See that beautiful looking young woman in the middle of the picture?
She is a lovely a person as she is good looking.
Know who she is?
Here’s a clue.
She’s sitting 4th on the Brisbane Metro Jockey’s Premiership ladder, and has ridden the winners of more than $3 million in prize money already this season.
Yes it’s Steph Thornton.
Jockey extraordinaire, pretty girl next door, real nice bird, and greyhound fan to boot.
The young lady in front of her in the green is Black Opium, the brilliant winner of the first heat of the Group 1 Brisbane Cup that was run an hour ago.
Black Opium is trained by Steph’s partner Ben Thompson’s dad Jason, who is not the bloke in the picture, but who is one of the best greyhound men in the land.
The bloke with the ordinary mug at the front is Luke ‘the Duke’ Gatehouse.
He’s not much too look at, but the Duke goes alright too, because he runs the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club, and tonight they were the first club in any code in Australia to welcome the fans back through the gates.
As you can see from the photo where everybody is standing at least 1.5 apart, they did it safely, and with grace and style and a whole lot of fun thrown in too.
I bet I know who the first person to book their socially distanced to keep us all safe and our industry ticking ticket to the final is going to be.
If only Steph could ride Black Opium too she might be a chance of beating Hooked on Scotch.
There is nothing wrong with coming second though, and it’s sure to be a great night out for all.
It always is on a Thursday night at Albion Park, the number 1 night-time entertainment zone for mid-week sports lovers in Queensland.
Just ask jockey S. Thornton.
We’re all off to Albion Park, oh yeah, they’re on a winner!
While every other code dithers, and dreams of flocks, and draws their mates names out of hats to be 2 each in the 20 allowed on course in splendid isolation to keep the forty staff catering to the Committee men happy, the real people get the job done.
That’s because the people who run the dogs always do it better.
You don’t need me to tell you that of course – the numbers speak for themselves.
Turnover – up 50%, from Sweet Fanny Adams to almost a billion.
Profit – 20% net, compared to losses for the gallops and trots.
Debt – nil except trade creditors, while the other codes are drowning.
Investments – large and rising, while the other racing industries have none.
Crowds – big and getting bigger, and they don’t even have to make their employees walk through the turnstiles 100 times each a day to jack the figures.
Build it, and they will come.
Luke Gatehouse at HQ, JC Catton at Capalaba, the good people out at Ipswich, the great folk up at Bundy, and the smiling volunteers at Rocky and Townsville have all pulled their weight, and made their industry solid, and its participants proud.
That’s because the people who run the dogs don’t have any vested interests, and their motives are pure. They just love their sport and care.
On Thursday night the Albion Park Greyhound Club will be the first racing venue in the nation to welcome the crowds back in.
They will do it properly of course.
Look at the scoreboard, they always do.
The people will come, and they will be kept safe while being catered to like they should be and as they deserve.
Like Kings and Queens.
They will leave smiling, and tell everyone they meet how good it was to be back, and the next week they will return, and more will come with them, and week after week it will build, and before you know it, it will be like no-one has ever been away at all.
Things will be different of course, but that’s okay.
The more great things change, the more their heart and soul really stays the same.
Congratulations to everyone involved in this historic moment.
First in the whole of Australia to open the gates again and the fans into the house hey?
What else would you expect?
They couldn’t kill the dogs with an atom bomb, even though they tried.
And you’re not.
Follow our lead.
Head off to the Creek on Thursday night.
Just make sure you give Luke and the crew a ring to book first.
It’s going to be a full house.
Don’t miss out on a great night full of racing and fun.
We won’t be.
Why, when the committee members of the Bernborough Club were talking about football players during their recent meeting at a well-known Brisbane restaurant, did they on several occasions refer to players of Indigenous or Polynesian heritage as ‘darkies’.
Why, when discussing the issue of their concerns about the ageing demographic of their membership, did these dinosaurs that run the Bernborough Club come up with the solution of inviting a semi-retired teacher 60 year old teacher from Warwick to join the committee, or if he was not available a 64 year old insurance bloke from Gayndah?
Do they really think their idea of inviting Peter V’Landys to speak at their next lunch is really going to be a goer, and that PVL will find time in his diary to speak to a bunch of misogynist racists?
Or that their second string selection Bruce McAvaney will?
Why don’t they just invite Pins (Brendan Parnell) or the Bantam (David Fowler)?
And why are the members men?
Aren’t there any women in Queensland who like racing?
I wonder the club has any members who have brown or black coloured skin?
How does someone already gorgeous like Francesca Cumani become even more beautiful with age?
Can the BRC be serious asking its members to pay a full year’s subscription fees by the 1st of August, when no member has been allowed to attend the track for 3 months?
How many more horses have left the Edmonds stable this week?
Can anyone believe that the bookies bet evens about Stradivarius in the Ascot Gold Cup last night?
How much more than the margin of ten lengths could the world’s greatest stayer have won by if Frankie Dettori had fully extended him?
Did you Frankie twirling the whip in delightful circles and twisting it in the air as he posed for the cameras and celebrated over the last half furlong?
Wasn’t the great man’s signature star jump dismount just sensational?
Has there ever been a better European jockey than Dettori?
Even with no spectators, how good is Royal Ascot?
After watching that, how could anyone not love racing?
But wouldn’t giving the winning horse a big drink straight after the race, before it had been swabbed, risk contaminating the sample?
Did anyone test the bucket to make sure that it was just water?
Is it true that the FBI have handed over the details – including the intercepted call recording and online messages – of the Australian customers of the US suppliers of the go fast gear they were selling to the near 50 leading harness and gallops figures that were arrested in mass police raids across America earlier this year, and charged with offences that are likely to see most of them eating a few Thanksgiving day dinners in the can?
Has a joint Australian Federal/State police taskforce been listening in on the calls to and from customers of the Australian end, monitoring their online activity and messages, and in some cases following them around 24 hours a day?
Does one of the Aussie end live about an hour north of Brisbane, and hold the distribution rights (legally or otherwise) to a certain type of radiant device or machine that is an essential complement to the illegal micro-dose doping of horses?
Has that person’s ear been burning over the past month, or suffered that shiver down your back feeling you get when it feels like there is someone behind you?
Was that Chief Steward Chadwick that eagle eyes have spotted going in an out of a major law firm’s office in recent weeks carrying a file marked ‘Alligator Blood”?
Where’s the David Van Dyke positive swab matter at anyway? It’s been a while, but be assured, it hasn’t gone away, and won’t.
What sort of imbecile pays $120 000 a year for Tom Waterhouse’s Platinum tipping package?
Don’t they ever ask themselves why he became a bookie not a punter?
Or why he sells tips, rather than backing them himself?
Is it any coincidence that Tom’s tips usually firm 2-3 points in every race early in the betting on the race, and often in the majority of cases where the winner isn’t his, that one gets specked around the nation late in the betting?
Who is paying jockey Adam Hyeronimus’ legal fees?
When certain trainers in certain codes tell you that they are using a certain substance, and less than half of their runners that are swabbed throw up positives, despite all of the certain animals being treated in exactly the same manner, what does it tell you about the Queensland Racing Lab testing procedures?
Does it lend weight to the long whispered rumour that not all swabs are tested?
Could that be why some of Ben Currie’s swabs that were ‘retested’ after a target was drawn on his back threw up previously undetected minute traces of cocaine, when the labs have been testing for coke for a decade?
Can it possibly be true that a senior QRIC vet has a disgusting habit of urinating in swab stalls at race tracks?
Wouldn’t you think the person could walk to the toilet?
Or that pissing in a swab stall might contaminate the area, and thus the samples being taken there?
Are certain members of the QRIC’s Integrity Investigation Team – whether by accident or design – giving away their locations while on the way to conduct surprise stable and track inspections by checking in on Facebook and publicly advertising their direction of travel?
Have any of these people ever stopped to think that they might be tipping off their targets?
Why would anyone who lived half an hour or so north of Brisbane check in on social media to tell the whole world that they were at the Morven Truck stop the night before a race meeting anyway?
Is the practice still going on by another means?
Or are these last three the world’s greatest rhetorical questions?
So my dog trainer and mate JC (Johnny Catton) has his kennel star in the Listed Super Sprinters race over 520 metres at Albion Park tonight.
Jasper the Jet’s it’s name.
I know it’s flying because I have two eyes, and because JC told me so.
I also know that it flies out of the boxes and will definitely lead.
I’m winning on the trot punt last night big time, so every time I get a collect I throw a bot on Jasper, and by the time I go to bed at 8 o’clock this morning I have backed it to win ten grand.
Sadly, but not completely unexpectedly given that there have been no lead up races, and therefore there is no form, I knock both the winning and the bank off at Royal Ascot, and there’s nothing left in the piggy, so unless Jasper wins I’m faced with begging the trustees for a sling if I want to have a bet on the weekend.
It’s a 5 dog race.
Hooked on Scotch is drawn 1.
It’s a Victoria, and is one of Australia’s best dogs, but it has had 6 months off the track through injury, and is only starts back into its return. It has won two of them at the provincials, but got thrashed in town, and is a dog who even at it’s best preferred wide boxes, so it’s a huge lay here.
Oh Mickey is named after the trainer’s hubby, my mate the greyhound guru Mick Zammit, who is one of the nicest blokes that you would ever meet. No shit in him at all.
Mickey is Queensland’s best sprinter, and definitely on it’s way to the top, but it’s the sort of dog who takes 5 strides to get into gear, and JC’s boy the Jet will definitely ping and cross him. When he does he will baulk him, and shoot a few lengths clear, and by this time I figure Hooked on Scotch will be hitting his gear and getting off the track where he likes it, and it’s 6-5 against that he will clean him up.
That leaves Jasper the Jet a mile in front and home.
Mick Zammit’s wife Selina has another one in the race out in 8, Stinger Noir. As a youngster I thought this dog was going to be anything, and according to Mick on the training and trials tracks he still does, but for mine Stinger is a couple of lengths shy of the best, and these are the best in Queensland at the moment running here. He might come across with Jasper, but there is no way that he will be able to keep up with a Jet.
The only other one in the race is Shakey Diesel in the 2.
It’s only a fair beginner at Albion Park, and got beat 8.75 by Jasper, Mickey and Stinger 4 starts back. Since then it’s won at lowly Bundy, led and got run down in a heat of the b-grade Rocky Cup, and then won the final.
Shakey’s a 100-1, and although he might sneak a run through under Whiskey when it goes wide, and is a sneaky for the trifectas and First 4’s, it can’t win.
Famous last words.
Jaspers pings and leads.
Whiskey runs off and collects Mickey.
The 100-1 shot sneaks up inside Whiskey when he goes wide on the first turn, and lobs in second.
Stinger follows Jasper across and lobs third.
Ho, ho, ho!
All my form study has paid off, and now the dream is about to come true.
Down the back I jumping up and down like a pogo stick, pumping my fists in the air, and screaming my head off and the house down.
Then they hit the point of the final turn, and suddenly the rainforest falls silent.
The despised outside has suddenly started bridging the gap on Jasper. Shakey Diesel is gaining ground, and gaining it fast.
My legs start shaking.
They spin the turn into the straight and Jasper has still got a length and a half on him, but Shakey’s coming like a train.
My head starts spinning.
50 metres to go.
Jasper’s still in front, but the Diesel is still motoring.
30 to go he;s in front … 20 to go he’s in front …. 10 to go he’s in front…..
The 100-1 shot lunges, and nails him on the line.
It could only happen to me.
If you didn’t know the game you’d be looking for a rope and a tree, but that’s racing.
It’s the story of a mug punter’s life.
Can anyone spare a poor boy a dollar?
I’ve written extensively about the modern racing miracle that the volunteer crew who run the Capalaba Greyhounds have woven, and I wax lyrical about it to this day.
President JC Catton, General Manager Bob Patching, Office Manager Trish, Treasurer Erin Cameron, V-P Chris Georgiou. Committeman Trevor McSherry and all the wonderful team at the ‘Ba have transformed Capalaba from a flood-ravaged club, drowning in debt and down on its knees with a priest coming to say the last rites, into the most successful greyhound club of its size and scale in the country.
President Catton – always a persuasive type, even back in our back yard cricket days, before he’d even turned ten – somehow managed to talk Sky Racing into televising his meetings, and badgered the TAB into betting on them too, and with the fervid support of local MP Don ‘Boz’ Brown – the man who should be our next Racing Minister – they got the joint spruced up and off they went.
No party is complaining.
The club is flying, the rivers of wagering revenue gold are flowing, prizemoney’s shot through the roof and is still growing (notwithstanding the COVID-19 pause), attendances are great, Bookie ‘Big Grin’ Wayne Gannon is fielding, and best of all for the lovers of the sport, the good dogs are coming.
If I’d told you a few years back that the winners of the Group 3 Flying Amy and the Listed Dashing Corsair stayers race at Albion Park last night would have won them off the back of Capalaba form, you would be branded me a loon and be calling triple 0 to get the medics to haul me away.
Dogs who raced down at ‘Ba didn’t win Group or Listed races. They didn’t even run in them, they weren’t good enough. Capalaba was the Kilcoy of gallops, or the Marburg of trots. The thought of dogs racing down there going on to sweep the best black type races on a card at headquarters was preposterous.
Well it’s not any more.
Kiss and Tell won the Group 3 Flying Amy at her seventh start last night.
Her career was launched at the ‘Ba. The first two of her seven starts were down the straight there. She won one, and got beaten in the other, showing the whole world just how strong the racing is these days down in JC land.
Velocity Bettina won the listed Dashing Corsair. one of Queensland’s leading stayers races.
Bettina started her rise to top of the distance ranks at Capalaba too. She ran 2nd and 4th in sprints over the unsuitable 366m short course at the ‘Ba just before Xmas, stepped up to the 520m at Albion Park for a few, then hit the long races and went boom! Now she’s one of, if not the, best staying dogs in the State.
And all roads for both, lead back to ‘Ba.
Capalaba is King, just like Catto always said it would be.
JC and crew, take a bow.
What you see above is a list of mares purchased at the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale held in May 2017.
Seventeen mares were bought for under $2000 at that sale, each of them purportedly for breeding purposes, but if you believe that you believe in fairies.
Eleven of the seventeen were purchased by a company called Killara Thoroughbreds, which is one of the trading names of an entity called the Grange Country Estate Unit Trust. This unit trust also trades as Running Creek Beef, a cattle station further to the South-West in the famous thoroughbred breeding area near Glenlogan Stud, and the Killara Homestead, a working farm just outside of Beaudesert.
A couple named Rod and Deb Richardson run Killara Thoroughbreds.
Rod Richardson is or was a business partner of his near-neighbour Peter Dean, the prolific bargain basement buyer of tried racehorses that we wrote about last week.
It was Richardson who teamed up with Dean in 2017 to send 79 tried racehorses to Vietnam, ostensibly for the purpose of the horses racing at a privately owned track near Ho Chin Min city (Hanoi).
If you believe that, you believe in fairies.
We thought it might be instructive to try to trace where the dozen hopeless horses that Killara Thoroughbreds purchased for a few dimes at the Magic Millions sale ended up.
Sadly, due to the deficiencies that exist in the racehorse registration system, we didn’t get too far.
Even more sadly, when you find that 25 percent of the slow horses that Killara took home from Gerry Harvey’s highly reputable sale ended up officially dead within a couple of years, your natural suspicion about the fate of most of the others makes you so sick in the guts that you stop looking.
Here are the ones that Killara Thoroughbreds bought.
And remember, the hammer fell in the year 2017.
Izajazzar – retired in 2008.
Duorosa – retired in 2009
Pride of Rawbelle – DEAD
Miss Tuesday – Retired, never raced
Saints and Angels – Retired in 2016
Gala Royale – Raced twice at Beaudesert after the sale for two 9th placings, with average losing margin 27.85 lengths
Centauraine – DEAD
Unnamed – Unknown
Amalfi Scape – Bought for $1500, sold the very next week on bloodstockauction.com.au to for $5000. That sounds dodgy doesn’t it? The mare never raced again.
Cassie’s Dream – retired in 2009
Si Alla Vita – Retired early 2017, before the sale
Eraser – DEAD
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
I hope not.
It makes you want to chunder.
If you haven’t read Ben Dorrie’s outstanding couple of articles on racing integrity in Queensland that were published this morning on Racenet then I urge you to do so, for they are highly instructive and illustrate clearly some of the problems in racing in this State that I have been banging on about on this site for months, and my previous sites for years.
I am just sitting here with my jaw wide open after reading the interview with Ross Barnett in which the QRIC Commissioner replies to the criticisms that are being levelled against his organisation and its management of racing integrity.
If you have never read a man pen a paean to his own incompetence before, and explain by his own hand why he is utterly unsuitable to hold his senior role, you have now.
Here are just a few of the things Barnett said in this morning’s interview with Dorries, with my scathing comments contained underneath.
Am I being harsh?
Is it warranted?
Should Barnett be sacked first thing in the morning?
Will he set his mates in blue onto me again for penning such criticisms?
Do I care?
To some extent.
But if the truth hurts, then you gotta cop the pain.
The Commission is not presently considering publishing TCO2 results. This information should remain confidential as an integrity measure as we believe publishing these results could provide unscrupulous trainers with free information about how far they ‘push the envelope’ before breaching the TCO2 threshold.
The offence thresholds for TCO2 are vigorously enforced and we also identify those pushing the envelope’ and ensure that information is considered in our race day sampling strategy.
What a absolute and utter load of absolute codswallop.
The New Zealand Harness Racing Integrity Unit have been publishing the TCO2 levels of every horse tested every week for a year now, and it has had a huge effect on reducing drug cheating in racing and helping catch the crooks.
It’s obvious isn’t it? If you put the spotlight on trainers whose horses keep throwing up levels just under the threshold, those trainers are going to think twice before keeping on doing whatever flavour of milkshaking or peptiding that they’ve been doing, aren’t they?
And to suggest that publishing TCO2 results would provide the cheats with free information about how far they ‘push the envelope’ is simply fairies at the bottom of the garden stuff. What are we, in Wonderland or something?
Does Ross Barnett not realise that trainers who cheat ALREADY KNOW how close they are pushing their horses TCO2 levels up to the threshold?
Could it be possible that Barnett is not aware that there are vets, so-called chiropractors, and human and sports scientists involved in the whole sh*t-show?
How on earth does the QRIC Commissioner imagine that the cheats keep getting away without throwing positive swabs if they don’t know how high with a degree of precision exactly how high they are pushing the levels up, and doing it with professionally guided scientific precision?
This is just crazy.
With a man who displays this level of ignorance in charge of the show, what hope does any honest racing participant have at all?
The Commission has a strong emphasis on pre-race and post-race testing of participants and animals throughout Queensland including mandatory testing of all winning animals across the three codes of racing. Testing has not been suspended at any time.
Well how does the Commissioner explain the zero pre-race testing at the past two Toowoomba race meetings that we wrote about just this morning?
Let’s be totally honest here, and call a spade a spade.
Everyone in the industry – including Ross Barnett – knows that the Sears Racing team is one of the main outfits that the finger is being pointed at for cheating.
I am not saying for a second that Tony and Maddy Sears are cheats – I’m just saying out loud what everyone else is saying in whispers or in private behind Commissioner Barnett’s closed office door.
That being the case, the obvious way to address it is to test the Sears horses at the Toowoomba track where the training team win most of their races.
Is it happening?
Don’t bother asking Ross Barnett though.
The Commissioner doesn’t appear to have a clue.
The trainers caught red-handed treating horses on race days across the state are a matter of public record and demonstrate the Commission’s commitment to ensuring trainers play by the rules.
A couple of no-name desperado country trainers with brains the size of gnats have been sprung tubing as a result of their own stupidity.
Not a single top-twenty trainer has been caught red-handed on a race day, not even the QRIC’s public enemy numero uno Ben Currie.
It’s not the desperates from the bush who win a dozen races a year if they are lucky that people are complaining about Commissioner.
It’s the trainers who have made an art form of it, and are kicking goals all over town.
I don’t accept the premise that much of the industry lacks confidence in the Commission, although I know we have a vocal cohort of knockers and some people have never accepted the independent model, particularly the idea of the industry not being in control of its own integrity matters.
Doesn’t Ross Barnett read his own annual reports? The ones he signs off on?
This is what they say.
I don’t think so mate, I don’t think so one little bit.
The secondment of the Police Racing Crime Squad to the Commission gives the honest industry participants added confidence that where race fixing, fraud, serious animal cruelty or other criminal matters occur in the industry they will be investigated promptly and thoroughly.
How many successful prosecutions have there been?
What happened to all those harness racing folk who had their names publicly blackened, their reputations blackened, and their careers destroyed?
How many of that dozen or so were found guilty?
Two, and only because they were either silly enough to believe the racing coppers threats that they were going to jail, or they couldn’t afford the legal fees to defend the charges, and so cut a deal to nod to things they didn’t do.
All the rest were thrown out of court.
How many greyhound trainers who were wrongfully scrubbed from the sport on the misplaced suspicion that they were involved in live baiting have had their sentences overturned?
I ran three appeal cases on my own that got convictions overturned, and there were plenty of others who were silly enough to pay lawyers tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get exactly the same result.
What are the chances of Ben Currie’s fraud charges holding up?
How did the outrageous abuse of power prosecutions against me for writing about corruption in racing go?
All five charges thrown out of court without a yelp.
It’s a bit hard to successfully prosecute someone on serious charges that never should have been laid, for offences that they didn’t commit isn’t it? Especially after you throw the book at them, have six armed cops raid their house, throw them in jail, and force them to spend over a hundred grand in legal fees, in the hope that you will scare/oppress/batter them into submission, and they respond by giving you the middle finger and telling you to get f**ked.
I’m an honest industry participant whose wife’s horse is about to run in and win a Group 1 at Eagle Farm, and I have no confidence whatsoever that the Police Racing Squad or their mates at the Hendra CIB are doing a bloody thing except terrorising innocent and their families, and wasting a fortune in public money on prosecutions brought for ulterior purposes.
In fact I’m very surprised that I didn’t have my door kicked in by the Tactical Response Group after a bomb threat was made at Eagle Farm yesterday, even though I live 2000 kilometres away and was snoring in bed until just before the start of the 4th race (check the betting sheets if you don’t believe me Mr Barnett – everyone knows that I bet on every race on a Saturday when I’m awake).
To enhance our investigations capability we have also employed a betting analyst with extensive commercial wagering industry experience. The Commission is constantly re-evaluating and altering our sampling and analytical strategy and millions of dollars has been spent on new testing equipment to give us new capabilities to increase the risk of detection for the cheats.
Absolute and utter tripe.
The QRIC would not have the faintest idea how to read a betting sheet, and they don’t.
The days of people outside of the brain-dead greyhound dopers laying dead horses on Betfair are long gone. What does Barnett think racing people and punters are? Stupid?
The answer is of course is yes, but the only stupid one on this issue is him.
I’ve been writing about the modern methods employed by racing crooks for eons now. They bet on the exotic options – First 4’s, Trifectas, Quadrellas – and their bets are centred around the right horse in or the non-trying favourite out. Its been going on right in front of the QRIC’s eyes for years.
The old saying goes that there are none so blind as those that can’t see, but I’d add to that by saying that those who don’t have a clue about racing and punting, and those who are too arrogant to accept their shortcomings and address them are the blindest of all.
Queensland Racing Industry participants have an obligation to race within the rules. Those in the industry must take more responsibility for their own actions.
This one sums the whole thing up perfectly, and says it all.
Those naughty criminals out there in society should just start taking responsibility for their actions and stop committing crimes.
Isn’t that the product of a great policing mind?
It’s easy to see now why Katarina Carroll is the Police Commissioner, not Ross Barnett, isn’t it?
I wonder who the next QRIC Commissioner will be?
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?
A qualified veterinarian with a Master of Business Administration degree, Dr Forbes has a deep interest in animal welfare
This is what Steve ‘Whirlwind’ Wilson, the barely seen Chairman of Racing Queensland, said about former CEO Eliot ‘ET’ Forbes when he appointed him to run racing in the Sunshine State in 2016.
Dr Forbes – who is not a doctor at all, but rather a vet – was a man with a deep concern for the welfare of animals. Or at least that’s what ET all but screamed when he assumed the top role after the incumbent had been sacked and all his potential successors mud-stained in the wake of the greyhound live betting scandal.
His cheerleaders – principal among them the fourth-tier racing broadcaster and Monday morning soapbox jockey David Fowler – screamed it too. This is
Dr Elliot Forbes will be an outstanding choice for the Racing Queensland CEO position.
A clever man at the right age, he presents the right form guide having run the three codes in Tasmania.
Even more significantly, his understanding of the animal and its welfare has been a shining light in his Tassie tenure.
This will be a fillip for the Sunshine State.
I’ve known David since I was sixteen.
In all of those three and a bit decades he never has been able to find a winner the poor buggerer. Nothing’s changed.
ET Forbes lasted all of a couple of years before walking the plank in the wake of the Eagle Farm track disaster, to save himself from being pushed.
Guess what the champion of animal welfare is doing these days?
Working as a bowler for the live export industry.
You know them, they’re the ones who pack cattle, sheep, goats and horses by the thousand into crates build for only a couple of hundred, and then send them off overseas to get kicked, bashed and abused by Muslim slaughterhands, and then have their screams of terror silenced by getting throats slit from ear to ear without stunning or anaesthetic.
Right into animal welfare the livestock export people are, or at least that’s what they pretend by putting a near-unemployable blow with the wind wizard like ET in charge of the front organisation they set up in an attempt to take the heat off them after several live exporting atrocities committed by its members or their clients were publicised in prime time on trans-national TV.
Good old ET will save them though.
Just like he saved racing in Tasmania and then Queensland.
AniMark is the name of the outfit the good non-Doctor is heading.
Eliot Forbes claims that it’s an independent organisation set up to ensure that animals heading to get their throats slashed Halal-style are afforded the highest standards of welfare by being treated in a humane and ethical manner once they leave Australia’s shores.
It’s a nice story.
So’s the Adventures of Pinocchio, and they’re both about as true as each other, which is not at all.
The real truth is that while Animark cops almost $3.5 million in annual government grants paid for out of the hundreds of millions that the Federal and State Government drag in from export duties, levies, port fees, GST and other taxes, not a cent of it gets spent on actually checking overseas live cattle, sheep and horse buyers compliance with the faux-standards that ET’s outfit dreams up.
It’s bit hard to ensure animals are treated humanely and ethically by slaughterman in other countries unless you actually go there to have a look, isn’t it?
David Fowler rarely backs a winner, but he was right about one thing.
This was a fillip for the Sunshine State.
ET leaving it I mean.
As for the animals?
Turn the lights out and lock the door when the last one’s dead and all the blood’s washed off the floor will you.
Don’t worry about the blood on your hands.
You can never wash that stuff away.