC claims happened at his stables on Saturday morning. What’s the bet if there was any film it is long gone?’

‘WHAT is going on with this CURRIE inquiry? QRIC telegraphing their punches on the Friday that stables would be under surveillance in Toowoomba leading up to the Weetwood meeting was akin to the police telling the bank robber they would be waiting out the front of the bank for his arrival. Firstly we had QRIC saying they had CCTV footage of the alleged incident. Then we had Nathan Exelby reporting in The Sunday Mail: For the sake of uncovering the truth, securing this vision would be the best possible outcome — it can conclusively show which version of events is true. But it’s still unknown if the footage is actually there.’

‘REGARDLESS of the outcome of this inquiry the Currie-trained horses should not have been allowed to start at Toowoomba on Saturday. That is the opinion of some high ranking interstate stewards who have far more experience in situations such as this than those running the show at QRIC. When you look at some of the ‘identities’ involved the whole show on the day was a farce. Little wonder the crowd was down for the opening of the carnival regardless of what the club claims.’ 

‘IN view of what has happened in the past this inquiry has to be taken over by the heavies at QRIC and not left to a local Chief Steward on the Downs to handle not that ‘old Al’ could be relied on to ask too many tough questions.

‘CAN someone explain how BEN CURRIE’S father MARK can hold a trainers’ license independently but still help with the training of his son’s horses. What is going on here? Are all their horses integrated? In the Racing Calendar there is an address for Ben’s stable but of all the trainers on the Downs Mark Currie is the only one without an address. If they are training as a team then it should be co-trainers Ben and Mark Currie surely?

‘WHY did a high profile investigator from QRIC depart suddenly when he claimed to have evidence allegedly involving the Currie stable that some of his colleague say would have been used in most jurisdictions?

‘IS there truth to the racing rumour mill that Currie was aware within hours of the identity of a top Brisbane trainer who made a serious allegation concerning his activities at a recent Doomben midweek meeting and also within hours of some high profile trainers visiting QRIC Integrity Commission Barnett and expressing concerns about his operation. These ‘leaks’ follow closely on the heels of reports that the day a team of QRIC drug testers arrived at Clifford Park a group of stable staff departed hastily in a car minutes beforehand.’   

EDITOR’S NOTE: IF the feedback LGHR is receiving (no doubt Ben and his band of merry men will question its authenticity) is any indication, there will be no winners when this investigation is completed. If no action is taken – or a scapegoat is blamed for what allegedly occurred – the racing public and the industry in general will declare a solid vote of ‘no confidence’ in the job being done by QRIC.

IF Currie has another ‘lucky escape’ he and his supporters will dine out but it will be a hollow victory because a ‘dark cloud’ will forever hang over his successes in the future and the training methods that he uses. But I guess they will adopt the attitude of: WINNERS CAN LAUGH and LOSERS CAN PLEASE THEMSELVES.

HOOFNOTE: INTERESTING times ahead with reports that when ‘soft cock’ Al is shown the door a new no-nonsense, tough Chief Steward will ride into town with a mission to dine out regularly on a feast of ‘finger licking good curried chicken’.

Giddy Up :beer:


Offline Spudda028

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« 2018-Apr-11, 09:26 AM Reply #1053 »

WHAT do you say in relation to allegations that trainer John Zeilke was virtually forced to leave Toowoomba and transfer his stables to the Gold Coast because he was fed up with the bad blood between your two stables?


Surely anybody that has ever laid claims to be a "journalist" / blogger / investigator call it whatever you like could see that unless Lindgard follows this up further he has been participating in a witch-hunt. Let's see if he has any credibility and follows this up- I know for a fact there is more to this that is easily uncovered if he bothered to dig in any direction other than Currie. However, the people pleaser sees all the flak headed to Ben and takes the easy way out. Let's check his credibility or has he been warned off by the now Gold Coast based trainers threat of litigation? 

Offline Gintara

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« 2018-Apr-11, 11:57 AM Reply #1054 »
At least it's well named "Wednesday Whinge" as it's all it does but maybe renaming it "Rock Throwers Anonymous" might be more apt?

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Apr-11, 09:00 PM Reply #1055 »
At least it's well named "Wednesday Whinge" as it's all it does but maybe renaming it "Rock Throwers Anonymous" might be more apt?

They are not all anonymous Gin.

"Stan Stewart" from Melbourne is an expert on NSW racing (funny how all the NSW racing experts seem to live outside of the state) and is often quoted on the site with his criticisms about racing in the big state to the north of him   :lol:

Offline Gintara

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« 2018-Apr-11, 10:07 PM Reply #1056 »
Did anyone stop to think that he might just be good at training horses?

I love the justification that his family have done moderately for years so it stands to reason that he should have similar success  :no:  :shutup: FFS

Offline sobig

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« 2018-Apr-11, 10:41 PM Reply #1057 »
Agree with that sentiment gintara.

If the stewards clear him over whatever the incident was at the weekend all the "haters" will simply keep complaining about him
having the stewards in his pocket.

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Apr-12, 05:24 PM Reply #1058 »
Agree with that sentiment gintara.

If the stewards clear him over whatever the incident was at the weekend all the "haters" will simply keep complaining about him
having the stewards in his pocket.

Welcome to social media.

Fair dinkum. Some of the negative stuff coming out of social media by "haters" beggars belief. Not just horse racing. Everything!

Society is dealing with the new rules where you can virtually say anything you like about anyone on social media and get away with it.

I try and restrict my negative comments on the forum to politicians, JohnWesleyHarding and jfc. Everything else I take a positive view   :biggrin:

Online JWesleyHarding

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« 2018-Apr-12, 06:03 PM Reply #1059 »

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-Apr-12, 08:35 PM Reply #1060 »

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-Apr-18, 08:24 AM Reply #1061 »
It's not all about Ben this week although there is quite some interest in the events which took place involving the stable as the extracts published reveal..others were considered borderline defamatory and too hot to include.......a story about the complaint from a property owner in Mein St Hendra and RQ responding to dust and cleaning opinion on the prospect of restricting racing managers apparently some based in  Melbourne were the focus...and Kate McClymont's story on Steve Fletcher facing criminal charges round out this issue of the Wednesday Whinge.......and no WW next week as John Lingard takes a short break.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-May-09, 08:37 AM Reply #1062 »
It looks like this week's edition is a bit light on of whinges from the rank and file.......looks to be more editorial contributions and there's nothing wrong with that.
The Ben Currie case attracted more comments which it appears are unsuitable for publication Currie is entitled to a fair go but he appears to be the target of the spear throwers as the selection published reveals......that's all from me read all about it as the old Tele news boys selling papers outside the GPO used to cry.



THEY should invite the ‘boys from the bush’ at Barcaldine down to the Farm (Eagle Farm in Brisbane) to show the ‘city slickers’ how to build a turf track.

Not only have they successfully installed a new grass track – the first of its kind in Western Queensland – but they have also completed the project in just over four months at a cost of tens of millions less than has been wasted in Brisbane.

It makes a mockery of the on-going farce that is Eagle Farm – where a return to racing continues to flounder as the ‘supposed’ experts continue to struggle to make grass grow on the No 1 track in Queensland.

Here’s how JOHN ELLICOTT of THE LAND newspaper reported this amazing success story for all concerned from Government to Council and racing officials in the west:

THEY might be suffering from six years of drought, but Barcaldine is putting on a brave green face – building a $750,000 new turf track to make it a shiny western Queensland racing destination.

And it might be using up 20 per cent of the town’s water licence, but locals see the turf revival as only progress. The first turf meeting was held in the Barcaldine club’s long history (last) Saturday, with about 2,000 people celebrating the green in their racing scene for the first time and the horses, not surprisingly, ran record times.

It’s the first turf track in remote Queensland beyond Emerald, and is now a shiny racing jewel in the home of where Labor politics started.

Mayor Rob Chandler has no qualms about using a fair bit of the town’s water in the middle of a worsening drought to support the venture with development money supplied by the Palaszczuk Government.

“We used about the same amount of water on the old dirt track anyway,” he said. “We’ll be re-commissioning a few of the old artesian bores so there won’t be any problem.”

The club hosts about seven meetings a year and has offered other regional race clubs the opportunity to stage meetings at Barcaldine if their own tracks aren’t suitable for racing.

The construction of the couch track started in January and the track was all ready to go for the May meeting, known as the Tree of Knowledge Cup meeting. It coincided with a Tree of Knowledge festival in town that celebrates the birthplace of Labor politics in 1891 during the shearer’s strike over poor working conditions. The club has raced on dirt for a long time – since 1886!

One of Barcaldine’s famous racing products is the current senior race caller for SKY in Queensland, Josh Fleming, who blooded his racing life on his home course.

Josh took time out from calling the major Gold Coast meeting on Saturday to watch a few Facebook clips of the historic Barcaldine event.

 “I never thought I’d see the day,” Josh told The Land. “It was magic to see. I’ve stood on the hill there and watched plenty of races in the dirt. It seemed surreal watching them on the turf. While I wasn’t trackside I did see a couple online via Facebook.”

Mr Chandler said he was eager to get Josh back to call a turf meeting at Barcaldine. After the races the club staged goat races on the turf – and then some unwanted guests arrived – a group of kangaroos started eating the new turf.

“Don’t worry we’re in the process of building a roo-proof fence around the track pretty soon,” Mr Chandler said.

Queensland Minister for Racing Stirling Hinchliffe said the track would give country racing a boost. “This is a tremendous opportunity, Barcaldine has the right soils, the right water supply, we know that turf racing is the for the top flight racing in this country,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“It will lift the game in country racing, lift the exposure and opportunity for those people in the Western areas, in particular, to be part of the broader game.”

The Barcaldine venture has caused more embarrassment for the ‘silvertail’s’ running the Brisbane Racing Club not to mention those at the helm of the good ship RQ Titanic. How can a bush club upstage the supposed pacesetter in the state showing them how to make grass grow successfully, how not to cost the industry tens of millions of dollars in the process and without putting their hand out for more after receiving what most would consider a modest sum in funding through a State Government Grant and funding from Barcaldine Regional Council to get the job done in a few short months.

As one former high profile metropolitan official said:

‘When will the industry unite and demand the removal of both the BRC and RQ Boards due to the cost both have incurred without achieving a racing surface at Eagle Farm. The industry does not deserve this level of incompetence.’

And finally from a former RQ Board member who is a great fan of the consultant for the Barcaldine job, Warren Williams, who for some strange reason ran into a political storm trying to put the Eagle Farm project back on track:

‘When will Pounds Sterling finally realize the incompetents that are costing the industry tens of millions of dollars on this Eagle Farm disaster? If this latest redeveloped track isn’t up in running by the new year then not only should the Government step in and sack the Board but they should show the Racing Minister the door as well’.   



DURING our annual break LGHR received numerous emails concerning the CURRIE INQUIRY. As we asked in the past please be aware that until this is complete trainer BEN CURRIE is entitled to the presumption of innocence. What we have done is written a piece that hopefully gets across the messages of those who wanted to HAVE THEIR SAY. Some comments could not be published for legal reasons. On another matter readers or contributors who wish to comment on the support being shown for BEN CURRIE by colleague ARCHIE BUTTERFLY should address their comments to his website, We are not about to have the WEDNESDAY WHINGE used as platform to criticize another website. We don’t agree with Archie that Ben Currie is getting a ‘raw deal’ from QRIC but he is entitled to his opinion.


THE unprecedented anger that is growing among stakeholders and the racing pubic as the controversial Currie Inquiry draws to a close threatens to irreparably damage the image of the Queensland industry and its integrity system in the eyes of the nation.

Goggle the news reports involving the Currie’s on any racing web or blog site and it soon becomes evident from the ‘comments section’ that ‘Teflon Ben’ and his dad ‘Boof’ don’t have much support when it comes to the Court of Public Opinion.

Fortunately for them those critics will not determine their fate – the Rules of Racing will – and whether stakeholders continue to insist that the swabbing system is flawed allowing the ‘smarties’ to stay one step ahead of the game the fact remains there has been no positives detected to date from the Weetwood Day stable starters.

Ben Currie can plead his innocence all he likes. Many in the industry refuse to believe him. His father, Mark’s, track record when it comes to positive swabs is not a good one. Statisticians have already highlighted the lack of consistency in their winning strike rate since the stable hit its latest hurdle. Those that win are more than not heavily backed and bolt in with a leg in the air – most of those that don’t perform like mules.

It’s a sad state of affairs when form analysts and the majority of punters who still have the confidence to bet on racing in Queensland insist it is impossible to assess the Currie runners. Each and every one – from the weakest Maiden to a major Carnival race in the city – is assessed on suspicion of what it might do rather than what it is capable of on a consistent basis. The rumour mill remains in overdrive. Every stable winner that salutes from now to never will have a dark cloud hanging over its performance as will the training record – as remarkable as it might seem – of the young trainer.

One has to feel for QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett and his team, who are in a ‘no-win situation’ under pressure to put the Currie stable to the sword by its many critics but accused of ‘victimisation’ by his stable supporters, including the respected ones on the Downs and the ‘spivs’ south of the border.

The ‘blame game’ began from the moment Commissioner Barnett told The Courier Mail: “To date no prohibited substances have been detected but testing is ongoing. Treatment on race day with any form of medication is unlawful and this can include products which may be permitted on non-race days.”

Everyone put their own interpretation on his word and wanted to read between the lines. ‘The swabbing system is flawed. Teflon Ben will do a Houdini. Do they really want to ensure a level playing field in racing in Queensland?’ roared the critics.

Ben Currie couldn’t help himself taking to Twitter to give QRIC a blast. “Handy to find out about this through the paper. No press release @QRICStewards or maybe even a call to let me know – what I always said. Hopefully the right outcome can now be found and apologies given.”

Currie critics took the bait and responded immediately (many of them on

‘Asking for apologies – the arrogance and similarities to Lance Armstrong is astounding.’

‘Inquiry still running…it ain’t over yet…and apologies for what? Would advise Ben not to bag the process all over social media.’

‘The arrogance and smugness of this little turkey is unbelievable. He thinks he’s untouchable. Time will tell but his reputation is shot regardless of the outcome of this inquiry.

‘The Currie name will always have a dark cloud hanging over it and every winner will be viewed by many with suspicion. This whole affair is a pox on Queensland racing.’

Meanwhile, QRIC expects to complete part of an inquiry into possible breaches of the race day treatment rules at the Currie stables when it reconvenes on Friday.

Stewards opened an inquiry into the possible breaches after integrity officers spotted what they determined were suspicious activities at the Toowoomba stables on April 7.

Commissioner Barnett said trainer Mark Currie and two Currie racing stable hands suspended following initial investigations have been called to appear at the resumed inquiry.

“Mark Currie faces a number of charges and has previously entered a plea of not guilty. Stewards allege race day treatment of race horses occurred on two separate occasions on the morning of Saturday April 7 and Saturday March 24.

“The analysis of CCTV footage seized from the Toowoomba stables is now complete in respect to these three racing participants, however the investigation of other substances seized is ongoing and is expected to continue for some time,” Commissioner Barnett said.

So for those who insist it is all over bar the shouting don’t go cracking the champagne corks just yet. This is the chance for QRIC to show they are not the ‘keystone cops’ outfit that many in racing are painting them.

The one matter that does need to be clarified though is this. Mark Currie surely cannot just take the blame for what was happening under the watch of his son as trainer. And why was Mark allowed to be so heavily involved in stable activities when he has a trainer’s license of his own and as such cannot be stable foreman for his son. At the end of the day the buck stops with BEN CURRIE and if Mark Currie is found guilty of anything illegal than Ben has to wear his share of the blame as the trainer responsible for running the stable.



CHAMPION trainer Chris Waller stopped short of suggesting the obvious when he weighed into the debate on the ailing health of racing in Queensland.

Waller spoke out about the need for strong leadership to help the industry realize its full potential. He should have taken it a step further and added: ‘I’ve got just the man to haul RQ out of the quicksand.’

Brisbane-based Peter Tighe is a part-owner of Winx and many top horses in the Waller stable. Not only is he a successful racehorse owner but an extremely successful businessman and most importantly he knows racing.

Tighe also knows the politics of racing in Queensland and has been a victim of the back-stabbing close-knit crew who have run the BRC in recent years. Reports suggest there were behind the scenes moves to keep him from taking up an important director’s role because not all of those heavily involved with the club shared his vision for the club and the industry.

Some say Tighe was too forward thinking, had his finger on the pulse and was certainly not the ‘team player’ that certain BRC heavies prefer as their directors. His foresightedness, honesty and knowledge of what changes need to be made to haul racing in Queensland and Brisbane out of the quicksand didn’t sit easy with those who want to run the show their way.

Waller was right when he said RQ needs strong leadership. Peter Tighe is the main for the job. It’s time for long overdue change at the BRC before the whole joint goes down the gurgler not to mention showing some of these boof-heads at RQ the door before they do too much more damage to the industry as well.



OUR SPY in the QRIC BUNKER suggests that Allan Reardon has done a back-flip on retirement and applied for another stint as Chief Steward.

He maintains that the rumor has done little for morale among the troops, some of whom are saying if ‘old Al’ stays on they will be looking elsewhere for jobs.

Reardon was once one of the best stewards in the land but many of his colleagues believe he is just marking time these days.

Despite being bought back to train the younger stewards and put some stability into the panel, Reardon has, in the opinion of many punters, failed to fire a shot.

They point to the continued lack of integrity on the track where form is often hard to follow, form reversals are accepted but worst of all statistics show that several top jockeys have a woeful record when it comes to missing the start on favorites. And we haven't mentioned the less than level playing field with suggestions horses are being treated on a regular basis but failing to return positive swabs.

No - it's time Reardon sailed off into the sunset and paved the way for a no-nonsense, tough steward to clean the joint in Queensland up. The longer he over-stays his welcome the worst the integrity situation will get.



THERE are some very interesting stories doing the rounds about the reasons things have stalled in recent years that would have improved the integrity image of racing in Queensland.

Why would two high profile stewards be opposed to a security firm being engaged to employ guards to watch runners in major Carnival races in the 48 hours leading up to their assignments?

Now we have a situation where a disgruntled family member is alleged to have provided QRIC with a dirt file on a high profile licensee which could have far reaching implications.

Story goes it involves a former top steward and his association with a prominent stable. Are investigations underway looking into bank transfers and who might have been involved?

And all of this at the gallops whilst the ‘red hots’ continue their downward spiral with ‘match fixing’ allegations refusing to go away. Little wonder harness racing is but a blimp on the radar in Queensland these days and some of those running the show are looking for a financial parachute interstate.




TOBY ANDERSON of SYDNEY sent this email:

‘WHEN I first read this story I thought it was a belated April Fools’ Day joke but once I realized it involved Tom Waterhouse then I knew anything was possible.

Are there really mugs out there in punting land with so much money that they would pay Tom $120,000 a year to show them how to back winners?

They say there’s one born every minute and the Waterhouse clan certainly know how to find them. Just read the story below from FAIRFAX MEDIA and like many of us you will be gob-smacked at the gullibility of some punters.

TOM KRUGER reports for THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD that the relentlessly chirpy Tom Waterhouse finished up on Friday, May 4, at Matthew Tripp’s CrownBet - which has now taken control of William Hill and brands like

But how could you keep Waterhouse away from the industry that he loves, despite the two year non-compete clause with CrownBet?

Tom Waterhouse sells his gambling empire to British-owned William Hill for a lot less than expected. Business reporter Glenda Kwek analyses the sale.

The good news is Waterhouse is already making use of his brand name and website - which he will take as a going away present when he departs CrownBet.

And the site now informs us: “This is not a bookmaking and wagering site, no bets are received. We only provide a tipping service.”

But there are tipping services, and there are tipping services.

“If you’re ready to take things to the next level, sign up to sit with Tom himself, shadow him, learn from one of the best,” says a communique from Waterhouse tells potential punters.

“Learn directly from the fourth generation elite in betting.”

And does this service come at a price, you ask? Well, platinum membership of this exclusive club starts from just $120,000 a year.

It sounds a bit like Celebrity Apprentice without the TV cameras and one hell of an up-front cost for participants.

CBD wonders if Waterhouse’s former client - real estate guru John McGrath - will take him up on this offer.

After all, given the millions he lost as a client of, he could clearly use some decent tips.

And CBD is informed that Tripp's mob are not fussed about Waterhouse's new venture, or the prospect of him re-entering the sportsbetting industry in two years’ time. Why would they? This is the guy who helped turn $1 billion worth of acquisitions by William Hill into a business worth $300 million.

"I'd like to thank Tom for his contribution and wish him all the best for the future," said the email from Tripp announcing Tom's departure from the business.’


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« 2018-May-16, 08:20 AM Reply #1063 »



RACING in Toowoomba – already riding shotgun with controversy – is now the subject of a secret ‘race fixing’ investigation.

Our spy with links to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission has told letsgohorseracing that a Quadrella Leg of a TAB meeting at Clifford Park in January is the subject of an on-going investigation.

We have viewed the race in question and asked several high profile form analysts who work on Queensland racing to tell us if they believe there are grounds for ‘racing fixing’ charges to be laid.

Every one of them is gob-smacked that stewards saw nothing wrong with the race in which the runner that was the main danger to a heavily backed favourite appears to be taken care of by a jockey riding for a stable with links to the one that landed a plunge.

Sources close to QRIC tell us that the ‘race fixing’ inquiry was launched after complaints from several stakeholders that members of certain stables were ‘bragging’ on race night how they were able to organize the ‘sting’.

The latest controversy has heightened calls for a senior, no-nonsense steward like John Hackett to be sent on a special mission to Toowoomba to clean racing on the Downs up before it reaches the stage where no-one has the confidence to bet there and to reassure those stables no longer prepared to start runners there to return to what was once a popular TAB meeting in south-east Queensland.




‘AS a run of the mill punter who has remained loyal to Brisbane racing at carnival time I am disgusted by the revelations involving the Brisbane Turf Club committee in articles written by Archie Butterfly.

Why isn’t the mainstream racing media reporting what is happening behind the scenes there like Archie is, or are they still taking their riding instructions from the club’s overpaid consultant and former Queensland Newspapers Racing Editor Bart Sinclair?

Whilst my mates and I – regulars at the Winter Carnival big meets for longer than we can remember – are getting robbed to go through the gate and for food and drink during the day – it seems the free-loaders and special guests of the directors are dining out at the expense of the punters.

The food and beverage bill for the committee’s 10,000 Day luncheon, according to the Butterfly report, is nothing short of disgusting. How can they justify $142 a head on food and $197 on booze? That’s a total of $339 a head – what a disgrace. And we are asked to pay close to $10 for a pie, beer or roast beef roll.

And if the stories are true about how badly the BRC is travelling financially it is time for someone to step in. The members obviously are prepared to turn a blind eye to what is going on. Then perhaps the Government or Racing Queensland should take some action.

That, of course, is contingent on the fact that the Racing Minister and the heavies from RQ weren’t among the ‘free-loaders’ who enjoyed a big day out at the punters’ and club’s expense for the first big meeting of the carnival.

Just imagine what they have planned for Stradbroke Day!

While all this is happening, the industry and the Government is expected to foot the bill for the disaster that has been the redevelopment of the Eagle Farm track – tens of millions and how much is the BRC contributing? Not one cent I would imagine!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We are reliably informed that the Racing Minister was among the guests but the RQ Chairman called in sick. BRC Chairman Neville Bell was absent watching his horse win in Singapore en route to the Asian Racing Conference.     



GLEN YOUNG of MELBOURNE sent this email:

‘WITH all due respects to Robert Smerdon and his lawyers, to suggest the disgraced trainer owns no property and is broke is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has followed Victorian racing over the years.

Smerdon has been one of the most successful trainers in the land and it has been estimated that stable runners could have amassed more than $3 million in prizemoney with doped winners.

Disqualified for life as the Aquanita doping ring mastermind, Smerdon has been convicted of being party to 115 counts relating to race-day treatment using sodium bicarbonate “top-ups”.

Smerdon’s lawyer Tim McHenry described Racing Victoria’s push for a $100,000 fine as “completely premature”. He has argued the demand for the fine — and the prospect of civil court action against Smerdon — could have a “potentially disastrous financial outcome” for the veteran trainer.

So what! Are we to accept that Smerdon just sails off into the sunset with his life ban and the alleged proceeds of his actions which have affected so many others in the industry?

Suspect victories have been uncovered in Group 1 level contests at Flemington and Rosehill to country maidens. In total, successful Smerdon runners suspected of being illegally treated between June 2010 and June 2016 earned $3,460,877. This figure does not include stakemoney for minor placings and lower finishes.

McHenry last week claimed Smerdon owns no property and, at 63, is not yet able to access superannuation funds. Yet trainers generally earn 10 per cent of the winner’s purse.

RAD Board chairman Judge John Bowman described the Aquanita doping scheme as the darkest and longest chapter in Australian racing. The board is yet to reach a position on the possibility of disqualifying horses thought to have been doped. An example needs to be set.’




‘MY friends and I have raced horses for years and we totally support the suggestion that Racing Victoria should release details of every race involved in the Aquanita doping scandal so that affected parties can get the “natural justice” they deserve.

The media has reported that life bans handed out last week to disgraced trainer Robert Smerdon and his co-conspirators put the results of potentially hundreds of races between 2010 and 2017 in doubt.

The work done by RV stewards to catch, charge and penalise the cheats within a relatively short period has been applauded by many in the industry.

Prominent owner Terry Henderson, who has been a strong voice since the Aquanita Eight were first exposed, believes RV could enhance their standing by releasing details of every race they believe was run with horses that had been “topped-up”.

He said armed with that knowledge, owners and trainers could then decide whether to pursue compensation in some form.

“My views are very clear. I think it is incumbent on Racing Victoria to release the information that relates to the charges in respect of the specific races that have been brought forward,” Henderson told the Herald Sun.

“Having done that, and having waited for the appeals process to pass, then Racing Victoria or indeed individual owners would have the right to assess if their horses have been impacted or not.

“At this stage, many owners, including ourselves, are not aware if some of their horses had been affected ... so we are denied the opportunity to assess our position.

“Racing Victoria has to be given the opportunity to digest what has happened, then make a decision on what it is going to do. But I would hope they would put it out there for everyone to assess from their own point of view.”

Henderson said in the absence of a public release of the information he would seek the information privately.

He said it was not about recouping money, noting the complexity of such an exercise, but more about “natural justice”.

“You can’t underestimate the complexity of all of these horses being disqualified because you have high-valued mares sold on the back of winning Group 1s where they have been treated, as we have seen with Mosheen for example,” Henderson said.

“At worst, should they not release it, what we would be doing is writing a letter to (chief steward) Terry Bailey and saying that as a matter of natural justice would he kindly advise us if any of our horses, any OTI horses, finishined in the placings of those races that were the subject of the inquiry.

“I think it is reasonable that they tell us what they know or don’t know.”

Henderson has the wholehearted support of the majority of owners and breeders in the industry.’



WHAT is going on in South Australian racing? Recent events certainly suggest the stewards there need a lesson in transparency.

SOUTH Australian stewards made a rod for their own backs by not reporting the details of interviews with trainer Henry Dwyer about his runner Legless Veuve before the Robert Sangster Stakes on May 5.

The rumor mill has been in overdrive on this and Racing SA chief steward Johan Petzer refused to answer Fairfax Media inquiries about what went on at Morphettville a week ago.

Dwyer was interviewed in the lead-up to the Group 1 but nothing was noted in the stewards’ report. It did reveal that Legless Veuve was tested on three occasions for the afternoon and was the only horse all day to be post-race blood-tested.

A part-owner of Legless Veuve told Fairfax Media the mare delayed the jockeys mounting up because she was so late into the parade ring and that anything which might have been found by stewards was for post-race recovery.

Stewards allowed the mare, which was previously trained by one of the Aquanita eight Stuart Webb, to run in the Group 1 after they spoke with Dwyer. The intrigue remains because of the stewards’ lack of transparency, something they expect of trainers.




‘SO the parasite corporate bookies are crying poor in the light of a consumption tax in Victoria that falls far short of what has been imposed in Western Australia and South Australia.

They have warned that bonus bet rewards and other punting promotions could be the first casualty of a new Victorian consumption tax set to hit online corporate bookmakers from next year.

The eight per cent Point of Consumption Tax (PoCT) will apply to net wagering earnings (bets less winning payouts) and the Government could reap in excess of $30 million annually.

From January 1, all wagering and betting operators will be liable to pay the PoCT on any bet placed with them by a customer in Victoria. Close to 25 per cent of all bets in Australia are placed in the State.

The move follows the introduction of similar taxes in the UK, South Australia and Western Australia, but is nearly half the 15 per cent rate in those jurisdictions.

However, despite the lower rate in Victoria, corporate bookmakers have flagged the need to pass on the shortfall to punters, with promotional-type bets understood to be the first area affected.

Perhaps if they stopped spending so much on television and newspaper advertising and pumped that back into promoting their product they would not be feeling the pinch.’


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« 2018-May-23, 09:00 AM Reply #1064 »
Quite some comments on the Currie stable disqualifications and questions where the trainer stands in all of this lead this weeks' edition of the Wednesday Whinge...not quite on point but there's some connectivity in the case of long time departed No1 trainer Eric Kirwin who in days gone by got 12 months for an infringement positive swab most likely but I forget the details anyway his brother Jack Eric's foreman stepped up and took responsibility and he took the penalty and Eric was exonerated.

Several other interesting issues the case of Ms Mannion whose house in 48 Mein St. Hendra has been seriously devalued by the Eagle Farm re-devolopment and the construction of a shed to house the barriers right in front of her back yard has caused her to complain with justification without any result at this point in time causing her to appeal to the Minister for Racing and Local Guvment The Hon. Stirling Hinchcliffe to intervene on her behalf Stirling will be on the blower to the BCC to find out if the shed at the heart of this issue was approved by the BCC and if not it should be dismantled and positioned in someone else's backyard..



AT a time when the WINTER CARNIVAL should be flavour of the month for racing in Queensland, sadly it is the CURRIE STABLE dramas that dominate the headlines and much of the discussion.

We have received a ‘truck load’ of emails on the disqualification of Mark Currie, who, all of a sudden, seems to be the most disliked man in Queensland racing. Please remember that Mark, like every other stakeholder, is entitled to the presumption of innocence pending his appeal.

No doubt once again LETSGOHORSERACING will be accused by Ben Currie’s legion of fans (not to mention those close to his family) of using the Whinge as a vehicle to attack the stable. That isn’t the case but as we have always said, if you don’t like what we publish then don’t read it. We believe that racing folk are entitled to a platform to air their views and criticisms, providing they are objective and do not breach the laws of defamation.

We have tried to be fair and selective in the Whinges relating to the Currie stable that we have elected to run. Many were repetitive, some were too hot to handle while others expressed a common concern which surprised us and that was a lack of confidence in the QCAT Appeals process which Ben Currie has hitched his wagon to since the disqualification for two years of his father Mark.

HERE are those we have elected to publish with the hope that the message others wanted to get across is still conveyed in some way:




‘I write to the Wednesday Whinge on behalf of a group of long-time, hard-working trainers in south-east Queensland who want to congratulate the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission on what they have already achieved in the Currie Inquiry.

It might be too early to crack open the champagne and start celebrating just yet (everyone is entitled to their right of appeal) but we would argue that more has been done by this group of much-maligned racing coppers from QRIC than a succession of high profile Racing Queensland Chief Stewards over the past decade or so.

Now before anyone starts branding us gutless or cowards for hiding behind anonymity, we don’t want to be harassed or threatened for having our say. We are told that some of the people at letsgohorseracing and would know exactly what we are talking about here.

For too long trainers have competed on what we believe to be a less than level playing field in south-east Queensland while the mainstream racing media, rather than even whisper the rumours that have been doing the rounds, have been content to suck the dick of an amazing training success story.

Who’s kidding who and hasn’t the tune of some of our turf media hot-shots changed now that the wind is blowing in the opposite direction for the stable at the centre of all the gossip?

QRIC has now found four staff of ‘champion’ trainer Ben Currie (one his dad, the de facto stable foreman and three other lackeys) guilty of serious breaches of the Rules of Racing on the day that heralded the start of a Queensland Carnival that will be remembered nationwide for all the wrong reasons.

It should be mentioned that from the start of this inquiry Ben – who the ultimate buck stops with – has maintained his innocence. So we are to believe that the stable foreman and the strappers were all doing these things they have been found guilty of without his knowledge. Rather than say ‘pigs might fly’, he has been charged with nothing at this stage and it is up to QRIC to determine what happens to the trainer himself before the curtain falls on this sordid tale.

Fellow trainers, especially those in Toowoomba, keep questioning how Mark Currie could be foreman for his stable when he has a training license of his own. They claim that for Currie snr not to be in breach of the Rules of Racing he should have entered into a training partnership with his son Ben. The stable responds with the question: Why then have stewards allowed this arrangement to continue? They have a good argument but many are asking, in the wake of what has allegedly occurred for some time in Toowoomba (prompting this secret QRIC surveillance and investigation), why didn’t the Chief Steward on the Downs take some action?

The appeal process has not yet begun and already there is a call for Mark Currie not to be granted a stay of proceedings because of the exceptional circumstances that apply to this case. That would be a denial of natural justice but perhaps he should be banned from being within a kilometre of any horse trained by his son until the hearing is finalized.

There is a growing school of opinion – trainers repeating what is allegedly the thoughts of a top stable under siege – that Currie snr is happy to ‘take the two-year hit’ for his son and see the appeal process dragged out until it is time for him to retire and ride off into the sunset. But surely the buck must stop with the trainer of a stable accused of such serious breaches of the Rules.

It is an insult for anyone associated with racing – from the stakeholders to the punting public – to be asked to believe that an intelligent, smart, freakish young trainer like Ben Currie had no knowledge what his dad and a team of his stable hands were allegedly doing to his horses before he threw the saddle on them and a big number came out, bolted in, landed plunges and improved the strike rate he enjoys that his fans keep telling us about. Give us a break!

Then, of course, we have the QCAT appeals body which few in racing have much confidence in considering some of the outrageous decisions handed down over the years. Like the bloke at the trots who admitted he was guilty of giving a horse a run but QCAT saw it differently and basically gave him a slap on the wrist. This from a body where one of the members once asked at a harness appeal: ‘What is that little chariot the guy is riding in behind the horse?’ Fortunately, after the work that QRIC has put into the Currie Inquiry, if things go belly up they are said to be prepared to take this matter to a higher authority.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and back to the purpose of this Whinge. Commissioner Ross Barnett and his team at QRIC have enjoyed a baptism of fire in racing. For too long the industry has become complacent under a succession of ‘do next to nothing’ Chief Stewards, the latest the one we arguably believe to be the worst of all, old Al, who should be marched into retirement sooner rather than later.’



HERE’S an email from the opposite side of the tracks sent by DICK SEYMOUR of CAIRNS:

‘THE circus that carries the moniker of QRIC has really hit base this time.

The former and once-respected Integrity Department of Racing Queensland is now an absolute joke and it’s time the ringmaster Ross Barnett and his second hand band of overpaid coppers bailed out of racing matters completely.

Barnett and his crew are, in my and the opinion of many others, an absolute embarrassment and the treatment of a Currie stable hand last week is in a word ‘abominable’.

The victim, known widely as Bronco, and said to be one of the best strappers in the business for worth ethic and sense of responsibility, is nonetheless a stable hand for Christ’s sake.

He is not the trainer (who, by the way, continues to make a complete fool of QRIC).

Bronco was doing a job he was no doubt directed to do by someone in authority at the stable.

Does Commissioner Barnett think he just went to the fridge, pulled out the gear of his own volition and squirted the contents down the horses’ necks?

How absurd and downright wrong to charge HIM and send him out for 18 months.

There should be a life sentence – for Barnett and his seemingly incompetent crew.

As Archie Butterfly (the biggest supporter that Ben Currie has for some strange reason – here’s hoping the stories doing the rounds about how they met aren’t right) might say: OH PUH LEASE.’



LES BARRETT of NORTH QUEENSLAND poses a question being asked by many in racing:

‘THIS whole Currie Inquiry embarrassment has me – and a lot of others who follow racing in Queensland – totally gobsmacked.

Now, I am well aware that the QRIC inquiries in this matter are far from complete – so perhaps therein lies the answer to the question I am about to pose.

How can three stable hands and the stable foreman (himself a trainer) all be outed over the Weetwood Day incident while not a thing has happened to the person who is ultimately responsible for what happens at the Currie stable, Ben himself.

Are we to believe that Ben Currie is just a figurehead for his father, a trainer with no horses of his own, who is being blamed at this stage for the majority of breaches of the Rules of Racing involving race day treatment?

Did this young training genius, with the best strike rate in the country, stand there with his eyes closed while his horses were treated or was he unaware of what his dad and others were doing to his horses?

That’s beyond belief and even if you are naïve enough to accept this, racing in Queensland will degenerate to absolute joke status (if it isn’t there already) if no charges are eventually laid against the trainer over this matter.

For the time being I am prepared to accept the words of the QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett that ‘this inquiry has a long way to go.’



JOHN WATT, a regular contributor on the CURRIE issue, to websites including LGHR, sent this interesting email:

‘I thought LGHR may be interested in a ‘stoush’ between trainer Ben Currie and the person that writes for The Last Stride on its Facebook page (David Silver).

It is a very interesting read and The Last Stride has Ben Currie dribbling absolute garbage, to quote, he is ‘clueless’.

If this is how Mr Currie intends to defend himself and his stable he better have a second job lined up.

I wouldn't mind betting his comments regarding QRIC will not go unnoticed.

The verbal backlash from Ben Currie followed these comments by David Silver on Facebook:

‘There is plenty yet to play out with the actual registered trainer of Currie Racing, Ben Currie still to face the music.

Race-day treatment equates to cheating under the Australian Rules of Racing as we have just seen with trainer Robert Smerdon & company in Victoria.

With so many of Ben Curries employees being found guilty of race-day treatments, for the benefit of racing participants, the QRIC needs to be clarifying how long have these type of treatments been going on and how many opposing trainers, jockeys and owners have been robbed of their rightful winnings as a result.

I am assuming that any of the above runners mentioned will be disqualified with the rightful prize-money earners receiving their entitlements.

Time will tell.’

THE cross-fire that followed could be interpreted as BEN CURRIE putting all his eggs in the QCAT basket and licking their dicks while suggesting QRIC basically don’t know what they are doing and are immaterial. DAVID SILVER of THE LAST STRIDE battled to get his point across to Currie about the reasons for the action taken by QRIC. 

The general industry feeling is that at the end of the day if QCAT find a technicality in the Currie rulings and let them off, good luck to them but the big loser will be Queensland Racing which will forever be regarded in the eyes of many as a laughing stock. As for Ben and Mark Currie, well they will also forever have a dark cloud hanging over them, regardless of what happens in future. The only winner in all of this is for the racing playing field in Queensland to become a level one which the majority now believe it is not.


TWO interesting emails we received were on different but interesting topics:


ONE asked why the necessity to fly SAM HYLAND from VICTORIA to do the on-course post-race interviews when QUEENSLANDER BERNADETTE COOPER is sitting trackside basically doing nothing.

It’s a crazy situation where SKY sees fit to fly Cooper to Sydney during their carnival but apparently believes they need to bring Hyland from Melbourne to do the same job in Brisbane.

Go figure but stuff the cost to the industry!



THEN there was this one concerning arguably the world’s best jockey – Joao (Joe) Moreira that emanates from Hong Kong.

Story goes that Moreira is getting off-side with more and more trainers in Honkers because of his lack of reliability to take mounts he has accepted.

One prominent trainer has given him 'life' from riding for a top stable. “He rode a horse of mine and asked to ride it for sure when next it started. But when it accepted he rang late and said he was sorry but he couldn’t fulfil his promise and that he had accepted another mount.

“It wasn’t good enough and it’s not only happening to my stable but many others in Hong Kong who have had a gutful of Joe failing to meet his earlier obligations.

"It’s a different story with Zac (Purton) who is a man of his word. That’s why most trainers, with the exception of Joe’s good mate, John Size, want to see him get beaten in the jockeys’ premiership”.



REGULAR contributor GRAHAM SCHOOY followed up on one of last week’s Whinges:

‘WHILE I enjoyed Len Davidson summation of the total greed of the Brisbane Racing Club, I am astounded by the fact he and Mr Butterfly found anything novel in their misuse of members’ funds and also racing industry funds.

This scenario has been going on in Brisbane racing well before the current gaggle of directors were sailing this little boat straight down the drain hole.

When people actually used to go to the races, those of us in the public areas were well aware our contributions were funding the ‘Toffs’ with the best seats in the house. We did it because we had little choice. There was nowhere else we could view the spectacle.

And then along came SKY Channel. It changed everything. We could view the races in our own homes. We didn’t need to purchase silly gate tickets, outdated race books and week-old pies.

This was while the anointed ones had free admission and slurped and slopped on the feasts Mr Butterfly eloquently described. And guess what? We never went back.

And most of us never will!’



RON HACKETT of MELBOURNE jumps at the chance to bag RACING NSW:

‘RACING NSW and its ‘Tin God’ Peter V’landys have kicked the crap out of everything successful in Victorian racing and now they are crying like babies because Group 1 status for The Everest has been rejected.

Victorian officials have been blamed for blocking The Everest from becoming Group 1 at a recent Australian Racing Board meeting but it seems this might be another furphy from north of the border.

The Sydney-based Daily Telegraph claimed that the Victorian bloc on the Racing Australia Board used its power of veto to prevent The Everest receiving elite race status and that the potential clash between The Everest and the Caulfield Cup next year was one of the reasons for the rejection.

A spokesman for Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said “decisions on black type racing are a matter for Racing Australia acting on advice from the Pattern Committee who use well established guidelines.’’

“What I would say while on the topic is that Victoria, and most other states in Australia for that matter, are committed to abiding by the guidelines as we believe it is in the best interests of all stakeholders of Australian racing,’’ the spokesman said.

“In the end, adherence to the Australian Pattern guidelines is critical to the recognition of our races on the world stage and obviously brings significant value to stakeholders here in return.’’

RACING Victoria chairman Brian Kruger returned from the Asian Racing Conference and immediately hit back at the claims by Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys that Victoria had voted against The Everest's quick elevation to a Group 1 to protect the Caulfield Cup to be run on the same day in October.

"It is not actually correct that we exercised our veto rights at the Australian Racing Board meeting," Kruger said, “In fact, the vote around the ARB meeting was 4-2 against supporting the application for Group 1 status for The Everest. The comment that we wouldn't support it (Everest's upgrade) because it clashes with the Caulfield Cup is not completely correct.

"We don't think it is a good idea to run the race on Caulfield Cup day but our primary issue is actually the potential adverse impact on the pattern if the race is run on that day as it would only be run six days prior to the Manikato, which is an existing Group 1 race. Like The Everest, it is run over 1200 metres under WFA conditions.”

Kruger said the issue came down to supporting the Australian Pattern Committee, which looks after the grading of races and makes recommendations to the Australian Racing Board for potential upgrades or downgrades for races across the country.

“Our position is not one of doing this for competitive reasons or anything like that. We have got a view that we support the pattern and its guidelines. We think the pattern protects the quality of our races, protects its standing on the global stage and creates enormous value for our stakeholders across the country. We don't think it’s right that a state seeks to benefit from being part of that pattern but then chooses to follow the framework when it suits them. This is about us protecting the pattern and it's got nothing to do with competition.”

Kruger said it was not yet determined whether The Everest actually met the guidelines to be a Group 1 race because of the manner in which the field is assembled.

“There is the entry conditions for the race and I heard Peter's comments about the fact there is no definition of what restricted conditions actually means, but there is a lot of debate about whether or not these types of races - where you have slot holders selection horses - whether they should be given a place in the pattern.”

Kruger said discussions about an elevation for The Everest to Group 1 status may also be premature. “The race has been run once. We've acknowledged that the quality of the race last year would have met Group 1 status but the guidelines also specify that the race must meet that criteria for three years.”

Obviously V’landys is now adopting the attitude ‘if you can’t beat them belt them’. He’s tried unsuccessfully to upstage the Spring Carnival and the Melbourne Cup. That won’t happen as long as his little bottom points to the ground.

They have Winx, The Championships and now The Everest but none of these can get within a bull’s roar of the crowds that the spring carnival attracts in Victoria. Face it Pete, you can spend as much as you like and complain as often as you do but racing in NSW will always play second fiddle to Victoria.’



ONE of Queensland’s finest ladies in racing, CECILIA MANNION, has all but given up in her battle with the Brisbane Racing Club, Racing Queensland and the State Government (more to the point local Member Tim the Toolman Nicholls) over an unsightly shed that now blocks the view from hers (and other) million dollar homes bordering the Eagle Farm track.

She is hoping to have better luck with an approach to Racing Minister Sterling Hinchliffe who was among the ‘free-loaders’ dining out on the best of food and drink as guests of the directors of the BRC on Doomben 10,000 day.

Here’s what the not to be denied Ms Mannion has written to the Minister:

To the Hon Sterling Hinchliffe

I am writing to plead for your help resolving this matter. 

I am getting nowhere with the BRC and Tim Nicholls’ Office seems to accept the lies and pathetic excuses the BRC provide.

As you know this debacle has been ongoing since 2014.  The BRC’s incompetence has cost me a great deal of money and caused me an enormous amount of stress. At times, employees of the BRC have lied to me, been dismissive of me, and condescending to me.

I want a quick resolution to the matter however (recently) I received an email from Racing Queensland advising they would update me in a few weeks. I want my house cleaned and I want to be reimbursed for the costs I have borne because of the track remediation and I want the ugly barrier shed the BRC erected in front of my home to be moved.

(Recently) I read that the BRC Committee had spent over $100K on drinks and food in one afternoon. This included $27K on hire furniture. It’s disgraceful.

I will follow this up with some emails I sent the BRC.  They did not even acknowledge receipt of my emails or respond to me.


Cecilia Mannion

HERE’S some background on this issue which not only affects the home owned by Ms Mannion, including correspondence with Member for Clayfield, TIM 'the Toolman' NICHOLLS in April which reads:

I own a property at 48 Mein Street, Hendra, backing onto Eagle Farm racetrack. The house is tenanted and until (recently) had not seen the property for approximately 18 months.

I purchased the land in 2006 because of position and the wonderful view of the racetrack, the hills of Ascot and Mt Gravatt lookout. I come from a horse racing family and it was always my dream to live in Mein Street and watch the horses each morning at track work and on race-days. 

I engaged an architect and designed and built a home around the view.

I inspected the house (recently) and was shocked and disgusted to see an enormous, ugly shed had been built at the rear of my property by the BRC. The shed is used to store the barriers. Eagle Farm did not consult me at any stage regarding the construction of this shed and evidently gave no consideration to their long suffering neighbors. 

I spoke to the BRC (recently) and they tried to tell me the shed had been there forever. I assured them this was not correct and aerial footage confirms this. The shed was constructed sometime in late 2016.

The BRC sold land for development and profit and believe it is acceptable to devalue my asset in the process. The Facilities Manager at the BRC told me (recently) that the shed cannot be moved because ‘we have no real estate’.

After I purchased the property the BRC planted several fig trees to the rear of my property. These trees are now overgrown and house vermin. I know this because I have spent several hundred dollars on vermin control.

I have had to pay additional cleaning costs for the house and pool, costs for vermin control, replacement of pool filters and chlorinators and many complaints from the tenants.

This cannot be acceptable and I am asking for your help in rectifying the matter.


Cecilia Mannion

EDITOR’S NOTE: We promised to follow this situation up some time ago and the response, quite frankly, from the powers-that-be is disgusting. We wonder if the house that Cecilia Mannion owns was the property of the Chairman of the BRC or one of his cronies or perhaps the Member for Clayfield if the establishment of an unsightly shed blocking the view would have even been contemplated. Perhaps there’s a higher authority, like an Ombudsman or even a Local Government court, that this matter should be taken to. It would also be interesting to know if the BRC sought approval for construction of this shed or just went ahead and did the work without consulting their neighbors, many of whom have had a gutful of the pig-sty state their properties have been left in following the redevelopment work at Eagle Farm. It simply isn’t good enough and gives one the impression that the BRC stands above the rules that apply to other residents of the Hendra area.

 Giddy Up :beer:

Offline napes

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« 2018-May-23, 03:50 PM Reply #1065 »
I wonder if Cecilia Mannion consulted the BRC every time she built anything on her property in case it affected their view.

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-May-23, 06:17 PM Reply #1066 »
I wonder if Cecilia Mannion consulted the BRC every time she built anything on her property in case it affected their view.

You're  taking the piss I'm on cecilia's side although I don't know the good lady.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-May-24, 01:25 AM Reply #1067 »
Some of the crap printed as "opinion" on that web site beggars belief.

People/Organizations being targetted have no chance of reply and some of the stuff written is just plain wrong.

I sent a note to the author of the web site last year pointing out some glaring inaccuracies in something he published in the whinge and he did nothing to correct it.

So I assume that he just ignores everyone who does the same.

Site is nothing more than gossipy filth  emthdown

Offline nemisis

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« 2018-May-24, 09:23 AM Reply #1068 »
Some of the crap printed as "opinion" on that web site beggars belief.

People/Organizations being targetted have no chance of reply and some of the stuff written is just plain wrong.

I sent a note to the author of the web site last year pointing out some glaring inaccuracies in something he published in the whinge and he did nothing to correct it.

So I assume that he just ignores everyone who does the same.

Site is nothing more than gossipy filth  emthdown
Have you read any News Ltd newspapers lately or listened to any shock-jock radio?

Welcome to 2018

Offline napes

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« 2018-May-24, 09:38 AM Reply #1069 »
In reply to Arsenal re Cecelia Mannion.

Not taking the piss. Why should someone have any say in what you do to restrict their view of your property? It's not beachfront or national park, its a business. If she wants a view of the races, buy a ticket.

If you lived next to Lara Bingle and she sunbaked topless, could you sue her if she put a shirt on?  :chin:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-May-24, 09:38 AM Reply #1070 »
Some of the crap printed as "opinion" on that web site beggars belief.

People/Organizations being targetted have no chance of reply and some of the stuff written is just plain wrong.

I sent a note to the author of the web site last year pointing out some glaring inaccuracies in something he published in the whinge and he did nothing to correct it.

So I assume that he just ignores everyone who does the same.

Site is nothing more than gossipy filth  emthdown

I beg to disagree with your opinion understanding is if it's an editorial which offends or criticizes an individual or organization  then the Editor gives the aggrieved party unedited right of reply..if it's a gripe from one of us ..the great unwashed space permitting it'll be published if it's relevant and not defamatory.......some references to the Ben Currie emails confirms that there were some unsuited to for your complaint which went unanswered why not  provide further and better particulars rather than generalities.

Giddy Up :beer:

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-May-24, 09:52 AM Reply #1071 »
In reply to Arsenal re Cecelia Mannion.

Not taking the piss. Why should someone have any say in what you do to restrict their view of your property? It's not beachfront or national park, its a business. If she wants a view of the races, buy a ticket.

If you lived next to Lara Bingle and she sunbaked topless, could you sue her if she put a shirt on?  :chin:

Property owners have rights that's a given this case the BRC constructed a shed on racecourse land which obscured the uninterrupted view from 48 Mein St ....the shed  affects the value and amenities  of said property   IMO  the issue is did the BRC get BCC approval to construct that building on that site and were adjacent property owners likely to be affected consulted ..if not then the building is illegal and should be removed... the BCC has a policy that developers must engage in community consultation when building projects are likely to affect the benefits of property owners ..if anyone wants to build a shed on their property they need Council approval.....Stirling is looking into it so it's all for Lara Bingle the answer is NO.   :lol:  

Giddy Up :beer:
« Last Edit: 2018-May-24, 09:54 AM by Arsenal »

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-May-24, 10:34 AM Reply #1072 »
I beg to disagree with your opinion understanding is if it's an editorial which offends or criticizes an individual or organization  then the Editor gives the aggrieved party unedited right of reply..if it's a gripe from one of us ..the great unwashed space permitting it'll be published if it's relevant and not defamatory.......some references to the Ben Currie emails confirms that there were some unsuited to for your complaint which went unanswered why not  provide further and better particulars rather than generalities.

Giddy Up :beer:


REGULAR contributor GRAHAM SCHOOY followed up on one of last week’s Whinges:

‘WHILE I enjoyed Len Davidson summation of the total greed of the Brisbane Racing Club, I am astounded by the fact he and Mr Butterfly found anything novel in their misuse of members’ funds and also racing industry funds.

This scenario has been going on in Brisbane racing well before the current gaggle of directors were sailing this little boat straight down the drain hole.

What misuse of member's funds?

Has anyone been charged? The use of the word MISUSE (capitalized) is quite clear in it's implication. The reader is left with the impression that a criminal act has occurred.

If there are any financial problems with the BRC, are they all to blame on the Directors? The government of the day has no responsibility?

Offline PoisonPen7

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« 2018-May-24, 10:44 AM Reply #1073 »
Have you read any News Ltd newspapers lately or listened to any shock-jock radio?

Welcome to 2018

There is a line in the sand............

Offline Arsenal

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« 2018-May-30, 08:33 AM Reply #1074 »


JUSTIN DOYLE, a former Rockhampton Jockey Club chairman and regular contributor to the WHINGE on all things racing in Queensland, makes some pertinent comments on the diabolical situation confronting the Brisbane tracks:

‘SATURDAY’S embarrassment at Doomben surely signals further potential disaster for the BRC and Racing Queensland in the coming weeks and months unless some tough decisions are made immediately.

In fairness the Doomben track has made a herculean contribution to racing in Queensland over the past four years but Saturday exposed what many of us regular racegoers already knew – in plain English “it’s stuffed too”!

Just like Ipswich and the Gold Coast, whose tracks are also in need of a complete overhaul, Doomben has succumbed to being over-raced due to the Eagle Farm closure.

It must be said though that the track staff who has worked tirelessly to deliver Doomben in the best possible condition week in week out, can’t be blamed as ultimately nature has defeated them. I salute them!

For now it’s all too easy to throw stones but solutions and suggestions on how to navigate the immediate future of racing in Queensland is paramount. The one vital component to the successful future of racing in Queensland is having BOTH metropolitan tracks in peak condition. Doomben needs to be rested prior to the return to racing at Eagle Farm.

The worst possible scenario for Eagle Farm and the BRC is to have Doomben unable to successfully fulfil its racing commitments come the re-opening. Therefore the industry needs to look at alternatives for racing through to summer and clearly the best option in my opinion is to use the provincial tracks to fill the secondary Saturday slot.

While resting Doomben, primary Saturday Metro Meetings could be run at a variety of tracks including the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Toowoomba. Secondary Saturdays could be run at Rockhampton, Mackay & Townsville. The midweek provincial Tuesday to Thursday void could be covered by Beaudesert, Gatton, Cairns etc., as well as the major provincial tracks already mentioned. The Central & Northern Queensland tracks, especially Rockhampton, are all in great order and could withstand a substantial increase in racing over the coming months leading into summer where they regenerate quite quickly given the weather conditions.

Obviously the sticking point will be negotiations with SKY considering the contractual content required to be fulfilled by Racing Queensland but given (new RQ CEO) Brendan Parnell’s former affiliation with them I’m sure he’s more than capable of doing so for the betterment of both parties long term.

I understand the financial, sponsorship and member implications for the BRC in resting Doomben but ultimately the big picture of a successful future for the BRC rests with the return of Eagle Farm and Doomben in good order.

Maybe the short term pain of an interim closure of racing in Brisbane will provide the BRC with an opportunity to get their house in order and address a host of issues at the club.

And it also provides an opportunity for Sterling Hinchliffe to be a Racing Minister and assist the industry in overcoming probably one of the blackest periods in Queensland racing history.

Once again you will have to ask your Government for financial assistance especially if the BRC closure was to become a reality but ultimately your Government will receive a return on their investment unlike a $150 million spend on a Performing Arts Centre. Minister, this is your chance to shine!’




‘THE BANTAM’ – David Fowler – the multi-media personality who obviously believes the only opinion in racing that counts is his own – again made a goose of himself on his Press Room program at Radio TAB on Monday.

Little wonder he wouldn’t debate Archie Butterfly on harness racing, even Nathan Exelby tore holes in his arguments concerning the Doomben track when the contentious topic was discussed.

Fowler was on his high horse again – not so much defending the BRC’s inability to get the ‘new’ Eagle Farm right – but this time declaring champion jockeys from interstate don’t know how to ride Doomben properly and that they and some southern politicians and journalists (who he failed to name) should keep their noses out of Brisbane racing affairs.

Those jockeys he is referring to, headed by Craig Williams and Kerrin McEvoy, have dared to criticize the tracks in Queensland during recent carnivals and the debacle last Saturday followed a complaint about Doomben after a Williams mount put her hoof in a hole, snapped a leg and had to be put down following the Sires.

“Interstate journos and pollies should keep their noses out of it. The facts are that there was no criticism of the Doomben track for the first four races but after race five some jockeys considered it a ploughed paddock or minefield,” Fowler told his Press Room audience.

Fortunately some sanity prevailed in the debate courtesy of Nathan Exelby (Racing Editor for Queensland Newspapers) who corrected his mate Fowler on a couple of issues, specifically that jockeys he spoke to did have a problem with the track from the start of the day and had expressed to him those reservations.

It’s a pity we didn’t have more objective commentary on the Queensland racing scene like that of Chris Roots of Fairfax Media who wrote, in part, for the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD:

ONCE again Brisbane racing failed when it was the focus of Australian punters. The Group 1 meeting was delayed more than an hour after Chief Steward Allan Reardon decided to move the rail in the back straight to get away from the worst-affected area, which jockeys described as a ‘minefield’ and a ‘ploughed paddock’.

The state of the tracks in Brisbane has been an on-going concern for more than five years since the botched rebuild of the Eagle Farm track.

The Doomben surface is tired after taking a pounding for the past couple of years with Eagle Farm out of action.

We can debate this issue until the cows come home. The fact remains it all harks back to the incompetent way the powers-that-be have handled the resurrection of Eagle Farm.

When, and if, all tracks return to normal (assuming work will be done on those that have been over-used when Eagle Farm makes a comeback) then RQ, in conjunction with the major south-east clubs and the stakeholder groups, needs to put in place a program whereby Saturday racing is held once a month at Eagle Farm, Doomben, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. The midweeks, twilights and Sunday racing can be programmed around that important change.’



BEN McCLYMONT of SYDNEY weighted into the debate on the DOOMBEN TRACK:

‘IT had to be the understatement of the Queensland carnival. Rocket scientist and BRC Racing Manager Matt Rudolph ‘expects’ the Doomben track to be better for the Stradbroke meeting than it was during last Saturday’s Oaks disaster.

One would certainly hope so and if it isn’t the first head to be lopped is that of Rudolph who it should be highlighted got his new job despite some skeletons in the closet when it wasn’t even advertised and took over from an old media tart and mate of the QTC and BRC who arguably received it as a reward for decades of loyal coverage.

Rudolph told Chris Roots of the Sydney Morning Herald: “We knew the challenges before the carnival because of the workload the track at Doomben has been under. We have been patching it for the past three weeks and we purposely gave it a week off before the Stradbroke to give it a chance to recover for our biggest day.”

In other words what awaits the best horses in the land if they decide to contest the riches of the Brisbane Winter is a ‘patched up’ track. Little wonder some top stables have decided to steer clear of Queensland until the track woes are sorted.

The answer to this was quite simple but of course RQ didn’t have the balls to stand up to the BRC directors and tell them that it was going to happen regardless of the consequences for their sponsors and corporate supporters.

All the major meetings should have been moved from Doomben to the Sunshine Coast, especially Stradbroke day. Running this big race over 1350m at Doomben simply rewards mediocrity.

But even when they did decide to transfer some of the major races from Doomben to Corbould Park they couldn’t get it right. Who was the dill that decided to program Saturday’s meeting at the Sunshine Coast after the track had been allocated its annual Show Day fixture only 24 hours earlier? Unbelievable!’



AS I have been a racehorse owner in BRISBANE for some time I WOULD REQUEST THAT MY IDENTITY BE WITHHELD:

‘IT came as no surprise that racing media mates of old Al Reardon were quick to praise the way he handled the Doomben track debacle last Saturday.

“Credit where credit is due – Allan Reardon gets 10 out of 10 for being decisive and gutsy,” roared David Fowler on his Press Room program on 4TAB.

That followed Nathan Exelby’s praise in The Verdict (The Sunday Mail) which read: “For all the controversy that emerged out of (Saturday’s) surface debate, chief stipe Allan Reardon deserves praise for getting the meeting completed.”

‘Decisive’ and ‘gutsy’ would hardly be the words used to describe Reardon by those SKY viewers who watched his less than convincing explanation when the decision was made to move the rail around a problem spot that had claimed the life of a filly in the Sires.

“There won’t be enough time to run the four remaining races with the way we are locked into programming with SKY these days,” Reardon said. “It will be too dark to run the last.”

The team effort that followed – from all involved and organized by the Reardon panel – enabled the final race on the card to be run in semi-darkness. It just what can happen when all stakeholders work together.

It didn’t enhance the opinion of Reardon as a steward in the eyes of those who believe he needs to lift his act with what is happening on the track especially at run-of-the-mill Saturday meetings. They still believe he should be pensioned off as promised and not have his contract renewed for another year.

If anything Reardon showed he is good at organisation and perhaps if they want to keep him on the panel then find a new, hard-hitting Chief Stipe to clean the joint up and leave old Al there to organise things like changes in race times and getting those moving who are involved when a crisis strikes.’



EDITOR’S NOTE: IN relation to any e-mails sent concerning the CURRIE STABLE INQUIRY, please be aware of the requirement for a presumption of innocence. Ben and his father Mark are facing a seemingly endless list of charges to which they have pleaded not guilty. Regardless of what the court of public opinion thinks, their guilt or innocence will eventually be decided by the appropriate Appeals Body. Have your say on fallout from the Currie Inquiry but be mindful of the message above. And on another topic it is the right of Ben Currie to engage the best racing legal lawyer in the business if he thinks that will give him an edge. Please refrain from being judgmental of JIM MURDOCH, himself a licensed trainer and well-known identity in the thoroughbred industry. I would be the last to fly a flag for the gun lawyer but Jim is entitled to represent who he likes (be it the control body or stakeholders - that seems to be a problem with some stakeholders who want to have a Whinge - unfortunately we cannot accommodate your views). He has found loopholes that have caused embarrassment for QRIC cases in the past. Most think he faces a mission impossible on this occasion. But time will tell!



ON a lighter note ONE WAG has written to the WHINGE suggesting the MOST REQUESTED TUNE on RADIO NEDDY on the DOWNS in the past few days has been MICHAEL JACKSON'S BEN  (some interesting lyrics below). WE at LGHR thought FATHER & SON by CAT STEVENS might have been more appropriate:

BEN, you're always running here and there
You feel you're not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind and don't like what you find
There's something you should know, you've got a place to go

BEN most people would turn you away
I don't listen to a word they say
They don't see you as I do
I wish they would try to'
I'm sure they'd think again if they had a friend like Ben 


ALBERT WILLIAMS, a regular contributor from REDCLIFFE, chimes into the CURRIE debate:

‘IT’S been a long time since I’ve seen the racing industry in Queensland so united on a contentious issue as it is in the case involving the Currie stable.

Three-quarters of the stakeholders in the State were rejoicing the news that trainer Ben Currie had been charged over an alleged 31 breaches of the Rules of Racing. The other quarter arguably either didn’t know or didn’t care.

The majority of trainers have no time for the Currie’s and it was only a matter of time before QRIC acted on the volley of complaints they have reportedly received.

Whether this is ‘tall poppy syndrome’, mischief-making, fact or fiction, most believe the Sergeant Schultz ‘I see nothing’ Hogan’s Heroes-like stewards’ panels of the past would not have taken things as seriously as the new-look QRIC has.

Ben Currie, an overnight sensation in racing in Queensland, has trained 132 winners this season, with his horses earning almost $2.8 million in stakes from 604 runners. Last season he won the Queensland training premiership for the first time with 103.5 winners.

But with that success emerged rumour and innuendo that had to eventually be investigated. Rather than castigate Commissioner Ross Barnett and his team of QRIC for daring to be different, many believe they should be applauded.

The Currie’s and their stable hands are entitled to the presumption of innocence pending appeals but this affair is looming as the biggest controversy in Queensland racing since Fine Cotton.

Ben Currie is facing 31 charges (and QRIC says there could be more to come), his father, Mark (the stable’s de facto foreman) has been found guilty of 12 charges relating to race day treatments while four stable hands have been disqualified or suspended in the fallout from the on-going inquiry.

This is not simply another bump in the road for racing in Queensland. It’s an embarrassment of the proportions of the scandalous ‘drug treatment’ inquiries that have dogged racing in Victoria in recent years.’



A TRAINER OF SOME STANDING IN QUEENSLAND has his stay but wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons:

‘AS a rival trainer, who has suffered a suspension for taking a horse to a racetrack that had illegal medication in its system, I want to be among the first to congratulate QRIC on what they have achieved so far in the Ben Currie Inquiry.

It silences the critics who claim some stables in Queensland have start and that racing here is not on a level playing field. Dozens of charges laid against Ben and Mark Currie certainly make that theory hard to prove.

Most of all though trainers congratulate QRIC for taking the unprecedented step of ordering that any nominations or acceptances of horses from the huge Currie stable are rejected pending the determination of 31 charges against the trainer.

There will be those who claim (no doubt lawyers for Ben Currie will argue for a stay of proceedings) that the stable is being denied natural justice if their business cannot continue pending the finalisation of charges against them which they have pleaded not guilty to.

But QRIC Commissioner Barnett has highlighted the seriousness of the charges laid in Ben’s case and the fact that more could follow. “This is not the end of the investigation by any means,” he said. “There is still a lot of data to be examined and I would not rule out the possibility of further charges.”

It should also be remembered that Currie sought an adjournment when QRIC was prepared to proceed, so does that count when it comes to his rights to then want to start his horses when he could be considered responsible for the delay in proceedings.

 After a six-hour hearing and the laying of more than 30 charges to date, regardless of how many horses there are in the care of Currie the time has arrived to set a precedent and example for other trainers that in certain circumstances nominations will be refused. Let’s now see if QCAT – or whoever rules on this issue – has the balls to back what has been a brave and popular decision by the Integrity Commission.’



STUART PETERS of the DARLING DOWNS has his criticism of changes to the QUEENSLAND RACING CALENDAR:

‘NOTHING that happens in racing in Queensland ever ceases to amaze me.

An interstate friend wanted me to find some phone numbers of trainers for him to call so I went to my trusty Racing Calendar.

It’s been a while since I have referenced the contact numbers of trainers but found to my dismay that things have changed.

The trainers are still listed in ‘alphabetical’ order but rather than the ‘surname’ some dill has decided to use the ‘Christian name instead’ which means that when I search for Robbie Heathcote rather than head to the ‘H’ section, I have to refer to the ‘R’.

Now how silly is that – only in Queensland do they have to be different!’   


Both Ben & Mark Currie are due to have their applications for a stay of proceedings heard by QCAT  today...the CM reported that Ben Currie's application would be heard at 9am ....checking the Daily Proceedings list there's no sign of it being set down ,,,,,,,Mark Currie's case is scheduled for 1.30pm any event it would be a massive surprise if QCAT were to refuse their the unlikely event of that happening my guess is it'll be off to the Supreme Court....Finally I've known Jim Murdoch for many years he was my barrister of choice on retainer when in the work force all those years ago and there's no better advocate than Jim.

Giddy Up :beer:

« Last Edit: 2018-May-30, 08:43 AM by Arsenal »