Tag: trots

How to Win Friends, Influence People and Lose a Million Dollars in Sales, in One Easy Email – Big Bob the Boofhead From the Soon to be Defunct Australian Pacing Gold Gives the Punters in a Master Class in How Not to Manage a Company

Angry Young Men and Hypocrisy on Steroids – How to Win Friends and Influence People, Australian Pacing Gold Style – Methinks the APG Has a Death Wish, and Wants Their Fast-Sinking Ship to Sink a Whole Lot Faster




I read with interest your tweets extolling the virtues of Nutrien Equine.  With this level of energy and rhetoric, you should be on the Nutrien payroll as some sort of a Marketing Executive or perhaps at least receiving a spotter’s commission for drumming up business, if you aren’t already.

What does concern me however are the inaccuracies in some of your comments which could be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to mislead and manipulate the marketplace.

Can I quote from one recent tweet of yours [attached] and address some of the assertions:

No up front entry fees.  All costs come out of proceeds.

  • Since your father is the proprietor of Benstead Stud, you may not realise that, for the past three years at least, no ‘entry fees’ for any Bensteadowned yearling have been paid ‘up front’ – they were all paid out of proceeds.
  • Are you also suggesting that Nutrien will not require any payment for Cataloguing if there are NO proceeds – I.e. the yearling is not sold?

No commission on passed in lots.

  • This is great for those who don’t really want to sell in the first place.
  • Perhaps you should mention however that if you want to be in the Nutrien race series, you still have to pay the full 10% Commission on your reserve + $3000 Sustaining fee on Sales day.
  • You might also mention that if your yearling is passed-in at an APG sale in 2021 and you want to be part of the Race series, it is 10% Commission up to a MAXIMUM of $3300 which includes the free $700 sales day first instalment for the Race Series.

The prize money is underwritten & every extra cent will go into race series.

This is interesting given the projections for the sale by Nutrien themselves:

  • If there are 300 yearlings with an 80% clearance rate at average $30K each, that works out at a total COMMISSION = $720K.
  • Of that $720K, Nutrien indicates that 30% will be dedicated to the race series = $216K
  • Add to that the SUSTAINING fees – let us presume that 200 of the graduates sustain = $600K
  • So . . . for the Race Series, on Nutrien’s projected numbers, the money available for the Race Series will be = $816K
  • The remainder, $504K, will be to cover Sales expenses and PROFIT.
  • But . . . the Prizemoney for the Series totals just over $400K??

Please tell me how that equates to ‘every extra cent’ going into the race series?  You told me in June last year that the new Company would be prepared to sustain a LOSS in the first few years to get the sales off the ground.  Well, that ain’t happening!

NOT PUT IN THE BANK where it can’t assist the industry.

The CAPITAL letters are yours from the Tweet – obviously you are SHOUTING this out as loud as possible.  This is all part of your belief that APG is hoarding money which it should be spending.

Craig, I wrote to you in early March this year to point out APG’s financial commitments to its three ‘live’ race series.  I quote from that email:

At present we have horses signed up for Series 29, 30 and 31.

Series 29 for 3yo – APG has guaranteed prizemoney of around $850K  [Racing in May 21 at Melton]
Series 30 for 2yo and 3yo – APG has guaranteed prizemoney of around $1950K  [2yo racing in May 21 at Melton]
Series 31 for 2yo, 3yo and 4yo – APG has guaranteed prizemoney of around $2400K [2yo racing in 2022 at Menangle]

So, at the moment – APG has promised its paid-up subscribers around $5.2 Million going forward. I imagine that anyone who has paid up for one of those Series will expect that APG can guarantee that prizemoney.

I know that you might find it uncomfortable to think that this money is not available NOW to the industry at large – it belongs to those who have sustained their yearlings in anticipation of these race series.  And . . . I would suggest that the safest place for that money is NOT being given away NOW, NOT invested in the volatile share market – the best place for it is IN THE BANK.  That’s just good governance.

No smoke and mirrors.

I left this until last.  It’s my favourite.

I understand that angry young men might want to pester their parents or parents-in-law and clients to pursue a particular vision.  Such young men might think a single sale of yearlings for the entire country is in the best interests of the industry;  they might think that it is great for harness racing for a multi-national company to profit from an industry ravaged by years of drought and the current pestilence;  they might think that they are doing the industry a favour.

And you know what . . . they are entitled to think all these things.  But thinking them doesn’t necessarily make them true.

Please don’t accuse APG of ‘smoke and mirrors’.  Such a statement, given the contents of your tweet, is hypocrisy on steroids – and I don’t need a blood or hair test to see that – it is bloated and obvious.

Robert Marshall


Australian Pacing Gold

Editor’s note: Benstead Standardbreds is one of Australia’s largest breeders and sellers of harness racing horses. At the most recent APG sale in Sydney, Benstead had a draft of 28 yearlings. Something tells me that the draft number that Benstead sends to next year’s APG sale  – if it were still to exist by then, which, judging by the way Robert Marshall speaks to and treats his major customers, is unlikely – will be zero.

Author’s disclosure: I am a member of the Winning Circle fractional ownership harness racing syndicate based in New York and New Jersey. We own at least one former Aussie pacer bred by Benstead Standardbreds. We also own ex-Australian pacers bred by other studs, that were originally purchased at various APG sales.

I have not met either Craig Judd or Robert Marshall.

If you want to become involved in US harness racing the Winning Circle is brilliant, and caters to investors of all sizes large and small. Matt and Charles who run the syndicate are wonderful guys and do a great job. I recommend the Winning Circle to anyone.


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.

It’s Hard to Keep Your Faith in Harness Racing When Things Like This Happen – What Are You Backing in the Next?


Reinswoman Sofia Arvidsson – dead set, how good is Matt Craven going?

Wanna a see a very suss looking race? Just to see how coincidence can intersect with reality and create false impressions?

No, I’m not talking about how far the talented young trainer Matt Craven punches above his weight.

I’m referring to Race 6 at Terang tonight.

Watch it and weep, when you get the replay.*

There are six starters in the race after the scratchings, but according to the betting market it is really just a two horse race.

Crime Writer drawn the cherry is the 2-1 on ($1.50) favourite, and so it should be for the now 4-year-old competed at the elite level all the way through the juvenile and 3yo ranks. and has the notched of good  horses like Major Exclusive, Brevity, Always Fast, Out to Play, Fourbigmen, Struve and even the multiple Group 1 winning Kiwi colt Jesse Duke in his belt.

That’s good enough form to win a New Rating (NR) 68 to 79 race every day of the year, and although Crime Writer had a setback at the end of his Derby season, he’s had two starts back and won the most recent in a breeze. He looks the bet of the century.

One man’s bird is another man’s bunny in a punters world though, and plenty of non-believers have piled into the horse drawn on Crime Writer’s back, Im Shadow Boxer.

The logic is of course that the Boxer will sit on Crime Writer’s back, and if the fave goes too fast or gets tanked he might rush by, or if he goes too slow the Boxer might be able to crouch and ping him.

Both are not unreasonable assumptions, but things would have to really fall the sprint lane’s way for the dream to come true. Nevertheless they hoe in, and at the jump the pair go off at $1.55 and $2.50 respectively, with none of the other four under double figures, and only the mid-drawn pacers Yankee Lincoln at $12 and Onthecrestofawave at $19 even given a sixth of a show.

It’s a tough life the punt.

Crime Writer comes out of the gate like a crab, and within 100 metres his inside wheel starts wobbling like a jelly shake, and everyone bar the caller knows that he’s punctured a tyre or buckled a wheel.

Driver Sofia Arvidsson – who is, apropos of nothing but an old man’s dreams, the second most beautiful woman in harness racing, a short half head behind Kima – immediately knows that there is a problem too, and pulls Crime Writer up immediately.

The favourite is gonzo, and they haven’t even gone a furlong.

Things haven’t gone quite to plan for Im Shadow Boxer at the start; far from in fact. He’s missed out on the sweet seat, and he’s copped a bit of a prat from Crime Writer as the wheel goes, but all’s not lost, for he didn’t gallop and rising star young gun driver James Herbertson manages to pop into the one-one sit before another half-furlong passes.

Ho ho ho, the plungers who have backed the Boxer are thinking.

The favourite is out, he’s got two and a half seconds in speed on Onthecrestofawave on their best times, and Yankee Lincoln is first up for ten months and is bound to be only three-quarters fit.

The Boxer’s a certainty.

No he wasn’t.

Rather than doing what even the dumbest Indian would do and taking off around them to the lead, or in a worst case scenario the death, after Crime Writer retires from the race, Herberston decides instead to have a snooze.

He sits, and sits, and sits, and sits, and sits until he can sit no more without getting arrested, but by the time he goes wide from the back the leaders have turned the crawl into a sprint, and unless he can run a 54.4 second last half – which he can’t – the race is over. Dead, buried and cremated, just like the two faves tickets.

Despite the 2’s on fave being knocked out and the 6-4 shot only running third, some smart cookie gets the trifecta 20 times, and an even smarter bicky muncher nails the First 4 for four units.

I wish I knew what they knew.

I’m not suggesting that the race was red hot, nothing of the sort. I’m just saying is that when things like this happen, you struggle to keep the faith, that’s all.

What are you backing in the next?

* For some reason the replays and results for Terang are not going up in real time on the harness.org.au website tonight. I will post the replay of the race when it does.

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.







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.