QRIC CLARIFIES CONFLICT ISSUES INVOLVING NEW CHIEF STEWARD

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission QRIC is well aware of a perceived conflict of interest being divested by the newly appointed Chief Thoroughbred Steward Peter Chadwick.

Commissioner Ross Barnett said that while Mr Chadwick was Chief Steward in Singapore he had a two per cent interest in an Australian race horse.

“After securing the position of QRIC Chief Thoroughbred Steward he informed me that he was taking immediate steps to divest his ownership to ensure there was no actual or perceived conflict of interest with his new role,” he said.

“That action is currently underway and will be completed before Mr Chadwick takes up his position in Queensland in August.

“As far as I am concerned he has acted appropriately, and has acted well within our processes and procedures to divest himself of this ownership once he knew the new role in Queensland was his.

“Mr Chadwick’s judgement has been sound and I have been well aware of the perceived conflict well before it became an issue of speculation within the local racing industry.”

 

‘PIG PEN’ TO BE CLOSED AFTER SATURDAY’S IPSWICH CUP MEETING

CROWD-WISE the Ipswich Cup meeting will make the Stradbroke look second rate with over 20,000 expected to turn out again this Saturday.

Shock, horror though – this year marks the end of an era for the best attended race meeting of the Queensland Winter Carnival.

Officials have decided that the infamous Pig Pen will be in use for the last time.

ANDREW KORNER, writing for the QUEENSLAND TIMES, explained: “This year represents the end of an era for the Cup, with some pretty major refurbishments coming soon.

“The saddest part for some of us regulars is that after this year’s Cup the infamous Pig Pen will be no more.

“It’s scary to think that those still acquainted with the Pig Pen may never understand the magical sights and sounds of the general admission area when it is in full swing; say about 3pm on a big Cup day.

“As much as I love all the glitz and glamour of Fashions on the Field and whatever it is the horses and jockeys do out on the track, there’s a strong argument for kicking back with a rum and witnessing the action around the Pig Pen once a few thousand Ipswichians begin to get a few frothies under the belt.

I shall bask in the glory one final time (on Saturday).

GOOD onya ANDY – any of us who have ever visited Ipswich on Cup Day would be aware of the antics of the Pig Pen, the action in the in-field and dodging a boomerang or stubby as we attempted to vacate the premises and dodge drunken blokes and sheilas after the last.

IPSWICH CUP DAY PHOTO TAKEN BY ONE OF QLD'S BEST - NOEL PASCOE

      

CORPORATES CLAIM RV RACE FIELDS POLICY 'DRIVING BIG PUNTERS AWAY'

BLUEBET boss Michael Sullivan has blasted Racing Victoria’s race fields policy labelling it as  “wanting to bring back the old days of SP bookmakers” as the regulatory looks to lift its fees.

CHRIS ROOTS reports for FAIRFAX MEDIA that Victoria might be proposing to have the lowest point of assumption tax at eight per cent, but proposed changes to race fields fees from July 1 is set to split product fees for bookmakers into three categories: parimutuel, tote derivative and non parimutuel.

Each will be charged individually at the highest rate between a turnover model and a gross revenue model every day.

“They have already totally closed the high-rollers market with the way they charge their fees,” Sullivan said. “They want to be friendly to bookmakers but all they want to do is take, take, take. We had to close a half dozen accounts of our biggest clients because it is not viable for us to have them.

“It looks like they are wanting to bring back the old days of SP bookmakers and send the big punters to them. If you have anyone winning at around five per cent, you don’t want their business because of the fees and the way they are charged.

“The daily calculation is what kills you because one day you win and you pay gross revenue and the next you loss and pay on turnover. It would be our least favourite state to bet. My boys take great pride in reducing the fees we pay to them every month. The system is better, fairer  and simpler in NSW.”

Racing Victoria says it is in a consultation period about its new race fields fee but the proposed schedule targets tote products, while leaving exchange betting at 35 per cent of revenue.

It is obvious Racing Victoria, based on a fee schedule obtained by Fairfax Media, are targeting the more popular forms of betting.

From July 1, Racing Victoria will look to lift the standard meeting races on parimutuel and tote products from 1.5 per cent on turnover and 15 per cent on revenue to 2 per cent or 20 per cent of revenue, whichever is higher. The turnover fee reflects the Racing NSW fee.

 

Premiums are set to be charged on black type meetings going from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent with the gross revenue option to go to 20 to 25 per cent. Premier meetings will go from 2.5 per cent or 25 per cent to 3 per cent on turnover or 30 per cent on revenue.

Non parimutuel is set to rise from 1.5 to 1.6 per cent of 16 per cent of revenue on standard meetings, while the fees on black type meetings and premium meetings stays at 2 per cent of turnover or 20 per cent of revenue. Premier meetings will drop from 3 per cent and 30 percent to 2.5 percent turnover and 25 per cent revenue at the top end.

It is another slug on bookmakers, who are preparing for the introduction of point of consumption tax around the country.

The NSW government announced on Tuesday it would be at 10 per cent of gross profit with the racing industry guaranteed to get $40 million of up to $100 million in revenue.

It is understood that the government is preparing to commit a large percentage of the remains to regional and suburban sporting facilities.

 

WEDNESDAY WHINGE but HAVE YOUR SAY any DAY of the WEEK.

CRITIC SUGGESTS RE-NAMING IT ‘ORDER OF AUSTRALIAN MAGGOTS’ 

NOT surprisingly the awarding of an Order of Australia Medal to prominent Brisbane racing media identity Bart Sinclair attracted its share of criticism.

There are enough voices out there wanting to be heard on this subject that I should adopt the advice of my dear old mum who told me: ‘You say it best when you say nothing at all John.’

But I can’t resist the opportunity to give the worst Racing Editor I ever worked for a solid workout. (And by the way there were some mighty fine bosses during my years as a turf scribe, like Keith Noud, Jim Anderson and Max Presnell).  

Sadly, throughout his career as a high profile turf journalist and commentator, Sinclair is seen to have been rewarded (even in retirement) for his loyalty in promoting and publicizing some of the biggest perceived grubs to grace the turf and political landscape in Queensland.

It came as no surprise that those still around with political influence, especially survivors of the goat rooting club of the corrupt old days of Sir Joh, would kick up and nominate their loyal media 'mate' for this award.

Those long-time followers of racing in Queensland who only got to know of Sinclair through his writings in the mainstream print or appearances on radio and TV arguably witnessed only a sanitized version.

Many others (like me) who knew him personally through an involvement with racing or the media became more aware of his ‘not so publicized’ trackside associates and activities not to mention his steely determination to get his message across on behalf of racing and political mates.

Working with ‘our Bart’ in the racing media was easy if you adopted the ‘suck-up and survive mentality’ – which many of today’s troops did and continue to do even though he is no longer there. Morning Nathan!

But attempting to cover horse racing without fear or favor in Queensland under his Racing Editorship became a mission impossible for those scribes who dared to disagree with him, his disciples in the industry or his political attitude to racing in which one could argue the ‘mum and dad’ punters rarely got a say.

That is why his Order of Australia Medal for services to racing, awarded in this week’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, has been frowned upon by some and treated as a total joke by others.

Here are some of the emails that we received in the wake of the Award announcement (including one that actually prompted us not to ignore this totally, which we start with):

‘I guess we can expect a bucketing from LGHR for one of the finest men in racing in Queensland in Bart Sinclair. Your dislike for him is well documented and it will fall on deaf ears. This was some positive (not fake) news that you and your grubby mate (Peter) Bredhauer can choke on.’

On the minus side there were many others (including politicians, officials, lawyers and industry stakeholders) who question what checks were done before this Award was sanctioned.

Here’s what they had to say (and to ensure they can still enjoy their day at the races free of intimidation we have withheld their identities):

'I THOUGHT they did background checks before awarding OAM’s. They obviously didn’t bother checking Bart’s alleged (I’ll use that word loosely) links to a few unsavory characters including SP ‘king-pin’ George Freeman as highlighted in a story by Archie Butterfly on his website, www.jeebung.com.’

‘ANYONE who has read the first edition of The Gambling Man by Kevin Perkins will be shaking their head in amazement at the awarding of an OAM to Bart Sinclair. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of this version. You’ll be gob-smacked.’

‘I TUNED into racing radio on Monday morning to hear The Bantam doing one of his regular arse licks, this time to Bart Sinclair over the awarding of an OAM. And then a mate from the station told me that all he was really trying to do was stir the pot with certain people. More the reason most of us can’t wait for Fowler to be replaced under the Tatt’s merger by the best caller in Queensland (SKY’S Josh Fleming). As one of his long-time followers said – that will enable him to head off to Adelaide and operate a pie floater van at the gates to Morphettville Racetrack.’

‘I NEARLY choked on my corn flakes when I read The Courier-Mail report about their former Racing Editor receiving an Order of Australia Medal. What services to racing? Those who know Bart well claim he spent more time dashing between the jockeys’ room and the bookies’ ring than writing stories. Where were those great stewards back then – some were accompanying him to a free night out at the Lions’ homes games at the Gabba I am told. ’

‘That OAM should stand for Order of Australian Maggots’. What’s next elevation for little Barton to the Racing Hall of Fame where his photograph can hang alongside another ring-in (not Fine Cotton) but The Bantam (for services to harness racing)? Only in Queensland!’

‘OAM for services to racing goes to Bart Sinclair – little wonder there is little respect for these Australia Day and Queen’s Birthday Honors. In my opinion all this guy did was spend his career as a turf writer promoting himself and his racing and political mates – from on-the-nose SP bookies to helping the old hacks at the QTC run racing until Bob Gibbs removed that privilege. Then he was rewarded with a job for the BRC (old QTC) when he retired from race writing. Now some of his loyal mates in the LNP (who probably owed him a favor or two for something political he wrote way back when Joh and his corrupt bunch were running the State) have made sure he gets nominated for a belated OAM.’

 

RESPECTED CHIEF STEWARDS FORCED OUT OF VICTORIA BUT THOSE IN QLD WHO HAVE LOST PUNTER CONFIDENCE OVERSTAY THEIR WELCOME

EMAILS to the WHINGE certainly suggest that the attitude to integrity in racing that has been adopted by some States over the years has been hard to follow from a punters’ perspective.

Victoria was arguably hell-bent on forcing out a Chairman of Stewards who was doing too good a job while in Queensland there were those who seemed determined to retain the services of a Chief Steward who had lost the confidence of punters.

It’s all a bit Irish but at the end of the day ‘politics’ sadly continue to decide the fate of many good people in racing – from stewards to administrators and even control bodies.

It is rather ironic how there has been some shifting in the saddles for horses on the Chief Stewards’ Merry-Go-Around in recent times.

Terry Bailey leaves Melbourne to fill the shoes of Peter Chadwick who is moving from Singapore to take over from Allan Reardon who is heading to what many have described as a well overdue retirement.

Ironically circumstances could well have been different but for racing politics when the Government changed in Queensland some years ago.

LETSGOHORSERACING was at the coalface of a situation when a new Racing Queensland chairman (who shall remain nameless) made what could arguably be described as one of the most mystifying decisions involving integrity.

This was long before the much-maligned Queensland Racing Integrity Commission was even mooted. An approach was made – quite confidentially and secret – which would have involved a major changing of the guard in integrity in Queensland.

A new Board had just been appointed and there was a new Chairman with a refreshing approach – or so we were told – and the boss of a prominent south-east Queensland TAB club organized a meeting to discuss a proposal that would have turned the stewarding of racing in Queensland on its head.

RV Chairman of Stewards Terry Bailey, his Integrity Boss Dale Brown and chief stable fence jumper on the panel, Kane Ashby, were keen to relocate to Queensland in a package deal. At the time RQ was looking for a new Chief Steward – confidence in what was happening on the track was at one of its many all-time lows.

The RQ Chairman in Waiting sounded genuinely interested – the money being asked for the trio wasn’t unreachable – and all appeared to be set for negotiations to take place between the parties.

But overnight something happened. All of a sudden the new powers-that-be didn’t want Bailey and co. There was a changing of the guard but it started a sequence of failed Chief Stewards which subsequently led to Allan Reardon returning from the Bailey panel and becoming the boss again in Brisbane.

Had things been different Bailey may well have returned to his home State of Queensland and cleaned up the mess that we have been left with today where there is little punter confidence in the product being provided or the policing of it – not to mention how badly turnover has dropped (while it is convenient to blame that on the closure of Eagle Farm rather than the real reasons). And that’s without a mention of how badly integrity has deteriorated to at the ‘red hots’.

 

MOST WOULD HAVE WALKED AWAY LONG BEFORE TERRY BAILEY HAS

LGHR COMMENT on BAILEY SITUATION:

MOST high profile stewards would arguably not have survived the job for half the time that Terry Bailey has, given the pressure and stress that finally wore him down.

It comes as no surprise that Bailey made his share of enemies and detractors over the past two decades during which he insists ‘looking the other way’ was not an option.

There will be those – spearheaded by some prominent trainers and jockeys (past and present) who will rejoice in his departure but one has to question where racing in Victoria might be today without the contribution that Bailey made.

We at LETSGOHORSERACING have never wavered in our insistence that Bailey is the best steward in the land and that is not intended to reflect on the job that Ray Murrihy did before his retirement as boss of the Racing NSW panel.

Bailey made enemies of some influential individuals – officials, owners and licensees – during his tenure in Victoria. It was inevitable that this would eventually take its toll.

One of the country’s most successful owners, Lloyd Williams, has blamed a lack of high-level support from Racing Victoria executives for the departure of Bailey. One suspects it eventually wore him down not that he will dwell on that issue but rather look forward to the next chapter of his career as Chairman of Stewards in Singapore.

Bailey’s only public comment has been that he does not regret refusing the ‘look the other way’ regardless of how high profile the person breaching the Rules of Racing was. He took on the best and was a class act. The same can’t be said for trainer Danny O’Brien, understandably still bitter from the fallout the cobalt crisis caused his stable.

Rather than win back many supporters that he and a couple of other high profile identities lost forever because of their personal attacks on Bailey during that drawn out inquiry, O’Brien couldn’t help himself. When news broke of the Chief Steward’s resignation, he took a farewell swipe tweeting: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out champ. #4corners”, with the hashtag reportedly a reference to the ABC current affairs program.

Another who no doubt will be dining out on the Bailey departure from Victoria will be an old sparring partner in Danny Nikolic – although some might say ‘Danny Who’ these days. At least Bailey has a promising career to look forward to.

Lloyd Williams expressed the views of many trainers, owners and a lot of punters and members of the racing public – big and small – when he said: “Having had a lifetime of experience in racing, I have been disappointed in the fact that the Chief Steward has had very, very little support from the powers that be.

“That hasn’t happened and if you don’t support the people who are in your management positions, why should they stay. I think they have worn him down.”

Williams described Bailey as “uncompromising” in his role, but said: “If you want to be the custodian of integrity, you need to be uncompromising. If they (Racing Victoria) don’t take care of integrity, they won’t have a sport left.”

One wonders where confidence in racing in Victoria would be today had it not been for Bailey’s unwavering focus on administering the Rules of Racing and ensuring that all participants and customers can compete on a level playing field.

What a pity the same can no longer be said for an old stamping ground of some good Chief Stewards like Murrihy, Bailey and Steve Railton in Queensland. But things are set to change in the north with Peter Chadwick, whose position Bailey will take in Singapore, accepting the role of Chairman of Stewards for QRIC.  

It was inevitable that the incredible pressure, the threats against him and his family, the unrelenting criticism for simply doing his job and the fallout from some very controversial situations would eventually take its toll. Bailey became a scapegoat.

It is little wonder that Bailey’s reign as RVL Chief Steward, where he was never far from the headlines during a time of significant upheaval in Victorian racing, lasted as long as it did.

He was in charge during the long-running and messy cobalt saga that dragged on through a number of judicial hearings across several years and split a number of participants in the industry on the matter.

He was also at the helm during the Aquanita Racing scandal which came to light on Turnbull Stakes Day last year, and led to the suspension of a number of high-profile racing identities, including leading trainer Robert Smerdon.

Bailey was involved in a bitter feud with jockey Danny Nikolic, with Nikolic deemed “not a fit and proper person” to ride in this state after verbally abusing the steward.

He revealed receiving death threats during his time in the role, and in 2015, gunshots were fired into the exterior of his Melbourne home in what remains an unresolved police incident.

Can you imagine going to work and confronting this sort of drama every day of your life? Good luck to Racing Victoria in the search for a replacement for Bailey. Regardless of what the critics might say they have a might big pair of shoes to fill IF integrity is to remain at its current level in what is regarded as the leading racing state in the nation.

 

TIME OVERDUE FOR RESHUFFLING IN QLD STEWARDING RANKS

DAVID JACKSON of BRISBANE makes an interesting assessment of the STEWARDING situation in QUEENSLAND:

‘I am just your run-of-the-mill punter – a nobody when it comes to importance in racing – but I believe my views represent those of many who are still prepared to invest their hard-earned on racing in Queensland week-in, week-out.

Not since the days of Ray Murrihy have my mates and I had any confidence in a Chief Steward or his panel overseeing race meetings in the Sunshine State.

Steve Railton looked the goods but that infamous Count Gaffa Inquiry seemed to take its early toll on his confidence when Mick Dittman was in the ‘hot seat’ but escaped largely through the apparent inefficiency of two members of the panel who failed to give their boss the backing he deserved.

Interestingly, I have friends in Toowoomba who tell me that almost two decades down the track the gentleman who owned Count Gaffa and vowed he would never race a horse in Queensland again is back and has an involvement with another stable now that has been in the news in recent months. Since the days when the Count was a good money-spinner he has hit a hurdle as well and even spent some time paying the price for a major misdemeanor as a bank officer when he ‘borrowed’ a couple of million to feed his unsuccessful punting habits.

But back to my original Whinge and when Railton was shown the door the stewarding situation – in the opinion of many – took a major downhill turn. Allan Reardon followed in Steve’s footsteps then we had the extremely unpopular but in my opinion talented Reid Sanders followed by rank failures (again just my opinion) in Jamie Dart and Wade Birch not to mention the unsuccessful return to Chief Stewarding of Reardon who arguably should have been pensioned off long ago.

Here’s hoping with the arrival of the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, as maligned as it has been, that lessons are learned from our past mistakes with some of these Chief Stewards who have failed to regain the lost confidence of a legion of punters who gave up in despair betting on racing in Queensland.

With all due respects – and I hope those responsible at QRIC like Commissioner Barnett who have done their best in more recent times to clean the joint up – there is a need for a complete reshuffle in the stewarding ranks. By that I certainly do not mean a rearranging of the deck chairs on the good ship RQ Titanic.

Now that old Al is about to enjoy his retirement might I suggest that they let the new Chairman of Stewards Peter Chadwick loose on some of the smarties who I believe have been taking advantage of this ‘feet under the chair let’s enjoy the afternoon out’ mentality that seems to now exist with policing on some race days.

There needs to be a new Chairman of Stewards appointed in the trouble-spot of Toowoomba (rightly or wrongly punters have lost confidence in the one that is currently based there). And the bloke who is supposedly in charge in the north is under plenty of fire for the job he is doing. Has he got a clue?

My understanding is that Martin Knibbs, a respected and experienced steward, is considering his future in Queensland after again getting to the short list for a big job and missing out. Chadwick needs to find an important role for him to ensure a steward of Knibbs’ calibre isn’t lost to Queensland. Daniel Aurisch is another whose career needs to be consolidated locally.

It wouldn’t hurt to have a chat with Terry Bailey about what he would do to improve the situation in Queensland before he heads to Singapore.

The lack of confidence at the trots continues to be a problem that no-one wants to address. Something needs to happen there before that code is non-existent.

It’s a changing of the guard in Queensland. Things can hardly get any worse. The time has come for those responsible to start regaining punter confidence before it is lost forever.’

    

BITS AND PIECES that we selected to run from dozens of emails received in the past week – apologies to those who missed out for a myriad of reasons, largely legal:

‘RECORD CROWD OF 12,000 AT STRADBROKE – WHO’S KIDDING WHO?’

'THE Channel 7 news in BRISBANE last Saturday night declared the crowd at the Stradbroke a record 12,000.

I was in attendance on the day and pleased to report that there were many thousands in attendance but I doubt it was anywhere near 12,000.

As a regular racegoer to carnival and major meetings in Brisbane over the years it most certainly was not a ‘record’ as the uninformed Seven declared. Perhaps it was a record Stradbroke crowd for Doomben.

We would forgive them for forgetting Gunsynd Day – it was a long time ago. But Black Caviar was in more recent times and there would have been easily double the number that attended Saturday’s Stradbroke.

There were no dramas with the track. It played ‘rain affected’ but we didn’t need to be continually reminded how fair and great it was by Bernadette ‘I’ve now got a job with SKY forever thanks to my friends at RQ’ Cooper. When are they going to spare us her dribble and awful tips and consign her to the back of a horse interviewing winning jockeys on big days?

As for carnival crowds Ipswich Cup Day will again blow the Brisbane Racing Club and its much more highly funded marketing machine out of the water when 20,000 plus turn up (yet again) next Saturday. It comes down to who knows how to attract crowds and who doesn’t. Simple as that!’

 

ROBBIE HEATHCOTE TAKEN TO TASK BY A FAN OF BEN CURRIE

‘LET me confess at the outset that I am a great fan of Ben Currie and what he has achieved as a trainer. I am reliably informed that one of his chief critics has been colleague Robbie Heathcote.

Well on Saturday I watched as the Heathcote-trained Hopfgarten score an upset win in the Listed Wayne Wilson. In my opinion this was a form reversal compared to its previous tiring sixth under similar conditions.

Yet Robbie is the first to talk about a level playing field in racing.

Not a question was asked by the stewards of the improvement. One wonders if that would have been the case had the trainer of Hopfgarten been Ben Currie which just convinces me that this whole Inquiry involving his stable has been a witch-hunt’.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Robbie Heathcote did explain to SKY that Hopfgarten was going from 1200m to a mile at its previous start and he had encountered problems finding suitable races for the horse. At the same time he conceded Hopfgarten was no longer the topliner he once promised to be.

 

WTF? THIS CAN’T BE RIGHT A COMMITTEEMAN HELPING BEN OUT!

‘DID a prominent committeeman of the Toowoomba Turf Club set a good example when he was observed helping the Ben Currie stable out during trackwork last Thursday morning?

Gee, Currie may be short of staff but it raised a few eye-brows and also questions as to whether this well-known racing man on the Downs is a licensed stable hand or strapper.

We thought of asking the Club Chairman how he feels about one of his committee working with a stable that is under siege with stewards not to mention the trainer facing over 30 charges. But it was suggested that would be a waste of time as the Chairman apparently has an ownership interest in a horse trained by Ben Currie.

Is it my imagination or are most of the Currie-trained winners restricted to his home track of Toowoomba these days where the competition isn’t as tough?

With two meetings at Clifford Park this week the corporate bookmakers won't be too keen to go up with early markets – you can find them well ahead for the southern venues but strangely not Toowoomba. Perhaps they’re sick of losing on heavily backed runners.’

 

SMERDON HORSES STRUGGLING TO FIND FORM FOR OTHER TRAINERS

‘HAVE you noticed how horses formerly trained by Robert Smerdon are struggling to reproduce their best for new stables?

The latest was Ability at Flemington on Saturday which blew like a gale in the betting and beat only two home down the straight behind Rocket Tommy.

There are those who will say that new trainers, like Henry Dwyer (in the case of Ability) are on a belting to nothing trying to bring Smerdon horses back to their best when some had already reached their mark.’

*************

 

                THE SPRING RACING CARNIVAL IN MELBOURNE

MELBOURNE’S Spring Racing Carnival has been an integral part of the city's culture for well over 100 years. Culminating in one of the world’s most prestigious horse races on the first Tuesday in November in the Melbourne Cup, the ever-vibrant city comes alive for the weeks leading up to the 'race that stops a nation'.

While the racing is obviously the focus, there is far more to the carnival than the horses and far more to the city itself. Carnival time is one of the best periods of the year to visit Melbourne and there's plenty to keep you busy when you're not trackside.

To start your day in Melbourne without a coffee would be borderline offensive in this caffeine-obsessed town. Soak up the European vibe by grabbing a seat at Degraves Espresso on Degraves St, ordering a latte and some breakfast, and make sure you've got a copy of the day's newspaper to read up on the latest form & racing news for the next race day.

Now that you've woken up properly, stroll across the Princes Bridge before taking your pick from either side of St Kilda Road. The eastern side will give you a relaxing walk through the beautiful Royal Botanical Gardens while the west leads to the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia's largest art gallery and home to a wide range of exhibitions all year round.

No doubt hungry after the morning's activities, you have an almost overwhelming array of choices for lunch. Melbourne is a truly multicultural city so you'll be able to satisfy any craving. The city's Chinatown runs through the eastern end of Little Bourke Street and is the perfect place to grab some dumplings or a bowl of noodles. The surrounding area is packed with other Asian cuisine, so if Ramen, Massaman Curry or Pho is more to your liking, it won't take you long to find your ideal spot.

From there, continue north through the city centre towards the Old Melbourne Gaol on Russell Street, where you can tour the prison grounds and brush up on your knowledge of Melbourne's criminal history in the era shortly after European settlement.

If the Gaol isn’t to your liking, wander a few more blocks north towards Carlton Gardens at the top of Spring Street, where amongst the grand old trees and floral displays you'll find the stunning old Royal Exhibition building which once housed the first Federal Parliament of Australia. Just behind the Exhibition Building is the Melbourne Museum, well worth a visit for the intriguing exhibits on nature and cultural history.

Just a few blocks westwards from Carlton Gardens is Lygon Street, home to Melbourne's huge Italian community and all the magnificent pizza, pasta and gelato that you'd expect to come with it. Fill up on delicious food here before making your way back down to the southern end of the city centre, because no evening would be complete without a few drinks to cap off a day well spent.

Alongside the Yarra River, there are numerous options to sit and enjoy a refreshing beer or cocktail with a beautiful view of the city. A few local favourites include Abory Bar & Eatery, which sits on the northern bank of the river between Flinders Street Station and the water and Ponyfish Island, a tiny island haven in the middle of the river underneath the Southbank pedestrian bridge. Failing that, just head to the strip along Southbank promenade where you can find popular destinations like Ludlow and The Breslin.

And after the perfect end to your day in this wonderful city, what's left to do but head home for a well-earned rest and make sure you're in top form before heading out to the racecourse in the morning? As of May 15th, Betway has last year’s winner Rekindling as the favourite to take out the 2018 Melbourne Cup at 20/1, so don't forget to keep an eye out before the odds shorten!

ADVERTORIAL CONTENT PROVIDED BY LIQUID SPORTS MEDIA.


 
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