I know from a lifetime spent in either 1) management roles in large companies, or 2) running my own business for 17 years, that it’s impossible to keep everybody happy all of the time, but Racing Queensland – and the race clubs that it oversees – just seem to go from bad to worse. If you think that’s a bit harsh, I even woke up in a cold sweat this morning thinking about the dreadful five days that Racing Queensland boss Kevin Dixon had to endure between last Saturday at noon and last Wednesday inclusive.

The wrath set in for Racing Queensland when they presented two sub-standard and biased racetracks last Saturday at Eagle Farm and the Gold Coast. They should have immediately spent money on these tracks by now and have them fixed. Instead they got Toowoomba back to turf from cushion – and they are currently fixing Ipswich for their Cup meeting. But Eagle Farm has been a priority for years – even more urgent than getting Toowoomba back to turf. Anyway Kevin Dixon is the boss of Racing Queensland, so the buck stops with him. Ditto here, if there’s a problem with my four racing websites, I’m to blame, not the bloke in Melbourne that I’ve never met face to face, or the sheila who does the typing. And in essence, it’s hardly Track Managers who are to blame for last Saturday when they only have tracks that are substandard to work on in the first place. Anyway I covered that poor tracks scenario earlier in the week, but things only got worse from there, when a horse broke down at the 200 at the Gold Coast and had to be euthanized. Given all the dramas in the media about horses breaking down at the Gold Coast that was all they needed.

Then on Saturday night at the annual Greyhound Awards night in Brisbane, the poor buggers from the greyhound industry had to endure more promises, this time from the Racing Minister, Steve Dickson, about their new greyhound track at Logan. Yet again that announcement shows just how far in advance of both the State government and Racing Queensland that Justracing really is, as way back on 22/5/12, I penned a story entitled “Exclusive: Greyhounds will get their standalone venue at Logan as Seymour develops Albion Park”. That article can be revisited here:

So nearly 22 months on from that article being penned by me, the Racing Minister advised the assembled gathering last Saturday night that the project would go ahead and “work on the track would begin in May”. The problem is that he just didn’t say which May. And don’t think that’s a cheap-shot at the Racing Minister, as in my 22/5/12 article above, which was written after I took the time to attend a greyhound industry meeting at Albion Park, the then new Racing Queensland Chairman, Kevin Dixon, said he hoped to have an announcement of where South-East Queensland’s new greyhound track would go “by December”. Everyone in attendance took it to be December 2012, as any person born with the normal amount of grey matter would, but December 2012 came and went – and nothing. December 2013 also came and went – and nothing. Now we are a quarter of the way towards December 2014 – and still not a solitary sod of soil has been turned at the new track site. It’s been little more than a disgrace the way the whole thing has been handled as far as I’m concerned – and the greyhound industry has been treated as second class citizens over the whole affair.

And as if those aforesaid incidents wouldn’t have all been enough to send anyone in the seat of power over the edge, sadly things only got worse for Racing Queensland as this week unfolded, as their stewards suspended jockey Damian Browne for six weeks following his ride on Kingtantes at Eagle Farm on 26 February. Chief Steward on the day, Jamie Dart, subsequently rubbed Browne out for the six weeks and there was all this talk that having Allan Reardon back in Queensland as Chief Steward was akin to the second coming, as he was going to re-invent the wheel or whatever, but then on Appeal Browne’s suspension got thrown out last Tuesday. It would seem to me, as an outsider looking in, that Queensland stewards have about as much luck at making many of their suspensions stick, as Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney cumulatively had at marriage. For the benefit of younger readers, Elizabeth Taylor married eight times to seven husbands, that in itself begs the question, “Why would you marry the same person twice from an available pool of 100 million males globally?” Not do be outdone Charlie Chaplin also married eight times, so that was obviously no laughing matter for the funny man in the silent movies, although I must say seven honeymoons would be a hoot potentially.

Then just when Kevin Dixon was surely beside himself from the terrible trot he’d been forced to endure over the previous few days, then Racing Queensland inflicted more pain on themselves by announcing that the Weetwood Handicap in Toowoomba was being dropped from 1300 metres to 1200 metres because, as the Racing Queensland Media Release stated, “using the 1200 metre start allows two extra runners to compete, than if we ran over the 1300 metre distance”. Now stop right there. See this is what’s wrong in thoroughbred racing today. No one gives a continental about the owners and/or trainers of these horses that are affected by the decision. Why do we have a Trainers Association and an Owners Association if we don’t bother consulting them over such important decisions? Obviously from that quoted wording above, maximising field sizes is pivotal to the whole agenda. So doesn’t it therefore follow that race clubs, say like the Gold Coast last Saturday, are forced to have the rail in the true position to maximise field sizes on big race days, even if there’s a possibility that the inside few metres of their track is “off”, as it’s simply a fact of life that maximum field sizes can only happen when the rails is in the true position, not when it’s out 10 metres?

And then to add insult to injury, the Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast on Monday and Tuesday of this week degenerated into little more than a joke, as many prospective buyers kept their hands in their pockets because Racing Queensland, under Kevin Dixon, has talked a lot positive rhetoric about the entire industry – but the consumers are obviously far from convinced that things are rosy enough to buy a new yearling.

I don’t even have a problem with people in high places making multiple mistakes – as I make a stack myself. But they have to put their hand up and say “hey, sorry, we accept that we’ve stuffed up hopelessly at a, b, c, d, e, f and g – since we came to office, but we will invoke steps 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 to rectify the problems, so they don’t happen again. Step one in any crisis in life is to acknowledge that a problem exists in the first place – and I don’t hear too much of that from Racing Queensland.

As someone famously wrote of the incestuous racing industry, “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. It’s certainly no shock that the industry in Queensland never heads anywhere except sideways or backwards.

Racing Queensland Chief Handicapper Lester Grimmett has advised the scaled weights for Eagle Farm tomorrow and they read: Race 3 + 3.5 kgs, Race 6 + 1 kg and Race 8 + 1.5 kg.

Eagle Farm Track Manager, Sean Bridges, has advised the website late this afternoon that the track is a dead 4. Sean added that “the rail goes from being out 10 metres last Saturday to being only half a metre out tomorrow” and he said that part of the track “is in beautiful order, as it’s been aerated since they last raced on that part of the track and that aeration makes a big difference”. Sean further stated that “the track has had 15mm of irrigation in the last seven days and 14mm of rain in the last seven days, of which 3mm fell last night and showers are forecast, so we’ll have to wait and see what rating it is tomorrow afternoon”.

The apprentice jockey weights for Eagle Farm tomorrow should be:



Geoffrey Goold

54 claims 2 kgs.

Luke Tarrant

48 claims 3 kgs.

Tegan Harrison

50 claims 1.5 kgs.

Anthony Allen

50 claims 1.5 kgs.

Kirk Matheson

52 claims 1.5 kgs.

Travis Wolfgram

54 claims 3 kgs.

Rikki Jamieson

50 claims 3 kgs.

Samuel Payne

53 claims 3 kgs.

Brooke Richardson

50 claims 3 kgs.

Matt McGuren

55 claims 3 kgs.

Priscilla Schmidt

51 claims 3 kgs.


Today on I preview Eagle Farm Race 4. On I preview Moonee Valley Race 6 tonight, whilst on Matt Nicholls looks at the Group 1 Coolmore after his brilliant tipping effort last Saturday where he steered readers into both Fat Al and Appearance.

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