Jenny - Clean

WHEN IT COMES TO WET TRACKS IT SEEMS NO-ONE AT RQ HAS A CLUE

WHEN it comes to decision-making in relation to the Sunshine Coast track during these wet weather times, it seems Racing Queensland and its Stewards are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

One week the 'rocket-scientists' at RQ are jumping the gun too early transferring meetings to the Poly track midweek only to see days of sunshine leading up to racing on the Sunday.

Then the industry is confronted by the farcical decision by Stewards to wait too long to abandon a meeting – as happened on Sunday – when it was obvious early in the day that the chances of racing were a million to one.

Can anyone get it right in Queensland where Sunshine Coast racing is concerned? And we haven’t even mentioned the farce that is happening down the highway at the Gold Coast – which will keep for another day.

Anger is at boiling point among trainers and jockeys who made the arduous trip up the Bruce Highway when it seems, everyone bar the Stewards, did not expect to be racing at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.

Why did they wait until close to 11.30 to call the meeting off – by that time most had already left to ensure they got through the traffic in time to be at Corbould Park. How many of them expected to be racing as the rain continued to pour? Zilch!

Sure the track may have been safe for at 10.30 but it had been raining throughout the night and most of the morning (so the locals tell us). Only the ultimate optimist would have expected the further heavy falls the radar predicted not to cause the meeting to be abandoned.

Think of the prizemoney lost, the cost to owners in getting their horses to the track, the inconvenience to trainers and jockeys who receive no compensation.

Sunday was an absolute embarrassment – and so are the decisions made on Wednesdays to transfer these meetings to the Poly track – that only the desperates want to race and bet on.

The Trainers' and Jockeys’ Association bosses should be banging on the door at QRIC today protesting the lack of foresight – that’s if the Commissioner can find the time to listen to them or they have the balls to front him.

And at RQ questions need to be answered about when some extra meetings or races are going to be run to compensate stakeholders for lost revenue in the past month. Even the 10-race trial seems to have been lost on Saturdays with nine the past two weekends.

What are the local owners expected to do – race on the Poly at the Gold and Sunshine Coasts until the big Carnival days when Waller and co arrive with their better horses to plunder the bigger prizemoney while the locals go home losers again?

And we haven’t even mentioned the TAB turnover that has been lost. It makes a mockery of Queensland racing when Sydney has raced on a bog during The Championships and only lost the last two races on Saturday for safety and visibility reasons.     

        

MAX JOINS THE KEYBOARD WARRIORS AFTER WRITING LAST COLUMN

BACK in the 90’s the publisher of Letsgohorseracing had the privilege of working for a decade alongside one of the greats of turf journalism in this country, MAX PRESNELL. He was a good boss, an even better story-teller and a great drinker (ask anyone who tried to go the distance with him). Max has written his last column for the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD and at 84 has decided to launch his own website which is fantastic because his horse racing tales will live on forever.

ANDREW WEBSTER of FAIRFAX MEDIA pays this tribute to the great man:

IN 1964, a young Australian reporter – and alleged punter – named Max Presnell boarded a train in Darlington, in County Durham in the north of England.

ANDREW WEBSTER of Fairfax Media reports that Max was headed to London to place one of the biggest bets of his life on an underrated horse in the Ascot Gold Cup (4014m), one of the world’s most prestigious staying races put on for kings and queens.

The horse had little weight on its back, and because it came from the north of England would receive scant respect in the betting ring. Better still, the nag loved the wet.

“On the train ride down, the rain was coming down,” Presnell recalls, rubbing his hands together. “I said, ‘How good is this?!’ I’d mustered all my financial reserves. It was going to be 10 to 1.”

Unfortunately, there was too much rain. By the time Presnell (pictured recently, courtesy of JESSICA HROMAS of FAIRFAX) arrived at Ascot, the race meeting had been called off for only the second time since its first running in 1807.

“Of course, with a pocket full of money, I went to a casino instead,” Presnell continues. “Then I was on the next train back to Darlington at midnight with no money. Three days later, I received a letter from John Fairfax asking if I wanted to come home. I had nothing and they paid my way back. If that horse had run at Royal Ascot, I would have won and I’d still be there.”

How lucky for those of us who value words, reporting, unflinching opinion, and the enduring romance of the track that Royal Ascot was too waterlogged for business that day.

Presnell returned and for the next 60 years, in newspapers, radio and TV, he brought the characters and colour of the track to life.

Sadly, it’s come to an end.

A month ago, the legendary Presnell, 84, wrote his last column for The Sydney Morning Herald. He’s too proud to write a final piece – “It’s like writing your own obit,” he grumbles – but his contribution is too significant to simply brush aside.

He started with Fairfax in 1954 as a 15-year-old copy boy with the now-defunct afternoon paper The Sun and served his cadetship the following three years before being graded in 1961.

That year, he backed Fine And Dandy to win the Doncaster into Sharply to win the Sydney Cup, won a thousand pounds and headed to England for three years. “I thought I was a punter of some substance,” he says. “That didn’t last long.”

In total, he has provided a staggering 67 years of service to Fairfax mastheads. For context, economics giant Ross Gittins earlier this year celebrated 50 years at the Herald.

“Ross had a great foundation in the Salvation Army,” Presnell says. “I was the son of a publican at the Doncaster Hotel. Ross was spreading the good word on the street while I was frequenting Bub Brown’s SP garage in the back streets of Kensington.”

Max Presnell was the man. Still is.

“I’m just a tabloid hack,” he says.

Really? Come on, Max.

“And proud of it! Those were the days, son. One of the more famous Herald sporting editors said I’m an old-time racing writer. I said, ‘That’s the best rap I’ve had. Banjo Paterson was a racing writer’.”

He adds: “Nobody could ask for a better deal than I’ve got. But newspapers have changed. I grew up in a different world. It’s now different to how I believe it should be done.”

Fox Sports boss Steve Crawley learned about writing turf alongside Presnell at The Sun and The Sun-Herald in the 1980s, listening on as he and his contemporaries would dictate 40 inch-perfect paragraphs down the phone line to a copytaker in the office straight after a race.

“Max is the last of the great Sydney turf writers,” Crawley says. “There was Bert Lillye, Les Carlyon, Bill Whittaker, Keith Robbins, Tommy Brassell, John Holloway, Ken Callander, Bill Casey – and now Max Presnell. Max had a different way of telling his stories; the same as he dressed a little differently and basically ran his own race. We’ll miss more than his words.”

It was his words, though, that made Presnell compulsory reading. Like the late Carlyon, you couldn’t get enough of him.

He had one eye on the present, while doffing his fedora to the past. In more recent years, he transported the reader to a time when Sydney and racing was ruled by characters who belonged in a Damon Runyon play.

A 2010 column about Perce Galea, the famous gambler and illegal casino operator, stands out. Galea was part-owner of 1964 Golden Slipper winner Eskimo Prince with his son Bruce.

“Following the official presentation, Perce threw a wad of notes over the fence into the crowd,” Presnell wrote. “Some say it was £150 in £10 notes, others a hundred in single pounds. The bundle is unlikely. It would have spoilt the cut of Galea’s suit.”

In the late 1990s, his weekly appearances on Sportsworld on Channel Seven each Sunday were compulsory viewing as he and Melbourne-based expert Keith Hillier went at each other with host Bruce McAvaney acting as referee.

“I was the ringmaster and I loved it,” McAvaney says. “Max had such a beautiful turn of phrase. We’d either have a huge laugh or we’d go to the dictionary and find out what he was talking about. What I remember most about Max is that he always had this clear definition of a ‘champion’. He was very reticent in declaring one. When he did, you knew it was special.”

Presnell has seen generations of “great” horses, but only a handful of “champions”.

“Two of the most overused words in sport are ‘champion’ and ‘luck’,” he offers. “I’ve seen too many great horses, but how do you say one is better than the other? It’s just a feeling. Most talented horses or humans are good for champion performances, but it’s where it’s sustained and you walk away and know that you’re in the presence of something outstanding here.”

He covered the biggest stories and the biggest scandals, from Fine Cotton to Jockey Tapes, and was respected for his unwavering ability to call it as it was.

“In our business, if you write something you can’t worry if it’s going to upset someone,” he says. “My greatest fallout was with George Moore.”

One of the greatest jockeys of all time, Moore often clashed with trainer Tommy Smith, with whom Presnell was close.

“I once called George a ‘Pitt Street farmer’,” he laughs. “Someone got in touch with me and said, ‘Iris Moore is gunning for you’. Iris was George’s wife. Did I ring up and take my punishment like a man? I took three weeks leave.”

When Moore died in 2008, Presnell delivered the eulogy – at Iris’s request.

His best story was one of his first. “The protest after the 1961 AJC Derby was the first big story I ever did,” he says.

Mel Schumacher on Blue Era had beaten Tommy Hill on Summer Fair in the shadows of the post, but Hill quickly fired in a protest, which was uncommon in those days because the use of film was in its infancy.

“Everyone thought Tommy Hill had gone mad,” Presnell says.

But Hill was adamant he’d been wronged when he fronted chief steward Jack Bourke.

“Mel Schumacher leant over and pulled my leg and pulled me back near the post,” Hill said. “I got beaten by a head, that cost me far more.”

“Are you sure?” Bourke asked.

“Mr Bourke, I would know if a snake bit me.”

Schumacher was incredulous.

“Preposterous,” he told the inquiry.

Then they showed the grainy footage and the head-on shot consigned Schumacher to his fate.

“He was given life, walked off the course – and we had the story in the paper,” Presnell recalls. “When you’re a 21-year-old cadet, it’s not easy spelling ‘preposterous’ to a copytaker.”

Presnell might have filed his last column for the Herald but they won’t be his last words. He’s going to start his own website. He draws inspiration from his great mate Les Bridge, who earlier this month won his second Doncaster Mile with Celestial Legend – at the age of 85.

“I don’t believe in the word ‘retire’,” Presnell says. “It’s never been work. It’s a way of life. I’ll still go to the races, still have an opinion.”

In recent years, I was blessed to cover some big race meetings with Presnell. What stood out was how the big-name trainers, jockeys and owners would approach him to talk, rarely the other way around.

But my enduring memory of Max isn’t a story he’s written, nor a question asked. It’s not his myriad tales of the track and newsrooms, which I could listen to for days.

Sitting in the tiny press box at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day in 2013, I noticed him get up and make his way for the door.

The horses were about to be brought into the mounting yard, which is located at the back of the main grandstand, so I decided to follow him. It was my first time covering a meeting at the Valley.

I watched in awe as Max weaved a magical path through the crowd of sloshed racegoers like he was Clive Churchill, the fullback of his beloved South Sydney, jinking and weaving around women wobbling on high heels and men swaying back and forth, staring at the TV screens. He’d set a cracking pace and it was hard to keep up.

Suddenly, he took off down a ramp, then some stairs, through a door, before popping up in the betting ring, a wad of hundreds in one hand, race book in the other and both eyes on the tote boards.

Max Presnell was the man. Still is.

 

RQ PUT ON NOTICE TO LOCK SCOTT IN AS CEO BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

IT is almost a year since Jason Scott was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Racing Queensland and the industry regards him as a breath of fresh air after suffering for so long with Brendan Parnell in the job.

Sadly for Queensland, the rumour mill has Scott among a group of high profile candidates being considered to replace Adam Rytenskild as CEO of Tabcorp, one of the best jobs on the Australian wagering landscape.

Stakeholders want to know what RQ is doing to extend the contract of Scott now (not when it is due for renewal) to lock in his services for as long as possible.

Scott took over as RQ CEO in early May last year after serving as the CEO of Ladbrokes Australia from 2017 to 2019 before being based in the United States as Vice President Trading, VIP and Retail Operations for BetMGM.

Some of those being touted as front-runners for the Tabcorp job – apart from Scott – are Lachlan Fitt (CFO & CEO of Entain Australia and New Zealand), Andrew Vouris (COO for Entain Esports), Cormac Barry (Sportsbet CEO from 2011-2018), Sam Swanell (Managing Director & Group CEO of Pointsbet) & Gillon McLachlan (the former AFL CEO) but he has been linked to the vacant role of Racing Victoria Chairman.

Those close to the coalface are adamant Scott would take the Tabcorp job if he was head-hunted for it. They say this should not be any indication that he isn’t happy at RQ but like the industry as a whole confronted by the uncertainty of a change in Government.

 

SOME LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL FOR QLD TO ACCEPT HK APPRENTICES

ONE of those keen to see Jason Scott remain as RQ CEO for as long as possible is GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST whose fight for Queensland to accept overseas apprentices to overcome the lack of riders for bush racing has been well documented on this website.

Here’s is Greg’s latest contribution:

‘I read article about getting Hong Kong apprentices (on Racenet) thought, God I hope so.

I acknowledge this sounds promising and hope it can be sorted out. Queensland was once the shining light for overseas students. About 20 years ago we had many Japanese students.

We also had two Hong Kong apprentices about a decade ago in Queensland - Shenny Chan and Geoffrey Leung. Around 2007 Gold Coast-based Traintech had HK trainees. One was Vincent Ho. This was able to occur because they had CRICOS.

We don’t have CRICOS now so we can't have trainees. I know another Asian country is now looking for trainees now. In the past two Korean apprentices came out to Craig Smith at Roma and also some years later to Brett Bellamy and Sue Grylls in NSW. So let's look to Korea also.’

 

TIME RUNNING OUT TO GET GOLD COAST TRACK RIGHT FOR CARNIVAL

IT seems to be taking longer to get this new multi-million Gold Coast track ready for racing again than it does to paint the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

And sadly, the industry fears this could be an on-going problem. The blame game continues behind the scenes with those at the coalface on the Gold Coast confidentially blaming those responsible for racetracks at Racing Queensland.

RQ confirmed during the week that the Gold Coast Turf Club race meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 27, has been transferred to the Polytrack ‘to allow for works to be completed on the course proper.’

It is less than a month to the major carnival day on the Coast – featuring the running of the Hollindale Stakes – on Saturday, May 11. Here’s hoping the track is ready for a dress rehearsal ensuring the ‘rocket scientists’ responsible for racetracks at RQ don’t put all their eggs in one basket on that big day.

 

SEATS ARE FILLING FAST FOR THE FIRST BOAT OUT AFTER ELECTION

Here’s a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek email that we received during the week, entitled: ‘WHO’S ON THE FIRST BOAT OUT?’  

‘THERE are so many things wrong with racing in Queensland that the story goes the LNP already has a small boat moored in Cabbage Tree Creek not far from RQ Headquarters at Deagon and waiting to set sail soon after the election.

Seats have already been reserved for Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Shane Gillard and a couple of his boot-lickers (one from North Queensland), the RQ Board Chairman Steve ‘Whirlwind Wilson’, Chairman of Thoroughbred Stewards, Josh Adams and RQ Senior Track & Racecourse Manager, Greg Puckeridge.

One wonders who will join this motley crew between now and the Election – there are a few candidates but we’ll save their names for another day.’

 

 

GOING TO THE ‘WELL’ ONCE TOO OFTEN WITH CHAMP MR BRIGHTSIDE

MR BRIGHTSIDE is one of the best horses in the land; TEAM HAYES are among the best trainers; CRAIG WILLIAMS is a champion jockey and the SYDNEY STEWARDS are of international standard.

But none of them seemed prepared to accept the inevitable when an inquiry was held into tactics adopted on Mr Brightside when he was beaten over eight lengths into third place behind the brilliant Pride of Jenni and world class stayer Via Sistina in the $5mn Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

Stop blaming Williams for the failures of Mr Brightside. With all due respects, Team Hayes have been to the well once too often with the multiple Group 1 winning superstar.

This was the fifth run this campaign for the six-year-old winner of more than $13 million in stakes. He resumed winning the Group 1 Orr and Futurity at Caulfield then had a gut-buster in the All-Star Mile coming from last to finish a three-length third to Pride of Jenni.

But the writing was on the wall that he was racing on tired legs when Mr Brightside pulled up showing signs of soreness when favorite and fifth in the Australian Cup.

Arguably that is when connections should have pulled up stumps instead of blaming the hard track at Flemington and heading to Randwick for the Queen Elizabeth. Give him a break now and head to the Spring and hopefully the Hong Kong International in December.

Here’s what attracted the attention of Saturday’s Stewards’ Panel at Randwick headed up by former Hong Kong ‘hot-shots’ Steve Railton (chairman) and Kim Kelly (seconded from retirement):   

MR BRIGHTSIDE: Co-trainer Ben Hayes and jockey Craig Williams were questioned regarding the tactics adopted on Mr Brightside, specifically in relation to the gelding settling in a forward position after connections had reported to Stewards that the horse was to be ridden conservatively. Hayes explained that at its last start in the Australian Cup, when ridden in a prominent position, Mr Brightside had not finished off its race when required to take the field up to the breakaway leader, Pride Of Jenni, which also was engaged in this event. He said that in the parade ring Williams had sought some flexibility, identifying that if he were to settle at the rear of the field, Mr Brightside might be required to make up too much ground. For this reason, connections agreed to Williams’s request. However, the overriding requirement was for the gelding not to be ridden out of its comfort zone. He said that he was surprised Mr Brightside had settled so far forward but not critical of Williams’ riding, given that the gelding jumped extremely well. Williams explained that in assessing the make-up of the field he identified a number of runners that generally settle in a rearward position and he was concerned that if Mr Brightside was positioned at the tail of the field, it might be detrimental to its chances, and he was hopeful of being in front of at least some of those runners. He said that after Mr Brightside began well, he took the option to roll forward without making any use of his mount, and Mr Brightside raced comfortably in the early stages. When questioned regarding his riding in the middle stages when Pride Of Jenni established a significant lead, Williams reiterated that at its last start Mr Brightside’s chances had been hindered by being pressured prematurely to take the field up to the leader and he therefore was hopeful that another runner would improve to his outside to assist his mount in closing the margin. He said that when Place Du Carrousel improved to his outside near the 1000m, that runner did not continue to press forward. He said that he was aware Pride Of Jenni had established a significant lead but felt that if he were to have placed his mount under pressure midway through the race, this would have been to the gelding’s disadvantage, and he therefore allowed Mr Brightside to increase its tempo between the 800m and the 600m and felt that the horse was able to finish off the race as best it could. Having considered all the evidence, Stewards accepted the reasons for Mr Brightside being ridden in a more-forward position than had been notified. Stewards also formed the view that Williams’ riding in the middle stages was not unreasonable given the circumstances.

PLACE DU CARROUSEL: When questioned regarding his riding in the middle stages and whether there was an opportunity to improve to be positioned closer to the leader, Pride Of Jenni, jockey Tom Berry advised that Place Du Carrousel generally races in a midfield position or worse. He said that when travelling in third position behind Mr Brightside along the back straight, he was comfortable initially to maintain cover behind that runner. However, from approaching the 1000m he allowed Place Du Carrousel to shift out from behind Mr Brightside to improve to that runner’s outside, hoping that the tempo would quicken to reduce the margin on the leader. He said, however, that when he commenced to niggle at Place Du Carrousel from the 800m the mare gave no response. Therefore, he was not able to improve his mount’s position any further. He said that Place Du Carrousel then came under heavy pressure prior to straightening, gave no response to his riding and was beaten at the 400m. He said that Place Du Carrousel raced flat and on pulling up did not feel comfortable in its action. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities. Stewards accepted Berry’s explanation.

The win by Pride Of Jenni was arguably the most remarkable in a Group 1 in this country. It revived memories of tactics employed on Vo Rogue, Might And Power, Lasqueti Spirit in the 2016 VRC Oaks and well before that Pirate Bird.

She got to the front and just went further and further ahead. Half-way through the race was over and those watching knew they were witnessing something special. Her six sub-12 second sectionals between the 1800m and the 600m (11.99, 11.54, 11.11, 11.42, 11.48, 11.60) were insane.

Pride of Jenni was over 90m (the equivalent of almost 40 lengths) in front of Mr Brightside at the 700m mark. Williams told stewards that his obligation was to ride his mount in a manner that gave him the best chance to ‘finish in the best place possible’. And that’s what he did!

Williams seems to have been sorted out by some sections of the racing media while not a question has been asked why ‘pin-up boy’ James McDonald didn’t take off on the heavily-backed favorite and backmarker Via Sistina, recognized as one of the best stayers in the world. JMac’s one word summation of his tactics was ‘embarrassing’.

As it turned out Pride Of Jenni was the superior stayer on the day. But had Declan Bates got beaten after adopting the tearaway tactics that he did, the punters would have crucified him.

Remember the day, almost a year ago, when Regan Bayliss was charged after he established a 45m lead at the 800m mark on Pride Of Jenni in the G3 JRA Plate. Having her first start over 2000m, the mare punctured to finish over eight lengths from the winner.

The Bayliss ban under Rule AR 129 (2) (A rider must take all reasonable and permissible measures throughout the race to ensure that the rider's horse is given full opportunity to win or to obtain the best possible place in the field) was overturned on appeal. One wonders whether stewards will be reluctant in future to charge any rider who adopts those tactics without success.

Champion trainer Chris Waller uncharacteristically spat the dummy over the way the Queen Elizabeth was run. “From my perspective it was disappointing,” Waller told Network 7 after his runners Via Sistina, Kovalica and Buckaroo finished 2nd, 5th & 6th respectively.

"Well done Pride Of Jenni, but I'd like to at least have given her a fight. Pride Of Jenni probably wins, but just to get so far off her … I don't know why they let the race unfold like that.

"Most of my boys (James McDonald, Nash Rawiller and Blake Shinn) said that it was out of their control, but I think they all said that. I'm not going to take anything away from Pride Of Jenni. She’s a super mare, so well done to her and hopefully we get a rematch in the Spring.”

 

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO PROTEST PROCESSES IN RQ

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has engaged the services of well-known racing integrity expert Des Gleeson to review the processes around two recent protest decisions at Beaudesert and the Gold Coast.

Mr Gleeson has more than 35 years’ stewarding experience in Thoroughbred and Harness racing. He is a Member of the Victorian Racing Tribunal and has also held the dual role of Racing Victoria Director of Integrity Services and Chairman of Stewards.

Mr Gleeson will review the processes around the Queensland stewards’ decision to uphold a protest in Race 3 at Beaudesert on Saturday, 30 March, 2024 and the processes around the steward’s decision to uphold a protest in Race 6 at the Gold Coast on Saturday, 23 March 2024.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Shane Gillard said the independence of an external investigation was essential for transparency.

“Even though there is no right of appeal against any decision of the Stewards in relation to a protest, this independent investigation may provide us with information that will benefit future protest rulings,” he said.

 

NO-ONE SEEMS PREPARED TO IDENTIFY ‘THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM’

The $64,000 question on the lips of most owners and trainers at the coalface of Queensland’s embarrassing track issues is why no-one seems to be prepared to identify the elephant in the room.

They want to know if no-nonsense Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott raised this contentious topic during his crisis meeting with curators on Monday concerning on-going problems with the state of their tracks.

Rightly or wrongly, reports leaked to LGHR suggest that some high profile track curators and their staff describe their ‘problem’ tracks as having been ‘Puckeridged’ – a reference to what they are supposedly being told to do by Greg Puckeridge, Senior Track and Racecourse Manager for RQ.

Those close to the coalface (track staff, owners who don’t want to run their horses on Poly surfaces and many trainers) are privately blaming the Puckeridge ‘remedies’ for causing the on-going track problems at the Gold and Sunshine Coast tracks. LGHR doesn't have an opinion but the story goes 'those in the know' are not prepared to speak out (some under instructions from club officials) for fear of offending RQ who are forking out tens of thousands of dollars for repair work to be done.

Here’s an email we received from one prominent south-east Queensland racing identity:

'I had a call last week from a fairly high profile licensee from the Gold Coast who told me the track there is not the fault of Nevesh Rhamdami.

Evidently no-one at the GCTC will speak up about it, because RQ have been paying all the redevelopment costs and their manager of racetracks, Greg Puckeridge, has been giving the orders.

After the new track raced well on Magic Millions day, Puckeridge (reportedly) ordered the club to cut it really short and then they had a lot of really heavy rain which damaged things.

Puckeridge then (instead of filling the track with reasonable soil) bought in multiple truckloads of sand, so the grass damaged has taken longer to grow properly and certainly wasn't ready for the QTIS Jewel meeting.

Interestingly, a former high profile interstate track official, who retired after battles with RQ and a leading club up here, tweeted after that meeting that it appeared the track had been ‘Puckeridged’.

The mail is the GCTC aren't game to speak out against Puckeridge because they have a stuffed up track and don't want to lose funding and be left with the whole cost of repairing it.’

 

'TWO WEEKS OF SUNSHINE & TRACKS WILL BE READY TO RACE'

WITH the mainstream racing media in Queensland virtually ignoring the controversy engulfing the tracks at the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast where meetings are being consistently switched to the Poly, Peter Gleeson addressed the issue on his 4BC Drive Time Show on Tuesday.

The feedback we have received from those who listened in has been a shade critical of our old mate Gleeso for not asking some of the tough questions they want answers to from RQ CEO Jason Scott.

Scott, unlike most previous bosses at RQ seems a no-nonsense character who isn't afraid to address the tough issues. It surprises us more that Gleeso didn’t ask him about the ‘elephant in the room’, his own track expert, Greg Puckeridge. Both of them have to be aware of the discontent doing the rounds.

Gleeson either overlooked or dodged the issue. The questions stakeholders want Scott to answer are these:

Did he raise the problem that Track Curators obviously have with the Puckeridge remedy for the current problems with consistent rain causing fungus and other diseases in the grass?

If so were they prepared to speak out? Was Puckeridge in the room at the time or asked to step outside to prevent any suggestion of intimidation to the track curators?

Why hasn’t Jason Scott been asked to estimate the cost of lost revenue to RQ through the transfer of these meetings to the Poly tracks on which punters do not want to bet? If so, will it have a bearing prizemoney distribution in future?

 

DELUGE IN SYDNEY, RACES ON; SPARROW FARTS IN QLD, OFF TO POLY

PUNTERS praised Peter Gleeson for asking Jason Scott how Randwick could cope with over 200mls of rain in the 24 hours preceding Saturday’s big meeting while only 25mls forced the transfer to the Poly of Sunday’s racing at the Sunshine Coast.

Scott’s answer was that he is not an agronomist but blamed it on a difference in climate in Sydney to south-east Queensland but more so on the number of times Queensland races compared to what they do in NSW.

In the wake of the problems affecting the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Townsville (where our feedback from trainers is extremely negative), officials have conceded that Eagle Farm isn’t at its best but remain confident the State’s premier track will come good in time for the looming winter carnival.

As Racenet reported after years of renovations, Eagle Farm has roared back to life as the best wet weather track in the country over the past two years. However a slow, consistent drizzle of rain across southeast Queensland has left it with minor issues.

Despite a handful of winners coming up the rail, most jockeys attempted to get their horses to the outside of the track last Saturday in search of better ground.

Brisbane Racing Club executive general manager Matt Rudolph told Racenet that despite losing two meetings at Eagle Farm and Doomben last week, there were no alarm bells going off ahead of the winter.

“It probably hasn't raced as well as it has in the past, we are nursing it through a bit at the moment,” he said. “We have two weeks off until we have three meetings in a row (at Eagle Farm), then there is basically four weeks off until the carnival. We aren't immune to the elements that south-east Queensland can throw up and we have seen that across all tracks. They aren't at their optimum standard at the moment, but we aren't concerned.”

One wonders if RQ has a contingency plan with the new multi-million dollar Gold Coast track in a race against time to host their Group 2 Hollindale Stakes meeting on May 11 (a month away) and the heavily-used Sunshine Coast grass track out of action with no news on when it will re-open again.

 

HERE’S WHAT SOME OF THE STAKEHOLDERS HAD TO SAY

HERE are some of the emails that we have received from stakeholders concerned there is no light at the end of the track saga tunnel:

‘JASON Scott seems a fair dinkum CEO. Thank God we don’t have ‘Pins’ Parnell still here trying to deal with this track problem. His input during the Eagle Farm debacle was enough. Mr Scott has said all that is needed is two weeks’ sunshine. With all due respects my friends and I, who race several horses, find that hard to believe.’

 

‘I have an interest in several horses. We don’t want to race them on the Poly tracks but can’t afford not to. The Tony Gollan stable seems to have that luxury. My trainer doesn’t and nor do his owners.’

 

‘After being told to tune in to 4BC – I never listen to that station because it is too biased against the Labor Government in Queensland – I made an exception to hear Peter Gleeson’s interview with RQ CEO Jason Scott concerning the race track problems in Queensland.

I had to wade through the diatribe of a Gleeson attack on Labor and the unions (what odds he’s involved in the LNP communications team if they win the next election?) we finally got around to the Scott interview.

Must admit I was disappointed with the line of questioning. Next to no hard questions, Gleeson treated Scott like a long-time friend or one that he wants to keep on side, and not once did he address the real issue of the problem with Track Curators having no respect for the job being done by the RQ Track ‘expert’. What a waste of time.’

 

‘How can there be such a big gap between Sydney and south-east Queensland. Over 200ml, an absolute deluge, hits Randwick overnight and not only do they race on Saturday but the track is upgraded to a safe Heavy 8.

A sparrow farts over the Sunshine Coast last Wednesday and they transfer the meeting on Sunday to the despised Poly track. The sun was out on Thursday and Friday but it didn’t make one iota of difference. That’s racing Queensland-style, terrible one-day, farcical the next.’

 

 

SPECIAL WEEKEND FOR SOME ''GOOD GUYS & GALS’ OF OZ RACING

THE bonus of Saturday’s big day of racing was the success enjoyed by some of the good guys and gals of the sport in Australia.

LES BRIDGE is a training legend and even those who didn’t back CELESTIAL LEGEND were pleased to see him win the $4 million Doncaster Mile. The humble 85-year-old Hall of Famer declared the grey colt ‘a superstar’.

Another legend PETER MOODY provided his training partner KATHERINE COLEMAN with her first Group 1 success when CHAIN OF LIGHTING scored an upset win in the $3 million T J Smith.

This was a special moment for owner-breeder JOHN RAMSEY, one of Moody’s first clients. “This is a beautiful moment,” he revealed. “Stuey and Trish Ramsey, they've been my foundation clients, we go back 30-odd years, so to win that for him that's unbelievably special.”

MOODY claimed another Black Type win in Adelaide for a man being hailed the great hope of Victorian racing in GILLON McLACHLAN, part-owner of LINCOLNSHIRE which won on debut in the Dequetteville Stakes.

McLachlan, the former AFL boss who has been heavily linked to the vacant Racing Victoria Chairman’s role, was trackside to watch the win. He was one of thousands who travelled from interstate at the weekend but the majority were there for the AFL Gather Round.

QUIET ACHIEVER OF THE JOCKEYS’ RANKS IN AUSTRALIAN RACING

At CAULFIELD, one of the rising stars of the jockey ranks, DANIEL STACKHOUSE won the Group 3 Victoria Handicap on HERE TO SHOCK for TEAM HAYES.

Stackhouse, a quiet achiever, is running fourth on the Victoria Jockeys’ Premiership (with 75 wins) behind Damian Lane, Billy Egan and Blake Shinn. It is easily his best season.

 

IT wasn’t a Group 1 but at Eagle Farm one of the ‘good guys’ of Queensland racing maintained his unbeaten run with the promising MAJESTIC BOOM.

LAWRIE MAYFIELD-SMITH has ended a training drought declaring to Trenton Akers of Murdoch Media: “I was saying your 70s is like the new 40s, I've made a comeback. Mayfield-Smith laughed.

“I didn't have the horses. If you gave Chris Waller the team I had, even he wouldn't be able to train a winner. These horses I have at the moment, I have had them in the wings for over a year cultivating them.

“When it was going no good, you have scumpers going around every week doing nothing. These guys are in the stable and you're going home thinking what to do.”

NO SHOW WITHOUT ‘PUNCH & JUDY’ - SO THE ROCKET DELIVERED

BUT there’s no show without ‘Punch & Judy’ – and on Saturday CHRIS WALLER and his popular owner DEBBIE KEPITIS combined with RIFF ROCKET to provide the champion trainer with his first Australian Derby winner.

“It's pretty special, simple as that, and these guys (owner Debbie Kepitis and the Ingham family) were here before I had the first Group 1 winner, so it's fitting,” Waller said.

“I don't cry as much as I used to but this one's pretty special. He's done a great job. He’s an amazing horse. He puts himself into the race at the right time.

“Amazing ride from James. He didn't panic being back there. It was a truly-run Derby and we had that question mark over his staying ability, but how dare we?”

The popularity of DEBBIE KEPITIS reached a new high when she dug deep and paid a world record $10mn for the only living foal of champion mare WINX, which she part-owned. Kepitis said she only decided in the past few weeks to buy the filly.

She can afford to be sentimental in racing but apparently some of her fellow owners of WINX didn’t share her investment enthusiasm). “(We thought) if we could get her we would,” Kepitis said. “I am privileged to secure this filly on behalf of my family … she's Australian forever.”

HISTORY SHOWS HOW TOUGH IT IS FOR OFFSPING OF CHAMPIONS

The pressure is now on Waller who has the privilege of training the filly. But as James Tzaferis reports for RACING.COM history suggests the Hall of Famer will have his work cut out to get a quick return, at least on the racetrack.

The very best race mares in Australia and New Zealand over the past three decades have struggled to emulate those deeds in the breeding barn.

Statistically, it is nearly impossible for the offspring of champions like Black Caviar, Makybe Diva and Sunline to live up to the lofty benchmark they set on the track as multiple Group 1 winners.

Black Caviar: The undefeated champion sprinter is the dam of seven named foals -four of which have won races, although none have shown her brilliant ability. Her first mating with I Am Invincible produced her best-performed offspring, Invincible Caviar, who won four of her eight starts including a city race at Flemington before her untimely death last year. To date, none of her offspring have been offered at public auction.

Makybe Diva: She's arguably the greatest stayer Australia has ever seen but the same praise can't be heaped on her deeds as a broodmare. The three-time Melbourne Cup winner has produced nine named foals, including several who were offered at public auction. Her first foal, by Galileo, sold for $1.5 million at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and retired with two lowly country wins to his name. A filly by Fusaichi Pegasus realised $1.2m through the ring but was retired as a four-start maiden. Divanation looked the best of her progeny - she was Stakes-placed over 2350m - but her career was cut short after only nine starts.

More Joyous: A star on the racetrack for Gai Waterhouse, the eight-time G1 winner is herself a daughter of a very good race mare in ATC Oaks heroine Sunday Joy. But as a broodmare, her career has been only modest. She's missed in seven seasons and, while all five of her named foals have won races, none have scaled any lofty heights. Potentially the best of them was Joyous Legend, a maiden winner who was Stakes-placed on two occasions.

Sunline: The Kiwi champ was one of the best we've seen on the track, with her 13 G1 wins coming in iconic classics like the Cox Plate (twice), Doncaster Mile (twice) and even the Hong Kong Mile. But her career at stud was only brief prior to her premature death from colic. She produced four foals, including Sun Ruler and Sunstrike, who each won two modest races in New Zealand.

But there is hope. Several star mares of recent times have, in turn, produced top racehorses of their own. So the dream is always alive.

Samaready: A dual G1 winner at two and three, the daughter of More Than Ready has been a brilliant broodmare. While she's had some issues with getting in foal, her two named offspring in Australia are both genuine stars - Golden Slipper hero Shinzo and Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Exhilarates.

Horlicks: The great Kiwi mare won G1 races in New Zealand, Australia and Japan, the latter when she famously captured the 1989 Japan Cup. As a mum, she left two Stakes winners, including the 2000 Melbourne Cup hero Brew.

Rose Of Kingston: Was one of Australia's best mares in the 1980s and was crowned Champion Australian Racehorse after a season that included wins in the VRC Oaks and AJC Derby, as well as several other Stakes races. As a broodmare, she produced Kingston Rule, who still holds the Flemington 3200-metre track record for his win in the 1990 Melbourne Cup.

Yankee Rose: While she wasn't in the same league as Winx, Yankee Rose was a brilliant race mare and posted G1 wins in her two-year-old and three-year-old seasons. She also ran third to Winx in a Cox Plate. She was purchased by Japanese interests and her career in the breeding barn has been nothing short of phenomenal. Her best foal is one of Japan's best racehorses in Liberty Island, who won the G1 Triple Tiara before finishing second to Equinox in last year's Japan Cup.

 

 

RECORD RETURN FOR VICTORIA - NEW HEIGHTS FOR CUP CARNIVAL

THE Melbourne Cup Carnival has delivered its highest ever return to Victoria with $468.3 million in gross economic benefit generated in 2023, a 10.9 per cent increase on 2022.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival provided the largest economic contribution by a Victorian major event last year and brings the total contribution in the past decade to more than $3.7 billion, as the positive benefits reach a wide range of industries including retail, accommodation, entertainment and hospitality.

Increases were recorded in multiple categories, with an increased spend on accommodation to $43.1 million (up 22 per cent) and $32 million on food and beverage (up 13.5 per cent).

Cup Week continues to draw people to Victoria and in 2023 the event was directly responsible for bringing 67,555 individual visitors to the state, a 10.9 per cent increase on 2022 and the second highest number of out-of-state visitors since tracking commenced in 2007.

As one of the state's flagship major events, the Melbourne Cup Carnival has attracted more than half a million interstate and international visitors to Victoria in the past decade, including the impact of several years of travel restrictions.

Engagement with Lexus Melbourne Cup Day stretches well beyond the gates of Flemington Racecourse, with more than half the Australian adult population   watching, listening or engaging in an activity to celebrate ‘the race that stops a nation’™.

The economic impact and engagement study conducted by market research company IER found that $605.7 million in direct expenditure was generated across Australia from Lexus Melbourne Cup Day activity nationally, and event and attendees at the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2023.

Record economic activity was supported by an increase in attendance at Flemington Racecourse across Cup Week to more than 262,000, a 7.5 per cent increase on the year prior.

Research reveals that more 18-29 year-olds attended the Melbourne Cup Carnival in 2023 than in 2022 and they now account for greater than 20% of total attendances, with more than a third of first-time attendees coming from this age group. TAB Champions Stakes Day saw the largest portion attendances by racegoers aged under 30 at nearly 30 per cent.                                         

The Lexus Melbourne Cup has a reach unrivalled by any other Australian horse race, having been broadcast to around 209 countries with a global audience reach of approximately 750 million in 2023.

Victoria Racing Club (VRC) Chairman Neil Wilson said the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival had been a spectacular success for Melbourne and once again underlined its economic importance to the city, the state and the country.

“Not only did we see more people come through the gates of Flemington to celebrate world class racing and experience the next edition of Australia’s first major event including the best in fashion, entertainment and culinary experiences, but we also saw a record economic return of $468.3 million to the state of Victoria,” Mr Wilson said.

“The celebration across the nation on the first Tuesday of November results in a huge economic uplift directly attributable to Lexus Melbourne Cup Day.

“From pubs and clubs to fine-dining restaurants, independent designers to department stores, primary producers to wine makers, so many industries have benefited from four days of exceptional racing at Flemington, and we’re delighted to support this state and the nation.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival also makes a valuable contribution to the local community and the VRC was proud to use our platform in 2023 to raise $698,000 for various charities and support more than 16,000 jobs.

“The VRC funds the Melbourne Cup Carnival at a cost of approximately $65 million and could not host the world-class event without the support of its partners, the Victorian Racing Industry and the Victorian State Government.”

Minister for Racing Anthony Carbines said the Melbourne Cup Carnival was the showpiece racing event for Victoria. 

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s time to shine on the international racing stage. It’s a true bucket list event for racing fans from all over the world and indeed all over the country, once again demonstrating why Victoria is the nation’s sporting and major events capital.”

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos said the success of the Melbourne Cup Carnival shows once again why Victoria is the events capital of Australia.

“Our blockbuster major events calendar generates economic benefits of around $3.3 billion a year to Victoria’s economy, and that’s why we continue to invest in major events here in Victoria – because they’re part of our DNA.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival shines a light on Victoria on a global stage and we’re proud to host the event right here in the heart of our State.”

Other key findings from the IER 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival economic impact and national engagement study:

Tourism  

  • 67,555 individual visitors from interstate and overseas.
  • Engagement with the New Zealand market remains strong, with the highest attendance since 2016 at 9,800.
  • Kiwi visitors made up more than 58% of total attendances by international visitors, with healthy increases in attendances by visitors from the United Kingdom (2,641), United States (1,056) and Ireland (1,174).
  • On the domestic front, New South Wales recorded increased attendances (37,518) in 2023 while attendances from Western Australia rose well beyond pre-pandemic levels (12,245).
  • 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup Day saw 8,610 cruise ship passengers in attendance, coming from three Melbourne Cup Carnival themed cruises out of Sydney and Brisbane.

Retail

  • $49.4 million spent on retail, fashion and grooming including 262,978 fashion purchases.
  • The retail spend covered more than 44,000 hats and fascinators, 38,000 shoes, 42,000 dresses and 14,000 suits.

Accommodation

  • $43.1 million spent on accommodation, a 22 per cent increase year on year.
  • 218,916 bed nights with more than 70 per cent of out of state visitors staying in hotels.

Hospitality

  • $32 million was spent on food and beverage as people embraced the culinary scene both at Flemington and around the city.
  • The carnival was serviced by six catering companies, including Crown Melbourne which is the hospitality services partner of the VRC. Cup Week also featured 16 different food vendors.

National Engagement

  • 11 million people watched, listened or engaged in an activity to celebrate the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
  • Of that 11 million, more than six million people or 29.9 per cent of the national adult population, celebrated the day by attending an event. This is up from 28.6 per cent in 2022 and is now at its highest level ever recorded.
  • Of those six million, 1.8 million attended a restaurant, pub, club or RSL while 1.5 million attended a private house party.

 

The 2024 Melbourne Cup Carnival is now on sale with a range of hospitality and dining packages available, as well as exceptional value on early bird general admission tickets. For more information, visit VRC.com.au.

 

 

 

‘SYDNEY RACING AS RANK AS A 5KG OPEN BAG OF PRAWNS LEFT IN A BIRDSVILLE PARK IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER’ – TIME FOR ACTION?

DON’T expect anything but wall-to-wall positive coverage of The Championships – and deservedly so – over the next few weeks but sadly there will be no mention of the thousands of punters – from rank and file to professionals – who are walking away from Sydney racing in droves.

They feel deserted by the lack of action from Racing NSW stewards and this is their only way of protesting the weekly form reversals, bad rides by top jockeys on well fancied horses and a perception that some stables seem to do what they like.

We would like to publish some of the emails being received by one-time loyal Sydney punters who refuse to bet there anymore but are reluctant to do so for fear of defamation action. Not that we don’t believe what they are alleging but the way things work in the legal system in Australia these days there’s a familiar saying: ‘the greater the truth, the greater the libel.’

Here’s what one of the country’s most highly respected form analysts told his clients this week:

‘In my opinion, Sydney racing is as rank as a five-kilo open bag of prawns left in a Birdsville park for three days in the middle of summer.’

LGHR is confident that Steve Railton, one of the most experienced stewards on the planet, would never allow political interference in the job he is doing after what happened to him in Queensland. But he needs to be aware that it’s time to win back the confidence of the punting fraternity in Sydney – these are the same ones who refuse to bet in Brisbane or Adelaide any longer.

 

PUNTERS WANT TO KNOW WHY STEWARDS DIDN’T OPEN AN INQUIRY?

WHAT didn’t help punters’ confidence in the Sydney stewards was their failure to question the form reversal win of Olentia in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday.

Olentia, one of three Chris Waller-trained runners in the race, won her first race in seven starts and seven months. She was unlucky in the G3 Triscay 1st-up but very plain when 4th in the G3 Birthday Card after starting favorite on both occasions.

But she had no problem rising in class and bolting in last Saturday – and they didn’t forget to back her. Hardly probed by his ‘mates’ at Sky after the form reversal win, Waller said the Emancipation start was an after-thought because there was no other suitable up-coming race but conceded her previous performance was disappointing.

Punters who whinged about the outcome were more concerned that stewards didn’t question the improvement. Fortunately the did look into what happened to race favorite Makareena which was badly pocketed but the least we say about hurdles placed in her path the better. Here’s what the Stewards reported:

TIM Clark was questioned in respect of his riding of the filly (MAKAREENA), initially in respect of his tactics in the early stages and then whether he had the opportunity to gain clear running at an earlier stage in the race. Clark stated that he had no specific instructions on Makareena other than to have the filly travelling in a good rhythm where comfortable. He said that in pre-race discussions there was an awareness amongst connections that there was an intention to ride Street Gossip to lead and he had no specific instructions whether to endeavour to hold the lead with that horse or to hand up and obtain cover, but rather was asked to ride the filly where comfortable. He said that Makareena did not begin as well as Ruthless Dame and Street Gossip, which were the early leaders, however, after travelling a short distance he was able to improve to the inside of Street Gossip as that horse was crossing. He added that as he was always a margin behind that horse, he felt it was in Makareena's best interests to allow it to settle rather than ride it along with any urgency in an endeavour to obtain the lead and, as a consequence, Street Gossip was able to assume the outright lead on the first turn. Clark stated that approaching the home turn he was anticipating that Hinged, having a significant class advantage, would be able to advance past Street Gossip, which would have afforded him the opportunity to shift out and follow Hinged through. He said, however, that he became concerned on the home turn when this did not occur and Hinged came under extreme pressure. He said, as a consequence, he was held up behind Street Gossip and to the inside of the heels of Hinged and was not in a position at any stage to shift out across the heels of Hinged to find clear running in the early part of the home straight. He said that Makareena was badly held-up and it was only nearing the 100m that he was able to safely direct Makareena out across the heels of Hinged to find clear running.

 

IN-WORD FOR ‘STUFFED’ QLD TRACKS – THEY’VE BEEN ‘PUCKERIDGED’

THERE has been a new twist in the saga involving problems with TAB tracks in Queensland – and the blame has shifted to Racing Queensland.

Some high profile Track Curators and their staff describe these tracks as being ‘Puckeridged’ – we are told one has even gone as far as publishing this on Facebook.

LGHR has received several emails giving us an upper-cut for blaming current Gold Coast and former Sydney Track Curator Nevesh Ramdami for the sidelining of the new track on the tourist strip.

They are adamant track staff from the Gold and Sunshine Coast to Townsville are being told what to do by Greg Puckeridge, Senior Track and Racecourse Manager for Racing Queensland. They are privately claiming it’s his remedies that are causing the on-going problems which have seen the Gold and Sunshine Coast forced to run meetings on the despised Poly tracks.

Whilst stakeholders are openly giving the frustration of track managers a send-around, apparently club officials are not prepared to make an official complaint for fear of upsetting Racing Queensland. That’s apart from one club who doesn’t want to do so for other reasons which we legally cannot explain.        

 

QUEENSLAND DRAGGING CHAIN DESPITE PROVIDING RIGHT COURSE

GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST makes his weekly contribution.

BACK in 2019-20 a Korean group came to Brisbane to undertake a course with the Brisbane Racing Club which is the best I’ve been involved with.

One lad Wogi, English name Hugo, ended up with Coolmore Stud, where he is happy and was in the news last week leading Winx’s daughter around for the cameras.

Jun has been a track rider for Godolphin in Melbourne for past three years and is highly respected and happy there.

And lastly, Oh is with Chad Ormsby and very happy there is an Apprentice School in NZ from which he hopes to become indentured.

My point is that none are based in Queensland – in fact none from any of those groups has been over the past 11 years.

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

FLEMINGTON

FOUR favourites – MIDTOWN BOSS $2.4, ARRANA BAY $4.4, SEA WHAT I SEE $3 & ESTRIELLA $2.05 – were successful on the 10-race card.

Biggest upsets were: SENEGALIA $17 in the opener, HE’S OUR BONNEVAL $13 & to a lesser degree MARK TWAIN $9.50 in the Roy Higgins Melbourne Cup qualifier.

ROSEHILL

FIVE favourites successful on the 10-race card (it must have been a full moon in Sydney racing). These were: LINEBACKER $1.85, WYMARK $2.7, ORCHESTRAL $1.6, ANOTHER WIL $1.75 & GRINGOTTS $3.5.

Biggest boilovers: BANDI’S BOY $15 in the Star Kingdom & KALAPOUR $31 in the Tancred Stakes.

OAKBANK

FOUR favourites – PURE BLISS $2.6, BADONKIDONK $2.7, ALPINE FLYER $2.6 & CELSIUS STAR $4 in the Listed Railway Stakes – were successful on the nine-race card.

Biggest upsets: APACHE GUNSHIP $13 & CHOSEN BLONDE $21.

 

WHAT A DISASTROUS WEEKEND FOR QUEENSLAND RACING – COME ON GRACIE IT’S TIME TO FIRE GILLARD & ADAMS OUT OF A CANON ASAP

WHAT a disastrous weekend it’s been for the sport in Queensland and if Racing Minister Grace Grace hasn’t heard the increasing calls for the removal of QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard she must be living under a rock.

Former Sunday Mail Editor and Sky News boss in Queensland, Peter Gleeson, in a stunning expose on his Drive Time Show on 4BC, joined the chorus of concern calling for Gillard to be sacked immediately.

Even the Commissioner’s one-time ‘spin doctors’ in the Murdoch Media appear to be jumping ship calling on the Racing Minister to make public what she will do in the wake of the highly-anticipated KPMG Review into the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Grace remains non-committal on what she will do. “The KPMG Review has considered feedback across a wide range of QRIC matters and a report is anticipated soon," a spokeswoman from her office told the Murdoch Media.

“The Queensland Government will need time to consider the recommendations before releasing any further details about the Review.”

They don’t want to take too long because an election is looming and the LNP will reportedly waste no time restructuring or dumping QRIC with the first victim certain to be the Commissioner closely followed by his Chief Steward Josh Adams.

As Trenton Akers reported for News Ltd: The inner workings of QRIC has become a highly contentious topic for many in the industry, fed up with the layers of bureaucracy and added cost that come with it. Workplace culture has also become a talking point, with up to 70 full-time staff quitting the Commission since 2022.

Their ham-fisted attempt to cut race-day vets and swab sample collection officers earlier this year in order to save money was met with widespread bewilderment and ultimately played a role in former Deputy Commissioner Natalie Conner resigning from her post and even got stewards off-side.

With Grace Grace part of a State Government facing certain defeat in a looming State election, racing risks being treated as a political football in an attempt to win votes. Peter Gleeson launched a stunning attack on QRIC, especially the Commissioner, on his Drive Time Show on 4BC late last week. The podcast is well worth listening to. Critics have accused Gleeson, a one-time perceived Labor supporter, of jumping ship and having now close connections with the LNP as an election looms. Whatever, many – including LGHR – agree with his assessment that Gillard should go and in our opinion should never have been appointed.

Grace announced she was putting the state's embattled integrity body under the microscope in December after months of discontent from the industry in an attempt to quell growing discontent. The question posed by News Ltd is: Will she be reluctant to rock the boat too much with widespread changes before an election, despite the growing lack of confidence in Commissioner Gillard whose appointment she backed to the hilt?

The situation worsened for the Integrity body at the weekend when QRIC was forced to review a protest decision at Beaudesert on Saturday which sensationally saw a horse stripped of a race, despite winning by more than a length while being eased down.

In what was described as one of the most incredible protest rulings in the history of Queensland racing, Beachside Babe (trained by David Murphy) lost the race after stewards declared that jockey Andrew Spinks had caused interference at the 300m mark that cost the Tony Gollan-trained Quade the race. A stunned Murphy declared on hearing the decision: “I almost fell off my chair.”

With many suggesting instead of being upheld the protest was frivolous and amid widespread ridicule, QRIC announced on Monday it would look into the decision. “The Commission will review the processes around the decision from Saturday at Beaudesert, as it does around all decisions," a QRIC Media Release stated (almost making a mockery of the seriousness of the situation).

The successful protest saw the ‘battling’ connections of Beachside Babe miss out on $22,000 in prizemoney as she is a QTIS-qualified filly. “They are devastated – one of them is a gardener who bought her for a few thousand dollars and the other guy is retired. It is out of control,” Murphy rightly suggested.

Even if QRIC decides to reverse the decision – which would be unheard of – that will be little benefit to the punters who backed Beachside Babe and did their money cold. Stakeholders and punters want blood and will be satisfied with nothing less than the Steward in Charge being sacked or banished to the outback.

LGHR believes that rather than using this less than experienced guy as a scapeboat and throwing him under the bus questions should be asked why Chief Steward Josh Adams wasn’t at Beaudesert which became the main meeting in Queensland when Doomben was abandoned because of the state of the track early in the day. And does the overall blame for this not stop with Adams’ boss, Commissioner Gillard?

Speaking of the loss of the Doomben meeting (the second major in a few days in Brisbane), why was it not run on Sunday instead of another woeful meeting on the Poly track at the Sunshine Coast where the biggest beneficiary of these consistent transfers seems to be top local trainer Stu Kendrick?

Officials say they looked at postponing to Sunday or Monday but Eagle Farm is undergoing remedial work and could not be used. One wonders if it had anything to do with the extra wages involved in running the meeting on a public holiday which seems to be the reason the major clubs don’t want to run racing on public holidays any more.

Adding insult to injury for QRIC (and a lesser degree RQ) at the weekend came the revelation, as reported by Trenton Akers for Racenet, that a bureaucratic blooper has put the cornerstone of Queensland's Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) at risk, with up to 100 dogs potentially looking for a new home.

Run by QRIC, the GAP re-homes retired greyhounds around the state once they have finished their racing careers.

QRIC currently leases a purpose-built greyhound facility to house and re-educate retired dogs at Churchable, 100km west of Brisbane. However, there are fears the property will be sold off, despite the State Government having a contract to buy it last year.

Through Racing Minister Grace Grace, Racing Queensland was set to buy the Churchable property for a seven-figure price tag under previous RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell, however the purchase also required the signature of QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard.

Sources confirmed the property was set to be sold to RQ last year before Gillard pulled out, torpedoing the deal which would have seen it become state-owned, instead opting to continue leasing it.

It has since been confirmed to Racenet that a new interstate buyer, who intends to use it as a private training facility, is interested in buying the 20-acre property.

Sadly, for racing in Queensland, every questionable and controversial decision seems to trace back to Commissioner Gillard. He simply isn't up to the job and has to go.

As for QRIC well the answer is certainly not to put Integrity back into the hands of the control body. No-one can forget the political interference that occurred when that was the situation, as late as the days of the Bob Bentley Board and his first lieutenant in integrity, Dr Bob Mason.

But it flows back to the Russ Hinze era when stewards were too terrified (especially at the trots) to take action against any stakeholder associated with the ‘Minister for Everything’. And let us not forget that the biggest controversies in racing in Queensland occurred when the LNP was in power, like the Fine Cotton ring-in and the Caffeine Crisis.

Over to you Premier-elect David Crisafulli (The Sunday Mail feature on hime by Michael Madigan was a great read), you have some good racing men in your likely Cabinet, led by Tim Mander and Ray Stevens but there have been some major dills who have been Shadow Racing Ministers in the past (no need to name them, stakeholders know who they are).

QRIC plays too large a role in the sport which employs thousands and pours millions of dollars of taxes into the economy to be playing political games with.

It is imperative the Racing Minister makes the Review public. And if it recommends no action against the Commissioner, then she should follow the lead of Premier Miles in over-ruling what the Graham Quirk Panel suggested on Olympic Games venues and show Commissioner Gillard and Chief Steward Adams the door immediately.

 

 

QRIC FORCED TO CLEAN UP ANOTHER MESS AFTER PROTEST ANGER

THE Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) will review the processes around the decision to uphold a protest in Race 3 at Beaudesert on Saturday, 30 March, 2024.

Under the provision of AR280(2)(a) -There is no right of appeal against a decision of the Stewards in relation to:

  1. A protest against placed horses arising out of an incident or incidents occurring during the running of a race. 

The Commission will review the processes around the decision from Saturday at Beaudesert, as it does around all decisions.

 

PROBLEMS WITH MAJOR QUEENSLAND TRACKS EMBARRASSING DISGRACE

IT’S hard to find the right words describe the state of play with some of the major TAB tracks in Queensland.

Here’s what some of the stakeholders are having to say about the new track at the Gold Coast and the problems confronting the Sunshine Coast and Townsville just to mention a few.

Embarrassing, disgraceful, unacceptable, stuffed but most of all poor track management – with no-one from Racing Queensland across the board to the Clubs and their Racecourse Curators prepared to accept the blame.

It seems the only thing administrators care about is getting these tracks – especially those in south-east Queensland right – for the up-coming Carnivals. Hey guys, how about focussing on getting it right all year round.

The much-hyped Sydney import Nevesh Ramdahni has gone from plumed peacock to feather duster since arriving on the Gold Coast amid much pomp and ceremony. No-one seems to be prepared to stand up and declare him a rank failure.

Apart from Archie Butterfly on his subscriber-only website, peterprofit.com, the mainstream media headed by SKY and News Ltd has gone MIA but if the track miraculously makes a comeback good old Nevesh will be front and centre copping all the bouquets for what has cost more millions to correct.

We post the same question as ‘The Butterfly’: Does the Gold Coast Racecourse Manager Navesh Ramdahni ever take responsibility for anything?

Archie wrote: ‘Navesh stands there making every excuse under the sun for the Gold Coast course proper surface debate.

He blames the weather, the rain, the lack of rain, the sun, the absence of it, the grass, the humidity and every other thing he can think of for the track not playing true.’

With all due respects, as one high profile administrator of the past told LGHR: ‘Navesh forgets to blame the one who is mostly responsible for this debacle – himself. They should fire him out of a canon back to Sydney.’

The situation continues to worsen with Racing Queensland advising that the Gold Coast meeting on Saturday, April 6, has also been ‘transferred to the Poly Track to facilitate completion of works on the course proper’.

Turnover on Sunshine Coast meetings has hit rock bottom since recent Corbould Park meetings were transferred to the Cushion Track where punters don’t want to bet and many owners and trainers don’t want their horses to race.

What odds Sunday’s meeting at the Sunny Coast is transferred to the Cushion as well, especially as officials can blame the flood rains this week even if it is fine at the weekend? Little wonder there have been record nominations for Toowoomba tomorrow (Thursday) and Beaudesert (Saturday) with trainers desperate for a start on grass even if it is a HEAVY rating.

The track problems aren’t however confined to the south-east corner. A prominent North Queensland trainer tells us the situation in Townsville is an absolute disaster.

“This $1.5 million track at Cluden is ‘stuffed’. You can’t even work on it when it rains. And to make matters worse they have jacked up the track fees to an unaffordable amount for many trainers,” he said.

 

NOT EVERYONE IS RAVING ABOUT WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED BY V’LANDYS

HERE’S an interesting article by BREN O’BRIEN writing for THE STRAIGHT, a racing website that is worth reading:\

Maverick MP Mark Latham has used parliamentary privilege to describe Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys as ‘all tip, no iceberg’ and unleash a tirade of criticism on his performance in both his racing and rugby league roles.

Speaking in the NSW Legislative Council this week, Latham, the former federal opposition leader, and now Upper House independent, lambasted V’landys in a wide-ranging speech.

Among the many topics raised by Latham was the sale of Rosehill, Racing NSW’s legal battles with Racing Victoria, the NRL’s foray into Las Vegas, the appointment of Saranne Cooke as Racing NSW chair, the presence of V’landys lifelong friend John Dumesny on a selection committee for the Racing NSW board, the exodus of people from key roles at Racing NSW and the potential transfer of ownership of the Goulburn racecourse.

Known for his forthright views, Latham, who has been an ATC member for 20 years and has been involved in racehorse ownership and breeding, said the ATC proposal to sell Rosehill “was getting whackier by the day”.

He linked the deal to V’landys, despite Racing NSW taking a backseat role in a member consultation process that is being run by the ATC. 

 

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME IN QLD

GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST makes his regular contribution:

‘OVER many years I've known of Asian kids wanting to be jockeys in Queensland but they can't.

I know of an Asian country not putting on any new Apprentice jockeys. I also know there is an opportunity for another country to step in.

Here in Queensland we can't. How I despair another opportunity gone begging.

Hong Kong apprentice Ivy Lam rode a treble at Streaky Bay non-TAB meeting in South Australia on Saturday. It's a year since I was first told we were to get Hong Kong apprentices in Queensland. What has happened to them? God knows they would be welcomed here.’

 

‘IF YOU DON’T LIKE GOOD FRIDAY RACING, DON’T GET INVOLVED’

WITH the long Easter weekend looming the argument of whether there should be racing on Good Friday has again raised its ugly head.

Meetings held at Yarra Valley (the $500,000 Country Discovery meeting in the afternoon) and dual-code (harness and gallops) at Cranbourne in the evening provide a significant boost to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal.

With football fixtures on Good Friday, some see the need for racing to compete for the leisure dollar. Not everyone supports sport or horse racing on this special day. The message for those who don’t is simple: ‘If you don’t like it, don’t compete or get involved.’

Racing Victoria boos Matt Welsh said: “There's something for everyone this Easter and perhaps the most important aspect is the charity component, with several race clubs raising vital funds for the Good Friday Appeal,.

“Over the past five years the Victorian racing industry has contributed more than $350,000 to the Good Friday Appeal, and we look forward to growing that figure this weekend."

Easter racing will be highlighted by the rescheduled Australian Cup at Flemington, three weeks later than previous years. It also features the Warracknabeal Cup and Kerang Cup on Saturday and the Stawell Cup on Easter Sunday, complementing the traditional Stawell Gift.

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

ROSEHILL

FOUR favourites – POST IMPRESSIONIST (G3 Manion Cup), OSMOSE (G3 Epona Stakes), VIA SISTINA (G1 Ranvet Stakes) & RIFF ROCKET (G1 Rosehill Guineas) – were successful on the 10-race card.

Major upsets occurred when ZAPATEO $26 won the G1 Galaxy & CHAIN OF LIGHTNING $16 the G3 Birthday Card Stakes.

MOONEE VALLEY

THREE favourites – STRAWBERRY ROCK, IMPERATRIZ in the G1 William Reid Stakes & EXTRATWO – were successful on the 10-race card.

BIGGEST boilover on the day was the win by the Kiwi ANTRIM COAST $51 beating favourite QUINTESSA in the G2 Alister Clark Stakes. SIR DAVY at $26 blew punters out of the water in Race 4.

WHEN questioned regarding the improved performance of SIR DAVY, stable representative Jack Turnbull explained the main reason for the gelding’s improved performance, in his view, was that Sir Davy had benefitted in fitness from the first-up race at Flemington (17/2/2024), coupled with the gelding jumping out well on 12/3/2024. J Turnbull stated Sir Davy had appreciated the move from the Ballarat Stables to Cranbourne. He added the plan today had been to ride the gelding where comfortable and had issued no specific instructions to rider Jamie Mott.

EAGLE FARM

THREE favourites – BROOKHAVEN (plunged into $3.2), BUBBA’S BAY $3.2 & DAYTONA BAY $2 – were successful on the nine-race card.

Biggest upsets were: ARGYLE PINK $16, PORT MOURANT $16 & OVIDIUS $31.

MORPHETTVILLE  

ONLY TWO favourites – CRIMSON VINE $2.7 & QUICKSTER $2.4 in the Listed Clare Lindop Stakes – were successful on the nine-race card.

Cop some of these upsets and it explains why punters are reluctant to bet on South Australian racing – ALL WOKE $16, UNDER THE CONE $19, MISSILE STAR $15 & DELIGHTFUL SHECKY $16.

 

 

EXPECT COMMISSIONER GILLARD TO SURVIVE WITH HELP OF TWO DEPUTIES AND A BOARD AT QRIC – IT WILL BE A SHORTLIVED VICTORY

INDUSTRY stakeholders and those at the coalface hoping that the supposedly Independent Review of QRIC would see Commissioner Shane Gillard shown the door are in for a double dose of bad news this week.

Not only will the controversial Commissioner, who reportedly was unbelievably allowed to frame the terms of reference for the Review survive, be allowed to appoint two Deputies to help him do the job but also a Board (more people to blame if things go wrong).

One can only imagine the costs involved in conducting the Review but the salaries of two more high profile identities for QRIC where staff have been leaving in droves, many of them revealing they were unable to cope with a ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ approach adopted by Commissioner Gillard. Not to mention what an additional Board would cost.

Those who expect a different outcome from the Review ordered by Racing Minister Grace Grace had to be kidding if they thought the man insiders call ‘Little Gillard’ would be sacked. He was the Minister’s chosen one (some say a Labor hack from Victoria) despite being warned early days that he would never enjoy the industry support enjoyed by former Commissioners Ross Barnett and Mark Ainsworth.

From what we have learnt respected Deputy Commissioner Natalie Conner, who resigned recently (apparently frustrated by the road blocks being placed in the path of her doing what most considered was a better job than her boss) will be the scapegoat of the independent best practice Review of the State’s racing regulatory body.

The good news is that when the LNP replaces Labor as Government in Queensland after the October election (and they are long odds-on to do so), QRIC in its current form will no longer exist and the first one to be shot out of a cannon will be Commissioner Gillard. His first priority – having completed the Great Escape once again – should be look out for a new job.

To back what has been reported above wee received this interesting email highlighting the situation confronting QRIC from an insider who still works there:

IN case you were curious, there are 20 recommendations in the current draft, mostly about organizational matters such as culture, structure and frontline resourcing.

Final report is due at the end of March and is said to be publicly released in April.

One recommendation suggests two Deputy Commissioners is essential (as per the legislation).

‘Little Gillard’ is intending on hiring two Deputies ASAP with the first Acting Deputy to be announced Friday (as outlined in a message from him to staff which we have republished below). It looks like it takes two people to replace the previous Deputy. Some of us still employed at QRIC aren’t surprised as some of us are happy to acknowledge the previous Deputy was actually not the problem and worked hard to make QRIC a better organization, despite ‘Little Gillard’s’ poor leadership and being missing in action daily over the past two years.

Archie Butterfly (on his subscriber-only website, peterprofit) already knew about the plan for two Deputies but got the pay level wrong. Deputy is paid about $250,000 according to the annual report…..

The report will also recommend a Board set up to assist ‘Little Gillard’ with leading the Commission. This was something he wanted to ‘distribute the responsibility’ of leading. Responsibility scares him. Particularly when things are tough – (history shows) at that point he starts looking for someone to blame rather than owning up to his own inadequacies. Having two Deputies and a Board must feel like Christmas to ‘Little Gillard’. But don’t forget this extra Deputy and Board costs money… and it doesn’t help frontline resourcing.

 

 

DEATH OF LEGENDARY JOCKEY MEL SCHUMACHER AT THE AGE OF 86

OUR good mate on the Downs, Peter Bredhauer, sent us the sad news that legendary jockey Mel Schumacher has died in his sleep – which the mainstream racing media will eventually catch up on.

A star apprentice of the 1950’s, ‘The Shoe won numerous Group races during his long career during which he endured his fair share of controversy.

Schumacher (photograph from Kings Of The Turf) was disqualified for life in 1962 after being involved in a leg-pull incident in the 1961 AJC Derby at Randwick. He grabbed the leg of rival jockey Tommy Hill for some distance in a desperate effort to gain the upper hand near the finish.

The camera proved Hill's claim and Schumacher faced a life ban, which was later reduced to five years. This was the first time that patrol footage had been used, making him the most infamous victim of this new technology. It affected Schumacher's career significantly and slowed the pace of his rising career.

On returning to the saddle he still made it back to the top within a few years although his best years were probably spent on the sidelines.

In an interview with JOHN DEBIASE, ‘The Shoe’ said he could then laugh about the ban and recalled as the horses pulled up Hill yelling that he was going to protest and decided his reaction would be to claim Hill's allegation was "preposterous". But after viewing the patrol film Schumacher said:

“When they showed it I thought 'what don't speak, don't lie'.

‘I walked off the track with a life ban before the last.

‘There were 80,000 people there and you could have heard a pin drop. It was like a funeral . . . my funeral." said Schumacher.

Debiase also wrote:

Mel Schumacher‘s best win came in the Melbourne Cup in the year 1958. He was just 21 at that time, which was a great achievement for such a young jockey to win the race that stops a nation. He steered Baystone to victory, leaving behind the favourite Monte Carlo.

The Cup win represented one of the best rides of his career when he slipped in behind the favourite Monte Carlo early in the race and shadowed it from back in the field before passing it in the final furlong. He surged past with only the finishing post ahead of him.

It was the most exciting few seconds of a career that spanned 50 years.

Schumacher says: "I will never forget how it felt the moment when I went to the lead - I knew I had it won. Even now it gives me goose bumps just to think about it. I thought we would win the race and the omens were good. Before the race, a professional punter called 'Dasher Dave' stopped me and said:

"When you win the Cup remember you have to take your cap off when you are coming up the race".

"It struck me then that everyone seemed to be thinking it would win."

The gold cup and whip he received for riding the winner are still in pristine condition.

Schumacher rode more than 2,000 winners in a career that ended quietly when he returned from riding three winners at a meeting in far western Queensland in 2001 and simply told his wife, Pam, at 3am

"I'm done".

The Shoe was worn out. He was renowned for being a nerveless jockey whose demeanour would not change whether he was riding at Flemington or Kilcoy and for that he thanks an early introduction to the saddle

Schumacher began riding at the age of three on his parents' dairy farm at Boonah. At the age of five he rode a pony bareback every day to school.

Fondly known as ‘The Shoe' in the racing fraternity, Schumacher always said that being an Australian jockey gave him a lot of fame but never enough money to lead a rich and comfortable life. In 1958, when he had won the Melbourne Cup, the prize money was only $12,500. Prize money for the Melbourne Cup now is in the millions.

Nevertheless, he has never complained about the fact that this job did not pay well during his time. He relied on the punt (even though they weren't supposed to).

Schumacher won a number of major races during his long and illustrious career. This included the Golden Slipper astride Magic Night, AJC Derby, Australian Cup, Thousand Guineas, and many more. His Melbourne Cup victory brought him better horses and better rides.

Over the years, the healthy rivalry between Mel Schumacher and another jockey great, George Moore led to many a tussle for the premiership title.

Accomplished country singer and song writer Rod Williams' music career was launched in 1980 with a song about Mel Schumacher. The song called The Shoe, the track was released on RCA records.

He shares the record of five wins each in the $100,000 Listed Goldmarket Handicap over 1300 metres at the Gold Coast with Mick Dittman.

The Australian champion jockey was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall-Of-Fame in 2009. He was 86.

 

 

WALLER HAS FOUR STABLE STARS ENTERED FOR HK CHAMPIONS DAY

CHAMPION trainer CHRIS WALLER is poised to test some of his stars on the big stage in Hong Kong with four entries for Champions Day at Sha Tin on April 28.

Waller has Atishu, Kovalica and Lindermann nominated for the $HK28 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup; Atishu and Kovalica also entered for the HK$22 million G1 Champions Mile and Shinzo IN THE $22HK million Chairman’s Sprint Prize.

Other Australian entries include Mr Brightside for Team Hayes in the QEII Cup, along with the Gary Portelli-trained Kimochi and Arapaho for Bjorn Baker; Mr Brightside and Kimochi in the Champions Mile & the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained The Astrologist in the Sprint.

A HKJC Media Release reads:

A total of 21 individual international Group 1 winners headline the entries for FWD Champions Day at Sha Tin on 28 April, when Hong Kong champions Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior, Lucky Sweynesse, California Spangle and Voyage Bubble will vie with raiders from Japan, Europe, Australia and the United Arab Emirates for overall glory.

Included among the 89 entries bidding for record prize money in the HK$28 million G1 FWD QEII Cup (2000m), HK$22 million G1 FWD Champions Mile (1600m) and HK$22 million Chairman’s Sprint Prize (1200m) are three of the winners of last December’s Group 1s at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races – Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior and Lucky Sweynesse.

The international contingent of 48 is headed by Japan with 25 – nine more than last season – Australia (eight), Great Britain (seven), France (four), the United Arab Emirates (three) and Ireland (one) while Hong Kong has 41 entries.

There are 12 individual Group 1 winners entered by overseas stables, including six from Australia – Mr Brightside, Arapaho, Atishu, Kovalica, Lindermann and Shinzo – while Dubai Honour, who has twice previously competed in Hong Kong, and Regional, represent Great Britain.

Japanese Group 1 victors Liberty Island, Champagne Color and Danon Scorpion crown the Land of the Rising Sun’s formidable batch of nominees, while the United Arab Emirates Group 1 winner Measured Time has also been nominated.

Hong Kong’s entry includes nine individual Group 1 winners, including the incomparable Golden Sixty, who is being prepared to chase an 11th career Group 1 and a remarkable fourth consecutive victory in the FWD Champions Mile.

Francis Lui’s superstar could face dual Group 1 winner California Spangle and Voyage Bubble in the FWD Champions Mile, while the world’s top-rated sprinter Lucky Sweynesse will bid for a fifth elite success by defending his Chairman’s Sprint Prize crown. Romantic Warrior will chase a third FWD QEII Cup triumph, which would add to an already phenomenal 2023/24 campaign capped by victories in the G1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m), the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and G1 Citi Hong Kong Gold Cup (2000m).

G1 Centenary Sprint Cup (1200m) winner Victor The Winner will chase a second Hong Kong Group 1 success for Danny Shum in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize and this Sunday (24 March) could clash in the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) at Chukyo Racecourse with a string of crack Japanese speedsters, who are also entered for next month’s showpiece at Sha Tin - Champagne Color, Kimiwa Queen, Lugal, Mad Cool, Matenro Orion and Toshin Macau.

Hong Kong’s armada of individual Group 1 winners also includes reigning Hong Kong Champion Stayer Russian Emperor, last-start Happy Valley winner Moments In Time and G1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) victor Little Brose, who is yet to start in Hong Kong for David Hayes.

Prognosis is slated to make his third visit to Hong Kong after bolting in the G2 Kinko Sho (2000m) at Chukyo on 10 March, winning by five lengths under Yuga Kawada for trainer Mitsumasa Nakauchida.

The Deep Impact gelding’s two previous sorties to Sha Tin yielded a fifth in the 2023 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup and a surging second in the 2023 FWD QEII Cup – both behind Romantic Warrior.

William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour, a dual Group 1 winner in Australia, could also return for a third Hong Kong tilt, having finished fourth to Japan’s Loves Only You in the 2021 LONGINES Hong Kong Cup and third behind Romantic Warrior and Prognosis in the 2023 FWD QEII Cup.

Eight horses selected to run in the BMW Hong Kong Derby (2000m) at Sha Tin on Sunday (24 March) – Chill Chibi, Galaxy Patch, Helene Feeling, Ka Ying Generation, Helios Express, Massive Sovereign, Star Mac and Unbelievable – hold entries for FWD Champions Day.

Hong Kong’s contingent is bolstered by a host of established and emerging performers including Beauty Eternal, Beauty Joy, Encountered, Happy Together, Invincible Sage, Lucky With You, Money Catcher, Nervous Witness, Nimble Nimbus, Red Lion, Sight Success, Straight Arron, Sword Point, Taj Dragon and Howdeepisyourlove.

Andrew Harding, The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director, Racing, said: “We are excited by the spread and quality of international entries among the nominations for FWD Champions Day.

“The potential return of Golden Sixty in the FWD Champions Mile after his stunning LONGINES Hong Kong Mile performance in December, along with Romantic Warrior in the FWD QEII Cup and Lucky Sweynesse in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize, lays the foundation for another wonderful staging of our spring flagship meeting.

“We are delighted at the support we have received from overseas owners and trainers in Japan, England, France, Ireland, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, with the number of entries across our three Group 1 features rising from 71 last season to 89 this year.

“With 48 entries in total from abroad and 41 from Hong Kong, Hong Kong is poised to showcase international racing at its best with the presence of elite horses and champion jockeys and trainers at FWD Champions Day next month.”

A total of 41 entries have been received for the FWD QEII Cup, an increase of six on last season, the FWD Champions Mile has attracted 32 nominations, double the 2022/23 entry, and the Chairman’s Sprint Prize has 32 nominations, one more than last season.

 

AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THE SA STEWARDS LET PUNTERS DOWN BADLY

FORM reversals cannot be avoided in racing and sometimes there are legitimate excuses but punters need to be better informed.

A good example of this was the win by Art Of Flying at $7 in the feature Kimba Cup last Sunday beating the Port Lincoln specialist I Need A Drink $2.35 FAV.

When the pair clashed previously in the Port Lincoln Cup, I Need A Drink led and bolted in over the same track and distance taking his record to four wins from his last five starts on the track. In that race Art Of Flying started equal favourite and was beaten over 12 lengths.

Now anyone doing the form could not have seen Art Of Flying turn the tables even allowing for a 2.5kg swing in the weights. But he did, to the astonishment of most punters, but not his trainer Brian Clarke who explained the form reversal to racing.com after the race.

“He got hammered in running in the Cup. He had skin off his legs which were covered in blood. We freshened him up and expected the improvement,” Clarke said of Art of Flying, formerly trainer by Ciaron Maher.

This is where the South Australian stewards let the punters down badly. They did not inquire into the poor performance of Art of Flying in the Port Lincoln Cup and the only mention the horse got in their report was:

THE ART OF FLYING (A. Livesey) – shortly after jumping away shifted in and contacted AHSO.

One would have thought after that monumental oversight the rocket-scientists policing racing in SA would at least have asked connections to explain the form reversal on Sunday. But they didn’t and this is the only mention of the horse in their report:

THE ART OF FLYING (A. Livesey) – slow to begin. Laid in under pressure in the straight.

It raises the question: Are they asleep at the wheel? Why did they not inquire into the improvement or haul Clarke in after his explanation to racing.com and asked why he didn’t inform them beforehand. Perhaps he did and they just didn’t bother to tell the punters.   

Punters have next to no confidence betting in SA where favourites have a pathetic record. Don’t expect the talking heads on racing.com to say anything critical – they just talk the joint up every week.

As one of our readers suggested:

‘It’s little wonder that a corporate bookie has jumped in to sponsor racing in South Australia for big bucks. They’re just returning some of the millions they’ve won courtesy of battling punters who back favourites in that State for zero collect on a weekly basis.’

 

DEMOCRACY MANIFEST, HARD TO FOLLOW OR VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCES?

TALKING about form reversals, a couple of our readers have suggested one of the hardest horses to follow in Sydney is Democracy Manifest.

On his day, the Chris Waller-trained galloper is Group 1 class but he isn’t the easiest horse to catch. He was back to his best winning the G2 Ajax Stakes on Saturday. Some suggested it was a form reversal.

We don’t agree (he was a VALUE BET starting at $6 after better was bet for our LGHR LATE MAIL CLIENTS) after an eye-catching 6th in G3 company first up. We felt the extra trip was ideal.

Perhaps rather than being hard to follow DEMOCRACY MANIFEST finds it hard to win at times because he gets back in the field and races aren’t always run to suit.

 

TIME RQ RETURNED SUNDAY RACING TO TURF AT SUNNY COAST

SUNDAY racing has degenerated into an abysmal failure for racing in Queensland and the powers-that-be need to address the problem before turnover reaches rock bottom.

Punters simply don’t want to bet on the poly or cushion tracks, as evidenced by recent pools attracted at the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. Owners and trainers are not all that keen on starting their horses on these surfaces either.

The decision to host last Sunday’s meeting on the turf at Gatton wasn’t much better from a punting perspective. There was only one successful favourite, Fearless Thinking, in the last of a very ordinary seven-race card.

Bad horses result in ordinary results for punters. Just cop these results $12 in the 1st, $16 in the 2nd, $9.50 in the 3rd, $3.8 in the 4th, $10 in the 5th & $5.5 in the 6th.

Whatever happened to the days when Sunday racing was run most weeks on the Sunshine Coast – and most of all on the grass?

 

WILLIAMS WAS BOUND TO LOSE WHATEVER TACTICS HE ADOPTED

CRAIG WILLIAMS was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t when Australia’s best horse MR BRIGHTSIDE was beaten in the All Star Mile at Caulfield on Saturday.

A wide barrier draw sealed the fate of MR BRIGHTSIDE when his main rival, the extremely talented PRIDE OF JENNI was certain to dictate in front.

Williams has been caught in the crossfire on several occasions in recent months – the most notable of which saw him sacked from GIGA KICK.

Saturday’s ride was nowhere near as bad as the tactics he adopted on Giga Kick. If he went forward on Mr Brightside and got caught deep, Williams would have been crucified for adopting those tactics. By going back – perhaps too far back – he suffered a similar fate.

Mr Brightside is as good if not better than Pride of Jenni when both race on level terms. Their rematch in the Australian Cup will be much awaited but we won’t be surprised if both are beaten.

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

CAULFIELD

ONLY two favourites – FIRSTOFFURY $2.8 & BOLD BASTILLE $1.5 – were successful on the 10-race card at CAULFIELD last Saturday.     

The worst results for punters were GEAR UP $15 & TITAN OF CHOICE $17 (tipped as a VALUE BET for subscribers to the LGHR LATE MAIL).

PEACE TREATY at $1.95 in The Mystic Journey was the big floperoo on the day beating only two home in the race won by WALTZ ON BY $6 (an EACH-WAY SPECIAL for LGHR LATE MAIL subscribers).

The Stewards’ Report on PEACE TREATY read: Slow to begin, raced keenly in the early and middle stages. A post-race veterinary examination revealed a slow recovery and the filly to be lame in the right foreleg. A veterinary clearance is required prior to being permitted to race again.

ROSEHILL

FOUR of the 10 favourites were successful in SYDNEY on Saturday – WYMARK $3.4, LINDERMANN $1.9, RED CARD $3.2 & ZOUGOTCHA $3.3 in the G1 Coolmore Classic.

The biggest upsets came from DUBLIN DOWN $20 in the Pago Pago Stakes and ZARDOZI $13 in the Phar Lap Stakes.

Surprise, surprise, another favourite bit the dust in the MIDWAY when at $4.8 beat only two home. Its failure didn’t rate a mention in the Stewards’ Report.

EAGLE FARM

THREE favourites – CAN’T RECALL ONE $1.3, NAVAL TRADER $2.4PRESS LINK $2.6 – were successful on a 10-race card in Brisbane.

But there were some rough results – RUSSIAN WARRIOR $41, A DEEL OF HUMOUR $19, MAJESTIC BOOM $18 & THE DROVER $11.   

 While A DEEL OF HUMOUR & MAJESTIC BOOM were last start winners, stewards asked for an explanation of the improved performances of the other pair. Their reports read:

THE DROVERRaced wide throughout. When asked to comment on the gelding’s improved performance, Trainer D. Batters reported that it was only the third run in his stable. He added that at its most recent start in his opinion, the gelding was unlucky and in today’s event there was a significant weight drop with the addition of visors, he expected an improved performance.

RUSSIAN WARRIOR: Hampered shortly after jumping. Raced wide throughout. Laid in under pressure in the home straight. When asked to comment on the mare’s improved performance, Trainer’s representative D. Barron reported that the stable was not surprised with the forward showing today. He  added that last start at Doomben the mare had a tough run and weakened noticeably after the rider elected to ease down in the straight. He further added that the horse had been pleasing to work leading into today’s event.

MORPHETTVILLE PARKS

ONLY two favourites – LONRODEX $2.7 & STORYTELLER $2.15 – were successful on the nine-race card at MORPETTVILLE PARKS which is par for the course in South Australian racing where punting is a ‘wealth hazard’.

Worst results for punters were MASTER OF ZERPRISE $21 (a last start Balaklava winner) & BOLT BY $26 (struggled at Morphettville Parks and Murray Bridge since Mt Gambier win). 

NOTE FOR PUNTERS

ON several occasions we have mention the LGHR LATE MAIL & the success our clients have been enjoying. Don’t pay big money to subscribe to services that provide no better and on many occasions worst results. For our Autumn & Winter Special you can join the winners for $150 or for the entire year our current special price of just $250. If you’re interested just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or text 0407175570 for details.

 

 

NATIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF NT GAMBLING LAWS OVERHAUL

NEW laws governing the conduct of gambling companies are expected to be debated, and passed, by the Northern Territory Parliament this week.

THOMAS MORGAN reports for ABCNEWS that while the NT is Australia's least populated jurisdiction, these laws will govern betting companies across the country.

The reforms have been criticised by anti-gambling experts, and there are allegations that the NT's regulator of gambling and betting is suffering from "regulatory capture".

Here's what you need to know.

WHY DO BETTING COMPANIES LIKE THE TERRITORY?

THE Northern Territory has become the de facto place for wagering service providers (WSPs) to be based due to its low taxes and fees, according to a Federal Review of the regulation of the gambling industry that concluded last year. 

One submission described the NT's governance of these companies as a "light touch".

Overall 32 sports bookmakers and two betting exchanges — which collectively earn $50 billion a year — are regulated by the NT Racing Commission.

And the NT, with an economy of just $32 billion, affords these companies more freedom than other jurisdictions.

One of those freedoms includes allowing gambling companies to offer inducements such as vouchers and credit to attract customers.

WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED REFORMS?

THE Racing and Wagering Bill 2024 will reform the NT Racing Commission into the Racing and Wagering Commission.

Complaints about the conduct of gambling companies by Australian customers are heard by the Racing Commission, and these responsibilities will be transferred across to the new Commission.

The reforms are set to be debated this week in NT Parliament, and they're likely to pass given the Government's overall majority in parliament.

The Territory's Labor Government said the reforms would modernise "very out of date" laws.

They specify that WSPs must have a physical presence, such as an office in the Territory, if they wish to be regulated by the NT.

The proposed law also threatens WSPs with a series of offences, including fines of up to $440,000 if they fail to comply with a condition of their licences.

Decisions made by the Commission or its director can be reviewed in the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

A new Racing and Wagering Fund levy will be introduced on bookmaker profits, but the NT Government said it hasn't yet decided what rate this new tax will be.

WHAT IS HAPPENING AT A FEDERAL LEVEL?

THE Federal Review recommended the regulation of all gambling across Australia be taken away from States and Territories and rested with the Commonwealth.

It also recommended the banning of inducements, like those allowed in the NT, and phasing out online gambling advertising and sponsorship.

The report, published in June 2023, heard that the NT's regulatory process had been "captured" by the industry and was "light-touch" in its treatment of WSPs.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was "examining" the Review, and pointed to steps already taken such as tougher rules around advertising, and restricting the use of credit cards for online gambling.

"There's more to do and we will be doing more," he said.

WHAT DO STAKEHOLDERS SAY?

THE peak body for the online wagering industry, Responsible Wagering Australia, said it supported strong sanctions on providers that broke the Rules.

"RWA members offer world-leading consumer protections and we support measures by Governments that bring other wagering providers up to the standards that our members already operate on," Chief Cxecutive Kai Cantwell said.

But the Alliance for Gambling Reform Chief Executive Carol Bennett said the NT Government had watered down its proposed reforms during the consultation process.

Ms Bennett said 28 gambling companies and just one harm-minimisation organisation were consulted over draft laws, and penalties were watered down based on that feedback.

She said the Federal Government urgently needed to step in and take over regulating the industry. 

 

TIME FOR GOVERNMENT TO GIVE RQ GREEN LIGHT ON ALBION PARK

THE foresight of former Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, hopefully will realize the dream of Kevin Seymour, who for so long saved harness racing in Queensland, and see Albion Park remain the true home of the sport.

Quirk, head of a Review Panel into venues for the Brisbane Olympics, has ruled the old ‘Creek’ out as a suitable site. It’s fantastic news for harness racing and shows once again the understanding of all codes by Quirk, current thoroughbred representative on the Racing Queensland Board who hopefully will become Chairman after the next election.

‘Crash’ Craddock, a great harness fan, sums up the situation perfectly in this article in the Murdoch Media, which we republish below rather than reproduce it in our own form:

QUEENSLAND harness racing has a golden chance to reinvent its tired but treasured home at Albion Park after it was given the thumbs down as an Olympic venue.

A review by a panel led by former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has found that the inner city pacing venue, initially commissioned to be an indoor venue for the 2032 Games with sports such as basketball and badminton, is unsuitable for several reasons.

They include poor proximity to transport, the huge cost of relocation for the trots, disruption to local residents, the loss of “mature’’ trees and the likelihood that nearby Brothers Leagues Club would have to be rebuilt.

It is not a formality the recommendation that Albion Park be scrapped as an Olympic venue will be endorsed by the State Government but Olympic sources expect that will be the case.

In the expectation it would have to move sites, harness racing purchased acreage at the flood-prone, mosquito-infested region of Norwell north of the Gold Coast but there is now no appetite from the industry to make that move.

Instead, Albion Park officials are likely to push for an exciting plan to future-proof Albion Park by building apartments on the vast tracts of open land at the track to bankroll the development of on-site stables and modernise the venue’s ancient grandstand.

The state’s biggest owner, Kevin Seymour, has been pushing for this type of proposal for several years and may yet get his wish in what could be his most significant legacy for the industry.

There is a feeling that in forward-thinking Albion Park boss Ken Rutherford, a former New Zealand Test cricketer who has an experienced background in racing administration, the club has the right administrator for the right time.

It is likely when Quirk’s plan is announced on Monday Albion Park officials will swiftly offer their endorsement and start the push to stay where they are.

The sites undergoing further investigation as replacement Olympic venues include the Northside Wizards basketball facility at Zillmere and the Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall.

Harness racing officials had been lobbying for the Boondall site to be redeveloped, feeling it was a more sensible option than uprooting their industry.

HOOFNOTE: The time has arrived for the Government to bite the bullet on Albion Park and give Racing Queensland the green light to proceed with this project and provide a home that harness racing deserves, especially for those of us who hold such fond memories of the sport’s heyday. And perhaps they could build a monument at the front gate to the latest superstar – arguably the best of all time – LEAP TO FAME.

 

 

RACING QUEENSLAND BOSS UNDER FIRE OVER HIS ‘BLIP’ COMMENT

RACING Queensland boss Jason Scott has unfortunately been caught in the crossfire after describing the problems that served up a track that was a disgrace for the $2mn QTIC Jewel meeting at the Gold Coast on Saturday as a ‘blip’.

CEO Scott told ‘Big Ben’ Dorries of Racenet: “We have had 24 months of good Saturday tracks in Queensland, despite some of the panic that is happening from people who should know better, this is a blip and not a long-term problem with the track.

Scott conceded the state of the new Gold Coast track, which played magnificently on Magic Millions day, was ‘simply not good enough on Saturday’ which has prompted the GCTC to move next weekend’s meeting to the Poly to give the turf track a month-long break.

Top trainer Tony Gollan led the volley of criticism blasting the sandy surface which saw significant kickback and on-speed runners favoured all day. They aren’t wearing the Scott argument that insufficient water was applied to the track in the lead-up to the rich feature day and query if that is what happens in future will the surface be waterlogged for racing.

“Racing Queensland the Gold Coast Turf Club are both really disappointed and committed to rectifying it,” Scott said Greg Puckeridge (senior track & racecourse manager) from Racing Queensland and (track curator) Nevesh (Ramdhani) at the Gold Coast Turf Club were working together on rectifying the problem.

Despite a lot of commentary on social media, Scott insists cool heads will prevail when it comes to the new Gold Coast track. For that to happen he needs to win back the confidence on stakeholders, especially punters, as indicated by the feedback LGHR has received.

 

OWNERS HOPES NOSEDIVED AFTER COUPLE OF RACES AT GOLD COAST

HERE’S what the PART-OWNERS of one of the feature races on the day had to say:

‘IN the days leading up to our horse contesting the richest race of his career we were extremely confidence despite the fact he was a backmarker.

But after we watched several races not only did we know he had no chance of winning but we doubted he could run a place and that turned out to be what happened.

It was a major disappointment. You don’t get these opportunities every week of the year. A badly prepared track deprived us of the chance for our biggest pay day and then the RQ CEO suggests it’s just a blip on the radar and that in four weeks’ time the track will be back to the standard it was on Magic Millions day. That’s not much good to us.

We agree with Tony Gollan who questioned why this meeting was run when the Gold Coast track was obviously not ready. Saying sorry is simply not good enough.’

 

‘HOW CAN JOCKEY GIVE A HORSE EVERY CHANCE ON BIASSED TRACK?’

AND this one from a punter who says it’s hard enough to back a winner in Queensland without having to contend with a ‘goat’ track:

‘If a jockey rides a horse in a race and doesn’t give it every opportunity to win he can face charges.

But if a track manager or a club prepares a track that doesn’t give every runner its opportunity to win, that’s racing.

When it was obvious early in the day that the Gold Coast track was going to be blatantly biased towards front-runners, why didn’t stewards make a statement to that affect or abandon the meeting?

Why didn’t the racing media, especially SKY, highlight this sad aspect of racing on Saturday rather than waiting until late in the day to mention it?

That was in contrast to Magic Millions Day when all they could day was praise this beautiful new surface especially the Track Curator, the club and RQ. How about a bit of objectivity from the SKY presenters?’

 

‘RQ NEEDS TO INTERVENE WHERE GCTC RELUCTANT ON RHAMDANI’

AND this one from an INDUSTRY SOURCE who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons:

‘THE track isn’t the only thing that needs fixing on the Gold Coast – the problems with those working on it and their superiors are just as bad.

Something needs to be done to correct feelings which are running high between Nevesh Rhamdhani (is he still the Track Curator or has he resigned and a replacement been found from Scone?) and some of his track staff.

Whenever the track plays well Rhamdhani seems to be front and centre happy to take all the praise. But when things turn sour like Saturday where is he to make an explanation for the state of the track – nowhere to be found?

There are those – trainers, officials and track staff – who blame the current problems with the track on the Rhamdhani my-way-or-the-highway approach to maintenance. They say he isn’t interested in listening to ways to correct the mess created.

It’s fine for RQ CEO Jason Scott to blame criticism of Rhamdhani on social media. Perhaps it’s time he got more involved in finding out what is really going on behind the scenes on and off the track at the Gold Coast instead of just listening to some of the officials who are in the Rhamdhani camp.’  

       

‘SLAUGHTER JOBS’ ON FAVORITES OCCURRING TOO OFTEN IN SYDNEY

ANOTHER week in Sydney racing with what punters describe as ‘slaughter jobs’ of heavily-backed topliners by leading jockeys.

How much longer is internationally experienced Chief Stipe Steve Railton and his panel going to allow this to continue?

Punters are becoming terrified to back favourites in Sydney racing after a series have been badly ridden (the apologists say the victim of bad luck) in recent months.

First it was the Nash Rawiller ride on Buenos Noches a couple of weeks back and then on Sasturday it was Rawiller again on Private Eye and Sam Clipperton on Think About It.

Trainer Joe Pride has publicly declared that he wasn’t happy with the rides on his short-priced favorites – Private Eye (which ran 6th in the Challenge Stakes) and Think About it (runner-up in the Canterbury Stakes).

As usual there was no criticism of the rides from the jockeys’ spin doctor Corey Brown or any of his co-hosts on SKY but that’s what the punters have come to expect.

Here’s what the Stewards reported:

PRIVATE EYE: When questioned regarding his riding, Nash Rawiller stated that he had no specific instructions, but he was hoping that from the outside barrier he might be able to obtain a position near midfield. He said he allowed Private Eye to race where comfortable in the early stages, however, the gelding was not able to maintain the tempo that was being set and ultimately this resulted in Private Eye settling at the rear of the small field behind the eventual winner, Passive Aggressive. He said that between the 600m and the 400m he continuously niggled at his mount to have it maintain the back of Passive Aggressive, and soon after straightening commenced to ride with more urgency, however, Private Eye did not initially give any response, with Passive Aggressive quickening away from his mount. He said that it was not until the final 100m that Private Eye commenced to give any response and closed off well. He added that, in his view, Private Eye may not have been suited by again racing the 1000m journey.

THINK ABOUT IT: When questioned, Sam Clipperton stated that from the outside barrier he was required to settle at the rear of the field. He said that the pace in the middle stages was moderate, which resulted in Think About It, which was racing first-up, commencing to over-race. He said that as he felt it would have been detrimental to fight against his mount to have it remain racing at the rear of the field, he allowed the gelding to roll forward to get into a comfortable rhythm, which required Think About It to travel wide and without cover from approaching the 700m.

In both cases there were legitimate excuses and hardly any cause for action. But from a punters’ perspective when Rawiller draws wide on favourites that have no early pace expect them to settle last which carries a warning if you are planning to take the ‘shorts’.

 

‘WAS IT EVER ANY HOPE OF BEING AN ALL STAR MILE’?

REGULAR contributor PETER MAIR sent this email:

WHILE the outcome of the so-called 'Star Mile' looks predictable enough, it is questionable for RVL to be recruiting 'falling stars' to clutter a WFA  field over a 'cd' that is prone to rough outcomes.

What is the RVL pitch -- hang on for $70,000 for running 6th to 12th?

Born as a retaliation, compromised by the nonsense of runners voted-in, RVL, too slow to give ground, is now compounding the error by 'buying' a second-tier racefield with $450,000 to be shared among the 6th to 12ths. This is not on!

RVL is putting another card up the sleeve of those concerned about administrators compromising quality and integrity -- substituting an inflated field with fixed-odds corporates will be the main beneficiaries.

What goes on at RVL when they review the quality of the racing product they serve up to punters paying the freight?

As Racenet says, tongue-in-cheek, as usual:

Racing Victoria officials will resemble politicians during a leadership spill in the lead-up to Tuesday's deadline to compile the field for Saturday's All-Star Mile at Caulfield.

RV has 12 runners confirmed to tackle the $3.6m event but will be working the phones with Australia's top stables in a bid to secure a full field of 16 horses.

This 'all, or-any, or-none Star-Mile' should be abandoned.

 

ANOTHER SIX STARTERS SCRATCHED IN BUSH BECAUSE OF NO RIDERS

GREG BLANCHARD of GOLD COAST makes his weekly contribution.

‘LET me start by saying one hopes that the Gold Coast track is fixed sooner rather than later.

Sadly it was another weekend in the bush where horses had to be scratched because no riders were available.

This included three at Springsure, two at Mt Isa and one at Barcaldine.

Where are these Hong Kong apprentices that were first promised 12 months ago. I’m thinking of the song ‘The Twelfth Of Never’.’

  

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

RANDWICK

TWO favourites successful on the 10-race card which is becoming par for the course in Sydney – backing the ‘shorties’ is becoming a no-go zone.

LEKVARTE $4.2 in the Aspiration and TINTOOKIE heavily-backed into $4.4, and a major improver, where the two top fancies to win.

Aren’t these Midways great races for punters – last Saturday’s won by KINGSTON CHARM at $61, it had been placed at Wyong and Canberra since a spell?

INFANCY $26 in the Fireball and LADY LAGUNA $11 in the Canterbury Stakes were the other UPSET winners on the card.

FLEMINGTON

ONLY two favorites were successful on the reduced eight-race card at FLEMINGTON for SUPER SATURDAY – HEDGED at $2.7 and YOUNG WERTHER at $2.35.

The only winner in double figures on the day was CYLINDER at $11 in the Group 1 Newmarket for Godolphin and Jamie Kah.

GOLD COAST

THE least said about this embarrassment for Queensland racing the better. TWO favorites were successful on the 10-race card – CHINNY BOOM at $1.45 and BRING ME KASH at $3.9, arguably would never have started as short had there been no track bias.

The disgraceful state of the track, which gave back-markers next to no hope, saw results that floored punters like JOE MAMA $15, BEEF WEEK PRINCESS $51, THIS IS ONE $51 and LEGAL ESPRIT $10.

MURRAY BRIDGE

NOTHING unusual where racing in South Australia is a ‘wealth hazard’ for punters and only one favorite was successful on the nine-race card – that was PROVEN CORRECT $2.6 in the Maiden Plate.

Worst results for punters were PRINCE JOFRA $10 and OVERSTRIKE $21.

MORPHETTVILLE (on Monday when ADELAIDE CUP was run)

THREE favorites were successful but there was hardly an upset on the day with the longest priced winner EXCELLERATION at $4.4 in the Adelaide Cup and it was plunged. BOOKIES had an absolute black-out.

   

 

IT’S GROUNDHOG DAY – GOLD COAST TRACK AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE

HOW was the Gold Coast Turf Club allowed to run a feature race day on such a disgraceful track that was produced today (Saturday)?

That’s the question stakeholders, from owners to trainers, jockeys and especially punters, were asking after the Jewel Day degenerated into a farce.

The reasons why the new Gold Coast track has been saved for this meeting – with racing switched to the despised Poly in recent weeks, became evident after only a single race had been run.

As one reader emailed us, ‘It’s like racing at Birdsville on grass. The dust and kickback is unbelievable and unacceptable.’

When all the bouquets were being tossed around after opening day on the new track, curator Nevesh Ramdhani was front and centre copping all the pats on the back. Today he went Missing In Action.

A source told LGHR: ‘Some say he was there today (if so hard to find) and others reckoned he was interstate on the biggest day of racing here since the Magic Millions. Whatever he went MIA when questions needed to be answered.’

Another suggested that he has resigned or is leaving the GCTC and is moving back to Sydney or NSW with a new curator having been appointed from Scone.

“It’s groundhog day. It’s my-way-or-the-highway when it comes to maintenance of the new track by Nevesh. Story goes he won’t water the track and instead of soil adds sand thus the reason for all the dust and kickback today.”

SKY commentators, happy to boast about the new track on Magic Millions Day, seemed reluctant to bag or even talk about it today.

Eventually, winning trainers being interviewed spoke of the leader-bias and disadvantage of being back in the field. After the 2nd last of 10 races, Bernadette Cooper referred to ‘horses getting a lot of kickback.’

Punters who backed horses that settled back did their money cold. The Stewards' Report told the tale of woe with poor performances being blamed on horses not handling the track or the kickback.

If the QRIC Stewards aren’t prepared to put a ‘please explain’ to the Club and its Track Curator (whoever he is – in the case of Ramdhani many believe it’s another groundhog day of his career), then Racing Queensland needs to step in ASAP.

These are the questions that stakeholders want answered:

WHAT is being done to eradicate the kickback and dust that resulted in bias towards the on-pacers at the Jewel meeting? Can they be assured of a level playing field at future meetings on the new track?

WILL this mean more racing on the despised Poly track will the problem is corrected at a time when even the Sunshine Coast is using its cushion as a back-up despite stakeholders making officialdom well aware they don’t want to race there?

IS Nevesh Rhamdani still the Track Curator? If so, where was he when a major meeting was being held at the Gold Coast? If he was interstate, why? If he was present why didn't he front the SKY cameras to explain the state of the track.

IF he has resigned are the stories true that his replacement can’t even drive a tractor or is that just another industry myth and who was responsible for preparing the track for the Jewel meeting – Mr Rhamdani or a replacement?

How much money has been spent establishing what at Millions time looked to be a magnificent new surface and how has it been able to degenerate into a goat track in such a short time?

Saturday was an embarrassment for Queensland racing – yet again!

Many long-time followers of racing on the Gold Coast are saying the club should bite the bullet, bring former Curator Steve Andrews back from Beaudesert and get down on hands and knees and beg him to return to the top job and fix the damage that has been done to the new track.   

 

INTERESTING THOUGHT FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN ‘COINCIDENCES’

PERHAPS it was a coincidence but a couple of our readers, who are keen form students, have pointed out an interesting aspect of two recent feature races in Sydney.

We’re not suggesting anything untoward but what were the odds of this happening?

Nash Rawiller got lost on Buenos Noches, the $1.75 favourite for the Group 2 Expressway Stakes at Randwick on February 17. It came from an impossible position to finish fourth (of seven) behind King of Sparta $4 which was given the run of the race by James Macdonald.

Fast forward to last Saturday at Randwick and just reverse the positions of the two champion jocks in the Group 1 Verry Elleegant Stakes.

Rawiller ‘box seats’ on Think It Over $8.50 to score an upset win over the $1.30 favourite Fangirl ridden by James McDonald who cops plenty of punters criticism for his ride.

Here’s what one of our readers had to say:

‘It came as no surprise to see Waller stable spin doctor big Richie alibi the ride of JMac on Fangirl. He says while Nash took the short cuts on the inside before easing to the middle which won him the race, JMac did not have the luxury of that option and rode Fangirl exactly as he did at her previous run. Unfortunately, Think It Over gained too big a break and Fangirl could not reel him in but it wasn’t her jockey’s fault.’

Another contributor added:

‘There are a few things to be learnt out of Saturday’s racing. Fangirl is no Winx. Punters were entitled to question the rides of Rawiller a fortnight ago on Buenos Noches and McDonald last Saturday on Fangirl. JMac has a terrible record when he’s short-priced in the Jockeys’ Challenge (he failed at $1.12 on Saturday). And never be surprised by form reversals from Waller-trained horses (like Atishu) especially when they are plunged from the time the betting opens.’

AND finally this one:

‘I wrote a few weeks ago raising the question whether Corey Brown would be better used by SKY to ask some of his former jockey mates to explain their bad rides on fancied runners rather than to just do a ‘suck-up’ job to the winners. What he does at present is a waste of space and the punters are sick of hearing him say what a great ride it was. He seems to be parroting his praise even more often since I highlighted how the punters feel. The big loser in all of this is the credibility of SKY but one gets the impression they aren’t interested in any form of constructive criticism.’  

 

DO STEWARDS GET ‘THEIR PANTS PULLED DOWN’ EVERY RACE DAY?

ONE could argue that all over the country most days of the racing year some trainers are experts at pulling stewards’ pants down.

We say that tongue-in-cheek but when it physically happened in South Australia recently the stewards decided the right penalty was a five-year disqualification.

They had to be kidding. Sure it wasn’t the right thing to do. But five years when they let some of those bandits on the track go around there every week pulling their pants down, it’s time the SA stipes got their priorities right.

Let’s face it South Australian racing is a basket case and this decision has done nothing to improve its image. They can’t continue to hang their hat on the occasional border-hoping interloper that wins a feature race in Victoria to prop the industry up.

The strike-rate of favourites on home soil of a Saturday is woeful. Too many things tend to go wrong. Here are too things that happened last weekend at the main meeting of the week at Morphettville Parks.

As Tom Biddington reported for the Adelaide Advertiser:

‘RACING, particularly in South Australia, can throw up some strange things.

Less than 24 hours after it was revealed former trainer Todd Balfour had been disqualified for five years by Racing SA stewards for “dacking” an official at Kangaroo Island racecourse last month, an ambulance caught fire after the fourth race at Morphettville Parks on Saturday.

What price that double?

The incident saw the fire brigade and police attend to the strewn vehicle just past the winning post, but thankfully nobody was hurt.

Stewards were able to deal with the situation quickly, with the following race only running three minutes late.

“I’ve never seen that one before, another first,” steward Peter Ryan, who also chaired the Murray Bridge meeting that was abandoned because of rogue tumbleweeds 14 months ago, said.

“Smoke started filling their cabin from underneath the driver’s seat, so there was an electrical fire and they put the extinguisher on it and put it out.

“Once the fire crew disconnected the battery, they were happy for us to go on.”

And Richie Callander reports in his column for Racenet:

‘Mail was South Australian Racing Officials were left fuming on Saturday afternoon when its broadcast partner was still showing an owner interview from Flemington as the last horse was loaded into the gates for the seventh race at Morphettville doing them no favours with wagering.’

All of this and only days away from one of South Australia’s biggest race meetings of the year – the running of the Adelaide Cup on Monday. What odds something goes wrong there?    

 

FARM SEIZURE – MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FOR DROP-KICK GREENS

THE Greens are living in fairyland if they think their radical plan to forcibly seize Eagle Farm racecourse and turn it into affordable housing and public green space.

At the last Brisbane City Council elections (in 2000) the Greens’ vote rose from 10.2 per cent to 17.8 per cent and they won a solitary ward.

It’s a mission impossible for these drop-kicks who hate horse racing to even dream of overtaking the LNP’s 45.88% of the vote (19 wards) and Labor’s 32.87% (or five wards).

So why is any air-time – or oxygen as Racing Queensland CEO Jason Scott so rightly called it – being given to this ‘absurd, preposterous and financially irresponsible’ plan (also his words)?

Greens Lord Mayoral candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan (does this bloke still live on a houseboat and pay no Council rates as one of our readers suggested?) has announced his intentions to compulsorily acquire Eagle Farm for affordable housing and public green space if the Greens win the looming Brisbane City Council election.

He claims about $40 million in Council funds would be sufficient for the plan which would also look to share housing construction costs with the State Government.

At last RQ has broken its silence on the issue through CEO Jason Scott:

“I have tried to avoid responding to Jonathon’s ridiculous policy as not to provide it with oxygen. However, with council elections around the corner it is imperative that RQ make it clear how preposterous this policy is from a financially irresponsible political party.

“The racing industry is very important to this state and resuming Eagle Farm is not progress. Racing employs 15,000 people, is self-funding through race field fees and Point Of Consumption tax and to risk that by giving away our headquarters by resuming Eagle Farm is nonsense.

“Having two tracks (Eagle Farm and Doomben) so close to the centre of Brisbane is one of racing’s biggest assets. The synergies the Brisbane Racing Club receives through having one labour force is worth millions.”

At least after the next election Lord Mayoral failure, Mr Sriranganathan, might find another box-headed scheme to focus his sights on – closing Eagle Farm down certainly won’t win him any votes.

 

A DECADE ON & QLD RACING STILL AWAITS ASIAN RIDERS TO ARRIVE

GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST provides his weekly contribution:

IT has been a decade since I've been trying to highlight the need to look to Asian countries to be part of the solution to lack of jockeys and track riders even in parts of South East Queensland.

If I told you some of the things I've been told why we can't resolve the problem and also the promises about getting CRICOS Commonwealth register institutions courses for overseas students you would shake your head.

Archie Butterfly (peterprofit.com) compiled a great story on how New Zealand do it with overseas kids becoming apprentices. I've had a hand with three going over there.

Now to the ABC story of December last year from Rockhampton about how a Mauritius lad is going to our Apprentice School. I ask the RJC how this could happen with no CRICOS. Please feel free to answer my question. Trust me I'd be happy to be wrong.

 

SOME INTERESTING COMMENTS ON THE WAGERING INDUSTRY Q&A

PETER MAIR weighs in about the Question & Answer Forum being conducted by Racenet concerning the state of the Australian wagering industry:

THIS Q&A on Racnet is interesting/

https://www.racenet.com.au/news/topsport-ceo-tristan-merlehan-answers-the-burning-questions-on-the-current-state-of-the-australian-wagering-industry-20240225

Except by inference, there is little concept of the punters feeling 'robbed' and opting out.

If the 'over-round bookmaker percentages were made known for each race, it would likely be instructive to administrators and governments and punters - administrators have been inflating race-fields to build turnover, and governments have been  taxing bookmakers to reclaim the excessive take from rough results for punters.

As a kid, I remember betting on a 'spin of the wheel' with odds split between 'Esmeralda', 'Peter Pan' and a 'Bolter' among other options. I am thinking the 'take' was modest to entertain, not rapacious, and to slowly fund the building of a new church.’

 

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

FLEMINGTON

EIGHT out of the 10 favourites were successful resulting in a ‘super’ day for punters. These included: SANS DOUTE $2.25, ARAMCO $2.40, BIG WATCH $5.5, BOLD BASTILLE $2.1, ANOTHER WIL $1.5, ESTRIELLA $3.2, ATISHU $4 & ARRAN BAY $4.

The worst results for punters were SOUTHPORT TYCOON $19 in the G1 Australian Guineas & DIAMOND DECORATOR $12.,

 

RANDWICK

ONLY two favourites were successful on the 10-race card (STORM BOY at $1.18) & (MANAAL at $2.05).

To be fair most of the other winners were under $10 barring the last – PHEARSON at $12.

EAGLE FARM

ONLY two favourites – HOLD ON HONEY $2.5 & SHARP DAZZLER $1.95 – were successful from 10 races with some absolute blowout results for punters.

The rot set in early when CAN’T RECALL ONE $13 was successful, followed by WINSTON SMURFHILL $31 (controversial dead-heat), MILIARENSE $26, KANAZAWA $10 & THESECONDATPORTSEA $13.

MORPHETTVILLE PARKS

FOUR favourites from nine races was almost a ‘full moon’ day in South Australia – those winners being DYER $2.6, KARAKA KIWI $3.8, TAPINFORPAR $2.9 & TAHNEE TREASURE $2.9.

The biggest upset of the day was ANGELIC APPEAL $9 in the second.

           

 

JAMIE KAH SILENCES CRITICS WITH TWO G1’S IN AS MANY WEEKS

IT took a while – and even she is in disbelief – but JAMIE KAH has silenced the critics who claimed she would never return to her brilliant best after a life-threatening fall.

In the past two weeks Kah has ridden upset Group 1 winners Hayasugi in the Blue Diamond at Caulfield and Southport Tycoon in the Australian Guineas at Flemington.

Both rides were gems and a far cry from the weeks when she struggled to reproduce her riding best after that horrifying fall at Flemington a year ago where she ended up in a coma suffering bleeding to the brain.

Fast forward and Kah has enjoyed which she describes as ‘the best few weeks of my life.’

She was engaged to fellow top jockey Ben Melham, rode a Group 1 double and her other highlight was attending a Taylor Swift concert. “The last few weeks just feel really weird but it’s cool,” Kah said. “Hopefully it means it’s going to be an awesome year.”

Southport Tycoon’s G1 triumph capped a big day for top trainer Ciaron Maher who also combined with Kah to win with the promising Another Wil and Estriella (Blake Shinn) in the $1 million Inglis Sprint.

It wasn’t as good a day for Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller apart from his form reversal plunge win with Atishu in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes.

Stablemate Riff Rocket ran a heavily-backed favorite but had to be content with third behind Southport Tycoon in the Australian Guineas while in Sydney Waller amazingly didn’t train a winner.

Punters lost plenty when the Waller-trained hotpots Fangirl $1.3 (2nd to Think It Over in the G1 Verry Elleegant Stakes) and Hinged $2.1 (2nd to Hell Hath No Fury in the G2 Guy Walter Stakes) were surprisingly beaten.

They can blame the deteriorating track condition, as smart as she is Fangirl doesn’t warrant the comparisons to Winx that she was attracting.

 

TIMELY WAKE-UP CALL FOR RQ ON THESE DESPISED POLY TRACKS

WHAT’S wrong with these rocket scientists at Racing Queensland?

Their poor decision-making means there will be no racing in the Sunshine State this Sunday which is simply unacceptable.

The meeting was transferred to the Poly track because the turf one was unsuitable for racing but failed to attract sufficient nominations.

Are these dunces at RQ the only ones oblivious to the well-established fact that punters and a good percentage of stakeholders detest racing on Poly tracks?

Not only is tonight’s meeting at the Sunshine Coast transferred to the despised poly surface but Sunday’s attempt to do the same has seen Sunday abandoned yet they have still not learnt from their mistakes and transferred the one on Sunday week to the Poly as well.

No one doubts the turf surfaces need a break but if RQ decides that should happen there are plenty of other tracks available to avoid poor acceptances and declining turnover racing on the Poly.

The same situation has been occurring at the Gold Coast but at least the new turf track will be back in action there for a big meeting tomorrow week.

Come on CEO Jason Scott don’t be dragged down by poor decision making of your First Lieutenants – act now to avoid another abandonment at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday week – the industry deserves better.

 

SOME GOOD ADVICE IF YOU’RE QUADDY BETTING AT FLEMINGTON

REGULAR contributor PETER MAIR gave punters some good advice about betting at Flemington recently and here is his follow-up relating to Saturday’s meeting:

SATURDAYS' MELBOURNE QUADRELLA at FLEMINGTON on Races 7-8-9-10 and RVL is shooting for three-in-a-row.

Restricting the focus to the last four races at Flemington on Saturday, likely to hold millions of dollars in the largest quadrella pools across the nation, what can we expect?

These four races have hallmarks of another 'no win' outcome for the most-punter set that pay the freight, kicking hard-earned into races and pools that will have the usual predators salivating. As Pavlov foreshadowed -- a bell starting ringing on Wednesday will whet predator-appetites to ravenous by Saturday. Someone could get bitten.

Race 7 -- 19 inexperienced, 3YO fillies will be running down an unfamiliar straight course with $1 million up for grabs, not least a generous 'covering costs' $20, 000 payable for running 10th. What do most punters think will happen?

Races 8&9 are G1 & G2’s to be run over 1600 -- fields of 15 &16 over this 'T&D' never bodes well for all runners getting a fair go -- expectations further deteriorate when the SPs suggest 'half the fields' are no-hopers hoping to hang on for a handout.

Race 10, a BM 84 with 14 to start  over the notorious 1400, illustrates the inclination of administrators to inflate turnover with a 'last-leg' that often resembles a raffle.

The Master-in-Lunacy will be interested in the details of punters having a crack at this quadrella on Saturday.

PS: I will be wrong one day -- but don't bet on it.

 

WORD OF WARNING FOR THOSE WHO DON'T RECALL HIS WILD DAYS

THAT debonair bookie Garry Gorrie, who cut a swathe through the betting rings and night clubs of North Queensland in the olden days, is back in town.

The octogenarian playboy (think we got that right) has returned from his new homeland in Phuket for his annual visit to spend some time reminiscing about the good old days in the north (pity he gets a few facts muddled though).

Warning to the industry – lock up your girls. The old fella will be firing at the Brekky Creek today with some good mates – Kevin Cox (a trainer who used to stay in a caravan at Cluden in the carnival heydays), Ken Ord (a former jockey best known as a Buddy Holly impersonator) and Tim Taylor (other half of the popular ownership duo that includes Bill Mumford). Here's hoping Gorrie is back off the bottled water and drinking his beloved Brekky Creek beer.

Cluden in the 70’s will be high on the agenda. Message to his mates – believe about a tenth of what Gaz tells you happened back then and ask him about his recent visit to Godzilla World in Japan.

 

 STILL TIME TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LGHR LATE MAIL SPECIAL

 THERE’S still time to subscribe to the LGHR LATE MAIL Autumn to the start of Spring Special.

 It’s for those who don’t want to bet all year round and focusses on the bigger races of the Autumn in Sydney and Melbourne leading into the Brisbane Winter.

The cost is only $150 and for that you get the ratings sheet for Saturday, Sunday and public holiday racing. That’s less than a cup of coffee and our results are as good, if not better, than those services that charge an arm and a leg.

If you’re interested just text 0407175570 and will provide payment details. It costs less than a cup of coffee each week.  

 

‘BACK THE BRONCOS – IT’S A BETTER BET THAN FAVS AT THE GALLOPS’

LIONEL of the GOLD COAST makes an interesting assessment of the RUGBY LEAGUE season (more to the point betting on it) which launches in LAS VEGAS this weekend:

WITH the NRL season launch in Las Vegas this weekend, as a long-time follower of rugby league I would like to provide a tip for the many punters who have deserted betting on horse racing.

Let me preface this by saying that every week I barrack for the side that is playing the Brisbane Broncos, not because I doubt they are a great side but I just can’t cop the perceived ‘start’ they get in this competition.

If ever there was a need for a ‘draft’ like they have in Australian Rules, the Broncos are a classic example of why it should happen in rugby league. They seem to be able to fit more stars under their salary cap than six of the battling sides in the competition.

Add to that the decisions that just seem to go their way – I’m not for one moment saying the referees are ‘cheating’ – but ask any league follower apart from a Broncos’ fan and they will tell you the questionable decisions always seem to go the way on Brisbane.

As for ‘start’ how lucky were a couple of their players to have Government intervention with the United States to enable them to overcome Visa problems that arguably would have prevented many young Australians with a similar blot on their copybook from being cleared to travel to Las Vegas.

My advice when it comes to the Broncos is this:

Most games they will be at almost unbackable odds to win – they are $1.55 for their clash with the Roosters in Vegas this weekend. I will be backing Brisbane to win by 13-plus at $3.35 and that will be my punting strategy on rugby league all season. It is my opinion that their strength in ‘stars’ will enable them to over-power most sides early in the game and make a one-team affair of their games.

And by the way the $4.25 for the Broncos to upstage the favourites, the Panthers at $3.75 and atone for last year’s unlucky Grand Final defeat spells delicious odds for mine.

 

FUTURE OF THE INDUSTRY LIES AT THE FEET OF THE FEMALES

GREG BLANCHARD of the GOLD COAST makes his weekly contribution:

“IF you check provincial and country racing you will notice most apprentices are females.

And if you look at a list of stable hands, most seem to be women.

I checked trainees at Racing Queensland and out of 12 listed in their February Magazine 10 were girls.

So we would not have a racing industry without women in it so. I salute you.”

 

STAKEHOLDERS NEED TO KNOW METRO TRACK PLANS FOR HARNESS

JOHN THE FIREMAN has followed up on the tough-provoking email from SHANE last week about the future of HARNESS RACING in QUEENSLAND.

“THE harness code code is one of three that makes up the industry for which Racing Queensland is responsible to administer by Government law.  

We need to move on from the past decisions around the code and focus on the current situation.

Firstly, we know that a metropolitan track plus Redcliffe and Marburg are the only tracks that RQ, its Board and the Government will provide to deliver the race program. FACT.

Once the Metro track is decided – which may see Albion Park come back from the grave as the Government is broke and has no money in the foreseeable future to develop a site at Norwell for racing, training or anything.

Harness stakeholders need the answer to the Metro track situation ASAP so everyone can move on with some certainty. It’s fairly obvious but what a disgrace this hasn’t happen.

Once the three tracks are confirmed then maybe the code will have the chance to develop and address issues that will improve each facility to meet modern-day needs.

Until this is resolved, frustration will remain around stakeholders and no real forward planning can happen. So surely someone in Government will make the decision soon.

Future stabling/training facilities (like the gallops have) is an issue harness has to work through with RQ once a decision is made.

The race product comes down to the same as all codes. QRIC needs to deliver to the stakeholders and punters “Best Practice” testing and monitoring of the Rules.

Harness needs to ask the punter through a WPS survey the direct question what are the issues they have with the code. Then when developing the three tracks an opportunity to fix can be looked at.

Let’s hope a Metro track decision is forthcoming very soon.”

   

WEEKEND WATCHDOG

DOOMBEN

ONCE again BRISBANE was the blackout state for punters last Saturday with ONE FAVORITE – BOOM TORQUE at $1.55 – successful on the 10-race card.

The rot set in early when DISPUTED RIVER $12 won the opener followed by the upset wins of HE’S FOR THE GIRLS16, MISHANI LILY $15, TUHINGA $19 & SEA RAIDER at $101 (it hadn’t won for 720 days and had been unplaced at his last 13 starts).

Is it any wonder punters have no confidence betting on Queensland racing and there are calls for the QRIC Commissioner and his Chief Thoroughbred Steward to be sacked?

 

MORPHETTVILLE

FROM a punters’ perspective there are similar integrity issues in South Australia but all they want to talk about are the feature winners that cross the border to Victoria (and good luck to them).

But on the home front nothing improves with only ONE FAVOURITE successful – MARIMENKO at $3.2 – from nine races last Saturday.

Just take a look at some of the UPSET RESULTS – FLOSSING $12, HERSATAR $31, EMERALD COURT $21, SNAPPED $11 & SOLAR BLAST $13.

RACING in SOUTH AUSTRALIA should be branded with a warning: ‘BETTING HERE IS A WEALTH HAZARD’!

 

ROSEHILL

ONLY three favorites were successful on the 10-race card and one of those was in the Hi-Way (it must have been a full moon) – BELVEDERE BOYS $3.2, STRAIGHT CHARGE $2.45 & GENTLY ROLLED $3.9.

When you look at some of the upsets it’s a wonder the punters are still standing in Sydney – DR EVIL $20, SHADOWS OF LOVE $10, MORE FELONS $21 & WELWAL $18.

 

CAULFIELD

IT was even worse for favourite backers in Victoria on Saturday when only two of 10 were successful – CAMPIONESSA $2.7 (after GOLD TRIP blew like a gale and ran out of steam at the finish – the bookies crystal ball was spot-on yet again) & MR BRIGHTSIDE $1.5 (in the Futurity).

Some of the bad results for punters included: TWIN PERFECTION $41, RAIKOKE $10, HAYASUGI $16 (in the BLUE DIAMOND) & QUEMAN $17 (in the Oakleigh Plate).

 

 

IS THIS YET ANOTHER REASON QRIC COMMISSIONER SHOULD GO?

MANY stakeholders believe that there is no hope for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission if the ‘head honcho’ survives the current Review into its performance.

Story goes in the wake of a dust-up with Commissioner Shane Gillard that his Deputy Natalie O’Connor has taken unexpected leave with the date of her return to work unknown.

Insiders say this follows an instruction from Gillard that the Chief Stewards of all three codes will in future report to him rather than O’Connor which has occurred in the past.

Archie Butterfly on his well-read subscriber-only site, www.peterprofit.com reports:

THE latest word on the street is that there appears to have been a fall-out mid-Review between the QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard and his Deputy Commissioner Natalie O’Connor, with both said to be pointing the finger of blame at the other for the mass mess of culture and management problems inside the organisation that have emerged during the Review.

In somewhat of a surprise move, of the KPMG led (misled?) Review, we are told that as of 5pm last Friday the Deputy Commissioner has taken unplanned leave, with her return to work date unknown.

This taking of leave is said to have followed a Gillard-ordered change of reporting lines for the Chief Stewards of the three codes, who formerly reported to Connor but now report directly to him as big boss of the integrity body.

The budget is also said to have blown already, just over half way through the financial year, a predicament of the QRIC’s own making that led to the recent decision to cut race-day staff and swab numbers. That decision was of course overturned in an embarrassing backflip after we (peterprofit.com) made public the details, sparking industry uproar about the ill-thought out plan.

With the Commissioner’s own contract said to be up for renewal at the end of the year it appears that there is a whole lot of ‘man the lifeboats’ but ‘let me on first’ going on inside the place right now, with it seemingly being a case of every person for themselves and let the rest drown.

There are no Happy Days signs on the front door of the QRIC offices at the moment, that’s for sure.  

Hopefully Commissioner Gillard’s days are numbered – whether the LNP wins office and shows him the door or Labor unexpected retains Government and the Racing Minister realises she made the wrong choice and punts him.

OVER TO YOU - Murdoch spin doctor - to explain why we need your man running QRIC!

TOP STRATEGIES TO SUCCEED WHEN BETTING ON HORSE RACING

HORSE RACING, which is also known as the “Sport of Kings”, is a blend of tradition, speed and strategy. This game originates from the ancient civilizations where it was not just played as a sport, but it was used to test the excellence and prowess among riders. In today’s world, horse racing is a premier event where spectators come from every division.

The popularity that it has gained it is not just because of the love of the people for the game but it also includes horse racing betting. Placing a bet is not just a wager we are investing, it’s also about knowing the animals, jockeys, tracks and other factors which can affect the outcome of the race.

This appeal of racing and betting practice depends on the availability of betting options. Even if you’re a casual observer or you’re a seasoned punter, there’s something for everyone. But which we enter in the world of Horse racing betting, it is imperative to approach towards it with respect and understanding of the strategies.

In the next section, we will explore some of the top strategies which can be useful in betting on a horse race. We will also try to break down some jargons and how to navigate the odds.

UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS: KEY JARGON EXPLAINED

Before going further, one should be aware about some of the jargons from the betting world as well as from horse racing. “Odds” represent the likelihood of an outcome which is directly related to payout. The “favorite” is considered as the horse which is most likely to win. “Longshots” are the horses which are less likely to win but at the same time they will offer higher payouts if they win.

THE IMPORTANCE OF ODDS

Odds should not be considered as simple numbers. They are the chances of a horse winning the race. The odds change rapidly during the game as it is also based on the number of people betting on the horse as it will lower the odds. In simple terms, if you place a bet on a favorite then you will have a smaller payout but higher chances of winning. On the other hand, if you place the bet on a longshot, then the risk is high but the payout is even higher.

STRATEGY 1: RESEARCH & ANALYSIS

Your homework matters a lot in horse race betting. You should undertake your own research on the performance history of the horse and under what conditions they perform better, how they are trained and what’s their background (or form).

The performance of a jockey should not be forgotten with the similar insights. This approach can uncover potential winners and determine the chances of winning for the horse.

STRATEGY 2: BETTING TYPES & THEIR USES

There are different types of bets used in horse racing. Apart from the normal “win” bet where we are betting on a horse to win, there is a “place” bet and “show” bet. A “place” bet is betting if the horse will finish first or second and “show” is first, second, or third. There are other bets like "exactas," "quinellas," or "trifectas" which includes predicting the exact finish order, or top two or more horses and they also offer a higher payout as it requires precision.

STRATEGY 3: MONEY MANAGEMENT

Money management is always a critical element in betting. One should always set a budget and stick to it which can help you refrain from placing a bet for more than you can afford. Normally, you can place bets by setting a fixed percentage of your total betting budget.

STRATEGY 4: DIVERSIFICATION

A common strategy that can be useful is to diversify your bets. This can spread the risk associated and increase your chances of success. This is similar to investment diversification in stocks to mitigate loss and capitalize winnings.

STRATEGY 5: EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY

In the current world of technology, data is seamless. One can also use online resources, betting apps and some databases to enhance your strategy. They can offer up-to-date information on horse statistics, race conditions and sometimes even predictive analytics and providing a competitive edge in making better decisions.

STRATEGY 6: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT

No doubt, the horse race bets require knowledge and strategy but it also requires control over your emotions. To remain in discipline is an art and you can avoid impulsive decisions based on your recent losses and wins.

TO CONCLUDE...

The world of horse race betting demands more than your passion. It requires mindset, understanding and discipline. We have uncovered different approaches which can contribute to your success and can help you use the jargons appropriately.

Apart from the strategies like effective money management and leveraging technology, approaching Horse racing betting in a responsible and informed manner cannot be overstated. As the bettors refine their strategies and deepen their understanding, they also contribute to the culture of horse racing.

Embrace the challenge, enjoy the overall process and may your passion to the Sport of Kings bring you not just financial rewards but deeper connection too with horse racing.

 

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