What the Hell Was Going on in This Race? – I’m Sure There Was an Innocent Explanation – Perhaps I’ll Find it Under the Pillow

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.

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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?

Yep.

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.

 

 

Three Good Reasons Why the Queensland Chief Steward Must Go

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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.

Read this.

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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.

 

A Tale of Two Principal Racing Authorities – A Little Story About Uneven Scales, and the 10 Grand a Week Good Life – If You Can Get It

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?

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QRIC executive management salaries (above)

Racing Queensland executive management salaries (below)

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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?

No?

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.

Numbers Don’t Lie – And Racing Queensland’s Are Appalling – There is a Cancer in the Deagon Bunker – For the Good of Racing, It Must Be Excised

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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.

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It’s a true story.

RQ has just 85 employees.

But 97 people have come and gone only three years.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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See that?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone Call the Medics – This Company Needs a Doctor

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Imagine that you are running a company that has made an on paper profit of $2 million over the past 2 years, but is really running at a $130 000 per annum loss because its finances have been propped up by $2.6 million in grant handouts from the Government, and the $20 million you’ve borrowed from the banks during the 2 years to pay the day to day bills.

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The company you steer is more than $70 million in debt, and has to pay $7.5 a year to feed the lenders, $3.2 million of it in interest alone.

And because you’d deferred the payments previously, the interest vig is rising faster than a middle-aged man’s pecker when Rihanna sways by in the nude, and strokes his bum as she passes.

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There is no money in the bank other than what you’ve borrowed against the assets, and your whole company is in hock to the banks who hold a lien over all your property and assets, so you can’t sell them to raise any capital.

You’re head is barely above water and you’re dog paddling, and your get out plan of building and selling 8 residential towers isn’t going too flash either, because you have spent too much on them trying to be flash Harry and out-do the Jones’s, so the price tag you’ve had to put on is over the odds and no-one wants to pay it.

On top of that, you’ve just done almost a million bucks on dud foreign currency interest rate swaps that you piled into because your advisers don’t know how to read global financial markets.

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You’re really in the shit, and are just hoping that the registers keep ticking over fast enough to stop your whole ship from sinking.

Then the Coronavirus hits.

All of your core and non-core business stops immediately.

The registers fall silent.

Three months go by, and you’ve missed the busiest trading period of the year, the months during which you make more than a third of your annual income.

All up you’ve missed out on about six or seven million dollars coming through the till.

The account books are so deep in the red that you need sunglasses to look at them.

But the wolves are still outside and they’re hungry, and starting to circle the door.

How the hell are you going to feed them when you were going to struggle in any event, but now you’re $5 million short?

It’s a very good question isn’t it?

One that investigative journalists have been arrested before for asking.

Or the only one that did ask was anyway.

What’s your company’s name?

Brisbane Racing Club Limited.

Someone call the medics.

This company needs a doctor.

 

 

The Madness of Far From Royal Ascot – And the Crumbling Kingdom Far Away at the Ridge – How to Burn Money, BRC Style

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Now that’s good business sense for you.

In 2017 the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) picked up the Souths Sports Club at Acacia Ridge for nothing, not a brass razoo.

Which was about the right price, for you couldn’t really give the joint away.

Sure, it came with 75 gaming entitlements (poker machine licenses) worth $327 000, but the club owed suppliers and other people almost $380 000, and it owed its staff $40 000, meaning that when the BRC walked in the door as the new publican it was almost $100 grand in the hole before it even poured the first beer.

On top of that, the joint was falling down, and required a stack of basic repairs just to get it up to minimum health, hygiene and safety standards, and then a renovation to spruce it up on top, and that sort of facelift required the spending of some serious dough.

In its first year the BRC, being both good citizens and landlords keen to pull in punters, threw in the dough to do the joint up, and it meant that by the end of its first 10 months in charge of a Rugby League club on  the deep southside, the thoroughbred racing club from the inner city north of Brisbane was $166 257 in the red.

Things looked pretty crook in Tullarook, the paddock 30 miles on the other side of the river from Eagle Farm and Doomben, but the good news was that with the doors reopened after the tidy up turnover was bound to rise (it would have to – Souths had been closed for half of the previous year), and with it would come rivers of gold, and the was up baby.

Sure as eggs, thanks to the marketing and managerial skills of the club boss Scott Steele – who shortly after got poached by Albion Park, to try to arrest that club’s long slide toward the abyss, and to save the sport of harness racing at the same time – turnover at Souths rose 40% in its first full year of operation, jumping from $2.5 million to $3.4 million in the 18/19 financial year.

There was a slight problem there too though, because the profit for year was miserable, less than $25 000 all up, or $500 a week, which isn’t much of a return on a turnover of three and a half million. Less than 1% in fact.

Now I’m no expert on running licensed clubs, so I don’t whether a 0.8% net revenue against turnover is good, bad or indifferent. What I do know though is that if you owe almost $170 000 to your bookie, and you are only paying him back $500 a week, it’s going to take you almost seven years to pay the whole tick clean, and that’s assuming you don’t have any losing weeks on the punt along the way.

Seven years is a long time just to get square isn’t it? A hell of a long time.

But then COVID-19 came along, and all of a sudden the seven-year get square point looks the twinkling of an eye.

The BRC won’t be getting square on the Souths pick up in 7 years now, that’s for sure. After having lost over a quarter of the year’s pokie revenue courtesy of the Coronavirus shutdown, some say the jury is out if it ever will.

You see as Peter V’Landy found when he walked into the NRL Chairman’s office on his first day, companies that operate off the back of a steady stream of cash flow can’t cope with the rivers of gold drying up, not for than a month or so anyway, because without it they have no way to pay their bills, and are left to borrowing, begging or stealing just to get a bit of bread and Vegemite to put on the dinner table for tea.

V’Landys being a very sharp operator indeed, and having a unique and highly in-demand product to sell, was able to wangle a $250 million line of credit at favourable interest rates from the premium lenders.

But footy clubs with poker machines are dime a dozen, and ones situated just down the road from a popular pub with newer and brighter one-arm bandits to attract the suckers aren’t particularly beloved by bankers in tough economic times, and none want to risk lending them money.

So right now Souths at Acacia Ridge is bleeding the folding stuff, and the only people it can get money to keep the ship afloat from is its owners the BRC. Which isn’t good news for those members of that club who have signed up not because they want to run footy clubs on the other side of town, but rather because they like racing.

Why isn’t it good news?

Well because the result of the virus is going to be that Souths lose a minimum of 50 grand this financial year, and more likely a hundred, and when you add that to the $145 000 that the BRC are still behind on the transaction, you come up with a figure of somewhere in the red range of about $200 – 250 grand, and that’s being conservative on then calculator.

The upshot of that is that on profits of $500 a week, the deficit is not going to be cleared until the year 2030 at the very earliest, and a fire sale’s not an option because the shops are empty and no-one wants to buy. And if they did, they wouldn’t be paying any more than about half of what a license was worth 2 years ago, because a bunch of pubs and small clubs have gone broke and once the auditors have finished wading through the mess in the books, the market will soon be flooded with gaming entitlements for sale.

I’m not a member of the Brisbane Racing Club – I’m a bit selective about the company I keep – but if I were I would be asking myself and others “What the hell have we got ourselves into here?” and “Why the hell did we buy a footy club at Acacia Ridge when we’re a racing club at Ascot?”

Sadly I won’t be able to give them any answers either.

Some things in life will always remain a mystery.

 

If You Pay 3 Grand For a 3 Piece Lounge Suite at Harvey Norman, Gerry Can’t Just Give You the Armchair, Can He? – So Why Can Corporate Bookies Do It?

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A retired rails ring bookie of famous repute contacted us this afternoon about the $1.4 million seven-leg multi footy bet story, and he raised a very interesting point.

Now before I start, let me say that the $1.4 million potential payout for the punters $3000 outlay was fair dinkum. That was the bet that was taken.

But what the retired bookie pointed out – and he is correct – is that the terms and conditions of the TopSport bookmaking company, like that of its competitors, prescribes a maximum payout on any bet.

In the case of TopSport that maximum is $100 000 for bets – including multis – that are placed on the internet, and $200 000 for wagers placed over the phone, unless there is pre-approved agreement between the client and the company to pay out a higher figure.

Now I know for a fact that TopSport have and do agree to payments higher than the prescribed maximum, and that they would have paid this bet, so what follows is not a shot at Topsport, who are a reputable and reliable firm, but rather an illustration of a general flaw in the betting laws.

So the $1.4 million dollar man who ended up with nothing but an Easton Wood inspired chill may well have done a deal that allowed him to get paid out 7 figures if his eagle has landed, but let’s assume for the sake of the argument that he hadn’t.

Imagine if the North Melbourne coach hadn’t played a crippled Ben Cunnington, and the Kangaroos with a fully fit 18 had been able to hang on to get beaten by less than 40 to land the punter his huge speculator, and then Topsport had cut him back to the maximum payout detailed in the terms and conditions.

The punter would have been paid out only (only?) $100 000 if he’d placed the bet on the net, and $200k if he’d done it over the phone.

Here is the question.

The punter had $3000 on at odds of 456.66 to 1.

But the stake to win $100 000 is only $214.30, and to win $200 000 it is $418.60.

How then – in the hypothetical circumstances – would be it be conscionable for the bookie to accept a $3000 wager that it never had any intention of paying if it landed?

If you pay $3000 for a 3-piece lounge suite at Harvey Norman, Gerry’s sales people can’t just give you the armchair can they?

So why can a bookie do it, if they choose to?

Just a bit of food for thought, that’s all.

 

A Punter’s Nightmare and Waking Dream

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This is a true story.

Yesterday a bloke had an seven-leg all-up multi going with six legs down, and only one left to go.

The last leg was the Western Bulldogs to beat the North Melbourne Kangaroos by 39 points or less in their clash at Marvel Stadium.

“So what?” you say. “There are people who have 7-leg multis on the footy going every weekend of the season”.

You are right too.

But they don’t have them going for $1.4 million.

That is not a misprint.

This punter had placed three grand on a seven leg multi, and they had it going in the last leg for one point four million dollars.

Gospel truth.

The bloke could have cashed in after six, but he didn’t.

He let it ride, all in the pot, guts or glory.

I wonder if he regrets it now.

Silly question – of course he does.

He was looking good at half time, when the scores were just 20 points apart at 35 – 15.

But then in the second half, the Bulldogs exploded.

They won by 49.

The punter got not nothing, not a cent.

I’m told Lloyd Merlehan slept like a baby last night.

If I had escaped a $1.4 million bullet, I would have too.

I wonder if the poor old multi punter slept a single wink?

Man, how could you?

Bloody Bulldogs.

Oh well, its only money.

That’s what some people say anyway.

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If Something Seems to Good to be True – It Usually Is – Lochinvar Art’s 1.48.6 at Melton Was

Pacers are very consistent when it comes to speed lines and form, especially the really good ones.

If a top-flight horse runs a best time of 1.53.8, then you would expect it to be able to run that same time anytime it gets a favourable run, and can rely on it running near or not far from those numbers each and every time in steps onto the track.

Lochinvar Art is a superb horse, one of the best of its generation, and it proved the rule.

This pacer ran mile rates of between 1.53.8 and about 1.57.0 in every race that it competed in, and until the 25 January this year you could almost set your watch by it.

But then on that date Lochinvar Art stepped out at Melton and ran 5.2 seconds faster than it ever had before.

Five seconds!

That’s half the length of the straight.

No horse could ever possibly improve that much, it would defy a hundred years of the study of form, and the laws of physics and biomechanics too.

It would pretty much be the equivalent of a 100 metre sprinter who had run consistent times in the 9.8 – 10.0 second range coming out one week and running 9 seconds neat.

Impossible, simply impossible.

No its not.

Lochinvar Art did it the night it obliterated the Melton track record by running the never before heard of time of 1.48.6 seconds for the mile.

All the pundits went mad about the pacer’s effort, with many declaring Lochinvar Art as world class, and some even swearing that he was a certainty to win the next Inter Dominion.

Swimming in their own pool of praise though, all the so-called experts missed asking the one vital and essential question.

How did this horse who had been racing against the best his generation had to offer since he was two, suddenly come out and run five seconds faster than he ever had before?

It’s a rather sad indictment on the quality of much of the current day racing media that no-one understood the fundamentals of the sport well enough that they saw fit to question this seemingly miraculous feat performed by Lochinvar Art, but they didn’t. That’s just the way it is I guess.

I will ask it though.

No I won’t, I will answer it.

One word.

Drugs.

It is not physically possible for a horse to suddenly become 5 seconds faster than they were before, unless they have been in some way chemically enhanced. It’s just not. I’ve been following harness racing for over 40 years, and it just doesn’t happen. Ever.

But it did, and that means Lochinvar Art was juiced to the gills.

I have no idea what the gear was, although I have a very strong suspicion. It doesn’t really matter though, the simple fact is that the uber-talented young pacer couldn’t have run this time straight, and everybody and their dog knows it.

Everyone except the Stewards, that is.

1.48.6, on a 1000 metre track on which no horse had ever broken 1.50.0 before, not even the out and out champions.

Pull the other one, it jingles.