LEADING SYNDICATOR PLANS TO LEGALLY FIGHT $20,000 FINE OVER SYDNEY INTERNET DEBACLE
LEADING syndicator Dean Watt has armed himself with the same legal team that represented Gai Waterhouse in the More Joyous affair, vowing to go as "far as we can physically go" to appeal against $20,000 in fines handed down by Racing NSW stewards on Tuesday.
ADAM PENGILLY reports in the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD that Watt described the severity of the fines as "ridiculous" after penalties were handed down to the Dynamic Syndications boss and his son Adam over domains they established in the names of some of the syndicator's rivals.
Stewards alleged the Watts created pages in the name of Chris Waller, who Dynamic Syndications still race horses with, and rival syndicator Triple Crown that would link directly to his company.
But Watt said he had not done anything illegal and he would continue to use Philip Beazley, who Waterhouse employed in the drawn-out More Joyous saga last year, to clear his name. He lodged an immediate appeal after the fines were announced on Tuesday.
Watt pointed to other fines handed out in the past year as lenient compared with the findings in the Dynamic Syndications case, which were described "at the lower end of the scale" by stewards.
John Singleton was slapped with a $15,000 fine over the More Joyous affair for bringing racing into disrepute and $8000 in fines were handed out to two Australian Bloodstock directors over false representations made about the ownership of imported galloper Hathras.
"All I'll say is, we're going as far as we can physically go with it," Watt said. "Our appeal was very simply lodged that we're not guilty of the offences found. We're prepared to go as far as it takes. As far as it can go, we're prepared to go all the way. This is ridiculous.
"It wouldn't have mattered if it was a $500 fine, we would have appealed it. We feel very aggrieved about this because if we did something wrong we would cop the fine and move on."
It is understood only one visit was made to one of the sites that were established, while no traffic was registered on the other.
Watt said the websites were just "statutory platforms" and he had not engaged in any illegal practice.
"We've done everything legal and they've questioned the legality of it in the findings," Watt said. "It was only designed to build a moat around our own intellectual property."
Dynamic Syndications races horses with some of the leading trainers in the country including Waller, Peter Moody, Mick Price, Gerald Ryan and Peter and Paul Snowden.
Meanwhile, the print editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Tom Reilly, has been announced as the new chief executive of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Aushorse Marketing.
JEFF KENNETT BLASTS DAMIEN OLIVER DECISION AND 'CANCER' OF CORPORATE BOOKIES
JEFF Kennett has savaged the decision to allow jockey Damien Oliver to serve just an eight-month ban for betting on a rival horse and also says he was wrong to have privatised the TAB because it allowed the "cancer" of corporate bookmakers to push the racing industry towards financial catastrophe.
PATRICK BARTLEY and JESSE HOGAN report in THE AGE that Kennett was invited to speak at a Racing Victoria industry briefing on Monday because of a partnership between the beyondblue anti-depression charity he chairs and RV’s campaign to help struggling trainers.
In stressing the importance of stringent integrity rules, Kennett lambasted racing authorities for allowing champion jockey Oliver to ride throughout the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival after it was discovered he had bet on another horse in a race he rode in.
"How in God's name this organisation allowed Damien Oliver to get off with an eight-month suspension is beyond me. If he had been in Hong Kong he probably would have been jailed. He certainly wouldn't have been allowed to stand down for eight [months] during the non-racing season in order to come back and race in the carnival.
"A few owners dropped him, but if RVL is going to be serious about integrity then when someone breaches the code they have got to pay the price."
Kennett said he considered it "unbelievable" that Oliver was feted in winning the Scobie Breasley Medal on Sunday night.
"How you allow it to happen I have no bloody idea.
"If you get caught, as far as I'm concerned you should be run out of the game. Eight months off for betting on a race - what a disgrace."
The outspoken Kennett forecast a financial catastrophe for the racing industry, and eventually more sports, under the current betting model.
In making "an admission I don't often make", Kennett said one of his reforms as Victoria's premier was wrong: to privatise the TAB.
"If I had known 20 years ago that in privatising the TAB it would bring an influx of corporate bookmakers to Australia I would not have privatised the TAB."
Kennett said having just the TAB made it easier to "control the industry" and also properly fund it.
"Their [coprorate bookmakers'] one objective at the moment is to destroy the major contributor of revenue to RVL [Racing Victoria Limited] - and they will do it, if they're able to be allowed to run unfettered as they are at the moment.
"They are a cancer in our society . . . they're destroying your industry and they're going to destroy most sports."
Kennett argued corporate bookmakers' dispassionate view of sport as a "product" was problematic because of its comparative - to licensed on-course betting operators - lack of financial contributions.
"They don't give a bugger about you guys, they don't give a damn about the horses. They see it as stock for which they dribble out a small amount of money."
Kennett urged reform of national betting laws to prevent corporate bookmakers paying only a sliver to the racing industry of what the TAB has traditionally paid. He also urged state and national responsibility for running racing to be handed over to independent commissions.
QUEENSLAND'S THREE CODES ON RECEIVING END OF NEW TAB DEAL 'FUNDING WINDFALL'
QUEENSLAND'S three racing codes will be on the receiving end of a major prizemoney boost from October 1 this year in a funding windfall for the 30,000-strong Queensland racing industry.
Addressing an industry briefing at Deagon this afternoon, Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board Chairman Kevin Dixon said Racing Queensland had delivered on its commitment to improve the returns for participants of all codes in the wake of the new wagering deal.
“This is a monumental occasion for the Queensland racing industry. Today, we have provided an opportunity for every participant in the state to increase their returns through significant increases to prize money allocations in all codes,” Mr Dixon said.
“For years, the Queensland racing industry has been lobbying for more prizemoney and we have delivered that today in a way that ensures each code and region benefits from the increases.
“Based on the increases coming into effect on October 1, overall prizemoney year on year will increase by 50 per cent for greyhounds, 20 per cent for thoroughbreds and 16 per cent for harness racing.
“These improvements were devised with a new allocation strategy, which determines prizemoney based on each code’s individual revenue less the costs they incur. This means when one code is performing well, they will directly benefit from their success and not be impacted by other codes.”
The key improvements from October 1, 2014 are:
Non-Strategic Non-Tab Country prizemoney is up 40% to $7000 per race and Saturday Metro prizemoney is up 37% to $65,000 per race. Strategic Country races are up 16% to $7000, and Metro midweek races up 17% to $20,000.
Provincial racing enhanced throughout the state, examples of which are increases of 47% to $16,000 per race at Ipswich, 23% to $13,000 per race at Townsville and Rockhampton and 27% to $14,000 per race at Toowoomba.
Once the revised QTIS scheme comes into effect, QTIS fillies will race for $78,000 to the winner at Metro meetings or $23,000 to the winner at Ipswich.
Non-performing Monday meetings have been abandoned and those races have been absorbed by other meetings, and will receive a prizemoney increase of 50% from $2,000 to $3,000.
Prizemoney offered at Saturday Metro meetings increases by 19 per cent, highlighted by CMO/Claimer races increasing 50% to $12,000, and 2nd Division Q0/Q1/Q2 increasing 33% to $8000.
Similarly, prize money at Tuesday Metro will increase by 27.5 per cent and Friday Metro by 39%
Increase to provincial prizemoney at Redcliffe on Wednesday nights by 52 per cent with a number of races now worth $5000.
Metro Thursday racing becomes nationally competitive with 54 per cent increase to graded races to $7,500, 51% increase to 710m graded races to $8000, and 34% increase to Open races to $9,500.
Class 3 racing at both Ipswich and Brisbane increasing 76% for graded races to $2,250, and 43% for maiden races to $1,750. Class 2 racing will also receive similar increases.
Class 6 racing in Rockhampton and Townsville increasing 49% for Open races to $1750 and 30% for Graded Races to $1200, and Country racing up 40% to $800.
Mr Dixon said the new wagering deal with Tatts Bet had paved the way for the prizemoney increases, which would only be amplified by the recent improvements to QTIS and soon-to-be announced improvements to the other breeding schemes.
“Once the wagering deal was finalised, we were able to look at the big picture and determine where we could invest and expend that money to give our participants the best possible return on their investment,” Mr Dixon said.
“The best part of the new deal is, though, that if the racing industry pulls together and performs, increases like these will continue to flow in the future.
“Prizemoney was the obvious and most sought after improvement, and now we will work closely with our stakeholder groups to ensure future allocations of funding continue to address the needs of the industry.”
Minister for Racing Steve Dickson said the increases to prizemoney marked a major milestone in the Government’s commitment to reinvigorate the racing industry in Queensland.
“Prizemoney increases in all three codes across the state have always been the goal and today we have seen just how bright the future is for our participants,” Mr Dickson said.
The new prizemoney structure has been achieved because of the terrific wagering deal recently secured with Tatts, and builds on the success of the first phase of our infrastructure strategy, and the stabilisation of the administrative part of the organisation.
“The reinvigoration of the industry is well underway and we will continue to work with Racing Queensland and industry participants to ensure it continues.”
NEW GOALS FOR LETSGOHORSERACING WEBSITE
THE aim of LETSGOHORSERACING when first established was a non-profit website designed to be different to the hundreds of other racing websites operating throughout the world. Nothing has changed on that front except that our emphasis has been on feedback. We listened to what you wanted and learned that racing stakeholders, punters and followers were keen to HAVE THEIR SAY. This was reflected in the response to the WEDNESDAY WHINGE which has seen the popularity of this web site (through hits) soar to incredible heights. It has also drawn detractors from within the industry - especially in Queensland - from officials who aren't used to having the job they do put under the microscope which has rarely happened for many years in the mainstream racing media. Websites like ours and justracing have got up the nose of officials at RQ and will continue to do so. Despite legal intimidation which we are told is aimed at closing us down or intimidating us into refusing to follow up controversial issues letsgohorseracing and the Wednesday Whinge are here to stay. But that means increasing costs to fight these legal threats, improve the quality of our website and to overcome that we are now accepting advertising and have decided to pursue a LETSHORSEHORSERACING LATE MAIL SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE. It's unique, it's different, it's affordable. YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE NOW.
CONTRIBUTE TO THE 'WEDNESDAY WHINGE'
OUR NEW FEATURE - THE ARMCHAIR PUNTER
THIS will replace the FRIDAY FORM-LINE and MONDAY POST-MORTEM and will still try and find those elusive winners (free of charge) for website followers who don't want to - or feel they cannot afford to - subscribe to services like the LGHR LATE MAIL.
'SILKS AND SADDLES' with TERRY BUTTS
SILKS & SADDLES is a popular weekly column written by respected racing writer TERRY BUTTS that we run courtesy of one of Australia’s leading rural newspapers, the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER. Butts is an old-style racing journalist who shoots from the hip and takes no prisoners. He resents the 'suck-up and survive' mentality of some of the new breed of racing journalists in the print and broadcast media.
GO RACING in AUSTRALIA or OVERSEAS
WE will provide on a regular basis an upgraded list of the centres and holidays we believe are the best for racing folk to holiday whether they are just down the road, interstate or overseas. At times we will also provide some good racing holiday packages and tips.