RACING NSW BALANCE SHEET AVOIDS SCRUTINY – AGAIN.
It took the Financial Review, a non mainstream Fairfax tabloid, to run the ruler over Racing NSW’s Annual report and report what its own sister newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald and the News LTD rag, the Daily Telegraph, should have reported and didn’t.
It should shock no one. Take Kenny Callander out of the equation and the members of print media covering NSW racing are as limp wristed as many of their counterparts in other Australian States, when it comes to providing an independent and unbiased analysis of racing.
It is particularly stark in Sydney where the hard questions are NEVER asked and management and decision makers escape the blow torch being applied to their bellies as it should be.
Racing in NSW is the poorer for it – the punters, owners, trainers, jockeys – yes all of the “50,000 participants” deserve better, don’t they, Pete?
Yes, these “50,000 participants” are continually treated with contempt.
Selective disclosure, vacuum packed, sterilized and delivered behind closed doors to a privileged few is not just the domain of racing.
Yes, we’ve seen many a successful commercial business and many high profile sporting organizations and governing bodies come a cropper for these very same sins.
But in the case of Racing NSW, how did it record a $4.5 million loss for the 2013 financial year?
Where have all the creative financial brains at Druitt Street gone, Sherlock?
Of course, the familiar spin is always trotted out. Prize money increases and capital works are the usual suspects, aren’t they?
So how in heaven’s name is “The Messiah’s” Breeders Dream going to be funded?
We know Racing NSW is pleading with the State Government to fund NSW Racing’s day in the sun – or moment of madness as one NSW racing identity described it as.
Even the simplest of simpletons recognize that racing in Oz is in decline. Wagering has hit a brick wall beyond penetration.
Like the music industry, its modus operandi is completely outdated and fundamentally flawed.
Like some terminally ill poor souls, it needs the equivalent of a multiple organ transplant if it is to survive.
But racing governing bodies are in denial- and we don’t mean the river in Egypt- like they have been for decades and the chickens are coming home to roost rapidly.
Thanks, however, to the code of silence and a comatose media, the hard questions are never asked and never will be.
Or maybe they will, but only after NSW racing is in such dire straits that it will be beyond salvation and when even the fiercest attack dogs have rolled over and become pussies.
TREATMENT RULES LIKE ISLAMIC LAW.
The outcry over mandatory penalties for race day treatment of horses with the most innocuous therapeutic medications is reflective more of the most repressive Sharia law Middle Eastern Islam countries rather than an enlightened democratic nation.
Gai Waterhouse and Mikel Delzangles were rightly aghast at the penalties that have been mandated by Australian racing’s equivalent of the supreme council of Mullahs – the Australian Racing Board- which boasts as its Chief Executive, Peter “Toffee Tongue” McGauran, an ex-Cabinet Minister from the Howard days in Canberra – an era which time has passed by, but which some in racing still hanker for.
Mandatory sentences in society thankfully apply only in the most extreme cases of crime, and even then can be appealed against and protections and discretion are enshrined to protect basic civil and human rights.
Not so in NSW racing or with that sweet talking guy- Peter “Toffee Tongue” McGauran’s very own icky fiefdom.
It took Peter Moody to highlight the potential injustice that trainers would be exposed to if the penalties mandated what he described as “draconian” were to be applied – a rule which interestingly in Victoria apparently contains a discretionary clause.
According to Ray Thomas’s report in Friday’s Daily Telegraph, the Victorian Trainers Association managed to get a discretionary clause inserted into the national rule when applied in Victoria.
Yet again the Victorians have made Racing NSW and “Toffee Tongue’s” fiefdom look like the most repressive of Islamic States.
Why should the trainers in NSW be exposed to such extreme penalties?
Imagine any NSW trainers being hauled up before the stewards for administering the same innocuous therapeutic creams and treatments to their horses on race day and then face a mandatory six months disqualification?
It stinks worse than a stale durian.
Will sanity, common sense, rationality and logic ever infiltrate racing in that State?
Surely discretion in the interpretation of penalties and in the judgement of circumstances of particular cases should be written into the rules of racing.
Is it too difficult for “Toffee” and his fellow icky travellers at Racing NSW to determine intent when simple rules such as those which apply to race day treatments are adjudicated?
Does it not reflect on the confidence (or lack of it) that they have in the various disciplinary boards and the learned men and women who comprise them? It’s a fucking insult.
When it comes to Racing NSW, it has always been a law unto itself. Forgetting the croneyism and grudges, it always chooses brinkmanship over compromise.
Conflict should be the last resort in the resolution of disputes, not the first volley of fire.
Sadly, when it comes to the dispute resolution, it has a history of breaking the speed barrier in it’s indecent haste to the court system and litigation.
When it comes to matters of integrity, Australian racing’s bumbling governing bodies seem to fall over each other like the Keystone Cops in their haste to inflict near terminal damage on the brand and image of racing and prove that it is corrupted to its eyeballs.
It’s time to set the record straight.
WATERHOUSE AND WALLER TAKE SPRING CARNIVAL BY STORM.
Sydney’s leading trainers Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller have feasted on the big prize money offered by the Melbourne Cup Carnival, ably supported by Darley retained trainer Peter Snowden.
We can add very little to Lady GaiGai’s Melbourne Cup triumph that hasn’t already been said or written. Could anyone identify a more deserving winning trainer of Australia’s greatest and iconic race?
Gai, as we have stated on numerous times, has singlehandedly kept Sydney racing alive and even her harshest critics HAVE to admit this.
Hell, she’s even given these critics a full-time career of bagging her and her family making the lady look like Don Corleone- gasp!- The Godmother.
We have always been huge fans of the Don and Michael Corleone.
She has been a one woman marketing machine, promoting and marketing racing off her own bat, and with not even a skerrick of support – moral or financial from Racing NSW or the ATC.
Sydney racing is fortunate that hot on the heels of the Gai phenomenon has come Chris Waller, the straight talking, no fuss, no finger pointing, personable ex-Kiwi who has taken racing by storm.
Chris Waller is not only Sydney’s leading trainer – he has rapidly joined Gai as the face of Sydney racing.
Waller, like Gai, has had a Melbourne spring racing carnival to remember. Five winners, including two Group Ones on Derby day is no mean feat, and with one day left he could add to his tally.
On the jockey front, Damian Oliver has proven, once again, what an all time great jockey he is. He too has stamped his authority on the Melbourne Cup carnival.
Not much can be added about his winning ride on Fiorente in the Melbourne Cup.
Hughie Bowman and Oliver are clear standouts in the Australian jockey ranks.
While Oliver and Bowman have had memorable carnivals, many other high profile jockeys have not.
For Glen Boss, Luke Nolen, James McDonald and Brett Prebble, it’s been a carnival to forget while Craig Williams has had moderate success.
Prebble must be counting sheep before getting back to Hong Kong- though his opportunities could be extremely limited- as his three month stint in Australia for Lloyd Williams has been an almighty flop.
McDonald has just failed to live up to the expectations and hype surrounding his ability. Perhaps it all happened too quickly?
As another spring carnival approaches its finale, racing has again managed to throw up a wonderful narrative.
From Robbie Laing’s $4000 runaway Derby winner Polanski and his batch of $200 per share owners, to Gai’s first Melbourne Cup, to Damian Oliver’s extraordinary comeback, it had everything that makes racing the heart and soul of the Australian psyche.
If only the administrators and bureaucrats that run racing can concentrate on allowing racing’s rich narrative tell its own story and put an end to the cheap and nasty politicking that they engage in, the sport might actually have a chance of being really relevant again.