Jenny - Clean

ARE THERE A SHADE TOO MANY COINCIDENCES IN THE MUNCE CASE?

LEGITIMATE questions are being asked by some of our readers in relation to the latest hurdle hit by high profile jockey-cum-trainer Chris Munce but don’t expect too many answers.

Whilst we aren’t prepared to publish a couple of contributions to the Wednesday Whinge because the latest case involving Munce and his son Corey has yet to be concluded, it is obvious that confusion reigns with some in racing.

CARL T of the GOLD COAST writes:

HAVE to agree with your mate Archie Butterfly (on peterprofit.com) that it seems a strange coincidence a near two-year Stewards’ Inquiry into alleged illegal treatment by trainer Chris Munce comes to light just four days after the conclusion of the Winter Carnival.

I guess we have to accept it’s also a coincidence that Munce has been charged with doping a mare, and that six of his seven winners during the current carnival were mares to, and as Archie pointed out, won races worth $130,000, $150,000 and $200,000, along with one that placed in a $700,000 Group 1 last Saturday.

My friends and I have been involved in racing in Queensland for a long time and we pose the same question as Archie: How did Munce get his license back after serving 30 months in jail for a racing-related crime? It has to be one of the greatest mysteries of the turf.

Just have a look at who first licensed Gerald Ryan when he returned to Australia after fleeing to Asia amid some terrible accusations (which he is still to confront) emanating from behind the scenes in his training career in Melbourne. It was, of course, Queensland Racing.

 

WHAT ODDS MUNCE ESCAPES LATEST HURDLE ON LEGAL TECHNICALITY?

AND this one from JEFF N of BRISBANE:

ANOTHER top trainer represented by the best racing lawyer in Queensland and what odds he gets off – probably that stewards were mistaken in what they thought they saw on stable CCTV footage?

You blokes at LGHR keep bagging the stewards but you should take a closer look at what happens just about every time there is a high profile inquiry.

The stewards try to do their jobs but are stymied by all these fancy ‘natural justice’ manoeuvres by smart lawyers which tend to confuse members of QCAT, especially those who are totally ignorant of ‘racing rules’. When are we going to get that promised new Appeals Panel?

Don’t think we are supportive of all the stewards operating in Queensland where some of the best in the world have been dispensed with over the years. Take the latest – Alan Reardon – was that his name we saw listed recently as a ‘club steward’ at a Gympie meeting.

We agree with the opinion of many that Peter Chadwick is the worst Chief Steward ever in racing in Queensland and should never have been appointed (that’s a story for another day).

Spare a thought for Daniel Aurisch, arguably the best on the QRIC panel, Isn’t it ironic that the moment the Chris Munce case emerges, Chadwick conveniently takes leave – probably just another coincidence or once he saw the Perry Mason of racing justice in Queensland was appearing did he throw Aurisch one of the best ‘hospital passes’ of all time?

 

AND finally this email from BETH H which was short and sweet:

‘PETER Chadwick is on a month’s leave – hopefully he’s job hunting’.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We couldn’t agree more.       

 

VIVIENNE LEGGETT, A LIFE DESTROYED BY RACING – in her OWN WORDS

JUSTHORSERACING recently interviewed VIVIENNE LEGGETT (photo courtesy of FAIRFAX MEDIA), the lady who won a Federal Court battle with the Hawkesbury Race Club over Workplace Laws which saw a Judge scathing of her treatment by Greg Rudolph, when he was an administrator there.

Justice Rares, in his decision on Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club, stated:

‘In my opinion, the club’s conduct, through Mr Rudolph, effectively destroyed Mrs Leggett’s life.

She cannot work and, as the joint experts agreed, is permanently incapacitated from doing so because of Mr Rudolph’s conduct.

That conduct caused a very serious psychiatric illness that can never be cured.’

We reproduce the interview JHR interview undertaken by Adam Page which was published under the headline: VIVIEENE LEGGETT, A Life Destroyed By Racing, which reads:

TO the wider racing industry, the vast majority won’t know who Vivienne Leggett is and what she has done for racing, spanning three decades.

She was a very successful sponsorship manager of the Hawkesbury Race Club (HRC). She joined in 1991 and worked there for 26 years, with her hard work pumping significant money into the HRC.

That love, passion and dedication for her job came to a grinding halt in May 2016 when Greg Rudolph, a former Racing NSW deputy chairman of stewards, was appointed CEO. Fast forward five months and thanks to sustained bullying from Rudolph, Leggett was left with depression, fatigue, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

After the HRC ‘repudiated’ her contract, Leggett took her battle to the courts and after several years of fighting, the Federal Court ruled in the corner of Leggett, where the HRC was ordered to pay her a total of just over $2.8 Million. Full findings can be found here.

In an interview with Adam Page from Justhorseracing, Mrs Leggett details what she has been through over the past six years.

AP: Thanks for your time Vivienne. First of all, how are you?

VL: Well besides feeling broken from this almost six year ordeal, I feel all my emotions have been validated by the Federal Courts Honour’s judgement and orders set down recently.

AP: If I say the name Greg Rudolph, what comes to mind?

VL: Arrogant, anxiety, heart palpitations and disgust.

AP: That first meeting with him back in 2016…how long did it take you for realise what he was like?

VL: I knew straight away that he was a control freak as he very proudly told the admin staff this the first day he started. I thought at our first meeting that he was going to make my life difficult as he told me I was “a nothing”.

AP: How disappointed are you in the HRC for not being in your corner during the time of bullying?

VL: Extremely disappointed. Their actions or lack thereof made my condition far worse.

AP: Does Brian Fletcher have questions to answer, in your opinion?

VL: No I don’t think so, although he did recommend Greg Rudolph to the Board. But, the Board should have done there own due diligence before hiring him and maybe set some perimeters during his time on probation.

Our agreement we had in place was by handshake and mutually agreeable however the fact I did not have a contract in place gave Rudolph the idea that he could just bully and harass me because I had no formalised contract, but Justice Rares understood that I did have a contract in place for my 26 years as that’s how I was being paid and in the eyes of the law that is a contract in itself.

AP: During the darkest of dark times during this period, how low was your mental state and how serious were the suicidal thoughts?

VL: I was referred to St John Of God Rehab because of my suicidal thoughts and mental state but Racing NSW refused to pay under Workers Comp and they withheld any funds from me for 13 months so I could not afford to go to rehab.

AP: How big of an issue is the bullying of women in racing?

VL: Bullying of women in the workforce seems to be rampant, not just in racing.

AP: What would your advice be to someone getting bullied at work?

VL: My advice would be to trust yourself and know it’s not your fault. Talk to your doctor and get help before your mental state spirals out of control.

 

NO MAINSTREAM MEDIA REPORT  OF ROLE PVL PLAYED IN CASE

THE reason LGHR reproduced the above interview is to provide background for our readers to an email received from ANDREW E (a prominent Gold Coast racing identity), concerning the Hawkesbury Race Club case:

An excerpt from that notification reads:

‘According to documents produced by the (Hawkesbury) Race Club and before the (Federal) Court, Racing NSW CEO Mr Peter V’landys advised Mr (Greg) Rudolph that he shouldn’t make any payments to Mrs Leggett other than her basic statutory entitlements, notwithstanding that she has been a highly valued employee of the club for over 25 years and had generated millions of dollars in revenue for the club.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: This again raises the interesting question of why the mainstream racing media in Sydney, spearheaded by the ‘spin doctor’ for PVL, Ray Thomas haven’t bothered to question the ‘NSW Racing God’ in the wake of the court decision and especially the criticism of Greg Rudolph, who is now a steward in SA, left to cop the brunt of the blame with his reputation in tatters after a nightmare sojourn in racing administration in Hawkesbury. It again highlights the unhealthy relationship between high profile turf scribes and commentators with officialdom of Racing NSW. Whatever happened to the days when their job was to represent the punters, the racing public and the interests of the industry stakeholders?   

  

 

CHRIS MUNCE CHARGED OVER TREATMENT OF LISTED WINNER IN 2020

CHRIS Munce, the jockey-turned-trainer who was jailed in Hong Kong for providing tips for horses he was riding, has been charged by stewards in Queensland over a matter dating back to 2020.

Munce faced a Stewards’ Inquiry at Doomben today (Tuesday) and was charged with administering an alkalinising agent. It was revealed that stable CCTV footage will be central to an additional 10 matters under investigation.

Racing authorities seized stable CCTV footage after an inspection of Munce’s stables at Eagle Farm in October 2020 and he was initially suspended for three months on a charge involving treatment given to the mare Lady Brahmos. That ban was subsequently reduced to a $5,000 fine after an Internal Review.

QRIC stewards have since spent an incredible 18 months examining more CCTV footage which resulted in Munce being charged over treatment allegedly given to Skate To Paris before she won the Listed Brisbane Stakes at Doomben in September 2020. His son, Corey, who was a stable-hand at the time, has been charged with being a party to the administration.

Chairman of the inquiry, Daniel Aurisch, has indicated that of 21 additional matters relating to the CCTV footage, there were 10 that remained the subject of the stewards’ inquiry.

Chris and Corey Munce have pleaded not guilty to the charges and are being defended by ‘gun’ racing barrister Jim Murdoch who has a terrific strike rate, especially when it comes to beating ‘treatment’ charges.

Their defence is spearheaded by claims that much of the CCTV footage is ‘ambiguous or inconclusive’. Stewards agreed to an adjournment to allow the Munce legal time more time to examine the CCTV footage. The inquiry is expected to be concluded in a fortnight.  

 

INSTAGRAM PHOTOS OF TOP JOCKEYS ENJOYING CAPRI IN ITALY

POSTING photographs on Instagram would suggest that the relationship between high profile jockeys Jamie Kah and Ben Melham is no longer a secret.

Melham posted a photo of the couple last night (Australian time) taken at Capri in Italy where Kah has been holidaying with a girlfriend.

Kah, 26, was formerly engaged to jockey Clayton Douglas. Melham, 34, is recovering from shoulder surgery after a fall in Adelaide and hopes to be back riding next month.

Melham and Kah were both caught at the infamous Airbnb party last year along with fellow jockeys Mark Zahra, Celine Gaudray and Ethan Brown from which they suffered hefty fines and length suspensions.

 

 

VETERAN TRAINER FAST-TRACKS RETIREMENT IN PROTEST AT POOR STANDARD OF STEWARDING COMBINED WITH HEATHCOTE TREATMENT

HIGHLY respected veteran Townsville trainer Terry Butts has fast-tracked his planned retirement in protest at the standard of stewarding in Queensland which he says has been highlighted by the penalty imposed on Brisbane colleague Rob Heathcote this week.

Heathcote, who won Saturday’s Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara with Startantes, was fined $34,000 after being charged with possessing and administrating Hemoplex, a product banned last year after it was found to contain minuscule amounts of cobalt.

The saga resulted in a number of Heathcote horses being scratched on race morning in April, including his Winter Carnival winners Startantes and Prince of Boom. The leading trainer will also be required to provide submissions to stewards to prove why the affected horses should not be disqualified from races contested when they allegedly had Hemoplex in their systems.

Butts, who has trained the winners of most major races in North Queensland, is now in his 70’s and has been battling ill-health for several years. Rather than risk facing charges of bringing the industry into disrepute for speaking out, Butts will hand in his trainer’s licence.

“The treatment and subsequent over-the-top reaction by stewards to the Heathcote situation is an absolute disgrace,” Butts said. “It has helped me make the decision to bail out of racing altogether after a 60-year association.

“Apart from being downright farcical...it is much worse than a joke. Stewards should be SACKED and replaced with a panel of some semblance of ability. The current lot obviously has none from the Chief down.

“I don’t know Rob Heathcote personally. I have never met or even spoken to the man. But that’s not the point. Seemingly idiotic decisions by arguably incompetent stewards should not have to be tolerated.

“Appeal Rob and let the entire racing world be aware of this incredible decision. Sack ‘em I say.

"I was once charged with bringing the game into disrepute (Butts wrote about an unfair system during the Bentley era in his Sillks ‘n’ Saddles column in the North Queensland Register which was republished by LGHR. The supposed integrity bosses back then tried to use Rules that applied to him as a licensed trainer to take action over something he did as an accredited journalist and Turf Writer. They lost out.)

Butt’s recalls: “I won and got a nice payout – so should Robert Heathcote get monetary compensation.

“Rather than lose my brief (as a trainer) for speaking out, they can gladly have it.”

The Courier-Mail reports that Heathcote maintains he never knew Hemoplex was banned and that it was entered into his treatment book out of a matter of habit by his staff.

The charges came after stewards inspected his stable on race morning and found 10 bottles of the substance along with a treatment book showing some horses had been treated with it, something Heathcote later argued was a clerical error as it had previously been used by him for two decades.

Chief steward Peter Chadwick charged Heathcote under AR 254(A), which relates to the administration of cobalt salts via injection, for treatment from May 1 2021, when the product was first banned until 31 December 2021, to which Heathcote pleaded not guilty as there were no records of any use of it.

He was also charged under the same rule for 23 administrations between January 1 2022 and April 23, which were found in the treatment book by stewards, to which Heathcote entered no plea.

HOOFPRINT: It appears that Peter Chadwick was MIA from Eagle Farm’s final Group 1 meeting of the season last Saturday with the Stewards’ Panel chaired by Daniel Aurisch. Perhaps he was too busy preparing for the Heathcote inquiry. With stewards to decide if the Heathcote horses administered with the treatment are disqualified and the top trainer planning an appeal against penalties imposed, chances are Aurisch will be in the drivers’ seat more often in the weeks ahead (which is good news for many), while 'Pete the Plodder'  either takes annual leave or prepares for appeals that the bookies are already betting will either be won by Heathcote or at the least penalties significantly reduced.

 

HIGHLIGHT OF WINTER HAS BEEN G1 SUCCESS OF QUEENSLANDERS

QUEENSLAND horses can boast one of their most successful Winter Carnivals winning four of the eight Group 1 races.

It might be drawing a long bow claiming Stradbroke winner Alligator Blood but he is trained for Queensland owners by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

There can be no argument about the other three. Queensland Oaks winner Gypsy Goddess is trained by David Vandyke; Tatt’s Tiara winner Startantes by Robert Heathcote and Kingsford-Smith Cup winner Apache Chasse provided Desleigh Forster with her first Group 1.

Father and son training team of Peter and Paul Snowden dominated the Group 1 success story this Winter Carnival winning the Doomben 10,000 – Cup double with Mazu and Huetor as well as the J J Atkins with former West Australian filly Sheeza Belter.

The Queensland Derby went to the Kiwis with impressive winner Pinarello prepared by regular Carnival visitor Roger James and his new training partner Robert Wellwood.

Notable absentees from the Group 1 list this carnival were Chris Waller (although he enjoyed a good deal of success in other Black Type races) and the all-conquering Victorian team of Cairon Maher and David Eustace.

The Group 1 winner that looks capable of chasing big race success in southern carnivals is Gypsy Goddess while it has to be argued that Alligator Blood is back to his brilliant best but whether he will be allowed to compete in Sydney and Melbourne remains debatable.

 

BOOKIES’ CRYSTAL BALL ON MARK AGAIN WITH DRIFTING FAVORITE

THE bookies got it right from the time betting opened on the Group 3 Healy Stakes at Eagle Farm on Saturday when all they wanted to do was lay the favourite King of Sparta.

An impressive winner of the Magic Millions Guineas in January, the Team Snowden trained three-year-old was resuming. After opening at $2.8 he drifted alarmingly to run at $4.6 favorite before finishing sixth to Juan Diva.

The Stewards’ Report read:

KING OF SPARTA: Over-raced in the early stages. Near the 1000m, had to be restrained when GREYWORM shifted in slightly and was prevented from  before being corrected by its rider for a short time when PRIME CANDIDATE shifted in and GREYWORM was awkwardly placed on its heels. Jockey T. Berry commented that the manner in which the horse over-raced early had an effect on the horse’s ability to finish the race off. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no significant abnormalities.

 

‘WALLY WORLD’ HAD IT ALL – SUCCESS, FAILURE & FORM REVERSAL

OUR weekly review of the performance from the Chris Waller stable on Saturday shows that he again dominated with four winners at Randwick.

From a punters’ perspective it wasn’t all good news though with the usual heavily-backed favorite performing poorly, a second string runner upstaging a stable fancy, and the not unexpected form reversal.

His winners were the heavily-backed Shameless Miss, the overdue Kalino, the form reversal Hulk and Francesco Guardi which upstaged stablemate and favourite Solar Apex.

We should also mention that Waller should have netted five winners for the second successive Saturday with Oscar Zuzu a good thing beaten and the ride queried by stewards.

The disappointment of the day for the stable was the one the experts were declaring in Niffler. Apprentice C. Williams reported to Stewards that the mare made the crossing near the 1600m awkwardly but travelled comfortably thereafter. He added that in the straight the mare responded only fairly to his riding and had an inclination to lay out. He reported that
on return to scale he said he was not entirely happy with his mount’s action in front. A
post-race veterinary examination revealed the mare to be lame (1/5) in the near-foreleg. Stable representative Mr C. Duckworth was advised that a veterinary clearance will be required before Niffler is permitted to race/barrier trial again.

Double figures were bet about Hulk which started at $6 and won his first race for 580 days. He was hard to back with any confidence but three runs from a spell were not all that bad.

Oscar Zulu arguably should have beaten Taksu in the Listed Civic Stakes. The Stewards’ Report read: When questioned regarding his riding, J. Parr stated that his intention was to hold a handy position on the gelding. He stated that in the early stages he was able to hold a position forward of midfield and to the inside of Dawn Passage. He said that near the 1100m, when Dawn Passage shifted in, his mount became awkward on that runner’s heels and, as a result, he was obliged to allow Dawn Passage to cross and he then was positioned directly behind that runner. He added that approaching the 800m he elected to shift in to obtain cover behind Lightning Jack in order to secure a position close to the running rail. He said that whilst this resulted in Oscar Zulu having to give some ground, as he felt the going towards the inside was superior, he was of the view that this manoeuvre would result in Oscar Zulu being best placed coming into the straight. He said that after improving to the outside of Looks Like Elvis on straightening he then became badly held up behind Carif and did not obtain clear running until near the 200m when Carif shifted out, at which point Oscar Zulu then commenced to finish off the race strongly. After considering J. Parr’s explanation and
in particular the reasons for shifting back towards the running rail near the 800m, Stewards found the tactics he adopted at this point were not unreasonable, however, he was advised that wherever possible he should ensure he does not relinquish more favourable positions at a critical stage of the event.

It wasn’t exactly a memorable day for the Waller stable as the Winter Carnival wound down in Brisbane. His $1.5 favourite Our Intrigue was beaten by Rebel Rama $11 in the Gold Crown at Eagle Farm.

The last Group 1 of the season, the Tatt’s Tiara, saw Waller finish fourth with Atishu, fifth with Kiku, seventh with Nudge and ninth with Written Beauty – and it would be fair to say that none of the four ever looked a winning hope.

 

WALLER GANG TACKLES THE G1 IN BRISBANE & THE RANDWICK CARD

WITH the ‘head honcho’ back from his globe-trotting, all conquering trip to Royal Ascot, the big question is: ‘Can the Chris Waller stable win half the card in Sydney again this weekend?’

It’s not beyond the realms of possibility with 18 starters in eight races – four in one and three in the feature Listed Civic Stakes. There are nine stablemates chasing success at Eagle Farm and three others entered at Caulfield.

The last Group 1 of the season will be run at Eagle Farm where Waller has five (one of those an emergency) accepted for the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara. Kiku has formed $17 to $9, Atishu $16-$12 and Nudge is steady at $13.

We’re inclined to think that this is the sort of race that might suit the former Kiwi Atishu, which ran third to stablemate Kiku over the Eagle Farm mile last start. Nudge, which should have won that race, has a suicidal draw to contend with but with any luck is also a winning chance in a competitive fillies & mares Group 1.

Waller’s shortest priced favourite of the day is Our Intrigue at odds-on in the Listed Gold Crown backing up after finishing runner-up in the Ipswich Cup. He also has top hope Bonny Ezra in the G3 Tattersall’s Cup. It is a dual acceptor for the Stayers Cup at Randwick.

His best hopes in Sydney, if you are to believe the early market expectations, appear to be Niffler, Shameless Miss and Solar Apex (but he does have three others in this race).   

OUR ‘Wally World’ VALUE BETS this weekend are: ATISHU in the Eagle Farm Tatt’s Tiara at $12; SOLAR APEX $4.2 to upstage stablemate Born a King at Randwick and the FIRST LIGHT a $15 chance scratched from Sydney to make its Australian debut for Waller at Caulfield.

Away from our regular preview of the Waller runners, the LGHR LATE MAIL early bets are: CAULFIELD – CARDINAL GEM. RANDWICK – SOLAR APEX. EAGLE FARM – LONDON BANKER.

 

TIME TO SEND AN SOS TO THE ‘DOG CATCHER’ ON THE STIPES' PANEL

IT didn’t take long for the wags in the country to suggest a solution to the problem of the rogue pet dog that has disrupted racing in Mackay twice in the past six meetings.

Here’s an overnight email we received from an observer in the north: ‘They should transfer the Cairns-based Chief Stipe to Mackay. He’s the ‘I’ve Been Everywhere Man’ of the panel in Queensland and has to be good at something – perhaps his calling is that of a dog catcher.’

Cujo the pooch, or that is what Michael ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ Charge of SKY has labelled him, first caused havoc prior to the last race on April 12 chasing birds through the infield. Then on Thursday he again ran rampant before authorities corralled him.

According to Charge, the dog belongs to a house near the 800m mark of the track, and on return home, very nearly came to a grim ending.

“[The dog] always exits the track at the 1560m chute, almost got cleaned up by a truck on the Peak Downs Highway in doing so though,” Charge tweeted.

Australian race meetings aren’t immune to odd reasons for delays - kangaroos are often a spanner in the works in certain areas - now this repeat offender has joined the illustrious list.

With the animal libbers no doubt watching closely, perhaps the best solution is to enlist the services of ‘Paul the Pooch Chaser’ from the stewards’ panel in the Far North – he would well know the old expression ‘if you lie down with…..’.

 

HAWKESBURY SKELETON IN CLOSET FOR FORMER QLD STEWARD

FORMER Queensland steward, Greg Rudolph, now on the panel in South Australia, is in the news for all the wrong reasons from his days as an administrator.

A situation that reportedly occurred when Rudolph was employed by the Hawkesbury Race Club has figured in a decision handed down by the Federal Court of Australia and involving Workplace Laws.

Justice Rares, in his decision on Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club, stated:

‘In my opinion, the club’s conduct, through Mr Rudolph, effectively destroyed Mrs Leggett’s life.

She cannot work and, as the joint experts agreed, is permanently incapacitated from doing so because of Mr Rudolph’s conduct.

That conduct caused a very serious psychiatric illness that can never be cured.’

If you want to read the full report pay the small subscription to Archie Butterfly’s www.peterprofit.com.

 

ONLY THREE OUTRIGHT FAVORITES WIN IN 37 RACES IN FOUR STATES

PUNTING is a tough business and those who back-up week in, week out deserve a Gold Medal.

Just take a look at last Saturday’s major meetings in four States:

IPSWICH CUP DAY:

NOT only did punters have to deal with a questionable track rating but also with a day when only one favourite was successful on the nine-race card with plenty of boilovers.

The rot set in early when the $41 chance HATTUSA upset the odds-on HONEY POT which top trainer Tony Gollan had declared his ‘kiss of death’ best of the day.

PRINCESS BOJACK at $41 won the Three-Year-Old for Downs trainer Michael Nolan despite stepping up to tougher company after being placed at four of her last five starts.

Chris Munce buried most punters with a feature training double – SMART METEOR $20 in the Ipswich Cup CENTREFIRE in the Gai Waterhouse Classic (incidentally the LGHR LATE MAIL tipped the Quinella of Our Intrigue and Smart Meteor which paid close to $45). We assess Smart Meteor on his G2 Chairman’s Handicap third but found it hard to include CENTREFIRE on her recent runs (in hindsight being able to lead on what was close to a HEAVYtrack arguably helped).

FLEMINGTON:

NOT one favourite was successful on the nine-race card although PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE had plenty of support to beat STAR PATROL in what was billed as the match-race of the day.

That was the good news. GRINZINGER BISHOP, a $71 chance won the third while his more fancied stablemate ATLANTIS TYCOON ran favourite and seventh. Trainer Danny O’Brien told racing.com the upset win by ‘the Bishop’ didn’t totally surprise him because the youngster never handled the Heavy 8 on debut at Geelong when he ran last of 14. It was a SOFT 7 at Flemington.

TEXAS TEA blew most punters out of the water in the second leg of the QUADDY at winning at $21 at his second start of the Maher-Eustace stable. The former Kiwi was back in class after running 9th, beaten more than 17 lengths in the SA Derby.

ROSEHILL GARDENS

ONE outright and one equal favourite on 10 races – par for the course at a Sydney Saturday meeting when punting on well backed runners is a wealth hazard.

Much was made of the Chris Waller stable training five winners but the ‘spin doctors’ forgot to mention in book-ended the meeting with beaten favourites that looked close to good things.

OSIPENKO, heavily backed into $2, was beaten by KIBOU in the first while EL BUENA raced below market expectations finishing 8th in the last.

As usual the favourite got beaten in the Hi-Way with Summer Glow finishing third to the $9.5 chance DON’TFORGETMONICA which was resuming and had one third from three fresh starts in the past. To be fair it was the longest priced winner of the day so there were no real boilovers in Sydney.

MURRAY BRIDGE

FOR those silly enough to bet in South Australia where the only thing slower than the horses are those running the industry who are arguably in reverse.

There was one favourite and one equal favourite successful on the nine-race card – that’s better than the normal fair in crow-eater country.

But as usual there was the heavily-backed runner, declared by all the experts that performed like a mule. This weekend it was the turn of HANABI resuming for the Phillip Stokes stable that never got sighted finishing 9th. The Stewards’ Report read:

HANABI (K. Crowther) – hung in under pressure in the straight. Near the 250 metres rider accidentally dropped her off side rein before being re-gathered shortly after. Rider explained in relation to the filly’s poor performance that it raced flat in (Saturday’s event) event. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no visible abnormalities.    

SO there you have it – only THREE outright FAVORITES successful in 37 races last Saturday in those FOUR STATES. Either the punters and form analysts are bad judges or the market framers got it terribly wrong. What else could it be?

  

PUNTERS FACE LITTLE WAIT FOR RETURN OF FAVORITE TIPSTER

PUNTERS are really missing their favorite Victorian tipster Dean Lester and it might be the start of the Spring Carnival before he returns.

The respected form analyst has start rehab in Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital after undergoing serious back surgery.

“I’ve been battered around a bit but we’re still standing which might not have been the case a couple of weeks ago. It’s been a pretty tumultuous time,” Lester told RSN Central’s host Gareth Hall.

Lester required surgery due to the deteriorating condition of his vertebrae between the T8 and T9. “The disc between them was totally gone so what they did was virtually put metalwork above the T8 and went down below the T12 or T13 to support it,” Lester said.

RSN.com reports that the surgery, whilst successful, impacted Lester who was born with spina bifida and requires dialysis four times a week due to failing kidney function.

“It was a predicted four-hour surgery and as I’ve had it retold to me, as I went under sedation, I started to have a few bad reactions and it ended up taking nearly eight hours,” Lester said. Because of the length, not so much the surgery, but the post recovery went into a different phase and I was put in an induced coma for two and a half days.”

The strength of the medication given to Lester during the operation added days to his post-surgery recovery and he experienced forms of delusion in the wake of the surgery. “It took almost five days to become lucid,” Lester said. “It’s been a massive strain on my support crew and of course that is led by my partner Leanne, I’ve put her through a lot of grief and lent on her the hardest. She’s coped like an absolute trooper and the star that she is.”

Lester is optimistic he will return to provide followers with betting advice from the start of the upcoming Melbourne Spring Carnival, although his health remains a firm priority.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do but I’ll be looking after myself and really giving myself a fair crack over the next couple of months,” Lester said. “It’s a different challenge ahead but I’m in the best of care. There’s a good chance that when I get out of hospital that I’ll be stronger and in lot less pain than when I came in. I’ll be back for the spring. I’ll hopefully be a Group 1 performer on Memsie Stakes day.”

Punters are struggling to find a replacement tipster to follow on the Victorian races in the absence of Lester. Last Saturday’s meeting at Flemington was a classic example. His main rival, SKY’s leading man, David Gately, didn’t manage one winner in his top selections on the nine-race card. Mark Hunter, who stepped into the top chair at RSN, saved his best for last declaring Zac De Boss an E/W special but the rest of the day was a bit of a disaster.

 

‘SPIN DOCTORS’ OVERLOOK BEATEN FAVS & FORM REVERSAL

MUCH has been made of how the Chris Waller stable won half the card at Rosehill on Saturday despite his absence looking after Home Affairs in England - a remarkable effort.

In actual fact Waller runners dominated the 10-race card to such a degree that they won five of the eight races they were eligible for (his stable cannot contest the Hi-Way or Midway).

The ‘Wally World’ winners included the Listed McKell Cup with heavily-backed Skyman, along with Naval Seal, Born a King, Wicklow and Belle Rouge.

Whilst Waller rebounded from an uncharacteristic Saturday ‘duck’ at Randwick the weekend before, the mainstream racing media neglected to mention a couple of not so unexpected aspects away from his domination.

As usual there was the usual ‘good thing predicted by the experts’ that performed like a mule and the customary form reversal from one that had performed like a mule at its previous start.

We’re talking about El Buena, a runner-up at his two previous starts at Rosehill, which blew like a gale in the betting and ran accordingly finishing 8th at $3.8 favourite behind all-the-way winner Titanium Power.

The Stewards’ Panel under the chairmanship of internationally experienced Steve Railton, asked for a please explain from the stable and here’s what was forthcoming:

EL BUENA: When questioned H Bowman stated that as instructed, he settled in a midfield position. He said that the moderate tempo of the race in the middle stages did not suit the gelding and when the pace quickened rounding the home turn El Buena was held up and not able to improve when positioned behind French Marine. He added that passing the 350m when shifting into clear running El Buena closed its race off only fairly. A post-race veterinary examination revealed no abnormalities.

So there you have it – some of the usual excuses but overall another Waller ‘good thing’ on a Saturday that raced well below market expectations despite wins by five of his stablemates.

Now for the form reversal from Wicklow whose first-up 9th over the same track and distance when favourite was blamed on traffic issues. He had no such problems on Saturday ridden very quietly at the tail of the field and storming home to beat stablemate Easifar but this time he was a $6 chance.

Waller didn’t enjoy the same success interstate with the heavily-backed Our Intrigue beaten in a boilover by Smart Meteor in the Ipswich Cup. The stable’s day started disastrously at Flemington with firstly a mix-up over who was riding Accountability in the first they Linda Meech forced to ease that runner down to finish a long last.

The Stewards’ Report read:

ACCOUNTABILITY: Stewards accepted the explanation tendered by Daniel Moor as the reason he was replaced as the rider of the gelding. Change of tactics – to be ridden back to find cover – settled at the rear of the field before shifting to a three wide position passing the 1700 metres due to the slow tempo. Raced three wide without cover from the 1700 metres. Finished a distant last, eased down. Rider Linda Meech could offer no explanation for the performance. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any obvious abnormality.

 

LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN CHIEF STEWARD HIGHLIGHTED AGAIN ON IPSWICH CUP DAY – HOW MUCH LONGER CAN THIS CONTINUE?

IN arguably the most embarrassing blunder of the Winter Carnival stewards failed to post what many jockeys considered was close to a heavy track on Ipswich Cup day and only downgraded it from a Soft 5 to 6 before the last race.

The track fiasco again highlighted the lack of confidence the punting public and many stakeholders have in Chief Steward Peter Chadwick who over-saw the Bundamba panel chaired by Paul Zimmermann. 

Bernadette Cooper, a former top jockey and now compere cum form expert with SKY, uncharacteristically went on the attack:

“How do you have a track downgrade after eight races when there has been no rain?” she asked. “Perhaps the track was wrongly rated this morning.”

Competing jockeys, headed by ‘Ipswich’ gun Jim Byrne, declared the track a Soft 7 early in the day after those watching coverage of the opening races could see runners throwing up giant clods of turf.

But amazingly ‘Pete the Plodder’ and his band of merry men failed to react and left the rating at a Slow 5 before downgrading it before the last to a Slow 6 – and that only came after agreeing to a request from co-trainer Will Freedman to scratch the favourite Juan Diva believing she would not perform at her best on the surface.

It prompted the most successful trainer of the Freedman family, Lee (now based on the Gold Coast) to go on the attack on Twitter:

‘Amateur hour again here in QLD. Ipswich rated 5, all jockeys say 7. Gold Coast rated 5, definately at least 6. Warwick off, passed as raceable but couldn’t possibly hold a meeting. Insult to owners and trainers all round.’

As Archie Butterfly wrote on his subscriber-only website www.peterprofit.com:

THE Ipswich track redevelopment only cost $30 million. Money well spent, wasn’t it?

Bundamba State School is right next door to the Ipswich track. The school doubles as a weather station. Not a single drop of rain was recorded there in the past 18 days. Less than two-thirds of an inch has fallen in the last month. Yet somehow the multi-million dollar redeveloped track was a Soft 5 at the start of Cup day and rated a Soft 6 by the end of the meeting.

There are only two ways that can happen. Either the course proper has been over-watered or the track has a major drainage problem – or both. $30 million and what we get is this, the exact same thing that we got at Eagle Farm when Racing Queensland was in charge of rebuilding it the first and second times around. Even the most cynical of race watcher must surely be starting to realize that all roads lead back to the door of RQ and its CEO Brendan Parnell.

THE PROBLEMS WITH STEWARDS WEREN’T RESTRICTED TO IPSWICH

IT seems that the problems with stewards were not only at Ipswich on Saturday with this email received by LGHR overnight from BETH HARRIS in the Far North:

‘THERE were three late scratchings at Royal Atherton (on Saturday):

Race 3 - Missy Bossy

Race 4 - Elegant Zous

Race 4 - Forseti

There was no reason provided as to why they were scratched and at what time.

In Race 1 the winner sat outside the leader. At its previous start the horse couldn’t get near the front. No ‘Change of Tactics’ and no questions asked.

In Race 5 Shreck was beaten 38.7 lengths. The horse not vetted and the Stewards’ Report states “compounded over the concluding stages.” 

How is it that this bloke can have a cadet steward under his guidance? In the opinion of many he needs to take up a post as Chairman of the Bedourie Camel Races.’ 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Chief Steward you are referring to is the ‘everywhere man’ of racing in Queensland. Wherever he goes, disaster strikes. One day we’ll write a story about how he wasn’t wanted on the permanent panel until the political scene changed and why (or how) he managed to sneak in through the back door. We know because we were there and saw it and that was in the days when the great ‘Dr Dolittle’ ruled over integrity with an iron fist. You might not remember him but the remnants remain. It’s back to the future at QRIC where we have a Chief Steward who needs to be replaced and some of his First Lieutenants sadly regarded as a laughing stock. But the new ‘Comish’ doesn’t seem to be aware of the problems so perhaps he should go as well.    

 

WALLY WORLD’ASSESSMENT: HOW WILL STABLE PERFORM THIS WEEK?

ONE win from over 30 starters in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne last Saturday was a rare occurrence for the powerful Chris Waller stable.

The champion trainer might still be at Royal Ascot and his starters won’t have that ‘hands on’ preparation again this weekend but expect much better stats.

Waller has 24 starters this Saturday spearheaded by Our Intrigue in the Listed Ipswich Cup. Unlike Stradbroke day which was under attack from his stable, a two-horse float will be sufficient to take his competitors from the Gold Coast.

Our Intrigue ($5-$4.5) has joined Bartholomeu Dias as the equal favourite in a mediocre Cup field with punters sending a message to the bookies that the Waller-trained runner should have been top elect from the outset. Our Intrigue boasts a close Group 3 second to stablemate Yonkers in the Chairman’s Handicap at Eagle Farm while Bartholomeu Dias steps up from a restricted company win at Eagle Farm.

Waller has the former Kiwi She’s the Gift engaged in the Listed Eye Liner after her OZ debut win in a Benchmark 85 at Doomben. She may have won four times at the trip but the quality of this field has seen the mare rated a $17 chance.

The Rosehill Gardens meeting in Sydney is where Waller looks certain to put the ‘duck’ of last weekend at Randwick behind him. He has 20 starters headed by Osipenko (favourite in the first), Skyman ($4.6-$3.6) in the feature McKell Cup and the well-backed duo Belle Rouge and El Buena in the last two races.

The stable will saddle up two roughies at Flemington in Acountability and Selburose. Both were capable of an upset, especially the latter, until the track was Downgraded to a HEAVY 8 which has certainly dimmed our confidence.

While the Waller focus will be on Home Affairs at Royal Ascot, here’s our form assessment of his runners on the east coast on Saturday. We rate Our Intrigue an Each-Way special in the Ipswich Cup; expect El Bueno to win the last at Rosehill; and give Accountability at $13 an upset hope in the first at Flemington.

AWAY from the ‘Wally World’ weekly assessment, the LGHR VALUE BETS for Saturday are: JAKAMA (R4 at Ipswich); EASIFAR (a Waller runner in R8 at Rosehill) & ANPHINA (with one of our favourite jockeys, Linda Meech up in R3 at Flemington).

 

DOES IPSWICH CUP DAY LACK THE QUALITY IT ONCE ATTRACTED?

IPSWICH CUP Day (pictured left by NOEL PASCOE) has never waned in popularity with the locals who turn out in their thousands but as a Winter Carnival feature the meeting has arguably gone backwards.

The quality fields that the Listed Cup and Eye Liner Stakes once attracted seem to have evaporated and this year have reached rock bottom.

Bartholomeu Dias, favourite for the Cup, was the upset winner of a Benchmark 85 at Eagle Farm at his most recent start. Topweight Berdibek never got sighted in the Hawkesbury and Scone Cups (albeit on Heavy 9 tracks) before finishing fifth in the G3 Lord Mayor’s Cup at Eagle Farm.

The powerful Chris Waller stable has Our Intrigue which ran a close second in the G3 Chairman’s Handicap to stablemate Yonkers at Eagle Farm in May. The only other runner under double figure odds is Street Dancer, a winner at two of his last three starts in restricted company.

The Eye Liner, once targeted by some of the best sprinters in the land, has attracted a marginally better quality field with equal favourites Holyfield (4th in the G3 BRC Sprint) and Vinco (a last start winner of the Listed Spear Chief at Eagle Farm).

Palladas, a stablemate of Vinco and a Gollan-trained four-year-old that continually finds trouble, has been backed from $11 to $6 early after an unlucky second to Francesco Guardo at Eagle Farm – but that was in a Class 6.

Cairon Maher and Dave Eustace have the Victorian mare Charleise engaged. She hasn’t won for over a year but did show some encouraging signs when resuming in the Listed Straight Six at Flemington.

It’s not as though the prizemoney for the two features are anything to sneeze at with the Eye Liner worth $200,000 and the Cup $175,000. And there is interest from top interstate stables like Anabel Neasham (saddling up favourites in the two features), John O’Shea, Chris Waller and Maher-Eustace.

It’s now almost 20 years since the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic was first run and this year the Tony Gollan-trained Tahitian Dancer is vying for favouritism with Juan Diva from the Richard and Will Freedman stable.

 

RACING ROYALTY FROM DOWN UNDER AT LUNCH WITH THE QUEEN

RACING royalty from Down Under were front and centre rubbing shoulders with the English silver tails at Royal Ascot during the week.

Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys was invited to Windsor Castle for lunch with the Queen before participating in the Royal Procession which launched Day Two of England’s most popular racing carnival.

Fortunately, Ray Thomas (Turf Editor for the Australian Murdoch Media) was there to report on proceedings and took time out from shadowing champion trainer Chris Waller, to pen these words:

PETER V’landys, the Racing NSW supremo and Australian Rugby League Chairman, was a special guest of the Queen for the royal procession which opened day two of Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

V’landys (pictured above courtesy of NEWS LTD) was accompanied by his wife Philippa in the horse-drawn carriage procession which is a tradition dating back to King George IV in 1825.

The couple’s day started when they were invited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Windsor Castle for lunch with selected guests.

Then V’landys and his wife were ushered into the royal procession carriages that left Windsor Castle to arrive at Royal Ascot at 2pm sharp, local time.

Her Majesty is renowned for her knowledge and love of thoroughbred racing but it’s not known if her sporting passions extend to rugby league.

V’landys described the invitation to attend Windsor Castle and be part of the royal procession as a “humbling experience”.

V’landys sat next to the Queen at the luncheon and spoke with the monarch at length.

“The Queen is an amazing lady and she certainly knows her racing,’’ V’landys said.

“It was an honour to be invited to Windsor Castle and then to be a part of the royal procession.”

How lucky avid racing followers and royalists in OZ were that ‘Razor’ was on hand to write about his two favourite identities. What odds a Knighthood beckons for PVL or Sir Cryalot?

 

PAUL O’SULLIVAN TO END HIS TRAINING CAREER IN HONG KONG

THE curtain will come down on Paul O’Sullivan’s decorated training career at the end of the Hong Kong racing season next month.

Into his 18th season in Hong Kong, the 62-year-old has confirmed to the South China Morning Post that he will return to his native New Zealand after plotting his departure from the city for some time.

“I had this in mind four years ago and I knew two seasons ago I was going to go,” O’Sullivan said. “Being able to work in Hong Kong for 18 years has put me in a favourable position, but it’s time to go. There’re lots of things I want to do, travel and that sort of thing, and I’m probably going to find them a little bit easier to do at 62 than 66.”

O’Sullivan (pictured above courtesy of SCMP) will move in with his father, legendary trainer Dave – who is battling some health issues – in Matamata in New Zealand’s North Island when he first returns home.

He confirmed there is “absolutely no chance” of him training again, although he expects to be leaned on by brother Lance and his training partner Andrew Scott from time to time.

“I’ll do a lot of the sales in the southern hemisphere and if Lance wants time off or Scotty’s not there I can go to the track for a morning, drink coffee and talk to people,” he said.

“I’ll have to learn to play golf, when you work with horses all your life you lack a few skills – I can’t pick up a tennis racket or a badminton racket.”

O’Sullivan officially informed his owners of his impending departure this week and has 33 horses in his stable that will need new homes.

An 11-time champion trainer in New Zealand before making the move to Sha Tin, many of O’Sullivan’s biggest Hong Kong victories came thanks to superb sprinter Aerovelocity.

Aerovelocity won the Hong Kong Sprint in 2014 and 2016, while he also has a Centenary Sprint Cup on his CV and was twice successful overseas in the 2014-15 season – first in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen in Japan and then in the KrisFlyer International Sprint in Singapore.

   

 

HOW MANY ENGLISH STABLES WILL BE KEEN TO CONTEST EVEREST?

BIG ‘Richie’ Callander, resplendent in his top hat and tails, told the SKY Central audience from Royal Ascot how surprised he had been by the number of top English stables keen to contest The Everest.

No doubt within  a couple of hours their interest in making the long trip Down Under had waned considerably after Nature Strip made his Pommy rivals and a Yankee pretender look second rate in the King’s Stand Stakes.

Can you believe the bookie boys bet as much as 5-2 about Nature Strip before he ran 9-4 second favorite after an avalanche of money for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Golden Pal which was expected to lead but blew his chances at the start?

Had the King’s Stand been run at Randwick Nature Strip would arguably have run odds-on. What helped boost the world’s best sprinter’s price was the set taken against him by boofhead ITV commentator Matt Chapman. He’s the bloke who infamously took aim at the credentials of Winx on the eve of her fourth Cox Plate win.

Such was the ease of Nature Strip’s win that ‘form experts’ Down Under are confident there are several top Aussie sprinters that would have won the King’s Stand – perhaps by not as big a margin – such is the class of the Australians combined with the inferior quality of the Europeans.

It will be interesting to see if Nature Strip backs up in Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee – trainer Chris Waller says it isn’t likely (and he knows what’s best for the horse) but managing owner Rod Lyons may try and twist his arm.

Waller, who has set Home Affairs for that race, said: “He has done his job. We chose this race because we thought he'd be sharp. He’s still going back to Australia to race. I've just won by a good margin at Royal Ascot where it’s a tough 1200m. I think it's unlikely. But don't write him off to back up.”

That would give Waller a strong second string – which he is used to having in Australia and often winning with – and Jamie Kah, who has ridden the horse, is holidaying in Europe and on standby to take the ride with James McDonald committed to Home Affairs.

Speaking after Nature Strip's win, managing owner Rod Lyons told Racing.com he was keen to have a crack at the Platinum Jubilee. “Chris is going to have to do a bit of talking to talk us out of it. He said ‘let’s get through Tuesday and if he wins well and pulls up well (we will give it a chance). We will see how he eats up and get the vet to check him out’. But Chris will make that decision.

POSTSCRIPT: The King’s Stand was worth 500,000 English pounds (approx. 873,000 Australian dollars). Prizemoney for The Everest in October is $14 million).

 

WHY WAS THE CROWD DOWN FOR QUEENSLAND’S BIGGEST DAY?

THE Stradbroke meeting is without doubt the best day of racing in Queensland and Saturday was no exception but one thing was missing.

Where were the crowds of 20,000 that before the global pandemic flocked to Eagle Farm on this day? It certainly wasn’t the weather that kept them away. It was perfect.

The promotion was first class, there were plenty of drawcards on and off the track, the racing was amazing. But the crowd that attended – 12,000 was the figure that SKY reported – was well below what you would expect.

Perhaps during the lockdown racegoers and punters got more accustomed to heading to the local pub or club or even watching from the comfort of lounge rooms.

It doesn’t have the same atmosphere but the costs are far less and you don’t have to battle with drunken ferals to get a cab or Uber home if you decide to have a drink during the day.

The true barometer of what effect COVID has had on major race crowds in Queensland occurs this weekend when the Ipswich Cup is run. The locals seem to turn out in force for this day no matter what the conditions and crowds of 20,000 are the norm.

 

‘RAZOR’ COPS A GOOD ‘ROOTING’ BACK HOME AS HE SWANS AROUND ROYAL ASCOT TWO STRIDES BEHIND SIR CRYALOT

CHRIS ROOTS, moved sideways many years ago as the Turf Writer for the Townsville Bulletin because he dared to provide some constructive criticism of officialdom at Cluden, is now among the elite racing scribes in the country.

‘Rootsy’ might have tempered his stance to a degree now that he is Racing Editor for Fairfax Media but he still refuses to ‘suck up to survive’ like some (not LGHR of course) claim his colleagues in the Murdoch Media do.

Here’s an example of why the racing public, the majority of the industry stakeholders and many punters prefer to read Chris Roots than stories written by his rival Ray Thomas for News Ltd which many regard as ‘an endless list of finger-down-the-throat drivel and spin doctoring’.

There is a general feeling that Thomas would be better suited to writing media releases for Racing NSW, its CEO Peter V’landys and everything he can put a positive spin to promoting Sydney racing ahead of Melbourne.

Some say that has been rewarded with the number of media ‘hats’ ‘Razor’ now wears in the print, broadcast and TV platforms. Who says it doesn’t pay to be popular with those running the show when you are writing about racing?

An example of the different approach taken by Roots and Thomas can be gauged by the way they have responded to the prizemoney increase for the Golden Eagle, now worth $10 million.

Here are excerpts of what the duo have written:

ROOTS: THE kneejerk move by Racing NSW to lift the Golden Eagle to $10 million sticks in the craw.

THOMAS:  Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’landys said the Golden Eagle is ‘one of these new generational races’ that is resonating with younger racegoers.

ROOTS:  The regulator has made a commitment to return the fees from betting on the spring races to where the bets originated, but surely Racing NSW should be trying to help all levels of the industry, not just the elite. The money is spread around the game to grow it and secure the future. Racing NSW has lifted most levels of prizemoney from July, but not to the level of the Golden Eagle.

THOMAS:  PVL said: “The Golden Eagle is already the second most-wagered NSW race after The Everest. It has quickly gained the attention of punters and we feel this race will continue to grow and become even stronger.’’

ROOTS:  The decision to put the Golden Eagle up another $2 million was made because an announcement about prizemoney was due from Victoria the next day. Racing NSW shouldn’t be so insecure.

THOMAS: Since being introduced in 2019, the Golden Eagle has developed into one of the best ‘form races’ of the season with inaugural winner Kolding and Colette (2020) training on to win at Group 1 level.

ROOTS: Punters, who supply the funds for prizemoney through race fields, Point of Consumption Tax and the TAB distribution, are the forgotten ones at the moment. Winning punters find it increasingly hard to get a bet on.  Racing NSW should be looking to help bigger punters with a raise in minimum bet levels and some sort of guarantee they can get on, or risk watching funding levels drop in the future.

THOMAS shored up his popularity with the inner-sanctum producing a ‘story’ for the Murdoch Media that resembled a Racing NSW ‘media release’ listing the surge in minimum race prizemoney due to come into effect in that State from July.

In contrast ROOTS won’t win too many friends in high places with his perceived criticism of PVL and Racing NSW for boosting the prizemoney for the Golden Eagle to such a degree. But he continues to earn what Thomas will arguably never have – the respect of the racing and punting public.

While ‘Rootsy’ goes about his day-to-day job as a Racing Editor in Sydney – protecting the interests of the punters and providing the ‘real’ news – ‘Razor' is swanning around ‘Royal Ascot’ so close to Chris Waller that they almost need a bucket of water to separate the pair.    

 

THE FIRST LADY OF RACING FULFILLED HER VOW IN STRADBROKE

THE unsung hero behind the amazing win of Alligator Blood in Saturday’s Stradbroke watched the race from the other side of the world.

The First Lady of Australian racing, Gai Waterhouse, vowed to train her 150th Group 1 winner as a tribute to Joy Endresz, the terminally ill wife of Alligator Blood’s owner Allan.

Less than 24 hours later Joy lost her brave battle with cancer and passed away surrounded by family at their Albury home.

Despite a horror draw Waterhouse never lost confidence that her newly-acquired stable star would fulfil the promise she had made. But after the win she was deflecting the praise to co-trainer Adrian Bott in whose care Alligator Blood has been since Gai left for London.

Endresz described the Stradbroke win was a bittersweet moment. “I just watched it with Joy on my little phone in our bedroom. Joy couldn’t even see the race and wasn’t aware the horse had won.”

It was an historic first win for Waterhouse in Queensland’s most important race and she did it with damaged goods. Controversy has ridden shotgun with Alligator Blood who has endured plenty of stable changes, been banned from racing in NSW because of the bankruptcy of his owner and was stripped of Magic Millions glory over a positive swab.

 

SOME BIG STABLES DON’T PERFORM AS WELL WHEN TRAINER ABSENT

NOT only did the Alligator Blood win reinforce the importance of co-trainers for leading stables these days but also highlighted how some big names like Waterhouse don’t need to be hands-on to enjoy big race success.

Such does not seem to be the case with the country’s leading trainer Chris Waller whose horses don’t seem to win as often when he is absent or fails to make flying visit to satellite stables in the weeks leading up to big races.

Saturday was a good example. Waller is in England preparing stable stars Nature Strip and Home Affairs for important assignments this week. In Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday he had 32 starters for ONE winner.

The stable was left to fly its flag with Irish Sequel winner of the Group 2 Brisbane Cup but without a hiccup along the way (found to be lame on Friday), Political Debate could arguably have troubled Sheeza Belter in the G1 J J Atkins.

A week can be a long time in racing and Waller will no doubt bounce back with multiple winners in Sydney next Saturday but it may pay to check first that he is back on home soil.

 

NOTHING TO CHEER ABOUT IN POST-MORTEM OF ‘WALLY WORLD’

LGHR promised a post-mortem of our CHRIS WALLER form guide from  Saturday and although the task was not a ‘mission impossible’, there was nothing to cheer about.

On the positive side we are confident that Political Debate will emerge as one of the stable stars heading to the spring. Considering the lameness setback he had on the eve of the J J Atkins, his run was huge to stretch the neck of an above average filly in Sheeza Belter.

From our form perspective the Waller disappointments were Robusta which ran fifth when favorite in the Listed Oxlade Stakes and the fourth of Ranch Hand when favorite in the Listed Hinkler after missing a start in the Stradbroke.

Waller had almost half the field in The Wayne Wilson and as we predicted his second string Kubrick (a close 2nd) beat home favorite Bigboyroy (4th). Four runners in the Hinkler and the closest he got was a fourth with Ranch Hand.

The stable had four runners in the Q22 with Kolding and Yonkers filling the minors behind upset Anabel Neasham-trained winner Numerian. But the story out of that race was how bad the Team Snowden Doomben Cup winner Huetor went.

The sole win by Waller for the day of Irish Sequel in the Brisbane Cup didn’t entirely surprise us. The horse was in-form, looked certain to run out the 3200m but had placed only once from seven starts on good tracks which didn’t worry him at the Farm.

Waller had 12 starters at Randwick for three seconds. His beaten favorite Niffler was far from disgraced when second to upset winner Comme Bella Fille.

LGHR will continue to provide a preview and post-mortem of ‘Wally World’ runners of a Saturday but will feel a lot more confident when Sir Cryalot returns from what will no doubt be a headline-making visit to Royal Ascot.

Stable jockey James Macdonald might have suffered a suspension at Eagle Farm but he and partner Katie Mallyon have plenty to celebrate after announcing on the Network Seven coverage on Saturday that they are expecting a baby girl in November.

 

IT WOULDN’T BE SYDNEY SATURDAY WITHOUT FAVORITE FLOPEROO

IT wouldn’t be a Saturday in Sydney racing when a heavily-backed favorite performed well below market expectations.

This week it was the turn of Queen Bellissimo which ran a tiring sixth behind Waihaha Falls here’s what the Stewards reported:

WHEN questioned App. D. Gibbons stated that the mare led as anticipated and travelled comfortably through the early and middle stages. He said, however, that after initially giving some response when tested in the early part of the straight, Queen Bellissimo then came under heavy pressure and was disappointing in the manner in which it weakened over the final 100m. He further advised that when giving ground in the straight he detected the mare to be making a mild respiratory noise. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

Trainer Mr B. Widdup stated that the mare had done well in the stable and worked well leading into (the) race and he anticipated a strong performance. He said that in light of App. Gibbons’ report regarding the mare making a respiratory noise, he felt this possibly could have been as a result of Queen Bellissimo getting her tongue over the bit. He said that in light of this, he would experiment with a tongue-tie in the mare’s track work and consider whether he would apply to use this gear at its next race start. Mr Widdup undertook also to report back to the Stewards on the progress of Queen
Bellissimo in the days subsequent.   

 

RACING PUBLIC KEEN TO KNOW ABOUT THIS COURT APPEARANCE

IN late-breaking news we’ve had inquiries from readers asking why the CEO of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club is listed to appear in a Brisbane Criminal Court today.

Maybe his good mate, David Fowler, might enlighten listeners from three codes who tune into his Press Room show on Radio TAB this morning. ‘Feathers’ is always so informative.

If not, you can be assured the mainstream Murdoch Media turf scribes will have their fingers on the pulse and provide some coverage before the day is out.

 

THE CHALLENGE OF FINDING A WINNER FROM ‘WALLY WORLD’       

PUNTERS who follow the LGHR LATE MAIL know how much we like a challenge.

Because champion trainer Chris Waller rides ‘shotgun’ and blows the ‘supposed form experts’ out the water almost every Saturday, we’ve decided to take on the ‘mission impossible’ of assessing his chances.

With so many hot favorites of his getting beaten each week, second-string runners upstaging their more fancied stablemates and form reversals a regular occurrence, we will not only do our best to find you a winner from ‘Wally World’ but post-mortem the results of a Monday – this will be our Stewards’ Report, not the one from the Sydney panel that punters (not us for one moment) claim accepts his book full of excuses.

With more than 30 starters at EAGLE FARM, RANDWICK and SANDOWN HILLSIDE, there is plenty of form to try and follow – which veteran punters insist is an impossible nightmare.

It can’t be that bad, so here goes, starting where his main focus is this weekend on Stradbroke Day in Brisbane. His two acceptors for the $1.5mn Group 1 are RANCH HAND & TYCOONIST but they need scratchings to secure a start. Don’t understand why there are only 18 starters – once there were 20 in the big race.

In case he misses a Staddy runner, Waller has taken ‘insurance’ accepting with both in the Listed Hinkler where he could have FOUR RUNNERS – just imagine if they ran the First 4 then those screeching parrots at SKY would be squawking WALLER, WALLER, WALLER, WALLER. We’ll resist describing that as ‘finger down the throat stuff’. Let’s leave the ‘spin doctoring’ to his No 1 fan from the Murdoch Media who we understand has been booked to carry Waller’s bags and shine his boots during the Royal Ascot carnival (wash your mouth out with soap LGHR, he’s there to cover the Nature Strip sideshow).

Waller launches his assault on the Black Type Eagle Farm card with ROBUSTO in the Listed Oxlade Stakes. We can’t fathom why it isn’t favorite ahead of METALLICITY AND BANK MAUR, which must have been an awfully impressive Maiden winner at Sale. If that horse wins here’s hoping trainer Richard Laming doesn’t repeat his rumored celebratory performance from the Whaler’s at the ‘Bool by venturing down Racecourse Road to the Hamo. That probably won’t happen because Robusto has far superior form-lines from the Sires and Ken Russell and we need a winner early from ‘Wally World’ to warm-up the SKY Cheer Squad.

Just in case he fails in the first, Waller attacks the Wayne Wilson with numbers – and even after the scratching of OSCAR ZULU (he’s saving it for Randwick) will still have three of the top chances. Now ‘Herbie’ loved backing a favorite and JMac has given punters a lead by sticking with BIGBOYROY but will it get the same stroll in the park up front like it did in the G3 Lord Mayor’s Cup when they let him dictate?

Stablemates BULLFINCH has won 2 of his last 3 at the Farm but in weaker company and KUBRICK, supposedly the third string, but he’s the one we like. There has been some backing which is a good sign when Waller has a favorite in the race – the five-year-old ran on from the rear in a race that suited leaders last start and his stats at the track and trip are good.

IRISH SEQUEL steps out to the 3200m for the first time in the Brisbane Cup after his form reversal win in the Listed Winter Cup at Rosehill last Saturday. He has been kept very safe by the bookie boys. We don’t have a problem with him running out the two miles – it’s the fact that from seven starts on GOOD tracks he has recorded only one third.

TEAM WALLER doesn’t have a starter in the Gunsynd Classic but more than make up for it in the Listed Hinkler where they have four (providing RANCH HAND or TYCOONIST) don’t secure a start in the Straddy. RANCH HAND is the favorite with JMac in the saddle after his last start Eagle Farm win and he does look hard to beat. SHAQUERO, the roughest of Waller’s four, ran sixth to RANCH HAND but for some strange reason they decided to lead that day and he went awful. Be wary of an improvement as he’s been backed from $13 to $7 and if he’s ridden with a sit, don’t expect Pete the Plodder to notice the difference.

Stablemates TYCOONIST & BLONDEAU ran well enough in the BRC Sprint to test RANCH HAND but the key might be JMAC, who rode TYCOONIST when it never got clear then, but has preferred to jump on RANCH HAND now. If there happens to be any speed on BLONDEAU, despite his wide draw, could storm over the top with Jimmy Orman replacing Larry Cassidy, which is a bonus. For those who don’t like backing Waller favs he just might be the VALUE.

WALLER has four runners in the $1.2mn Q22 but they have to beat the Doomben Cup quinella of HUETOR and MAXIMAL. We’ve dropped off YONKERS and accept that GREAT HOUSE on his Doomben Cup 4th is entitled to be the shortest of Waller’s four. KOLDING hasn’t won for over a year but ran an improved 3rd in the G3 Lord Mayor’s Cup. The roughie of his that we think can improve and is definitely worth throwing into place multis is KUKERACHA, forget his Doomben Cup run when he copped a bad check.

We're not as confident about our one-time WALLER punt of the day, POLITICAL DEBATE, with news that he had to clear a vet check before being allowed to start in the G1 J J Atkins. This colt might be above average but he doesn’t need any road blocks in his re-match with the Kiwi SMART ‘N’ SHARP which came from last to lose to him in a deceptive photo finish last weekend. Waller's second-string BASQUAIT, which is yet to see a dry track, might have ability but will need to grow a leg after only falling in with a recent Doomben Maiden. So I guess we’ll to be a bit more wary with POLITICAL DEBATE.

WALLER scratched WRITTEN BEAUTY from the Hinkler (where he already had four other starters) to tackle the tougher G2 Dane Ripper. Like the hot favorite NAJMATY, this mare will be hoping for plenty of pace on and she is certainly an each-way threat. Stablemate APRIL RAIN is a better chance than her $21 suggests – she didn’t have much luck in the Helen Coughlan and has won three times at this trip.

WITH the fitness cloud hanging over POLITICAL DEBATE we have elevated RANCH HAND to his BEST BET (if it was good enough to contest the Stradbroke it has to go close in the Listed Hinkler). We suggest backing ROBUSTO each-way in the first & having a SMALLER PUNT on KUBRICK to give stablemate BIGBOYROY a scare in the WAYNE WILSON.

WALLER has 12 starters at RANDWICK. Don’t be surprised if FINEPOINT (scratched from a tougher race at Eagle Farm) gives stablemate and favorite NIFFLER a scare in the fifth. We think his best roughie is KALINO in the last – they bet $21.

WALLER has only four starters at SANDOWN where we think the best chance of the delightful JO TAYLOR being interviewed by racing.com is after RACE 4 where he has THALASSOPHILE engaged.

 

NEW FINANCIAL BOOST TO RQ WILL ACTUALLY COST $7 MILLION 

THE Labor Government is claiming one of the biggest financial boosts in history for the racing industry. Racing Queensland has not unexpectedly given them a big pat on the back. The poor old corporate bookmakers are bleating that they are being robbed.

There are claims that the punters will be big losers. Have the figures that suggest a major windfall for racing in the Sunshine State been fudged. To the casual observer it’s all smokes a mirrors.

Like him or not, Archie Butterfly is an investigative reporter who the industry should be listening to more than the ‘spin doctors’ from the Murdoch Media or SKY Channel. He says the new u-beaut deal announced this week will in fact cost the industry $7 million a year.

We would rather believe Archie who has no reason to tell porkies about the financial situation confronting racing. He tried to expose what was happening at a major club and got silenced for his trouble.

Here’s part of what he has written about the Government announcement this week on his subscriber-only website www.peterprofit.com (it’s worth the small amount you have to pay for the read and better still it’s not disguised media releases for RQ that is fed to readers by the News Ltd publications or the listeners to 4TAB and the talking parrots at SKY).

‘PUNTERS, we’ve all been robbed.

You are all getting excited about the massive injection of funds into racing now that we are going to get 80 per cent of the Point of Consumption tax revenue.

But here is something that you are missing. Last year racing received $83.7mn from the Queensland Government comprised of four main forms of payment. All of these revenue streams will be abolished and replaced by a single direct line payment of 80 percent of POC Tax revenue.

RQ’s POC revenue last year was $32.6mn based on a share of 35% of the income that the Government receives from the tax. RQ’s 80% share will be $106.6mn. That’s an increase of $23mn.

Happy days! Wrong! According to ASX advice made by New Tabcorp on Monday its total annual payments to Queensland racing will reduce from 44.5% of Queensland revenue to 35%.  That is a drop in revenue from $140mn to $110mn based on current revenue, which is likely to fall further.

That’s a loss of $30mn a year to the racing industry, a number that is likely to grow as New Tabcorp’s share of the market continues to fall.

Let’s look at the numbers now. $106.6mn minus $30mn equals $76.6mn. QUEENSLAND RACING WILL LOSE $7mn a year.

The new single revenue model of 80% of POC Tax revenue will result in a reduction to racing of $7mn a year. Last year Queensland got $83.6mn. Under the new funding model it will get $76.6mn.

We’ve been robbed. It’s all a con.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: This requires a ‘please explain’ from Racing Queensland. If they care to jump out of bed with the Murdoch Media and dirty their hands dealing with a racing website that protects the punters and the industry, we would be delighted to public their reply.

 

‘REGRESSION’ – THE NEW IN-WORD FOR BUDDING FORM ‘EXPERTS’

WE received this tongue-in-cheek whinge from a punter who calls himself FREDDIE the FORM FANATIC:

AFTER doing form for most of my life I didn’t realize what I was doing wrong until recently.

There are so many of these form experts in the media these days, that it’s hard to keep up with the manner in which they find winners.

But watching SKY recently and listening to a young, enthusiastic ‘expert’ form student, I was gob-smacked.

His ‘much used phrase’ for finding winners on the card at Rosehill on Saturday was ‘factoring in regression’.

My first thought was of poor old Perc the Punter and his mates, enjoying a coldie at the local while they watched the Preview hoping for a value tip to boost their bank. They would be saying: WTF.

So I googled ‘regression’ to satisfy my curiosity in case my decades of trying to follow form was missing something. Here’s what I discovered:

REGRESSION is a method to determine the statistical relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables.

And this one:

REGRESSION is a statistical method used in finance, investing, and other disciplines that attempts to determine the strength and character of the relationship between one dependent variable (usually denoted by Y) and a series of other variables (known as independent variables).

Now I know what I’ve been doing wrong when assessing the form of the Chris Waller stablemates where the second string so often upstages the favored one. I haven’t determined the strength and character of the relationship between Y and Z.

Lookout bookies here I come armed with so much ‘factoring in’ of ‘regression’ in my new-look form study. It’s like ‘Punting for Dummies’ or ‘How to be an instant millionaire backing winners’. 

 

‘BONUS BETS ARE A CON’ – TIME CORPORAES WERE HELD TO ACCOUNT 

JEFF L is not a fan of corporate bookies & tell us what he thinks:

'BONUS bets are a con just like a lot of other promotions by these greedy corporate bookies.

Full marks to the Queensland Government for destroying this supposed ‘gift’ to punters from the corporates who make millions out of racing and arguably put very little back.

They should be banned in this country along with their sponsorship of racetracks, major races, sporting teams and TV programs. None of this compensates for their rules, which bars punters who are too successful.

Australian racing, in my opinion, would be far better off with a national tote which provides prizemoney to sustain the three codes and other sports they bet on. We can do without parasite corporate bookies – just ask any successful punter who has been a victim of rules made to protect them from losing money and ensuring they make more millions in profits.'       

 

PERHAPS IT’S TIME FOR RQ TO CATCH UP & INTRODUCE ‘RACING MATES’

REGULAR contributor GREG BLANCHARD has put forward another splendid idea which no doubt the powers that be won’t listen because he dares to criticize:

‘RACING MATES is a concept I feel strongly about.

Maurice Logue and Pat Webster were the driving force in getting it going many years ago in NSW. Maurice now has same scheme in harness racing .

It involves a group of industry people who volunteer their time to be there for people down on their luck in racing.

There is a professional person here in Queensland who licensees can call which is good but I believe something like Racing Mates is also needed.

There have been stories recently about people in the industry losing their way. These are people who I believe are more likely to contact a fellow jockey or trainer than a professional on the phone. Further along the volunteer might get the person to seek more help but initial contact with an industry individual is so important.’

 

RACING NSW SHOULD SPEND MORE ON INTEGRITY TO WIN BACK CONFIDENCE OF PUNTERS RATHER THAN MILLIONS ON POP-UP RACES

INSTEAD of boosting prizemoney for pop-up races in NSW, there is a reasonable argument that these absurd increases could be better spent in other areas, especially integrity of Sydney racing which is at rock bottom.

Racing NSW announced overnight that the Golden Eagle will become their second-biggest stakes races behind The Everest.

In another insult to the nation’s most popular and important race, the Golden Eagle will now be worth much more than the Melbourne Cup and become the second richest horse race in Australia.

In another move, seen south of the border as a continuing assault on the Spring Carnival, Racing NSW Chief Eexecutive Peter V’landys announced that prizemoney for the Golden Eagle, run in October, will rise from $8 million to $10 million.

The Melbourne Cup was worth $8 million last year and Racing Victoria is due to announce their own prizemoney increases later this week. Rather than bleat about what NSW is doing they should get off their backsides and counter these threatening increases.

These come as minimum prize money levels across NSW are due to be lifted on July 1, ranging from Saturday metropolitan ($150,000 per race), metropolitan midweek ($55,000), provincial ($40,000), country TAB ($25,000) to picnic ($5000) events.

This begs the question of whether more money should be allocated to the integrity of racing, especially in Sydney, where many punters have lost confidence in the product with form reversals and short priced favourites being beaten on a regular basis.

Stewards are conducting dozens of inquiries every week but the heavy tracks, which have affected form, have been blamed for many reversals with claims some horses race well on that surface at Randwick but not at Rosehill for instance. That means stewards have their hands tied behind their backs.

Punters have had a gutful of heavily-backed runners performing below expectations for the powerful Chris Waller stable, not to mention form reversals from week to week and second string runners beating more fancied stablemates. It has drawn unsubstantiated allegations from punters taking to social media to claim Waller has ‘too much start’.  

But it’s not only the punters who are complaining. Garry Clarke of WEBET tweeted at the weekend: ‘I fielded at Rosehill yesterday (Saturday). It was a very good winter card coinciding with Queensland Winter Carnival Oaks Day. I didn’t lay a runner in the first two races and very few in the remaining eight. I think our clubs should have a DUTCH auction to PAY fielders to field in Sydney.’

Most weeks in Sydney of the 10 races there are lucky to be two favorites that salute and the Highways might be good for the country competitors but are a graveyard for heavily backed runners who rarely perform consistently.

With millions being poured into pop-up races with the results mainly lining the pockets of the big players, while near Sydney tracks have not been ignored with feature race prizemoney, some of the bush circuits aren’t fit to race on.

The domination of Waller is becoming a major headache with his runners almost impossible to follow and calls for big stable numbers to be restricted as happens in Hong Kong but there is no chance of that happening in NSW where he has too much influence with the powerbrokers and there would be restriction of trade legal challenges.

The ‘spin doctors’ in the racing media in Sydney, many of whom enjoy extra jobs courtesy of those running the show, will continue to promote the major prizemoney increases when some of this money should arguably be used to set up an Investigative Unit with police powers to assist the stewards into looking at what is allegedly going on behind the scenes in NSW racing or Sydney in particular.        

 

LET'S SEE WHO BENEFITS MOST FROM ECONOMIC BOOST TO RQ

THE Palaszczuk Government is delivering a boost to Queensland’s racing industry, especially country racing, through a new sustainable funding model.

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said this recognised significant changes that have occurred in the racing industry and the important role country clubs play in regional communities.

“There are 125 racing clubs across Queensland,” the Treasurer said. “For 85 of those clubs, a race meeting is the biggest or second biggest event in their community each year.

“For many of those clubs, a race meeting is a once-a-year event that is an unparalleled opportunity for people to get together. Our government recognises how important those gatherings are to the social fabric of Queensland, and today’s announcement will help them thrive into the future.”

Racing Minister Grace Grace said greater certainty for clubs, participants and race attendees is vital.

“Over 43,000 Queenslanders participate in the racing industry, and that’s before we count the 675,000 who attend race meetings,” Ms Grace said. “These changes offer the industry, and the 6500 jobs it directly employs, greater certainty.

“Providing longer term funding certainty means opportunities for increased prize money, enhanced infrastructure, and better training facilities – and the more the industry grows, the more revenue it will receive.”

The changes include:

  • A new 5 per cent racing levy added to the betting tax (also known as the Point of Consumption tax)
  • Broadening the betting tax to include free and bonus bets
  • Increasing the proportion of betting tax revenue that goes directly to the racing industry from 35 per cent 80 per cent.

The Treasurer said the change from the current 35% share of the betting tax going back into the industry increasing to 80% also creates a single funding stream.

“At present, a lot of the funding that goes to the racing industry is in the form of short-term government funding programs,” he said.

“Now, the industry will have the certainty of knowing they will get 80 per cent of the betting tax, and if the size of the pie grows, so too will their share.

“The significant growth in online betting over the last few years has led to a very different wagering market in Queensland and we need to adapt.

“The Palaszczuk Government is levelling the playing field for all wagering operators and ensuring that organisations profiting from Queensland’s thriving racing industry are investing into its future too.”

Since 2014, Racing Queensland funding has been reliant on an agreement with Tabcorp that will now be unwound as part of the new funding model.

Minister Grace said the changes would offer more sponsorship opportunities for racing clubs across Queensland.

“While Tabcorp will still offer oncourse betting services and retain retail exclusivity, its on-course ‘sponsorship and advertising’ exclusivity will end once these changes take effect,” she said.

“This means race clubs across Queensland will have opportunities to enter into new sponsorship agreements with other wagering service providers.

“Other benefits of the agreement include a further injection of $50 million from Tabcorp to cater for future racing infrastructure needs, and a one-off payment of $100 million to Racing Queensland.”

Racing Queensland Chairman Steve Wilson AM said the State’s racing industry does an incredible job connecting communities right across the state.

“The introduction of the racing levy by the Palaszczuk Government will ensure investments in jobs, events and communities will continue to grow."

He said that over the past five years the industry has grown to generate total economic contribution to the Queensland economy of $1.9 billion in 2020-21, supporting thousands of jobs across the state, with a significant number of these jobs in regional areas.

“On an annual basis, 85 communities host a race meeting which is either the biggest or second largest event for the year.”

Tabcorp Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Adam Rytenskild commended the Queensland Government for levelling the playing field which would ensure profits made by foreign online bookmakers make a greater contribution to the Queensland industry. 

“The Queensland Government and Racing Queensland have backed Australian-made and implemented fair reforms that put Australia and Queensland first,” Mr Rytenskild said.

“This is a big shot in the arm for the Queensland racing industry – it is also great for TABs in pubs and clubs, and great for punters right across Queensland.

“The Queensland racing industry will finally receive a fair share of funding from foreign-owned betting companies – who have grown rapidly, taking the TABs market share and therefore undercutting racing industry funding.”

 

FIRST REAL GUIDE OF DAMAGE COVID HAS DONE TO RACE CROWDS

STRADBROKE Day will provide the first real guide to what long-term effect the COVID lock-down has had on racing crowds in Queensland.

This is traditionally the most popular feature meeting in the State with crowds in excess of 20,000 anticipated and only usurped on occasions by Ipswich Cup Day (we don’t count ferals’ days when the young drunks can only find the bar and not the betting ring).

Given the fine weather forecast, Saturday should tell whether regular racegoers return to the track, prefer the comfort of their lounge rooms or the local pub or club.

We are told that the Brisbane Racing Club is banking on a crowd in excess of 20,000. There can be no excuses like wet weather, pandemic restrictions or for the punters an unreliable track – the Farm is getting back to a reliable surface even if it needs a dam-load of water irrigated before most meetings to soften the bitumen-like surface.

 

SKY TALKING HEADS SCREECHING ‘WALLER’ LIKE DRUNKEN PARROTS 

IT was a red-letter day for champion trainer Chris Waller with seven winners in three States on Saturday and the talking heads on the good ship Titanic SKY were screeching like drunken parrots.

The spin doctor for those who matter in Sydney racing was quick to hit the headlines announcing that Waller had smashed the national record for the stable earnings in a season.

In fairness it should be mentioned that the comparisons are being made with yesteryear when the overall stakes being distributed was far less and there were none of these pop-up races for absurd purses.

With all due respects to ‘Walley World’ and it’s enormous number of horses in work and multiple runners in many races, is this sort of monopoly healthy for racing not only in Sydney but along the east coast where he has stables?

To limit the numbers any trainer was permitted would be challenged as a restriction of trade but as Waller skyrockets to incredible success, many punters are adopting the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome and suggesting he has too much start because racing can ill-afford to do without him.

A good example was the Magic Millions National Classic at Doomben on Saturday where he saddled up almost half the field which saw him lead in the First 4 prompting the SKY Cheer Squad to shriek: WALLER, WALLER, WALLER, WALLER – before the coverage switched suddenly from the biggest meeting in the land to a mounting yard preview of the second string NSW meeting at Newcastle (can’t miss a moment of that).

Plenty of positive coverage of the WALLER domination of racing on Saturday – and deservedly so – but as usual those responsible turned a blind eye to the negatives.

One could argue that good news stories like the amazing training performance of David Vandyke and the gem of a ride by Willie Pike to land his first Group 1 since moving from the west on Gypsy Goddess in the Queensland Oaks didn’t receive that extra coverage it deserved.

Not to mention the continued resurgence of Linda Meech overcome obstacles to win the feature at Flemington on Sydneysider Looks Like Elvis or the emergence of a star filly in Ghaanti making a slashing debut in Melbourne.

It was FBI (front, back and inside) Waller. His powerful stable had nine starters at Eagle Farm – where it won three races – but four of those runners were in the one race and finished in the First 4.

Terrific achievement but no mention of how Nudge was slaughtered in the MM National Classic working terribly hard from the outside draw while the better backed stablemate Kiku never left the fence and only claimed victory on the line.

 

GROUNDHOG DAY WITH ANOTHER WALLER FLOPEROO FAVORITE

CHRIS Waller had 14 starters at Randwick (that was in the eight races his stable is allowed to contest) for a winning treble. But it wouldn’t have been a Sydney Saturday if one of his fancies didn’t perform below market expectations and another beat home a better backed stablemate.

His ‘spin doctors’ brush that off as weight of numbers. But the reality of last Saturday was that Wicklow blew like a gale from fractional odds to $4.2 and performed accordingly. Those bookies must have crystal balls.

Here’s what the Stewards reported:

WICKLOW: When questioned Jason Collett stated that Wicklow travelled comfortably midfield, however, after receiving some minor crowding near the 600m he was required soon after to commence to ride his mount along to hold his position. He said that after being held up for clear running in the early part of the straight his mount did not appear to appreciate racing tight between Savvy Legend and Ita, which was shifting out to his inside. He said that once into clear running from near the 250m Wicklow initially responded to his riding, however, was one-paced over the final 100m when the gelding’s run came to an end. He said that in all the circumstances he considered that Wicklow had performed satisfactorily when having its first run from a long spell. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.

Sadly, there was no mention of stewards asking the stable about the alarming drift in price of Wicklow. It hadn’t raced for almost 12 months but had won fresh before and at two of three starts at the track. The risk that bookies took with this horse did not sit well with punters after it went badly – not satisfactorily as jockey Collett suggested – who’s he kidding?

Punters had already been subjected to a dose of the ‘Walley World’ magic in the opener when roughie Osipenko upstaged well fancied stablemate Madame Pommery. Osipenko was a debutante while Madame Pommery had won her previous start at Rosehill.

We saved the best for last and that was the feature of the day, the Listed Winter Cup, where barring for the woeful performance of the odds-on Military Mission from the Waterhouse-Bott yard, Waller’s winner Irish Sequel arguably grew a leg from his flop in the Lord Mayor’s Cup where the Heavy 9 conditions at Rosehill were blamed (he had won on a Heavy 10 at Randwick three starts before). Here we go again with this excuse that Heavy isn’t the same Heavy at a different track – go figure!

Stewards reported after the Winter Cup:

IRISH SEQUEL – Stable representative Mr D. Fitton, in the absence of trainer Mr C. Waller (the boss wasn’t there but story goes he doesn’t have to appear at inquiries in Sydney when he is), was questioned regarding the apparent (if it wasn’t apparent, what was it!) improved performance of Irish Sequel compared to its most recent start. Mr Fitton advised that Irish Sequel generally is a consistent performer and at its last start ran below expectations due to the particularly heavy racing surface, which was also reported on that occasion by rider T. Berry. He said that Irish Sequel had done well leading into (Saturday’s) race and its improved performance was attributable to the firmer racing surface.

This was just another normal Saturday in Sydney. Waller has a form reversal winner, a drifting favourite perform poorly and a second string beat a more fancied stablemate.

That’s not to mention the short priced favorites that continue to get beaten. This time it was Military Mission (jockey Rachael King told connections it needs blinkers). Only two favorites were successful on the 10-race card.

Once again the best backed runners in the Hi-Way performed below expectations – favorite Comonic finished 11th and Overextend was fifth. The race was won by $51 shot Proverbial.

Stewards were again kept busy with ‘please explains’ for disappointing runs, improvements or whatever of close to 20 horses. Again it suggests something is horribly wrong with Sydney racing.      

 

COME ON BEN – THIS STORY WAS A MONTH OLD WHEN YOU WROTE IT

IN another free promotion for the peterprofit.com website, Ben Dorries (of The Courier-Mail and Racenet) has ‘revealed’ that a Queensland jockey rode a winner while he was supposed to be suspended.

If you recall Archie Butterfly actually broke the story a month ago. But running late is nothing new for the Murdoch Media (we’re still waiting for our Sunday Mail to be tossed over the fence by Turban Tommy).

But here’s one story from peterprofit.com that you won’t read or hear about in the mainstream media:

Archie has asked why the CEO of Albion Park is banned from going to the races at Eagle Farm.

He wrote: ‘You would have thought a race club boss would have been on the VIP list, wouldn’t you?

Especially one that used to hold an executive position with the host race club, and was for years a permanent fixture in the bird cage on big race days.

It’s weird isn’t it?

I mean doesn’t the bloke live in one of those flash units on the edge of the course?

Why won’t they let him go to the races?

I guess we will have to wait until Monday to see if we can find out.’

LGHR EDITOR’S NOTE: Perhaps his good mate ‘Feathers’ Fowler might enlighten us on his Press Room Show today after he gets around to answering some interesting questions from 4BC broadcaster Ray Hadley.   

 

‘AT THE END OF A TIRING DAY FOR POOR OLD ‘PETE THE PLODDER’

PINCHING another interesting story from peterprofit.com (if you don’ subscribe, you should – it’s worth the read) under the headline: HOW MANY STEWARDS DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE A TOTAL STUFF-UP?

Archie suggests: ‘In Queensland it takes seven.

The official Stewards’ Report for Race 10 at Eagle Farm on Saturday read: INGRATIATING: Slow to begin – raced wide without cover.

Ingratiating never left the fence (we guess stewards confused it with stablemate and winner ATHELRIC which raced in similar colours. It was the end of a long day for Pete the Plodder.

But how on earth could seven stewards all get it wrong.

The answer to that is easy too. Chief Steward Chadwick chaired the meeting.

Archie concludes: ‘This is what happens when you have QRIC Commissioners who chose to spend all their time on bullshit rather than the things that are important, like making sure that the Chief Steward is actually doing his job at a competent level.

‘It all falls down. Seven stewards and a total stuff-up. Ain’t racing integrity management in Queensland grand?’

EDITOR’S NOTE: The faux pas in the Stewards’ Report from Eagle Farm on Saturday has now been corrected. Who said no-one reads what Archie Butterfly writes?

 

 

SOMETHING IS HORRIBLY WRONG IN SYDNEY RACING WHEN STEWARDS HAVE TO QUERY PERFORMANCES OF 25 HORSES AT RANDWICK

STEWARDS were kept busy at Randwick on Saturday when not one favourite saluted on the 10-race card.

The performances of not less than 25 horses were mentioned by stewards in their report – the majority inquiries into why runners raced below market expectations.

Trainers and jockeys had the not unexpected list of excuses and little to no action – apart from asking stables to report back if anything amiss emerged post-race – with the poor old punters left to cop more losses.

Sydney racing can offer massive prizemoney and rely on ‘spin doctors’ from SKY and the Murdoch Media to make excuses for form reversals and poor performances, but until there is more confidence in the product on the track many punters will continue to look elsewhere to bet.  

 

SHOULD WELLINGTON CUP MEETING HAVE BEEN POSTPONED EARLIER?

OWNERS and trainers were entitled to express anger after the Wellington Cup meeting on Sunday was called off after only one race had been run.

The decision came just hours after the big day had been given the green light to proceed following an inspection by stewards and a track gallop on the wet surface on race morning.

Racing NSW stewards pulled the pin on the Cup meeting after consultation with senior riders following the running of the first race when concerns were expressed about the Heavy 10 surface.

Safety of jockeys and horses comes first but surely this meeting should have been postponed before participants and the racing public arrived at the track.

Frustrated trainers have called for changes to track assessment processes as a result of the Wellington Cup Day fiasco which saw some travel up to 10 hours without getting a start.

Trainer Richard Freedman, who sent Cognac from Sydney to contest the Cup because it was a qualified for the $2 million Big Dance, called for decisions on postponements to be made earlier.

“We have to do better,” Freedman said. “I am certainly not blaming the club, the jockeys or the stewards, it’s a system problem and there needs to be a better process.

“You are always going to have a degree of variability if it rains during the day and it makes the track unsafe for riders however it needs tightening up around when and which jockeys walk the track.

“I think the stewards should have some input on who walks the track before a meeting goes ahead.

“Some jockeys might not want to ride, others will, but there needs to be a balance there to help avoid any doubt.”

Racing NSW Deputy Chairman of Stewards Steve Railton believes while the circumstances of Sunday’s postponement were inconvenient, the right decision had been made for the safety of riders.

He said issues with the surface were unfortunately only noticeable after racing.


ARE THESE BONE-HEADS RUNNING SA RACING HELL-BENT ON DESTROYING THE OAKBANK EASTER CARNIVAL?

WHAT is it about racing in South Australia that some of these bone-heads running the show seem hell-bent on destroying the once iconic Oakbank Easter Carnival?

Oakbank without jumps racing is like the first Tuesday in November minus the Melbourne Cup.

The HERALD-SUN reports that Racing SA has blasted the Warrnambool Racing Club for trying to influence the upcoming Oakbank Racing Club election.

WRC chief executive Tom O’Connor emailed members last week urging them to join Oakbank and elect a pro-jumps racing committee, regurgitating a spiel from the team at South Australian Jumps Racing.

It even included a promise that if a pro-jumps committee is successful in being elected the membership will carry over to next year.

That contravenes the Oakbank constitution, which states that all but life members must pay an annual fee or the membership is cancelled.

It is the latest chapter in the ongoing drama following Racing SA’s move to stop scheduling jumps racing in the state in October last year.

Despite the fact that decision was solely the domain of the governing body, the pro-jumps community has taken aim at the Oakbank committee, arguing it didn’t do enough to stop it.

That resulted in threats and legal action, which was withdrawn a couple of weeks ago, when the committee agreed to a special general meeting on June 10, with all nine spots on the committee to be vacated on the night and an election held.

Apart from the annual carnival at Morphettville there is little left to salvage from South Australian racing. Top trainers and jockeys have headed interstate to Victoria. Normal Saturday meetings resemble a secondary fixture in NSW or Victoria.

Oakbank over the Easter long weekend was once a great tourist attraction but since the bone-heads running the show pandered to the animal liberationists and banned jumps racing the carnival has degenerated into a non-event.

 

IS RACING IN QUEENSLAND CONTINUING TO DEGENERATE INTO THE NEW SPORT OF KING’S, CROOKS & CONMEN? – THAT’S WHAT SOME THINK!

HORSE racing has been described as the only sport where priests and prostitutes, billionaires and bums, Queens and queers, all rub shoulders.

Sadly though there is a growing fear that in Queensland racing is gradually degenerating to the Sport of Kings, Crooks and Conmen.

Some believe it has never fully recovered from the Fine Cotton Ring-In Scandal. Others blame it on the political battleground that racing has become in the crossfire of Labor and LNP Governments.

Then there are those who say the problem is as simple as a lack of integrity in policing not only what is happening on the track but also the official shenanigans that continue to drag the sport down in the towers of power.

Why revive bad memories at a time when Queensland should be bathing in the Winter Carnival sunshine?

Well it was prompted by an article today by our colleague Archie Butterfly on his subscriber-only website, www. peterprofit.com entitled: ‘WHAT was a Dog who went to Jail for stealing Six-figure Sums from Racing doing at Doomben yesterday and why were Heathcote, Lockwood and Schweida shaking his hand?’

‘The Butterfly’s’ scathing attack on one of Queensland racing’s most divisive characters – a copper turned contractor and police informant, prompted the LGHR ‘Whinge Mail’ to go into overdrive.

One contributor, who wished to remain anonymous if he wants to continue mixing in racing circles and enjoying his day at the track, took his gripes a step further and launched an attack on those running the sport – from high profile officials to politicians.

“Why does racing in Queensland and Brisbane in particular continue to roll out the ‘welcome’ mat to identities that most of us regard as low-life, scumbags and crooks that we wouldn’t be seen dead with?’ he asked.

‘As Archie Butterfly suggested the fact that this arguably undesirable character was reportedly able to swan around Doomben and spend the afternoon in the company of prominent identities in the sport is an absolute disgrace, one that reflects very, very poorly on racing in this State.’

The majority of good racing public would agree: ‘It’s not too late for Racing Queensland to rectify the situation by issuing a ban order and warning him off. Every decent person in the game would not only expect it but also demand it.’

But as Archie went on to so rightly write: ‘I guess though that we are talking about an insipid, spineless, shameless mob that allows an accused rapist to run a major race club, so what else could we really expect?’

‘A whole lot better’ is not only Archie’s answer but many agree, as does LGHR. But unfortunately some of those running RQ are sending a message that they are tolerant to things the rest of us would never accept. We are not for one moment suggesting this accused rapist is guilty but he should at least have been stood down.

At this stage the person cannot be named but that will change if he is sent to trial when the matter proceeds in court in the next week or so.

Rightly or wrongly, under the law in Queensland, the ‘accused official’ cannot be identified. Yet in the past many people accused of far less serious ‘offences’ because they wouldn’t toe the racing political line had their reputations destroyed by Kangaroo Courts and henchmen using Parliamentary privilege.

There have been so many injustices since the Fine Cotton era in Queensland that perhaps our contributor is right when he suggests the Sunshine State has become the home of the Sport of Kings, Crooks and Conmen’.

 

HADLEY IS RIGHT ATTACKING RACING MEDIA OVER ‘SPIN DOCTORING’

CONTROVERSY continues to ride shotgun with racing in Queensland and another sad chapter is being written in the wake of the Danny Bougoure stabling eviction order from Eagle Farm and the attack on the Brisbane Racing Club by no-nonsense 4BC Morning Show host Ray Hadley.

The facts in the Bougoure case have been well documented with even those who barely follow the day-to-day happenings of the sport off the track aware that this arguably has nothing to do with the trainer’s success rate, especially as there are others at Eagle Farm with worse percentages who have not been targeted.

The role of the mainstream local racing media, which Hadley has accused of spin-doctoring this sad affair on behalf of the BRC and at the expense of the Bougoure family, is just the tip of the iceberg.

This would never have happened when respected Turf Editors like Jim Anderson and Keith Noud spearheaded big teams of racing writers in the heyday of newspaper coverage of the sport by The Courier-Mail and the Telegraph. Both had close ties with the then QTC and BRC but never allowed it to influence what was written by their staff.

That all changed – and we at LGHR can speak from experience – when Bart Sinclair took charge of a dwindling racing media contingent, first at the Daily Sun then at Queensland Newspapers after the Sun and Telegraph closed in a desperate effort by Rupert Murdoch to keep circulation figures of The Courier-Mail from hitting rock bottom which they now have.

It was ‘my way or the highway’ under Sinclair which meant those who dared to criticize his ‘mates’ at the QTC (and subsequently BRC after the merger) faced uncertain futures. Sadly his influence arguably filtered through to weak-kneed ‘mates’ at Radio TAB. It was all guns blazing when Bob Bentley was chairman of RQ but full support when the Government changed and Kevin Dixon took over.

Ray Hadley has accused Ben Dorries (of The Courier-Mail) of writing articles that resemble Media Releases for the BRC in the Bougoure controversy. What perhaps Ray doesn’t know is that Dorries once wrote articles bagging the Eagle Farm track and was given the message that he would wind up in the same boat as Garry Legg (a former turf scribe turned racing journalist for The Sunday Mail) who dared to criticize the BRC.

One has to feel sorry for popular 4TAB Morning Host Steve Hewlett who has been dragged into the Bougoure affair and ‘blocking’ critics of the BRC over their stance. Hewlett tries desperately not to get involved in racing’s political issues. He’s a nice bloke but we know where they end up.

LGHR regards Hewlett as a mate but we agreed to disagree after writing a story of how witnesses told us that David Fowler gave him a dressing down in front of studio staff at 4TAB for daring to criticize on-air the state of the Eagle Farm track during the redevelopment which had been well documented as a ‘basket case’. Hewlett reportedly apologized to Fowler – not because he felt what he said was wrong but he just prefers to walk away from controversy.  

Since then Fowler, a one-time chairman of Albion Park who LGHR took to his first trots meeting, has managed to fall out with the most powerful man in the sport, Kevin Seymour, jump into bed with the BRC and particularly Chairman Neville Bell, get himself hung out to dry after Hadley went into bat for popular race-caller Josh Fleming when a deal was allegedly being done behind the scenes between Fowler, RQ CEO Brendan Parnell and SKY. Now Hadley is asking if Fowler and Bell negotiated the employment of a controversial figure at Albion Park when the former was chairman there.

 

NEW BROOM NEEDED FOR RACING QLD & A HALT TO MEDIA INTIMIDATION 

IF racing in Queensland is to gain any respectability the Labor Government and Racing Minister need to jump out of bed with RQ and the BRC and order an Independent Inquiry into a number of issues that will hopefully regain public confidence.

There also needs to be a broom put through RQ, some of the staff employed by the BRC and the racing media. That could start by ending the influence RQ CEO Parnell seems to still have with SKY.

Here are a few suggestions:

SACK the current RQ BOARD starting at the top of the tree with Steve Wilson but retaining former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk (the only one worth feeding) and elevating him to Chairman. If it doesn’t happen now it will when the LNP wins the next State Election and let’s face it Labor is currently on the nose and the signs are bad when anyone considers the results for the Party in Queensland from the Federal Election.                              

The Board needs people who know racing not those who have been involved in business and say they want to learn about it but never seem to get around to it when appointed. The Government should go cap in hand to Kevin Seymour and ask him to assist Quirk in the re-build. As major share-holder of the TAB and the King of Harness Racing in Queensland for so long, Seymour has so much to offer.

Ray Stevens, the current Member for Mermaid Beach who should have been Racing Minister in an LNP Government, would make an extremely knowledgeable  Board representative. To add some balance to the political appointments Jim Soorley and Tony Mooney, former Lord Mayors of Brisbane and Townsville who are keen racing followers, would make terrific Board members.

Of course there needs to be women on the Board and if Pam O’Neill, the pioneering lady jockey was well enough, would be our first choice. Katie Page, the wife of Gerry Harvey, has the credentials but some might say there is too big a conflict with Magic Millions, so why not add Mary Collier, the first woman to Chair the Brisbane Turf Club, who has worked in a high profile role for RQ, has an intimate knowledge of the sport and is a lawyer.

There needs to be a Board appointee who protects the interests of the punters and Neville Morgan, a prominent owner who likes a bet, fits the bill but whether he would be interested after walking away from a short stint on the old Queensland Principal Club remains debatable.

Then perhaps to ensure more control of the media in racing someone like Phil Purser, who pioneered racing websites or Peter Bredhauer who has worked in just about every facet of the industry, including the Appeals Body, have perfect credentials.

From a Board perspective the first cab off the rank should be Brendan Parnell – not only is he paid too much but also it could be argued that most in the industry have little confidence in the job he does. It could be said some of his First Lieutenants are there to make him look good. If they were looking for a replacement then go no further than Scott Whiteman, the current boss of Country Racing Victoria.

That leaves us with only one more suggestion – and no doubt this won’t be welcomed by some stakeholders – lure Terry Bailey back from Hong Kong as Chief Steward to rebuild punter confidence in the racing product in Queensland lost under a succession of stewards, the latest being Peter Chadwick.

Well that’s our offering which no doubt will ruffle a few feathers – which it is designed to do – but on a final note expect some fireworks in Parliament shortly as the Bougoure issue along with the reason a high profile official has remained in his high paid job while facing rape charges revs up in court.  

 

SUPER SATURDAY DELIVERED IN SPADES FOR CARNIVAL AT FARM

CREDIT where credit is due – SUPER SATURDAY at EAGLE FARM delivered in spades.

The much-maligned track played the best it has since the controversial redevelopment began.

We saw the resurrection of the Kiwis spearheaded by the popular long-time visitor to the Winter Carnival in Roger James winning the Queensland Derby with Pinarello.

The traditional dominance by an interstate stable on a big day – this time it was Team Snowden with Doomben Cup winner Huetor, Sheza Belter in the Sires Produce Stakes and Najmaty in the Helen Couglan.

But best of all was the triumph for the locals with Apache Chase winning the Kingsford-Smith Cup and Soxagon qualifying for a Stradbroke start with a win in the BRC Sprint.

Super Saturday had it all – and there were surprises as well with the shock defeat of the odds-on favorite Zaaki which finished third in the Doomben Cup.

 

‘BOMBER’ COULDN’T HAVE WRITTEN A BETTER RACING FAIRYTALE

BRIAN BURKE, the one-time battling sportswriter who bred Soxagon, could not have written a better fairytale story than the one that was completed at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

‘Bomber’, as he is better known, fulfilled what any owner would dream of when Soxagon, the horse that no trainer wanted before Ben Currie took the gamble, scrambled home in the BRC Sprint to qualify for a start in the Stradbroke.

Burke, a lifelong horse racing lover with family ties to the sport going way back in Victoria, took on hobby breeding after a sports writing career that included covering the international tennis circuit along with gigs as sports editor with the Townsville Bulletin and The Courier-Mail.

Soxagon has defied the odds from the day he was foaled, starting with an amazing win in a Toowoomba Maiden and graduating to Black Type success with earnings nearing the $1 million mark for owners Brian and his wife Ann, along with Donna Currie, wife of trainer Mark.

 

HOW DID APACHE CHASE GET BEATEN IN ROCKHAMPTON?

APACHE CHASE which provided Eagle Farm trainer Desleigh Forster with her first Group One success in the Kingsford Smith Cup now boasts earnings of close to $2 million.

His win in the weight-for-age $700,000 event on Saturday, aided by a brilliant front-running ride from Jim Byrne, prompted an interesting question from the panel on RSN Melbourne the following morning.

‘How did he get beaten in Rockhampton at his previous start?’

Apache Chase was resuming and nailed in the last stride by Emerald Kingdom in the new feature race The Archer but classes below the Kingsford-Smith Cup. That horse ran 9th in the BRC Sprint on Saturday.

 

GODOLPHIN PROVING A REAL GRAVEYARD FOR THE PUNTERS

PUNTERS don’t seem to have much luck when it comes to backing the Godolphin horses prepared by one of the best in the business, James Cummings.

They dismissed Vilana, a $15 chance at their peril in the Fred Best Classic after the colt performed poorly in the G3 Hawkesbury Guineas but backed up again on hot favourite Andermatt at Randwick.

For the second successive start they got burnt by Andermatt which finished third to $11 chance Surreal Step but it wouldn’t be a Sydney Saturday meeting if one or two shorties weren’t surprisingly beaten.

Andermatt, being hailed a Stradbroke hope before his latest failures, would struggle to win a Group 1 anywhere on current form.

 

SYDNEY SATURDAY RACING DEGENERATING INTO A PUNTING JOKE

SYDNEY was again a graveyard for punters on Saturday with not one favourite saluting on the 10-race card.

There was the usual – the best backed runner got stuffed in the Highway – this time it was Optima’s turn – it missed the start.

Then there was the $61 winner Marakopa which had failed at three runs since a spell, the latest at Muswellbrook where the Heavy 10 tracks was blamed.

It wouldn’t be a Sydney Saturday meeting without a favourite from the stable of champion trainer Chris Waller getting beaten – this weekend there were more than one.

The rot set in with And We Danced and was followed by stablemates Shameless Miss, Democracy Manifest and the well backed Kalino. It just wasn’t Waller’s day.

Punters regard Sydney racing as such a farce these days that it prompted this email to our Whinge section:

‘They have all these form experts telling us what to back and some of them failing to find a winner in 10 races. My mates and I reckon the best way of backing winners in Sydney is potting the favorites on Betfair or putting all the numbers in a hat and drawing one out.’   

 

LUCK WAS OUT FOR LINDA ON TWO FRONTS AT CAULFIELD

SPARE a thought for popular lady jockey Linda Meech who was dealt a bad hand by lady luck at Caulfield.

She partnered what looked like the good thing of the day Grandslam which was knocked down at the start and then unable to lead before  struggling to finish fifth.

Earlier in the day Meech was on the well fancied Peter Moody-trained debutante Mckeon which stood in the stalls and tailed off throughout.

You can't keep a good jock down though - just stick with Linda and she will repay you plenty.

 

WHEN THE FOCUS SHOULD BE ON THE WINTER CARNIVAL, THE EAGLE FARM STABLE EVICTION CONTROVERSY STEALS THE SPOTLIGHT

AT a time when the Winter Carnival should be taking centre stage, the controversy involving the Brisbane Racing Club evicting popular trainer Danny Bougoure from stabling at Eagle Farm continues to worsen.

Ray Hadley on his 4BC Morning Show has turned up the heat on the BRC and some of the allegations emanating from emails that he is receiving have heightened calls for the Labor Government to step in and order an Independent Inquiry.

In his latest expose, Hadley says he has been informed that staff from the BRC were allegedly threatened with the sack if they spoke to Bougoure or provided information about the situation that was posted on social media.

Hadley has questioned how Bougoure can be evicted because his supposedly inadequate number of metropolitan winners isn’t up to the required standard at Eagle Farm when other trainers (B J Smith is said to be one of those) have a worse strike rate than him but are being allowed to continue stabling there.

On his widely-listened to Morning Show Hadley has alleged that BRC Chairman Neville Bell addressed staff and effectively issued them with a ‘gag’ order. He also suggests that the real reason for Bougoure’s eviction is unrelated to the number of winners he trains but has something to do with a spelling farm dispute.

RUDOLPH, FOWLER & DORRIES CAUGHT IN THE HADLEY CROSSFIRE

HADLEY has also taken aim at other racing identities and dragged them into the controversy. He said:

“This revolves around a bloke called Matt Rudolph, who, of course, was formerly with Australian Racing Club, the Governing body in NSW where he got sacked after being investigated by stewards for corrupt behaviour and found to be guilty. Remarkably, he finds himself employed in Queensland years later (on the Executive team of the BRC). It seems he is again behaving in a dictatorial fashion trying to pressure people into things he wants done.”

Hadley told his audience:

‘David Fowler, the race-caller and former Chairman of Albion Park Harness Racing Club, seems to spend a lot of time in the company of Mr Bell. I am going to talk to Mr Fowler about people employed at Albion Park (when he was chairman) who were formerly employed at the BRC and whether Mr Bell played a role in that.”

Ben Dorries, a Murdoch Media Racing Writer with The Courier-Mail and Racenet, has also copped criticism in this issue from an emailer (Ross from the Sunshine Coast) who is among many of Hadley’s racing informants.

Hadley told of an email he received from someone with a broad knowledge of racing in Queensland who told him, in part: ‘You also mentioned the role of the media last week prior to Ben Dorries from The Courier-Mail issuing what was best described by you as a BRC Press Release. I sent Ben a message encouraging him to get onto the story and offering assistance but I was immediately blocked. Then I had conversations with people at Radio TAB asking for support for Danny Bougoure. I was similarly blocked. It goes back to the fact Ray that you can lead a media hack to a story but you can’t write it for them.’

‘Because he (Mr Bell) lives in a penthouse on the course built by Mirvac, which he obviously bought, and because he is there every day, he seems to be directing traffic he is not entitled to be doing under the club’s constitution. That should be left to the CEO’.

‘My emailer claims the Chairman had a meeting with all BRC employees last Friday warning them that if they posted anything on social media about Danny Bougoure they would be terminated. That sort of discussion needs to be coming from the CEO (Tony Partridge) who is dwarfed by the chairman who thinks he is Executive Chairman but even if the CEO were to say that it would cause some concern to employee groups.

‘It’s quite simple. You can’t threaten employees – you can’t say don’t speak with Danny Bougoure or post on social media. It’s not the ABC. It’s the BRC. Mr Bell can’t direct staff to do anything under the constitution. He should not be holding meetings. He thinks he is some sort of titular head of Brisbane racing but he’s not,” Hadley told his 4BC Morning Show audience.

“I now have (LNP Shadow Racing Minister) Tim Mander on the case and he is gathering evidence.”

Hopefully Mr Mander will ask some questions in Parliament and we might get some answers from the Government.

EDITOR’S NOTE: LGHR would be happy to print an unedited response from the BRC to any of the above comments made on the Ray Hadley Morning Show but sadly history shows that as a social media outlet it seems they are only interested in dealing with their ‘spin doctors’ in the mainstream media.

 

PUNTER ANGER OVER HOT FAVORITES PERFORMING POORLY IN SYDNEY

THE feedback we are receiving at the WEDNESDAY WHINGE suggests that punters throughout the country have had a gutful of the heavily-backed favourites performing poorly in Sydney Saturday racing.

They want to know why stewards aren’t doing more and are keen to highlight that while the mainstream racing media continue to highlight the records being broken by the Chris Waller stable statistics show that of the Top 20 trainers in Australia this season he rates 16th on a Profit on Wins basis.

HERE is a sample of emails received this week concerning Sydney racing:

 

ANOTHER HEAVILY-BACKED SYDNEY FAVORITE PERFORMS LIKE A MULE

‘THE Carnival might be over in Sydney racing – as evidenced by the second rate meeting at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday – but one common denominator remains.

When are the stewards going to do something about the number of heavily-backed favorites that seem to perform like mules on a weekly basis in Sydney?

On Saturday it was the turn of Dynasties, a big go and tip in the sixth, that managed to beat only one home and was over 18 lengths from the winner.

The Team Snowden-trained filly had come from last to win the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet on a Heavy 8 at her previous start after finishing third to the brilliant Espiona in a G3 at Randwick first-up.’

Here’s what Stewards reported:

DYNASTIES: Began only fairly. When questioned regarding the disappointing performance, T. Berry reported that as far out as racing along the back straight the filly did not travel comfortably in the Heavy (9) track conditions even though the tempo of the event was only moderate. He said that when placed under pressure Dynasties was unable to pick up in the heavy ground and together with its rise in weight today the filly was unable to finish off the race as well as expected. A post-race veterinary examination did not reveal any Abnormalities. Co-trainer Mr Paul Snowden stated that being a three-year-old filly Dynasties was obliged to carry a heavy weight and he concurred with T. Berry that Dynasties found it difficult to finish off on the heavy track. Mr Snowden undertook to report back to the Stewards on the post-race condition of the filly and indicated that at this stage the intention would be to continue with its preparation.

Adding insult to injury for punters the race was won by the $20 shot Arapaho which bolted in by seven lengths. After running last in the Tamworth Cup, the Bjorn Baker-trained galloper, which had not won for 737 days, had finished an improved 4th in similar company at Hawkesbury.

Stewards just seem to accept one of the multitude of excuses offered by those questioned over form reversal performances or it’s simply written off as one of those inexplicable things in racing.

 

LORD MAYOR’S CUP ALMOST DEGENERATED INTO ANOTHER WALLER JOKE

‘HAD it not been for trainer Annabel Neasham and her imported galloper Hopeful the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup at Rosehill on Saturday would have degenerated into another ‘Waller joke’.

The leading stable saddled up three runners – Aleas, Irish Sequel and The Frontman. Aleas ran a distant last at $5, Irish Sequel a struggling 7th at $5.5 and The Frontman at $17 went within a whisker of bringing off a massive upset and form reversal.

This is why punters are walking away from betting on Sydney racing and have had a gutful of the impossible to follow Waller horses and the continuing success by his second-string runners.

Aleas won the Wagga Cup at its previous start. On Saturday it got beaten over 53 lengths – they almost had to hold up the next race waiting for it to pass the post.

Irish Sequel, which had beaten Aleas on a H10 track at Randwick before finish 5th to the same horse in the Wagga Cup, was beaten over 11 lengths on Saturday.

Stable outsider The Frontman, which had finished 11th at Randwick then 10th in the Hawkesbury Cup (beaten a combined 18lens on Heavy tracks at its two previous starts) grows a leg on Saturday and looked the winner until the last stride after circling the field and kicking clear straightening for home. It was a massive form reversal only to be run down in the last stride by Hopeful to the delight of the punters.’

Here’s what Stewards’ reported:

ALEAS: When questioned regarding the performance, B. Avdulla stated that the gelding travelled satisfactorily in the early stages, but from the 1000m, when Marroni commenced a forward move, Aleas came under pressure and did not respond to his riding in the straight. He added that over the final 250m when well beaten he eased the gelding down. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be slow to recover. Trainer Mr C. Waller was advised that Aleas would be required to barrier trial to the satisfaction of the Stewards prior to being permitted to race again.

IT’S about time Stewards started forcing these form reversal failures to trial – but perhaps it should be a couple of times just to make sure they are back to competitive form.

IRISH SEQUEL: T. Berry reported that his mount did not handle today’s heavy track
conditions.

That’s strange because the horse had no trouble handling a Heavy 10 when he won two starts back at Randwick.

In a Lord Mayor’s Cup where more of the fancies finished closer to last than first the favorite, Bethencourt, from the Kim Waugh stable ran 8th (beaten 11lens) after winning its two previous starts in H10 conditions.

Stewards reported:  

BETHENCOURT: When questioned, J. Ford stated that although he was able to hold the lead, Bethencourt did not travel strongly in that position. He stated that when Marroni commenced a forward move near the 1000m the gelding immediately came under pressure and continued to travel only fairly whilst holding the lead. He further stated that from the 600m his mount did not respond to his riding and weakened as a result.

He added that given the pressure applied to Bethencourt from the 1000m, the gelding failed to run out the 2000m. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be displaying a poor recovery. Trainer Mrs K. Waugh stated that she also felt that Bethencourt was not able to see out the 2000m after being challenged in the lead in the early and middle stages on the heavy track. Mrs Waugh undertook to report back on the progress of the gelding in the days subsequent.

Bethencourt was rising in class and distance so the excuses offered after the favorite was given no peace in front seem much more acceptable than those put forward for the poor performances of the Waller fancies.

It seems though that Stewards were so busy inquiring into the abysmal performances of the fancies in the Lord Mayor’s Cup that they either didn’t have the time or inclination to ask how The Frontman improved a furlong from his previous form. Then again the punters are used to that with Waller-trained horses and the Sydney media ‘spin doctors’ for the top stable just ignore it.

 

HI-WAY RACES CONTINUE TO PROVE A GRAVEYARD FOR FAVORITES

‘WHAT is it about these Hi-Way races that seem to prove a hoodoo for the favorites?

Saturday at Rosehill was another example when Hardware Lane raced below expectations and joined a long list of fancies in the Hi-Way graveyard.’

Here’s what the Stewards reported about the latest disaster for punters who are still prepared to bet in these Hi-Way benefits for the bookies:

HARDWARE LANE: When questioned regarding the disappointing performance,
T. Berry advised that the gelding travelled well in the run and then when asked for an
effort soon after straightening responded only fairly before finishing off the race in a
disappointing manner. He could offer no real excuse for the performance.

When questioned regarding his riding in the early stages of the straight and as to whether
there was an opportunity to improve to the outside of Boom Boom Basil, T. Berry stated
that he had observed Overextend lay out on the home turn and as he was not sure whether that runner would resume its position closer to Boom Boom Basil, he elected to secure an inside run. He stated that his decision to take the inside run also was influenced by the fact that Boom Boom Basil also commenced to shift out approaching the 350m and, therefore, he felt the inside run was his safest option to improve into the event. A post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be slow to recover.

Trainer Mr M. Beer undertook to report back on the post-race condition of Hardware Lane in the days subsequent. T. Berry was fined $500 under AR131(b) for failing to ride the gelding out to the end of the race.

 

IS IT TIME FOR ANOTHER COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TO CLEAR THE AIR?

WE received this interesting email from a critic of the BRC and their mates in the mainstream racing media, who has been heavily involved in various roles in the industry for a lifetime and believes the time has come for the Government to institute another Commission of Inquiry into allegations doing the rounds about various aspects of the Eagle Farm operation – to clear the air and lift a cloud undeservedly hanging over some hard working and highly respected officials.

‘MY heart bleeds for the ‘olds boy’s network’ at the BRC – the leftovers from the days when the QTC ruled the roost – who no longer have complete control over what is written or said about them in the print or broadcast media.

There is no way they are going to silence or gag Ray Hadley and his Morning Show on 4BC which now has more racing listeners than Radio TAB. BRC bosses can tell all their ‘yes men’ trainers not to talk to Hadley it won’t make an iota of difference because his contacts are far and wide including some former disgruntled employees of the BRC.

As landlords of Eagle Farm the BRC are entitled to choose what tenants they want but if industry funds were used to develop their world class training facility then Racing Queensland or the Government through its Racing Minister are entitled to intervene in this dispute involving trainer Danny Bougoure being evicted simply because ‘his horses are not of metropolitan standard’. That smacks of elitism and does not sit comfortably with the racing public and many industry stakeholders.

One wonders where the LNP, ready to criticize Labor at the drop of a hat, stands on this issue. They have been conspicuous by their silence and surely this has nothing to do with Eagle Farm being in the heartland of the electorate controlled by a high profile Liberal, the Member for Clayfield Tim Nicholls. Remember his famous promise years ago made publicly at a feature meeting on April Fools’ Day that in a years’ time Eagle Farm would be a world class track. We’re still waiting.

Over the years, racing scribes who tried to objectively criticize certain major clubs and high profile officials wound up either being moved or sacked. Big city newspaper coverage of racing was controlled by a Turf Editor whose mantra was arguably not the protection of the interests of the mum and dad punters but promoting the BRC and his political mates in the LNP.

This same bloke was accused in a Commission of Inquiry into Racing of running messages from the jockeys’ room to the bookies ring in Brisbane right under the noses of stewards who were responsible for the integrity of the industry.

He and his racing scribe protégé have both wound up working for the BRC which comes as no surprise. Some say the same thing happens in Sydney where the ‘spin doctors’ of PVL and Racing NSW wind up being rewarded with an extra job or two or three in the racing media, a la SKY Racing or Radio.

But back to Queensland and if Racing Minister Grace Grace has any balls (no pun intended) she should be instigating a Commission of Inquiry into the scuttlebutt, serious allegations and rumours doing the rounds about the Brisbane Racing Club.

I am not suggesting for one moment that these are correct but to clear the air and lift the cloud over some outstanding and respected officials who run Queensland’s major club, what some of these people who formerly worked for the BRC are saying in stat decs to Ray Hadley cannot simply be dismissed as disgruntled ratbags.

Whether Archie Butterfly of www.peterprofit.com went about his criticism of certain individuals in racing and high profile identities at the BRC the right or wrong way, did he deserve to be gagged by the court system?

No the days when the old QTC, now BRC, could control the media are coming to an end – and it’s not before time. Grace Grace and the Labor Government need to address this controversy before they get flushed down the toilet as well.

 

‘RACING QUEENSLAND CONTINUE TO HEAD IN WRONG DIRECTION’

GREG BLANCHARD, a regular contributor, continues his fight over the lack of jockeys for bush meetings:  

‘I noticed last week representatives from the Racing Queensland training department had visited Expos at Biloela, Emerald, Gladstone and Rockhampton. I applaud this initiative of travelling to regional centres to ensure a presence for the racing industry.

But it's the far west and more so the far north-west that has the biggest problems with lack of jockeys.

Of course there are other jobs in racing that recruitment drives offer but none more important than jockeys

Stats for this year show that Gladstone had one meeting with no horses scratched due to unavailability of riders; Biloela had four where only one horse was scratched and Emerald had four with only one horse being scratched due to no rider. Rockhampton has had 14 meetings this year and no horses had to be scratched due to rider unavailability.

The big problem with lack of jockeys is in the far west and even more in the far north-west. Mt Isa had 16 horses scratched because there were no riders available on Saturday. That says it all.’

 

HADLEY GETS ‘DUCKS IN A ROW ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AT THE BRC’ & ‘HOW THIS FIEFDOM IS BEING RUN’

RAY HADLEY on his Morning Show on 4BC has declared war on the Brisbane Racing Club and its Chairman Neville Bell over the treatment of the Bougoure family.

Hadley got involved after learning that Danny, the son of legendary Queensland trainer Doug Bougoure, was being evicted from his stables at Eagle Farm and offered alternate facilities elsewhere.

What has upset many industry stakeholders and followers of racing in south-east Queensland is the BRC assertion that it ‘cannot allow any trainer with horses that are not of a metropolitan standard to occupy stables at their world class training facility’.

This has got right up the nose of many who feel tens of millions of taxpayers' and industry dollars have been wasted correcting the problems with the controversial Eagle Farm track not to mention that Bougoure pays the same rental for stables as top trainers who supposedly have higher quality horses.

Hadley told his huge audience on 4BC this morning:

‘INCIDENTALLY, for those of you concerned about treatment of the Bougoure family at Eagle Farm, don’t think I have dropped off Mr Bell and the BRC. We are just getting all our ducks in a row about exactly what’s been going on behind closed doors.

‘About two years ago now there were allegations that an employee or former employee had sexually assaulted women. That matter was mentioned in newspapers last year but we cannot mention people charged in such a manner in Queensland. It’s not going away.”

Hadley went on:

‘And I did get a note from someone that Mr Bell was holding fort and did the rounds last week calling into each stable, excluding Danny Bougoure’s, and maybe having a word to trainers about saying nothing to myself or Peter Gleeson from The Courier-Mail and SKY News.

‘It sounds like damage control is well underway. The problem for Mr Bell is it is not necessarily the trainers who are contacting me, although they are listening to the program right now. If you go down to the stables they are all tuned in to hear the latest update on what is being said on the radio.

“But there are people within the BRC who were dismissed or made redundant by the BRC who are more than happy to make statutory declarations with a wealth of information about how that fiefdom is run.”

ONE thing’s for sure, unlike some of the ‘spin doctors’ from the major newspapers and broadcast networks, who unsurprisingly have transferred or retired to highly paid positions at the (former QTC) or BRC, that most certainly be an option for Ray Hadley – not that he would want or need it. 

As for Peter Gleeson, well he was offered the role of CEO of Racing Queensland by the Government when Darren Condon was thrown under a bus in the wake of the greyhound live baiting fiasco.

Gleeson knocked the job back and it eventually went to Brendan Parnell (on an absurd salary of more than $500,000 annually). He has also been a target of Hadley amid allegations involving former Albion Park Harness Racing Chairman David Fowler for backing a secret deal to replace Josh Fleming as the Sky race-caller in Brisbane. It was only after Hadley got involved on his radio show that Fowler reportedly missed that ‘gig’.

 

 

BRC DIDN’T WANT DOOMBEN CUP RUN AT EAGLE FARM LAST SATURDAY & NOW BIG WET FORCES IT TO BE RUN THERE A WEEK LATER 

HAD racing officials in Queensland not been so cautious with the controversial Eagle Farm track would they have faced their current Winter Carnival predicament?

Despite moving the 10,000 from Doomben to Eagle Farm, the Brisbane Racing Club refused to do the same with the Doomben Cup because it would have meant racing at Headquarters on four successive Saturdays.

One can understand their reluctance to burden the troubled track with another meeting whilst the big wet continues especially as the Farm, in the opinion of many trainers and jockeys, has not raced as well since the redevelopment disaster began.

Then 11th hour decision by stewards to postpone the Doomben Cup meeting on Saturday left two options – running the entire card at Doomben on Wednesday or transferring some of the Group races to the following Saturday at Eagle Farm.

As the big wet continued past the weekend Wednesday was quickly ruled out – an early and a wise decision. But that created a carnival predicament for the BRC and Racing Queensland.

With seven Black Type races already programmed next weekend, spearheaded by the Queensland Derby, that left room for only the three best (the Doomben Cup, The Roses and BRC Sprint) to be added to a Super Saturday card at the Farm.

Even that decision has met with some angst from trainers using The Roses as a springboard to the Oaks – they will now have to back-up one week later. It also presents lesser problems for Stradbroke candidates hoping to quality in the BRC Sprint. Zaaki, the hot favourite, will still contest the Doomben Cup despite concerns expressed by trainer Annabel Neasham that it’s a week closer to his Spring goals. But, of course, there is the $200,000 bonus he can earn for winning the Hollindale-Cup double not to mention on top of the $600,000 if he wins.

Moving the Listed Bill Carter, run in honour of a great stalwart of the BRC, on Oaks Day doesn’t present any problem but the Pam O’Neill, Chief de Beers and Darbyh McCarthy now have to wait until July to be run.

The big wet is not the total disaster thought that it is for stakeholders with at least four Benchmark races lost because of the big wet and feature transfers – so here’s hoping RQ or the BRC find a place to deliver on that $300,000 by adding races to future Saturday programs even if it means running 10 races during the Winter Carnival – Sydney does it every week so it shouldn’t present an interim problem for Brisbane.

 

SNOW MELTED & IT SEEMS ALL WE WERE LEFT WITH WAS A COVER-UP

INTERESTING article by ARCHIE BUTTERFLY on his subscriber-only website www.peterprofit.com that is a taste of the great read you get for a few bucks each week:

 ‘EVEN though Snow has refused to co-operate, we will continue to pursue the matter to ensure the integrity of thoroughbred racing has not been compromised’.

That is Peter V’landys speaking in 2019 in the wake of the TAB’s boss of fixed price racing, Sally Snow – the goddaughter of Robbie Waterhouse – being warned off every racecourse in Australia for refusing to hand over her phone on the grounds of self-incrimination.

“Incrimination in what?” we all asked – but never really got a proper answer.

These were the three areas of the inquiry.

Firstly, whether prices at the TAB were manipulated to offer inflated odds on particular horses which (big Sydney punter Steve) Fletcher was subsequently able to take advantage of.

Secondly, whether limits often placed on successful punters such as Fletcher were being waived, allowing him to bet with the TAB to collect substantial amounts.

And finally, whether Fletcher was betting with accounts registered in names other than his through the TAB, a process commonly referred to in the wagering industry as ‘using a bowler’.

These are pretty serious things in an industry funded to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars by gambling, and just as Mr V’landys said it was hyper important that ‘we got to the bottom of the matter’.

So what did PVL’s inquiry find?

We don’t know, do we – because all of a sudden it went silent?

I wonder why?

Well we don’t know that either, because neither PVL nor Chief Steward Marc Van Gestel have ever told us.

The whole Sally Snow Inquiry seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth.

Hasn’t that by its very fact compromised the integrity of racing too?

I would have thought so.

Will we ever get a report on the matter, or any answers?

If you want to take a million to one I will bet you the price.

LGHR EDITOR’S NOTE: Hasn’t it been good to see all those front-line racing media tarts, like Razor, doing an investigative piece on this one. In case anyone thinks that will happen, they are too busy spin-doctoring PVL and Racing NSW in their one, two or three extra jobs.     

 

‘FLUSH LABOR DOWN THE TOILET’ – DOES ANYONE LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE OF THE MURDOCH MEDIA OR ‘THE BIG MURRAY COD’?

‘FLUSH LABOR DOWN THE TOILET’ was the blunt message from the big ‘Murray Cod’ to his legion of followers on SKY but once again it seems too few were listening.

The one common denominator from recent State and Federal Elections in Australia is that the Murdoch Media has next to no influence through its newspaper and broadcast networks.

The message from the News Ltd newspapers throughout the nation leading up to Saturday’s election was that Australia needed to stay loyal to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and not to risk the nation’s future under the leadership of Anthony Albanese.

The poor losers that they are Murdoch’s talking political heads are saying 70 per cent of voters didn’t want Labor and Albanese, highlighting the success of the Holmes-a-Court-backed Teal Party tidal wave and refusing to direct the blame squarely at the feet of Morrison where it belongs.

Now as the bloodbath begins furious MPs from the dumped the Liberal-National Coalition Government are admitting Morrison should have quit months ago when polls showed he was despised but revealing how the former PM ‘strapped himself to the Liberal Party like a suicide bomber and blew the whole show up’.

They got what they deserved and so did the Murdoch Media and their chief ‘spin doctor’ for the Tories in Paul Murray who has shown yet again that the majority of the supposed record number of viewers who watch him on SKY recognize the ‘big Cod’ for what he is, has always been and by his own admission will continue to be – just a big bag of biased bullshit and wind.

The dust had not even settled on the result of Saturday night’s poll when he declared war on Labor and Anthony Albanese for another 1000 days until the next election. It has raised questions from some in Labor – who now look set to rule in their own right – of whether there should be retaliation against the extremely politically biased Murdoch Media and whose interests they are protecting – those of the general public or their boss’s. Hypocritically, they accuse the ABC of bias toward Labor when they are a blueprint for the LNP.

Rather than highlight how the stunning impact of the Teal ‘independents’ blew the sitting Libs out of the water and the increasing popularity of the Greens helped Labor win, perhaps Paul Murray and his Liberal sympathizers at SKY should take a closer look at the internal fighting that threatens to destroy the Coalition. Peta Credlin, a colleague of the ‘big cod’ at SKY, should recognize that from her days with Tony Abbott. Can you believe she once worked for Racing Victoria or so the story goes?

Plenty of political commentators are rightly blaming the preferential voting system which has certainly assisted Labor in this election but so did the Gerrymander help the most corrupt Government ever seen in this country rule for so many years in Queensland under the leadership of Sir Joh.

Such has been the impact of the Teal tidal waves and the Greens (despised by so many in racing because they want to close the industry down) that one could assume this will be the last time that Labor or the LNP have sufficient seats to control the Federal Government in their own right. In future arguably deals will have to be done with those who fill that increasing number of seats not won by the two major parties.

Once again the bookies got it right posting Labor odds-on to win Saturday’s poll. The LNP shortened as the big day grew closer but surprisingly there was an estimated $50,000 wagered nationally on ‘Any Other Party’ to form Government. Some people must just want to lose their money.

LGHR had many inquiries whether the corporates – who often find a way not to pay – would rule that Labor did not have sufficient numbers to govern outright and needed to do a deal with the Greens, Teals or independents. No such problem exists – those who backed Labor to form Government will be paid their winnings regardless.

Watching the polling unfold reminded us of a race where major stables (like Waller’s) have multiple runners. Just when the favorite looked like winning a second-string arrives and snatches the main prize – it’s the power of numbers.

Despite the outcome of elections where the Murdoch Media has unsuccessfully urged readers or viewers to vote Labor out as happened in the last State election in Queensland and now the Federal poll, nothing will change.

The ‘Murray Cod’ will continue to unleash his foul-mouthed tirade or criticism against Labor and simply jump from supporting Morrison to his likely replacement Peter Dutton but many political observers believe the good ship LNP Titanic will continue to head toward iceberg waters until the Libs cut Barnaby and his hayseed Nationals adrift.

Paul Murray Live will no doubt now waste their focus on upcoming elections in NSW and Victoria (it’s worth tuning in just for a good laugh because his stance is reaching joke status) but one suspects the Murdoch Media might change when the hope of the side, new Nationals leader David Crisafulli, takes on Labor in Queensland where Anastasia thinks she’s ten feet tall and bulletproof but voters are becoming increasingly fed up with a lack of integrity in her Government.

The new kid on the block has one problem if he wants to win back Queensland – the Nats, many of whom like their three-time loser Laurence Springborg, still have too much control over the Coalition. Sadly for the Libs if they want to oust Labor in Queensland they will have to continue to bare their backsides to the old goat-riders outside the metropolitan area, many of whom still have framed photos of Sir Joh in their wallets or beside their beds, Lest we forget!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Unlike our colleagues in the Murdoch Media this is not a politically motivated commentary on behalf of the Labor Party although we did have a quiet drink when Scomo declared for the final time ‘it’s not my job’. Perhaps he should have taken it a step further and headed back to Hawaii for another holiday where he won’t have to worry about carrying a hose. But like so many former PM’s he has decided to stick around and some within his own Party fear will stir up trouble at a time that should be focused on rebuilding.

 

WHAT MAKES ZAAKI VULNERABLE – THE BOG TRACK OR PRESSURE?

PUNTERS have arguably next to no confidence in the integrity of racing in Queensland and want to know if Chief Steward Peter Chadwick will speak to jockeys prior to Saturday’s Group 1 Doomben Cup with a warning that ‘team riding’ will not be tolerated.

Their concerns have been prompted by a report that Paul Snowden, co-trainer of the import Heutor has questioned whether one of the four runners from the Chris Waller stable might go forward and put pressure on the hot favourite Zaaki.

Waller has four runners in the Cup – Polly Grey which loves the wet and finished a close second to Zaaki in the Hollindale at the Gold Coast on a Heavy 8; last year’s Queensland Derby winner Kukeracha which ran a closing third in the Hollindale; Kolding, which has been struggling to regain his best form on bottomless tracks; and Great House, which ran second in the Gosford Cup and likes the wet.

One would assume the only one of those four that could serve it up to Zaaki would be Polly Grey which led and bolted in on a Heavy 8 in the Group 3 JRA Plate at Randwick last month but there was nothing in that field of the quality of Zaaki. It would seem suicidal tactics to engage in an early battle for the lead but by the same token can rivals afford to let the favorite enjoy a leisurely time in front?

We’re not for one moment suggesting anything untoward from Team Waller or that at any stage the stable has engaged in team riding with multiple runners in races.

But if Polly Grey were to engage in a mid-race or before the turn battle up front with Zaaki leaving the favorite vulnerable to her stablemate Kukeracha to run over the top and win, it wouldn’t be a good look from a punting perspective.

Zaaki was overhauled by Think It Over charging down the outside of the track on a Heavy 10 in Queen Elizabeth at Randwick over the Doomben Cup distance and one could argue that whilst not in the same class as Zaaki, Polly Grey has better credentials if the track becomes bottomless with rain during the day and does have a two kilo pull in the weights.

Paul Snowden told The Courier-Mail: “Any horse is beatable. You’d like to see a bit of pressure put on him because that is all this is lacking.

“Whether one of Chris’s (Waller) goes forward or if it was dry I think Maximal might have gone forward.”

Fresh from clinching the Doomben 10,000 with Everest-bound Mazu, Snowden has declared last year’s Cup winner Zaaki as beatable but wants to see someone serve it up to James McDonald to ensure the Annabel Neasham-trained star doesn’t get it all his own way.

Neasham has already voiced her concerns over Zaaki’s vulnerability on a bottomless track and there is more heavy rain predicted for Brisbane on Saturday with some local trainers tipping the big meeting might transferred to Wednesday.

One wouldn’t expect rival riders to give Zaaki the stroll in the park he enjoyed in the All Star Mile. But week-in, week-out punters see Waller do amazing things with his horses from winning big races, to saddling up ‘good things’ that lose a leg, and winning features in upsets like he did in the Melbourne Cup.

Good luck to him when he gang tackles the Doomben Cup and assumes the role of giant-killer but to reassure punters here’s hoping ‘Pete the Plodder’ has a fireside chat with all riders before the big race to ensure a level playing field. No doubt after this attempt at a wake-up call he’ll do next to nothing!

 

IT BECOMES A MAJOR PROBLEM WHEN YOU CAN’T CONTROL OBJECTIVE CRITICS IN THE RACING MEDIA

RACING in Queensland needs an outspoken media critic like national broadcaster Ray Hadley – someone that those running the show can’t control like their ‘spin doctors’ in the Murdoch Media and on Radio TAB.

It’s easy to play ‘bully boy’ with websites or social media that dare to criticize and to take legal action to limit their ability to speak out like has happened with Archie Butterfly.

But Hadley doesn’t take kindly to threats and at present he has the Brisbane Racing Club running for cover over the stable eviction order placed on trainer Danny Bougoure, son of a legend of racing in Queensland.

Of course on this whole issue Racing Queensland is hiding under a rock and Racing Minister Grace Grace is nowhere to be seen – probably fearing that if she gets involved it might affect her nose in the trough annual visit to the Farm for Stradbroke day.

Hadley can be unrelenting as RQ CEO Brendan Parnell, the bloke paid well over a half a million dollars annually, found out when he allegedly tried to seal a deal involving the Albion Park Harness Racing Club to replace Josh Fleming as the SKY caller at Eagle Farm with David Fowler, the one-time Chairman of Australia’s worst performing major trots venue.

Whenever the outspoken and objective 4BC Morning Show Host sees a perceived injustice he tries to protect the victim as has been the case with Danny Bougoure. As Archie Butterfly wrote on his subscriber-only site, www.peterprofit.com, “He’s like a rabid dog savaging a bone.

‘Hadley was at it again (on Wedneday) attacking Bougoure’s landlords’s (the BRC) from all sides, in particular, the reindeer Matt Rudolph.

‘Rudolph should have manned up and fronted Hadley’s show during the week, or the CEO Tony Partridge should have anyway. But no doing so they have dug themselves a huge hole, and made an enemy of one of the most powerful broadcasters in the nation, which is not really the sort of person you want throwing bombs at you while you are hiding in your bunker, because Hadley doesn’t often miss.

‘The whole thing can still be fixed if the Eagle Farm management eat a bit of humble pie and reverse the eviction decision, and then bowl up on radio to say ‘sorry, we got this one wrong.’

‘What are the odds?

‘We’ll have to wait and see.

‘Only one thing is for sure.

‘This is not what Queensland Racing needs coming into the Carnival.’

EDITOR’S NOTE: Problem for the Brisbane Racing Club is that for too long (the days of the old QTC) they have been able to control what has been written in the mainstream racing media. They can’t cop criticism and never could but rarely got any, especially when Bart Sinclair, who works for them in retirement, was Racing Editor. One just hopes that the rumors (and that’s all they are), which we can’t repeat for legal reasons, are incorrect about why stables have been taken from Bougoure at Eagle Farm.

 

BRC CANNOT ALLOW ‘ANY TRAINER WITH HORSES THAT ARE NOT OF A METRO STANDARD TO OCCUPY STABLES AT THEIR WORLD CLASS TRAINING FACILITY’

THE controversy that has erupted over the eviction of Group 1 winning trainer Danny Bougoure from his in-field stables at Eagle Farm which has raised a couple of interesting questions from our readers.

The main one they want answered is: ‘Where does the Trainers’ Association stand on this issue? Are they backing Bougoure or the decision of the Brisbane Racing Club?’

Here is an email we received from a long-standing racing follower in Brisbane:

‘The BRC as the landlord is entitled to make what decisions it sees fit when it comes to tenants. But it does seem that on this occasion the once highly successful Danny Bougoure is being hung out to dry.

When there was talk of some high profile trainers being booted out of Deagon to make way for a state-of-the-art harness and greyhound centre being proposed by the then Racing Queensland Board some years back all hell broke loose. It became a political crap fight on the eve of an election and a change of Government saw the project dumped.

Why are some of those – high profile in the Trainers’ Association and based at Deagon – conspicuous by their silence in the Bougoure case. Surely Pat Duff, who no doubt was close to Danny’s late dad Doug and Jim Murdoch, a legal eagle with so much racing expertise, not getting involved in this eviction (or that at least seems to be the case)?

Perhaps there is something that we, as the racing public aren’t aware of. What we do know is that the BRC were quick to offer stables to a former Hong Kong jailbird when he took to training in Brisbane but are now keen to show the door to a trainer who made headlines for racing in Queensland winning Doomben 10,000’s and in Hong Kong with his star sprinter Falvelon.’

We at LGHR were surprised to see the BRC ‘spin doctors’ in the Murdoch Media publicise this controversy but the reason soon became evident with the story containing the following warning to anyone who dares to criticize:

Trenton Ackers wrote in The Courier-Mail today:

The matter has turned ugly in recent times with BRC officials targeted for social media and verbal abuse by some who have taken umbrage at the decision.

In a strongly-worded statement provided to News Corp on Wednesday afternoon, the BRC said: “BRC has a job to do as the metropolitan racing club and our employees should be able to perform their jobs without fear of personal attacks. BRC will not tolerate the abuse of its staff.

“BRC is considering its legal position.”

BRC vice-chairman Richard Morrison told News Corp it was unfair that the club’s general manager of racing and partnerships, Matt Rudolph, had been singled out for savage ‘personal criticism’.”

“Matt Rudolph is an outstanding racing administrator, he has a difficult job making difficult decisions which are not always the popular decisions,” Morrison said.

“Personal criticism of Matt over this matter is grossly unfair.”

They explained the reasons for not renewing Bougoure’s lease.

“In regards to the decision, Danny Bougoure has trained three winners at BRC venues since August 2020,” the BRC statement said.

“Falvelon Lodge occupies 20 stables, almost five per cent of the $30 million infield training facility BRC funded and built.

“BRC simply cannot allow any trainer, regardless of their or their family’s tenure in the industry, to continue to occupy stables at BRC’s world class training facility with horses that are not of a metro standard.”

Then there was this clanger:

The BRC has invested more than $30 million on the infield stables and insist there is no monetary advantage to them whoever trains there, as boxes are rented on a daily rate regardless of how successful a trainer may be.

If that’s the case, why are they throwing Bougoure out albeit with the offer of alternative stabling off-course (to train at Doomben) or at Deagon?

 

HAVE YOUR SAY IN THE LGHR WEDNESDAY WHINGE

PLENTY of angst from this VICTORIAN punter after the defeat of the favorite in a CASTERTON HURDLE:

‘FOR some time now my mates and I have gone to our local watering hole in Victoria on a Sunday, enjoyed lunch and then had a punt – we find it easier than betting on the tougher Saturday meetings when some of us have other sporting commitments with our kids.

It’s jumping season now so we don’t mind investing our hard-earned believing that a reliable favorite will always give you a good run for your money barring any accidents or falls.

Sunday was no exception and we dipped in for a good win on the early favorite Tolemac in the opening Maiden Hurdle at Casterton. Sadly we were attacked mercilessly in front by a $51 roughie named Bosskid which dropped out like it got hit in the head with a mallet and was retired from the race.

Tolemac battled on bravely but the relentless pressure applied by Bosskid took its toll when Hey Happy, the second favorite that had enjoyed the run of the race, emerged from the ruck and ran our fancy down.

Now we don’t mind doing our money fair and square but whether we are accused of talking through our pockets or not, Tolemac would have won had this bolter not attacked him in front.

Here’s what the Stewards at Casterton reported: BOSSKID: Raced keenly through the early and middle stages. Retired from the event near the 500m and failed to negotiate the final two obstacles. Rider Selim Agbal reported the gelding overraced which was detrimental to its performance. The performance will be referred to the Jumps Review Panel. A post‑race veterinary examination revealed a slow recovery.

With all due respects to the rider Agbal he should have added that the over-racing of Bosskid was also determental to the chances of Tolemac and those who backed him – not to mention setting the race up for Hey Happy.’

 

POLY TRACK AT SUNSHINE COAST A GRAVEYARD FOR THE PUNTERS

THIS punter who still bets on racing in Queensland is not a fan of the Poly Track at the Sunshine Coast:

‘We keep hearing how the new Poly Track at the Sunshine Coast has been the saviour of racing in south-east Queensland during the big wet.

What a load of garbage. Whenever a meeting is transferred onto that surface it attracts a stack of scratchings, punters aren’t interesting in betting on the Poly and it continues to throw up rough results.

You only have to look at the opening race of the meeting there on Sunday. Winston Blue was the despised outsider in the five-horse field and somehow it managed to win. The $1.6 favorite Velvet Lady never looked like winning and fell into third place.

Winston Blue had not looked like winning at four starts this campaign for a last, a 10th, a 10th and an 8th and in those four starts the best it had done was beaten two home.

Not only do punters ask the question, how did it win? But they are entitled to ask how the odds-on favourite Velvet Lady got beaten. She had won on the Beaumont track then at Scone before beating one home at Randwick but that was in the Group 1 ATC Oaks on a Heavy 10 when she drew of the track. This was a Class 3 against walkers at the Sunshine Coast.

The sooner they get back to racing on the turf at Corbould Park the better. The Poly track should only be used as a last resort. It would be interesting to see the turnover on this surface where punters have next to no hope of winning.’

 

MAJOR NSW MEETINGS HOME OF SLAUGHTER JOBS & FORM REVERSALS

HERE’S another punter letting off steam about Saturday’s major meeting in NSW:

‘WHAT is it about the major meetings run in NSW each Saturday? They blamed the bottomless tracks for the form reversals and poor performances of some favored runners for weeks but even when the surfaces improved to some degree and they moved out of town it was the same old story.

You can always count on one of the top jocks enduring more than their share of bad luck on a beaten favorite. On Saturday at Scone it was Rachel’s King turn on the heavily-backed $1.6 chance Andermat in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes when she managed to get caught three deep without cover and finish fourth. What price this supposed good thing comes out next start and bolts in?

It wouldn’t be a Saturday without one of Waller’s strongly fancied runners not only getting beaten but performing like it had lost a leg. This week it was Sacrimony which ran 7th and of course there were the usual explanations from the stable’s book of excuses.

The inclusion of Hi-Way’s might be applauded by the trainers with horses eligible but the statistics of favorites saluting must be woeful. Not only did the solidly backed favorite The Dramatist never get sighted when 8th at Scone but stablemate Steplee won at $12 with trainer Rod Northam admitting in an interview after the race that he didn’t think there was much between the pair.’   

 

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY SIDE OF WEEKEND RACING

THE GOOD

THE early decision to move the Doomben 10,000 meeting to Eagle Farm even though some questions have been raised about how safe the visibility was in some races.

GOOD to see SKY using the talents of Ryan Phelan who has laps on some of their race days hosts. Ryan has copped more than his share of bumps in the road not only during his media career but also from life in general.

 OUR old mate Larry the Loser is on the mend after suffering a heart attack. He gave the punt away for a year and was on the comeback trail when the health scare floored him. A couple of stents in the heart and Larry promises to be back attacking the punt in the near future.

THE BAD

Stewards not bothering to question the massive form reversal for Swiss Exile to win the Group 2 Spirit of Boom Classic at Doomben after being beaten when long odds-on in a Two-Year-Old Maiden at the Sunshine Coast.

HOW many more excuses came we keep making for the Tony Gollan-trained Palladas? He has become such a nightmare for punters that for sure when he does win it will be an upset.

The GREENS announcing a policy to shut down racing and use a betting levy to cover the transition in the lead-up to the Federal Election. Fortunately they will never govern in their own right and hopefully no party will be forced to jump into bed with these drop-kicks to form Government.  

THE UGLY

RIDES for Rachel King on Andermat in the Listed Luskin Star at Scone and Damien Oliver on Alegron in the SA Derby where once again bookies proved they have crystal balls electing to risk the favorite from the time betting opened.  

THE Maher-Eustace stable normally make smart decisions but telling Linda Meech to ride Ice Pick Nick with a ‘sit’ at Flemington on Saturday proved to be downright dumb. When questioned after Ice Pick Nick raced below market expectations Meech explained that she was instructed to settle with cover behind the leading horses as the gelding was having its first start over 1400 metres, However, given how the race unfolded and with the slow tempo, she advised that the gelding would have been better suited being allowed to lead.

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