JOCKEYS ON THE WRONG TRACK, SHERLOCK
Surfing the News Limited Melbourne rag the Herald Sun earlier in the week, it was interesting to read of a push by the jockeys down in bleak city to hold dual licenses to both ride and train.
The best that could be said about this “thought bubble” is that it was concocted in a very senior and senile moment by the Jockeys Association.
It makes zero sense. Here are the Jockeys in bleak city, their image battered by typhoon strong winds through a series of scandals in recent years relating to breaking the rules of racing which prohibits them from betting on their own mounts, let alone those of their fellow jockeys in races where they are riding, and for which they have been apprehended and penalized, seeking a major change in the rules of Australian racing which would open the door to a minefield on integrity issues which racing just simply can do without.
Need another compelling reason why the Jockeys and their Association are out of touch with reality?
Hark back to the serious race-fixing allegations aka Smoking Aces where Stewards and crime force detectives carried out extensive investigations which, ultimately, for a raft of legal reasons, were not able to be pursued.
Racing folk from Bleak City are quick to point out that the Smoking Aces race and allegations was not the only race under investigation by Stewards and the Victorian Police Crime Squad.
They also remember the “unannounced” visits to the home of two prominent jockeys last year on the trail of evidence of race-fixing – visits which came to nought.
And what about the well-publicized allegations of jockeys consorting with prominent hierarchy from the criminal underworld in various Australian States- allegations which, in some instances, have been substantiated by jockeys themselves.
So, what in heaven’s name were the Jockeys and their Association thinking in pushing for dual licenses?
Are they unaware of the very basic fact that a Trainers Licence does not include a prohibition on betting? Or on tipping?
And how would they address their relationship with owners and their fellow jockeys?
How would they handle one of their owners who is a big punter or likes to have a bet?
Simple, they might say, we’d just have to tell them that, as jockeys, we can’t really advise you to have a bet or “declare” your horse a “moral”
We can just imagine how aghast Victoria’s Racing Police headed by its Chief Commissioner Terry Bailey would feel about this half-baked idea.
Sorry, Jockeys and your Association, Racing does not need yet another potential Integrity meltdown. It does very bloody well trashing its own brand by its chest thumping, record breaking run to the wire to prove its Integrity code and procedures are the best there is.
It has given itself endless heartache by its own indecent haste to be better than any other sport.
It does not need the Jockeys to give it a leg up to further perpetuate the overwhelming perception that racing is asphyxiating itself from the stench of its own scandals.
DREAM ON, ROB ROULSTON
Yes it’s unusual for us to spend so much time down south in bleak city, but the podcast of an interview with Racing Victoria Chairman Rob Roulston caught our attention.
Roulston, who, according to many in NSW racing is regarded as a “lightweight”, is best known as the bloodstock agent who purchased both Melbourne Cup winner Americain and cups aspirant Puissance De Lune for racing enthusiast and successful business man Gerry Ryan.
Roulston, we are told, is well-known in bloodstock circles and does plenty of business with the leading players in the NSW breeding scene in the Hunter Valley.
To say that his comments on the Victorian breeding industry were far fetched and exaggerated would be letting the bloodstock agent off lightly.
The gospel according to preacher Roulston promises that within the next decade, the Victorian breeding industry could challenge NSW as the pre-eminent breeding state in Australia.
Really, Rob? Your very own senior moment, perhaps?
Do you seriously think that Victoria with its “C” grade stallion roster and a predominantly small-picture thinking collection of breeders and wannabe cottage industry type stud masters and mistresses could challenge the cash-rich international heavyweights and their disparate “ozzie, ozzie, ozzie” Allies – the wolves in sheep clothing?
The Hunter is unchallenged as the hub of the Australian breeding industry and the cold hard and irrefutable fact is that they have been bloody good at what they have done and are doing.
They have collectively put the Australian breeding industry on the map- and on the world stage- as a major player, much to the dismay of the European powerhouses who have dominated world breeding since the breeding industry first got going.
While the Hunter is still a long away from seriously challenging the Europeans, the inroads have been significant, and opening up Australian racing to the world and the bold steps taken by pioneering Australian trainers and owners who dared to dream and challenge the traditions and the carnivals and Group One races successfully, has forced the European racing community to stand up and take notice of the boys and girls from down under.
Roulston’s “dream on little dream” moment was largely based on the long-running threat to the breeding operations in the Hunter by the avaricious and mega/powerful mining industry lobby, which has not only sniffed the underground black gold in coal deposits that lie under the fertile soils in the Hunter, but also the dangerous- but lucrative- coal seam gas deposits.
But, even if the Miners win out- and they probably will/ it is a bit rich to think that the Hunter studs will up and leave NSW and migrate to Victoria.
Wishful thinking, Robbo. Reckon you have more pressing problems to deal with in Victoria than engage in navel gazing.
Come to think of it, you don’t sound too flash at that caper either, matey.
NSW INDUSTRY FUNDING GETS ANOTHER “SOFT” RUN
Racing NSW’s bestie Ray Thomas from Uncle Rupert’s “ozzie” version of News of the World – the Daily “Smellygraph”- had a tantalizing piece in Friday’s edition.
Titled “Minister delivers a message of hope”, it opened with the all too familiar spin: “Racing NSW’s mantra has always been centred around the long term financial sustainability of the NSW racing industry and not just simply a State Government handout for the Championships”.
Really, Raymond? If that was so, why did Racing NSW put all the money into obscene and completely unjustifiable and excessive prize money for races that would have attracted the same fields, instead of putting that money into fixing up the racetracks at Randwick and Rosehill and some of the key provincial centres?
And what about the product fee money from the High Court win over the corporates?
Yes, we know where that all went. don’t we? Towards bankrolling the top end of town and the pathetically small Saturday acceptances- something faced with again this Saturday at Randwick.
How can Racing NSW justify the $85,000 minimums for these appallingly small fields, two of which are dominated by Chris Waller with 50 per cent of the starters?????
Compared with your mates over the border, it continues to be a major source of embarrassment and a key contributor to declining wagering revenue.
Later in Raymond’s piece comes the cruncher: Mr Grant (the Racing Minister), said the Government wanted a better understanding about “how and why money is going to be invested”.
Troy Grant has hit the target. He should do what his Victorian counterpart Premier Napthine has done with his Racing Development Fund and take total control over the distribution and allocation of any additional funding that is allocated to Racing NSW.
It is the only way that the country and provincial sectors- NSW racing’s new “rural poor”- can be guaranteed that funds are not splashed and splurged around the Championships.
Everybody Loves Raymond? Hmmmm.