Sunday Morning Musings


Has the King of the Course Curators Been Deposed From the Throne?

Is This Goodie-Bye?

With the Winter Carnival about to hit full-swing, many were puzzled about the glaring absence in recent days of the man responsible for ‘fixing’ Eagle Farm – or not, depending on your view of how the Farm played yesterday – Racing Queensland’s much-vaunted track expert Mick Goodie. .

We’re told that Goodie has been sent on leave to do a bit of gardening at home, and that it’s highly unlikely he will return, which if true is a bit of a worry, given that the Group 1 J.J. Atkins/Stradbroke Handicap double header is only a fortnight away.

We await an official announcement by Racing Queensland, and will be interested to hear how they spin it, but one thing’s for sure.

You always hear it here first.

The Eagle Farm Track

Over the past fortnight Australia’s leading trainer Chris Waller had privately – and then publicly, after Letsgohorseracing broke the story – expressed doubts about the Eagle Farm track holding up for the Winter Carnival.

On the evidence of what we saw yesterday, Winxy’s scepticism doesn’t appear to have been misplaced.

The day started out well, with the track appearing to be playing fair and both early winners coming up the inside; but after the idiot inspired delay (what sort of imbecile makes bomb threats against horses?) things took a dramatic turn for the worse.

From race 3 onward, no rider wanted to be anywhere near the fence, and every winner from thereon came down the middle or the outside of the track, which is a huge concern.

Even more of a concern is that the supposed Good 4 surface was playing like a Slow 6, with big clods of dirt being thrown up by runners in every race. This ain’t supposed to happen on a good track, and it shouldn’t.

The times tell you everything that you need to know.

Not one horse all day recorded a time inside 1.5 seconds of the track record, with the closest being Red Chase, which ran 1.59 seconds outside of Cruz’s record set on the 21st of December last year; and Rothfire in the Champagne Classic who ran 1.64 seconds outside of Isaurian’s record that was set at the same meeting.

That is not a good sign on a feature race day, not a good sign at all.

The best we can do now is cross our fingers and hope that whoever is doing Mick Goodie’s job over the next couple of weeks can perform miracles.

If they don’t, then this could get ugly.

Should Kinane Have Been Allowed to Start?

Star Sydney colt Kinane went under at odds-on in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic yesterday, but the question is should the horse have ever been allowed to start at all?

As the Stewards Report shows, the short-price favourite had became fractious in the float on the way to the track, and turned up at Eagle Farm bleeding from the offside nostril and the near-side hip. If this had happened in the barrier stalls prior to the start its hard to see how he would have wouldn’t have been pulled out of the race, but somehow the senior QRIC vets

Dr Martin Lenz is the Director of Veterinary Services at the QRIC, and Dr Karen Caldwell is his deputy, so one would imagine that they would know better than we would, but geez if my million dollar colt had turned up at the course looking like it had just gone ten rounds against Floyd Mayweather I wouldn’t be too keen on it starting.

We’ve raised our concerns about some of the controversial decisions of the QRIC vets to allow bleeding horses to start a number of times in recent weeks, as have the Queensland Trainers Association, and it’s a stark fact that none of the vetted and cleared runners have won.

Millions of dollars had been wagered on Kinane around Australia and abroad yesterday, and he was the anchor in most punters quaddies. They deserved a fair go from a fit and well horse. Did they get one? The jury is out.


Speaking of Bleeding

Has anyone else noticed the seemingly extraordinary number of horses in Queensland that are being stood down from racing for bleeding during races lately?

There have been six horses in the past fortnight that have bled from both nostrils and copped three month bans (see below), and another four that have been observed with blood coming from a nostril that has been down by the stewards to other causes.

This is not an isolated example, it has been happening week after week on Queensland tracks, so it can’t just be a freak run of bad luck.

The question is why?

I can only hazard a guess, and my answer is not a pretty one.

Horses gushing blood from both nostrils isn’t pretty either.

23 May – Doomben x 2

17 May – Ipswich x 1

17 May – Cloncurry x 1

13 May – Doomben x 1

9 May – Mt Isa x 1

Has Anybody Got a Few Spare Jockeys QLD Can Borrow?

The ridiculous of runners being late scratched at Queensland race meetings because there are no jockeys available to ride them continues apace, with seemingly no end in sight.

Another six were withdrawn on race day yesterday, bringing the total number of runners pulled out on race day over the past 2 weeks to an extraordinary 26, and on top of that we had the ridiculous situation at the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday where the Group 1 winning rider Dale Smith was replaced by young apprentice Maddy Wishart, because there was no other rider available

This ongoing debacle is turning Queensland racing into a laughing stock around the nation, and it has to stop.

The very simple solution is for Racing Queensland to actually do its job by

(a) not allowing field sizes in one or two races on a program- particularly a country card – to have two or three runners more than all the rest of the races on the day; and

(b) simply checking the runners who haven’t got a nominated jockey at the close of jockey declarations, and picking up the phone to call the trainer and find out who is going to ride it. If the trainer can’t tell them, then either help he or she to find one, or scratch it before the race day.

It’s not very hard is it?

So why is not being done?

Once again, I can offer no explanation, so will simply say this: the buck stops at the top.

Over to you Pins Parnell.

Mt Isa – 4

Roma – 2

Rockhampton – 1

Cloncurry – 5

Charleville – 11

Mt Isa – 5

Disaster at Dalby


As you can see from the Bureau of Meteorology chart above, there has been a grand total of 1.7 centimetres of rain fall in Dalby during the entire month of May.

That’s not even 3/4 of an inch.

So why was yesterday’s Dalby track rated a Heavy 8 at 7.00 in the morning, and why was the meeting cancelled before a race had even been run, after a delegation of jockeys and Stewards found the course proper to be unsafe for racing between the 500 and 700 metre marks?

We are told that while the track problems may have been exacerbated by the less than half inch of rain that fell on Friday night, that’s not the real reason for the meeting cancellation.

That reason is because essential funding needed for track repairs and maintenance has not been forthcoming from Racing Queensland, and that the issues with the course proper have been know about for some time.

If this is true – and we have no reason to doubt that it isn’t – then some serious explanations are required from the Principal Racing Authority.

Once more, we won’t be holding our breath waiting to get them.

Ditto for Emerald

The Emerald meeting was cancelled yesterday too.

A total of less than half an inch of rain – 1 centimetre all up – fell on the town during the preceding week. That’s hardly enough to get you wet if you walked up the main street without an umbrella.

So why was the meeting called off?

You tell me.

Jockey Safety Put at Serious Risk by QRIC Negligence

the race being run without the ambulance present on course following the field around.

Race riding is an exceptionally dangerous profession, and everyone in the sport knows that you don’t run races unless there is an ambulance on track. The reasons for this are so obvious that they don’t need to be explained.

So why did the Stewards allow race 3 at Rockhampton on Tuesday to be run with any ambulance personnel present on course?

The answer is obvious – because the QRIC boys failed to conduct the basic essential pre-race checks to make sure that the emergency service personnel were there.

In their official report the Stewards deflected the blame onto the ambos themselves, which is both total BS and an absolute disgrace.

We have excellent mail from the horses mouth to say that the good people from the QAS didn’t misjudge the start time at all – and bear in mind, the author is a former senior manager for the ambos union – they just didn’t have time to take Nigel Seymour from the track to the Rocky Base Hospital after race 2 and get back to Callaghan Park in time for the running of race 3, which makes perfect sense.

So how did the stipes miss them being there? You tell me.

What the hell might have happened if a rider came off and needed immediate and urgent treatment, and couldn’t get it because there was no one on course to provide it? The various scenarios are frightening, and in a worst case might have resulted in a preventable death.

This is not a cheap shot, this is a serious health and safety breach that needs to be investigated and explained.

Over to you Chief Steward Chadwick.


Great Barrier Reef Bools

Has the well known bookmakers friend, mining lawyer and man about Cowboy town Barry Taylor used the squillions he made from selling Merchant Navy to but his home city of Townsville and rename it in honour of the home of the Great Annual Steeplechase?

Or is this just another comical Racing Queensland stuff-up?


Have the QRIC Run Out of Swab Kits on the Darling Downs?

Tony and Maddysen Sears have posted win and place strike rates this season that have rarely seen before in Queensland, and their incredible run of success has set a number of tongues wagging, including two well known tongues that are alleged to have taken their concerns about the Sears golden streak to the top office at the QRIC.

We don’t give any credence to self-interest complaints made by rival trainers who are getting beaten, but to put all the questions floating around to bed the obvious thing to do is ensure that at least an equitable selection of the Sears teams starters are pre and post race swabbed.

It’s a pretty obvious step to take from a public confidence point of view I would have thought, particularly at the training team’s home track at Toowoomba, where Tony and Maddy have trained six winners at the past two meetings alone.

So why then have no pre-race swabs been taken from not only their runners, but from any starters at all at the past two Clifford Park race meetings?

Have the Stewards on the Darling Downs run out of swab kits or something?

If that’s the case, I’m sure there are at least a couple of leading Brisbane trainers and a few at home who’d be happy to chip in to help the QRIC buy some more.

Speaking of Swabs

There are persistent rumours floating around the tracks about a doping ring at work in the greyhound industry who are hitting favourites with go-slows to stop them winning, and then laying them for a poultice on Betfair.

Once again, we don’t take any racecourse gossip as gospel, but given that in recent times at least one trainer has been caught attempting to offer an official a bribe to administer stopper substances to all bar once of the runners in a race, one would think that the QRIC might at least start conducting post-race swab tests on all beaten favourites who perform well below expectations in a race.

No such luck.

The QRIC regime of not doing any pre-race testing on dogs, and only taking post-race swabs from winners, is an open invitation to the criminally minded among the punting fraternity to step right in and go their hardest. They might as well just put a green light up and the door, just above the sign saying “Free entry to dog dopers”.

If there is anyone at Breakfast Creek who knows how to read a results sheet the dogs in question shouldn’t be too hard to spot. and its certainly not the owners or trainers who might be hitting them, for they are as perplexed as anyone about their greyhound’s poor performances and poor post-race recovery rates.

It’s about time someone got off their arse and started doing something about it.

The Greatest Certainty Since Winx

We wrote a few weeks ago about the nutty Stewards decision to hold an inquiry into bush jockey Martin Haley’s ride on a no-hoper $26 shot in a midweek maiden at Rockhampton, after the horse’s no-name, living in hope trainer Joao Campeao blew up royally about the hoop’s steer.

As predicted of course, the whole thing was a waste of time and public money, as was revealed yesterday when the stipes conceded that there was nothing at all in it, other than a marked lack of common sense on their behalf.

One day the QRIC boys might start doing their real jobs. You know, things like looking into the patterns of missed starts on favourites by certain leading riders, or doing pre-race swabs at tracks where trainers with scarcely believable strike rates are turning out bags of winners every meeting, or even making sure there are ambulances on course.

We live in hope, but we’re not holding our breath.


Idiot of the Day

Obviously the clown who called in the bomb threat wins that race by ten lengths, but Billy Egan’s brain-dead ride on the favourite Duke of Plumpton in the 7th race at Flemington yesterday has to finish a clear second.

On Heavy 8 track on a day that all the winners were coming down the outside, Egan for some reason that only he and God know decided to steer a passage up through the mud on the inside of the track.

It was an incomprehensible decision from a jockey who, thanks to his close friendship with former colleague turned trainer Paddy Payne, is getting far more opportunities than he deserves, and it undoubtedly cost the horse the race. I’m still shaking my head wondering why he did it.

Why, why, why, why, why?

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