TOP COP TO HEAD QUEENSLAND RACING INTEGRITY COMMISSION
ONE of the State’s most distinguished police officers will head up the proposed Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC), Racing Minister Grace Grace announced today.
Ms Grace said Ross Barnett, currently a Deputy Commissioner in the Queensland Police Service, had been appointed as the Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner designate to lead the establishment of the Commission and to review Racing Queensland’s current integrity program.
She said QRIC was being established to strengthen public confidence in racing, maintain strict animal welfare standards and ensure punters get a fair go.
“Ross Barnett has devoted his career to serving the people of Queensland, and has always demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and accountability,” she said.
“In his distinguished police career, Mr Barnett has held positions of Deputy Commissioner Regional Operations and Deputy Commissioner Specialist Operations, leading a series of major investigations and security operations.
“He has the right blend of experience, skills and integrity to head up QRIC and was appointed by an expert panel in an independent selection process.
“I’m confident Mr Barnett is the right person to improve integrity standards across all three racing codes in Queensland.”
Ms Grace said Queensland was leading the nation in its response to the greyhound live baiting scandal, which exposed sickening acts of animal cruelty in the greyhound industry.
“Queensland was the first state to hold a Commission of Inquiry in the wake of the live baiting scandal,” she said.
“The resulting MacSporran Report recommended the establishment of a standalone racing integrity body in Queensland to administer rigorous integrity standards.
“QRIC will provide the strong and impartial oversight that the Queensland racing needs.”
Ms Grace said Queensland needed a full-time Racing Integrity Commissioner to drive integrity in the sport.
“Until now Queensland had an under-resourced part-time Racing Integrity Commissioner, when what’s needed is a full-time Commissioner with proper resources and support,” she said.
“QRIC will assume the current integrity functions now carried out by Racing Queensland, along with additional functions as recommended in the MacSporran Report.
“This includes overseeing a consistent program of monitoring dogs from birth to maturity to ensure that no animal will be able to disappear off the map.
“Racing Queensland will focus on commercial, marketing and operational functions as we enter an exciting new era in the state’s racing industry.”
The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission will be established following passage of the Racing Integrity Bill 2015, expected later this year.
RACING VICTORIA REFUSES TO RELAX RULES FOR IBUPROFEN VICTIMS
RACING Victoria has resisted making changes to its drug-free policy, despite calls for a relaxation in the rule over positive swabs for the anti-inflammatory substance ibuprofen.
PATRICK BARTLEY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIAthat Racing Victoria announced after its monthly board meeting that it sympathises with owners of horses that are currently continuing to return positive swabs long after they have been taken off the medication.
Signoff and smart local galloper Rib Eye – as well as 20 other racehorses – have been returning positive swabs to ibuprofen, making racing in the Victorian drug-free state a near impossibility. "We sympathise with the owners of the small group of affected horses from the one rehabilitation regime, however, Racing Victoria is committed to enforcing the rules of racing by governing a sport that sees all horses race free of the effects of drugs," Racing Victoria chairman of stewards Terry Bailey said.
"We understand that the use of this substance for the treatment of tendon injuries in racehorses is a complex issue because of prolonged and unpredictable clearance of the drug, so we have explored all available options for the affected connections.
"However, the parent drug ibuprofen is being detected in samples obtained from these horses at levels that make it impossible to differentiate between a recent treatment and a level caused by the leaching of the substance from a tissue storage site.
"Ibuprofen is a prohibited substance because of its potential to mask the pain and loss of function associated with inflammation, which may increase the risk of injury to both the horse and riders during racing.
"It also has the potential to improve the racing performance of a sore horse. It is for these reasons that all non-steroidal anti-inflammatories are prohibited on race day. There is also concern that prolonged high-dose administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, may have effects on the long-term health of the horse."
Fairfax Media understands the current ibuprofen positives in horses such as Signoff are related to treatment at a Gippsland rehabilitation facility where there are concerns over the type of ibuprofen used and the dose and duration of ibuprofen treatment.
The ruling by Racing Victoria on Thursday may spell the end of the racing careers of horses caught in the ibuprofen web. Fairfax Media understands two horses continue to test positive 12 months after the treatment ceased.
"In the immediate future we will continue to work with trainers in facilitating elective testing on the small group of affected horses, however, it will remain the decision of the trainer whether they are satisfied that their horse is free of the substance when presented to race," RV said.
FORMER QLD INTEGRITY BOSS NOW CEO OF RACING IN SRI LANKA
HORSE racing, some call it the sport of kings, has been earmarked for a re-launch in Sri Lanka in all probability with Government backing following the formation of the Royal Turf Club (RTC).
SIR LANKA’S English newspaper, the SUNDAY OBSERVOR, reports that the RTC has already secured the services of foreign experts in Wayne Wood (pictured right) as its inaugural Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of Stipendiary Stewards and Sinclair Marshall as Thoroughbred Riding Instructor and Stipendiary Steward.
"Under the guidance of these two renowned names in the global world of horse racing and the experienced Royal Turf Club committee, it is the aim of the club to elevate and uplift the standard of horse racing in Sri Lanka to new heights to bring back the traditions of this gentlemanly sport", the RTC said in a statement.
Sri Lanka is said to be one of the first or the first nation in Asia to indulge in horse racing and the new lease or identity for the sport comes at a time when the country attempts to promote so-called sports tourism.
In the 1840s British national John Baker introduced horse racing and the inaugural race was worked off at the Nuwara Eliya Race Course in 1875 conducted by the Nuwara Eliya Gymkhana Club.
The Royal Turf Club (RTC) is being headed by Suranjith Premadasa with Lucille Dahanayake as secretary and Nishitha Rupasinghe as treasurer while the Committee comprises Ranjith Dahanayake, Nihara Jayatilleke and Sudharshana Deshapriya.
The RTC said it had set aside a huge investment to develop the infrastructure which includes renovating the track and replacing its railings besides refurbishing the Grand Stand, the Steward room, jockeys' rooms as well as all other race course buildings in Nuwera Eliya.
Foreign investors are to be invited to be part of the revamping process which will be phased out over the ensuing two years where both Nuwera Eliya and Colombo will have horse racing centres fit to attract overseas competitors.
The RTC said that Wood is a highly acclaimed racing promoter on the international scene who teams up with them "with a wealth of thoroughbred racing experience, both in practical terms and as a senior administrator".
Wood as a schoolboy rode in horse shows in Australia before commencing the racing office at the Sydney Turf Club and the Australian Jockey Club. At the age of 22 he became the youngest Starter of a Metropolitan Race Club and continued his quest in the racing industry before becoming the youngest Chairman of Stewards for a major club in Australia.
He was awarded the WA Racing Achiever of the Year recognizing his contribution to the advancement of racing.
According to the RTC, Wood with his experience in identifying the drawbacks faced by horse owners and trainers was the perfect catch to resurrect the dormant racing passion in the country.
He also held high profile posts in the Royal Western India Turf Club in Mumbai and the Bangalore Turf Club.
"He (Wood) is noted for his integrity and for being a fair and fearless adjudicator with a no-nonsense attitude towards those who breach the rules of racing", the RTC said in a statement.
VICTORIAN TRAINER & NSW JOCKEY CHARGED OVER HONG KONG SALE
TRAINER Brent Stanley will face four charges issued by Racing Victoria stewards following the sale of his former racehorse Equita to Hong Kong last year.
PATRICK BARTLEY reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that leading Sydney jockey Glyn Schofield has also been charged with being involved in selling, trading or leasing of thoroughbred bloodstock. Jockeys are not permitted, without express written permission by the principal club, to be involved in the buying or selling of thoroughbreds.
Stewards allege that Brent Stanley told the owners of Equita that he had sold the horse for $200,000 to Hong Kong when in fact the Caulfield Cup-winning jockey had received $290,000 for the galloper.
Stanley is alleged to have received $20,000 in cash from Schofield at Randwick racecourse, which was purportedly as a commission on the sale.
It is further alleged that a payment of $250,000 from Schofield was received into the account of Stanley's wife, Paris Stanley, for the sale of the horse.
Stanley then released $200,000 into the account of Cloud 9 Thoroughbreds (the owner of Equita). In doing so, Stanley is alleged to have retained $50,000 of the purchase fee.
Stanley was charged under a rule relating to dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent, improper or dishonourable action or practice in connection with racing.
He was further charged with giving false and misleading evidence to stewards during the hearing.
The case will be sent to the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on a date yet to be fixed.
RQ RECORDS BETTER THAN FORECAST HALF YEAR BUT HOW MUCH?
RACING Queensland has recorded a better result than it had forecast for the first half of the financial year but just how much it has lost in this period is unclear.
BRAD DAVIDSON reports in the GOLD COAT BULLETIN that speculation has been rife that Racing Queensland’s loss was up to $5 million less than anticipated for the first half of the 2015-16 financial year.
Racing Queensland confirmed yesterday it was below budget for this period but would not reveal by how far or detail how much of the projected $28 million loss this financial year was forecasted for the first six months.
“Racing Queensland is ahead of budget and revenue is in line with the forecasted figures,” the Racing Queensland statement read.
“Expenditure is below budget but this is largely the result of phased timing of expenditure, with some activity being deferred until later in the year.
“Like all businesses, we are currently conducting a reforecast process to take into account any changed circumstances.”
While the news is promising, Racing Queensland has still borrowed $17 million from the State Government to cover running costs and that money must be repaid.
Racing Queensland yesterday ruled out reducing looming prizemoney cuts until the better-than-expected financial result can be sustained over a longer period.
Meanwhile, Racing Minister Grace Grace has confirmed looming cuts detailed in the Tracking Towards Sustainability Report are ‘flexible’ and can be replaced by other measures if they recoup the same money and are deemed more appropriate.
“The Tracking Towards Sustainability Plan is flexible and where there are alternative approaches we believe will deliver good outcomes, they will be implemented,” Grace said.
In theory, the statement has opened the door for industry figures from all three codes of racing to come up with and agree upon an alternative solution to Racing Queensland’s dire financial position.
Grace yesterday provided an update on the search for the new Racing Integrity Commissioner as well as the new seven-person Racing Queensland board and CEO.
“Short-listing has taken place for the new Racing Integrity Commissioner and I hope to make an announcement about the appointment as soon as possible,” Grace said.
“We had a strong pool of candidates to consider and there’s also been strong interest from some outstanding candidates for the new Board positions with Racing Queensland, which have also been short-listed.
“A search and selection process for the new Racing Queensland CEO will soon get under way.”
The Racing Integrity Bill needs to be passed through Parliament before the new Queensland Racing Integrity Commission can be formed.
OPINIONS DIVIDED ON SUCCESS OF VICTORIAN RAPID FIRE RACING
THE beauty of 30-minute race gaps appears to be in the eye of the beholder.
MATT STEWART reports for the HERALD SUN that industry executives declared Saturday’s rapid-fire go-it-alone meeting at Caulfield a provisional success.
“We’ll have to wait until Monday to get the betting figures but it seems to have worked well,’’ Racing Victoria executive Bernard Saundry said. “The logistics seem to have come off pretty well.’’
Some jockeys and trainers agreed, some didn’t.
The trainers were more upbeat than the riders, although some said the constant “up and down’’ from the mounting yard to the stalls was a sweaty exercise.
I give the half hour between races the big thumbs up kept the day moving.
— Lee Freedman (@freedman_lee) February 6, 2016
“Wait ’til we get to Sandown,’’ one beefy trainer said. “The distance from the scales area to the furthest horse stall is 600m!’’
Another said: “They race in Macau 25 minutes apart and it seems to go pretty well, and has done for a long time. They race 30 minutes apart at our night meetings, so what’s the problem?’’
Jockey Dwayne Dunn shrugged his shoulders. “It is what it is,’’ he said.
Damien Lane was flustered. “I reckon 35 minutes is perfect,” he said. “I’ve felt a bit rushed. It’s hard if you have to ride light and back up so quickly.’’
Putting rights/wrongs/blame aside, seriously, today's experience of trying to watch races in an oncourse environment was diabolical. I left.
— mary collier (@mtc01) February 6, 2016
Luke Currie agreed, Damien Oliver wasn’t fussed, but suggested staying races not be run consecutively, as they were on Saturday.
“That’s good feedback,’’ Saundry said.
Trainer Wayne Hawkes said the shorter gap between races made it tricky to spend a reasonable time with owners — who pay $120-plus a day for the privilege — but made the day shorter and sharper: “A good result,’’ he said.
Robert Smerdon enjoyed it. “Three runners two races apart, I’m out of here after 30 minutes,’’ he said.
— ReadingThePlay (@ReadingThePlay) February 6, 2016
Politically-minded button pushers at the TV networks didn’t like the departure from script.
SKY Racing dumped a number of Caulfield races to its secondary Sky 2 channel, an obvious slap to the Victorians for their go-it-alone experiment. It was a sooky gesture that made punters pay the price for an industry arm-wrestle over who controls the clock.
Saundry said the rapid-fire meetings would become a Saturday staple in Victoria if the ticks significantly outnumbered the crosses.
“You’ve got to evolve and be mindful of change,’’ he said. “We’re feeling positive about it.’’
— Julian (@leiluu_) February 6, 2016
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