In Race 2 last Saturday night at Melton a $1.20 favorite named Pirate Bay led and got beaten.
Pirate Bay was trained by David Aiken, who should have been under the closest of scrutiny by Stewards after one of his restricted class pacers named Reactor Now had come out at Kilmore two days before and under double wraps had smashed the long-standing track record held by a top class Grand Circuit horse named Bit O Bliss.
Greg Sugars drove Pirate Bay. He too should have been in eye of the Steward’s needle, for his wife Jess Tubbs had emerged from obscurity last season to train winners at a strike rate of 17.3% and record a place strike rate of over 40%, and then this season improve those strike rates to 23.3% the win and 55.9% the place. That’s uncanny, and sets off alarm bells.
The whole Pirate Bay affair at Melton does too, or would if anyone whose job it is to enforce integrity in harness racing cared.
After Pirate Bay went down at $1.20 the Stewards called Greg Sugars into the room to explain. Sugars told them that shortly after the start the near fore hopple carrying strap had broken, and that he had been unable to properly restrain the horse and settle it throughout the race.
Sugars was lying through his teeth.
Pirate Bay’s carrying strap broke alright, but it broke BEFORE the start was effected, not after. It’s obvious from the replay, and it should have been even more obvious to the driver steering it, because it’s something that you can’t miss.
Sugars didn’t miss it.
He just pretended to.
You can see it can’t you?
Blind Freddie could.
But Greg Sugars couldn’t.
Not until after the starter had let them go anyway. After it was too late to put his hand up and alert the starter so that a false start could have been effected, and too late to give Pirate Bay any chance of being declared a non-runner.
Sugars should audition for Neighbours, for he’s a pretty fair actor.
He doesn’t fool me though, and now you can see exactly what transpired he shouldn’t fool you either.
The Stewards blithely accepted Greg Sugars explanation for the 5-1 on shot’s defeat without any further questions.
For reasons known only to themselves, the officials elected not to swab Pirate Bay, even though every ounce of common sense demands that they should have,
They didn’t call for the betting sheets on the race either.
It was a gross abrogation of their duty to punters and to the public at large.
This race stinks.
So do the Victorian Stewards.
This whole thing is an absolute disgrace.