Category: The Trots

What Tangled Webs the NSW Harness Racing Administrators Weave – What They’ve Created is a Basket Case Filled With Conflicts and Overflowing With Self-Interest – the NSW Government Needs to Step in and Fix This Mess – Pronto


The yearlings above were sold at the APG Brisbane sales earlier this year.

They shouldn’t have been.

Trevor O’Reilly is a Director of Australian Pacing Gold Ltd.

Traxion Management Services is the family company of Dean Baring, who is an employee of the APG.

No disclosures were made in the catalogue about these gross conflicts of interest, so unless a buyer was in the know, they couldn’t know.


Pinaroo Park is a company owned by David Boydell, the former Chairman and now CEO of Australian Pacing Gold.

His conflict of interest wasn’t disclosed to buyers either.


Daniel Cordina is a Director of the NSW Harness Racing Club, more commonly known by its trading name Club Menangle.

Alex Smith is too.


John Dumesny is of course the Chairman of Harness Racing NSW, the body that receives tens of millions of dollars a year in Government funding.

His chairman Ken Brown – who is also the Acting Chairman of Harness Racing Australia (HRA) – is a breeder, as was his predecessor Rod Smith.

HRNSW Directors Peter Buckman and Peter Nugent are breeders. Recently departed Director Melissa Di Marco was too.

Michael Taranto, the former chair of HRA who recently exited stage left after his company Seelite went broke and he simultaneously fell out with the CEO Andrew Kelly, is a breeder too.

Yirribee Pacing Stud has commercial contracts in place with Club Menangle to stand the semi-fertile stallion Lazarus at its property.

Contracts that were never put to open tender.


There are many more conflicts of interest across the three companies Club Menangle, Harness Racing NSW and Australian Pacing Gold.

In fact there are more conflicts than you can poke a stick at, and when you stir them all together what you get is a thick brown sludge that looks like a witches brew, with black smoke bubbling up and staining all the mirrors.

How have all these people been allowed to get away with this for so long?

How are the Directors of these companies allowed to sit in board meetings and make decisions the allocation of millions of dollars of money that isn’t theirs, when they so clearly have personal interests in how this money is spent and where it goes?

None of these people – not one – owns the company they direct, or its assets, or the millions of dollars of cold hard cash that it dishes out every year to the breeding industry.


To themselves.

Yet no-one says a word, or challenges them about their ability to impartially make decisions that affect the private interests of each and every one of them in one way or another.

It’s an absolute scandal.

Put it in the context of Nutrien entering the sales market and trying to secure a NSW race track to run its $400 000 race series on.

The Directors of Club Menangle control racing on the Menangle track.

At least half of them buy and/or sell horses at the APG sales, and therefore have a direct personal interest in the success of the sales.

Their company owns a third of the APG. It has a direct and compelling interest in the success of the APG sales.

Robert Marshall is the Chairman of both Club Menangle and the APG.

How can decisions about accommodating the Nutrien Sale be made objectively and impartially in these circumstances?

It’s a stupid question.

They can’t.

Harness Racing NSW controls all of the money flowing into harness racing from wagering revenue and government funding. It can man make or break a harness racing club via the way it manages and distributes this money.

It’s Chairman, CEO and half of its Directors are breeders who sell at the APG Sale.

How can they be objective?

They can’t.

What club is going to agree to host the Nutrien race series if it fears its funding might be slashed as a penalty for its insolence?


The top three executives at APG buy and/or sell horses through its sale. T

The Chairman of the Board and many of his Directors do too.

How can they sit in board meetings and make decisions about matters they are personally interested in?

They can’t either.

No-one can.

The management of Harness Racing in New South Wales is warped and bent. It’s a basket case, a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

Nutrien’s entry into the sales market has created problems for each of the three.

The trio’s response has created problems for us all.

Now they are out in the open in wide and clear view.

There’s only one question left.

What’s the NSW Government going to do?





The ID 2023 Trot Winner Summer Storm Makes Her Debut at the Afton County Fair

I bet you have never owned a second placegetter at the Afton County Fair.

You probably don’t even know where Afton is.

That’s because you are not a true trot fan.

Afton is a track for the true believers.

The starting point of ID 23 trot final dreams.

We were thwarted by the absence of a sprint lane on this her debut occasion, but our mighty little baby trotter Summer Storm showed enough to demonstrate that she will be a force to reckon with in a few years time, and even at this early stage the 2023 Inter Dominion looks to be all over before it’s even started.

There are a few fish we’re going to fry on the way to the big one first though.

The Ekka’s the marlin, but it will have to wait until 2022.

Next stop is the 2yo trot in Hemlock, pop. 554, home of the Little World’s Fair, and the only place anywhere that you can buy a 3 bedroom house with a separate stand alone stable for the pony for $28 000.

Hemlock, here we come!

Bring it on baby, bring it on!





The APG Auctions are in More Trouble Than Flash Gordon – And the Criminals and Clowns Who Run it Just Sit at Their Windows Fiddling, Watching While All Around Them Rome Burns


Last year there were 493 yearling standardbred horses of both gaits sold at the Australian Pacing Gold (APG) sales in Sydney and Melbourne.

Assume that breeding numbers haven’t increased much – and that’s a safe bet, because they have been declining year on year for a decade – and that there will be about 500 yearlings for sale generally across the two states next year in 2021.

I have it on very good advice that the newcomer to the pacing and trotting sale scene Nutrien already has more than half of these 500 soon to be yearlings booked into their catalogue for sale, and that the numbers are rising by the day.

Even if the numbers hold as they are right now, that leaves APG in a world of pain.

For a start the joint venture company is going to have to spend twice as much as Nutrien to sell their 250 yearlings, because they have two sales (Sydney and Melbourne) to run, whereas their competitor only has one (Sydney).

Secondly, the majority of the Nutrien auction draft so far are horses that would traditionally sell at the APG sale in Sydney, meaning that sale is going to be gutted and the catalogue cut from the size of a small bible to half the length and width of the Woman’s Day.

Thirdly, with disgruntled major square-gait breeders moving almost as one to Nutrien, the APG trotting sale numbers are going to be so thin that you will be able to stand 100 metres away and still see right through them.

Fourthly, Alabar Stud – whose stallions Art Major and Always Be Miki’s progeny made up 1/4 of the most profitable half of the APG catalogue last year – are sending its entire draft of yearlings to the Nutrien sale. This will have a devastating effect on both the gross revenue of the APG sale, and on the average sale price.

Fifthly, Benstud Standarbreds – which sold 28 lots at the 2020 APG sales, all but 2 of them from top ten grossing sires – is taking it’s entire 2021 draft over to the Nutrien sale, and bring 20 of its clients with it. See above.

Sixthly, Yabby Dam – the leading seller of trotters at the sale – is selling its 34 yearlings exclusively with Nutrien.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

The APG sale is on the point of collapse.

There is talk in Queensland harness racing circles about the industry up here, which owns a third of the APG company in a joint-venture with NSW and Victoria, pulling it’s investment out while there is still something left to grab. If that eventuates APG’s share capital and cash and investments will be slashed by a third.


At the same time that all this is happening, the APG has employed six new staff members, and as a result its employee costs are about to rocket through the roof. God only knows what the six are going to do.

God only knows what the APG Marketing manager Dean Baring does now, given that Chairman Robert Marshall seems to author and publish most of the company’s communications.

Why does the APG employ Baring anyway? The man is a convicted criminal and a discharged bankrupt, who owes a respectable harness racing integrity official $100 000 personally, another $40 000 through the company that he is folding up to avoid paying her after the court smashed him for making improper imputations about her personal and professional integrity.

It’s not a very good look is it? No, not at all.


This is the question.

With a collapsed revenue base, fixed cost of sale, the possible loss of a third of its wealth, and six more employees to pay, how on earth is APG going to avoid heading straight into liquidation just like Dean Baring’s company’s have?

The only thing that can save the APG is a miracle.

But miracle’s don’t happen.

It’s all a bit like Nero and the fiddle, staring out his window with a glass of wine he didn’t pay for, watching with a sneer while all around him Rome burns.

This could have been so much different.

It should have been, if only Marshall and his crew had listened.

They didn’t, and now the fat lady has sung.

All the APG has left now is time, borrowed time.

It’s running out fast.



I Wonder if Harness NSW CEO John Dumesny Can Hear the Ghosts of the Greats Scorching the Paceway Outside the Window of His $2.16 Million Apartment at the Old Harold Park?

harold park, nsw

Gee those trot club CEO’s in NSW must be paid well.

I mean poor old Scotty Steele the CEO from Albion Park can’t afford a $2 million apartment, and he’s not even married and doesn’t have any kids to feed.

John Dumesny down in NSW is obviously on a much better wicket.

He’d have to be, for how else could Dumesny afford to shell out $2.16 million for an apartment on the site of the old Harold Park trot track?


311 square metres!

That’s a hell of a sized house in the middle of Sydney near the harbour isn’t it?

That’s why they cost so much.


And don’t think for a second that John Dumesny is getting any assistance from the mob he helped sell the track to, and from who he later bought his new digs direct.

Perish the thought.

Mirvac aren’t the sort of company who would ever get up to any of that sort of mischief. They are a highly reputable global behemoth of a builder, with an impeccable record of keeping their hands clean. The whole world knows that, and the company says it itself.


John Dumesny’s character is totally beyond reproach too, as I’m sure you will come to appreciate. He is an honest, hard-working man who has spent most of his adult life in the pursuit of advancing the cause of harness racing in NSW, New South Wales, NSW and the world.

That’s why he and his board sold Harold Park to the developers.

Because every man, woman and their dog in harness racing was crying out to move our great inner-city sport to the end of the earth at the foot of the Blue Mountains, an hour and ten minutes train ride from the city.

We achieved out dream of driving forever to see our horses pace, and it made Luke McCarthy very happy too, for it cut the commute to work for him, Belinda and that Craig bloke the stablehand by nine-tenths.

The crowds didn’t really follow, but who could blame them for not wanting to waste a few hours of their day retracing Baxland, Lawson and Wentworth’s steps to have a bet, when they have Neds on their phone and a pubtab just around the corner?

Club Menangle didn’t need them anyway. It had $175 million of the 200 huge that their identical twin brother the NSW Harness Racing Club got for selling Harold Park to the mob Mirvac, and despite one or two dud deals like the Lazarus debacle, the club has still got it too, that and a bit more.

Harness NSW didn’t need the punters bums on seats at Menangle either. It had $30 million to feather its bed with, and the future beamed bright, or did until they dropped the thirty huge anyway.

(By the way, has anyone seen that unaccounted for in the annual reports $10 million that’s taken the dog for a walk over the last 2 years? I’ve been searching everywhere for it, but just can’t find it no matter how hard I look).

Poor old Johnny Dumesny though.

You can give a harness racing lover from Parkes a pay rise, and a nice work car, and a flash office, and his own self-managed superannuation fund operated away from the prying eyes of the the punting public, but none of that stuff can replace the warm feeling that Miracle Mile memories give a man.

So JD has gone home, and good on him too, for all the papers are in order.

I wonder if he can hear the ghosts of the great Miracle Mile champions whistling by as the whizz around the old track outside his window?

Legends like Double Agent, Westburn Grant, the great mare Norm’s Daughter – who as a kid I always imagined was named after the great BLF official Norm Gallagher – Village Kid, Friendly Footman, , Double Identity, Chokin, and of course the second greatest of them all, the John Mccarthy trained dual winner from Queensland, Be Good Johnny.

Man, I have some wonderful memories of Harold Park, truly magnificent ones, so good that they almost obliterate the bad ones like the night I had to walk to Cronulla after doing my clacker on the punt (at least I was smart enough to knock it all off by race 3, so I could get home just before dawn).

I’d love to live there, if my probation officer would let me leave the State.

You never know though, if I behave well and they lock all the Victorians on their side of the Murray River, I might still get there yet one day.

Do you reckon John Dumesny might invite me over for a drink on the deck so that we can stare out at the old track and share our cherished memories of the halcyon days of the trots? With a wee bit of luck we might even get to see the ghost of the greatest Miracle Mile winner in history Mt Eden whistling by.

Hey, he wasn’t really named after a Kiwi prison was he?

Bloody Kiwis.

They always have to come along and spoil a good party don’t they?

Former Mt Eden inmate sues Serco for $500,000 | Otago Daily Times ...









Come in Spinner – Gee You Are Lucky That Your Name Isn’t Ben Currie


This decision of the QRIC Stewards has to be a joke.

How can two positive swabs recorded more than two months apart be considered offences occurring under the same set of circumstances?

Ben Currie’s weren’t.

He recorded 2 positives for cocaine two months apart, and got disqualified for 12 months and fined a gazillion dollars.

The whole world knows that no trainer in their right mind would give a horse Coke, let alone one who was under the QRIC gun like Currie was. It had to be contamination. Even QCAT said so. Yet here Currie is kicked like a mangy dog.

Everyone knows that you can’t have wood shavings in stables anymore, because they may be contaminated with arsenic, which is a preservative used to treat saw milled trees turned into planks.

The notifications about this by Stewards are a decade old, and have been repeated regularly, yet for some reason our stipes still treat (pardon the pun) trainers whose horses throw positive arsenic swabs as if they are naughty little school kids who haven’t done their homework.

What a load of twaddle.

Just like quoting the study conducted by the Melbourne University faculty of Veterinary; Agriculture Science, which examined the ingestion of wood shavings containing arsenic and elevated levels achieved is absolute nonsense too.

That study was completed and published in early 2017, three bloody years ago.

It said that if you put wood shavings in your horse’s stable it might throw a positive to arsenic, so make sure that you don’t do it.

How does that support Ryan Veiver’s case?

Simple answer – it doesn’t.

Here’s what the Stewards should really have considered.

Remember me writing the other day about how some trainers are micro-dosing their horses with the synthetic EPO called ITTP?

It works like a dream, but it has a side effect.

Elevated arsenic levels.


Did anyone from the QRIC actually check Ryan Veiver’s stables to see if actually has any wood shavings in them?

Did anyone test his fence posts, or his stable doors?

Did anyone ask Veivers who he might have stayed with, consorted with, or learned from during his recent 1 month visit to the States?


Don’t be silly.

That would require some nous, a bit of research, some hard work, and integrity officials who actually cared.

For God’s sake.

Come in spinner.


Why Couldn’t Club Menangle Subsidise Prize Money Levels to Save Them From Being Slashed? – After All, They’ve Got a Hundred Million Bucks in the Bank


For the past 3 months harness racing owners, trainers and drivers in New South Wales have been bleeding.

Harness Racing NSW is all but broke.

The people who run that organisation have somehow managed to blow $30 million in the past six years, and now they are robbing Peter to pay Paul just to keep the fast sinking ship marginally above water.

Due to gross financial mismanagement withing the organisation, HRNSW have no cash.

The peak body that distributes the prizemoney should have been able to withstand the shock when the Coronavirus hit out of the blue, but sadly only months before its leaders had drained the Future Fund established for this exact purpose, just so that they could pay the gas bill, so when COVID-19 came a’knocking there was nothing left in the kitty.

So HRNSW slashed prizemoney across the board, and although the pain was spread across the State, the hardest hit were the professionals based in and around the major racing centre of Menangle and their owners, the people who rely on the earnings from their winnings to put bread on the table.

They have all been suffering, but they shouldn’t have been.

A few million dollars to maintain the purse levels would have kept everything sweet, and Club Menangle could have subbed it, easily.

This club has $100 million in the bank.

The interest on that alone could easily have kept the prizemoney levels up through the pandemic season. Easily.

The $3 million that it spent to buy the breeding rights for the blank shooter Lazarus could have too, no worries.

But the Club didn’t offer and it didn’t give, and as a result everybody hurt.

Everybody but the Directors of Harness NSW and Club Menangle, that is.

Did anyone see any of them take a 20% reduction in their board meeting fees?

If so, I must have missed it.

So why didn’t Club Menangle come to the party and support our sport and the people in it who need that prizemoney to keep things ticking over?

Was it all the behind the scenes financial assistance they are providing to the self-immolating APG?

I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

In fact I think it stinks.

Direct all your questions to the Club Menangle Chairman Robert Marshall.

I’m sure Bob will be happy answer you with a tweet.

Whoever Would Have Thought That Oranges Would Cost $12 Million in the Riverina?


Orange is a small town of about 40 000 people, located 254 kilometres from Sydney inland to the west.

It is more than three and a half hours drive from Wagga, a much bigger town of nearly 60 000 people.

A few years back, Harness NSW decided for some reason or another to build a brand new harness racing track in Wagga.

The new track was to be called the Riverina Paceway.

The track construction was initially costed at $3.8 million.

By the time it was finally finished it had cost more than $12 million.

No-one seems to be able to tell us why, so we decided to have a look and see if we could find some clues.

This is the development approval for the track issued by the Wagga Wagga City Council.

What we are looking at is the names of the companies awarded contracts for the building of the track by Harness Racing NSW.

It is not known whether all these contracts were put out to public, competitive tender.

If they weren’t, there are some serious questions to be asked of HRNSW.

If they were there are too.


This below is Peter Basha Planning and Development.

It’s a small one man operation in Orange, with its office situated between a vegetarian restaurant and a Thai massage parlour.

This company was in charge of the whole Riverina Paceway construction show.


This is McKinnon Design.

It’s in Orange too.

McKinnon Design were the joint number 2 men on the Paceway construction, or joint number 1 man, whichever the case may be.



This is Heath Consulting Engineers.

Guess where it is?

Did you say Orange?

Spot on.

Gee that Thai massage parlour looks familiar, doesn’t it?


This is Wilkinson Murray.

Yes, they are based in Orange too.

Or at least they have an office there.


So here you have it.

The four largest contractors engaged by Harness Racing NSW to undertake a $3.8 million paceway construction that ended up costing $12 million were all based in a little wee town called Orange, 250 miles away from where they were building the track.

What are the odds of 4 companies from Orange each winning a statewide open tender for a $12 million paceway construction job?

Slim you’d have to say, wouldn’t you?

The big boys from Sydney, Newcastle and the Gong would eat them alive on experience and price. Their competitors in Wagga almost certainly would too.

So how did they all get a piece of what turned out to be a most lucrative paying pie?

That is a question I am unable to answer.

Perhaps it would be best if you asked the HRNSW Chairman at the time, Rod Smith.

When he’s not busy flogging new and used cars out of his yard on Parramatta Road, you will probably find him on his expansive farm in the town he grew up in.

What town’s that?


Funny that.






The Race of the Century – And the First to Greatness – First We Take the Aftona Fair – And Then We Take the Ekka – Charlie and Archie’s Little Girl Steps Out For Her Debutante Ball


And so it begins.

The march to Ekka Glory in 2023.

No American trotter has ever crossed the ocean and taken out the big one at the RNA Showgrounds in the 2nd week of August before.

But there has never been a Summer Storm before either.

This little filly of Charlie’s and mine is a dynamo, a real goer.

Cross-bred to buggery, just like all princesses are.


Trained by the great Kimberly Gilman-Daios, the Kima Frenning style Monte specialist of the United States.

If it trots, our Kimmy can train it, better than Frenning, better than anyone in the whole wide world.



Keep your hands off Tonkin, Aiken and Stewart.

We’ve got our Kima signed to a ten-year exclusive contract to work only for Winners Circle Racing.

Our Kima only wants to work with winners.

You’re all ten lengths behind.

Co-owner Charlie Longo’s the driver.

Here he is there with all the Winners Circle Racing crew.


Think Chris Alford crossed into Tony Herlihy with a splash of Stanley Dancer in the pedigree, and you are halfway there.

Imagine a driver six lengths better than Dexter Dunn, and you’ve made it the whole way.

I’m in charge of tactics.

The form’s been done, and we’ve written off the chances of the 3.

That Jim Taggart Jr is no good. He’s only driven five thousand winners, and its been months since he drove five on a card. Taggart’s on the slide, while we’re on the up. $25 million in earnings might look good on paper, but a badge saying Number 1 Gun At Aftona Fair 2020 pinned to your AC-DC t-shirt looks a whole hell of a lot better.

The trainer Messenger is not much chop either. Any bum can train 3 winners in a day a million times, and win the Monticello title, and get declared the 12th most successful trainer in the united nation. It’s not as easy to win at the Aftona County Fair, as this posh pair are about to find out.

Henry Westbrook the third’s filly Maya Scape might have won the 3-year-old pacer of the year award at Batavia downs, but this is the trots, the real deal, not some poxy geared up pace. There won’t be any escape for Maya ir Henry I can assure you. Give them both a miss.

So then there was one.

David Dewhurt’s little vixen, Honey Trap. We won’t be falling into it. I can assure you. Dewhurst might be a big deal down in Saratoga, but these hot shot casino racers don’t cut much mustard with us up here at the dodgem cars.

Think you are going to lead, do you Double D?

Then think again sunshine. The winner’s share of this two grand purse is Summer’s, before the starter even hits the button and says go. Charlie’s going to zip her straight to the lead, jog them the first half in 65 seconds, and come home the final quarters in 30 and 29.5 to smash the track record to pieces.  They won’t see which way he goes, until he catches them up to lap them.


This is only the beginning, the stepping stone on the way to August 2024 Ekka glory.

We’ve wintered in Miami, and now we’re back.

After we brain them in this one we will do a couple of years cleaning up the shows, just to run up a long picket fence. Then it’s on to the Rowe Cup, the Messenger, the Maori’s Idol and ID 24, and then its up to the big show. The real show.

The Ekka.

It’s all about the trophy, and the certificate, and blue ribbon and the sash.

There’s a big stretch of ocean between the Little Apple and Oz, but it was a long way to Tipperary too, and the Kokoda trail wasn’t a short trek made for wimps either.

Gath, Golino, Conroy and Co, look out.

You’re about to be hit by a Summer Storm.

Let the games begin.


Ride High? – You Bet He Does

There is no doubt in the world that the Clayton Tonkin trained pacer Ride High is an exceptionally good horse.

He proved that during his three-year old season when he took on the best and beat them, and his record of 12 from 13 doesn’t lie.

But is Ride High really the best pacer we have ever seen on an Australian paceway?

His recent times suggest so.

Two starts back Ride High recorded the faster quarter-mile (400m) ever run by a winner on an Australian track, scorching over the granite in an amazing 25.8 seconds for his last split, which gave him a last half-mile (800m) time of 52.7 seconds, for an overall mile rate of 1.51.6.

The amazing thing was that the horse did it first up for six months, and totally unextended, with driver Kima Frenning just sitting there motionless in the cart holding the reins. God only knows what he would have run if Kima had put the pedal to the metal and let him go.

Pacer just don’t run that fast.

The great American colt (and later terrible sire) Pet Rock holds the world record of 1.47.4 on a 1000 metre track, but he ran that sitting in A RocknRoll Dance’s slipstream on its back, and neither of those world class horses broke 26 seconds for any of their quarters.

Last night at Melton the star pacer came out and did a similar thing again.

Ride High didn’t break 26 seconds for any of his quarters this time, but he did run the third fastest time ever recorded at the track of 1.50.8, and he did it with Kima swinging against him and not even pulling out the plugs. It was simply extraordinary.

Everyone in harness racing is singing Ride High’s praises today, and then superlatives are flowing like Jesus’s water turned into wine, but I wouldn’t be drinking any, for I reckon it comes from a poison well.

You just can’t run these sort of times that Ride High is, and do it the way he’s doing, drug-free. No way in the world. I have been a harness racing devotee since the days of Pure Steel and Paleface Adios, and it just doesn’t happen.

So let me be the first to come out and say it.

Ride High is running juiced.

He’s a damn fantastic horse, but this pacer is being micro-dosed with synthetic EPO or something similar – probably a combination of things – that temporarily widens his arteries and increases his red blood cell count to the point where it allows him to fly at top speed for 800 or 1000 metres, when a normal elite class horse can only do it for four.

Whatever they are giving Ride High won’t swab, not under the present testing regime and the current batch of Victorian Stewards anyway, but the Blue Magic that Tonkin used to dose his horses up with in the early to mid 2000’s didn’t either.

Until one day it did.

The same is going to happen here.

Everyone’s going to laud this horse to heaven, and he’s going to break the track record at Melton and he might break the world record too, as long as he doesn’t break down or go to heaven first, like so many pacers trained by Clayton Tonkin and/or his partner Emma Stewart often do.

Ride High will be crowned horse of the year, and Tonkin will win the training award, and if he and co-owner Peter Gleeson are so inclined they sell him to America for ten million bucks.

But it’s all an illusion, for one day – who knows how far away – the testing regime will catch up with the people like Tonkin who are exploiting its present deficiencies to break the rules and cheat us all, and the walls will come crashing down around him.

A big statement?


A huge one.

But you just remember that it was me who made it.

One day you will call me a genius.

For now though, Tonkin and Ride High will wear the crown.

Ride High?

You bet he does.