The big news in Queensland racing right now should be the Straddie and the J.J. Atkins, two of the Group 1 diamonds in our State’s racing crown.
Sadly though it is not.
The big news is a delegation of trainers who have cried wolf about the so-called unfair practices of their business rivals running off to meet the clowns that run the racing circus so they can be assured that the unnamed but widely known targets of their vitriol are going to cop it with both barrels.
Robert Heathcote, Desleigh Forster, Brian and Daniel Guy, Kelly Schweida, and another are the ones who blew the whistle to Racenet on the unnamed trainers about to become QRIC’s targets.
It is a bit rich given that Heathcote once grew dope illegally in his back yard at Wavell Heights, and that his racing success was founded on funds derived from the profits of sale of stolen priceless artefacts from Papua New Guinea sold by his London brothel owning brother.
And that Forster is said to be a very slow payer of her unlicensed junior stablehands weekly wage; or that the Guys father and Grandfather Ray was well known as being tied up with George Freeman and the Sydney race fixers; or that ‘Smelly’ Kelly Schweida trains a horse named Shogun Sun, which was paid for at least in part by money stolen from Racing Queensland and/or the Ipswich City Council by his self-professed best mate, the convicted and jailed conman and thief Wayne Francis Innes, who to this day continues to hold a share in the galloper under his wife’s name as his bowler.
Anyway, in advance of the awesome fivesome and two hats Cam Partington – the jockey manager who as head of the local branch of the ATA represents their employers the trainers – sit down to spill their guts about why they reckon that rivals like T and M Sears, Lindsay Hatch, Darryl Hansen, Natalie McCall, the bull rider, and T and T Edmonds are kicking goals, we thought it might be apt to take a look at the last time such a gang press occurred, and what it achieved.
The excerpts below are taken from the QRIC Commissioner’s spruik in his organisation’s most recent Annual report.
The comments are mine, Archie Butterfly’s.
So the QRIC receive information and intelligence about the activities of Ben Currie’s stables in July 2016.
Feeding horses, working them, and taking them to the races are pretty ho-hum activities, so presumably the QRIC is referring to alleged untoward activities.
You know, thinks like jiggers, milkshakes and dope.
The QRIC gets the tip in mid-2016, but does nothing about it until Weetwood Day 2018. almost two years later.
This is not true.
The QRIC put out a press release on the afternoon of the day before the Weetwood, saying that its officers would be out in force on the day of the race, doing this, that and the other.
Here’s a direct quote from the media release (ignore the poor grammar).
The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has ensured the public and the racing industry that it will be out in force to support the integrity of the Toowoomba Weetwood Handicap tomorrow, 7 April.
Seen as the introduction to Queensland’s Winter Racing Carnival, QRIC’s Integrity Investigations Team (IIT) has carried out a series of pre-race testing and will deliver pre-race swabs on race day, all winners will be tested and if required targeted testing will also occur.
What actually happened is that the QRIC threatened a whole bunch of poorly educated, minimum wage casual or contract workers at Currie Racing with the prospect of long spells in jail if they didn’t cough on Ben Currie, which confused quite a few of them because they simply shovelling shit at 4 in the morning to earn enough to put food on their family’s tables. and they didn’t have a cold.
The three people charged with race day administration were Ben Currie, his dad Boof (Mark Currie), and a stablehand named Greg Britnell.
BenWe all know about Ben Currie, and what happened to him.
What most people don’t know is that he’s two to one on to get off on appeal, which will create a real difficult problem for the QRIC, but its theirs not ours, and we will discuss it another day.
Boof Currie copped 2 years in the bin, but he’s Ben’s Dad, and would you allow your old man to suffer for your presumed sins?
I wouldn’t talk to you if you did.
I talk to Ben Currie.
He put his hand up and said “It ain’t him with the Boost Paste babe, it was me. Hit me with your best shot, fire away. Just leave the old fella alone”.
The QRIC came into it.
Boof’s disqualification was reduced to a 12 months suspension, suspended for 12 months.
He was back at work the next day, except now he was the boss not Ben.
Gregory (Greg) Britnell was a stablehand who did whatever he was told to do.
On the morning of the Weetwood he was told to give the horses some Boost Paste, and did so by using the applicator provided by the manufacturer in the pack.
Boost Paste is a stock standard electrolyte replacement therapy (think Gatorade) for horses that is sold at every stock shop in the country, including Garrard’s Horse and Hound, one of Queensland racing’s biggest sponsors.
The stable hand had no cause at all to question whether giving it a horse was right or wrong, but it didn’t matter. This wasn’t about Greg Britnell, it was about Ben Currie.
Britnell was disqualified for 18 months.
The licensed participant charged with assisting in the administration was Cameron Schwenke.
He admitted to administering some Currie horses with
Schwenke – who in uncontested evidence told the Stewards evidence that he had ” been … picking up horse shit since I was four years old” – said he didn’t think Boost Paste was a drug on the banned list.
It wasn’t (and isn’t), but Dr Martin Lenz – who, as the title suggests, is a Doctor with big time academic qualifications – poo-pooed Schwenke’s honest defence to the allegation, telling him that any substance capable at any time of causing either directly or indirectly an action or effect or both an action and effect within one or more of the following mammalian body systems was prohibited.
Before the shit shovel man who’d left school at 15 could ask the good doctor what mammalian meant, and how you spell it, Dr Lenz continued on, telling him that substances that affected these systems included those that had any effect whatsoever on
The nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the musculo-skeletal system, the endocrine system, the urinary system, the reproductive system, the blood system, (and) the immune system
Meaning of course that food, water and air were prohibited substances under the rules of racing, because among other things, if a horse doesn’t drink water its urinary system is affected (you can’t piss if there is nothing in your bladder), and if it doesn’t eat its digestive system is too (the balance of your stomach acids change if you fast).
And of course if a horse doesn’t have air, then like any mammal – humans, for example – it dies, which is both an action and an effect on all of its mammalian body systems, and tends not to be a real good one either.
Lenz then gave the early school leaver a science lecture.
I can give you a look at this too. The ingredients are listed on the back of the tube, and there are electrolytes and trace elements. So, you know, the normal electrolytes, potassium, sodium. There is magnesium in there – which has obviously an effect on the nervous system – calcium, musculoskeletal system, phosphorous iron on the blood system, cobalt, once again, magnesium. Cobalt you know has several effects, and one of them is on the blood system. Copper, zinc. They all have effects on multiples of these body systems that are listed under AR178B. In addition we have got a host of vitamins – which I won’t list separately – and some essential amino acids. Now, all these substances have effects on one or more of the body systems that are listed in 178B, and as such are classified as prohibited substances under the Rules of Racing.
Schwenke didn’t have a clue what Lenz was on about, just as he wouldn’t have the fuzziest what I’m talking about. He is a stablehand FFS, not a vet or an investigative writer.
It didn’t matter.
No defence put up by any Currie employee did.
He copped 3 months too.
The licensed participant charged with providing false evidence was a young bloke named Silde Canda, who was hauling a shovel in the barns to earn a bit of money to help out his immigrant family, and send his siblings to school.
Canda’s Mum wasn’t well, and he needed his phone to stay in touch with her and call home several times a day to see if she was alright, so he panicked when the QRIC raiders demanded he hand it over without offering him a replacement, and lied and said he’d smashed it, when really it was sitting in open view in the middle compartment of his cheap second hand car.
The impromptu panicked lie lasted all of about 7 seconds before he backtracked and handed the phone over, but he copped three months too.
Funny choice of words.
What’s even funnier is that the whole thing is far from final, just like the arrest of a whole bunch of young trot trainers and drivers wasn’t the end of the matter to do with them and their alleged match-fix cheating either.
Remind me again, how many of those charges stuck?
The QRIC Annual Report was released in late 2019.
The jigger charges laid against Ben Currie dated back 4 – 5 years, to 2014 and 2015.
Certain leading Queensland trainers who had been trumped by Boom Boom in the success stakes had run to the head teacher in the new integrity school in 2016.
Urgent animal welfare and integrity issues obviously mean something different to Ross Barnett and his team than it does to Joe the Average Punter.
No person is too big to investigate.
That’s why the QRIC team tossed the stables of the trainers in the infield at Eagle Farm a couple of days ago, and for the sake of appearances knocked over the stables of the couple of poor battlers like Lindsay Gough domiciled on the outfield the next day.
It’s just a shame they gave select members of the training fraternity the advance word of the raids, and that they didn’t visit the other places where some of their horses are kept, for if they had the results might have been quite a bit different.
That wasn’t the point though.
The point was to prove that the QRIC were impartial, and the deputation going to meet with Pins and Commissioner on Monday are squeaky clean.
Russ Hinze used to say that there were no brothels in Brisbane too.
It’s true – I was sitting next to my boss the Sunday Sun editor Ron Richards one night when he said it, and so was my mate Matt the Eagle, whose brother was a corrupt copper on the take, who used to work putting caps on bottles at the XXXX brewery only a year or so before.
It was nice of Mr Hinze to get his driver to give me, Mr Richards and the Eagle a lift to the World By Night strip club that Gerry owned after we’d done our arse at the Italian card school too.
After all, we were only fifteen, and pissed as parrots.
How the hell were we going to drive?