Racing Queensland hierarchy continue to implode with news yesterday that the Toowoomba track is incapable of holding scheduled race meetings on Friday 6 March and Saturday 14 March. And there is no assurance that the following scheduled meeting on Saturday 21 March will go ahead either, as the Media Release from the wondrous governing body of racing in this State noted in its final sentence: “The track at Toowoomba Turf Club will continue to be monitored leading into the race meeting currently programmed for the venue on Saturday 21 March 2015”.

Recently Integrity boss Wade Birch was stood down recently – but why did they stop there? That should have been just the start as far as I’m concerned. There’s a long list of problems that have beset the Queensland racing industry in the last couple of years – yet one man is made the bunny. I just shake my head over it all – and it’s not because I have any nits.

As I’ve stated as far back as two weeks ago, this newly appointed Labor Party State government has the best one-off chance it will ever have to put what I called at the time “a big and broad broom” right through Racing Queensland. The current feather duster approach to this point has been very ordinary as far as I’m concerned. This present Racing Queensland regime has just been disaster after disaster, as was proven yet again this week, when racetracks like Toowoomba are still rooted, even after $7million has been spent to convert if from cushion to Strathayr. Why haven’t some heads rolled over this latest joke that is the Toowoomba track? Why hasn’t a head rolled over the person who the CEO alleges must have let an important email from an animal welfare group fall through the cracks about live baiting in the greyhound industry? That’s about the most important email Racing Queensland received in the whole of 2014, yet I haven’t seen a Media Release where anyone has been held accountable and sacked over it amazingly going missing. Why? Surely that’s no way to run a business, so one or more heads should roll over it. I would have reasonably thought that there can only be a couple of people that could be responsible for it falling through the cracks. Then who authorized Eagle Farm to be dug up when there was no money for tunnels to go under the track? On current indications, racing might resume at Eagle Farm in time for the 2025 Stradbroke to be run there – but don’t hold your breath.

How could the current crew at Racing Queensland go a full term in office and still not have a new greyhound track built at Cronulla Park? How could they close Parklands harness club down and have no track to replace it all these months on? Now they are fixing Townsville – or are they? I know Townsville is in tropical North Queensland, but one doesn’t need much grey matter upstairs to understand that “grass grows better in spring and summer than autumn and winter” so now we are obviously going to grow grass in autumn and winter in Townsville. Grass has obviously had a major problem growing in Toowoomba recently in January and February, when there has been plenty of sun and rain, so good luck in Townsville.

Racing Queensland Cadet Handicapper Sam Watson has advised the website that the scaled weights for Doomben tomorrow are: Race 2 + 7kgs, Race 6 – 2.5kgs and Race 8 + 4kgs. I must say in all the years that I’ve been putting the scaled weights up here I can’t ever remember a race having to be scaled up by a massive 7 kilograms, but that is what is happening in Race 2, so he’s obviously telling us that it’s a shocker of a race for an “Open Handicap” and that’s easy to accept as the short priced favourite Vodnik is eligible for a Class 3 race at any of Dingo, Donald, Dubbo, Deniliquin, Balranald, Bedgerebong, Braidwood, Ballina, Penola or Kojonup – or of course Doomben. I assure you that all are registered Australian racetracks. Gotta see the funny side of Bedgerebong? The mind boggles.

The handicapping department also has issues with the Listed Tattersall’s Members’ Cup, which is Race 8 on the card as it has been scaled down 4 kilograms and again, anyone afforded the normal amount of grey matter at birth can see that some of the horses that have accepted for that race are about as classy as a King’s Cross streetwalker.

In the latest “gee let’s make it look as though we are finally doing something constructive about greyhound racing long after the horse has bolted” saga, Racing Queensland CEO Darren Condon has come up with this pearler of a Media Release late today. I just shake my head at its contents. It seems now that the greyhound industry is going to be forced to fund its own welfare plan for the future of the sport. I’ve already told Racing Queensland and every other greyhound authority in Australia in an article that I wrote last week what would go a hell of a long way to solving recently aired industry problems – and that was to give up to $500,000 in research monies to inventors to have a lure made that would replicate a live kill. So thinking aloud, you could have a furry leather casing covering internal mechanisms that included a squealing or squeaking sound, or whatever, and a greyhound could pull up on it and no one could get charged with anything – and society would be understandably excited that Justracing had come up with yet another gem of an idea for the racing industry. In fact there would probably be calls for my inclusion in the Hall of Fame? My problem there however is that under this current mob at Racing Queensland I just can’t get an invite to an awards night in any code – let alone get to be there to accept a Hall Of Fame gig. Anyway back to the score at the Test and I could invent the new lure myself, if I had time to think, instead of answering phone calls and emails from good and decent people in the greyhound industry, some of whom haven’t even had a greyhound for years, but who have been raided this week by Racing Queensland stewards and security guards and people with cameras. They are questioning people if they have ever been involved in live baiting and all this allied garbage and where they’ve trialled in the last yonks years and being asked were live kills offered. All I can say is that Racing Queensland sure know how to part with money in “waste of money” and “flogging a dead horse” projects. Like I said yesterday I didn’t think Racing Queensland had any money, but suddenly they can pluck millions of bucks out of thin air.

The Media Release reads in full:

Racing Queensland will impose a welfare levy on greyhound prizemoney and subsidies, raising more than $1.6 million in additional funding as part of a series of stringent integrity and animal welfare measures.

RQ CEO Darren Condon says the levy will take effect from March 1 and comes as RQ implements a series of changes, including new training regulations regarding the use of lures.

The levy will be imposed on feature and base level prize money, as well as incentive and subsidy schemes.

“The greyhound industry is being challenged and we must work together to completely eradicate this type of conduct from the industry forever. Racing Queensland has a zero tolerance and will do everything it can to stop it,” Mr Condon said.

“I recognise there are people in the industry who have not been involved in animal cruelty practices, but tough decisions needed to be made around the way this investigation and our future welfare strategies progress.

“As a result, the levy has been implemented to ensure this contribution is made by the industry.

“We have made it clear there is no place in the industry for people who engage in animal cruelty practices and while the new measures mean reduced returns to participants, animal welfare must be our number one priority.”

Racing Queensland has also outlawed the use of dead animals or animal products in the training of greyhounds through a new local rule pertaining to the types of lures used in training.

“Under the new rule, any lure or similar apparatus used in the training of greyhounds must be artificial and must not carry any organic product, including blood,” Mr Condon said.

Brisbane Racing Club Track Manager Jim Roberts has advised the website late today that the Doomben track is currently a “soft 5”. Jim added “we had rain here this morning but not as much as we looked as though we’d cop and providing we get no more rain tonight or tomorrow the Doomben track should be perfect with just the sting out of it for the meeting. The rail is will be out half-a-metre tomorrow”.

The apprentice jockey weights for Doomben tomorrow should be:



Cassandra Schmidt

54 claims 3kgs

Geoffrey Goold

54 claims 2kgs

Matt McGuren

55 claims 2kgs

Alysha Collett

50 claims 2kgs

Rikki Jamieson

50 claims 2kgs

Travis Wolfgram

54 claims 2kgs

Alannah Fancourt

54 claims 3kgs

James Orman

53 claims 2kgs

Bridget Grylls

49 claims 2kgs

Janette Johnson

55 claims 3kgs


Today on I preview Race 2 at Doomben. On there are two harness stories, whilst on Matt Nicholls looks at the Oakleigh Plate.

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

This week I’m keen on the progressive mare Mahara @ Warwick Farm, in a race named after her former trainer, the late Guy Walter. Mahara has really blossomed into a very professional mare, culminating in her winning the Gr3 Maybe Mahal @ Flemington on Melbourne Cup day last year in impressive fashion. First up this prep in the Triscay over 1200m, Mahara was ridden back in the field & was near enough to last rounding the home turn. Jockey Kathy O’Hara couldn’t find a run in the straight & only found clear galloping room inside the last 100m. Mahara finished the race off well & was only two lengths from the winner Thump.

Tomorrow Mahara steps up to 1400m & I think she’s got a great chance to notch up another Gr3 victory against an even group of mares. Whilst she has drawn wide & goes up slightly in weight, Mahara does have some tactical speed, and I’m expecting jockey James McDonald to try & settle Mahara midfield with cover if he can slot in. With the likes of Solicit, Thump & Tarloshan going forward, I anticipate the tempo will be quite solid. If Mahara can track into the race approaching the turn, she has the ability to sprint well enough to be right in the finish. Cosmic Endeavour, Dear Demi, Arabian Gold & My Sabeel are all in the mix, but I think Mahara has more upside than these mares & she’s great value at her current quote.

Mahara is currently around $9 in most markets, and I expect she’ll stay around that price come jump. I have her marked 13/2 or $7.50.

Warwick Farm 7-12 Mahara (each way).

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