Yesterday in what I’d call “a typical passive and patronizing interview on RadioTAB”, racecaller David Fowler spoke to Racing Queensland Chairman Kevin Dixon – and the Racing Queensland Chairman yet again used his what I’d call “allies in the media” to slam “certain racing websites” and their “owners” about those websites being “constantly negative” towards the racing industry in Queensland and how they “don’t report the facts” and all this allied tripe the Chairman spoke of.

I’d like to discuss the topic of the “constantly negative” aspect of “certain websites” here today.

As we live in a democracy I’m happy to put my hand up and say that I write plenty of “negative” stories on racing across the three codes of the industry in Queensland, so whilst the only website David Fowler named publicly was “Letsgohorseracing” it could be reasonably implied that “Justracing” is also a website that is regularly “negative” towards the racing industry in Queensland. Let me say I have no issue with someone dishing out constructive criticism of both myself and my websites, as I’m a big boy, and as I give some out, it’s only fair that I’ll cop some back. In short I accept that that goes with the territory. And to that end, I worked out about 40 years ago that the only person who never gets into strife in life is the person who doesn’t have an opinion – he or she is better known as a “fence sitter”. I reckon “fence sitters” only get haemorrhoids, so I like to have an opinion – that’s what God gave me a brain for – and that’s why my wonderful late parents spent so much time and effort trying to educate me in all facets of life, so that as an adult, I had the capability of thinking for myself. That grounding was terrific as today I don’t need anyone else to think on my behalf.

Kevin Dixon says the “website owners” – note the plural of the word “owners”, meaning his comments weren’t restricted to the “Letsgohorseracing” website write negative stories. Now so it’s not ancient history, less than 24 hours after that interview, namely today, I’d like to mention two “facts” that are happening on this day – not yesterday or tomorrow – in the racing industry in Queensland and unless the Racing Queensland Chairman has what I’d call “retro-cranial inversion” I’d like to hear his retort about what is not “fact” about the following. I fully accept what I’m about to write is 100% “negative”, but I wouldn’t normally have written the following at all today for this website, as I had another story written and ready to go up here today, but thanks to that radio interview, it will have to wait for tomorrow now. Firstly today we have a TAB thoroughbred race meeting happening in Mackay. Now so I don’t have to go into that Mackay meeting in great detail let’s just start at the start – Race 1. Now it only has six acceptors and of those six acceptors no fewer than four emanate from the one stable. Yet as early as this morning’s paper, which landed on my front lawn at 4.30am, two of the four runners from that one stable are already scratched, so provided there are no further scratchings by scratching deadline time we will have four runners. Now Mr Dixon and Mr Fowler I ask, “How exciting is that?” I’m very sorry but I cannot for the life of me see how there is anything but “constant negativity” in that race being allowed to happen. Where is there anything “positive” for racing in that? My thoughts are that the industry in North Queensland cannot possibly be heading to any dizzy heights when under Kevin Dixon as Chairman a chap named Peter Fleming, the trainer with four of the six acceptors, has to travel a 1,700-kilometre round trip from Gympie to Mackay just to race the horses he trains. Conversely that also means that we have just two North Queensland representatives in those six acceptors in Race 1. How in God’s name can there be only two 2YO runners making their way to Mackay today from the vast numbers of 2YO’s that surely must be domiciled between say Rockhampton and Townsville? Didn’t you, Kevin Dixon, as Chairman of Racing Queensland, authorize expenditure of millions of dollars of the industry’s money – that you actually inherited from your predecessor Bob Bentley anyway – to put a Strathayr track in at Mackay? Looks to me like that brainwave was the saviour of the Mackay industry judging by the massive field size in Race 1 today. Oops sorry – I’m being “negative”. Why let the truth get in the way of a good story.

The other thing that’s occurring today that I’m terribly sorry I can’t find a positive about, is happening at the Albion Park harness racing meeting scheduled to get underway at 1.33pm local time. The Albion Park Club has been able to scrape together only six races. Congratulations to one and all. That in itself is what I would call “pathetic”, but if you look at the facts and realities about those six races it actually gets worse – as four of the six races don’t even have each way betting on them, as before scratchings the field sizes are, in race order, 7-6-7-7-8-8. I’m terribly sorry Mr Dixon that you see that sort of public information being placed on public websites like mine as being “constantly negative”, but I’m obliged after 17 years of doing this to – on what I’d call “an as and when basis” to bring “facts” like these to the attention of my many readers, whenever I feel like doing so, as after all – I – not you or Mr Fowler, own the four websites that I operate – and I haven’t been successfully sued for defamation yet in 17 years of writing, so wouldn’t that simple “fact” alone lead one to believe that what gets written here must be reasonably factual?

I also noted at the close of your radio interview with David Fowler yesterday that you suggested if your own personal current level of achievement continued (who said self gratification is bad for you) that you will achieve more than you “originally thought possible” by the time your “first three years in office” is up. There is no doubt that in your own mind you will – if you have a positive attitude like that, but may I remind you Sir that the band on the Titanic kept playing right until the end also, as unless they could tread icy water for many hours, in reality what else were they going to do, as the available lifeboats were all being used? Whatever you do Mr Dixon, don’t look at Race 1 at the Mackay thoroughbreds today, or at the Albion Park trot fields for today and both you and Mr Fowler will feel a whole lot better about how the racing industry in the State of Queensland is progressing. It’s a shame you can’t accept “constructive criticism” like I have been able to do for the last 17 years. In fact if you read more of what gets written on these websites you might get a fairer appraisal of the state of the industry than from listening to people who want to be patronizing towards you. I couldn’t give a toss if you don’t like me even – life is not a popularity contest.

And it would be remiss of me to write this story and not give the greyhound code a go, as both other codes got a go in the previous paragraph and after all “werunasone” nowadays in Queensland – allegedly. Mr Dixon may recall that only one person from the media – Phil Purser from Justracing – bothered attending and reporting publicly on a greyhound industry meeting at Albion Park in July 2012 the “fact” that when Kevin Dixon addressed that meeting he stated the greyhound industry should know “by Christmas” where their “new one turn track” was going. That story can be revisited on this thread: https://www.justracing.com.au/index.php?news_page=1&artid=4086&catid=52. I accept that he didn’t specifically say which particular “Christmas” – as in 2012 or 2022, or somewhere in between – but those present took it as read that the man meant “Christmas 2012”. When I put up a story slamming the Chairman of Racing Queensland about eight months into 2013 after he’d failed to tell the greyhound industry where their new track was going – using money again that he’d inherited from Bob Bentley – I’m obviously being “negative”, but fair dinkum I gave you eight months more than you asked for Mr Dixon. As per the above linked story that I taped – the words “by Christmas” came out of your mouth – not mine –that’s why I am forced to take a tape recorder to industry meetings you are talking at, so I can specifically get the “facts” and have the “facts” at my home – on tape.

And on another matter – whilst you think you are doing such a wonderful job Mr Dixon – can you please point me in the direction of even one solitary highway billboard that you have leased on any highway of this vast State of Queensland in an attempt to publicly assist in the promotion of the racing industry? You see why I ask that is that even a person like myself that is “constantly negative” towards the industry, has between three and six highway billboards visible at any one time in Queensland and Northern New South Wales to assist in promoting the three codes of racing industry.

In conclusion Sir, if you are going to start a war with 58-year-old people like myself who have been involved in the industry for longer than you have – and who has experience in the industry across a more diverse cross-section of roles than you, do make sure that you have enough ammunition to make sure that you are some chance of winning that war before the first bullet is fired. That’s two bullets that I’ve seen whizzing past my ear now from you – one in The Courier Mail quite some months ago and the other on RadioTAB yesterday.

And for the record I’m still standing.

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au there’s a look back at some highlights of the early days of Mick Dittman’s life – and that of his late wife Maureen . On www.sydneyracing.com.au David Clarkson looks at changes that are happening at the Stud Book, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Matt Nicholls looks at Victorian racing.

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