Twitter is a very good barometer of the times and what is “trending” in different industries.
In music, for example, what are called “haters”, have targeted The Bieb and Taylor Swift for their angst- Bieber ‘cos, well, his 15 minutes of fame have turned into infamy and the kid who wears baggy pants that looks to be holding a big turd, seems to have run its course.
Sure, he’s only a kid, but with a Momager in tow and Scooter Braun as his manager, Justin Bieber has grown up in the public spotlight and has become a spoilt prat who sees nothing wrong in showing up over two hours late for a concert- as he did last week in the UK- engaging in yobbish behaviour and trying to be black man in a Canadian boy’s honkie skin.
As for Taylor Swift, well, after dating most of young Hollywood- and getting royally, well, screwed by the “older” John Mayer- and when dumped after each romance, she takes to writing songs about the dumpees and comes as a desperate and petulant W.A.S.P. princess.
Amongst the film crowd, actress Anne Hathaway has had twitterers going ballistic over her speeches and the tears and chanting and tweeting fake, fake, fake. Give it a rest, Anne. You are no Audrey Hepburn, my dear.
In racing, there is a lotta love-hate twittering. Sure, there is the usual talking through one’s pocket tweets, but there are also those who have some intelligent things to say about the state of the industry and how to right the wrongs while “haters” are creeping in with their own agendas and dangling carrots for others to follow them.
It’s like some who write in to us thinking this forum is some free buffet and where we need to jump through hoops and write libelous crap to feed their barking mad needs.
We try to provide a provocative, hopefully, objective, read with a certain degree of irreverence- and always vetted by lawyers.
We are not gonna be sued by fighting other people’s battles when squat is going into our pockets. We are businessmen. We are not Don Quixote. Nor are we Pollyanna. We are more Michael Corleone.
Some comments we receive border on the idiotic with these knobs not understanding the following: This writing- and it’s not all done by one person with super-powers enabling him to multi-task 24/7- is done for free by passionate racing people.
Don’t like what we write? Please, leave and never return.
Adios, amigos and go somewhere else and vent and rant. We know who we want to read what we write and we know they do and that’s what matters to us. But if you do visit here and then make the time to send missives of hate, that’s a bit like visiting someone’s home for dinner and then becoming Sidney Poitier and telling the host, “Those dishes tasted fucking crap.”
So, at an age when emails can be traced, DM on twitter can be hacked and private messages read and passwords also hacked for the fun of spamming people, now is the time for horses for courses, supporting those who support you and realizing that though no one can please everyone all the time when providing a free service, no one needs hidden agendas and smear campaigns.
Things like these have a nasty habit of changing gears mid-stream and looking down to see a grenade sitting on your lap.
In the meantime, onwards and upwards and muchos gracias for the support, the objective criticism and the great support.
THE LUCKY 88 SAGA AND MISPLACED SMUGNESS
There’s a saying which has survived generations, and remains true to this day: If you lie down with dogs, you’’ll get fleas”. And it so pertinent in horse racing, where the flea plague has left many with severe cases of distemper.
Keeping this mind, tweets, emails and texts from discredited individuals, websites and from an assorted bunch of losers, recidivists and malcontents are given the fast track to the delete box, which is where they belong.
But when the Lucky 88 rabble recently claimed to have forced Racing Victoria Chairman Michael Duffy’’s ““resignation”” through their blog several weeks ago, it necessitated a few calls to confirm what we had been told and were aware of for some considerable time.
For the record, we don’t know Michael Duffy, personally. We do, however, know a little bit about his public life. It is safe to conclude that the former Federal Government Cabinet Minister, Attorney General and Minister for Communications and eminent lawyer commands considerable respect in the community.
It is equally safe to state that he is a man of integrity – a quality which is nearly extinct in racing.
Michael Duffy had flagged his intention to retire from the Chairmanship of Racing Victoria some 18 months ago. He was persuaded by an overwhelming number of Board members to remain Chairman until a viable successor could be identified among Board members.
That successor and recently appointed Chairman Rob Roulston was anointed early last year and Duffy was again persuaded to stay on as Chairman until the finer details of the new wagering agreement with Tabcorp was inked and a successor also chosen to replace former Chief Executive Rob Hines.
Racing Minister Denis Napthine was completely in the loop with all these arrangements and, from what we understand, had absolutely no cause to question or interfere with Duffy’’s term or the succession plan.
Michael Duffy could have and would have retired earlier had not the Board and a wide cross section of the industry not prevailed upon him to stay on until his chosen date of March 7.
He did NOT resign or retire because of the allegations made by Lucky 88, not just about him, but also about Peter Moody, the Stewards and Damien Oliver.
It beggars belief why some or all of these individuals have not pursued Lucky 88 and those behind the website.
It is just as incredulous why the Stewards have not called the Trainer and his brother who is one of the Lucky 88 principals and demanded a clarification of his position in this “campaign”
Talking softly and carrying a big stick and doing fuck all with it won’t let the big bad bogey man go away. Nor will it close this nasty chapter in Oz racing which makes this whole saga all a bit tedious, peculiar, tragic, meandering, boring and with no one winning like Charlie Sheen and all concerned looking like useless knobs.
It is common knowledge that this trainer is obsessively envious of Peter Moody’’s success and has constantly crossed the line with some of the comments he has made about Moody to anyone who would listen to his conspiracy theories.
His open animosity towards Moody, once his close mate, is racing’’s worst kept secret.
As for the conspiracy theories, they are so far fetched it would test even the best Hollywood scriptwriter to make it into even a “D grade soapie.
Perhaps if this trainer makes it to the UK for the Ascot carnival, he may care to make enquiries about relocating to Newmarket.
He is so fucking desperate to emulate the international success of Peter Moody’ and even that of Lee Freedman, another trainer he is so envious of and has made the odd disparaging comment or three about.
It all makes you wonder about his obsessive and erratic behaviour, which generally is a tell tale sign of a deeper problem rampant in society these days.
ALL AGED PRIZE HIKE OFF TRACK
The push to significantly boost the All Aged Stakes prize money to attract the likes of Black Caviar, More Joyous, Pierro and All Too Hard and turn it into some sort of a match race is fundamentally flawed.
For starters, there are serious doubts as to how many of these equine superstars will get to the barriers for what was once one of the iconic weight for age races of the Sydney Autumn racing carnival, and when it was run over 1600 metres.
Let’s take the four superstars individually. Black Caviar for one is not a certain starter.
At this stage the world champion is locked into having her last Victorian race start in the William Reid Stakes next Friday night at Moonee Valley, after which she is headed to Sydney for one if not two possible starts, with the T.J. Smith on April 13 and the All Aged a fortnight later on April 27 pencilled in as possibilities.
Connections are keen to have, at least one, if not two starts in Sydney, with further options open in Brisbane during the winter carnival and even Adelaide a possibility.
However ALL of Black Caviar’’s future racing program is contingent on her welfare and how she copes with racing.
Peter Moody and her connections have made it abundantly clear that if she shows even the slightest sign of being jaded or sore, then they will pull the pin on her campaign.
Quite clearly connections will assess her racing campaign on a race to race basis. Despite the heavy lobbying from Royal Ascot, the odds are firmly in favour of her visiting the breeding barn later this year. The only wildcard with a Royal Ascot start being the prospect of a “dream” date with Frankel, which could radically change her program.
The bottom line with Black Caviar simply is that she is no certainty to start in the All Aged or in any other race for that matter if she shows any sign of wear and tear. More Joyous is a different proposition. The noises from both Singo and Gai suggest she may never retire! If she is still living and breathing, then she is certain to start in the All Aged.
All Too Hard is a different proposition. The word from the Hawkes camp suggests that he may not have fully recovered from the ailment that caused his withdrawal from the Australian Guineas on race morning.
With the races that he has targeted over the Sydney carnival imminent, the odds about him being able to take his place in these races fully fit are getting longer by the day.
As one of the most valuable stallions in Australia, no risks will be taken with All Too Hard. Understandably his stud value and career will ultimately decide his on-going racing career.
It is highly unlikely if Vinery Stud, who now own All Too Hard, will run the risk of competing in a staged match race even if there is a couple of million dollars offered up as first prize, when he has a virtually unlimited earning capacity as a stallion. Which then leaves Pierro. Like All Too Hard, Pierro is one of the most exciting stallion prospects in Australia.
He is scheduled to race next weekend in the Canterbury Stakes where he will be taking on stablemate More Joyous. And like More Joyous, he is more than likely to go on to the All Aged Stakes. If her horses are fit, Gai will run them, particularly in the Group Ones and big races.
So, at this stage, the attempt to put a truck load of money into the All Aged Stakes and turn it into a match race is not looking good. It could turn out to be an expensive fizzer.
It may just end up a match race between Gai’’s superstars-– More Joyous and Pierro. And let’’s face it, they will be running in the Canterbury Stakes next week anyway.
Wouldn’’t Racing NSW and the ATC be better off putting the money that they are trying to scrape together for the All Aged into some of the other Group and Listed races and minor races during the carnival?
This way, surely, it can be better spread, giving the greater majority of owners and trainers a chance to be rewarded for both their financial and professional risks and input? Right, Einsteins?
WILL THE HUNTER BE TURNED INTO A GIANT QUARRY?
It’s a question that has been asked by the Breeders and the NSW and Australian racing industry, but as yet there is no definitive answer. It is one of those classic grey areas.
Beneath the Hunter Valley, Australia’s prime thoroughbred breeding region, lies an abundance of wealth, – primarily minerals and coal steam gas deposits, which the very ruthless and powerful mining industry, both in Australia and overseas, are waiting to get their paws on.
They are like the proverbial dogs on heat. They can sniff the riches that lay beneath the subterranean riches of the Hunter.
What is quite amazing, is that in light of the on-going ICAC inquiry in NSW, which has exposed a literal minefield of explosive evidence detailing a web of alleged corrupt wheeling and dealing at the highest level of government.
Add to this some very powerful and dubious business entities over mining leases in the Hunter which threatens the future of the breeding industry and one has to wonder why this has not been put to bed.
There can be little comfort to the breeding industry in the utterances from the NSW Premier and the Racing Minister.
Neither have put their balls on the line and quarantined the Hunter from being turned into a giant quarry, which would decimate breeding industry.
It smells like the NSW State Government is very much keeping its options open. And when the inconvenience of the ICAC inquiry is out of the way and the culprits incarcerated, the mining industry is certain to ramp up its push for licences to be issued.
And let’s face it, in a race where self-interest is a starter, it’s generally a boat race.
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