Well I guess its lucky my Dad died a few weeks ago, for I’m sure after 51 years of going to the greyhounds on Thursday nights and the trots on a Saturday he’d be might upset that a blow in Racing Queensland CEO from NSW was going to ban him from doing what he loved, just because he had a bad case of the dreaded Stanley Dancer.
No, the old man did not have Coronavirus, but with metastatic tumors invading almost every part of the poor buggers body he was most certainly otherwise unwell.
Would that have been any reason to stop him heading out to support the racing industry by having a few trifectas on the dogs and harness racing twice a week though?
It seems a huge bit of overkill doesn’t it, if you pardon the pun?
About 150 000 good Australians are unlucky enough to get cancer every year, and the Dancer kills about 50 000 of them from one Christmas to the next. My wonderful Dad recently became one of the fatalities, but he’d had the bastard of a disease for half a decade before he died, and one of the things that kept him going well beyond his predicted use by date was me and Maggie taking him out to the Turkish joint on Sandgate Road on a Thursday night before heading down to the dogs at the Creek, and backing up by doing the wheelchair double from the Brekky Creek to the trots on a Saturday night when the Broncos weren’t playing.
We wouldn’t have been able to do that any more though, thanks to RQ CEO Pins Parnell’s decision to pull the pin on sick punt struck junkies and otherwise unwell dog and trot owners attending meetings that haven’t had 500 patrons at them since the Russ Hinze Stand got razed to the ground back in the days when Blacks a Fake was still a boy.
Like most things to do with the Coronavirus, the ban on people going to the track is a joke, an absolute barrel of baloney.
Set aside the fact that no more than half a ton attend the races outside carnival time anymore anyway, and ask yourself this – given the length, breadth and width of the average race track, how hard would it have been for a Principal Racing Authority who actually gave a bugger to segregate racegoers into confined areas of 500 people or less?
Those of Lindsay Gallagher or Milton Doyle’s vintage or older (is that possible?) will well remember the days when punters at Brisbane’s race tracks were divided by class like passengers on an aeroplane, with the cashed up ones ushered up to the Rails, the moderately cashed up cascading into the Paddock, the half-broke heading to the St Leger, and the desperate and dough-less diving under the fence to try and finagle a few coins on the barren desert of the Flat.
The race clubs could and did do it back then, so why can’t they do it now?
Because they don’t actually want punters at the track anymore, that’s why. It costs too much to feed, water and regulate them, and it’s far cheaper but no less lucrative by way of betting turnover to leave them at home and run phantom meetings with horses running.
You just watch, after a few weeks of nothingness the bean counters at RQ and beyond will start salivating about the cost savings they’ve trousered by not having to cater to dirty, unwashed punters at the track, and a new paradigm will emerge in which the public servant plonkers running the game will begin to see the absolute benefits of running race meetings with no-one there.
Kevin Seymour AM has always been a few steps in front of the pack – that’s why he is so bloody rich and we are all so damn poor – and after a few weeks of nothing his idea of building a trot track at Yatala with hi-tech broadcast facilities and a tiny little bleacher for the spectators will start to seem not so silly after all.
Meanwhile, the rest of us will be standing in queues going nowhere outside the palace gates waiting in vain to get in and have a crack at the tote with a take out of 20 cents in the dollar or the bookies betting 125%, just to show how otherwise unwell we gamblers all really are.
It’s the perfect storm.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t knock the Sport of Kings flatter than Prince Andrew’s refusal to co-operate with the US cops investigating Jeffrey Epstein’s pedophile ring.
After all, who’s going to be able to abuse jockeys like Nathan Day for their crook rides if no-one is allowed in to stand at the fence and give him a spray hey?
Not my old man or Thunder Mania’s owners, that’s for sure.