By Hans Ebert

On Friday night at Moonee Valley, a disgruntled punter talked through his pockets by opening his mouth and spitting at Craig Williams after the jockey lost The Manikato Stakes aboard the short priced favourite Vega Magic. Who was this person? Was he charged? Was he suspended for life from attending any sports event anywhere in the world? Hope so though news has been sketchy. And here’s lies a problem all its own: Unless these louts are named and shamed, incidents like these will continue to rear their ugly heads again and again.

It’s like “marketing geniuses” in racing in Australia dragging out dear old Daryl Braithwaite for one more rendition of “The Horses” when the Moonee Valley Racing Club was given- for FREE- a song written specifically for Winx. After approving the demo, the writers spent time and money to the tune of AUS$12,000 to record a final version of the song which was sent immediately to the club. Then came a Roaring Silence before the Big Runaround by the Moonee Valley Racing Club and others associated with the club including- please don’t laugh- asking if the HKJC could be involved in promoting this song. Huh? The email exchange we have on this subject makes for riveting reading. Nudge nudge, Winx Winx.

One also hopes that King Kong Content Provider Extraordinaire, and horse racing’s Global New Thinker ShaneO aka Nora Desmond reads the comments to the question he asked with a lump in, one can only suppose, his throat: “Is there anything better than Daryl Braithwaite singing ‘The Horses’?”

As for the incident Craig Williams had to face, this shouldn’t only be tweeted or mentioned on Facebook. This is when and where the racing club involved should have got on the front foot and showed racing fans that this type of bovine behaviour won’t be tolerated. But then again, we’re talking about the Moonee Valley Racing Club, hardly a testament to common courtesies and professionalism.

Here’s a racing club that should also be held responsible for what many there on Friday night described as a “complete cock up”. Correct or not, this was apparently the long drawn out and farcical Keystone Cops-type incident allowed to take place behind the barriers that resulted in the withdrawal of the popular Chautauqua in the big race. But then farcical and the Moonee Valley Racing Club seem to go hand in hand and completely blinded by their own self importance.

As for what happened to Craig Williams, surely, in many ways, this falls under a breach of security by the racing club? What if something more serious happened? If jockeys can be suspended for careless riding, then what about this punter? Though not a lawyer, his actions might fall under common assault and should be dealt with by the Moonee Valley Racing Club and the police. But has it? Hopefully, this was not swept under the carpet in case it might have interfered with so much riding on full houses and Winx creating history the next day on the same track in the Cox Plate.

And create history Winx did along with Hughie Bowman, Chris Waller, the owners and the somewhat neglected run of second placed Humidor with Blake Shinn aboard. Take Winx out of the equation and with his four winners, Blake Shinn made Cox Plate Day his own. But Winx was there, the wonder mare created history and Australia roared. Daryl was rolled out, ShaneO weeped and The Moonee Valley Racing Club did its Dance Of The Springtime Fairies and has probably already gone back to hibernation.

Getting back to Friday night, let’s spare a thought for Craig Williams about what he and his family might have been going through. After riding three winners, all that early success went down in flames when the “sure thing” of the night looked to be struggling a long way from home. But then to be abused by being spat on is too ugly for words.

Abuse shouldn’t be tolerated. Anywhere. Those leading these choirs of hate on a race track should be escorted out and either suspended from attending the races or banned for life. No one would like to see what some might dismiss as “That’s racing” spill over into something more dangerous.

Let’s not flirt with danger and at the same time also upkeep the image of horse racing. Ensure those who attend a Day At The Races purely to enjoy themselves and get away from the stress of daily life that they need not worry whether attending a race meeting might turn into an unpleasant experience.

Let’s also think about the jockeys who put their bodies through all types of rigour in order to be the great athletes they are and steer thousand pound animals for our racing entertainment. Surely, they don’t need the mental pressures of also having to worry about dealing with abuse? There are different types of abuse, but in the end, abuse is abuse no matter how you slice it.

The Moonee Valley Racing Club still needs to provide some pertinent answers to a question that won’t go away: How was The Craig Williams Incident allowed to happen and how has it being dealt with? Or has it?

#horseracing #CraigWilliams #MooneeValleyRacingClub #abuse #Winx #CoxPlateDay #DarylBraithwaite

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