More Hook Than the Captain in Peter Pan – How the QRIC Stewards Pasted Up a Stewards Report to Cover Up the Question of How a 43 Start Maiden Won a 6-Furlong Race by the Length of the Straight


This is the Steward’s report that was finally published more than 48 hours after the running of the Murweh Shire Council Maiden Plate on Saturday morning, and about 36 hours after I published a biting satirical story suggesting that something about the race might have been just a little bit off.

My story was obviously correct – something was a little bit off.

I just didn’t know at the time that what would end up stinking the most was the much delayed, and clearly doctored, official Stewards report.

I don’t believe more than a few words written in this Steward’s report, and say that anyone who does is a raving bloody idiot.

Let’s suspend reality and disbelief for a few moments though, and assume that everything in it is true.

Trainer Mark Johnstone wagered significantly on Whiskey Apple to win the race that it didn’t at Roma on the 18th of March 2020.

It would have been a good trick.

There were no bookmakers on course, and in the absence of punters the tote windows were closed.

There was a grand total of $2 886 in the UBET pool, and Whiskey Apple went off at a price of $17.80, which means that after the Tabcorp commission is taken out, no more than $137 in total could have been wagered on the horse.

Johnstone could have backed Whiskey Apple fixed price with the corporate bookmakers, but if he had the most he could have got on to win for at the price of $13 was $1000 for a $77 investment, and if he had the algorithm that all bookies use would have automatically firmed the horse’s price in at least 2-3 points.

But I have access to the betting fluctuations, and can tell you with hand on heart that at no stage during the betting did Whiskey Apple firm, and that in fact blew out the door.

All that the Stewards would need to do to confirm this is to obtain the betting sheets from the Roma meeting.

They did not, instead electing to merely accept trainer Johnstone’s uncorroborated word.

Johnstone apparently expected the horse to win on Saturday.

We all expect 43 start maidens to win sometime, perhaps.

The trainer said that he didn’t expect the mule to win by such a triple-Rancher margin of near 20 lengths, but oddly the QRIC Stewards chose not to flesh out his answer by asking him why it did, so we are all left wondering.

Subsequent to the meeting, trainer Johnstone apparently advised Stewards that the form from the Roma event had been franked as evidenced by CALCULATED RISK, which finished behind WHISKEY APPLE at Roma, going on to be successful at a provincial TAB meeting.

There is a slight problem with that.

A few actually.

The first is that Calculated Risk didn’t run and win at the Toowoomba provincial meeting until the next day, some 24 hours later.

Two is that there was no inquiry initiated or adjourned on the day of the race at Charleville, so what possible reason would Mark Johnstone have had to contact the Stewards more than a day later to inform them that the form was franked?

Three is, even if we suspend disbelief and accept that Johnstone gave this advice to the Stewards, how would the trainer have made contact with them late on a Sunday afternoon on their day off? Surely he doesn’t have the stipes home numbers does he?

Fourth and last is, how could the STEWARDS (plural) have noted trainer Johnstone’s explanation when they no longer had a Stewards Panel convened, and hadn’t for at least a full day and night?

This is bullshit.

The Stewards Report has been hooked, it’s clearly obvious.

We all know that the Commissioner or one of his minions is reading this, so by virtue of their doing so they are now aware of the allegation of potential official misconduct that I am raising in this article.

If a public official becomes aware of instances of official misconduct, and does nothing to investigate the matter or report it to the relevant authorities, then under law they may be deemed to have committed official misconduct by their inaction too.

Sometimes being wrongfully arrested has its benefits, especially when it comes to the document disclosure process.

I’m sure that Commissioner Barnett will follow this matter up.

It’s a matter of integrity, after all.

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