QUESTION: Who is the Better Trainer? Chris Waller or Chris Anderson? – ANSWER: Mark Johnstone

Mark Johnstone will saddle eight runners in Charleville on May 9 ...

A lot of people reckon that Chris Anderson is a good trainer.

Even more reckon that Winxy Waller is.

They are.

But there is a man out in Charleville who is better.

It’s no surprise really. My old man’s from Charleville, and so’s Chris Garrard’s brother-in law. Ben Currie’s old man Boof’s from there too, and Moods is from just down the road. It’s a place of train lines, talent and breeding and training genius.

The best of them all is Mark Johnstone.

He can spark up a horse – any horse – and get it absolutely flying.

Waller had Whiskey Apple and it couldn’t go a yard. Anderson had it too, and it still couldn’t. Sally Torrens and Sue Bigg aren’t as well known as the big boys, but they couldn’t shock us all by getting the middle aged gelding to win.

43 starts old Whiskey had, without getting even close to troubling the judge.

He ran last at Armidale, last at Scone, second last at Tamworth, third last at Narromine and Gunnedah, and out of the placings at tracks from Kembla to Caloundra. The further out of town he got, the slower Whiskey went too. In his 5 starts last prep the camel wearing a horse suit got beat 70 something lengths all up, an average of a 15 odd length drubbing every time he went around.

Then he goes our to Jukebox at Charleville and goes bang, boom, bang, bang boom, and before you know it old Whiskey’s fence has gone from 4-7-9-0-0 to 2-1-3-2-3. and he’s got almost $12 grand in the purse, and every bugger in town’s getting pissed at the Corones pub on Jukebox’s shout, and Bob’s every bludger’s uncle.

He’s a genius Mark Johnstone.

The best trainer in Australia, bar none.

If they’d given him Winx he would have cleaned up Royal Ascot with her, won a race every day for 5 days over the Carnival like Phar Lap, by a minimum of 20 lengths a turn. She would have the Arc by 40, the Japan Cup by 50, the Breeders in Yankee land by 100, and the Hong Kong Sprint by 150 on her way home.

That’s how good Jukebox is.

Did you see old Whiskey’s win by 18 lengths out at the ‘Ville a couple of months ago? I wrote about it right here, the day after, and predicted he’d be coming to Brissie to take the Straddie by half the length of the straight, and backed him for plenty pre-post at the $1000 with the Former King of the Brisbane Rails Ring too.

But Jukebox was too smart for me.

He kept the champ at home. The Cup’s his goal you see. That and the Everest.

Whiskey’s going to win them both, and by keeping the Apple under the trees out there in the bush he’s bloody beaten the handicapper too, although I haven’t had the heart to tell him yet the Everest is weight for age.

It won’t matter though.

There will be sparks a’ flying at Randwick on Big E day, and the electricity at Flemington as he comes home half a furlong in front of the Sheik’s blueys is just gunna set the joint jumping  as the jack flash rolls in.

Goodbye Mick and Billy, farewell Lester McHare

It’s a long way to HQ Mary, but Jukebox harp’s right there.

 

 

 

Why Couldn’t Club Menangle Subsidise Prize Money Levels to Save Them From Being Slashed? – After All, They’ve Got a Hundred Million Bucks in the Bank

1roda

For the past 3 months harness racing owners, trainers and drivers in New South Wales have been bleeding.

Harness Racing NSW is all but broke.

The people who run that organisation have somehow managed to blow $30 million in the past six years, and now they are robbing Peter to pay Paul just to keep the fast sinking ship marginally above water.

Due to gross financial mismanagement withing the organisation, HRNSW have no cash.

The peak body that distributes the prizemoney should have been able to withstand the shock when the Coronavirus hit out of the blue, but sadly only months before its leaders had drained the Future Fund established for this exact purpose, just so that they could pay the gas bill, so when COVID-19 came a’knocking there was nothing left in the kitty.

So HRNSW slashed prizemoney across the board, and although the pain was spread across the State, the hardest hit were the professionals based in and around the major racing centre of Menangle and their owners, the people who rely on the earnings from their winnings to put bread on the table.

They have all been suffering, but they shouldn’t have been.

A few million dollars to maintain the purse levels would have kept everything sweet, and Club Menangle could have subbed it, easily.

This club has $100 million in the bank.

The interest on that alone could easily have kept the prizemoney levels up through the pandemic season. Easily.

The $3 million that it spent to buy the breeding rights for the blank shooter Lazarus could have too, no worries.

But the Club didn’t offer and it didn’t give, and as a result everybody hurt.

Everybody but the Directors of Harness NSW and Club Menangle, that is.

Did anyone see any of them take a 20% reduction in their board meeting fees?

If so, I must have missed it.

So why didn’t Club Menangle come to the party and support our sport and the people in it who need that prizemoney to keep things ticking over?

Was it all the behind the scenes financial assistance they are providing to the self-immolating APG?

I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

In fact I think it stinks.

Direct all your questions to the Club Menangle Chairman Robert Marshall.

I’m sure Bob will be happy answer you with a tweet.

Whoever Would Have Thought That Oranges Would Cost $12 Million in the Riverina?

1wags

Orange is a small town of about 40 000 people, located 254 kilometres from Sydney inland to the west.

It is more than three and a half hours drive from Wagga, a much bigger town of nearly 60 000 people.

A few years back, Harness NSW decided for some reason or another to build a brand new harness racing track in Wagga.

The new track was to be called the Riverina Paceway.

The track construction was initially costed at $3.8 million.

By the time it was finally finished it had cost more than $12 million.

No-one seems to be able to tell us why, so we decided to have a look and see if we could find some clues.

This is the development approval for the track issued by the Wagga Wagga City Council.

What we are looking at is the names of the companies awarded contracts for the building of the track by Harness Racing NSW.

It is not known whether all these contracts were put out to public, competitive tender.

If they weren’t, there are some serious questions to be asked of HRNSW.

If they were there are too.

1orange

This below is Peter Basha Planning and Development.

It’s a small one man operation in Orange, with its office situated between a vegetarian restaurant and a Thai massage parlour.

This company was in charge of the whole Riverina Paceway construction show.

1orange1234

This is McKinnon Design.

It’s in Orange too.

McKinnon Design were the joint number 2 men on the Paceway construction, or joint number 1 man, whichever the case may be.

1orange12345

1orange1

This is Heath Consulting Engineers.

Guess where it is?

Did you say Orange?

Spot on.

Gee that Thai massage parlour looks familiar, doesn’t it?

1orange123456

This is Wilkinson Murray.

Yes, they are based in Orange too.

Or at least they have an office there.

1orange1234567

So here you have it.

The four largest contractors engaged by Harness Racing NSW to undertake a $3.8 million paceway construction that ended up costing $12 million were all based in a little wee town called Orange, 250 miles away from where they were building the track.

What are the odds of 4 companies from Orange each winning a statewide open tender for a $12 million paceway construction job?

Slim you’d have to say, wouldn’t you?

The big boys from Sydney, Newcastle and the Gong would eat them alive on experience and price. Their competitors in Wagga almost certainly would too.

So how did they all get a piece of what turned out to be a most lucrative paying pie?

That is a question I am unable to answer.

Perhaps it would be best if you asked the HRNSW Chairman at the time, Rod Smith.

When he’s not busy flogging new and used cars out of his yard on Parramatta Road, you will probably find him on his expansive farm in the town he grew up in.

What town’s that?

Orange.

Funny that.

1rod

 

 

 

 

Archie Dreams About the First Day of the Adam Hyeronimus Stewards Inquiry in His Sleep

So Mr Hyeronimus, you and this Paine character are cousins are you?

Yeah

And what does he do

Works in the stables, straps, rides a bit of work

Who does he work for?

Gai. Or he used to anyway. His Dad still does. He’s that crazy gut in the fruity suit who came running through the mounting yard like a pork chop on Slipper day, and and tried to hump Adrian Bott’s leg.

Oh, that idiot. Is her your uncle?

Yeah.

Says a lot. Who do you ride most for?

Gai.

Who’s her hubby?

Rob.

And her son?

Tom.

What do they do?

Dunno. Live off Big Bill’s money?

Yes they do, or more correctly Bill’s and his half of the loot he and his brother stole from widow of the third Waterhouse brother, but enough of that. Now to this cousin of yours and the work he does mucking out boxes. Pays alright does it?

Nah, terrible. He only clears about a grand a week. I get that for 5 rides.

Is that why over the course of the last 4 years you’ve slung him a poultice? To help him out?

Nah, that money was mine. He was just holding on to it for me.

But Mr Hyeronimus, in the online reference of all these transactions you typed “Savings” or “Gift”?

Oh, that was just code for ‘hang on this one for the pub crawl on Sunday night’ – that’s the Gift one – and ‘Don’t give me this until the next morning when I’m sober, and make sure you walk me straight down to the bank’.’

The money was in the bank though son, do you really expect us to believe that?

Believe what you want boss. It’s true.

Piffle boy. Absolute tripe. You were giving it to your cuzzie bro to punt with weren’t you? To punt for you?

No way squire! I don’t punt. I’m a jockey, I’m not allowed to.

Well look here, at the bank statements. You give in to Paine, he transfers it into a different account of his, and then he whacks it into Sportsbet. Why would he be doing that if you weren’t punting?

Because he’s a dumb arse, gee. That’s why he shovels horse manure for a living. Think about it for a second. Who the hell with half a brain would be betting with Sportsbet? Their prices are unders, their boosts are crap, they don’t have extra head or bet back, there’s no backup or best fluc, and their website’s a joke. If it was my money it would be going straight into Neds, no question at all. Any intelligent person’s would.

You’re a hundred percent correct on that Hyeronimus, but we don’t rate you as any Einstein either, and no doubt that Shannon from Neds would have you pegged a mile away. He’s the smartest bloke in racing, bar none. So we don’t buy your story. It was your punting bank for sure, wasn’t it, and cousin Blake was your bowler.

No way! No. No. No. I would never do such a thing. I don’t punt.

You do know that we have your phone don’t you jock?

One of them.

And your bank records.

Some.

Alright. Let’s talk Limbo Soul.

Who?

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017. Rosehill. Race 2.

Oh yeah. How’d did it go.

It won.

Wow.

Wow indeed Hyeronimus. Congratulations on the ride. It was backed from $20 into $3.20.

Gee that’s a big go.

Big price too for a horse that came out and ran 5th in a Group 2 next time out against Tulip and Alizee. Would you agree?

If I was a punter I might Chief. But I know nothing.

Do you know Sally Snow?

Who?

TAB Head Trader. Boss of price setting. Used to work for R. Waterhouse. He’s a mate of of her Dad’s from the Fine Cotton days. She calls him Uncle Rob.

Nah, never heard of her.

These bets your cousin is putting on for you aren’t the real thing here are they Mr H?

Waddya mean?

You’re just tacking on to the big money. Doing a bit on the side, over and above your sling.

I don’t getcha?

Limbo Soul was backed from 20’s in 9-4. You had a lousy 500 bucks on it. Where did the real money come from? Whose money was it?

I don’t bet sir, wouldn’t know.

Now I want you to watch this video.

https://mdata.racingnsw.com.au/FreeFields/VideoResult.aspx?MeetDate=2017Feb22&VenueCode=MzkzNjcy&RaceNumber=2&MeetingCategory=Professional&VideoFileType=FullReplay

Pretty easy lead wasn’t it?

Sort of. Yeah.

Brenton Avdulla took the second favourite Memento straight out the back?

Yeah.

You and Avdulla are mates aren’t you?

Sort of.

You sure?

Yeah.

Where do you reckon we got the idea to have a look at your phone from?

No way!

Way. Now watch Avdulla’s ride. He goes back, he goes to the fence, and he doesn’t really try does he?

Nah, he’s just a victim of bad luck.

Sure Mr H, sure. Let me show you a few freeze frames.

Alright.

meee45678901234888

That’s your old mate (ha ha) Avdulla coming up on the inside. You are about 3 or 4 lengths in front of him. But he’s not looking at you. He’s looking across. At what?

Dunno, you will have to ask him.

We already have.

Huh?

Here’s another one. See Avdulla’s hands? What do you think he’s doing?

Um. No comment.

meee45

No comment hey? Roll it forward, and here we are at the 250 mark. What do you think that Avdulla is doing with his reins and hands?

No idea.

Aren’t you a jockey Hyeronimus?

Well sort of. Maybe not for much longer.

meee456

Now we are at the 200. Mr Avdulla is not very keen is he?

Probably just having an off day. Animal welfare and all that.

It’s a bit hard for him to spot you that much start isn’t it?

Probably.

How did yours come up at $21 in the opening betting market again lad?

Sally Snow wound it in for Rob.

I beg your pardon? Could you say that again?

Um, ah, er, um. Zeljko’s bound to be on the job. You know, that Russian bloke. World’s biggest gambler.

He’s Tasmanian. And he bets on percentages and rebates, not boat race kid.

I wouldn’t know. I’ve never met him.

Most people haven’t. Now let’s have a look at the ride of Josh Parr on Za Zi Ba shall we?

Sure.

It’s the one in the white with black cap.

Okay.

meee45678901234

No coming around the turn Parr has enough room to steer a bus through that gap, doesn’t he?

That’s a matter of opinion. Maybe a semi-trailer, but I’d not sure about a bus.

meee45678901

For some reason though Mr Parr decides to steer the third favourite to the inner, doesn’t he?

Probably got blinded by the sun boss.

 

meee4567890123456

Indeed. Let’s have a look at Mr Clark on Mahaja. Would you agree that there was plenty of room for an accomplished international Group 1 winning jockey to pop in?

Dunno. I’ve never ridden overseas. No-one will gave be for some reason.

 

Would it surprise you to learn that Mr Clark elected to stay wide rather than pop his horse in one off the fence.

Nothing surprises me in racing anymore.

Us either Hyeronimus us either. What about this ride of Glyn Schofield’s? He’s in the one in the blue, inside the one on the red and yellow.

 

glyns

What about it?

Put yourself in jockey Schofield’s shoes for a moment Mr Hyeronimus. What reason would there be for you to take a sustained look to your left and behind, when clearly there is room for a run for the roses both right in front of you, and around the heels of the horse in two-tone green?

Animal welfare, for sure. That or rider safety.

meee4567890

Would you expect Mr Schofield to go up in the irons and ease, when there is a gap six miles wide to sail through?

Maybe he’s afraid of water.

Or perhaps Sir, he just prefers Snow?

No comment.

Do you know Deputy Chief Steward Birch socially?

Never heard of him.

He’s the man here to my left.

That mug? Nah, only time I’ve ever seen him is up at the Landsborough Pub when he used to be putting bets on as a runner for Steve Fletcher.

Thank you Mr Hyeronimus.

Thank you Sir.

Seek.com is quite a useful resource they tell me.

Huh?

See you tomorrow.

Inquiry adjourned until 9.00 am Tuesday.

Another Stroke of Chadwick Genius

CHADS1

Queensland’s Chief Steward just gets better and better with every week.

See that horse Jadentom that raced three wide without cover?

It didn’t.

The horse was never any wider throughout the race than one off the fence.

Chadwick has confused it with Sukwhinder, the horse that is out three wide in front of Jadentom contesting for the lead.

CHADS

It’s an easy mistake to make I guess.

If you think spots are stars, and ignore the sleeves and cap.

David Fowler made a similar one earlier in the day, in his 4TAB call of race 7, where he called the dead-heat winner Quantico into third.

At least he will never pick up on Peter Chadwick’s mistakes, not the Chief Steward on his.

God Save the Queen.

For seemingly nothing can save Brisbane racing.

Meet Peter Lawrence – The Oldest Young Man in Racing – And the Second Most Honest One Too

lawri

Gee Peter Lawrence, our Robbie Waterhouse’s man in Byron Bay, must be old.

So old that he his mind is slipping, and he loses track of the time, and the years, and all the porkie pies that he tells.

Don Scott was a very famous punter back in the day, the leader of a group of dodgers called the Legal Eagles.

He retired from the professional game in 1974.

 -

That’s 46 years ago by my count, so assuming that he was of legal age when he began doing the form with the Don, Peter Lawrence must now be at least 64.

Doesn’t look it does he?

Must be a good plastic surgeon the old bookie has, that and the Botox.

I don’t know how a bloke who can’t count can make a living as a professional gambler though.

Pete says he’s been on the punt for 40 years.

But aren’t there only 4 years between 2016 and 2020?

There are on my abacus.

And 20 + 4 = 24 on it too.

Oh well, our old mate’s in good company with Rob Waterhouse.

They say if you whack two bent lumps of wood toghether in a lathe and twist them, they might even come out straight.

lawriw

The Race of the Century – And the First to Greatness – First We Take the Aftona Fair – And Then We Take the Ekka – Charlie and Archie’s Little Girl Steps Out For Her Debutante Ball

aftonaa

And so it begins.

The march to Ekka Glory in 2023.

No American trotter has ever crossed the ocean and taken out the big one at the RNA Showgrounds in the 2nd week of August before.

But there has never been a Summer Storm before either.

This little filly of Charlie’s and mine is a dynamo, a real goer.

Cross-bred to buggery, just like all princesses are.

aftonaaaas

Trained by the great Kimberly Gilman-Daios, the Kima Frenning style Monte specialist of the United States.

If it trots, our Kimmy can train it, better than Frenning, better than anyone in the whole wide world.

aftonaaa

aftonaaaa

Keep your hands off Tonkin, Aiken and Stewart.

We’ve got our Kima signed to a ten-year exclusive contract to work only for Winners Circle Racing.

Our Kima only wants to work with winners.

You’re all ten lengths behind.

Co-owner Charlie Longo’s the driver.

Here he is there with all the Winners Circle Racing crew.

longp

Think Chris Alford crossed into Tony Herlihy with a splash of Stanley Dancer in the pedigree, and you are halfway there.

Imagine a driver six lengths better than Dexter Dunn, and you’ve made it the whole way.

I’m in charge of tactics.

The form’s been done, and we’ve written off the chances of the 3.

That Jim Taggart Jr is no good. He’s only driven five thousand winners, and its been months since he drove five on a card. Taggart’s on the slide, while we’re on the up. $25 million in earnings might look good on paper, but a badge saying Number 1 Gun At Aftona Fair 2020 pinned to your AC-DC t-shirt looks a whole hell of a lot better.

The trainer Messenger is not much chop either. Any bum can train 3 winners in a day a million times, and win the Monticello title, and get declared the 12th most successful trainer in the united nation. It’s not as easy to win at the Aftona County Fair, as this posh pair are about to find out.

Henry Westbrook the third’s filly Maya Scape might have won the 3-year-old pacer of the year award at Batavia downs, but this is the trots, the real deal, not some poxy geared up pace. There won’t be any escape for Maya ir Henry I can assure you. Give them both a miss.

So then there was one.

David Dewhurt’s little vixen, Honey Trap. We won’t be falling into it. I can assure you. Dewhurst might be a big deal down in Saratoga, but these hot shot casino racers don’t cut much mustard with us up here at the dodgem cars.

Think you are going to lead, do you Double D?

Then think again sunshine. The winner’s share of this two grand purse is Summer’s, before the starter even hits the button and says go. Charlie’s going to zip her straight to the lead, jog them the first half in 65 seconds, and come home the final quarters in 30 and 29.5 to smash the track record to pieces.  They won’t see which way he goes, until he catches them up to lap them.

aftona

This is only the beginning, the stepping stone on the way to August 2024 Ekka glory.

We’ve wintered in Miami, and now we’re back.

After we brain them in this one we will do a couple of years cleaning up the shows, just to run up a long picket fence. Then it’s on to the Rowe Cup, the Messenger, the Maori’s Idol and ID 24, and then its up to the big show. The real show.

The Ekka.

It’s all about the trophy, and the certificate, and blue ribbon and the sash.

There’s a big stretch of ocean between the Little Apple and Oz, but it was a long way to Tipperary too, and the Kokoda trail wasn’t a short trek made for wimps either.

Gath, Golino, Conroy and Co, look out.

You’re about to be hit by a Summer Storm.

Let the games begin.

 

A Million Questions About the State of Stewarding – And Gee, Isn’t Larry Cassidy Tough?

Rancho Man on the inside was third across the line

What is going on in the Stewarding ranks in Queensland at the moment?

How could the Stewards get the placings wrong in the race above at Marburg?

Why is Paul Gillard, who was appointed to role of Chief Steward at the Gold Coast just 4 months ago, back working in Townsville?

Why is Wade Hadley, who joined the staff at the QRIC just two months ago, after being forced to resign from Racing Victoria for sending unwanted lewd texts to an apprentice jockey, seemingly now the Chief Steward at the Gold Coast?

What sort of look is it for Queensland racing when the state’s Chief Steward is continually forced to stand himself down from officiating on certain races, because a bloke Peter Chadwick owned horses with up to and including the day he was appointed to the top job has a runner in the race?

Why did Jason Taylor put his whip away between the 250 and 100m marks on the $3.70 second favourite To Dem With Love in race 3 at the Gold Coast on Saturday, when he had used it just three times and when he did the horse surged forward almost a length and looked a huge chance of winning?

Even more importantly, why did Wade Hadley fine Jason Taylor for using the whip 7 times on the horse, when he clearly didn’t?

Why didn’t Hadley place a bar on the $1.45 favourite Invictus Prince, who was beaten into 4th place in race 5, given the King of the Coast (rider Dan Griffin) told him that the horse didn’t feel right in its action, a summation that anyone who watches the replay can clearly see is spot on and correct?

How on earth could James McDonald’s 3 week suspension for failing to ride Threeood on its merits a fortnight ago be sliced in half, when it should have been quadrupled?

How did J-Mac get the appeal heard so quickly?

clevermiss

Who did Jake Bayliss think he was kidding when he took two sustained looks down the  side of Clever Miss down the straight in race 8 at the Sunshine Coast yesterday, as if he thought the horse had suffered a problem, and then started riding it once he knew it was out of winning contention?

Does Bayliss realise that he gave himself up by looking at the rear legs the first time, and the front the next?

Why did the Stewards fall so easily for his blatant sucker trick?

clevermissa

Why wasn’t Phat Beats issued with a bar requiring a veterinary certificate prior to it racing again, after the $3.90 dropped out to finish 10 lengths behind the winner in second-last place in race 9?

How the hell were trainers Tony Sears and Daryl Hansen only fined $100 for failing to advise that their horses Jet a One and Phat Beats had been gelded prior to racing, when the whole world knows – or discovered afterwards – that being gelded is the ultimate gear change?

This one is not a Stewarding question, but how the hell did Larry Cassidy manage to steer Irish Ace around the course in race 6 when he was clearly concussed and only semi-conscious after the horse had reared at the start and he’d cracked his scone hard on the top of the barriers?

How far should it have won by?

And how much was Luke Tarrant kidding himself thinking that a head butt from a glass pipe loving midget was going to hurt a tough as teak Kiwi like Cassidy?