Here's an article entitled "TCO2" that appeared in the March 2014 edition of Pace Magazine. The relevant text is repeated in full below. What has happened about building a "Retention Barn" in the 10 months since this article was written? I'll give you a hint. Here's a market: "Nothing $1.10", "Something $101". And Racing Queensland would have you believe they are on top of the cobalt issue.
If Racing Queensland was a racehorse engaged at Doomben on Saturday it would be the first horse that punters would put a line through when perusing the form. After all, the horse’s pathetic form over a long period of time would show what an “oxygen thief” the said equine athlete is. In fact Racing Queensland’s form is so bad that it’s the wonder at some past point that it hasn’t been sent from its stable at Deagon, to the nearby Caboolture knackery when its form clearly showed that paying out good money after bad was simply flogging a dead horse.
To give punters a better idea, here’s a quick overview of Racing Queensland and its form card.
Name: RACING QUEENSLAND
Breeding: 3YO colt by Mediocrity out of Host of Broken Promises (ex Jobs For The Boys)
Record: 14 starts 1 win, no seconds, no thirds.
Standard race day gear: stallion chain, blinkers. Please note vaccinations are up to date so it can go gallivanting all over the world at short notice.
Comment: An enigma if ever there was one. Came on to the scene with a great deal of hype and hope and initially impressed in a couple of jump-outs at Deagon and became touted in mainstream media as the next big thing to happen for the racing industry in Australia. Unfortunately it has since been proven that Racing Queensland hasn’t been able to cut the mustard out on the racetrack of dreams and it has been at best what I’d call “a major disappointment”. To be fair it probably needs a tongue tie as part of its standard gear, as often the mouth is engaged before the brain. Is a colt so gelding may help him concentrate on the task at hand as whilst he’s got blinkers on as standard gear, there seem to be too many distractions. The stallion chain would seem like a good idea as that would save him taking air in through the back passage and it would also prove a hindrance to “recto-cranial inversion,” which in human terms is akin to having one’s “head up the arse”.
Racing Queensland’s sole career win was when they raised prizemoney across the three codes during late 2014 but as per the form above, the other 13 starts all resulted in duck eggs. In any event here’s the full 14 starts and a background on Racing Queensland:
LAST in the “Cronulla Park Stakes” at Logan on debut. Talked the talk but failed miserably when asked to walk the walk. As per recent “exclusive” photos on Justracing, there’s more action at a crematorium at midnight than there is at Cronulla Park. The Courier Mail employs a plethora of photographers working for them but none can go to Cronulla Park and take a photo and no journo that works there can pen a story on this what I’d call “pathetic saga”.
LAST in the “Parklands Harness Racing Club Where The Hell Is Our New Track Pace” at the Gold Coast. Again we all stood around and sang Auld Lang Syne and all that warm and fuzzy stuff on closing night at Parklands, but nothing much has happened since – except a well documented law suit.
LAST in the “Ipswich Turf Club Let’s Renovate The Course Proper Stakes". Allowed racing to be conducted at that venue before the joint was ready for it - to the point where seven months after Racing Queensland allowed the Ipswich Turf Club to resume racing in April 2014, senior jockey Jim Byrne told The Courier Mail in November 2014, “There are bare patches as big as dining tables scattered all down the straight”. Then just on eight months after racing resumed at the Ipswich Turf Club, Racing Queensland had to move the 3 December 2014 meeting from Ipswich to Caloundra because of the Ipswich track surface and what the Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon described as “drought like conditions”. Justracing then went to the track the next day and exclusively photographed - and then publicly displayed those photos - of the Ipswich track whereby it looked as green as a billiard table.
LAST in the “Let’s Try To Keep Existing Board Members Happy Pace” at Deagon. Racing Queensland Deputy Chairman, Barry Taylor, along with Racing Queensland Harness Racing Board Chairman, Brad Steele, tendered their resignations just 24 hours apart in May 2014 - so obviously they weren’t happy with events that were unfolding at the top of the organization.
LAST in the “Bob Bentley Class 6 Set Weights Plate” at Deagon. Racing Queensland promised to reinvent the wheel when it was going to get the million-odd bucks back from former senior staffers that Bob Bentley and his Board had allegedly overpaid when those staff resigned just before the last Queensland election. A few years down the track and in 48 hours time we are at the next Queensland election - and the silence has been deafening about Racing Queensland getting any money back. More hot air.
FIRST in the “For Christ’s Sake Throw Some Money At Them To Keep The Troops From Being Restless And Inciting A Riot Maiden” at 50/1 again run at Deagon. Won his only career start this day after announcing increased prizemoney across the three codes, but as you can see by his deplorable CV - both before and after this win - this sole career win at huge odds flies in the face of all the duck eggs in his form. The Integrity unit is still awaiting cobalt levels to come back from Western Australia after a post-race swab was taken following this shock 50/1 win. Then when they get them back they’ll have to get them checked by someone else, then they will only tell The Courier Mail what is going on, so that they can have a day or two start on everyone else in the media, which all means “they” should be in a position to tell the public if the test is positive to cobalt some time during 2016.
LAST in the “Gerry Harvey Magic Millions $10million Plate at the Gold Coast” after Racing Queensland committed to part with millions of dollars of industry money to Harvey over a seven-year period, even though many trainers, jockeys and owners - and their respective families - are eating paint off the walls out in western Queensland or in north Queensland, to the point whereby numerous trainers, jockeys and owners are crook from ingesting paint. “Paint lacks basic nutritional needs and does not form part of a balanced diet,” an AMA spokesman told Justracing.
LAST in both the “Cobalt Benchmark 200 Handicap” at Doomben and later that same day in the “Cobalt 200 Pace” at Albion Park. Was restrained to the rear of the field on jumping and was happy to just sit out the back of the field doing absolutely nothing to the point where they didn’t even have the samples tested when the proverbial hit the fan down south with Pierre, Daniel and Marcus. If they'd have been even half on the ball, they'd have had the tests done months ago and they'd have been all ready to rock and roll when thresholds were advised by the Australian Racing Board. Harness Racing New South Wales has rubbed people out for some years many months ago, yet Racing Queensland has sat on their hands for so long they are numb. They haven’t even checked the B samples yet. Hello – what planet are you all on – the rest of us are on Earth.
LAST in the “Eagle Farm Stakes”. Should have been on the ball and closed that track down so that on the first day of Spring, they could have whacked a tunnel in, ripped the course proper up and put a new course proper in with new grass – thereby having a red hot go (no pun intended) to race there in May 2015 in time for the Brisbane Winter Carnival. Brisbane has been as hot as the Hindenburg was when it caught on fire that time, it’s been raining consistently for weeks and Racing Queensland is obviously flush with funds, giving blokes like Gerry Harvey handouts, so they could have afforded the fertiliser. What are the only three things you need to grow grass? "Water, heat and fertiliser" – Bingo. We could have had so much grass growing at Eagle Farm currently that the joint would have looked wonderful even this far out. Now God knows when they’ll race, as they can’t work out who’s paying for the tunnel or some allied nonsense. Just excuse me while I head-butt this brick wall. Surely this isn’t a case of “the blind leading the blind, helped by the unwilling and assisted by the unknowing”? That would be hard to believe in racing.
LAST in the “Tattsbet False Advertising Stakes” run at Albion Park, by suggesting on a banner on their website that “Tattsbet offer better fixed odds more often” - which by my publicly displayed research is best described as “total garbage”.
LAST in the “Werunasone Stakes” at Hatton Vale. This race was run in a cow and/or horse paddock out at Hatton Vale on the way to Toowoomba – I’m not sure which, as I didn’t get an invite to this one either. The cameras were there in force though and everyone was smiling as happily as a baby that just got rid of wind, but Werunasone soon ran out of steam and the pathetic effort produced another duck egg result. It started off as a website with this warm and fuzzy stuff, but it soon fizzled out and in the end it was just another, what I’d call “dumb as the dog derivative” idea with an accompanying waste of industry money being spent to set up a website for it, etcetera.
LAST in the “Stewards Reports Integrity Stakes” which failed to advise the names of thoroughbreds swabbed on a given day. “All winners plus six others” was the sort of thing being written, which is about as useless as the proverbials on a bull. Justracing got involved personally to sort that garbage out.
LAST in the “Keeping Industry Stakeholders Informed Stakes”. They work on the “tell ’em nothing take ‘em nowhere” theory. Regular monthly or even quarterly updates on such matters as where the new Cronulla Park greyhound track is at, where the legal action is at in respect of the new harness track and why they weren’t on the front foot on the cobalt issue, show how what I’d call “astute business acumen” is sadly missing.
LAST in the affording their own “accredited media” a level playing field. They accredit media like Justracing but only invite “selected media” when engaging in what I’d call “nonsense” like giving Magic Millions some millions of dollars. Only “selected media” - which is a fancy name for “media sympathisers,” - get invitations, so they can write positive stories about such “nonsense” for the general public.
And then to add insult to injury, Racing Queensland recently advised that they were on top of the cobalt dramas. Had the proverbial not hit the fan in Victoria, I’d hazard a guess that Racing Queensland would have still been sitting on their hands on the issue.
But awaiting the cobalt swabs that are still to come back isn’t the only drama besetting Racing Queensland in regard to testing of equine athletes. Check out more exclusive Justracing investigative journalism in the text here (below) from the March 2014 edition of Pace Magazine regarding TCO2 levels. This was written 10 months ago in a monthly column called “The All Clear” by “David Farquharson Chief Steward”. In full and unedited it reads”:
“As discussed at the February BOTRA meeting, Racing Queensland (RQ) are considering ways of addressing the TC02 issue, which remains a thorn in the side for Queensland Harness Racing.
A pre-race sample is taken from a selected runner in every race and, on occasion, multiple samples are taken. Industry participants are aware of the results of these tests as they are published on the RQ website.
Since January 2009, there have been a total of 50 positive swabs, of which 33 were attributable to TC02. Some measures being considered include but are not limited to increasing the first offence penalty to 12 months disqualification, second offence to two years disqualification and third offence to five years disqualification. Also being considered is the use of a Retention Barn at licensed tracks when a horse returns a level in excess of 35m/mol.
This will require a trainer to present the horse at the track at a time determined by the controlling body for the purposes of supervision and pre-raced testing. It will be the trainer’s responsibility to provide a stable representative along with any feed or water and a RQ official will be present for the duration of the detention. These measures are designed to improve the integrity of Queensland Harness Racing and provide a level playing field for all participants”.
So what has happened about “A Retention Barn at tracks”? Absolutely nothing. In fact Albion Park has long had the stables that were dismantled from the now defunct Parklands track on the Gold Coast - so the easiest thing in the world would be pay a couple of days wages to a few people and erect a couple of “Retention Barns” if Racing Queensland was so interested in providing “a level playing field for all participants”. Interestingly, Harness Racing New South Wales issued their licensees with a notice way back on 9/7/14, which came into effect on 1/9/14, about certain horses being required to be on course four hours before a race for an eight week period, so the system is in place in other jurisdictions – yet Racing Queensland has been sitting on its hands on this one since at least March 2014, proving yet again how ordinary we really are at trying to create “a level playing field” for our licensees.