Toby Asks the $64 000 Question – And the Answer Rhymes With Joh


I’m buggered if I know who Toby the commentator on is, but I tell you what it’s a damned good question.

Is there a track in Queensland that isn’t rooted?

Eagle Farm is, everyone except for Col Dixon in Townsville knows that. And he had a poultice on Tyzone, so he’s a tad biased anyway.

Bundamba – Ipswich – is definitely rooted. Only Pins Parnell from Racing Queensland thinks it isn’t, and perhaps Al Reardon when he leaves his glasses at home and believes he’s tripped over his shoelaces when he falls at the ditch near the crossing.

Doomben looks pretty shot too. Did you see the last meeting there when they were coming a million wide after a sprinkle of rain? It used to be the best wet track anywhere, not its over-raced to hell and needs a spell.

The Goldie is alright I guess, if you like that sort of thing, and the Sunny Coast for a couple of months during the carnival is too, but it’s over-raced to the shithouse as well, and I’m buggered if I know how the track staff hold it up so well.

Rocky’s a weirdos paradise. My daughter was born there, but its a shit of a place, and the track’s shit too. It’s got the longest straight in the world and they should run on, but only exceptional horses do, even off a slow pace up front. Crowns are for princesses and fairies, not for course propers on race courses.

Townsville is just a joke, just like the RQ CEO Pins who holds it up to the media as an exemplar when he’s talking to the media about the dodgy surface at HQ on Straddie day.

Outside of that, where do you go?

Gympie I reckon.

It’s played fair and true since the days when Yeah Good was a 14-year-old penciller, and me and my mate Plug used to pick up bottles before the first and cash them in to have a bet, and copped the $10 to $2 about a 12-1 shot from Yeah Good, because if we didn’t he’d start shouting for the betting ring supervisor while holding us by the collar, even though he laid us the bet knowing we were only eight.

The old sand track holds up still, despite the racing rip-off king Wayne Francis Innes having supplied the dodgy sand scooped up from the river out the back of his mate and life membership giver, the top cheese committee man at a track that shall remained un-named.

So where do we go from there?

Nowhere, but leads head up to the tabletop city overlooking the Downs, because that’s what I really want to talk about.

The track there at Toowoomba was rated a Good 4 in the morning, or at least that’s what we are told.

I’m not so sure at all, and reckon all the water from the sprinklers they’d dumped on it during the week in the usual practice of preparing it soft and letting the sun dry it to a Good 4 to tick your RQ boxes made it a bit softer that.

Ignore me though, and let’s just believe it was.

At 10.43 am the Club Officials arrived at the track and inspected the course – or at least one of them did – and the first thing they did was downgrade the track rating from a Good 4 to a Soft 5.

There are quite a few problems with this.

1 – What the Donald Duck is a club official doing holding responsibility for determining the track conditions at Queensland’s number 1 TAB meeting on a Sunday? A meeting that more than a million bucks around the country is going to be bet on.

2 – Who was the club official anyway, and why wasn’t their name mentioned or noted in the Stewards Report?

3 – What qualifications does this unnamed club official have to rate tracks?

4 – How much were they paid to take on the burden of making decisions that would affect the outcome of seven-figure sums in bets?

5 – What did their Work Cover premium and their accident insurance look like?

6 – What equipment did they have to help them make the decision?

7 – Penotrometers?

8 – Going Sticks?

9 – Digital dirt density apparatus?

10 – Sweet Fanny Adams?

12 – Where was the official RQ track reader Alan Reardon?

13 – Where was the Chief Steward Rion Hitchener?

14 – Where was his panel?

15 – Why can’t the Stewards get paid penalty rates to get to the course early like they used to?

They are good questions aren’t they?

Don’t hold your breath expecting an answer.


Here are the facts.

Only 4.5 to 9.0 millimetres of rain had fallen from the sky above Clifford Park up until 10.45 am.

Before that little sun shower it hadn’t rained in Toowoomba for a week.

A millimetre (mm) is a tenth of a centimetre.

An inch is 254 millimetres, or 2.54 centimetres.

Just a third of an inch of rain at the very most had had fallen on the once great track where Bernborough scorched the earth by 10.43am.

If you are walking fast enough, its hardly enough to get wet.

It rained a further 6mm between the track downgrade at 10.43am and noon.

Using the same scale as above – the correct one – less than an extra quarter of inch of rain fell in that hour and quarter.

No-one bothered to walk the track again, my best guess reason being that the Stewards still hadn’t arrived on track, and that whoever the official or officials that walked it earlier were hoping and praying that when the they finally did they’d be in such a hurry that they would miss the moat at the crossing just like they had the big hole in the same place at Ipswich a week or two before.

Jockey’s aren’t real keen on dying on the track though.

They walked it and said no way.

A few of them went to the Stipes and insisted that they have a look too, and within a second of the Stewards doing so they called the whole show off.

All because of less than an inch of rain.

This doesn’t happen anywhere South of the Tweed, not unless they are racing six feet below sea level, or on King Island when it’s hit by a tsunami.

It’s easy to answer Toby’s question, isn’t it?

Is there a track in South-East Queensland that isn’t rooted?




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