Bits and Pieces From a Weird and Wacky Weekend at the Track

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The Phantom Self-Isolates 

Chief Steward Chadwick was MIA from a metropolitan meeting yet again today at the Gold Coast. He wasn’t at Doomben on Wednesday either.

Most people pay to go to the races; the Singapore Sling gets paid. Yet still he won’t show.

This whole no show thing is getting beyond the pale. If Chadwick doesn’t want to turn up at the track to lead his troops, then there are plenty of talented stipes who do.

I reckon its about time Commissioner Barnett started giving them a call.

The Alligator Sinks

I copped a bucket load of sledges during the week after I put the knock on Alligator Blood and declared it the lay of the century in the All-Star Mile, but he laughs last laughs longest, and I’m giggling like little Gertie.

Everyone now claims that the Alligator had come to the end of his prep and was over the top. All I can say to that is that times don’t get it wrong, only people do; and that when it came to assessing the merits of the star Queenslander’s form coming into the All-Star Mile, most of them got blinded by the picket fences and didn’t do any digging to check the foundations.

With a bit of luck they all backed it, and got the just reward for their laziness.

Rothfire Misfires

I was talking to one of my bookie mates a couple of minutes before the jump in Rothfire’s race, and commented to him that I reckoned only a turkey would take 7 – 1 on ($1.14) about an inexperienced juvenile racing on such a terribly wet and unpredictable surface as the course proper at the Gold Coast was yesterday.

My mate, who’s a whizz at rating the unders and overs, tipped me the winner as huge value at the price. He’s a good judge isn’t he?

The Rothfire backers aren’t.

They’re probably spending their broken-arsed Saturday night running up stairs.

The Bookies do Their Bit to Stimulate the Economy

Forget Scott Morrison and his ridiculous plan to stimulate the Coronavirus slain economy by giving people with no toilet paper $750 to wipe their arses with.

The bookies came up with a far better plan today.

They handed out free money, giving anyone with a dollar $2.20 in return just for letting them hold the gold coin for the couple of minutes that it took the greatest certainty ever to step onto a race track Master Wine to canter two kilometres through the mud at Rosehill.

Someone should give the bookie boys a medal for their services to charity.

Poy oh Boy, Not Again

Apprentice jockey Michael Poy is by all reports a lovely young bloke, and with 167 winners to his name at the tender age of 20 he can obviously ride a wee bit too, but geez can’t he slaughter a horse on his day as well?

I’ve lost track of the number of city runners that Poy’s butchered over the past few months, but trust me there have been more than a few, and after repeat heartbreaks and lightened pockets I can’t bring myself to back and horse that he’s on in town anymore.

I’m glad too, for my money would have been on Scarlet Dream at Caulfield yesterday if Poy wasn’t it’s rider, and you would have my screams from Brisvegas to Bunbury after watching him get it beat.

What the hell was Michael Poy thinking when he ignored the saloon passage that opened up in front of him on the fence as the field fanned rounding the turn, and instead elected to try to get on the back of rival Guizo who was already off and gone and three lengths in front of Poy when he made his ill-considered decision?

I appreciate that jockeys have to make split-second calls in the heat of the cauldron, but punters have to work hard for their money too. Far too hard to be throwing it at horses ridden by jockeys who seem to make the same mistakes in reading races in the running time and time again.

This kid’s still got a kilo and a half city claim, so for now he will continue to get rides in town. After that’s gone though, unless he can learn from the errors of his ways and make a rapid improvement, a future in the bush surely awaits.

The Greatest Jockey in the Whole Wide World

At the other end of the jockey spectrum, aren’t we privileged to be able to watch the world’s best rider ply his trade on our local courses?

I speak of course of James McDonald, the greatest rider I have seen in 50 years of rabidly and obsessively following the Sport of Kings and Queens.

We Aussies are often spoiled for brilliance in all disciplines of sport, and with good reason the Kiwis are just plain damn insecure, so on both sides of the ditch we tend to take our sporting greats for granted. As a result J-Mac doesn’t really get the kudos he deserves, and to this day many punters still believe that there are riders in Sydney and/or Melbourne who are better.

They’re delusional.

As he proved for the umpteenth time by winning five races in five different ways from just eight rides yesterday at Rosehill, and doing it the hard way on horses at average odds of $7.55, J-Mac is and absolute phenom. A once in a lifetime talent who is not only the equal of any jockey going around on any track around the globe today, but their master.

Take a bow Mr McDonald, that was a masterclass you put on for us on Saturday.

Stand up and applaud punters, J-Mac is the greatest jockey in the world.

Editor’s note: No, I am not talking through my kick. I didn’t back any of them.

Wage Theft in Racing

Our spies tell us that one of the State’s leading gallops trainers is fair under the gaze of the Australian Tax Office for failing to pay his stable staff their employer superannuation contributions.

The trainer, who has had Group 1 success at home and abroad, is an avid user of foreign labour around the barns, and the mail is that the well-known mentor is most averse to making the legally required contributions to their super accounts, instead hoping that the temporary work permit holders will leave the country without complaining, thus allowing him to trouser the near 10% of their earnings he would and should have paid.

All good things come to end though, and bad ones do too, and we are told that the trainer can expect a visit this week from the ATO flying squad.

He’d be wise to remember what happened to Al Capone.

The Biggest Beat-Up Since Alligator Blood in the All-Star Mile

Can anyone please tell me why our leaders are all so eager to ruin a national economy because they’re afraid people might catch a strain of the flu that to date only a few hundred people have had, almost all of them recent overseas travelers or people who have had close contact with those who have traveled?

At last count only 300 Australians had been diagnosed as having the dreaded strain of the Coronavirus.

Five of them – each one well over 70 years of age – have died.

That’s terribly sad for their loved ones, but it means that the death rate from this type of flu is about 1.6%.

Approximately 77 000 Australians are hospitalised with pneumonia each year.

About 4300 of them die.

That’s a death rate of 5.6%.

Do we close down the whole country because we are afraid we might catch pneumonia?

No.

So why are we doing it because we’re afraid of catching the 2020 variety of the flu?

It’s madness. Mass hysteria based on bullshit numbers coming out of Iran and China.

Puh-lease.

The only thing we really have to fear is fear itself.

Punishing the Innocent, Instead of Just Heading Things Off at the Pass

The Stewards hit strife-prone jockey Matthew McGillivray with a $200 fine for the sin of accepting dual rides in race 3 at the Gold Coast yesterday, but is he really the one that the officials should be pointing the bone at?

Riders these days employ managers to book their mounts, and pay them a decent retainer and commission on winners for doing so. In McGillivray’s case it is his agent Mitch Speers who does the business for him.

Now I’m not having a go at Mitch, who is a lovely bloke and is very good at his job, but why is that he as a licensed person escapes any sanction at all when in fact he is the one being paid handsomely to arrange and confirm his client’s rides? It just doesn’t seem fair or right to me.

Racing Queensland washing its hands of any responsibility or blame for allowing jockeys or their managers and masters to accept two rides in a race doesn’t either.

Wouldn’t you expect it to be someone at RQ’s job to run their eye over the rider declarations just after they’ve closed at midday on a Wednesday to check for such things as horses missing a hoop, apprentices slated to ride at weights where they won’t be able to use their full allowance, or jockeys listed to ride 2 horses in the same race?

And that if the RQ employee responsible for the task did notice any such anomaly, they might simply pick up the phone to ring agents like Speers and say “Mitch, you’ve stuffed up. Your boys been set down to ride two in race 3. Which one is he on, and which one is he off?”

Some people would describe it as prevention being better than a cure, and others might label it heading things off at the pass before they become a problem.  I just call it simple common sense, and public servants doing the job that the people of Queensland pay them to perform.

What the hell is so hard about putting processes in place to make sure that things run smoothly, and to avoid confusion for punters and a loss of income by industry participants?

Nothing, that’s what.

So why isn’t it happening?

I can’t answer that one. Pick up the phone and call Pins Parnell. I’m sure he’ll be able to explain it to you.

Maybe. Perhaps. Beeeep.

Please leave a message.

Hardo’s Handicap – The Horse Just Can’t Run

Three years ago Terry Henderson’s OTI Racing horse named Hardington (‘Hardo’) that they brought over to Australia with an eye on winning the Caulfield-Melbourne Cups double.

Things didn’t quite go to plan.

In fact they went pretty badly indeed.

Hardo was a dud.

He won a midweek BM 70 on a bog track at Cranbourne when all of his rivals in the race got stuck in the mud, but other than that the horse just couldn’t go a yard.

After he ran last in 2 out of 3 starts last year OTI gave up on the Cups dream and sent Hardo to jumps trainer Eric Musgrove in the hope he might win the Grand National.

Musgrove gave him one start and immediately after they crossed the line gave up on him too.

Hardo was sent to an online auction, where he was bought for $7500 by a bunch of small-time dreamers from Streaky Bay who saw something in the one-time Cups hopeful that no-one else did. God only knows what is was.

With three unplaced preparatory runs at Port Lincoln under his belt, Hardo headed off to the Penong picnic meeting yesterday to take on the big one and fulfil his long-time Cups dream.

Hardo failed of course.

Badly. Real badly. Again. He ran last of four in the Penong Cup, beaten just under 20 lengths. It’s said that the clerk of the course’s 19-year-old grey pony beat him home, and under double wraps too.

There were whispers in the betting ring after the race that Hardo might make a big trip to Queensland ahead of the Winter Carnival, but those plans were abandoned after a bloke at the bar mentioned that the knackery at Caboolture had closed down.

Some wag suggested that Hardo’s connections lay 40 grand down on the table to challenge Jungle Ruler’s mob to a match race across the Bass Strait, saying both horses go their best in the wet so why not?

Sadly the stuffed shirts from Racing Victoria immediately ruled it out, on the grounds that it was 11-4 on that Hardo would drown.

Wouldn’t you love to back him at that price.

Noughts, Crosses and Joining Dots

The Craig Cross/Luke McCarthy combo won five races in a row last night at Menangle, all with horses that they had acquired from other stables and improved out of sight.

Is anyone really surprised?

The Weird, Wacky Whip Rule

Jockey Tash Chambers whipped a horse 10 times before the 100 metre mark, and 15 times in total.

She copped a week suspension.

Jockey Nigel Seymour flayed a horse 8 times prior to the 100m, and 14 times all u9.

He received a reprimand.

Jockey Dakota Graham breached the whip rule twice in two races.

Graham bashed one horse 9 times prior to the 100 post, and 14 times in total; and then used the stick on another one 10 times before the 100, and 11 times in total.

She was fined $200 for the 1st violation, and $300 for the other;  a total of $500.

A seven day suspension, a reprimand, and two fines totalling half a ton.

Go figure.

What’s the point of having a whip rule that the racing officials simply make a mockery of by applying it so utterly inconsistently?

Just ban the damn thing, and let the stipes concentrate their time on stamping out cheats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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