Tag: albion

Want to See the Best Drive in the World? – Watch This – And This Kid Can’t Get a Metro License? – The QRIC Would Have to be Kidding, Wouldn’t They? (Updated)

Angus Garrard is the greatest young talent to take the reins on a Queensland harness racing track in the 21st century, and unlike some of his predecessors, he’s as clean as a whistle too.

The kid is only sixteen, and still at school for another year and a half, and for ill-stated reasons the racing authorities – QRIC – won’t grant him a license to drive at the main meetings on Saturday nights, yet the double he drove last night at Redcliffe made him the number 1 junior driver in Queensland ahead of much older young reinspeople who have been driving for years.

The double put at number seven on the all-comers ladder for the season too, ahead of a host of top-class drivers who have been steering winners around paceways for years.

This kid is a phenom, and I reckon that pound for pound Angus Garrard is the greatest sportsperson under the age of 18 in the whole of Queensland, and that he would give the number 1 spot across the nation a fair nudge too.

His spot at number 7 in the State clearly shows that young Garrard is up there with the best, and can hold his own against anybody, and do better than most of them too.

His night last night in the 3rd race at Redcliffe behind Billboard Bonnie (at top) proves it beyond any doubt.

You could go to harness racing racing meetings anywhere in the world for twenty years, and you might be lucky enough to see a drive as good as this one, but you will never see one better, and that’s coming from someone who has being going to the trots and following the sport assiduously for half a century.

So why can’t the wonder kid get a metropolitan drivers license?

Who knows?

The QRIC Licensing and Registration Manager Nicole Elliott – who started out her racing integrity career just 4 years ago as the microchip and ear brand checker at the dogs on a Thursday night – didn’t say when why when she knocked backed Angus Garrard’s application for a metro drivers license, and her colleague Kane Ashby, the horse jockey turned desk jockey who is the QRIC Internal Reviewer, didn’t say either.

I was talking the other day about the Angus issue to a mate of mine who has been one of Australia’s best drivers for about four decades, and he reckoned that a driver had to hold a B-Class license – that’s the license the kid holds; it allows you to drive at any meeting other than a metropolitan fixture – for at least 12 months before they could be promoted to the A-Grade, pretty much the equivalent of going off your P’s onto an open car driver’s license.

He was wrong though.

There is no such rule, either in the licensing provisions of the Australian Harness Racing Rules, or in the local rules. There is no policy about how long a driver must hold a B-Grade license before they can be upgraded to an A-category one either.

All that the rules say is that a person can’t hold an A-Grade license until they are least sixteen, which Angus Garrard is.

Here’s the question.

If this kid who has driven 75 winners eight months into the extended season, and barring mishaps is a certainty to top the ton, can’t hold an A-Grade license, then how can anyone who is below him on the State Premiership ladder hold one either?

It doesn’t make any sense.

Then again, not much that the QRIC does in Queensland does.

Imagine if Athletics Australia had told Cathy Freeman that she couldn’t compete in the top grade at the 1990 Commonwealth Games at age 16, or Swimming Australia had put the kibosh on Tracey Wickham going up and down in the 400 and 800 freestyle in Canada in 1978.

We’d be short a whole lot of “Gold, Gold, Gold for Australia!” medals wouldn’t we?

So why the hell are a bunch of people who wouldn’t know a champion reinsman if he drove right over them holding Angus Garrard back from his destiny to become one of the all-time greats of the game?

I guess we’ll find out at QCAT, won’t we.

What a crying shame it is that the poor kid has to resort to that, just to get a fair go.

Oh well, such is life.

Angus Garrard will be here long after those who knocked back his license are gone and forgotten.

Don’t you worry about that.

Update – Angus Garrard has finally been granted a license to drive at metropolitan meetings, and will begin his city career in early June,

According to the records we have been able to access, at sixteen years and nine months of age he will be the youngest reinsman since 1968 to drive at Albion Park on a Saturday night.

We predict with confidence that he will win next year’s open driver’s title.

Why Are the QRIC Refusing to Allow the Greatest Young Talent in Australian Harness Racing to Drive on a Saturday Night? – The Decision of the Stewards to Refuse Angus Garrard a Metro License Just Doesn’t Make Sense


Angus Garrard may be just sixteen years of age, but already he is one of Queensland’s top ten harness race drivers, and he’s made it into the elite class without even being able to drive at Albion Park on a Saturday night,.

It’s an extraordinary achievement at any age, but to make it into that grade as a reinsman when you’re still at school attending classes during the week is something just out of this world.

Allow me to put it into perspective by taking away the top ten drivers metropolitan wins to put them on an equal footing with Angus Garrard, just so that you can understand the magnitude of what this wunderkind has achieved in just his first full season of professional competition.

This is what the leaders ladder looks like with metro winners out:

79 Nathan Dawson

72 Paul Diebert

66 Pete McMullen

59 Narissa McMullen

52 Grant Dixon

45 Taleah McMullen


44 Adam Richardson

42 Adam Sanderson

34 Brendan Barnes

Equal seventh spot. Now that is something special isn’t, and what makes Angus’s efforts even more impressive is that drivers of the ilk of Kylie Rasmussen, Robbie Morris, Trista Dixon, Chantal Turpin, the Elkins brothers, Hayden Barnes, John Cremin, Kelli Dawson and Lachie Manzelmann haven’t even cracked the top ten.

Wow! And the kid doesn’t even turn seventeen until June.

Ladies and Gentleman, a star is born.

Can sometime please tell the QRIC?

They’ve knocked Angus Garrard’s application for a metro drivers license back. Twice. Once when he originally applied in November, and then again in January on internal review.


Who knows. The published decision doesn’t provide a reason, but the Stewards clearly need their heads read. Their stance in blocking the superstar kid’s transition to the metropolitan driving ranks is akin to the Indian selectors refusing to allow Sachin Tendulkar to play test cricket at 16, or the NZ stipes barring J-Mac from riding against all comers at the same age.

It’s madness, that’s what it is. The only reason that I can imagine is that it’s age-based discrimination, for as the adjusted table above – on which Garrard sits just 8 wins shy of multiple premiership winner Grant Dixon – clearly shows, it can’t be due to his lack of skill in the cart.

Let’s just hope Angus Garrard takes QRIC on at QCAT and rolls this ridiculous decision to refuse him a full license, for a talent like his is far too precious to be wasted sitting at home watching television on a Saturday night.

The kid’s a star.

Let him shine QRIC, let him shine.







Winners are Grinners as Yet Another QRIC Trots Match Fixing Prosecution Bites the Dust

The word out of the George Street courts complex yesterday is that the second attempt at prosecuting former champion harness race driver Shane Graham for match fixing has just been thrown out of the District Court on its arse.

We don’t have all the details yet, but apparently the very well respected Judge Julie Dick has said no show poloko to the Director of Public Prosecutions lawyers who had gone back for a second bite at the cherry against Graham after his first trial last year was declared a no race by a hung jury.

I don’t know what this means for Graham’s future in the sport, but surely, after all that he’s been put through over the past few years and the absolute zero that his accusers have achieved, he should be handed his license back by two hour express delivery this morning.

As for Commissioner Ross Barnett and his band of merry men who so vigorously tapped Shane’s phone, pursued him mercilessly and publicly vilified him as a race track crook and a max-fixing cheat?

I guess we will just have to wait for the decision in the multi-million dollar defamation and damages suits that the smart money says a certain top-end of town law firm are about to start serving on some well-know organisations and high-profile individuals in the months not too far ahead.

Look before you leap is my advice to the Integrity boys and girls. That and make sure that in your eagerness to nab a scalp or seven you never jump in too soon.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and phone tappers who go at the clock tower will never know what they might have missed out on.


Well, Well, Well – Damian Raedler Has Left the Albion Park Building – Now Finally the Trots Might Turn a Profit


The reports out of the Albion Park bunker are that Executive Manager Damian Raedler, the one time telecom technician to the stars and TAB agent to the bizarre, who lead the club to a record six successive years of financial losses and slashed its asset base by a third, has left the Yulestar Street building forever, and in quite a hurry too they say.

Our spies tell us that the new energy brought to the boardroom table by recently elected banker Brad Steele and businessman Greg Mitchell wasn’t quite to the comfort-loving Mr Raedler’s taste, so rather than up the tempo and pace of his management of the place he did what incompetent bosses who’ve had it too good for too long do in situations like these.

Bailed out.


The word is that when do little Damian submitted his resignation to the board meeting held last week more than a few club directors had to restrain from smiling, but it didn’t stop them from saying ‘Thanks for losing us all that dough Bucko. Resignation accepted, notice period waived, now get on your bike”.

One wag around town is suggesting that the club build a well in the middle of the infield at the creek, whack a singlet around it and a comb-over on top, and call it Damian in honour of the great man’s service.

Another joker likes the idea, but takes it a step further by advocating that the club create a unique annual race for aged claimers in honour of Raedler’s service to harness racing at the Creek. He wants them to call it the ”Remembering Damian Raedler’s Handicap”, and suggests that instead of paying prize money to the connections of the winner the club instead give them ten thousand dollars in cash to throw down the well.

Albion Park Chairman David Fowler – who is yet to publicly announce the departure of the club’s long-term leader – wasn’t available for comment. He’s probably down at the pokies.

Finance Manager Kylie Deegan has stepped into the acting role as Chief Executive while a nation wide search for Raedler’s replacement is undertaken. As a former Suncorp manager she knows how to balance a set of accounts, so with a bit of luck – and as long as Raedler doesn’t do another Nellie Melba – this year the club’s books might actually end up in the black.




Saturday’s Slow Dusk is a Sign That It’s Time to Draw Down the Colt’s Blinds, For Now Anyway

Anyone who has ever read my work knows how much of a fan that I am of Colt Thirty One, the wonderful Queensland pacer who has won 35 of his 58 starts including the prestigious Group 1 Victoria Derby, and collected well in excess of $800 000 in prize money during his short 3 and half season career to date.

The Colt is a homegrown Queensland success story, the product of many decades of time, effort, expense and intense breeding study by his owners Kevin and Kay Seymour, and living tribute to their passion for the sport of harness racing. Many regard him as the greatest home-grown pacer since Black’s a Fake, and based on the Colt’s achievements in the age grades at least – and the fact that the might machine Lanercost wasn’t locally bred –  they might well be right.

I love the Colt, and despite the fractious start to what has proven to be our strange friendship I like his co-owner Kevin Seymour AM too. But I’m afraid after watching the Colt’s performance on Saturday night at Albion Park that my old/new friend has pushed the envelope a start or two too far with his star horse, and it’s time that it’s time that he had a rest.

That wasn’t the real Colt Thirty One we saw beaten out of a place in the ordinary open company affair named after my other old/new mate Ray Cross’s good pacer The Emcee – soundly thrashed in fact – by a bunch of horses who in the usual course of events wouldn’t blow smoke up the Colt’s arse.

That was a tired horse, one 12 runs into a preparation that has taken him from Brisbane to Melbourne and Swan Hill then over to Auckland and back, a horse who has run out of gas for the time being and wants and needs and deserves to spend a bit of time in a lush paddock stealing sly looks at pretty mares across the fence and picking on grass.

I know that the blinds are being drawn down on Kevin Seymour’s harness racing career, and that these days while he’s still got more oomph than most 30-year-old’s Mr Seymour is closer to the finish line of the line than he is the start, and I know that the Colt is no doubt almost certainly his last hurrah.

But the boy’s had enough, and the Miracle Mile dreams are over, and they must – for this year at least – be put immediately to bed.

I know spelling is boring for workaholics (just look at me sitting here tapping out this story at an hour before midnight if you need any proof), and I know that time’s short and the list of things to do is long, but we all need to rest our weary heads sometime, and the Queensland Winter Carnival is just six weeks rest and a new prep away.

Thanks for a stellar season Colt, and thanks for allowing us all to enjoy the ride.

We’ll see you again soon son, don’t you worry about that.

Gee Some Stewards are Slow to Chomp on the Uptake

This is the Stewards report from the greyhounds at Albion Park on the 30th of December 2019.

A dog named Sookie La Rico was outed for a month for failing to pursue.

In the old days we used to call it fighting, but in these PC days of non-violence they prefer to describe it marring. Whatever, a rose by any other name is but a thorn.

This is what Sookie La Rico did at AP just a second after she had railed inside the leader around the turn and had looked home to the world.


You can see it clearly an’t you?

Sookie turns her head like Latrell Mitchell head-faking right then stepping off his left foot, and then she morphs into Dragula and tries to bite the white dog next to her’s head off.

She copped 28 days in the sin bin for the big bite, but the truth is that Sookie should have been outed for the season.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘He’s been doing it all day ref?’

Well she has been too.

Here’s Sookie at her previous 4 starts.

One – on the inside of the blue
Two – she is the blue
Three – here she’s inside the green
Four – this times she’s biting the yellow

These were four starts in a row, on the 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd of December, the first two runs at headquarters, the last two in Bundy.

Do you reckon that the greyhound Stewards at both venues might have missed something rather obvious?

I do.

They teach ’em good here in Queensland don’t they, real good, and it’s a real good thing too, because if you don’t know how to watch a race with your eyes closed you might have to work overtime to write down what your little eye I spied, and if everyone did that how would the Commissioner come in on budget and get his performance bonus?

He wouldn’t is the answer.

So the dog Stewards either shut their eyes or just look the other way.

A dog who fights/mars/whatever once gets an auto 28 day spell.

A dog who does it twice is given 3 months.

A dog who does it three times cops a year.

A dog who does it four times gets another year.

Sookie should have been out for two years, three months and 28 days, and I’m not even telling you about her runs before that.

The non-chasing, fighting biting little bitch didn’t though, and instead kept racing and eating punters money like Pal until her antics became so obvious at Albion Park the day before New Year’s that even the dead started rising from the grave, and the blind had no choice but to see.

Public confidence in the integrity of racing.

How do you spell that, and what does it mean?

It means that as of today Sookie La Rico’s free to return to racing, and her opponents who value their good looks are trembling in fear.

I am too.

Those Stewards scare the living crap out of me.