SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN ISSUE

The abysmal failure of Racing Victoria to respond proactively to the rampant allegations of race fixing and assure both the racing and general community that it will hunt down the race fixers and drive them out of horse racing is drawing increasingly vocal criticism from many influential voices within Victorian racing.

The “do nothing, say nothing” policy is reminiscent of an organization which lacks leadership. While it is generally accepted that Racing Victoria is in a transition phase with retiring CEO Rob Hines ticking off the days on his calendar for his exit, and chosen successor Bernard “The Plodder” Saundry ticking off his own calendar for his ascension, Victorian racing appears to the unwilling victim of a leadership vacuum, with neither Hines or Saundry visible and reassuring and demonstrating that the governing body is in control. You’re breaking our hearts with your fucking silence.

We have previously expressed concerns that Racing Victoria is seriously devoid of dynamic leadership, and we will again flag our belief that the appointment of “the plodder” to replace Hines is a gigantic backward step for racing in this State.

“Are my busines cards printed? I can do bugger all without them.”

Saying nothing and doing nothing, and not getting on the front foot and dealing with these serious assaults on the integrity of racing, and on the reputations of the overwhelming participants in racing who play by the rules, is not an option. It has never been an option. It is a serious error of judgment, or demonstration of an inability to competently govern the multi-million dollar industry that is horse racing. Worse still it is a failure to protect the collective confidence in Victorian racing through the multi-million dollar investments that are made each day, week, month and year to continue to keep racing ticking over.

“Is my PR release out? I can do bugger all without it.”

Racing Victoria is so step out of step in this regard, that serious questions need to be directed at both its Board and senior management. When compared with other sports, racing struggles big time. If a similar crisis or scandal were to confront the NRL, or the AFL or Cricket Australia, or Tennis Australia, or the Soccer Federation, you can bet your lotto winnings the CEOs or their equivalent would be all over such matters in an indecent haste. Imagine the football codes, or cricket or tennis leaving the chiefs or heads of their umpiring departments to publicly run the gauntlet a feral media pack. Or be the public defender of the integrity of their sport. It just wouldn’t and doesn’t happen.

Do I get freebie trips around the world? I can do bugger all before knowing this.”

And yet in Victorian racing, Chief Steward Terry Bailey appears the perpetual and unlucky winner of the raffle to defend the industry whenever it manages to grab the unwanted headlines or be the subject of the lead story in the print or electronic media. Racing Victoria appears to play its own childish game of “pass the parcel”, and Bailey is always the hapless winner. He must wonder aloud in his quieter moments why he did not take the NRL Integrity job rumoured to have been offered to him earlier this year.

“Hold on, Trev, mate. I’m trying to support you.”

Stewards like umpires should be left to perform the duties for which they are specifically hired. They should not be thrust into the media and public spotlight to explain or defend their every decision. Most other racing jurisdictions and just about every other sport has got it right.

“Trev, buddy, can you hear me? It’s me- The Plodder.”

Despite all the high fives and idle boasts about how Australian racing is a world leader in just about everything that involves racing, the reality is that it can learn much from the way racing is structured and operates, particularly from its Asian neighbours.

“Can I have an introduction to that Winfried bloke at the HKJC? I can do bugger all before that.”

——————————————

HOLDING RACING TO RANSOM

It’s been long accepted that the “pint sized rascals” of racing – jockeys – are not over endowed with grey matter. Over the years, indiscretions and racing scandals challenging the integrity of horse racing have, with monotonous regularity, involved these “pint sized rascals”.

“Fuck ’em all.”

If the recent spate of investigations and inquiries into race fixing in Victorian isn’t enough to shame their profession and bring it into massive disrepute, then the Page Four story in Melbourne’s Herald-Sun newspaper on Monday and a subsequent exchange between Radio Sport National’s morning host Shane Anderson and the Victorian Jockeys Association’s Des O’Keefe, put it beyond any reasonable doubt.

The Herald-Sun story centred around injured apprentice Katelyn Mallyon telling racing writer Matt Stewart of her “devastation at being twice ejected from the female jockeys rooms in the past week”.

“I can’t believe it, I am devastated. It’s like they don’t want me to be part of the industry. It’s been very important for me to still be part of it and see my friends. I think it’s important for my rehabilitation”, Mallyon is quoted as telling Stewart.

She can’t be serious, can she? Or maybe she is. You see, there is a rule of racing that only jockeys who are competing at a race meeting are allowed into a jockeys room at that race meeting. Whether you agree or disagree that is the rule and has been in place for a long time. You would think that in the current climate where race fixing allegations are flowing thick and fast and the eyes of some of the sharpest investigative media minds are firmly on the radar of horse racing that the very last thing jockeys need is any more unwanted publicity about their behaviour or possible breaches of integrity.

And to be greeted with a sensationalized Herald-Sun headline like “We’ll go on strike” and to have O’Keefe quoted in the article stating “this is disgraceful, Katelyn should be embraced not shunned like this” and the implied warning that “if this is not resolved quickly I will take it to the jockeys and let them decide what they want to do about it”, is hardly what you would expect from a spokesperson for these “pint sized rascals”.

“Fuck ’em all, Des.”

“Dashing Des” should know better. Making an open ended statement like that invites interpretation, and often such statements are taken way out of context and misinterpreted and sensationalized into headline grabbing stories that makes his precious “pint sized rascals” looking increasingly like a rabble intent on holding racing to ransom.

For Victorian Chief Steward Terry Bailey, this latest kerfuffle is the last thing he needs. From what we have gleaned, Bailey has apologized to this particular precious little “pint sized rascal” Katelyn Mallyon. Apparently the Integrity Department stuffed up and through a breakdown in communication, permission to allow her to enter the female jockeys room and seek solace in the bosom of her mentor Michelle Payne, had not been relayed to Stewards in charge at Bendigo last Saturday.

“Fuck ’em all, Des.”

What a fucking high farce. A Page four news story in the high circulation morning newspaper on such an appallingly trivial issue, quite quickly and easily resolved by a simple telephone call. We can only speculate that “Dashing Des” had a seniors moment and lack of balls, if the comments attributed to him are true.

“I DO have balls! Want to see them?”

As for Katelyn Mallyon, we can only attribute her histrionics to her immaturity. Perhaps the worldly Michelle Payne can mentor her to fast track her journey towards maturity.

And the Jockeys Association and “Dashing Des” need to do a lot better themselves. O’Keefe needs to wave goodbye to his repetitious monologue about the heroics of the martyred “pint sized rascals” whom he represents. It’s time to move on from the continual barrage of spin about how financially disadvantaged his members are, and how the racing industry could better support them.

“But I wuff those wascals.”

The Jockeys Association and “Dashing Des” must face up to the reality that Jockeys are facing a crisis of respect, both in the racing industry and the community at large. Race fixing is one of the most serious allegations that can be levelled at any participant in horse racing. And the damage that it does to the jockeys profession and to racing is profound. If there are any doubts, “Dashing Des” and his Association only need to assess the long term, and in many ways, permanent damage that the match fixing allegations have inflicted on cricket in general and specifically on cricket in Asia.

The goodwill that jockeys have enjoyed is fast dissipating, just like the reputation of racing as a sport where “99 per cent of its participants” play by the rules. The Jockeys need to clean up their act and regain the respect and goodwill that they have either lost or losing. In the present environment, even the mere hint or mention of strike action, can only confirm the gathering view that Victorian jockeys are fast tracking to becoming a rabble.

Des O’Keefe and some of his rascals.

…………………………………..

DOES MATTHEW CAHILL DESERVE SYMPATHY

Matthew Cahill is a very familiar name among the riding ranks in Southern NSW and the ACT. He’s been riding for a long time and has enjoyed a great deal of success in provincial and country NSW and the Canberra region. He’s no novice when it comes to race riding.

Earlier this week he was given a 12 month disqualification for his ride aboard a first starter Astronomer in a maiden at Goulburn in NSW in June. Racing NSW Stewards wasted no time in opening a wide ranging inquiry into Cahill’s ride on Astronomer and into all aspects and forms of betting on the race and specifically on Astronomer.

The aftermath of the initial Stewards inquiry resulted in a range of charges issued against Matthew Cahill and several owners and a bookmaker in relation to a series of serious breaches of the rules of racing involving improper practices.

At the conclusion of the hearing into the charges, Racing NSW Stewards found Cahill guilty of failing to give the heavily supported Astronomer every chance of winning the humble Maiden race worth a paltry $5000 at Goulburn. At the hearing of the charges Stewards identified six instances of alleged improper riding by Cahill during the race. Cahill who has been riding for 29 years and has ridden over 2200 winners was granted a stay of proceedings to enable him to continue riding pending his appeal against the penalty.

Part owner Gary Orbell was also found guilty of conspiracy and laying Astronomer on Betfair and was disqualified for 12 months, while bookmaker Richard Knight was found guilt of laying Astronomer on Betfair and disqualified for six months. More on bookies and some betting shops that should be closed ‘cos of who they’re involved with later.

Both the charges laid and the findings and the penalties reflect the very serious nature of the alleged offences and it must be recognized that the findings and penalties, particularly in Cahill’s case isn the subject of an appeal.

However, as many of our subscribers have pointed out, the comments by TVN presenter- and ex-jockey- Dean Petit: “I feel for Matthew Cahill” , reflects a hypocrisy in horse racing that contributes greatly to the widely held perception that horse racing tolerates and accepts that corruption is part of its DNA.

“No, no, I said I COPPED a feel- COPPED a feel. “

Now Petit is no IQ buster. With the greatest respect to their profession, he is an ex-jockey, and was not a very successful one, we might add- and which is putting it midly. He is not in the small minority of former jockeys who have contributed to any form of rational and logical debate of any aspect of horse racing. For all we know Cahill’s appeal might just be upheld and his name cleared of such a dastardly and serious charge. But that is a separate issue. The problem with the likes of Petit and their premature verbal ejaculations and greatly ill-judged observations and gushings of misplaced sympathy- and mateship- is that they send the wrong message to the outside world. Dean Petit would be far better off sticking to the script and autocues and not straying into the dangerous territory of making observations about issues that he is clearly ill-equipped to comment on. Besides Dean, a quick straw poll among racing people came up with a “Dean whooooo?” when your name was mentioned. Here’s a song from us to you.

………………………….

BARZELONA TO RIDE AT MELBOURNE SPRING CARNIVAL

He may have had a minimum impact during his stint in Hong Kong during the European off season late last year and earlier this year, but Mikhail Barzelona is one of the “gun” young riders in Europe where he keeps riding up a storm.

Signed up this year by Godolphin as Frankie Dettori’s heir apparent, Barzelona also shares the plum rides from one of the best racing stables – Andre Fabre in France, with fellow French young gun Maxime Guyon, who also has had stints in Hong Kong. While Guyon had great success on Ambitious Dragon before his brain fade last year cost him a regular gig with the champion galloper , Barzelona was not so lucky. Regrettably for Hong Kong racing, Barzelona did not have the good fortune to jump on an Ambitious Dragon. Some of his rides were from the Class Four and Five “bin”.

Fortunately for the Spring Racing Carnival, Barzelona has been booked for the Andre Fabre trained Brigantin. For both Barzelona and Fabre it will be a first time down under. And following on from the brilliant ride by Christophe Lemaire to win the Melbourne Cup last year on Dunaden, it may be the forerunner for more of the cream of Europe’s finest jockeys to make a regular visit for the spring racing carnival.

………………………….

STRALIA HEADING TO HONG KONG- AND CASPAR FOWNES?

Smart three year old Stralia is being vetted according to reports for a possible sale to Hong Kong for a reported seven figure price tag. Trained by Mark “mouldy corn” Riley, Stralia boasts two city wins and a very close second last Saturday at Flemington in the Group Two Danehill Stakes behind the top class filly Snitzerland.

If he passes the veterinary examination, Stralia will be sold and race for clients of stables of our great mate, Caspar “Brinjal” Fownes.

……………………….

IRAN PICKS AUSSIE FOR HORSE OF THE YEAR!!!! IRAN????

After picking ourselves off the floor reading on Racenet that an Australian bred racehorse had been awarded the honour of Iran’s Horse of the Year (we did not even know that racing was alive and well in Iran!), we pondered how such a militant Islamist state could even authorize such a pagan western indulgence as horse racing involving such evils as wagering and gambling to be conducted under the noses of an extremist Fundamentalist Islamist regime.

The Racenet report names the Award winner as a four year old mare, Magic Million, purchased ironically from the Magic Millions Sales Company’s Horses in Training sale in 2009 by an Iranian businessman Reza Allahadi. Magic Million boasts an impeccable race record of eight wins, five seconds and a third from her fifteen race starts and appears to be a well deserved winner of the Iran Racehorse of the Year title.

Significantly, Magic Million has a Black Caviar connection – they are both by the champion Australian sire Bel Espirit. And to add a further irony, Iranian sturgeon black caviar is regarded as one of the best of the delicacies in the world by caviar connoisseurs.

Write a caption for this and win absolutely nothing.

This entry was posted in BLACK CAVIAR, BLACK CAVIAR DAY, Hong Kong Jockey Club, Hong Kong Racing, Horse Racing. Bookmark the permalink.

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