by TERRY BUTTS - 'SILKS & SADDLES"

Courtesy of the NORTH QUEENSLAND REGISTER

SOME will say the elephant in the room at the headquarters of Racing Queensland is UBET.

For too long UNiTAB or UBET – call it what you like – has performed well below expectations singularly and against its opposition.

The half yearly report – the worst news since the rebranding of UBET – revealed yet another downturn in wagering which was no surprise to most.

In fact, it was expected.

UBET is way behind its competitors and scraped the bottom of the barrel recently when it imposed a $20 limit on all bets wagered at Fixed Price at the busy Broadbeach TAB on the Gold Coast.

Reports emerge daily of UBET refusing bets from those perceived as winning punters – a practice which surely should be against the law.

You can bet with UBET – but don’t back a winner – seems to be the motto.

But there is hope.

In a few weeks ASIC is set to announce its decision on the merger of the Queensland TAB with the giant NSW and Victorian TABs, which would not only be a possible savior for Queensland but would also provide Australia with a virtual National Tote. We can only hope that ASIC fully understands the advantage of that outcome.

The rumored take-home salaries of executives occupying high profile jobs at the under-performing UBET are almost sickening.

You think the country’s leading ‘Postie’ is overpaid?

UBET has made no attempt to compete with other TABS or betting agencies. UBET is usually last to display Fixed Price odds on most venues, and in provincial Queensland does not attempt to attract punters by providing prices often two days after their opposition working on  Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville or Cairns TAB fixtures.

There is no incentive for owners to support their horses with UBET a potential market that has never been tested. Two years ago, when RQ was operating on the front foot – and trying to stay abreast, it suggested UBET should text owners after acceptances offering them Fixed Odds or best fluctuation. It is a PR exercise that some clubs use to notify owners of the race, time draw of their horse etc.

Why not offer them a price as well was the suggestion to UBET?

It went into the too-hard basket. UBET said they couldn’t handle it.

Nor could they handle a $500 bet from an owner at a recent Mackay TAB meeting. The prominent local owner asked for $500 on his horse at the on-course counter. UBET said he could have $186 on it. I kid you not.

And you wonder why the turnover is in reverse.

The message owners receive from UBET is: Support your local TAB.

What a joke!

Well, hopefully ASIC will bring us change. Then perhaps a better deal for Queensland with SKY that is owned of course by the NSW tote will follow. And end the contemptuous treatment Queensland currently endures.

At least we can hope.

 

RQ HAS LIFTED ‘CONTROL BODY DIRECTION’ TO TOWNSVILLE TURF CLUB

TOWNSVILLE Turf Club Chairman Malcolm Petrofski e-mailed members (and some stakeholders) last week informing them that Racing Queensland had lifted the somewhat controversial ‘Control Body Direction’.

This direction – that the club accepted a $400,000 grant which included a near $200,000 fee for an RQ-appointed auditor – was the reason for the resignation of the entire previous committee and Chairman in December.

No reason for RQ’s change of heart has been given but the TTC media release revealed:

Racing Queensland CEO, Eliot Forbes said he was ‘impressed by the commitment displayed by the committee, staff and industry participants at the Townsville Turf Club.

“I am delighted with this outcome

“I am confident that their plan will see a return to prosperity for the club and I will continue to work with them to ensure racing in the region remains not only sustainable but prosperous while providing a thrilling sport and social hub for the region’’, the TTC media release stated.

 

POINT PROVEN IN INTERESTING COMPARISONS BY RACING IDENTITY

ATHERTON-based racing identity Peter James made some very interesting comparisons (letsgohorseracing.com.au) last week on the inequity of prize money for QTIS-registered and non-QTIS horses. And many stakeholders (apart from breeders of course) totally agree.

Just take a look at the QTIS Two-Year-Old at Mackay on Tuesday. Only eight accepted for a race that is worth $30,000 for fillies, $24,000 for colts and if not registered the prize money is $12,000 – the same as the Open sprint.

 Isn’t that just a bit over the top?

But that’s not all. Apparently the jockeys don’t want more than seven starters in a 1050m race when the false rail is out nine metres, as is the case on Tuesday. An 11th hour bid by MTC CEO Ryan Van de Velde to stewards has been able to change the thinking and eight runners will now face the starter providing each-way wagering.

WHILE on Mackay, it seems all is well again and the club has dropped its crazy plan to charge trainers exorbitant fees to help pay off a $400,000 RQ debt. And, I must add, with the help of the Queensland Trainers’ Association whose involvement in the negotiations was not made known to this column until last week.

CEO Ross Shannon says he had been in consultation with the CEO Ryan Van de velde, and Mackay-based QTA members and his concerns were tabled at a recent MTC committee meeting.

“My advice is that the key controversial issues have been dropped.

“QTA feels it can achieve things better on a direct contact basis and don’t always ask the press to back us up.”

He added however if “sanity had not prevailed at the MTC I can assure you it (QTA involvement) would have escalated.”

Through the press…perhaps!

 

 

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