Bits and Pieces From the Asian Racing Conference – And a Little Bit of ET Too

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Look who’s bobbed up at the Asian Racing Conference.

It’s ET!

The fake doctor that we sacked as Racing Queensland CEO because he was useless, although Eliot Forbes will always tell anyone who will listen that he resigned.

Archie will assure the same people that pigs fly.

I guess the little man with the aggro attitude and not a single clue is using his golden handshake to shake the hands of anyone who might give him a job and stroke his Napoleon sized-ego.

Poor bugger could have saved his money and just asked me if I knew whether there was anything going, for I have found a job perfectly suited to the Camel Jockey cum Vet’s skills and undoubted humpy ability.

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Look who else is in Seoul.

It’s Tezza, the bloke who sunk Birchley.

Or so he thinks.

Must be networking ahead of the new gig at Kranji.

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The bloke on the left is Scott Matthews, a former very ordinary stipe at the doggies and the trots in Sydney who went to Singapore and didn’t really cut the grade then got a job in Korea – which was one step ahead of the gig in Mongolia – because no-one else wanted or would have him.

I’m not sure if Matthews realises this but we actually know each other from back in the day, although I am not going to betray secrets by telling from where and when.

Let me just say one thing.

He hasn’t changed.

Wake up Mr Matthews!

Remember that one son?

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As an aside hasn’t Steve Railton got old?

He and I were both in the Stewards Room during Fine Cotton, and he was very kind to me when I was young and dreamed about becoming a stipe on the one night a month that I didn’t dream of becoming a professional punter, and I have always thought very highly of the man.

Things I’ve heard about him since re-engaging in a central sense with racing make me wonder if perhaps I might in my innocence have been mistaken, but after I was raped and veered sharply off the rails and even fucking up my prized job at the race track that Andy Tindall had got me, Steve Railton was the first to stand beside me and try in his own small way to help, even though he didn’t have a clue what the hell had gone wrong.

I don’t care what he is, or what he has become, and I refuse to believe it anyway.

To me the bloke’s a hero and always will be.

Even if he does come from Albany Creek, or at least across the road from the Hypermarket anyway.

He is getting old though.

I will too I hope.

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This is Ben Currie with the Shah of Iran.

Nah, just joking.

Nice hat though Tornado.

Hey has anyone seen Nifty Nev?

It’s Time the Merry Go Round Stopped and the Little Kiddies Who’ve Been Killing BrisVegas Racing Were Thrown Off – We Need a Hero to Save Us – No, We Need Two – Peter Tighe and Mary Collier, Come on Down

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See this cracker of a carousel?

The Brisbane Racing Club brought it all the way from Sydney to Doomben last weekend because some bright spark who knows nothing about the Sport of Kings thought it would be a great idea to have a big flash ride for the intoxicated to yahoo on after the Ten Thousand was run and won by Gai’s horse.

It cost more than $20 000 to have this beauty at the track for the big one.

It cost about the same not to make sure that Nifty Neville Bell – the Eagle Farm track killer – wasn’t at the course by sending him and his missus on a member paid first-class jaunt to Korea via Singapore so that he could watch his horse race at Kranji and then piss it up with the nobs in Seoul at the Asian Racing Conference, attendance at which is about as useful as tits on a bull for BrisVegas racing.

Can you remember the last time an Asian superstar still owned in its home country came over for a run in the Winter Carnival?

I will tell you when it was. Never. That’s when.*

His annual trips to Singapore under the guise of building a sister club relationship may well be one of the greatest rorts on the turf, but at least it keeps Nifty the hell away which has to be a bonus because the bloke is just dead set bad luck.

Blackouts on Cup Day, failed Sound of Music big screen productions (estimated audience of non-BRC staff or family members last week: 3), $95 million debt, $16 000 a week losses, a beach where Eagle Farm used to be, residential apartments that can’t sell because they’re built on a train line and next to a bunch of horse stables full of rats and flies, a farm of his own that he can’t flog, corruption scandals all around, a CEO who thinks the Stradbroke is run on the island, plummeting attendances, dud deals, $10 beers – you name it, Nifty stuffs it.

Just like the 20 plus grand carousel that a grand total of approximately 16 drunken sheilas and 7 others rode throughout the day at a cost of just under a thousand bucks a ride. Some of them apparently had wandered down from the Chief De Beers room so those adventurous buggers managed to score a double and two grand worth of freebies in a single afternoon.

As hard as he tries Little Dickie just can’t quite cut the mustard and doesn’t look the goods either. Nifty’s two-finger lift to the BRC members gifted the little fella his debut on the silver stage as part of the Bell Ringer’s strategised retire but keep control by whacking in one of the bottom academic decile kids from Nudgee as his successor, but sadly for those love a good rort and a look after your mates free kick and sling Little Dickie the career real estate agent just cannot cut the mustard and a better option to replace Nifty when he’s either booted or walks is sorely needed.

Which brings me at last to my point, and thanks for hanging around listening until I finally got here.

Brisbane Racing needs a hero.

Desperately.

We have one waiting in the wings, and although I understand that he is reluctant it’s a case of cometh the hour, cometh the man, and a fella who was struck good fortune on the turf owes it to the industry to give something back, particularly when his acumen, talents, personality and incorruptibility mean that he has a whole lot to give.

There’s only one name worth speaking about as the next Chair of the BRC my friends.

Mr Winx, Peter Tighe.

Peter Tighe, come on down.

We need you mate.

We need Mary Collier too,

Mary Collier come on down.

The Dream Team.

The duo who can save Brisbane Racing.

The only pair with the skills and passion and knowledge and experience to do it.

We’re in the trenches Pete and Mary, and things are looking real crook. We need two great racing achievers to grab us by the hand and lead us out of this mess that Bell and his mates have landed in, and you are the two to do it.

This is BrisVegas racing’s hour of need.

We need two heroes.

And they’re you.

Save us.

Please.

Get us the Farm back. Make racing great again. Pull us out of this mire that these self-interested real estate agents and money men have got us into.

Set us free,

Why We Need Gender Balance on the Brisbane Racing Club Board – And Why We Need Mary Collier, Jane Gollan, Bernadette Cooper and Sallyanne Atkinson to Lead the Sport of Kings in Vegas Out of the Mire

The second half of the third plenary session of the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul was led by Ms Victoria Carter, Deputy Chair of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, who opened with a frank discussion on how racing can respond to a rapidly changing world, with the emphasis on staying relevant and driving diversity.

“If racing wants to expand its participant base and get more fans – the fastest way is through diversity,” Carter said. “More women in racing at all levels, not just on-course, will mean that we have a greater chance of innovation, collaboration and transformation.

“If you can’t see it, how can you be it or believe that it is possible?” she challenged the audience. “Having more women in racing shows all women that it is possible. It means you do not need to be unique, exceptional or chosen and it becomes more of the norm. Remember half the world is women.

“For racing to gallop ahead we need women in leadership roles. If you want good decisions, good strategies and good outcomes, you need people who are different from you. Hence diversity, or gender-balance, matters. Change will make our industry stronger.

“There isn’t an industry today that doesn’t need innovation and new ideas; racing is not alone here. So if we want more women to participate in racing we need to find a way to get the other 50 per cent involved.”

Ms Susannah Gill, Director of External Affairs for Arena Racing Company, provided an insight into British racing’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

British racing, with its rich heritage, excellent growth and leading position in the production of top-quality horses, identified a need to realign with modern society, Gill said.

This resulted in the formation of the Diversity in Racing Steering Group led by the British Horseracing Authority and included representation from all stakeholder groups. The Group will shortly publish its Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.

“Society still perceives racing to be a ‘white, rich man’s sport’, yet it relies mostly on people who are not white, rich or men,” Gill said.

“With racing’s administration populated with white middle-aged men, a current staffing shortage, which will only get worse with Brexit and a gender pay gap, British racing was in trouble.

“So in short, not only do we need to attract the brightest and the best, but we also need to retain them. Hence we have got to be seen to be open for business.”

Ms Anna Seitz Ciannello, Client Development and Public Relations Manager of Fasig Tipton, briefed delegates on the creation and expansion of female racing syndicates, both in the United States and abroad.

With a lifetime of experience in the sport having grown up at Kentucky’s Brookdale Farm, the birthplace of 2012 Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, Seitz Ciannello spent several years working with seven-time Champion Trainer Todd Pletcher before shifting to sales at Fasig Tipton.

“In my job I realised how exciting it was for people to be involved in owning a racehorse,” Seitz Ciannello said. “Hence I put together my first syndicate and bought a filly named I’m Already Sexy.

“We were not millionaires, we were just a bunch of young people having fun. From there grew the idea of having syndicates for women, where the aim is simply to have fun.”

Partnering with Elaine Lawlor from Goffs, Seitz Ciannello proceeded to expand her syndicates internationally, with runners in Australia, Ireland and the USA.

Her Australian syndicate It’s All About the Girls, formed in 2013, has subsequently brought several hundred new female owners to the sport.

Global Glamour, the syndicate’s Group 1-winning filly, was offered as a prime example of the international reach of such syndicates, boasting 40 owners from eight countries.

Ms Megumi Ichiyama, the Chief of Staff of the Japan Racing Association Publicity Department, shared with delegates the strategy of the UMAJO project which commenced in 2012 and is aimed at attracting women to the racecourse.

“The project was launched when the JRA realised that less than 14 per cent of all racegoers in Japan were women,” Ichiyama said.

“Research showed that women not only wanted to race in comfort, but also wanted to be provided with information and to be guided on racing when attending as a newcomer.”

This led to the creation of the UMAJO SPOT, an area set up exclusively for women at each of the JRA’s racecourses.

Here women are offered concierge services, introductory brochures, refreshments and even educational tours.

The JRA also realised that the horse is a key attraction factor for women and have used this successfully in their poster campaigns. To date the project has already shown to be beneficial with female attendance growing to 17 per cent in 2017.

This is racing.com’s report of the second half of the third plenary session Reaching and Expanding Racing Fan Base that was delivered yesterday to the Asian Racing Conference by a group of women leader in racing.

They are spot on.

100%.

I want you to read again what Susannah Gill from Arena Racing said.

Arena Racing is a private equity owned for-profit provider of racing in the UK that owns and operates 16 of the top race courses including Chepstow, Doncaster, Lingfield, Newcastle, Royal Windsor and Southwell.

The company’s management of these courses has been a raging success, and in large part Arena Racing has been responsible for driving the innovation and initiatives that have led to the record levels of prize money in the UK that have risen almost 25% in just three years from 2015 – 2018.

Society still perceives racing to be a ‘white, rich man’s sport’, yet it relies mostly on people who are not white, rich or men. With racing’s administration populated with white middle-aged men ….racing was in trouble … we need to attract the brightest and the best (and) we also need to retain them. Hence we have got to be seen to be open for business.

Never a more true word was said.

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We need more women in racing so that we can both ensure that women participants in the industry achieve full equality for the first time, and to unlock the massive potential market of women in a dying sport that drowning man desperately try to preserve as their own.

I will take it even a step further.

The non-proprietary model of racing – that is, the sport being run by not-for-profit clubs headed and dominated by middle-aged and older white men – has proven to be a rank failure in the 21st century.

We live in a world of rapidly developing technological change that can alter our long-perceived realities in seemingly the blink of an eye, and there is no better example than that of the racing industry and the extraordinary changes wrought in such a small period of time by the rise of the corporate bookmaker.

What has happened in racing over the past decade is akin to the global shift caused by the industrial revolution, and by and large the leaders of the industry and the political masters in charge of regulating the sport have been caught flat-footed and have been unable to adapt to the change, and as a result our sport is dying.

The old white men who run racing can’t see – or perhaps refuse to see – that the world has shifted around them, and nowhere more so than in Queensland where the Old Boys Club has been caught clueless and infiltrated and overtaken by the rapaciously greedy New Boys Club, and it’s even money the pair because either way racing is dying.

The answer is pretty simple really, even though for a lot it won’t be palatable.

It’s time to give free enterprise a go.

Racing needs to become proprietary.

That is, privatised.

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We need people who actually give a fuck because it’s in their own interests to care to run racing, not old white men who’d rather race off to Singapore at someone else’s expense to watch their shit horse win some crap race that nobody but them cares about instead of staying home and leading the club that members elected them to lead on its biggest day of the year.

Successful business women of the ilk of the four over-achievers that I mentioned in the title of this piece won’t need any convincing.

Each of them has broken down glass walls and ceilings during their career, and done it on their own two feet despite what their dickhead ex-husband’s might have liked at one stage to say, or might still say.

The free market and the profit motive is the answer to all of racing’s ills. Super-successful people with a financial interest in making sure racing maximises its potential will make sure that it does.

Old blokes who don’t give a toss won’t.

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A jockey, an experienced Director, the public face of Vegas racing and the woman who made Brisbane a first-class crackerjack city and smashed down the barriers for all the females who would follow, all working with a team of progressive go-getting blokes headed by the most successful owner in racing history.

Bernie, Mary, Janie, Sally and Pete.

What more could a racing club ever want or need.

Go grrrllllsss!

Let’s get rocking.

Let’s save racing.

Let’s go!

Nicky Watson Needs Some Knickers – So Archie Heeds the SOS Call and Heads to Aotearoa to Sort Her Out

I had a dream yesterday morning that my mate Deano’s horse won the NZ Sires Stakes in Earthquake City, Christchurch tomorrow night, and I have to say that it woke me up faster than a striking taipan makes a bloke pissing in the bushes west of Barcaldine bolt back to the ute and high jump into the tray.

With eyes wide bright and a tail bushier than a seventies porn star’s homage to Tassie I sprung out of bed and raced for the fixed price market on the Sires, but thanks to bloody Malcolm Turnbull it wasn’t there so I emailed some Kiwi called Simon instead, and spent my time waiting for the laid back Tab man’s reply booking my flights to the City of Shaky Dreams and scoring a bed in which to rest my weary head.

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Sadly for the Youth Hostels Association who normally benefit from my custom Deano had left his credit card on the Polo Club Bar when he’d got pissed and spewed on the pool table earlier in the week after landing an interstate Montana double and Maggie had kicked him to touch in a Uber, and it would be remiss of a Jeebung lad not to spend up large on his mate’s card when it has a $50 grand limit, so I went for broke.

That’s why I’m now in the final stages of last-minute packing for the punt adventure of a lifetime, and why my old St Paul’s front row hero of nineteen hundred and something early eighties is about 20 grand shorter on the Amex than he thought he was, and why Maggie’s waking up this morning to a note saying “luv ya sweetheart see ya on Monday after I win a million dollars, and the reason that she is London to a Brick on right at this moment to be ringing her dream guy Gorgeous George and asking him if he wants to play while the tiger’s away.

Who cares?

The bloody stupid Kiwi’s have Deano’s horse at $61 and I’m gunna take ’em to the cleaners using his credit card to back it for heaps.

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Of course first I have to suffer the business class flight with the fluffy pillows and the soft backed blanket and the fresh seasonal meals made to order and the free grog and all those things that God sent to try us on Qantas flights across the ditch, and then I have to suffer the indignity of signing Deano’s name on the check-in chit for the $1500 a night penthouse slum that I’ve lowered myself to stay in – don’t they have servants to fill these sort of forms in for you – and of course I also have to unzip the over-size port with the excess luggage I also bought on his card and roll the bastard out and wake him up before I can even think about walking past the 24/7 smoked salmon and flash stuff smorgasbord to go and get set at the TAB.

These things are sent to test us aren’t they sportsfans?

Never mind.

The silly All Black buggers have got the world’s best 3YO pacer Shez All Rock at $3.60 to win their Classic Oaks race, and she’s a bigger certainty to bolt in than Maggie is to be dialing George, so if I’m forced to eat imported Quail eggs from some wagyu style chickenry in Bruges and belt down a few glasses of 3 grand per 30ml rare fine wine, well what does it matter?

I’m sure that you would do exactly the same if you were in my shoes and had an already in the bag 220 to 1 all up waiting with your name on it wouldn’t you?

I wonder if they keep Pets in these Penthouses in Christchurch?

Bloody hell I hope so.

Maggie asked me to send her some holiday snaps.

Hold on Nicky, I’m coming with your knickers!

Lots!

Victorian Harness Racing is an Absolute Farce and the Stewards are Nothing But a Bad Joke – Gavin Lang Gets the All Clear After Hooking a $1.20 Favorite – They Would Have to Be Bloody Kidding Wouldn’t They?

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This is the just released stewards report into the harness race at Mildura that I wrote about in the last story.

You saw what happened in that race.

You saw Gavin Lang’s foot in the other driver’s cart.

Blind Freddy did too.

The stewards didn’t though.

I didn’t realise that Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder were officiating at the Mildura meeting on Sunday.

You saw the other driver – Zac Phillips – staring down at Lang’s foot and thinking “WTF is this prick doing?”

You saw that Phillips didn’t do anything to separate the horse’s wheels. He couldn’t, he was jammed up against the fence and anyway he had the lead and Gavin Lang had come from behind him and locked the wheels, so it was Lang’s responsibility to take the necessary action to separate them.

How on earth then could the Stewards find that Phillips had made considerable efforts to rectify the situation?

How could they find that Lang made considerable efforts? The only effort he made was to ensure that the situation couldn’t be rectified.

These Stewards are dead set making it up as they go.

How could they miss Lang’s clear and utterly blatant breach of the rules by deliberately removing his foot from his own cart and putting it in Phillips?

Why are the Stewards covering this whole episode up?

Why are they protecting Gavin Lang?

Why are they allowing long odds on favorites to be pulled up?

What the hell is going on in Victorian harness racing?

There can be only one answer.

The fix is in.

This is a scandal.

We can smell the stench all the way from up here in Vegas.

Sal Perna if you don’t do something about this rubbish then you’re a joke too and should be sacked before dinner time.

This is a fraud on punters.

The big is question though is this.

Is it an organised conspiracy?

Over to you Mr Perna.

What are you going to do?

Nothing is not an answer.

The Red Hottest Race Victoria Has Ever Seen – They Should Throw Gavin Lang Headfirst Out of Harness Racing and Ban Him For Life

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Take a bloody look at this will you?

The horse in the death seat is the $1.20 favorite for the race.

It is about to go past the leader and win by half the length of the straight.

All its driver – the vastly experienced Gavin Lang, one of Australia’s top reinsmen – needs to do is steer it around the corner and it’s a matter of go and get in the queue.

Lang has no reason to get close to the horse on the inside as they round the turn. He has it well and truly beaten, and nothing is coming from behind. Lang could steer his horse to the outside fence if he wanted to and it would still win by half a dozen lengths, but if you watch the video closely you will see that he leans to his left and steers it expertly alright. Straight up and into the horse inside so that they lock wheels.

This is what you should do when you lock wheels.

Ease back to separate the wheels and steer off from the other horse, just like the driver of the horse in the yellow did at Globe Derby a couple of weeks ago.

 

The difference between that driver and Gavin Lang is that he was trying to win the race.

Lang is trying to lose.

This is what he does.

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See that long white leg?

That is Gavin Lang’s.

Lang will for sure and certain try to tell the stewards that he was attempting to push the other horse off so as to disengage the sulkies.

He will be lying.

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What Lang is really doing is hooking his foot up and under the bar of the sulky of the other horse so that the pair can’t disengage.

He is actually holding the other horse back to him so there is no chance that it can get away from him and set his wheel free.

Lang is cheating.

He wants the $1.20 shot he is driving to lose.

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This continues all the way down the straight until there is only about 30 metre to go and the race is lost, and it is only then that Lang takes his foot out of his rival’s sulky and steers his horse away.

It is one of the most blatant acts of cheating that you could ever hope to see, and the audacity of Lang in pulling a trick like this on a $1.20 shot is breathtaking.

Lang knows full well that under the rules he cannot take his foot out of the sulky under any circumstances other than to operate the foot control on his horses gear.

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Obviously he has breached that rule.

There can be no question whatsover about that.

But Gavin Lang has broken a whole lot more rules than simply that one, namely these:

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These are about the most serious offences that a driver can commit on a racetrack short of actually jumping out of the cart and doing a reverse pike with a double twist.

The stewards should hurl the whole damn book at Lang, and thrown him out of the harness racing game forever.

This is Victoria though where anything goes and Integrity Commissioners turn a blind eye to blatant cheating because

(a) they know nothing about the sport and therefore can’t spot a swifty even when it is staring them smack bang in the face, and

(b) they are too busy pursuing their own personal agendas to bother actually doing the job that they are over-paid handsomely for

so who knows what might happen, or what might not.

Strangely, given that the race was run three days ago, the stewards report is yet to be published. It will make for very interesting reading.

Don’t you worry about that.

Gavin Lang should though.

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The Brave New World of Police Replacing Racing Stewards on Triple the Pay – If You Can’t Pinch Them, Pound Them – The Persecution of Ben Currie Continues Apace – But This is Not Just About the Tornado – This is About the Future of Racing and Affects Us All

I know that there are many our there who disagree vehemently with my continued criticism of the QRIC ‘investigation’ into Ben ‘the Tornado’ Currie.

(I use the word ‘investigation’ loosely, because no-one actually knows what if anything is being investigated, and QRIC aren’t saying).

Those who hold that I have it wrong claim that I am defending the Tornado, but that just ain’t right.

I’m defending everyone in racing, and standing up for the right to operate your stables and your business without you and your family and your staff and their family and friends being harassed unmercifully, for that’s what is happening to Ben Currie right now, and if we all stand by silently and watch then next time it could happen to you.

It’s already happened to me, and given that the police have had my computer for the five months since they have seized it then it’s probably London to a Brick on that it will again, given that no-one is supervising those whose control it is in and are therefore unable to monitor what might or might not be added to it or altered.

When you think through the possibilities, and remember that QRIC have IT experts on staff and contractors who sign confidentiality agreements at their beck and call, it becomes a bloody scary thought I can assure you. It would probably keep me awake at night worrying if I was able to sleep during darkness, but I can’t so it doesn’t, yet still it’s a damn real concern.

It’s one that you might face one day too if the QRIC Internal Investigations Unit cast their beady eyes on you and decide you are guilty before they even start looking at you properly, and then plan and execute a strategy designed to pound you into submission so you break or give up.

That’s exactly what’s happening to Ben Currie.

QRIC raid his stables on a big race day after having them under surveillance all week, and swab seven of the trainer’s horses. All of the swabs later come back clean.

They put out a press release saying they are there to clean up the sport, and that big race days the presence of big racing coppers.

Then the Gold Coast’s big race day rolls around and QRIC are too busy to attend, because they are grilling the Tornado’s Mum who isn’t even a licensee and didn’t even have to travel from Toowoomba to front the Vegas inquisitors, but wanted to because she has had a lifelong (misplaced) belief in the law and in police integrity, and wanted to go before the people harassing her son and tell them that they have got it all wrong, and that their informants are self-interested racing industry people who would gain by having her son gone.

Ten Thousand day comes and goes, and no mass-scale QRIC preventative operation is launched, even though they would have found plenty of examples of corruption if they’d decided to raid the BRC offices across the road at Eagle Farm, or popped their heads into the Chief De Beers room for a quiet chat with a few punters who don’t bet, or only on sure things anyway.

They charge Currie’s father and stand him down for administering a simple vitamin solution sold over the counter at Garrard’s Horse and Hound, even though only a month before they have defied the Victorian and NSW authorities by continuing to allow Liam Birchley to train despite the serious allegations made in the Aquanita affair that had led their interstate counterparts to withhold his training permit.

What’s so different about Mark Currie that he has to be treated differently? His surname of course. Just for good measure and to make him a good thing of it QRIC throw in four corruption charges, even though they are a million to one of the charges ever sticking.

They call Ben Currie in to please explain. He does, and QRIC charge him with not a single thing, but the transcripts of his interview issued later look and sound very different to the recordings that may or may not have been made by someone present in the room on the day, and maybe when the matter finds its way into proper courts rather than circus ring chambers the racing coppers might discover that they aren’t the only one who wear watches with built-in recording devices, and for now that’s all I will say about that.

Unable to nail Currie for unknown breaches or the rules of racing the former murder investigators on mid-career leave from the force and now running the racing squad (because jobs there offer big pay increases) decide to apply the investigative techniques that saw them secure convictions in the McCulkin Murder trials forty years after the event, ignoring the fact that this is a sport and that no one has killed anyone but it doesn’t matter anyway.

The QRIC brass in the positions created post-live bating hysteria have to do something about something in order to justify their jobs, and for now and until next time the Tornado’s that something. Clean swabs mean nothing. We’re all guilty before we start, and if we’re not then surely we are, and if QRIC can’t prove it they’ll find a way to prove it and hooks and crooks and dodged up transcript books mean nothing because there is a bigger picture at play.

These blokes have broken the rules of racing. The QRIC mob might not any have any evidence but they can feel it in their waters, and divine providence delivered by water diviners can never be wrong, not until it is anyway.

QRIC move from harassing Currie and his family to hassling his staff. They turn up at the stables out of the blue and force the uneducated casual workers on low racing industry wages to submit to invasive bodily fluid samples, and tell them they will lose their racing licenses and their livelihoods if they refuse to provide them, even though these people are just ordinary Australians going to work to earn a quid to put food on their family’s tables, and there isn’t a grain of salt worth of evidence to say they’ve done a single thing wrong.

The personal drug tests all come back clean, so QRIC raid Currie’s stables again, turning up out of nowhere by the carload carrying pieces of paper that aren’t warrants because under the crazy new laws introduces a couple of years ago they don’t need them, and can do whatever the hell they goddamn like.

What they do is demand that all the punters living hand to mouth below the poverty line and working shovelling shit of stalls in the Tornado’s stables hand over their phones, their lifelines to their friends and families and kids and the world at large, for no reason at all other than that QRIC’s highly paid investigators can’t find what the feeling in their waters tells them must surely be there, and so they are fishing.

One bloke, a stablehand named Silde Canda, panics at the thought of losing his iPhone, knowing that he hasn’t got the funds to replace it and will be cut off from the world if it is gone, and in his panicked state – and without being afforded any opportunity to seek advice from a lawyer or any person who knows anything about the law or the rules – the hugely popular all round sportsman who plays both state level soccer and A-grade local rugby league says he accidentally smashed it the day before.

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QRIC find a phone in his car. Whether or not its the one he was referring to as being smashed is irrelevant to the authorities. He’s a Currie staff member and the trainer’s mate from school, and they’ve got him.

Canda is charged late yesterday with providing false evidence to stewards, and less than 24 hours later is hauled before the stewards and thrown out of the racing game for three months, and suddenly he’s on the dole.

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That Silde Canda was not actually giving evidence because he wasn’t before a properly constituted inquiry or tribunal, or making a lawfully required statement – and therefore could not in a million years have provided false evidence to anybody – doesn’t seem to matter to QRIC a single bit.

Nothing much does in the star chamber or in the circus that racing officialdom has become. It’s QRIC’s way or the highway, and as they’ve just demonstrated with Silde when it comes to a person’s right to earn a living through racing they have the power of God, or do temporarily at least and if you want to challenge them to show that their actions are excessive and undue and exceed their powers by six furlongs then you better get a lawyer son, and have real deep pockets, because QRIC do. With our money.

This has become outrageous, and the Silde Canda conviction and penalty is the perfect example of why.

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In 2002 Bernadette Cooper – now a famous much-loved racing media personality, but in those days a rising star jockey – was charged by NSW racing stewards with two counts under the exact same rule as Silde with an almost identical breach of it, although Bernie’s was by any reasonable assessment more serious than Canda’s. Cooper had lied about having a mobile phone in her racing kit bag in the jockey’s room, and had lied about what is was being used for, but had been sprung.

Bernie copped a $500 fine on each charge. Canda has been disqualified from earning a living in racing for three months.

He’s a mate of Ben Currie’s you see.

In 2016 a West Australian stable hand named Aaron Rogers gave false evidence in a formal interview with a Racing WA investigator. He was found guilty.

Rogers copped a $1000 fine on. Canda has been disqualified from earning a living in racing for three months.

He’s a mate of Ben Currie’s you see.

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In the same year of 2016 jockey turned trainer Brent Stanley was charged under the same rule for lying to a stewards inquiry investigating the $90 000 fraud on the sale of a horse to Hong Kong.

$20 000 of the money fraudulently obtained –  by telling the purchaser that the horse cost $290 000 and the vendor that it had been sold for $200 000 – was slung to jockey Glynn Schofield as a commission for acting as the go-between in arranging the sale. The other $70 000 went into Stanley’s pocket.

Stanley, Schofield, Richie Callender and Liam Prior (the stable foreman for Chris Waller) should have been referred by the stewards to police so that they could be charged with criminal offences of fraud, but for reasons still unexplained they were not.

Brent Stanley – who had made a personal gain of $70 000 from the commission of what on the face of it seems a certain crime – had lied to a formal steward’s inquiry into the matter, and then doctored a bank statement in an attempt to hide the fraud. Stanley  then sent the doctored statement to stewards as evidence.

He was charged under the same rule as Silde Canda for what is clearly a far more serious offence. Canda had merely told a ooopsie doopsie in the heat of the moment, and there was no personal gain to him whatsoever. Stanley had deliberately lied, falsified documents, and tendered them as evidence with a thought out and planned intent to deceive, and he had made a personal profit of $70 000.

Brent Stanley was disqualified for 3 months. Canda was suspended for the same period, even though the pair’s rule breaches were in different stratospheres.

He’s a mate of Ben Currie’s you see.

This whole thing is a disgrace, and if you can’t see that by now you’re blind. It doesn’t matter what your views about Ben Currie are, if you truly believe that the way QRIC are going about this ‘investigation’ is acceptable then you will have no right whatsoever to complain when it happens to you or one of your friends.

Silde Cande is no criminal and he is no cheat, yet his name has been blackened forever and he’s lost his income until August for what is at best a very minor infraction of the rules by a man who was placed without warning in the gun and maybe told a small porkie pie.

For that he has been treated the same as an admitted fraudster rather than receive a fine commensurate with the offence and consistent with precedent cases, and if this bloke who earns (or more correctly did earn) 20 odd dollars an hour wants to clear his name then he will be forced to spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the charge against an opponent with a budget of tens of millions who can engage Queensland’s leading lawyers and fight on forever.

This is wrong, just so wrong.

All this time and money and resources and effort are being spent trying to establish that a bloody horse trainer has broken the rules, and meanwhile little kids are getting sexually abused and women are being bashed in their homes and robbers and rapists and even murderers are walking around as free as birds.

Welcome to Queensland.

The state where the more things change, the more they just stay the same.

Don’t you worry about that.

Until one day you have no choice.