EXCLUSIVE: RACING QUEENSLAND LAUNCH SUNDAY RAIDS ON GREYHOUND TRAINERS IN SOUTH-EAST QUEENSLAND AS CONSIDERATION

23/02/15

A Sunday afternoon is, in any fair person’s assessment, an odd time for the racing industry to be invoking radical changes at its senior level, but that’s exactly what happened yesterday afternoon when Racing Queensland stood down their General Manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations – Wade Birch.

I must admit that if I were Premier of Queensland, I would have “stood down” people more senior to Wade Birch. Granted one is a start – but to me it’s “an ordinary start”. Let me also say that I’m sure that Wade Birch would be a very interesting person to interview – under oath – in respect of instructions he may have received on certain matters from those above him in recent years. It’s all well and good being the Integrity boss, but at the end of the day Wade Birch doesn’t run the show.

The Media Release issued by Racing Queensland yesterday stated in part “Information that has come to light in the past week suggests there were procedural issues within the integrity area of the business.” Well how the hell weren’t Kevin Dixon and CEO Darren Condon noticing there were problems with the “integrity” of the industry a long time ago, when websites like this one were bringing industry problems to public account? Yet little or nothing was being done to sort them out? One would have to believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and The Three Bears, to think there has never been a problem with the integrity of the racing industry prior to “the past week”.

So “The Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board” has suddenly concluded that they’ll hold an “internal review” into “those short-comings” in respect of the “procedural issues within the integrity department and its inspection procedures”. Society-at-large loves “internal reviews”. There’s nothing more exciting than the police investigating themselves.

Thank God for 4 Corners, or everyone at Racing Queensland hierarchy would have still been patting themselves on the back and telling each other what a great job they were all doing. Later this week I’ll put up some quotes from 2014 that those at the very top of Racing Queensland put out in the public domain. (Warning: don’t be eating when you read some of this vomitable tripe that I’ll reproduce in that article or you could choke).

I’ve concluded that since last Monday night, Racing Queensland could have some of its own people star in a movie that they could call “50 Shades of Red” from the sheer embarrassment that their inaction over a long period of time has caused – not only them – but to the entire racing industry. The movie which could be filmed entirely at Deagon would be an assured box-office hit and would tell the story of how the proverbial well and truly hit the fan one bleak day in February 2015. And when it hit the fan some stuck – and more will continue to stick each day as the fan continues to go around – starting yesterday. The movie would have it all – including some interesting “cracks” in Racing Queensland – which important emails sent to Racing Queensland seem to miraculously fall straight through.

It seems amazing to me, as an outsider looking in, that if any licensee across the three codes of racing should stuff up, they are immediately pounced on and have the full force of every rule of racing thrown at them by Racing Queensland, yet if Racing Queensland hierarchy are asleep at the helm – as this latest greyhound industry drama has shown – that’s okay, as long as mainstream media doesn’t blow the lid on it.

Since the recent Queensland State election, Racing Queensland boss Kevin Dixon has suddenly decided and advised publicly that he’s “apolitical.” But I’m starting to think that he’d be more interestingly described as “apolitical hot potato” right now since the proverbial hit the fan last Monday night. He’s the boss of the whole shebang, so I can’t understand why the buck doesn’t stop with him – or at least with him and his CEO. I must remember that if the proverbial ever happens with my four websites I’ll have to consider who to apportion blame to. Maybe the typist? She’d be an easy target, or maybe my office girl which would be my wife. After all, why blame yourself for any what the Racing Queensland Media Release yesterday called “short-comings” if you are boss of a business when there are other options?

In other exclusive news, Justracing was also contacted by what I’d call “quite a few greyhound trainers” whose South-East Queensland properties were raided during yesterday by Racing Queensland stewards. Racing Queensland bosses obviously haven’t told their mates in mainstream media about that little gem, the timing of which I would call “rampant stupidity” on the part of Racing Queensland. Had Racing Queensland done the same raids 30 months ago, 24 months ago, 18 months ago, 12 months ago, or even just a few months ago when an animal liberation group wanted a meeting behind closed doors to discuss problems with the CEO Darren Condon, they may have done something constructive towards ensuring that everything was going fine out in licensee country in the present day.

I personally think that raids on greyhound licensees just six days after 4 Corners aired would be about as useless as trying to fly to the moon in a Cessna – with half a tank of aviation fuel. I can’t wait for a Media Release to come out on the results of the raids and I’m hopeful it will come out today. It needs to – because the entire Queensland greyhound industry is being tarred with the one brush over the actions of only one person to this point who has publicly admitted wrongdoing. There are names that Racing Queensland released being bandied around in the media all over the place and I’m sure there will be no proven footage of all those named persons doing what “they” say has happened.

I cannot see how the hell Racing Queensland can name a stack of people and have those same people named on Page 2 of national newspapers when they haven’t even had the opportunity to respond to “show cause” notices yet. Since when in Australia is everyone considered guilty until they’ve had the chance to prove their innocence?

I want to know why all the greyhound trainers were named publicly before they have had a chance to defend themselves via legal representation, yet the same entity that named them publicly – Racing Queensland – keeps telling us week in and week out that they can’t give us any names of thoroughbred or harness trainers caught up in the equally disgusting cobalt issue. Am I missing something here? If Racing Queensland can rattle off a list of greyhound trainers as long as your arm publicly before those exact same people have had a chance to even talk to a legal representative, or have a lawyer sit with them at a “show cause” hearing, well why weren’t the trainers with the cobalt irregularities named, with the caveat that “we (Racing Queensland) are awaiting the results of the B-sample” or whatever.

I’m starting to think that the 4 Corners program sent racing administrators along the eastern seaboard of Australia into belief that “Step one in a crisis is to panic,” so they felt the need to throw some names out into the public domain to make it look as though they were all over the problem like a bout of the measles, long after the horse had bolted.

Now let me say that I’m no Queens Counsel, but how could anyone possibly have footage of every single person that’s charged in each jurisdiction walking up to the lure with a live animal and then letting their dog/s loose? After all there are dozens of people that have been charged nationally, yet I didn’t see “dozens” of different people on camera.

I trust that all those people that have been publicly named and shamed in newspapers and on websites – and who in many cases haven’t even had a chance to legal representation prior to same – certainly have their opportunity to legal representation prior to the expiration of the “show cause” notice. After all “legal representation” is a basic right afforded each and every one of us – isn’t it?

Lindsay Gallagher’s normal Monday column obviously couldn’t go up here today due to the Doomben meeting being abandoned last Saturday, but God willing Lindsay will return next Monday. If God’s not willing and decides to pull rank, then we are all stuffed. However when you are close to God like I am “the big fella” gives me the occasional heads up on a story, just to let me know that he’s actually the first bloke to get all the “exclusives” – not someone working for a Murdoch or Fairfax paper. To that end, God has told me whilst on bended knee last night, “There will be racing at Doomben next Saturday. I only sent a cyclone into Queensland late last week as, to be honest, the State is full of sinners and when you are sinning it’s very easy to take your eye off the ball, so I just wanted to pull rank and show them who runs the joint”. So there you have it.

Did you know that Doomben Track Manager Jim Roberts advised that the Doomben meeting that was lost last Saturday was only the second meeting that has been lost at that track for “two years”? The other one was back on 24 January this year.

Today around the four websites it’s all so exciting that you might need an angina pill to calm yourself before reading all the stories. On www.brisbaneracing.com.au you can read all about the passing of a great racing man at the ripe old age of 91. I spent some time with him one day last year and he was in good health and sharp as a tack then. On www.sydneyracing.com.au there’s a full preview of the Inglis Premier Yearling Sale in Melbourne, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Matt Nicholls has his usual interesting Monday Musings column. Matt Nicholls has been writing for me now for just on three years. How time flies when you’re having fun – and are much closer to Point B than Point A.

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