What is going on in the Stewarding ranks in Queensland at the moment?
How could the Stewards get the placings wrong in the race above at Marburg?
Why is Paul Gillard, who was appointed to role of Chief Steward at the Gold Coast just 4 months ago, back working in Townsville?
Why is Wade Hadley, who joined the staff at the QRIC just two months ago, after being forced to resign from Racing Victoria for sending unwanted lewd texts to an apprentice jockey, seemingly now the Chief Steward at the Gold Coast?
What sort of look is it for Queensland racing when the state’s Chief Steward is continually forced to stand himself down from officiating on certain races, because a bloke Peter Chadwick owned horses with up to and including the day he was appointed to the top job has a runner in the race?
Why did Jason Taylor put his whip away between the 250 and 100m marks on the $3.70 second favourite To Dem With Love in race 3 at the Gold Coast on Saturday, when he had used it just three times and when he did the horse surged forward almost a length and looked a huge chance of winning?
Even more importantly, why did Wade Hadley fine Jason Taylor for using the whip 7 times on the horse, when he clearly didn’t?
Why didn’t Hadley place a bar on the $1.45 favourite Invictus Prince, who was beaten into 4th place in race 5, given the King of the Coast (rider Dan Griffin) told him that the horse didn’t feel right in its action, a summation that anyone who watches the replay can clearly see is spot on and correct?
How on earth could James McDonald’s 3 week suspension for failing to ride Threeood on its merits a fortnight ago be sliced in half, when it should have been quadrupled?
How did J-Mac get the appeal heard so quickly?
Who did Jake Bayliss think he was kidding when he took two sustained looks down the side of Clever Miss down the straight in race 8 at the Sunshine Coast yesterday, as if he thought the horse had suffered a problem, and then started riding it once he knew it was out of winning contention?
Does Bayliss realise that he gave himself up by looking at the rear legs the first time, and the front the next?
Why did the Stewards fall so easily for his blatant sucker trick?
Why wasn’t Phat Beats issued with a bar requiring a veterinary certificate prior to it racing again, after the $3.90 dropped out to finish 10 lengths behind the winner in second-last place in race 9?
How the hell were trainers Tony Sears and Daryl Hansen only fined $100 for failing to advise that their horses Jet a One and Phat Beats had been gelded prior to racing, when the whole world knows – or discovered afterwards – that being gelded is the ultimate gear change?
This one is not a Stewarding question, but how the hell did Larry Cassidy manage to steer Irish Ace around the course in race 6 when he was clearly concussed and only semi-conscious after the horse had reared at the start and he’d cracked his scone hard on the top of the barriers?
How far should it have won by?
And how much was Luke Tarrant kidding himself thinking that a head butt from a glass pipe loving midget was going to hurt a tough as teak Kiwi like Cassidy?
The last race at Caloundra yesterday was a most peculiar affair, very strange indeed, if you know what I mean.
Taylor Marshall rode against instructions, and completely contrary to the $8 pop Soaring Heart’s usual racing pattern, when he hunted the horse out of the barrier and surged to the lead.
When the $14 shot Galaxy Guru suddenly picked up and surged at the 200m mark, its jockey Brad Pengelly appeared for all the world to ride the horse up on the rail when there wasn’t a single inch of room. Of course he got checked out, and went to the line under a grip.
Ron Stewart seemed to steer, or allow, the $8.50 runner Vienna Moon to drift about 3 horses off its line toward the outside when he had the heavily backed $3.10 favourite Green Jacket pocketed behind him, and by doing so let that horse through to win. Once the horse had shifted Stewart put his whip away, and didn’t use it again until a stride before the line.
I don’t know what the hell Anthony Allen was doing, but it looked for all the world as if he was watching for the second favourite Enterprise Moss, who Pengelly had cut off at shoved into the rail at 1200m, even though that horse was at least 6 horse widths to his outside.
If you didn’t believe in the integrity of Queensland racing like I do, you’d almost swear that this race was red hot.
Not me though.
I still put my teeth that are falling out under the pillow.
Much ado has been made about Marnu Potgeiger being granted a license to ride in Queensland while he (and we) await the determination of charges laid against him when he was caught red-handed stomach tubing the horse Jamaican Rain on Cup Day morning 2019, just hours before the horse was due to race at Flemington.
So it should be too.
The case may not have been finalised yet, and Potgeiger and his then employer, trainer Richard Laming, may not have been punished yet either, but Posty is as good for it as Ronald Biggs was of committing the Great Train Robbery, and everyone on racing except the QRIC knows it.
What most people don’t know though is that wasn’t the first time that Potgeiger and Laming lied and cheated.
What you have just read is an extract from a Victorian Racing Tribunal decision delivered on 21 April 2020.
The decision relates to a long running case about cobalt reading more than double the allowable 100 micogram threshold that was recorded by Laming’s horse Iam Ekstraordinary after it won a race at Ballarat on the 23rd of May 2018.
Potgeiger was not charged, only Laming, but it clear that the Stewards are alleging the the now licensed Queensland jockey colluded with Laming to forge the treatment book for the horse in an attempt to provide some form of excuse for it’s crazy high cobalt reading, and that Potgeiger then uttered this fraudulent document (the treatment book) to the Stewards, knowing that it had been doctored and was false.
Charge or no charge, this is an extremely serious allegation that the Stewards have made, and it strikes right to the heart of questions about Marnu Potgeiger’s character.
When you add this to the other – and far more recent – charge laid against Potgeiger for being caught drenching a horse on race day, it is very difficult to mount a case as to why he should have been granted a license by the QRIC to ride in Queensland, and why he should retain it.
Clearly this man is an integrity risk.
If he is allegedly willing to doctor treatment books and stomach tube horses – acts which the prima facie evidence strongly suggest that he performed – how can any punter or racing participant ever have any confidence about any horse that Potgeiger rides?
Why is he riding at all?
We all make mistakes.
The QRIC have made one here.
It’s never too late to fix them though.
Marnu Potgeiger should be stripped of his license by lunchtime.
And what about Richard Laming?
On Saturday afternoon he was permitted by the Queensland authorities to enter and start Jamaican Rain – the very horse that he and Potgeiger were caught tubing, on Cup Day of all days – in the Listed $125 000 Bright Shadow Stakes at Eagle Farm.
When Ben Currie was alleged to have done wrong, long before he was ever tried, convicted and punished, the NSW racing chief Peter V’Landys took quick and decisive action to prevent him from nominating or running horses in NSW, and the whole world applauded.
Yet here we have Richard Laming, who is accused of nothing less than Currie was at the time, and a whole lot more – Ben Currie was never caught tubing – being allowed to race in Queensland, and bring our industry into disrepute.
On the same day the ongoing embarrassing spectacle of our Chief Steward having to disqualify himself from officiating on races in which one of the co-owners of the horse that he himself once owned – while a Steward! – continued, with Chadwick standing himself down from the panel for Race 6.
Meanwhile, up in Townsville, Marnu Potgeiger was booting home a double.
This is a joke, a really bad one at that.
The buck stops at the top.
Peter Chadwick has proven himself incapable of managing integrity in this State.
The Chief Steward must go.
As a result of the restructure of the State’s racing administration in the wake of the live baiting scandal, Queensland is now in the quite unique situation of having two Principal Racing Authorities, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) and Racing Queensland (RQ).
The QRIC employs 159 people.
Racing Queensland employs just 85.
The main focus of RQ’s work is administrative, and prior to the Coronavirus the predominance of its staff worked out of a single office at Deagon.
The QRIC’s focus on the other hand is operational, meaning that its staff work from locations around Queensland, and are widely spread and dispersed.
It would be fair to say that due to its size and spread, the complexity of the work it performs, and the acute interest in its activities by the media, managing the QRIC would be a considerably more difficult exercise that managing Racing Queensland.
So why is it that RQ CEO Brendan Parnell gets paid $120 000 a year more than the QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett?
QRIC executive management salaries (above)
Racing Queensland executive management salaries (below)
Why is it that seven managers at Racing Queensland – including the Sales Manager, the Special Projects Manager (whatever they do), the Construction Manager, the PR Manager, and the HR Manager – are paid more than $200 000 a year, but no-one other than the Commissioner is at the QRIC?
This is not a spruik for a pay rise for Ross Barnett, or for any of his staff.
It’s simply a legitimate question about why Racing Queensland’s leaders see fit to pay themselves so much.
Given the slash and burn approach taken to abolishing rich Winter Carnival races that owners have paid big money to nominate their horses for in the expectation of racing for big returns, and the general across the board cuts to stakes purses, it would be very interesting to know if Racing Queensland’s executives have borne their share of the COVID-19 pain by accepting a temporary pay cut themselves.
Other sports administrators and leaders in codes like Rugby League, Union, Cricket, Soccer and the AFL have, and the players in these sports have too. Their leaders are leading by example.
What odds will you bet me about the same sacrifice having being made by the top brass at Racing Queensland.
Or that they haven’t?
Anyone willing to frame a market?
I guess no-one is that silly.
More than half a million bucks a year for Pins Parnell hey?
Ten grand a week.
It’s a good life if you can get it.
Don’t you worry about that.
Why is that Racing Queensland has a 3 year average employee separation rate of 38%?
Or a three year aggregate rate of 117%?
An employee separation rate means the number of employees that quit or get sacked from a company each year.
What these numbers mean is that more than of RQ’s employees on average exit the building each year, never to return.
In the space of 3 years, more employees have left Racing Queensland than actually work there.
It’s a true story.
RQ has just 85 employees.
But 97 people have come and gone only three years.
No organisation other than cold-call sales companies whose employees are paid on commission only turn over that number of staff.
In fact extensive research by the HR Nicholls Society, a leading employer association, shows that the average staff turnover rate across all industries was only 18 percent.
Racing Queensland’s turnover is more than double that figure, and remember here we are talking about a State Government department that pays public service wages and offers excellent conditions, including a 36.5 hour week, over time, flexitime, RDO’s, and superannuation contributions well in excess of the standard minimum 9.5% that other employers pay.
Given all these goodies, you’d expect people to be crawling over broken glass to get in the door, and chaining themselves to the desk to keep their jobs; but instead they are leaving in droves, and there is no sign of the outward tide receding.
It doesn’t make sense on paper. Why would so many people be walking out the door?
There can be only one reason, and that is this.
Racing Queensland has a serious management problem.
That’s speculation of course, because I don’t work there, but I ran public sector unions here and abroad for twenty years, and understand the dynamics of government workplaces better than most.
That I am correct in pointing the finger at Racing Queensland’s management is borne out by the numbers of ex-gratia payments and court ordered settlements made by Racing Queensland over the past two financial years since Brendan Parnell took over the reins as CEO of the organisation.
An ex-gratia payment is what we used to call piss-off money in the union trade, meaning that it is a cash payment of salary or wages that an employee is not entitled to, paid to them as part of exit deal to settle an employment dispute.
An ex-gratia payment can sometimes also be a golden handshake bestowed on a departing employee as a reward for their sterling service, but as this type of payment is totally prohibited in the public sector, in this case it can’t be that.
A court-ordered settlement is a payment that the Queensland Industrial Commission or the Federal Court (Employment Division) order an employer to make in relation to an unfair dismissal or adverse action case brought by a former employee.
Racing Queensland have made 12 of these types of payment over the past 2 reported financial years.
The total paid was more than half a million dollars.
That’s about $40 grand a head, and it doesn’t include the former CEO Eliot Forbes payout of around half a million dollars, because that’s recorded separately in the books.
Those numbers are outrageous.
In the previous two years Racing Queensland had only paid out only $89 000 in these types of exit payments.
Under Parnell’s leadership – if that is the right word – that number has multiplied by greater than 500%.
And this is scarce racing money don’t forget, not lollies.
There is something very, very wrong with our Principal Racing Authority.
In fact I would take it a step further, and say that this organisation is sick.
Just compare the QRIC staff turnover numbers and you can see it clearly.
Now I have been as critical of the QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett in the past about racing matters, and perhaps even more, but I have never said that Barnett is anything but a brilliant public service CEO and a top class people manager, and it’s borne out here.
The QRIC has almost double the number of staff that Racing Queensland does, yet it’s annual turnover rate is only 5.5% over two years, and only 3.78% in the last 12 months.
Compare those numbers to Racing Queensland’s.
Average – 5.5% v 38%
Last 12 months – 3.78% v 28.9%
I’m sure that Ross Barnett is doing plenty of things right.
Just as I’m certain that Brendan Parnell must be doing a whole lot wrong.
Numbers don’t lie, only people do.
There is a cancer in the Deagon bunker.
For the good of racing, it must be excised.
I just attempted to access the QRIC Steward’s Twitter feed to fact check a story.
This is the message I got.
I asked my wife Maggie to try to access it from our shared computer.
She received the same message.
I am professional punter and an extremely widely-read racing writer.
I have never been charged with a breach of any racing rule by the QRIC, and I have not – to the best of my knowledge – had any dealings with the QRIC that might result in me being denied access to racing information that is essential to both of my trades.
My wife is a QRIC-registered owner of both greyhounds and thoroughbreds that race in Queensland. One of her horses is Thunder Mania, a high class 2YO that ran 6th a few weeks ago in Queensland’s premiere race for juveniles, the Group 1 J.J. Atkins Stakes.
Maggie – like every other person in an age where important announcements about matters pertinent to the horses she owns are not broadcast on radio or TV – is forced to rely on the QRIC Twitter feed to find out information, even though she doesn’t have a Twitter account herself, and is only using the app because she is being forced.
She can’t access it either.
I will tell you why.
Because from time to time I write articles that are critical of the QRIC, and the powers that be in this so-called citadel of integrity can’t cop criticism, even when it’s due and owing, so instead of fronting up and answering the serious questions I often ask in the pieces I write, they just act like pre-school kids and block me instead.
I shouldn’t complain I guess, not if I accept that we live in a police dictatorship and agree that some infringements of my rights and liberties as a citizen and racing fan are always going to be infringed, and that it is better for democracy to be subverted in ways like this rather than having six armed cops come to the door and forcibly detain members of my family, including my dying from Stage 4 terminal cancer Dad, and my then 6-month old grandson.
Well I don’t accept that.
Integrity is about doing the right thing, and I have it in bundles.
If someone who I believe based on their extensive criminal record is dangerous threatens to harm my family, I am going to harm them. Should I be charged and convicted of a criminal offence for doing so, then such is life.
I’d rather have a black mark against my name and serve a penal sanction than come home and find my wife bashed, or my kids raped, or my dad dead from a violent assault, or any of the other crazy, violent things that ice dealers and domestic violence perpetrator cowards do.
Of that you can be assured.
Does protecting my family against uninvited threats make me a criminal? It seems so, even though the judge saw exactly why I did what I did to keep my loved ones safe, and determined not to record the conviction, which thankfully meant that my 50 year record as a model citizen remained intact, on paper anyway.
Sure, I could have gone to the police on that one. My word against the bloke who made the threats over the phone from a blocked number. In the best of worlds the court would throw it out on its arse, not because it wasn’t real, but because there were no witnesses to prove it, only and I said, he said style exchange of lies from the grub, and truth from me.
And do you really reckon the coppers would want to help me anyway? I very much doubt it, given the criticisms of their colleagues and former colleagues that I make from time to time in my work. So a man’s gotta do what a man’t gotta do, and my wife and kids – and my Dad when he was alive – think more of me for keeping them safe, not less.
But what right does that give the QRIC to block me from getting vital information that I need to pursue my craft and my trade? What right does it give them to block an owner who has undergone the full vetting process and been granted a license by the QRIC themselves?
Only cowards hide, and only people with something to hide take steps to hide it.
We will see about this, don’t you worry about that.
This is not the Soviet Union or Communist China.
We’re Australians, and we rejoice in the fact that we’re young and free.
And don’t lie down like Frenchman when we are not.
So I guess if my attempts to resolve the situation amicably fail, the we’re off once more to the courts.
There is no use having rights if you won’t try to enforce them.
Watch this space.
Gee that young apprentice Jackson Murphy is getting a hard time from the Stewards.
I’m not quite sure whether the stipes are trying to teach the kid a tough love lesson, or if they are just simply sick of him, but either way, Murphy J. is being treated very differently than any other jockey in Brisbane at the moment, and I just don’t think that this can be accepted.
Have a look at the application of the whip rule today at Eagle Farm.
In race 2 Jackson Murphy hit his mount with the whip 9 times when the maximum allowed is five, and he totally deserved the $200 fine that the stewards dished him.
But the $200 he copped for a seven strike infringement was, in my opinion, totally and utterly out of order.
The rules have to be consistently applied if they are to mean anything at all, and when it came to Murphy’s 2nd penalty they weren’t.
Luke Dittman, Larry Cassidy and Corey Bayliss all breached the whip rule by striking their rides 7 times prior to the 100 metre mark too, but not one of them were fined. They all just got a reprimand.
And before you start saying “yeah, but Murphy did it twice”, let me tell you something and then ask you a question.
Dittman breached the rule twice too.
He hit one of his mounts six times, and the other seven. And he only received a reprimand for both.
The other thing is, does your previous record apply from race meet to race meet, or onlyt within a race meet?
What I mean is that if someone breached the whip rule six times over 4 meetings in a week, are they any less culpable than a jockey like Murphy who breaches the rule twice in a day?
Not in my book.
But clearly it is in the Stewards.
The whole thing is wacky, and the only way to fix it is to stop pussy-footing around, and start to apply the law rigorously, consistently, and with an iron fist.
They will all soon learn.
Until then though, it seems that poor old J. Murphy is just going to keep on getting smashed.
Bit like the horses I suppose.
This is the Stewards report from the red hot Marburg race on Monday afternoon, which has finally been posted on the QRIC site after a long, long wait.
Good on the stipes for convening an inquiry into the hottest race in the world too.
It’s just a shame that Lachie Manzelmann had to come along and spoil the party by telling outrageously false tales.
Valoroso Hanover HAS NOT only won when leading.
That is a bald faced lie.
Only 6 of the horses 13 career wins have come from in front.
In other words, less than half.
Manzelmann is either hopelessly ignorant about the horse’s form, in which case he should not make false representations giving the impression that he is.
Or he is lying to the Stewards, which is a very serious offence.
I know which one I’d back, and its not the first.
The Stewards need to give this young a huge slap, for if he gets away with this then he will think he can do it forever, and that creates the sort of problems that end up in finales like Nathan Jack and Mark Pitt’s.
Ryan Veivers is telling the truth, about a couple of things anyway.
At West Point has won all but 2 of its 13 starts when leading.
It does race best in front.
It was reasonable to think he’d have the speed to cross Valoroso Hanover.
He did underestimate that horse, an its driver.
They’re the true things, and they explain the first 250 metres of the race.
But no reasonable excuse can possibly be made for the rest.
At West Point has never won from the death seat.
Veivers could have eased and got onto the leaders back at any time.
He should have.
Anyone who was trying would have.
These two boys have been up to mischief, and their wilful shenanigans have materially affected the result of a race.
It appears on face value that the pair were setting the race up for another runner.
That the horse they seemed to be setting it up for didn’t win is neither here nor there.
If they did it, then it’s match fixing.
The QRIC need to come down on this pair like a ton of bricks.
We don’t need this in racing.
It compromises its integrity.
And that’s just not on.
Fix this Stewards.
This is the gear that real men use.
Bicarb and Brown Sugar are for wimps.
ITPP is the gear.
Gee, look what it does.
Gives your camel more oxygen in the blood.
Reduces lactic acid.
Increases maximum energy capacity.
All the things a a real good doper needs.
Best of all though, if you it right, it never swabs.
The answer is in numbers, not words.
Whack, whack, whack.
With a pick.
You can’t spike them on race day though. The vets look for needle marks.
So you have to use a drench.
It’s lucky ITPP comes in powdered form that you can fizz up and stick down the horses throat though, isn’t it?
The only other thing you need is a twitch.
Sorry Ross and the QRIC.
I had that one arse up.
Lots of trainers are.
Just ask Daryl Hansen and his mate John Zielke.