Jenny - Clean


TIMING is everything and the sooner those responsible for the thankless job of running racing in Queensland realize that the better chance they will have of regaining some lost respect in the eyes of the industry.

The last thing stakeholders wanted to hear on Tuesday – after almost a week of lost meetings due to the big wet – was how wonderful the Summer Carnival was going to be.

What they want to know right now is how officialdom plans to compensate them for the hundreds of thousands of dollars lost in prizemoney due to the abandonment of meetings because the deluge has made tracks across the south-east unsafe for racing.

This is the wrong time to be telling them that the ‘Queensland Summer Carnival is fast approaching’ and urging them to ‘set their horses to shine with over $15 million prizemoney and $1.6mn in bonuses on offer between November 17 and January 26.

Their focus right now isn’t on the ‘21 Black Type races across seven carefully spaced meetings’ leading up to the grand final – the $10 million Magic Millions Race Day at the Gold Coast on January 12.

They need to know when the prizemoney they have lost the opportunity to earn over the past week will be replaced – if at all – or whether officialdom will keep the lion’s share and simply offer a pittance extra race or two at up-coming meetings as has happened in the past.

It’s time for industry stakeholder groups to demand extra meetings – like double-headers at the Sunshine Coast where eight races can be programmed from lunch-time and another eight that evening to ensure prizemoney from these washed out meetings is not lost.

The last thing they need to know right now is about Summer Carnival riches that will largely go to interstate visitors or Magic Millions Day where millions of dollars of taxpayer and industry money finds its way into the pockets of one of Australia’s richest men and a week-long sales-related program that largely benefits a private enterprise company.

Is it little wonder that the lack of confidence disease that has seen punters walk away from racing in Queensland is spreading (albeit from different symptoms) to other just as important sections of the industry like owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders.

When will those running the industry or the Governments that put them there ever learn? Never, it seems! Little wonder Queensland continues to fall further behind the southern states in the prizemoney race when they can’t even ensure that the mounts already allocated are distributed every time meetings are lost because or rain.

As if the stint on the sideline for Eagle Farm wasn’t enough of an embarrassment for racing in Queensland not to mention the dud TAB deal or the latest controversy involving distribution of the Point of Consumption Tax by the Labor Government, it seems the industry is destined to stagger from one disaster to another.

Instead of worrying about the ‘red hots’ which arguably have little or no future after shooting themselves in the foot for far too long, if the powers that be are determined to provide infrastructure for the minor codes then it should include an all-weather gallops track to ensure there is a venue in the event of these big wets that cause so much chaos.

Imagine if racing still had Albion Park racing on a different surface to sand. The venue is perfect and the trots and dogs could ensure it was a multi-use venue. After all the trots is little more than a side-show to the main events from the other codes, especially the gallops these days, and if they want to survive this should be made a part of that contingency plan.




THE big wet that has deluged south-east Queensland in the past week has cost owners a mountain of prizemoney; trainers and jockeys a substantial earn; and the industry much more in betting turnover.

Abandonments were beyond the control of those running racing when tracks became unsafe for racing. Perhaps there should have been more postponements but the duration of the rain made that difficult to program.

What concerns most involved in racing in Queensland is the lack of news on how the industry will be compensated for the hundreds of thousands – even millions – lost because of these washed out meetings.

About the only thing that happened in a hurry was the postponement of last Friday’s Toowoomba meeting to Monday when an additional two races were added to the card.

What about the racing lost at Doomben, Gold Coast, Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast not to mention a host of other smaller venues? Surely we are not going to see the usual from Racing Queensland of a race or two added to up-coming programs. That is simply penny-pinching and not good enough.

More to the point what happens to the stakes money that is saved because races weren’t run. This policy has been allowed to occur for far too long by those in stakeholder groups who don’t seem to have the guts to take officialdom on.

Why not run double-headers at the Sunshine Coast – an afternoon and a night meeting on the one card – on a Friday to coincide with night meetings in Victoria or on a Sunday to coincide with Hong Kong.

Simply upping the ante to a nine or 10-race card is not compensating the industry for the prizemoney lost when an entire meeting is washed out. It’s downright cheating them of what they are entitled to!  



DESPITE the Border war debate and the Opera House debacle in the lead-up to The Everest, Saturday proved a point that two major meetings in two different States can work effectively.

The Everest might have attracted a fair bigger crowd in Sydney than the Caulfield Guineas meeting did in Melbourne but from a punters’ perspective the latter, with four Group 1’s on the card, was the winner.

And when it comes to crowds Everest Day will pale into insignificance – even if the open the in-field at Randwick – in comparison with the big meetings Cup week at Flemington in the spring.

From a future perspective the old cliché of ‘racing will be the big winner’ will be spot-on when Sydney and Melbourne officials focus on making Everest and Guineas Days major drawcards in their particular States.

Ray Thomas, Racing Editor for the Sydney Telegraph and regarded by many as the media pin-up boy of Peter V’landys and the ‘spin doctor’ for all things Racing NSW, was quick to boast that The Everest had become second biggest betting day in Australian racing with overall wagering turnover set to soar beyond the $100 million mark.    

Thomas was quick to highlight an 11 per cent increase on last year’s inaugural Everest turnover but neglected to mention that the record was contributed to significantly by betting on the Guineas meeting at Caulfield.

Punters aren’t interested in arguments over race clash schedules; or whether racing in NSW is waging an unwinnable war to take over as pacesetter from Victoria. All the Opera House controversy did was involve some high profile political and media identities in a crap fight that made headlines on the front pages of paper and arguably dragged more people to the races.

Those betting on the meeting are only interested in the contest between the horses in The Everest and to a lesser degree The Koscuiszko – where the best from the bush raced for a purse that would have one might suggest purchased the entire field. There is also the argument that the $13 million up for grabs in The Everest would have attracted no lesser field had it been run for $1-$2 million.

The sole race of topliners that fronted the starter and a ‘bog’ track for The Everest – when similar conditions confronted The Championships there was talk of moving it to November -  was never going to be as attractive for the racing purists or the punters as the G1 bonanza at Caulfield – a great dress-rehearsal to even bigger riches in the Melbourne Spring.

Ironically, it was a Sydney star in The Autumn Sun that captured many headlines after his stunning win in the Caulfield Guineas. Alas trainer Chris Waller does not want to threaten the party for ‘Bambi’ in the Cox Plate and he will be in the spelling paddock when he should be taking on super star Winx on Saturday week.

All that was missing at Caulfield last Saturday was the bog track which detracted from the Randwick meeting (but that was in the lap of the Gods) and many of the top jockeys (who could not be in two places at the same time). The fact that the timing of The Everest meant that the Caulfield Guineas had to be slotted later was of little consequence at the end of the day.    

The last thing Victorian officials should do is tinker with the card – leave it at 10 races and don’t move any of the features – and who cares if Sydney ups the ante with more money for The Everest. It arguably won’t alter the quality of the field already attracted one iota!  



RENOWNED cartoonist, the late Paul Rigby, was somewhat of a Nostradamus. He predicted the Opera House row long before The Everest was even thought of …. back in 1974!!!


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