NSW MEDIA RIGHTS FIGHT DRAGS ON
Kenny Callander’s Daily Telegraph column this week confirmed what many have been dreading – the stalemate or Mexican standoff in the NSW media rights negotiations between Racing NSW and TVN (read the Victorian race clubs) may not be resolved before the deadline expires, thus sending NSW media rights to TVN’s arch enemy Sky Channel and effectively to Tabcorp.
It beggars belief that so many years later, the Australian racing industry could reprise one of the most bitter and vicious brawls which, in the minds of many, never ever really ended. It also exposes the ruthlessly manipulative and combative personalities and character of some of the decision makers in NSW racing, who might duplicitously “spin” their glib and barren commitment to “acting in the interests of NSW and Australian racing”, but, in reality, are ONLY concerned with their own selfish and dangerous agendas.
These men are the real “enemies of the State” in racing. They would rather sell out the one REAL asset that racing owns – its Intellectual Property for “twenty pieces of silver” to a commercial organization like Tabcorp, and wind up TVN.
This is not to say that TVN has behaved like Mother Teresa. It has not. It should and must be restructured so that the obscene long term contracts – such as those signed off to persons like “Fifty Shades” are never repeated. To say that TVN needs to be restructured and revamped is stating the obvious. But, for the good of Australian racing and NSW racing, it is a non-negotiable imperative that Racing retains ownership and control of its intellectual property. And rather than reinvent the wheel, the TVN model must be retained, albeit in a restructured incarnation.
Kenny Callander is not alone in his expressions of grave concerns for the future of TVN and for some of the murky power plays and machinations being played out behind the scenes by manipulative and dangerous forces intent on imposing their own agendas at any cost. Talking to some prominent Victorian power brokers at last Saturday’s Caulfield Cup meeting, it was very clear that they are awake to what is going on, and that the usual suspects are again the root cause of what could ultimately scuttle any real hope of aggregating the NSW and Victorian media rights under the industry owned TVN banner.
From what Kenny is telling us, and from what is happening in the corridors of power in NSW, he is on the money. The ATC is being out-muscled and heavied and the relationship with Racing NSW is fractured. Not surprising at all given Racing NSW seems to have made an art form of alienating so many racing organizations that they have dealings with. It reminds us of what that Mittwit named Mitt Romney is doing in American politics. And gawd knows, the politics in Oz racing and with spin being used to bash home agendas.
“I hear one big fallout from the Racing NSW attitude is the Victorian race clubs will go on their own with the racing channel TVN and tell NSW to go to hell rather than be dictated to by Peter V’Landys, the Racing NSW CEO”, writes Kenny.
Strong words with a bullseye-type accuracy. It’s just amazing just how often the name Peter “the not so great” V’landys’ crops up when disputes in racing occur. And we have hjad enough of emails from NSW jockeys who are none too happy about how things are going for them as THAT saga drags on, too. In fact, it’s all one fucking great yawnfest.
“Oh, gawd, please let them go away, please let them go away, when I open my eyes, please let them be gone.”
Kenny continues; “If the ATC is hamstrung by Racing NSW’s attitude of “our way or no way” and cannot vote against him (V”Landys), on TVN issues, the Victorian race clubs aren’t and won’t put up with it”. With all this swirling around him, isn’t it time John Messara and his Board stepped in and stopped the tail wagging the dog? Or are they not capable of doing that- stopping the tail wagging the dog?
If Messara truly believes the spin about doing what is best for Australian racing, then here is his opportunity to prove he is truly fair dinkum. The way things are going, however, the aggregation of rights issue could well finish up being the one issue that he is remembered under-achieving. If ever NSW and Australian racing needed a white knight to step in and provide some REAL leadership it is NOW. And by leadership we are certainly not talking about the “My way or the highway” type that Kenny Callander is referring to. Or which we have seen Peter “the not so great” V’landys make an art form.
Mate, you’re heading the wrong way.
NEWS LIMITED CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN AND NOT GETTING IT AT ALL.
There’s no doubt Fairfax media has outscooped News Limited in outing the raft of betting scandals and alleged Race fixing which reportedly have been thriving across the border in Victorian racing. The News Limited racing media and crime reporters have been comprehensively gazumped by the Fairfax investigative unit headed by Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker with some very specialized knowledge from the doyen of Australian crime reporters John Silvester, below.
From what we hearing, the News Limited hierarchy are livid at the continuing “scoops” that Fairfax has been able to place across the front pages of their newspapers, while their own are merely playing catch up. It doesn’t and should not surprise anyone. Take Andrew Rule away from the News Limited and what have you got? A bunch of pretty ordinary hacks, who are highly unlikely to break any “scoops”. Most are only interested in furthering the agendas of that well-known and largely discredited octogenarian media mogul Rupert Murdoch, anyway, who has taken to sending silly tweets recently which proves that senility has set it. And good luck to any sucker who believes that the likes of their racing journos like Matt Stewart are capable of breaking meaty racing stories.
But expect more on these subjects from the Fairfax media, which they have virtually promised, anyway. In the meantime poor old Andrew Rule is reduced to writing long and tedious background pieces on some of the racing people as “breaking news” – information which racing people already know and which the community at large couldn’t give a toss about.
EUROPE’S JOCKEY GO-ROUND
It’s the jockey’s own merry go-round with contract signings and splits among some of biggest names in world racing. With Frankie Dettori now very much a freelancer after splitting with the powerhouse Godolphin, and Silvestre D’Sousa and young French whiz kid Mikhael Barzalona to share the riding from next season, it is probably the most high profile of the changes for the coming European flat season.
Frankie however will ironically have his last ride in the royal blue for Godolphin in this year’s Melbourne Cup on their longshot runner Cavalryman. What a twist it would be if Frankie gets the longshot home in the world’s greatest staying handicap, which has eluded the Stable for so long and yet is one of their most coveted on their wish list of Global Group One races.
Of great significance in the longer term for world racing is the announcement that Sheikh Fayed and Qatar Racing, have signed up top UK jockey Jamie Spencer as their retained rider for the new season. It is their first signing of a retained rider and formally announces their arrival as a major player in European and world racing.
The Qatar Royal Family was in the “never heard of them” category before Dunaden burst on the scene in last year’s Melbourne Cup and then went on to won the Hong Kong International Vase for his youthful sheikh who has subsequently embarked on a spending spree and convinced other members of the family to do likewise. Together they have collectively given the “kiss of life” to an ailing European breeding industry and the auction houses as they competed ferociously with the Coolmores, Godolphins and associated American billionaires.
Very rich, very strange suit. Must have been from Sam The Tailor in Hong Kong.
The Qatar Royal family have also individually and collectively put in place a professional support structure similar to some of the other global powerhouse conglomerates that they will be going head to head with from next season. It will certainly improve the competition in European racing and be welcomed by all lovers of racing.
The arrival of the young- YOUNG- Qatar Royal family into racing demonstrates yet again the resilience of horse racing and its unique and uncanny ability to find new and mega wealthy benefactors to funnel their billions into the “sport of kings” and with all eyes looking towards China and realizing how this market will change the future of racing forever. THIS is their A Plan and, as with everyone who are major players, playing for time.
The young- YOUNG- Sheikh Fahad, who is affectionately referred to as the “Dunaden sheikh” is also setting up a team of horses in Australia and from what we are hearing will become a bigger- young- player next year. It would be interesting if his agents bid on Black Caviar’s half brother by champion sire Redoute’s Choice. It would be, wouldn’t it?
It would also be interesting if Godolphin’s loss is not young Sheikh Fayed’s gain and if Frankie has other things up his sleeve other than bringing out his own fashion line.
WILLIAMS AND BOWMAN: AUSTRALIA’S “A”TEAM
Craig Williams and Hugh Bowman are at the top of their game, no doubt whatsoever. Watching them ride during the Spring Racing carnival clearly sets them above their competitors. And that is not to take anything away from the likes of Corey Brown, Glen Boss, Damian Oliver, Kerrin McEvoy, Luke Nolen, Michael Rodd and co.
Craig Williams’ treble on Caulfield Cup day and his ride on Dunaden emphasized not just his riding skills and abilit,y but his confidence and self-belief. Ditto Hughie Bowman whose poise and balance on a racehorse is classical and reminiscent of the greats of the saddle – the Moores, the Beadmans and others.
Hugh Bowman is the type of jockey who is quite capable of becoming a world class jockey if he were ever to ride in Europe. His riding style is so much suited to Europe and the different training methods that are adopted in the northern hemisphere.
Both Craig Williams and Hugh Bowman are multi-dimensional. They can ride on-pace or in the middle of a field or from the rear. They are equally adept aboard staying horses or sprinters. They are brilliant communicators with their owners and trainers. They are also both very self effacing and why they are in such high demand among trainers and owners.