Justracing is the only website and/or racing entity in the entire length and breadth of Australia that advertises on billboards in two States. In fact I don't know any that even do it in one State. There are up to six Justracing billboards functional at any one time and each skin is designed to help promote the three codes of racing. This one is just up the road from my good friends at the Ipswich Turf Club where I'm banned from the enclosure. That's no great concern as they don't race there much lately, but anyone attending a race meeting there soon will be able to see the billboard on the main drag into Ipswich near the Ebbw Vale railway station. Justracing only uses one company - Metrospace from New Farm in Brisbane - for all billboard hiring and attending to manufacturing the skins and installing them at various locations, in an association that has been ongoing for more than a decade. They're great people to deal with and go out of their way to satisfy their clients, which not a lot of businesses do in the modern age.
The Brisbane Winter Carnival apparently commences next Saturday at the Gold Coast. Seen a billboard on a main highway anywhere to tell the world about our racing Carnival, which will happen across the three codes over the next two months? No – me neither. Why bother telling anyone outside of racing about the racing industry? Come to think of it, no one has, for the last couple of decades, which is probably why the whole concept is so poorly marketed by race clubs and administrators that we can get a crowd to the races about six or seven weeks of the year, which equates to about 10% of the time. The other 90% there’s more action in a cemetery than there is on racetracks. The pathetic crowd numbers that Randwick attracted in the two days of The Championships is unfortunately a glaring and pertinent bad sign for the racing industry in the long term.
In fact if you go looking for racing billboards anywhere promoting racing around Queensland or northern New South Wales, if you don’t see a Justracing billboard, you can just about bet “London to a brick on” that you simply will not see any other racing billboard trying to promote the sport.
Let’s hope for the sake of the racing industry that the Winter Carnival is a wonderful success across the three codes, but I must admit that every day I pick up the paper I’m getting the heebie-jeebies about it. Intended positive newspaper stories about the thoroughbred side of the industry are concerning to say the least. Last week we got told that Green Moon was coming to Brisbane. Why? Put simply we don’t want the cat up here. Sure he won the Melbourne Cup in 2012 but he hasn’t won a race since. That’s akin to The Beatles being on the top of the music charts today, the young people of today have never heard of The Beatles. It’s all ancient history. In fact in 14 starts subsequent to the Melbourne Cup Green Moon has run just one placing. In any fair person’s assessment – that’s what I’d call “meow material”.
Then last weekend the big news that broke was that the New Zealand mare Silent Achiever was coming to Brisbane for the Winter Carnival. Let us pray - she’s nothing but a dead-set tease. Interestingly she’s also a “long term loser” as she hasn’t won a race anywhere since 5/4/14. She’s started nine times since and has run just one placing in those nine starts across six different tracks (Randwick, Caulfield, Flemington, Moonee Valley, Warwick Farm and Rosehill). One could surely ask, given she’s won over A$2.5 million, why isn’t she barefoot and pregnant?
So between Green Moon and Silent Achiever, since their last victory they’ve cumulatively started 23 times for two placings, so this pathetic pair of excuses for racehorses have a hopeless cumulative 8.69% place win strike rate.
But the bad news isn’t contained via Green Moon and Silent Achiever as I fear that the male suicide rate in the ranks of punters will swell again this year because of the Brisbane Winter Carnival. My heart sank yesterday when I read in the paper that “Previous visitors Foreteller, Moriarty and Hawkspur return, along with revitalised nine-year-old He’s Imposing”. To be honest, I stuck my head back under the covers for half an hour and then got out the other side of the bed. But when I went and picked up the paper again - just to make sure I’d read it right the first time - unfortunately it read exactly the same the second time around.
Let me go through these four darlings of the turf one at a time.
For his part, Foreteller has surely got giddy going around. He’s won just two races in the last 24 months and one of them was by a wart at Flemington on 7/9/13 and the other one was by a pimple on 20/9/14. As you can see by that he appears to win only in September each year. Well at least that’s what’s happened in 2013 and 2014, but the Brisbane Winter Carnival finishes in June, so maybe it will be about three months early for him? He comes to Brisbane with the impressive form of 8-5-13-9-6-9-8. What a talent - I can hardly wait for him to step out.
Next on the hit parade is Moriarty. In the last 19 months he’s won three races and two of the three victories were by a wart. Unfortunately the other of those three wins was at Eagle Farm on 31/5/14 by a bigger margin. The problem there is that that track is currently closed down for World War 3 or something, so Moriarty won’t be able to step out at Eagle Farm this year. He did start at both the Gold Coast and Doomben when he was here last year but he obviously threw his toys out of the cot at both places - as fifth was as good as he could do to finish at those two tracks.
Hawkspur unfortunately comes back to Brisbane. He won the Queensland Derby in 2013 and the “experts” were all over him like a bout of the measles. They talked Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup or maybe even both. In hindsight he might have been a place chance in the Corfield Cup in country Queensland, but the Caulfield Cup in Melbourne was a bit out his league. Then he got beaten just 19 lengths (so there’s no confusion, in words that’s nineteen) in the Melbourne Cup. So in the 19-month timeframe since he won at Rosehill on 7/9/13, he’s won just one race and that was by the width of a Tally Ho cigarette paper. He comes to Brisbane with form of 10-8-11-10-11-13-3-3. I think I need an angina tablet from the sheer excitement of it all.
And last but not least of “champion trainer” Chris Waller’s Queensland stars is I’m Imposing. He’s a beauty. In the 54 months since he won at Caulfield on 13/10/10 he’s won four races, so that averages a bit under one win a year. And to add insult to injury two of the four wins have been in very close photo finishes. He’s a rising 10YO. Geez – but via those four wins, he possesses hero status compared to Green Moon, Silent Achiever, Foreteller, Moriarty and Hawkspur.
Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s the What’s In A Name segment from last Saturday’s races. On www.sydneyracing.com.au Bernard Kenny reports in on the 2015 Dubai World Cup, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Victorian racing is perused.