We Shoot Horses Here in the Wide Brown Land You Know – Why The Racing Industry Needs to Wake Up to Its Failings and Give Itself an Uppercut – Part 1 – How Dulcify Got Chucked Out With the Garbage and Mulched Into Chicken Feed

Thirty years ago, as the sun set on the saddest of all Melbourne Cups, two Cup stragglers stopped on the bridge over nearby Newmarket saleyards and observed the scene below.

A car pulled up with a horse float attached. It was about 6pm. Earlier, at 2.40pm, Hyperno had won the Cup at famous Flemington to become the sport’s latest equine hero. 

A near-record modern-day crowd of 96,433 had crammed Flemington to cheer a different horse, the much loved favourite. They left the racetrack with heavy hearts and worthless tickets. 

At the saleyards, across Epsom Rd from the abattoir, three sombre men got out of the car and unclipped the float door before yanking out the carcass of a brown horse with a parrot mouth. 

They dragged the dead horse into a pen, next to a dead sheep, covered it with sticks and leaves, removed its race plates, and drove off. 

The stragglers moved on from this macabre scene. It was next door to the abattoir, after all. You see things.

It was ironic – and sometimes convenient – that the abattoir sat across the road from the nation’s most famous racecourse on land that is now an upmarket housing estate.

What happened next is unclear, a Melbourne Cup mystery.

Broadcaster Derryn Hinch claims the dead horse with the parrot mouth was churned into chicken pellets. Others are adamant it was picked up the next day and delivered to a farm at Werribee, or Kyneton, and buried under a beautiful big tree.

We will never know – the death and disposal of the mighty Dulcify is one of racing’s cloudiest chapters; a bitter aftertaste to the 118th Cup, Bart Cummings’ seventh win.

If Hinch’s version is right, Dulcify’s demise says something about horse racing, its elevation of livestock to hero status and the outrage and tears that ensue when death intervenes.

There was outrage when Hinch said on 3AW next morning that Dulcify’s body had been dumped at the saleyards, next to a dead sheep.

Hinch said he had a photo to prove it.

“It was a dead horse next to a dead sheep. The horse had a parrot mouth and a star on his forehead. It was Dulcify all right,” Hinch said of the only racing story he broke.

“They turned him into chicken pellets.

“The reaction was huge.

“Years later, it became a saying in the (media) business, before ‘boned’. If you’d been fired, or treated badly, you’d been ‘Dulcified’.

“I was with (newsreader) Annette Allison at the time. I told her I was going to break the story. She said, ‘You can’t’.

“I said, ‘Bloody oath I can, it’s a big story’.”

No one disputes Dulcify was carted to the Newmarket saleyards the same day he smashed his pelvis in the Melbourne Cup.

There are no quick-dial funeral services for dead champions. Clumsy and unsavory things are done.

Dulcify’s body was slumped in a float that carefully negotiated its way through the departing Cup crowd along the Maribyrnong River, between Colin Hayes’ Fisher Pde stables and the saleyards.

If the heart-broken crowd had known what, or who, was in the float, the scene would have been the Cup’s one and only funeral procession.

The crowd had been told late on the race day, through the track PA, that Dulcify had been put down. Thousands wept.

Cup Day 1979 began far more hopefully for Dulcify and the Sport Of Kings.

Dulcify had won the Cox Plate by seven lengths 10 days before the Cup, elevating him to super-hero status. Three days before the Cup, Dulcify tenaciously won the Mackinnon Stakes.

Colin Hayes, who would later be offered condolences by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, wouldn’t hear of the favourite being beaten.

He’d hired security guards to protect Dulcify. The crowd was 10 deep around his stall, desperate for a glimpse.

At the 1800m Dulcify was travelling well. Then he clipped the heels of Hyperno.

He raced on but faltered approaching the home turn and was pulled out of the race by jockey Brent Thomson.

Hayes pleaded for his champion to be placed in the horse ambulance, a float, and taken to his nearby stables at Fisher Pde, rather than be shot on the spot.

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Terry Ryan was one of Hayes’s foremen that day. He was one of the three who took the dead champion to the saleyards and covered him with leaves. He now works on the track at Doomben racecourse.

“I remember C.S. was so upset, he went inside the house when the horse was put down. No one knew what to do. You couldn’t leave a dead horse in the stables with other horses. They’d sense it. So we left him on the float where he was put down and took him to the saleyards,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s voice still wavers when he recalls the dumping of Dulcify. He said he and two others had put the body in a pen and covered it with leaves and sticks to hide it.

“Two people on the bridge were looking at what was going on. They had no idea the horse was Dulcify,” he said.

Ryan and the others, including strapper Shane Coleman, who refuses to this day to discuss Dulcify’s death, had the horse’s race plates mounted on wooden plaques, inscribed “Dulcify; the greatest horse ever.”

Ryan disputes Hinch’s claim that Dulcify remained at the saleyards, as does stable vet Campbell Baker, who gave Dulcify the lethal injection in the horse ambulance.

Baker still works for the Hayes family.

“As far as I know, the horse was taken to the saleyards because it was late in the evening and it was impossible to make other arrangements,” he said.

“But I was told he was buried at Werribee the next day,” Baker said.

Ryan agrees.

Bill Rigg, who part-owned the champion, said Hayes swore to him that the horse’s final resting place was under a tree in a lush paddock.

“He said it was somewhere up the country. I thought Kyneton. I had no reason to disbelieve him,” Rigg said.

Ryan said Dulcify was at the saleyards only overnight.

“The next day he was picked up by someone from the stable. I think the boss even did it personally,” Ryan said.

“He had a friend with a farm at Werribee. That’s where he was buried.”

Ryan said he was not aware of the location of Dulcify’s grave, or even the location of the farm.

A witness who helped dispose of Dulcify’s body said there was no farm, no burial, just chicken pellets.

“Back then, you didn’t have pet funerals like you do now,” he said.

“C.S. loved Dulcify and loved horses but he said that when you deal with livestock, you deal with dead stock.

“He reacted to the outrage after Hinch said what he said, made up a story.

“C.S. loved that horse, he was utterly heart-broken, but what do you do with a dead animal?”

Baker said people were stunned by Dulcify’s death.

“There was some uproar that he was put down,” he said.

“But he’d shattered his pelvis. It was a hopeless case,”

“It was the saddest day imaginable on a racetrack. The entire track was in tears.”

The Hook Job in the Pre Mix Concrete Pace at Canberra Revisited – How Archie Stuffed the Hewitt Family Connections Up – And Why That Just Makes the Whole Rort Worse

Yesterday we wrote about the 6th race at the Canberra trots on Monday night and stuffed the Hewitt family connections up completely.

We said originally that the driver was Bernie Hewitt, which was totally incorrect, and issued a printed and published apology in a revised version of the story. Then we said the driver was Brad Hewitt which was correct, but wrongly identified Bernie as his father, which was not correct either, and issued another apology.

Now we have it right, and this time it should be 2 members of the extended Hewitt harness racing clan who are issuing the apologies, for while the driver of the hooked horse is indeed Brad Hewitt his father is actually David Hewitt, and that man is the driver of the third favorite in the race, the leader and winner Sand Blaster, and that makes everything a whole lot worse.

Why?

Because

  1. Brad Hewitt has hooked the $1.50 favorite to allow his father’s $4.50 second favorite Sand Blaster to win.
  2. His cousin Todd Day has helped keep him in the zip fastener
  3. Brad’s Dad David has come off the fence over the final 80m of the race to allow his son to get up on his inside and run second.

Which means its London to a Brick on that someone in the Hewitt camp – almost certainly a family member – has backed the horses to run 1-2 in the quinella and the trifecta, as well as either backing Sand Blaster to win or laying Recipe For Dreaming to lose.

Let’s have a look at the race again with this new knowledge of the family connection fresh in our minds.

Brad Hewitt’s $1.50 shot comes from barrier 5.

His father David’s 2nd favorite starts from outside him in 6.

The third favorite driven by his cousin Todd runs from gate 4.

Dad goes to the lead at the start.

Todd eases to 3 back the fence.

Brad eases back to last on the outside, but the horse inside him eases again and he lands in fifth sport the fence.

There are five horses racing in Indian file early with one in the death, and at the bell with 2 to go Todd Day moves around to the 1-1.

If Brad Hewitt was trying he would have popped off the fence and sat 1-2 on his cousin’s back, but he isn’t so he doesn’t, and instead stays 3 back on the fence.

Yada yada yada, the race runs on, Brad Hewitt deliberately stays on the fence, his Dad’s horse wins and his cousin runs third after his Dad shifts out and allows Brad through.

Bingo.

Everyone’s a winner.

Well all the Hewitt’s who knew it when Archie didn’t anyway.

As for the mug punters?

Let them eat cake.

They’re used to it, and like the taste.

The Hook Job in the Pre Mix Concrete Pace at Canberra – A Story in Two Halves – Archie Tells the First and We Wait For the Stewards to Read or Rort Us the Second

This replay above is of race 6 at the Canberra Trots last night, and I thank the reader who brought our attention to it warmly for his or her kindness.

The favorite in the race is Recipe For Dreaming.

It is two’s on in the old parlance, or $1.50 in the new.

The son of dominant gun sire Bettor’s Delight and Secret Potion, a dual Group 1 victor whose driver became the first woman in NZ harness history to drive a winner at the top-level, starts from barrier 5.

His driver Brad – nephew of Bernie – is an experienced reinsman who has worked wit harness horses since he could walk, but bears the taint of having been found guilty of breaches of the betting rules in the past. He wears the distinctive colors of brown (or maybe olive) sleeves and yellow shirt with the same color brown or olive diamonds, and sports a white skull-cap that would look much more professional if it were olive/brown.

Hewitt pulls the favorite up.

Drives it dead.

He doesn’t want to win. In fact he’d do – and does – anything to avoid it.

At the start he restrains back from the wide barrier, and is one-off the fence last outside the 2nd last horse early. That horse’s driver for some unknown reason decides that he’d rather sit last the fence instead of second last the fence in a six-horse race, so he restrains and lets Hewitt in, and so the fave pops 4 back on the fence and bar the death the field is racing in Indian file.

Three back pops off and moves into the 1-1, but instead of doing the obvious and following him so you land 1-2, Hewitt ducks back to the fence. Now he’s three back.

The field travels a full half-mile during which time Hewitt can come off the fence at any moment he chooses but he doesn’t, and that sets the pattern of the race because despite a million and three opportunities to get off and out the odds on shot never leaves the fence and as a result never gets out even though he could and thus runs second, and the mug punters do their dough cold.

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It’s a hook of epic proportions, and as absolute shining example of the shame game performed or not performed at the Olympic level.

Brad Hewitt is a crook and a disgrace, for there can be absolutely no excuse that could cut the mustard for this.

The Stewards Report is yet to be published.

It will be hellishly interesting to read what it has to say.

Watch this space.

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story we incorrectly identified the driver of Recipre For Dreaming as Bernie Hewitt, uncle of the actual driver Brad. We apologise unreservedly to Bernie Hewitt for the error. Mr Hewitt snr had nothing whatsoever to do with the drive and the reference to him in the earlier version was an unintentional mistake.

A Tale of Three Treatments (Or Two and an Alleged 3 Others Anyway)

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Case Study 1 – Liam Birchley

Despite no evidence whatsoever being presented to demonstrate that any substance was administered to any of his horses at any time, trainer Liam Birchley is found guilty of three counts of being party to the administration of an alkalinising agent – bicarbonate of soda – to horses on a raceday.

The trainer is one of eight disqualified from the sport as part of the Aquanita affair, which the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board describe as the greatest scandal since Fine Cotton.

Birchley is disqualified from the sport for a year.

Case Study 2 – Mark Currie

Mark ‘Boof’ Currie – the father of trainer Ben ‘the Toowoomba Tornado’ Currie – is found guilty of 12 counts of administering a medication to his son’s horses on a raceday.

The horses have been treated with a multi-nutrient paste named Pro-Dosa Boost which is available over-the-counter from equine stores such as Garrards Horse and Hound.

Pro-Dosa Boost is not a defined medication under the rules and is not a banned substance, and none of its twelve mineral, vitamin and amino acid ingredients are banned substances either.

Currie receives a 2 year disqualification from racing.

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Case Study 3 – Tony Pike

Visiting New Zealand trainer Tony Pike – the long time National President of the New Zealand Trainers Association – treats 2 horses with a medication named Neutrolene Plus on a race day.

Neutrolene Plus has 3 active ingredients – Sodium citrate dihydrate, Citric Acid and Trometamol. Each of the three are banned substances under the rules of racing. The first 2 are banned alkalising substances almost identical to Bicarb, the last one is an anti-inflammatory

Tony Pike throws up the ridiculous excuse that he believes that the race day treatment rules of Australia and New Zealand are different, which is a nonsense given the senior role he holds as long-time head of the NZ trainers body and his long history of racing horses at major carnivals in Australia.

No inquiry is held at which Pike is required to appear, no QRIC official asks Pike the reason for his alleged belief that the rules are different, no inquiries are made to identify whether Pike has a previous history of treating horses in breach of the rules (he has – see here), and no swabs are taken from his horses to determine their TCO levels.

Pike is issued an on-the-spot $500 fine.

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There a Fraction Too Much Fiction in QRIC’s Public Chest Beating by Media Release

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Fact: QRIC were tipped off about the 29-year-old man

Fiction: He was discovered during vigilant Winter Carnival stable inspections

Fact: The man voluntarily handed himself in to the coppers

Fiction: The Integrity Investigations Team located the man

Fact: The outstanding warrant is for a minor matter and the man was released on watch house bail on his own recognisance

Fiction: IIT Stewards discovered the Tony Pike breach during stable inspections in the lead up to the Doomben 10 000

Fact: An Eagle Farm trainer dobbed Tony Pike in

Fiction: Either matter is an example of QRIC’s vigilance

Fact: Both matters are examples of QRIC’s lack of vigilance and the Commission staff and Racing Police Squad’s dependence on tip-offs and information to ensure that participants are acting within the rules of racing

Fiction: All participants are acting within the rules of racing

Fact: Not all participants are acting within the rules of racing

Question: If QRIC officers have been working over the Winter Carnival to ensure that all participants are acting within the rules of racing, what do they do for the rest of the year?

From the Penthouse to the Shithouse – How the BRC Directors Have Conned Us All and Screwed Brisbane Racing Forever

pho.jpgA penthouse is an apartment on the top floor of a building.

It seems self-evident doesn’t it?

That’s why we have the Aussie saying from the penthouse to the shithouse. It means from the top to the gutter , and everyone knows it.

Why then are the Brisbane Racing Club and its ‘joint venture partner’ Mirvac offering a penthouse on Level 7 of the Stage 1 Ascot Green apartment building, and another on Level 9 of the same tower?

How does one have a top-level apartment on 2 stories separated by another?

Because it’s bullshit, that’s why.

Level 7 is not a penthouse. It is an apartment 2 levels down from one of the real penthouses, which are located on Level 9.

Notice that I said ‘are’ not ‘is’.

Usually the penthouse apartment takes up the whole top floor of a building.

Not here though.

Your penthouse on the 9th floor is just one of many of the 91 apartments that have been on sale in stage 1 of the proposed 8 tower development at Eagle Farm.

Ascot Green is a part of the revitalisation of the Eagle Farm Racecourse precinct.

There is a slight problem however.

The first stage of the development that has been selling for almost 2 years features 219 units in twin towers named Ascot House and Tulloch House.

Ascot House is nine stories high and has the 91 apartments,

Tulloch House is 12 stories high and houses the other 128.

Not one unit has been sold in Tulloch House.

Nil. Zip. Nada.

Only 85 of the 91 units in Ascot House have been sold, or so they say, but that figure isn’t real either because a number of the units have been hocked off the plan to BRC Directors or Managers on a ‘buy now, pay later’ basis, with the plan (plot or scheme) being that the apartments will be grabbed now and sold later at an inflated cost.

There is a huge problem however.

The arse has fallen out of the Vegas property market.

Mirvac and the BRC can’t even sell the units in the first block, let alone those in the 2nd tower at Tulloch House.

That’s actually more than a huge problem, it’s a goddamn catastrophe, for the BRC ‘Master Plan’ relies on 1000 units in 8 towers being sold.

If you can’t sell 91 units in 2 years, you aren’t going to be able to sell 1000 in a hurry are you?

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In fact the other 800 odd in the other 6 towers aren’t even going to be built unless the 219 in the first 2 sell. And the BRC have only sold 85, and that’s a made up number.

They are fucked sportsfans.

The Master Plan is a Master Blast.

The BRC Directors have hocked the club and all its land to Mirvac on the premise that they are going to sell the whole 1000 units, and all the projections and financial plans are based on that number, but it isn’t going to happen and it can’t.

Mirvac has a charge – essentially a mortgage – over the whole two racecourses.

If 900 units can’t be sold in the next 3 years the club is rooted.

They haven’t even been able to sell a tenth of that in 2 years.

Bye bye Eagle Farm, it was nice to know you.

I’ve been trying to tell you this for a year now.

Nifty Nev and Little Dickie are con men.

Real Estate agent spivs.

They don’t give a fuck about racing and they don’t give a fuck about you.

 

You have about 5 minutes to act to stop this scam or we’re rooted.

This is the truth.

Herein endeth the lesson.

Over to you members.

What ya gunna do?

Waterboards, Sledges, Police Harassment and Urban Myths – Why Those Who Take Delight in Slagging Off the Tornado Should Think Twice About Who’s Next If He’s Gone – And Learn to Count

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The knives are out for Ben Currie and it seems that half of Queensland are keen to kick the young trainer while he’s down.

I’ve had a million people stick it up me saying “Look at his results in the past month. He can’t go a yard without the gear can he?”

Here’s one comment I’ve had, and it’s representative of dozens of others.

Isn’t it gratifying to learn that the police officers who run the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission have deigned to follow …

A Picture Tells a Thousand Words – It sure does and apparently QRIC has a movie length drama from the Tornado’s stables.

Things have gone quiet all round at Clifford Park. Winners are scarce, Tornado that quiet he is nothing more than the wind off a fart along with the stable winning percentage down to less than 10% for the month of May (11 days to go). Amazing how a raid that apparently uncovers nothing has had such an effect on a trainer that “has nothing to hide”.

Frankly my dear Watt, that is absolute bullshit.

Firstly the Tornado himself hasn’t been charged with any racing rule breach whatsoever.

Secondly the charges that two of his stable hands have been found guilty of are as rubbery as hell, and do not involve ‘gear’ or illegal drugs (see story to follow).

And thirdly, he’s hardly going like a busted arse.

Look at the Tornado’s training stats for the month of May before you start running off at the mouth all ye critics.

Ben Currie

49 Runners – 9 wins, 8 seconds, 4 thirds

Strike rates – Win 18.4%, Place 42.9%

It’s not too shabby at all is it?

And hardly 10% as claimed.

Let’s compare the Tornado’s numbers for May to those of the other four trainers in the top five shall we.

Tony Gollan

65 Runners – 9 wins, 7 seconds, 9 thirds

Strike rates –  Win 13.8%, Place 38.5%

Toby Edmonds

41 Runners – 7 wins, 5 seconds, 5 thirds

Strike rates – Win 17.1%, Place 41.5%

Robert Heathcote

35 Runners – 5 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds

Strike rates – Win 14.3%, Place 34.3%

Matthew Dunn

46 Runners – 9 wins, 1 second, 6 thirds

Strike rates – Win 19.6%, Place 34.8%

So what we find is that Ben Currie – who has lost his stable foreman and two of his key staff to stand downs or suspensions, and has lost his best horse Amanaat to barrier attendant misadventure which for some reason QRIC seem strangely reluctant to investigate – is second only to Matthew Dunn in winner numbers and winning strike rates, and has trained more placegetters at a higher strike rate than any other racehorse trainer in the top five on the ladder.

The young bloke can’t train they say?

The critics can’t count I reply.

We’ll wait and see what happens in the days and weeks ahead, and whatever it is it is and what will be will be.

But those who are happy to watch a bloke get waterboarded might want to remember that there are plenty of drips in racing, and one day it might be they who find themselves choking on the end of a QRIC hose and not Ben Currie.

That’s all I have to say

For now anyway.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

Desmond Tutu

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