THE FREE FALL AND TITS UP ISSUE

HAS THE FAT LADY SUNG AT TVN?

THE FREE FALL 1

This won’t be sweet music to the many decent and reputable people who are on the payroll of TVN, but the warbling coming out of there, and the media reports in the News Limited media in Sydney suggest that the writing is well and truly on the wall for TVN.

Not only is it a very distressing development for TVN, but for Australian racing itself.

Ever since a “truce” was loudly and publicly proclaimed some two and a bit years ago by the governing bodies for racing in the two warring states of NSW and Victoria, the “peace process” has, just like the Palestinian peace process, proven to be total dud- and like the Palestine question itself, almost beyond solution.

And just like the Palestine peace process, it could turn out to be racing’s own Israel against the Arab world scenario, juxtaposing Victoria for Israel and the remaining States led by NSW juxtaposing for the Arab world.

The rumblings are getting louder and louder with even the NSW country and provincial clubs fuelling the waves of discontent, pointing to what they perceive as a Victorian bias. And they can’t be blamed.

THE FREE FALL 2

The whole media rights saga is straight out of a Fawlty Towers script. And the more cynical, and realistic observers in the racing community can sense the smell of a proverbial “rat”.

THE FREE FALL 3

Considering the history of the TVN/Sky war since its inception, the legal proceedings initiated all those years ago by “you know who”- this was dealt a crushing and mortal blow by the courts- and the various parties which are, to this day, still involved and waiting their day of vengeance, one wonders whether the derailment of the “peace process” has been very carefully stage managed?

THE FREE FALL 4

Could the present impasse and threats to the future of TVN be all part of the bigger picture to weaken the position and relative strength of those nasty “Mexicans” south of the border?

THE FREE FALL 5

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JOCKEYS COME OUT FIGHTING AGAINST RACING NSW

THE FREE FALL 6

It appears the war between the Australian and NSW Jockeys Association and Racing NSW escalated a notch or three last Thursday with the release of an “URGENT Message from Paul Innes”, the Chief Executive of the NSW Jockeys Association, to all NSW jockeys.

THE FREE FALL 7

The gloves, it appears, are finally off, with the Jockeys Association urging all NSW Jockeys to defy a request contained in a letter from Racing NSW to “sign a form to give authority to have your NSWJA Membership fee deducted from your riding fee”.

THE FREE FALL 8

According to Innes’ message, the Racing NSW letter to NSW jockeys details a “so-called increase in your riding fees”, which he disputes: “Let me make it quite clear, there is NO increase in your Riding Fee from 1 July 2014!!”. And “It is untrue to suggest you will receive an increase in your Riding Fee”.

Sounds very, very familiar doesn’t it?

Innes goes on to point out to Jockeys that “from 1 July you will receive the Superannuation Guarantee Levy of 9.5% on top of your current Riding Fee”, and “This is not a Riding Fee increase, but the payment of the Superannuation Levy that the NSWJA and the Australian Jockeys Association have been fighting for the past 2 ½ years to be introduced by Racing NSW and other state racing authorities. This is an entitlement that everyone else in the general work force receives, but Racing NSW and other State Authorities have until recently opposed this benefit for you”.

Innes also challenges the notion that Racing NSW pays for Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance for Jockeys, asserting that “these insurances are paid from industry money, generally from Owners out of 1% of prize money”.

THE FREE FALL 9

Yet reading the letter from Racing NSW, you would come to the inescapable conclusion that most of the Riding fee increases and superannuation and public liability insurance payments have been paid for out of the largesse and generosity of the caring, sharing, movers and shakers who call Druitt Street home.

THE FREE FALL 10

The battlelines in what we have previously described as a War waiting to happen have now clearly been drawn.

Quite clearly and obviously, the Jockeys Association believes that by directing the Jockeys to sign over an Authority to Racing NSW to collect their membership fees, it would undermine- and eventually destroy- the Australian Jockeys Association.

The reality is that it probably would in that it could deprive the Association of its revenue- and the jockeys, ultimately of a representative organization independent of the governing body Racing NSW.

This most recent “War” has an all-too familiar and pathetic ring to it.

The absolute waste in human and financial resources that are devoted to fighting such unnecessary and pathetic wars of attrition driven by an obscene lust for power and control- and which is the major reason why there is such a stagnant, dysfunctional and disunited racing industry- beggars belief.

THE FREE FALL 11

It also beggars belief that the Boards of Governing Bodies turn a blind eye, or choose to allow their organizations to engage in these war games and take their eye off the ball in securing a prosperous and viable racing industry for- oh, for fucks sake- the “50,000” participants on whose behalf they profess so frequently to martyr themselves.

THE FREE FALL 12

This “war” with the jockeys has a long , long way to play out. And being in a wagering industry, we’re putting our money on the jockeys, and hoping that the fallout will be- deservedly- felt on the other side.

THE FREE FALL 13

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AND YES: WE TOLD YOU SO.

THE FREE FALL 14

So the NSW trainers are pissed off with the domination of the big stables in Sydney are they? Really? We make no apologies for our “told you so” response.

It’s been so clear in recent times that the NSW racing industry is heading down the European path of French and UK racing dominated by the big powerful stables backed by the breeding conglomerates and private billionaire breeders.

It’s clear enough for the NSW powers that be to do fuck all about finding a constructive solution.

THE FREE FALL 15

It is one of the major reasons for the decline of Racing in Europe.

The re-emergence of the racing elites has returned racing to the bad old feudal days when racing was “the sport of kings”- pre-suffragette days when the fourth, fifth and whatever estate you could find, and women were treated like they are today in Arabic countries.

It is clear that racing in NSW is in freefall despite the valiant efforts of the Druitt Street spin doctors to tell its “50,000” participants otherwise.

The infrastructure and state of the metropolitan, provincial and country tracks, country prize money, the exodus of owners and trainers out of NSW racing because they just can’t make a quid, the financial state of the clubs across all three sectors, tell a very damning story and reflect very adversely on management and administration of an industry that once had a spring its step and was relevant.

THE FREE FALL 16

Like a proverbial amoeba, the problems in racing have morphed and spiralled out of control.

It has become an industry which has the “no vacancy” sign illuminated brightly for the smaller owner, trainer and breeder.

THE FREE FALL 17

It’s a very exclusive club and it won’t be very long at all before Saturday metropolitan race fields will be dominated by the elite stables – the owners and trainers.

It comes as no surprise that the Jason Coyle, Joe Pride and Clarry Conners have come out publicly and proposed a number of options ranging from a “cap” on the size of stables to the number of starters that a trainer can have in a race.

It appears that NSW racing has suddenly had its own seminal moment: It’s taken them a bloody long time to realize what is happening right under their noses. And it’s simply not good enough to suggest that if a trainer has half the field in an eight horse race, or five in a nine horse field or even three in an eight horse race that punters would not factor this in when making their decision to wager on the race or not.

THE FREE FALL 18

Besides, evidence suggests that when this has happened in recent times, the lesser fancied or non-favourite of the stable, gets up – another disincentive- and worse- it tongues wagging sending the rumour mill into overdrive about the integrity of racing.

THE FREE FALL 19

It poses a very interesting question for the “guardian” of the 50,000 participants and champion of the underdog: Will he have the balls to step in?

Think we all know what the answer to that question is, don’t we?

THE FREE FALL 20

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ANOTHER MEANINGLESS RACING TWEET

THE FREE FALL 21

He had many fooled with his tweet last Wednesday, did Brent Zerafa, Racing Network’s intrepid newshound excitedly tweeting “Good day of racing at Warwiick Farm, but expecting biggest news from Darley press conference at 11am”.

Sorry Brent, but what fucking wombat do had you smoked?

THE FREE FALL 22

The earth shattering news that the Godolphin name would replace Darley and the colours would be the Godolphin royal blue did not need Sheikh Mo’s global head of operations John Ferguson to fly all the way down under to make the announcement.

THE FREE FALL 23

It needed nothing more than a standard press release with all the tired old clichés to get the few column inches that it deserved.

Ironically, it turns out that the Godolphin blue will clash with the royal blue colours of Melbourne’s Aquanita group.

Interesting will be how the Racing Victoria people will handle the problem which will arise when both stables have runners in the same race.

And on the Darley/Godolphin changeover, we expect Papa Smurf John O’Shea to come out with all guns blazing.

THE FREE FALL 24

With the 200 plus new season two year olds to boost the older horses in the stable, you would expect nothing less.

At the same time, we hear murmurs that not all staff have come to terms with the changeover from Peter Snowden to O’Shea.

Surprised? Really, Smurfs? Really?

THE FREE FALL 25

This entry was posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, Peter V'landys. Bookmark the permalink.

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