THE WEDNESDAY WHINGE has a new look but won’t be dispensing with some of our old favorites and will continue to focus on THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY side of what has happened in racing over the past week. Our old mate ‘Godfrey Smith’ is back by popular demand and again pens his ‘Look Back at the Racing Week’. The Whinge will also include an opportunity for The Cynics to Have Their Say. Thanks again for your support for the most read column on this website. Our popularity continues to grow despite the bagging it is copping from some officials who cannot cope with constructive criticism.
RQ’S CHAMPION ‘KINGSLAYER’ DWARFED IN BETTING ‘GAME OF THRONES’
EDITOR’S NOTE: WE start the Wednesday Whinge with some Trivia of the Week contributed by a much wiser man than I can ever hope to be:
‘THE World Cup attracted around $290 million in betting by Australian punters.
Different corporate bookmaking agencies reported betting figures of $74 million, $52 million and $24 million whilst Racing Queensland’s champion ‘Kingslayer’, Tatts, was dwarfed to shine with $17 million.
This is the organization trumpeted to resuscitate RQ’s fortune whose secrecy, twists and turns would rival ‘The Game of Drones’.’
That says it all!
DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES TO PUMP UP THE TYRES OF NEW TAB DEAL
BRETT WINTEC of BRISBANE contributed this interesting item on the new TAB deal in Queensland:
‘WELL there must be something up with the great new licensing deal with Tattersalls.
Over the weekend I read an article in the local paper where Robbie Cooke of Tattersall’s tells us it is a good deal. This is the same Robbie Cooke who has been praised by the market analysts for doing such a good job with the negotiations for Tattersalls causing the share price to jump up in response.
Then on Monday this week I awoke to the news in The Courier Mail that Peter V’Landys, the CEO of Racing New South Wales, has also formed the view that it is a great deal.
Can you explain to me why anyone would contact an administrator in another State to tell us we got a good deal? It doesn’t seem right to me.
If it is such a good deal the benefits will flow to us in the industry. But when we see people being wheeled out to tell us it’s a good deal we get very nervous.
Perhaps it is desperate times and desperate measures are required, hence the follow up media.
I just couldn’t envisage Kevin Dixon (the RQ Chairman) jumping on the blower to tell the southern press that NSW or Victoria got a good deal.
Why not also call the blokes in WA or Tassie to see what they think of our deal?
Racing Queensland would do itself a big favor if it started to distribute the trappings of this wonderful windfall and stopped treating us like idiots by arranging for propaganda to be produced in the media.
Try giving us the facts for a change, allowing us to form a view and drop off all this commercial in confidence rubbish.
You may think you have the support of industry groups but I can assure you the ice is very thin.’
EDITOR’S NOTE: YOU asked for an explanation why anyone in Queensland would go to an administrator in another state to tell them what a good TAB deal they negotiated. Never under-estimate the depth some media spin doctors will stoop to pump up the tyres of the ‘main man’.
THIS WAS ALMOST AS GOOD A CLAIM AS ‘FINISHING A FURLONG IN FRONT’
HARVEY K of GOLD COAST writes:
'DID Racing Victoria chairman Robert Roulston speak with a straight face when he suggested his state’s position as No 1 in Australian racing was under threat after NSW and Queensland benefitted from recent deals with their respective Governments?
He had to be joking or at least gilding the lily and hoping against hope that the Victorian Government took the bait in the giant net he cast into the sea hoping to net a racing hand-out.
To suggest Queensland would threaten Victoria in any way – from the quality of their product to prizemoney paid or integrity in the eyes of the punters – is downright absurd.
And even racing in NSW – regardless of their much publicized court win over the corporate bookies – were left with red faces after the rank failure of the inaugural Championships and what about the disgraceful fields being attracted for Saturday racing not to mention the lack of punter confidence with the second string runners continually upstaging the favorites from the big stables at present.
The bottom line of how successful Victoria is compared to NSW at the moment can be gauged from two stories that were written during the week.
The first reads:
WITH just 90 horses nominated for the eight-race card at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, entries have been extended until Tuesday morning FOR ALL RACES.
The feature race on the card – the listed $100,000 Winter Stakes (14500m) – received just nine nominations, four of them from the dominant Chris Waller barn.
All other races received light entries with the two-year-old attracting just eight horses.
Nominations have been extended until 11am Tuesday.
And the second, which says it all:
THE VRC has received over 200 nominations for its eight-race card this coming Saturday at Flemington including 24 for the day's feature event the $100,000 Ascot Racecourse Handicap
Rising eight-year-old Bagman, trained by Sydney equine maestro Chris Waller, is the highest rated horse in the nominations and he will be looking to add to his current tally of 10-career wins from 36-starts.
Waller has also entered his former import Fulgur who has not raced since July 5 at Caulfield when unplaced as favourite behind Marksmanship in a 2000m handicap. Fulgar does have two wins to his credit at the track and should appreciate getting back to the wide open spaces of Flemington.
Victoria's premiership leading trainer Darren Weir has entered Backbone who will welcome steeping up to 2000m after two unplaced runs this campaign at 1600m. Backbone is a distance specialist with two wins and a third from four starts at 2000m.
Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent, who formerly prepared Backbone, has nominated a trio of gallopers including McNulty, Second King and the ever consistent St Mark who has placed at his past three outings.
A whopping 38 entries were received for the $80,000 Baden Baden Handicap (1600m) with Caulfield horseman Mick Price leading the way with Aeratus - a winner of four of his past five starts - Harveys True Heart and Onpicalo.
Flemington based Mike Moroney is another with three entries for the Baden Baden with Devonshire Duke, Nordic Duke and Walloon Region.
The $80,000 Singapore Turf Club Handicap (1000m) has plenty of quality spread among the 17 entries.
Yes Mr Roulston racing in Victoria is under threat from NSW (and even your deliriously funny suggestion of Queensland) if you happen to believe that pigs might fly and there are fairies in the garden.
Give us a break!’
TIME FOR LABOR TO ASK SOME TOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT NEW TAB DEAL
ALBERT W of BRISBANE sent this email:
‘IF the Labor Party doesn’t make plenty of mileage out of the downside of the new TAB deal in Queensland at the Estimates Hearings then they deserve to remain in Opposition for a long time to come.
This is a perfect opportunity to expose how much the LNP and its political heavies influenced the outcome of this new wagering agreement – where there were only two big winners – the Tatts Group and the Government.
The racing industry ran a distant third despite all the crap-trap we have read in the racing media, from columnists with a specific agenda, and in the LNP press releases. Independent analysts have summed up the outcome perfectly in their reports which surprisingly have received little mileage in The Courier-Mail.
As Peter Cameron objectively wrote in The Sunday Mail: ‘Stockmarket analysts of the TattsBet deal should give Labor all the spurs and whips they need.’
Time will tell!’
EDITOR’S NOTE: Media reports suggest the Estimates Hearings have degenerated into a sham – reduced by the LNP Government from two weeks to two days – so good luck to anyone expecting any answers concerning the TAB deal. As a long-time racing follower said to me during the week – it’s looking more like the Joh and Russ era every day. But there’s no gerrymander now and there is an election next year.
TIME FOR RQ TO GIVE SOME ASSURANCES THAT THE DOGS WON’T BE SHAFTED AGAIN
OUR website might be known as letsgohorseracing but we are just as keen to see the greyhound industry prosper and survive as well, especially in Queensland where it continues to play second fiddle to harness racing.
Here is an example of a plea written to us this week by JANINE S, a passionate greyhound supporter:
‘I write to you in the hope that you will take up the fight for Queensland greyhound stakeholders like you are doing for the thoroughbred stakeholders.
We have received advice that your column is widely read at Racing Queensland and within Government, and we feel we have no other way to get our point across but for someone like yourself to highlight the plight of our ailing industry.
To cut to the chase, we have been bombarded with the ‘we run as one’ approach and the ‘we will be a furlong ahead of NSW and VIC’. As you know, a furlong is an equine term and it’s clear that (RQ Chairman) Kevin Dixon and the Racing Minister (Steve Dickson) are only interested in this form of racing.
By way of example, since they swept to power the LNP Government has allocated $1M annually to support Non-TAB thoroughbred racing. There have been no similar funds allocated to assist the three Non-TAB greyhound clubs. How is this promoting the ‘we run as one’ strategy?
As you would no doubt be aware, the greyhound racing industry been subsidizing the harness industry since the ink was dry on the previous TAB agreement. As such, you can no doubt understand that upon the announcement that we had secured a new $4.5 billion agreement that the last thing we expected was cuts to race meetings.
To be truthful, many within the greyhound industry were expecting a large windfall as we had anticipated a correction of the previous imbalance, and our share of the distribution of the additional funding.
As a stark reminder of what Kevin Dixon and the Racing Minister think of the greyhound industry, we received advice on the eve of the TAB announcement that Greyhound racing is not currently viable for Racing Queensland and they are therefore removing 18 Non-TAB race dates and three TAB race dates from the racing schedule.
I have listed below a copy of the email sent to the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club from the Racing Operations Manager (Greyhounds) for Racing Queensland, which outlines some serious issues.
GREYHOUND RACING ‘RUNNING AT A LOSS’ – WHAT ABOUT THE ‘RED HOTS’?
Dear Bundaberg GRC
As you have seen from recent Racing Queensland correspondence, the club has lost some race meetings for next financial year.
As discussed with committee members over the last week, this decision had nothing to do with the performance of your club. The long and the short of the story is that the Greyhound industry in Queensland each year is currently running at loss. The QGRB in conjunction with Operations, need to look at ways of reducing costs in order to make the industry viable for the future.
Over the past five years, there has been increases in prizemoney and increases in appearance fees, but unfortunately there has not been an increase in revenue streams that have supported this. All non-TAB clubs had an equal number of race meetings taken off them. On top of this, three TAB meetings normally allocated to Albion Park for the year have also been taken away.
These tough decisions were made to ensure we can continue to race at all of our current venues.
I'd like to thank the Bundaberg GRC committee for their ongoing work and the level of improvement that has been displayed across the business.
David van der Giessen
Racing Operations Manager (Greyhounds)
To put things into perspective, the eight meetings taken from the Bundaberg Greyhound Club cost the racing industry around $50,000 in prizemoney and appearance fees.
I cannot begin to fathom why Racing Queensland, who has just announced a $4.5billion deal, which they have made much fanfare about, would then turn around and take $50,000 from the Bundaberg greyhound industry. Although this petty amount won't make one iota of difference to Racing Queensland, it will have a long term impact on the Bundaberg Greyhound Club and local stakeholders with an 18% reduction in our race meeting allocations. So much for the ‘we run as one’ and ‘we will be a furlong ahead of NSW and VIC’ – it appears to me that the greyhound industry is being shafted again.
Based on the information provided above by Mr Van Der Giessen, one would assume that Racing Queensland is maintaining a profit and loss on each of the codes; I certainly hope this doesn't only apply to the greyhounds.
Anyway, to assist us greyhound stakeholders would you be positioned to contact the CEO or Chairman of Racing Queensland to ascertain whether a profit and loss is being maintained, and if so how the Thoroughbred and Harness industries are performing and whether they are also having race meetings deleted to enhance their profitability.
Any assistance you can provide us would be much appreciated. We need all the help we can get to ensure we aren't subjected to another 30 years of subsidizing the thoroughbred and harness industries.
We are having no luck getting any traction with Racing Queensland so I am hopeful that you can highlight the plight of the greyhound industry and the way we are being treated by Racing Queensland.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We will be delighted to follow up on this request and hope to have an answer from RQ CEO Darren Condon for next week’s column. We would have tried to do so this week but the above email did not arrive until late yesterday. There are a lot of questions that need answering concerning the new Inter Code Agreement and just how much start – both politically and from the Government – this will deliver to harness racing.
TIME FOR RACING QUEENSLAND TO DEVELOP GREYHOUND INDUSTRY
JIM MILLIGAN contributed this thought-provoking and well written email on greyhound racing:
‘SURELY the time has well and truly come for the Chairman of Racing Queensland, Kevin Dixon, to realize the opportunity he has to develop Greyhound Racing in Queensland.
If he has a business bone in his body he will recognize this as an arm of the racing business worthy of additional funding and further development.
Whilst it comes off a relatively low base compared to the business of thoroughbred racing, it is undeniable that in terms of costs v returns ratio, it is king.
In the business world what would you do with a commodity like greyhound racing?
Would you further develop the product, grow the sales of the wagering associated with the product further, or would you treat it like it has been previously and stifle its growth to promote other loss making products that you have?
Look at harness racing as a commodity, it is expensive to produce and one which not many want to buy.
Which of these products is likely to have growth with the next generations of punters?
One that is fast, starts on time, is uncomplicated, provides for quick returns after a bet, is standard in terms of colors/rugs nationally, and doesn’t require a driver (except for the lure).
Or, a slow, no change in the race until the bell lap, complicated event that often fails to start when it is advertised to do so.
I have read and seen numerous conflicting articles and commentary about the current administration of Racing Queensland, many of which have been less than flattering.
However, Racing Queensland has the opportunity to redeem itself to some extent by increasing the distribution to the greyhound sector and promote this industry for the future generations of punters.
It took the Federal Government many years to realize that the ongoing subsidization of car manufacturing was futile. But it did realize that a point had been reached.
Show us some leadership and correct the grossly unfair distribution structure, if not to simply recognize what we generate in terms of income, then for the very critical fact that we have a visual product that will continue to appeal to the next generations of punters.
Join with me and write to Minister Dickson (Government) and to Chairman Dixon (Racing Queensland) demanding that we as a Greyhound industry deserve a higher percentage of distribution and we don’t want to be held back any more!’
‘WHO’S KICKING UP FOR HARNESS RACING TO GET MORE THAN ITS SHARE AND WHY?’
BRETT WINTEC of BRISBANE writes:
‘IT has been interesting to note the increased harness coverage in The Courier Mail of late.
The timing is of interest.
It can only be because the much anticipated pie carve up is due and the trots look like getting short back and sides if anyone is fair dinkum at headquarters, or, is it Nathan Exelby (CM Racing Editor) attempting a square up because his view of the trots was exposed.
One thing is for certain and that is a couple of articles on the eve of the cutting of the cake won’t help.’
QLD PUNTERS DON’T BELIEVE THEY’RE ‘GALLOPING TOWARDS A NEW ERA’
MARK K of BRISBANE writes:
‘AFTER reading the article in The Sunday Mail on the new product agreement for racing in Queensland, my friends and I – long-time followers of racing in the north – would like to make a few observations.
Under the headline: ‘Galloping Towards A New Era’ – Nathan Exelby wrote another nice promotional piece on Tatts Group CEO Robbie Cooke.
Our first observation was how Mr Cooke – although he highlighted his ‘huge’ respect for former CEO Dick McIlwain, in our opinion gave his predecessor a ‘closeted bagging’.
Just consider some of these comments about the McIlwain era:
“We lost our way, lost our momentum and lost our leading position. The business in the
Past just assumed if you achieved a CPI rate in our growth that was a good outcome. We’ve been in a boxing ring with a hand tied behind our back.”
Well let’s see how much better Mr Cooke can do now that as he puts it ‘the shackles are off’. Will Tatts become more competitive with the bigger interstate TABs or the corporate bookmakers?
Ask any punter – big or small – and the majority will give you the same answer. Not likely!
The general consensus of opinion is that taking the retail outlets up-market will only work if Tatts becomes more competitive and that means earlier Fixed Odds betting – not joining in when the others have already done the hard yards and the big bets have been laid.
Most will struggle to see Tatts doing anything more than taking a great slice of the pie and getting a better deal from the Government – and – of course no-one has forgotten that they escaped going to court over the $150 million in fees that were allegedly owed to racing in Queensland because, as the RQ Chairman smugly declared, ‘it’s usually not the best idea to take your partners to court’.
INTERESTING SCENARIO TO CLAIMS OF BETTING ACTIVITY SURGE IN TOOWOOMBA
TONY J of TOOWOOMBA sent this email:
‘YOU might recall that some months ago I contributed an email concerning the boasting by Racing Queensland and their mates at the Toowoomba Turf Club on how betting activities had surged on the new Clifford Park track.
As I pointed out at the time what they forgot to mention was the increase in turnover was largely the result of some major betting activity involving a big punter on the Downs, whose nickname I used at the time, that had an association with a leading local stable.
For a while he was cleaning the bookies out – to such a degree that they were betting back on the local tote (that was short-lived), but for a time it resulted in the surge in turnover which the club and the control body conveniently attributed to the popularity of the new track which anyone close to the action knew was a farce and history has shown that to be the case.
Well at the time the Editor of your website contacted me and explained that the big punter in question had hit some hard times – health-wise and financially – and that perhaps my criticism had been a shade harsh.
He said that a prominent racing identity on the Downs – who sees himself as the ‘watchdog’ of some supposedly high profile officials here – had contacted him and been rather abusive and threatening over the email that I had sent.
I’ll bet the ‘watchdog’ has gone conspicuously silent on this one. I suggest this brave soul reads – or has read to him – the following investigative report from the Sydney Morning Herald in the last week. It might ring a few bells with racing folk on the Downs as well as explaining a few things.
EDITOR’S NOTE: HERE is the attached story which we reproduce courtesy of the SMH and writers Chris Vedelago and Cameron Houston:
THE gold flowed from cities across the nation, often collected in furtive deals around Brisbane and transported in suitcases and car boots. Hundreds of kilograms were changing hands every week, so much that questions had to be asked.
It would take more than a dozen raids in two states before investigators with the Australian Federal Police, Australian Crime Commission and Tax Office stopped this river of allegedly illicit gold, uncovering what is believed to be one of Australia's largest organized tax frauds.
The ATO has estimated the elaborate scam cost taxpayers more than $65 million, but industry sources have put the final cost at potentially more than $200 million in faked and misappropriated GST payments.
The unfolding scandal has also provided rare insight into the murky world of private gold trading, an industry where deals worth millions of dollars are done on trust and even a hint of public controversy could threaten to disrupt the supply of gold to the Royal Australian Mint.
The whereabouts of up to $15 million in gold and cash also remain a mystery following the failure of a business allegedly at the centre of the controversy.
Federal investigators have refused to comment on the ongoing operation, but documents filed in two civil lawsuits in Queensland's Supreme Court contain allegations embroiling several players in Australia's precious metals market.
In a sworn affidavit, Brisbane gold trader Robert Bourke claimed to be a ‘middleman’ in a network of gold suppliers that collapsed in the wake of the investigation.
Bourke said his involvement began in December 2012 after he started doing business with Michael Kukulka, founder of Melbourne-based start-up MAK Precious Metals. Kukulka allegedly claimed to have an industry contact interested in regularly buying large amounts of gold bullion. Escalating demand from MAK led to Bourke eventually sourcing and transporting deliveries of dozens, sometimes hundreds, of kilos of gold a week, according to Bourke's affidavit.
Kukulka also bought from other sources, including spending nearly $1.3 million in five days with notorious Melbourne fraudster-turned-bullion dealer Rocco Calabrese, Mr Kukulka's bank records show.
But Bourke claimed the flow of gold was disrupted in late October 2013 when the Federal joint-agency Criminal Asset Confiscation Taskforce staged 14 raids in NSW and Victoria amid evidence that a ‘syndicate’ of gold businesses had engaged in a $65 million tax rort.
Investigators say the scam involved altering or mislabeling pure gold bullion and coins - which attract no GST - as lesser-quality or scrap gold, which is taxed at 10 per cent, in order to claim a fake GST credit.
“Industry participants - buyers, dealers and refiners - are entering 'scheme and sham'-type arrangements to obtain financial benefits [through] carousel-type arrangements where established syndicates acquire bullion and 'alter the form' to generate GST refunds, and 'missing trader'-type arrangements where there is a failure to remit taxes,'' an ATO spokesperson said.
One industry source said there simply isn't enough privately held gold in Australia to account for the volumes being traded, suggesting the same gold was being sold over and over again. ''Even if you melted down all the jewellery and fillings in the country there wouldn't be enough to cover the quantities involved,'' he said.
In the wake of the raids, Bourke claimed in the affidavit that Kukulka revealed to him that his industry buyer was prominent metals refinery EBS & Associates and federal agents had searched the company's offices as part of its investigation.
NSW-based EBS is a refiner for the Royal Australian Mint. The company is also linked to major industry players Australian Bullion Company in Sydney and Custodian Vaults.
In the affidavit, Bourke alleged that he and Kukulka held several discussions about the possibility of reissuing invoices to change information about the gold that had been delivered to MAK and then EBS in light of the investigation.
''So we would have to look at doing every single docket,'' Bourke asked. ''Every single f---ing one,'' Kukulka allegedly said in a transcript of a recorded phone call tendered to the court.
As the investigation continued, Bourke claimed to have received anonymous calls threatening retribution if he didn't co-operate in creating a ''paper trail''.
''I want you to consider your three children and understand precisely what I am talking about,'' one caller said, according to a transcript.
In late 2013, Bourke's ability to buy gold faltered as his company began defaulting on massive bills, according to court documents.
Ainslie Bullion Company had sold Bourke $10.1 million in gold in just five days in November but received only $1.1 million in payments. The company, after learning about the alleged relationship between Bourke, MAK and EBS, filed a lawsuit seeking a freezing order against all of them in a bid to recover the gold.
Bourke, in turn, sued MAK claiming he was still owed more than $11.3 million. The lawsuits were dismissed on technical points of law, according to court records.
Kukulka did not respond to a request for comment. A solicitor for EBS and Australian Bullion Company denied they had been the subject of a federal investigation.
However, both Kukulka and EBS managing director Phillip Cochineas have filed affidavits responding to some of the allegations in the civil suits made by Bourke and Ainslie Bullion Company.
Kukulka claims MAK had paid in full for scrap ''blobs'' and ''melted bars'' of gold from Bourke and never bought bullion. Cochineas said EBS had never received pure bullion in any form from MAK.
But their claims have been contradicted by a former employee of Kukulka, who has sworn an affidavit that MAK bought pure bullion from Bourke and then sold it to EBS.
Bourke's gold trading business collapsed in April, with corporate liquidators estimating suppliers and investors are owed more than $14.5 million in gold and cash.
The ATO has refused to identify companies and individuals facing criminal investigations and tax audits for privacy and operational reasons.
Bourke declined to comment because he is hoping to sell his story to the media.
THE ARMCHAIR CRITICS
WALLER THREE-RING CIRCUS CONTINUES TO RATTLE PUNTERS BETTING IN SYDNEY
BILLY K of MELBOURNE writes:
‘RARELY does a week in racing go by in Sydney when the Chris Waller stable doesn’t win a race with a second string runner while their favorite fails.
Saturday was no exception – in fact it happened twice – but the difference at Randwick was that stewards asked some serious questions which, in the eyes of many punters throughout the country, has been long overdue.
Specific Choice landed a plunge winning the fourth race beating home stablemates Saigon Tea, the favorite; Done Nothin’ Wrong, a last start winner, that blew like a gale in the betting; and Reigning (well in the betting) which beat one home.
For the record, Specific Choice had run one placing in four starts since a spell and at his most recent outing had run eighth at a Warwick Farm midweek – hardly an endorsement to back him which explains the surprise of punters when he was plunged.
I’m Imposing, the bolter of three Waller-trained starters, saluted in the fifth while stablemates Bagman and Eigelstein finished out of a place.
While I’m Imposing did run a nice race when a close second in the Lord Mayor’s Cup in May when a heavily backed favorite, his two subsequent runs were disappointing – the latest a sixth to Keep Cool. He had recorded just one win from his previous 20 starts.
Laidback Larry, from the Waterhouse stable, was the heavily backed favorite at his comeback but after being forced to do too much work early dropped out to run fifth.
It’s just par for the course in Sydney racing. The mainstream racing media, spearheaded by Waller’s biggest fan, Richie Callander of TVN (who incidentally shares in the ownership of I’m Imposing), wank on about the ability of the champion trainer.
The ‘big fella’ seems to spend more of his ‘love in’ interview with Waller post-race patting his buddy on the back and avoiding the tough questions about the failures while providing an alibi for form reversals. It’s just not good enough and TVN should be addressing this issue.
Punters don’t need to be told what a great trainer Waller is. No-one questions that. But Callander’s behavior is a bit hard to swallow when you have just backed a beaten favorite from the stable that in the eyes of many has been slaughtered.
Now I have been a great fan of Waller and what he has achieved but when he takes the Waterhouse stance at an inquiry and gets indignant about being questions by stewards he starts to lose me and other punters I would imagine.
Comments at inquiries like: ‘I’m certainly not here clearing my name’ get up the nose of punters. But when Waller declared he was not in the stewards’ room to defend the stable’s riding tactics, then the chairman should have kicked him into gear and told him that was exactly why he was there.
Sydney racing is quickly degenerating into a joke in the eyes of punters who are deserting it in droves. With Ray Murrihy reportedly about to head to the spelling paddock, it’s time the authorities looked to a tough enforcer to regain some of the confidence that is being lost on a weekly basis.’
JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT IS SAFE TO BET IN BRISBANE, THE SKY FALLS IN
GLEN K of SUNSHINE COAST sent this email:
‘WHENEVER I bet on Brisbane racing it is with some intrepidation and Saturday was no exception.
But I am a big fan of trainer Kelly Schweida and felt he had a great chance of winning three races on Saturday. He had four top chances in Tiger Dimejan, Miss Cover Girl, Discreet and Epic, and I felt each was a good bet.
Alas, only one saluted in Discreet and while Tiger Dimejan appeared to have every hope and may not have run out the trip, I was far from happy with the riding displays on the other two.
Miss Cover Girl was set a herculean task by Chris Whiteley and did a remarkable job to finish second. Whilst she did draw wide he took off very wide a long way from home which made her task even tougher.
Epic covered too much ground for apprentice Travis Wolfgram and I knew my fate had been sealed a long way from home. Once again the bookies proved the better judges when they eased his price.
In fairness I should add that a terrific ride from Jim Byrne to lead from a wide alley on Heza Bobby Dazzler sent me home a lot happier after the last than I had been earlier in the day after putting my faith in the Schweida runners.’
GLEN BOSS HARDLY FLAVOR OF THE DAY WITH PUNTERS AT FLEMINGTON
BLAKE K of MELBOURNE writes:
‘IS it my imagination or is Glen Boss experiencing one of those run of outs that some top jockeys seem to endure?
I supported him in the jockeys’ challenge at Flemington on Saturday and unfortunately he never raised my hopes of collecting.
Glen was a victim of circumstances on favorite Zebulon which drew wide and should have arguably won the first instead of finishing third.
He gave the odds-on Vain Queen every chance in the Sprint Final but it was never going to win and appeared to struggle at the trip when fourth to Nearest To Pin.
Henwood looked suited by the mile of the Winter Championship but was running on again to finish fourth while Miss Promiscuity had her chance when fancied and fourth in the Creswick final.
He might have ridden each of these perfectly but it was hardly a day to hang your hat on if you are a fan and follower of Bossy like I am.’
YET ANOTHER PUNTER WHO HAS HAD A GUTFUL OF SKY CHANNEL
STEVE D of BRISBANE sent this email:
‘I’VE had a gutful of SKY Channel.
They are sacking workers and treating racing fans with their usual disdain.
There were no Beaudesert replays on 519 (last week). It was the same for the Sunshine Coast Sunday meeting the week before.
Obviously they're trying to force people to pay the extra $$ for 520 and 521 where all the replays are shown. They can get stuffed as far as I’m concerned.
It doesn’t speak too highly for their partnership with Racing Queensland.
RQ CEO Darren Condon should be ringing up and demanding they show the replays on 519 or tear up the contract and sign with TVN who at least know what punters want.’
STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA
CHANGES TO STAFFING ON RACE DAYS AND AT OFFICIAL TRIALS IN VICTORIA
RACING Victoria has announced changes to race day staffing for race meetings and official trials.
Following a formal consultation process, Racing Victoria (RV) on Wednesday announced changes to race day staffing to achieve efficiencies and performance gains in the conduct of race meetings.
Effective from 1 August 2014, the following changes will be made to race day staffing for Victorian race meetings and official trials;
• A reduction from three to a minimum two people in the judges’ box at metropolitan meetings with the removal of the Assistant Judge role thus bringing it into line with country TAB meetings. The Judge and Photo Finish Operator will remain;
• A reduction from two people to one in the judges’ box at picnic and non-TAB meetings with the merger of the Photo Finish Operator and Judge roles. This will be conducted as a trial for the 2014-15 season;
• A reduction in the minimum number of Clerks of Course to be rostered at metropolitan
meetings from three to two – thus bringing them in line with country meetings – with the
provision to increase based on field sizes, number of races and anticipated crowd size;
• A reduction in the minimum number of Clerks of Course to be rostered at official trials from two to one with the provision to increase based on the number of trials and field sizes;
And, an improved geographical rostering system that engages those staff closest to a race
meeting and realizes a significant reduction in flight and travel costs.
Following feedback obtained during the formal consultation process RV has elected not to proceed with plans to reduce the minimum number of Clerks of Course rostered at picnic and non-TAB meetings from two to one.
“The Strategic Plan detailed the need for a review of raceday resources as a priority activity for Racing Victoria and these changes have been finalised following a consultation process with our people and stakeholders,” RV Executive General Manager, Greg Carpenter, said.
“In managing the business responsibly we have needed to identify and implement efficiencies across all sectors of the business, including the conduct of race meetings, without compromising the integrity or safety of the sport.
“We welcome the feedback of all who participated in the consultation process which determined that it was not appropriate at this time to reduce the minimum number of Clerks of Course at non-TAB and picnic meetings from two to one.
“The integrity of the sport and the safety of our participants and people remains central to all of our decision-making and we believe that the changes that will be implemented to race day staffing do not compromise either.
“It is important to remember that these are minimum numbers of Clerks of Courses and Judges and that we are committed to increasing the number rostered when the volume of races and anticipated crowd warrant it.”
RV has historically increased the minimum number of Clerks of Course for the Emirates Melbourne Cup Carnival, Caulfield Cup Day, Super Saturday, Blue Diamond Stakes Day, major Country Cups, and for Warrnambool and Casterton meetings with steeplechase races staged off the course proper.
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