The Queensland Winter Racing Carnival kicks off tomorrow with a nine-race card at the Gold Coast, but the day has me worried right from the start, as I cannot for the life of me see how having the first race run at 11.42am local time is not disrespectful to Anzac Day. Huge businesses like Bunnings aren’t even opening at all on the day.

If clubs can’t open until 11am or 12noon or open their TAB until 1pm and hotels cannot open their TAB until 1pm, can anyone in racing officialdom please explain to me how the hell you can you start a race meeting at 11.42am and expect the early races to be viable from an industry perspective? I just don’t get it. The TAB holds will be down markedly as punters won’t be able to even bet in the first three races at the Gold Coast, as the hotel that punters normally bet in, cannot open their TAB to take bets until 1pm.

To prove my aforesaid point I jumped on the phone today and randomly rang around hotels and clubs from the Brisbane phone book. The hotels all told me they open at 1pm, except one hotel which told me, “We open our restaurant at midday but the TAB cannot open until 1pm by law”. Asked if that was the same with all hotels, in that the TAB in a hotel cannot open until 1pm, the spokesman said “Yes”. He couldn’t advise whether the same rules related at clubs, so I rang Broncos Leagues Club at Red Hill in Brisbane. A female who introduced herself as Hayley from there told me, “We open at noon (for meals) but the gaming floor, bars and TAB can only open at 1pm”. I then rang and spoke to a lady named Marion at the RSL at Ipswich, as one of the hotel people that I’d spoken to told me that, “Maybe RSL TABs can open earlier”, but Marion at Ipswich RSL told me, “We open at 11am, but the bar, TAB and pokies can’t open until 1pm, that’s the law”. I then rang Tattsbet on their general number off their website of 36326000, at around noon today and spoke to a male who answered the phone. He told me that “many TABs are independently owned so they can open when they like, or they may not open at all”. Again surely being able “to open when they like” is not right on Anzac Day? I asked him, “So the local TAB that is an independently owned TAB may not even open tomorrow,” to which he replied “That’s right”.

So it sounds like confusion will reign supreme early doors tomorrow, which may save punters some money. But again I query if the average punter cannot find a TAB open in Queensland – I can’t check every State or Territory’s rules as I just don’t have time – what’s the sense in that? Aren’t we, via starting a race meeting so ridiculously early at 11.42am, on such an important national day of interest just 1) treating the day with total disrespect and 2) playing in to the hands of those terrible corporates that racing administrators bag all the time, as I’ll bet you that punters will be able to get on there? How is that a level playing field?

In fact I’ll go so far as to say “it’s all so stupid that it defies belief” as I could have scheduled those nine races totally differently at the Gold Coast with 30-minute gaps between races and a much later finish than 4.28pm. Why on earth has the day got to finish at 4.28pm when the sun will still be up much later than that? In fact officially the Gold Coast sunset today is “5.20pm”. But I don’t just sit here and bag people – I’ll advise them how it could have been done. A dumbo like me would have scheduled the races like this 1.02pm (only because Race 1 Flemington is already scheduled to jump at 1pm), 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 4.30pm and 5.02pm and that “5.02pm”would mean Race 9 at the Gold Coast would clash with the last at Randwick which is already scheduled for 5pm. That way all TAB punters – which I always thought were the lifeblood of the industry – could have had a fair opportunity to bet on every race. And doing it that way, I would fit in with the rest of society in terms of any respect issues that may arise with the 11.42am start. But I wouldn’t have enough brains to be a racing administrator, so we just leave it to the “experts” in that field.

Races directly affected that Queensland hotel and club punters cannot get on at a Tattsbet outlet are Gold Coast Races 1 to 3 inclusive (11.42am, 12.17pm and 12.52pm), Sydney Race 1 (12.40pm) and Melbourne Race 1 (which jumps right on 1pm).

Racing Queensland’s new website has copped plenty of criticism from people sending me emails and phoning direct to my mobile. And the same could be said for the new Racingaustralia website that has taken over from RISA. Late in the morning last Wednesday on the Racing Queensland website it had both the incorrect track rating displayed for the Doomben meeting and dozens of horses that were scratched weren’t even showing as being scratched. That’s just a total abortion in any fair person’s mind. Then an SMS went out to trainers this week that the 8 May scheduled race meeting had been transferred from that diabolical Ipswich racetrack to Beaudesert and to check the Racing Queensland website for more details, but I couldn’t find any “more details” on that. It’s there now that one, so for those that couldn’t find it on the day, like me, it reads:

21 Apr 2015

Racing Queensland confirms that the race meeting programmed for Ipswich Turf Club on Friday 8 May has been transferred and will now be run at Beaudesert Race Club.

The decision has been made to move the meeting from Ipswich to allow the racing surface to recover and to accommodate the significant number of meetings that will take place at the venue leading into & during the winter months.

As a result of the change there will be some (distance) amendments to the previously published program & accordingly it will now be:

Handicap (Ratings Band 0-70 – Colts, Geldings & Entires) was 1000m, now 1050m – $16,000

Handicap (Ratings Band 0-70 – Fillies & Mares) was 1000m, now 1050m – $16,000

Handicap (Class 5) 1200m -$16,000

Class 3 Plate (SW) was 1666m, now 1650m – $16,000

Handicap (Class 1) was 1350m, now 1400m – $16,000

Maiden Plate (SW) was 1666m, now 1650m – $16,000

Maiden Plate (Four-Year-Old & Up SW) was 1000m, now 1050m – $16,000

QTIS Added Stakes Maiden Plate (Three-Year-Old SW) was 1000m, now 1050m – $16,000 + QTIS $12,000

Please note that there will be no race divisions at this meeting.

Racing Queensland Cadet Handicapper Sam Watson has advised the website that the scaled weights for the Gold Coast tomorrow are: Race 3 – 2kgs, Race 4 – 2kgs and Race 5 – 2.5kgs. So in my words, not Sam’s, those three races are of good quality in comparison to what the Handicapper would normally expect for the class of race.

Apprentice jockeys cannot claim in any of the races at the Gold Coast tomorrow so there is no need to put their weights up here publicly today.

Today on I look at this race that it seems all those are highly excited about – the Hollindale Cup. there’s a harness story, whilst on Matt Nicholls looks at Flemington.

Neil Davis from popular New Zealand website has sent his thoughts through for Kiwi gallopers racing tomorrow at the Gold Coast. Neil’s report reads:

I’m sure you are all a bit wary of the Kiwi talent after Volkstok’n’barrell and Mongolian Khan both won in Sydney. Over the next few weeks, quite a few more will heading your way to try and get the meatier share of the great purses on offer. Below are four of them racing on Saturday and they are all solid each way chances.

Gold Coast

Race 9 – 4.28pm Queensland time

8-Huka Eagle won easily on debut on a Dead track at Ellerslie, then after a short break was just beaten by Volkstok’n’barrell, which went on to do good things. He is best up to 1400m and has been working very well. Tony Pike has him ready for a strong effort fresh up again and is a solid each way chance against these.


Race 7 – 4.13pm SA time

2-Prima split Mongolian Khan and Volkstok’n’barrell in the Avondale Guineas over 2100m, which was the lead up to our Derby. Failed in the Derby, but after a short break resumed with a strong closing second over 1600m. Drawn wide here but does have enough early pace to slide over and with a good run and can beat these.


Race 2 – 1.35pm – Melbourne time

12-Let her Rip was very impressive in her debut win after getting back and showing excellent acceleration to win strongly. Then second up she drew wide and was snagged back and was putting in some strong strides late. The 1400m suits ideal here and from her draw, she should get a cosy trip and looks another strong each way chance.


Race 6 – 4.00pm – Melbourne time

7.Gifted Lad is a strong Zabeel gelding that has impressed in his short career. He relaxes well and is ideally suited to 2800m. It would not surprise to see him win this.

The Postman has sent his thoughts through for tomorrow and they read:

With attention focussed on the Gold Coast this Saturday, I’m keen on the chances of Sir John Hawkwood in the Chairman’s Hcp. Peter Moody is finally getting a decent prep into this gelding & I think he should be close to peak fitness coming into tomorrow’s assignment. Sir John Hawkwood’s Flemington win three starts back was very good, running neat late sectionals in the process. Two starts back he simply got too far back in the Canberra Cup after starting favourite and reportedly didn’t handle the very firm track either. He was given a freshen & sent to Randwick last start for the Chairman’s over 2600m. After settling back in the field in a muddling run race, he crept around them approaching the turn & battled very well down the straight to be beaten just over a length behind Tremec. I really don’t think he stretched out in the heavy going, so his effort was very sound for mine.

Tomorrow Sir John Hawkwood drops back to 2200m, which I don’t consider a problem, as I think he races best around this distance range. The improving track on the Gold Coast should see it back in the good range come jump time, which should suit perfectly. He also has a handy weight pull on a couple of key rivals, a very patient rider in Luke Nolen and he’s drawn well. I suspect the local horse Perplexity will take up the running at a reasonable tempo & Sir John Hawkwood should settle back in the field on the fence. If Luke can track into the race from about the 600m & get clear running entering the straight, I think Sir John Hawkwood can finish over the top of them.

Of the main dangers, I think Index Linked has had a long prep & his last run looked a bit flat, so I’m potting him with 59kg here. Tremec performs better as the tracks get softer, so a good track is a query for mine. Hi Son is shaping up well this prep & may place and I can’t see the balance of the field threatening Sir John Hawkwood. I think this is his race.

Sir John Hawkwood is currently around $3.5 with some agencies & I’ve seen better than $4 on Betfair. I think he’s a genuine 9/4 or $3.25 chance against these.

Gold Coast 3-4 Sir John Hawkwood.

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