Tag: integrity

The Greatest Scandal in NSW Racing This Century is About to Explode – And What You Learn Over the Coming Weeks and Months Will Shock You to the Core – Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow – An Archie Butterfly Exclusive

And so it begins.

Does anyone remember the series of stories I published last year on the subscription site archiebutterfly.com about the Sally Snow affair?

For those who don’t, or who didn’t read it, I wrote that the reasons for the sacking of Sally Snow from her role as the senior odds-setter for the TAB were far, far more deeper and more serious than most people realised, and that when the lid was lifted off the scandal the repercussions would resonate wide and far across racing in NSW, and – to a slightly lesser extent – Victoria, and perhaps even Queensland.

In the series of articles I suggested that some very well-known names in racing – some of the biggest – would be embroiled in the scandal, and that they would include Group 1 winning jockeys, nationally known trainers, and at least one infamous bookmaker whose name was known across the land.

None of this was supposition. I don’t make up fairy tales, I don’t have the imagination, and in racing you don’t need to, for the truths in the game we love are always much, much stranger than fiction.

Coronavirus delayed the long running, and even more long ranging, cross border investigation into matters related to Sally Snow’s dismissal by Tabcorp after the NSW Stewards warned her off racecourses for refusing to produce and hand over her private mobile phones (yes, phones).

There were very good personal reasons for Sally Snow’s decision not to hand over the devices, even though she knew full well that it would mean the end of her career as a corporate bookmaking behemoth’s front woman. These reason’s weren’t related to her individual privacy, but rather to an intense desire not to holiday in Long Bay.

Racing NSW probe link between Sally Snow and Unibet bookmaker

Sadly for Sally (above) though, the investigators already had them. Not the physical phones, but the mirrors, and all the contacts contained on them, and all the texts, calls and mistakenly believed to be encrypted messages made to and from them. The joint police task force had been all over her and her friends for more than 12 months, even though neither she nor they knew it. The cops only asked the Stewards to use their powers to request the phones to make a good thing of it, and to test her hand.

They got the result they expected, and all it was cost Snow her job and her reputation, and confirm to the investigators that their conclusions were 100 percent correct and firming.

A month or two later Sally Snow’s husband Nathan was stopped at customs and detained by border control officers when returning an overseas trip. Nathan Snow’s phones and devices were seized, including those that it is believed were registered in another person’s name.

Around the same time the NSW Stewards demanded that prominent and oft controversial racing identity Steve Fletcher hand his private telephones over to them.

Fletcher complied with the direction, but almost immediately – for reasons that will become abundantly clear over the coming months – lodged an application to the Supreme Court of NSW seeking to restrain the Stewards from accessing or using any information on the phones other than that related directly to the Sally Snow inquiry.

His court application also sought a direction that Stewards provide him with the specific details of the inquiry, and the details of which aspects of it they wished to access limited information from his phone for.

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The NSW Stewards didn’t fall for that trick.

They fought the case.

In April last year Fletcher won.

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The Supreme Court ordered that only specific information contained on Fletcher’s phone could be accessed by the racing officials, and then only in circumstances whereby Fletcher was advised why.

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The Stewards immediately lodged an appeal of the decision with the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal.

In February of this year the Court of Appeal handed down its decision.

This time the Stewards won.

By unanimous decision of the three appeal judges, the Racing NSW Stewards were now permitted to access all of the information on Fletcher’s phones, without telling him why.

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The die was cast, and the wave of summonses to appear before the Stewards on rule breach charges, and the consequent and/or concurrent flood of police arrests were about to commence.

Then the coronavirus hit, and everything went into abeyance.

But none of it went away.

Last week the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

Today jockey Adam Hyeronimus has been charged with multiple betting offences.

Look closely at the rule breach charges that the rider has been hit with.

Hyeronimus has not charged with placing bets himself, but rather with having beneficial interests in bets placed on his behalf.

You can take one guess as to who placed the bets on the jockeys beneficial behalf, and why.

This is Steve Fletcher (below).

His picture is only published in this story because he’s handsome.

Supreme Court grants Racing NSW right to inspect phone of pro ...

The person who (allegedly) placed the bets is not the principal of the large scale race-fixing and price manipulation operation that is soon to become a front page headline across the country, and unleash a storm that will reverberate across the racing land.

Here is a tip, and it’s a very strong one indeed.

To find a clue as to who the soon to be named alleged principal of what the Stewards will allege to be a highly crook, race hook cartel may be, one would be well advised to take a close look at the trainer or training partnership that Adam Hyeronimus has been most closely associated with throughout his career.

And then ask yourself who that trainer, or member of the training partnership, may share a bed with.

It’s not the trainer that I am suggesting will be alleged to be involved.

He, is not a she.

Here is another tip.

See the extract from the February 2020 Supreme Court of Appeal judgement that is published above?

To save you looking, I will print it again.

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There is a highly skilled sand very experienced young racing Steward whose rapid rise to the top of his profession hit a huge speed bump when the ABC aired the infamous Four Corners report into live baiting in the greyhound industry.

That Steward’s employment was terminated by Racing Queensland in the wake of the scandal, even though it had nothing to do with him at all, and he knew nothing about the cruelty.

Sometime later, after returning from an ostensibly unsuccessful stint in a overseas racing jurisdiction, that Steward returned to Australia, and the widespread impression was that he was finished in the world of racing integrity, and unemployable in the industry.

Ever heard the adage about judging books by their covers? Or watched a boxing match and seen a fighter fall for a sucker punch?

The believed to be unemployable Steward got a job.

As a runner placing TAB bets for Steve Fletcher.

He wasn’t much good at it, but he never intended to be.

Enron alert to Steve Fletcher – there is always a smarter man in every room.

He’s usually the one pretending to be dumb.

After leaving Fletcher’s employment, the unemployable racing Steward returned to the racing industry as a Steward.

Not just any Steward either.

Wade Birch became the Deputy Chief Steward of NSW Racing.

For those who have been asking how and why, your mystery is now solved.

Birch sprints to top job | Sunshine Coast Daily

And if you believed me when I was publicly asking how and why, then you are as silly as Steve Fletcher.

Sorry for misleading you, but once I worked out what was going on, long before anyone else who wasn’t part of the covert operations did, I made a professional and ethical decision to run dead and play dumb, even though it meant writing things that I knew not to be true.

It worked too.

The man who will be named as the alleged principal contacted me out of the blue. I’d never spoken to or met him before.

He invited me to lunch, but I politely declined, telling him that I was in Northern NSW at the time on an assignment seeking to locate and interview people who had gone to the school with the demon who committed the Christchurch massacres, which was true.

The man then arranged for me to brunch with his representative in Byron Bay, a former young tyro bookie at the Gold Coast, who I knew – without the man knowing I knew – now worked as a TAB runner for Steve Fletcher.

I met the former bookie, and played dumb to him, and crazy too. In fact I dropped a pill and smoked two joints on the way to meet the bookie, just to make a good thing of it. It didn’t effect me – I was a street kid after I got raped; I learned early how to handle my drugs – but it fooled him, so much so that, deciding that I knew nothing and was merely a hit and miss merchant, he even tried to leave me with the bill.

Good luck on that one.

He had none, but now I knew for sure that what I’d worked out was 100% right.

I’m a straight, clean racing man.

I always have been, and I always will be.

I don’t talk to police, ever, so they’re safe in that respect, but I know the story and I’m not afraid to write it, and within the confines of the law I will.

Hyeronimus has been in career-best form this year.

Here is one last tip for now.

There is a leading NSW jockey who bears a striking resemblance to Adam Hyeronimus (above).

Or did until last week, when that rider died his hair peroxide blonde.

Many in the media are viewing the hair colour change as a fashion mistake, and making the jockey’s altered appearance a matter of merriment and mirth.

To those innocents I say this.

It is now what you don’t know that defines you skill as an investigative journalist, it is what you do. And sometimes witnesses find it difficult to identify a person when their appearance has drastically changed.

Fukuoka, Japan. 4th Aug, 2018. Brenton Avdulla Horse Racing ...

The war is about to begin, and there will be many casualties along the way.

The snow will be stained red with racing blood.

Put on your helmets, buckle in, and watch this space.

And remember, you heard it all here first.

You always do.

Editor’s note – The licenced racing industry participant charged alongside Adam Hyeronimus is a young man named Blake Paine. He works for the same stable as the one I have identified in this story. So does his father Neil Paine, the man in the funny suit who breached the COVID-19 restrictions by racing across the Randwick mounting yard to hug Adrian Bott after Farnan won this year’s Slipper. Neil Paine – who is not alleged to have any knowledge of matters related to this story or the charges laid against his son – got off with a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket for his serious contravention of the NSW Government health directives and the Racing NSW coronavirus protocols. The Stewards had far bigger fish to fry.

 

 

 

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.

We’re Tough on Drugs up Here in Queensland, Punters – Don’t You Worry About That

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In March 2015, greyhound trainer Anthony Hoyland was fined $1000 after one of his winning charges threw positive to Benzydamine, a banned in competition anti-inflammatory analgesic that some in the dog business reckon helps a super-fit though over-worked dog keep on trucking through its gears, without feeling any pain.

Ten months later, in January 2016, another A. Hoyland trained greyhound winner threw a positive swab, this time to Cobalt.

In the same year the famous gallops trainer Peter Moody would be suspended for 6 months for exactly the same offence, and the premiership winning harness reinsman Neale Scott – who had no priors in a 40 year career – copped 18 months on the sidelines (later reduced to 9 on appeal) when a horse he trained and drove at a picnic race day at Deagon threw positive to the big C too.

Anthony Hoyland must have been blessed by the bishop when he was a baby.

How else could you explain him only being outed for 12 weeks?

That Bishop must have been bloody Holy, for the gifts of his blessing of the Hoyland child live on all these years later.

In November last year a dog of Anthony Hoyland’s named Codrington Park threw a positive swab to the drug Dexthmesaone after winning a race at Albion Park.

Dexmethasone is nominally an anti-inflammatory drug, but that’s only part of the story, because it’s also one of most widely used pep-pills in cancer treatment. The medical staff use it to give chemo patients and final stage cancer victims a kick to combat the fatigue and the other drugs.

I know – I nursed my Mum and Dad full-time through cancer for almost a decade, and they were given it heaps. It worked wonders too. Mum would drop a pill and go from being almost a total invalid, to getting up and wanting to go to the pokies withing hours.

It’s not coke or meth, but it’s damn good gear that Dexamethasone.

Last year a galloper trained by a smalltimer called Col Thurston swabbed positive to the drug in a lowly race at Gilgandra.

Col was a cleanskin, but the stipes suspended him for three months.

Just six months ago a winner prepared by a Perth trot trainer named Aden De Campo threw up a positive to Dexamethasone.

De Campo had 2 priors; he copped six months.

Anthony Hoyland has two priors too.

Last Friday the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission Stewards handed down Hoyland’s punishment for positive swab strike three, Dexamethasone.

It was a suspended sentence.

Hoyland won’t spend a single day on the sidelines.

We’re tough on Drugs up here in Queensland, punters.

Don’t you worry about that.

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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

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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 ANGUS GARRARD

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.

Why?

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.

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It Seems Animal Welfare Comes Second in the Sunshine State

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When a jockey immediately realises that his mount has a physical problem just metres after the start, isn’t there a positive obligation both under the rules of racing and the law to immediately pull the horse up and dismount, so as not to cause further injury?

I believe so, and I am confident that most horse lovers would agree.

So why did Sean Cormack continue to ride a horse named Bradbury for about two kilometres after the start of Race 10 at the Sunshine Coast yesterday afternoon, and why did actions go unpunished?

It is an agreed fact that Cormack felt that Bradbury had an issue just metres after the horse had jumped from the barriers in the Butler McDermott Lawyers Benchmark 65 Handicap run over 1800 metres.

It is also agreed that a post-race veterinary examination found the horse to be sore in the off-foreleg, an ailment possibly caused by the shifting of a plate (a horse shoe).

Cormack may not have known why Bradbury felt wrong in its action – he most likely didn’t – but he did know that something was wrong, and as a result he didn’t apply undue pressure to the horse at any stage of the race. He did however continue to ride it at high speed and complete the race, and I think its a disgrace.

Two horses died on Queensland tracks on the weekend, at a time when thoroughbred racing is in the glare of the spotlight over animal welfare abuses in or connected to the sport.

In times like these it is incumbent on the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to stamp down hard on racing participants that fail to put equine welfare first. After all, the QRIC was created for this express purpose.

The Stewards called Cormack in to explain his ride on Bradbury, but their only interest was in knowing why the jockey didn’t take to his mount with whips and heels and metaphorical spurs to encourage it to race more competitively.

Once Cormack told them about his certainty immediately after the start that Bradbury was suffering from a problem, they wrote the gelding’s trainer out a warning, marked him down as requiring a veterinary certificate prior to starting again, and lost interest.

If this type of negligence and neglect continues, a whole lot of other racing people soon might too.

Editor’s note – I doubt that Romaneque lost it’s near fore in running. Three-legged-horses have trouble standing up, let alone running. I suspect that it might have been a lost plate.

 

Man Bites Horse and Gets a Job With the QRIC Stamping Out Animal Cruelty – Only in Queensland

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Back in 2011 the ever-excellent racing website Letsgohorseracing featured a story with a biteabout a barrier attendant named Clayton ‘Chopper’ Warren, who had been stood down from work after a woman and her daughter watching the Townsville Cup meeting in TV had noticed the bloke grab a skittish horse by the ear and then, in best tradition of Mad Mike Tyson and Chopper Read, take a great big chomp at the said lug.

The understandably upset race loving lady made a completely justified complaint about the matter to the then Racing Queensland controlled Stewards, who with their hands forced had no option to hold an inquiry into the matter, but doing their damnedest to keep the whole Man Bites Horse did so in camera, which means behind closed doors under a veil of secrecy for those not familiar with the term.

Chopper Warren was found guilty of a charge of conduct prejudicial to the image of racing, and stood down from the sport until he had undertaken sufficient and appropriate remedial training under the supervision of RQ officials to correct his errant horse ear chomping barrier behaviour.

Oddly, no-one outside the inner circle of the secret steward’s commissariat ever quite got told what exactly that remedial training entailed, or how long a spell Chopper had to spend on the sidelines in the sin bin, although some wags with a sense of black humour suggested they might have sent the equine ear biter down to Tommy Noble’s illegal training at Churchable so he could learn to let his lust for blood loose on possums tied to lures away from the public eye, instead of sating it on national Sky Channel broadcasts.

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Well Jesus died on a cross so our sins can be forgiven (or at least that’s what I’m told), and even rabbit punching murderers get parole, so we shouldn’t really be surprised that fast forwarding nine years Chopper Warren has found a new and most rewarding career in the racing industry.

Yes sportsfans, I’m pleased to announce that these days Chopper Warren is a senior official of the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, working in a team run by the newly appointed pontiff of Gold Coast racing integrity Paul Gillard, and he proudly sports the gold badge of an authorised officer empowered to investigate incidents of animal cruelty.

That’s a joke with a bite isn’t it?

Don’t laugh out loud too much though, for its true.

Only in Queensland punters, only in Queensland.

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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.

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Why Racing Australia’s Scale of Deductions is Simply Wholesale Theft (Continued)

Image result for australian racing board

It also stands for absolute ridiculous bullshit

So how are these outrageous deductions calculated?

That’s a great question, but one that no-one other than Dominic Beirne’s company Intelligent Wagering Solutions (IWS) can answer.

IWS have what Beirne claims is a perpetual (forever) license to provide the Australian Racing Board (Racing Australia) with an algorithm that calculates these betting deductions. How anyone can get a contract for life is an absolute mystery, so one can only assume that Beirne has sold the license for his software to Racing Australia for some type of huge one off fee.

The algorithm – essentially a computer program that processes inputs according to set formulas, and spits out a result – is the driver of a computer program that is available only to “Race day Stewards and officers of The Australian Pricing Network”, according to information published by Beirne.

Sadly the calculation methods are not made available to the very people they effect – the punters – but hey, what would we need to know for? We’re just the mugs who fund the whole damn industry aren’t we?

Never mind though. The whole system was approved by experts, including the National Conference of Stewards (none of whom to the best of my knowledge have mathematics or IT degrees), the Australian Racing Board (ditto), a select group of unidentified professional punters (I find that hard to believe), and the Australian Bookmakers Association, which was no doubt represented by former CEO Tim Ryan, the man who along with his wife owns companies like Bettor Data, self described as one of two licensees wholesalers of Thoroughbred Racing Materials (Fields, Results, Form etc.) by Racing Australia.

There seems to be somewhat of an absence of an independent, arms length relationship between the parties that approved this bullshit system doesn’t there?

Here’s the guts of the issue.

Corporate bookmakers like Neds and Ladbrokes (interest disclosure: my mate Dean Shannon runs them), Beteasy, Top Sport and even the despicable UBET publish their scales of deductions in the terms and conditions they provide to clients.

These scales are clear, easy to read, and unambiguous in their content. Every punter can read them and knows and understands what percentage will be deducted from their bets in the event of a late scratching or scratchings.

The scales of deductions supplied by private company providers, and applied by Principal Racing Authorities around the nation – each of whom is allegedly 100% committed to integrity – are not published, and there is no way that any punter who places a bet can know what amount of their return they will lose in the event that another runner or runners is scratched.

How on earth is this fair?

How does it meet the requisite lawful disclosure requirements?

How is not deceptive conduct?

Questions, questions, questions.

I wonder if we will ever get an answer?

 

 

 

 

There are None so Blind as Those Who Cannot See

A lot of people accuse me of bagging out the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, and I have to confess, they’re right.

I’m not against the concept; the idea of breaking up the commercial and integrity functions of the sport is the way to go in my view. For far too long horse racing had hung onto the vestiges of its land gentry origins and been run like an old boys club, the trots had trundled along like a polyamorous breakaway Mormon sect in which everyone from the garbage man to the CEO and in between were blood relatives, and the dogs were just managed by dodgers.

The situation had to change, and it did and that’s a good thing.

What’s not is that the QRIC should have been staffed and run by people who knew racing, and it wasn’t. Instead it was run by ex-coppers who knew so little about the ins and outs of the various codes that the organisation’s claim to racing cred was that one of its middle managers was loosely related to a long-retired jockey, although what wasn’t said was that the joker (or should that be jokeress?) had a bit of a conflict of interest for a while because she was renting stables to Les Ross.

That’s only a bit of trivia though; it was the lack of racing people directing the integrity show that was the problem from the start.

Let me say something loud and clear at this juncture. I’m not an all-round knock for the QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett. He was a good cop, an even better assistant boss of the police force, and is an excellent manager of people, paperwork and public dough. If you wanted a government boss to bring you in on budget each day, every day, then Ross Barnett was your man.

The problem was that the Commissioner didn’t know a pull up job from a bitter twisted dob, and after 3 years in the top office he still doesn’t.

It’s not Barnett’s fault, and it’s not fatal. He was upfront about racing being a whole new frontier for him, so no-one can complain that he was trying to pull the wool over punters eyes, and he has proven to be a most prudent and fiscally conservative CEO of the QRIC too, but like Achilles and all the rest of us the former top cop had a wide-open heel.

His was his love of the force, and his respect for the people in it. Barnett thought that he could bring his trusted and no doubt highly-skilled former sidekicks and staff from the police service over to the QRIC , and that within five minutes of the door flung open they’d be kicking goals like Mal Meninga.

Wrong.

What Barnett needed was a management team stacked with straight, honest, experienced racing folk, the type of blokes that Terry Bailey and his Melbourne crew might have been if they hadn’t formed a view that catching crooks was so important that it was worth cutting corners to make it happen.

The Commissioner doesn’t cut corners, but he doesn’t have the passion for the pursuit of cleaning up the codes and keeping them squeaky that Bailey and the boys did, so instead of us getting a flying squad stamping down on bad eggs and cheats we ended up with a bunch of former shift workers earning the same dough working family friendly hours, who sit around listening to other people’s phone calls and misinterpreting them, target presumed villains like Ben Currie while missing what’s going on right in front of their eyes, and regard running RBT’s at trackwork as the pinnacle of racing integrity enforcement.

What a crying shame it is, for its a golden opportunity wasted. Racing in each of the three codes is as crooked now as its ever been, and no number of 100% clean breath tests at thoroughbred workouts, or reduced disqualifications at the trots, or clean winners swabs at the greyhounds is ever going to change it.

People who don’t know punting and racing can’t spot rorts, even when they are staring them right in the face.

Let me give you just a couple of examples.

Only the winners get dope tested at the greyhounds. Losers go swab free, even if they get beaten twenty lengths at ten to one on. And no-one at QRIC ever twigs that dog people might by and large have skipped uni, but they ain’t a million MBA’s close to being dumb.

The shonks know that they are going to get done if they spike their dogs with drugs to speed them up, so they give them dope to slow them down instead. Ted the Red is $1.40 in a four dog field, so its trainer Tina the Schemer slips it a couple of sleeping pills and boxes the other three in the trifecta. Ted runs around like he’s dreaming and runs last, the trifecta pays 84 bucks for every six units Tina invests, and the winner swabs all shiny and clean.

Come in spinner.

Its worse at the trots. Over on the outside track they team drive in big jackpot pool trifecta and First 4 races, and week after week the desperate dodgers in a fast-dying (thanks to mismanagement and lack of imagination) sport knock one of the big guns in the betting market out of the place into back near last, and collect the loot from exotic bets into the jackpot pool that their cousin has put on at the pub without the execution victim in them. It’s all just innocent driver error of course, even when one of the nation’s top reinsman like Noddy makes a mistake that you wouldn’t witness at a gymkhana from kids over the age of four.

And then of course there are the gallops. Missed starts, horses stuck wide, runs not taken, bumping up bums, copping checks, going to the line hard held in zip fastened pockets that jockeys have sewed themselves: these are just the beginning of the multitude of methods that the jockey boys and girls use to earn a quid, and we haven’t even started on the trainers yet.

The QRIC crew just don’t get it. They run for the Betfair betting sheets – if they call for any at all – and when they don’t spot any suspicious activity they shrug their shoulders and sound the semaphore and declare all clear.

You silly sausages. No-one who pulls horses or dogs up or tanks trotters lays them on Betfair anymore. They bet into exotic pools, mainly trifectas and First 4’s. It ain’t rocket science and nothing new is ever born into this world. The crooked trot drivers in the US were doing it as far back as 1973, the year that more than 2 dozen of them got outed for fixing First 4’s, although the Yanks called them superfectas.

Crooks in Queensland are pulling exactly the same scam almost 4 decades later, and their nefarious activities are so blatant that you’d almost award them a medal for bravery, if only it weren’t so easy.

If the QRIC leaders new racing they would no this, but they don’t, and so they keep sailing across smooth waters smiling at the sun and all the pretty girls, and they miss the whole thing. They don’t even see the bent industry participants laughing at them behind their back.

There is an easy fix to all this. Just leave the egos and the retired police badges at the door, and engage a team of experienced racing analysts and pay an Archie-style expert to lead them, and Bob’s everyone’s bloody uncle.

Ross Barnett is keeping the troops in line and the budget sweet; his deputy Mark Ainsworth is leading the racing intelligence derived dope and dazzler raids and busts; the IT crew and the ex-cops are doing what they do best; and all of them are dancing to the tune that the racing expert identifies the crooks to be singing.

How hard is it really?

Not hard at all.

It just means swallowing a bit of pride and stepping up to the plate.

For racing’s sake lets hope that one day it happens.

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.

Bite.

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.