Jenny - Clean




ONE of Queensland’s biggest thoroughbred owners Stan Johnston has gone into bat for John Manzelmann insisting the embattled Mackay trainer is a ‘victim of the system’.

The outspoken Johnston is concerned that Manzelmann has been branded a ‘drug cheat’ by his critics after escaping with fines for positive swab tests to caffeine despite having previous convictions.

“I am worried that our industry is starting to self-destruct. The reason I am speaking out is that in the John Manzelmann case only half the story is being told.”

In last week’s WEDNESDAY WHINGE we addressed concerns from trainers in the country in an item which read:

IT seems a large section of the north’s racing community is simply aghast at penalties handed down by QRIC stewards to three trainers last week.

Some are particularly vocal, if not incensed that Mackay’s John Manzelmann, with three previous doping convictions, was fined, while two other trainers from Townsville and Mareeba - with no prior convictions - were outed for nine months.

Ron Finch pleaded guilty to using over-the-counter products of B12 and vitamin booster VAM. Manzelmann pleaded guilty to using caffeine and another illegal drug theobromine on horses at Gladstone and Pentland last November.

“It is just not fair,” said Finch, who, like Mareeba horse dentist and hobby horse trainer, Gareth Horner, has posted an immediate appeal.

QRIC stewards (D. Ausrich, P. Gillard and P. Lane) confirmed Manzelmann had three previous breaches of the same rule (with different substances).

“There is need  for a penalty to serve as both a specific deterrent to Mr Manzelmann and a general deterrent to the wider industry to illustrate the negative impact that breaches of this kind have on the image of the sport”, the Stewards stated.

JOHNSTON feels very strongly about the Manzelmann situation. “John is not a drug cheat. The circumstances are that horses he trained returned two positives after he administered Papaya (Paw Paw) treatment. There was no mention on the bottle of it containing caffeine.

“QRIC tested bottles that John had and they returned positives to caffeine and another drug. They then went to the factory on the Gold Coast that makes and distributes the treatment and bottles tested from there came up positive. The company remains adamant there is no caffeine in the product but there is no way John could have known that this Papaya treatment contained prohibited drugs.”

Johnston says instead of declaring Manzelmann a ‘drug cheat’ his critics should explain the circumstances behind the positives. “Every trainer is a chance of getting a positive these days because they all make mistakes.”

He also made special reference to Ron Finch who has been sidelined after a horse he trained returned a positive to cobalt. “There is no way Ron would have given it to the horse deliberately. It was obviously a mistake but stewards don’t have room to move on cobalt penalties these days which is unfair.

“I believe in the case of cobalt trainers should get one warning. After that stewards are entitled to throw the book at repeat offenders or any trainer deliberating cheating with drugs,” Johnston said.

“I am worried about our industry. There are people like John Manzlemann being declared drug cheats when they are innocent victims. We are cruelling our own industry. People are bitter, jealous or ignorant. Some trainers are using as excuses for horses getting beaten in races won by Manzelmann that it is not a level playing field.

“As an industry if we see someone doing wrong in any way we should alert the stewards. Then it is their job. We want a level playing field but we have to rely on the stewards to get on top of it. Opening our mouths and declaring trainers drug cheats is causing disruption to our industry and we end up losing owners which we can ill-afford.”



ONE of the newest contributors to the WHINGE ‘RUSSELL COIGHT’ of CAMBOOYA – makes some interesting comparisons about two iconic race meetings in Queensland over the next two weeks.

They call it the ‘Melbourne Cup of the Outback’ but a visit to the annual Birdsville Cup carnival (this Friday and Saturday) is an experience that no horse racing enthusiasts will ever forget.

Perched on the edge of the Simpson Desert in south-west Queensland, Birdsville is home to 120 residents but once a year that number swells to more than 6,000 visitors who drive, bus and fly in from all over the country to witness the Holy Grail of Bush Racing.

ONE week later thousands will converge on Far North Queensland for the annual Cairns Amateurs (Friday and Saturday week), which is much more than a horse racing carnival – in fact it offers something for everyone.

The FNQ Amateurs have grown from a small country race meeting in 1959, designed to bring the city and country together, to a carnival that now attracts national media, betting and television coverage.

It’s a carnival where the horses often take a backseat role to the personalities, politicians and celebrities who want to be seen there along with some of the biggest names of the Australian turf.

Our contributor ‘RUSSELL’ suggests:

THE Birdsville Cup carnival and the Cairns Amateurs are poles apart – and some are those who attend. Normally few comparisons are made because the Far North commands more personality and political attention with the horses that race there more recognizable to the punters.

Birdsville will be telecast nationally for the first time this year with half of the wagering proceeds being donated to the Drought Appeal and the meeting will have full coverage. Punters might not know some of the bush horses that race there as well as those at the Amateurs in Cairns but it will be interesting to compare the TAB turnover on both.

Racing Queensland deserves a pat on the back for clinching a deal with SKY Channel to telecast the two-day carnival from Birdsville. Unlike Cairns, it won’t be just another race meeting. This is outback racing at its best. Sadly, in the past, it has not attracted the media attention that the Amateurs do.

The races, the crowds and personalities who attend and even the media are poles apart. There are would-be’s if they could be from the social set across the country who will converge on Cairns hoping to be seen there – along with some high profile politicians. They wouldn’t be seen dead swilling done a can in the dusty Birdsville outback or rubbing shoulders after the races with those congregating at Brophy’s Boxing Tent.

Sadly, the same will apply to the racing media – SKY caller Josh Fleming will be relishing the opportunity to get back to where he cut his teeth. One might argue that 4TAB’s David Fowler will be much more at home sipping champers with the social set at the Cairns Amateurs.

That’s racing but it’s par for the course with the print and broadcast racing media which has for too long had their noses in the trough on the Amateurs gravy train which has meant Cairns got the lionshare of the publicity while Birdsville was treated more like a sideshow.  

Comparisons will no doubt be made suggesting turnover highlights how the Amateurs are more popular with punters. Just as an exercise what someone should do is compare the Birdsville holds to that of the Toowoomba gallops or even better the ‘red hots’ at Albion Park or one of that code’s other venues that has been left in the wake of greyhound popularity in more recent times.’



TRACK manager TONY SALISBURY correctly forecast that there would be a leader and fence bias at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

But feedback to the WHINGE suggests that punters were still far from impressed and unless something is done to correct the situation turnover will be down on future Valley meetings.

BEN DORRIES of RACENET reports that officials are confident the under-fire track will be right for Winx’s shot at a fourth Cox Plate in October. One might suggest it won’t matter how the track is playing, that barring bad luck the champion mare will just win.

As contributors to the WHINGE have pointed out if a jockey fails to position his horse to give it the best opportunity to win he can be charged. Yet on Saturday the club produced a track at the Valley that did not provide the same opportunity to all runners yet it was just written off as ‘one of those things’.

In several interviews during the afternoon trainers expressed their dismay at the way the track was playing. Some even declared runners would not be ridden out of their usual pattern which meant they had little chance of winning. Punters might have been forewarned but they still got a bum deal.

One could argue that the horse with the best run to suit the bias and not the horse with the best ability were the winners of many races on the day. Those back in the field trying to make wide runs just about went around for the practice.

Top trainers Darren Weir and David Hayes were both critical of the way the track played. Weir described it as ‘racing terrible’. It was left to Salisbury to face the music after the Valley made a disastrous return – racing for the first time in almost two months after undergoing a mini-renovation.

He blamed the bias on ‘climatic conditions and extra moisture’ in some sections of the track. But confidently predicted it would be corrected by the spring.

Sadly Salisbury took a shot at Weir. “He’s the State’s leading trainer. At the end of the day he has made these comments but with all due respect he has turned around and said he knew nothing about tracks.”

A repeat of Saturday’s performance and the punters will be questioning whether Salisbury knows enough about tracks either.



BOUQUETS to Racing NSW Chief Steward Marc Van Gestel for rejecting suggestions that Chautauqua should be allowed to continue to race despite his refusal to jump on terms with the field.

Social media threw up the idea that because Chautauqua proved competitive in a classy trial field after bombing the start last Saturday that he should dodge being barred by stewards.

The suggestion was that if punters knew he could miss the start and still wanted to back him that was their choice. But Van Gestel said stewards would be derelict in their duty if they allowed a horse to race that continued to ruin his chances by refusing the jump.

BUT their decision to provide another reprieve to Chautauqua, after hearing submissions from connections on Tuesday, was not as well received by some.

Responses received by LGHR included:

“There seems to be different rules for different stables and owners.

“How many more chances are they going to give this bloke? Seven times he has failed to jump properly at trials. Why allow them more time to re-educate him? And who is this mysterious Mr Q who seems to be the new secret to Chautauqua getting his act together? It’s all turning into a farce.”





THE ability of boom three-year-old BRUTAL to win the Listed McKenzie Stakes against the bias at the Valley last Saturday has only built on his reputation.

Brutal was surprisingly beaten for early speed but rallied to score a hard fought win on a day that was dominated by front-runners or on-pacers.

He is now unbeaten after two starts but Team Hawkes are undecided whether he will be set for the Caulfield Guineas or the Coolmore Stakes – an enviable situation to be in.



THE Kris Lees-trained GRAFF maintained his unbeaten record and burst into Golden Rose contention with a comeback win in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

“I thought he would run very well but the gap in the field shocked me a bit,” Lees said. “The blinkers have always been there in the background for him, and we had them on in the Sires in Brisbane when he was scratched at the barrier.”

Graff will run next in the Run to the Rose then the Golden Rose before heading to Melbourne where he could clash with Brutal in the Caulfield Guineas or Coolmore.



WE’VE included this story in the ‘good’ but it could easily have qualified for the ‘ugly’ with many punters after the shock defeat of the odds-on Multaja which looked like the good thing of the day at the Valley on Saturday.

Golden girl MICHELLE PAYNE bagged her first city win as a jockey-trainer at the expense of MULTAJA and declared it ‘almost as good as winning the Melbourne Cup’.

Payne was caught wide throughout but still managed to score narrowly on three-year-old filly Sweet Rockette by a nose from the hot favorite.

“The Melbourne Cup is the pinnacle but this is right behind it,” Payne said. “I know how good she is at home and wanted to take her to Moonee Valley and run her on a good track and find out how good she is.

“I knew Multaja (second place) would be hard to beat but when she was in my sights I knew nothing could beat us from behind so I just tracked her up to the corner and then went to the outside and to my surprise we grabbed her.”




ANOTHER horror story for punters, courtesy of the powerful Waller stable, which had four runners in the middle distance handicap at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

The race was won by TUMULTUOUS, a drifter from $6 to $11, charging home atone for an unlucky effort when held-up at Doomben at its previous start.

The hard luck story of the race was the heavily-backed stablemate EXOTERIC, $5 to $3.5 favoritism, on which Jim Byrne is still trying get clear. The Stewards’ Report read: ‘Was unable to obtain clear running after passing the 400m when the gelding was reluctant to obtain a tight run between runners and went to the line without being fully tested.’

PUNTERS were again questioning how hard the favorites are to follow at the major Saturday meeting in Queensland after only two were successful at the Sunshine Coast.

NAVY, heavily backed from $3 to $2.2 in the first, failed to handle the class rise and finished 8th; EXOTERIC, $5 to $3.5, never got clear when 6th to a Waller-trained stablemate; GUARD OF HONOUR, $2.5 to $2.25, was trapped wide without cover throughout when 7th; BERGERAC, $2.8 to $2.6 was nailed on the line; and PRESSWAY, $2.8 to $3.1 will be spelled after tiring to run 7th.



THIS was an interesting WHINGE received from a BRISBANE-based contributor who subscribes to home delivery of The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail.

“I am of the old school who still likes to have my daily newspapers home delivered – have done so for years.

But it’s wearing thin. My wife is trying to convince me that there is no fresh news in the paper these days and that all we want can be found on the TV through free-to-air or pay TV.

I am a keen punter and one of the few who still likes to have a bet on the Saturday meeting in Brisbane or wherever they run since Eagle Farm was closed which seems like an eternity ago.

Can you believe this? The edition of The Sunday Mail that was thrown over my fence in Brisbane on Sunday morning between 6 and 7am did not have the full results for the Sunshine Coast races the previous afternoon.

That’s right 12 hours later and there were only eight races published with a note at the bottom: ‘Race 9 results not available at time of publication.’

One has to ask what time they went to print. It must have been very early the night before. The results could have been sent from Corbould Park to Bowel Hills by carrier pigeon and they could have published an edition of The Sunday Mail in plenty of time for it to be delivered by push bike to my home the following morning.

We’re getting used to this second rate treatment from the monopoly Murdoch Media, especially when it comes to football results but now it seems if a race is run late (the last at the Sunshine Coast was early evening under lights) that there will be a flow on effect to racing as well. Not good enough Rupert! You are about to lose yet another long-time subscriber.’




SOME of the suggestions on social media were way out of line after punters who bet in the run were left badly burned by a race-caller’s error last Friday.

The Maiden Plate at Bendigo was won by the Alderson-trained Turn the Tide at $31but it was May Be Fate (which ran 8th) that traded at $1.01 in the run because of a mistake.

May Be Fate carried white silks with yellow and navy sleeves, while Turn the Tide sported white silks with royal blue sleeves and cap. 

Race-caller Ric McIntosh got them confused in the run – a blunder that led to a string of bets being placed on May Be Fate at the farcically short odds with over $1,500 being matched at $1.01 in the run.

McIntosh is an extremely popular caller, who liked most of his colleagues, does a terrific job, at times under trying conditions and circumstances. They are human and all of them, on occasions, make mistakes.

But McIntosh didn’t deserve the bagging he copped on social media. We won’t do it justice by repeating some of the published comments. Let’s just say these were unfair, undeserved and defamatory.   



BRISBANE punters accept that Doomben needs a rest after the work-load it has carried during the absence of Eagle Farm.

But they are far from happy at the programming which will result in race-less Saturdays in the major metropolitan venue in Queensland for three successive weekends. (Gold Coast raced one Saturday and the Sunshine Coast has primary status the next two).

One regular racegoers commented to the WHINGE: ‘At least we don’t have to travel to Toowoomba but this has a flow-on with the Sunday venue changed most times when the Sunshine Coast is racing on the Saturday. It just goes from bad to worse in south-east Queensland’.

The shift to the Gold and Sunshine Coast hasn’t altered the normal pattern of poor performance by some of the better backed runners. One contributor suggested: “The gallops are headed down the same track as the ‘red hots’ where next to nobody goes these days but the mainstream media turns a blind eye to the reason why”.


Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

Login Form