QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith.
QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith. David Nielsen

A feat Nana would be proud of

IT has been said that there is no Nana like a proud Nana. If this is the case, Beryl Dawson is this week's proudest.

When three of your grandchildren drive seven of the 10 winners on a Saturday night Albion Park program it is time to feel puffed up.

Even better is when the two sisters, Narissa and Danielle McMullen, each owned and trained one leg of their respective doubles.

Cousin Nathan Dawson secured a treble to let us know that this was just part of a very good week for him.

At last count, 11 of Beryl's direct descendants held harness licences. That's some effort Nana.

I hope they take you to dinner on the strength of it.

Concerning statistics

LAST week I promised some frightening statistics.

Here is just a segment of the problems which face harness in this country today and are as relevant to Queensland as to any other state.

It is what happens to any business when the managers are not minding the shop.

Future of harness racing - strategic planning research

"Harness racing's viable future in Australia is at present almost totally dependant upon wagering revenue. Currently HRA and industry participant attention is focussed upon alternative handicapping/ programming initiatives that will create larger and more evenly balanced fields in order to maximize wagering turnover and revenue. No modelling exists that establishes the levels of increased wagering turnover and resultant revenue gains that will be needed to maintain and grow the sport into the future. However basic strategic planning research (non existent in HRA) clearly provides the basis to model the gap that exists between the product (racing stock) needed compared with the projected product availability over the next decade and resultant wagering increases that will be necessary. Using the official HRA statistics comparing the ten year period between seasons 2005/2006 and 2015/16 demonstrates the enormity of the task ahead.''

Total mares served 05/06 was 8,942, dropping to 5,443 in 15/16. Shortfall: 3,499. Percentage drop -39.1.

Horses named in 05/06 plus overseas imports 6,118, dropping to 3,401 in 15/16. Shortfall -2717. Percentage drop -44.4.

Number of individual starters in 05/06, 12,949, dropping to 10,724 in 15/16. Shortfall -2,225. Percentage drop -17.2.

Number of races run in 05/06, 15,666, dropping to 14,225 in 15/16. Shortfall -1,441. Percentage drop -9.2.

All four of the 15/16 figures are categorised as "the lowest ever''.

The above has been collated by marketing and pedigree matching expert Ray Chaplin.

Great benefits?

OVER the past week, we have heard of a new and exciting future for harness in Queensland.

This latest kite is flying on the back of the reported "gifting'' of the harness portion of the controversial Yatala site to the Yatala Harness Racing Club.

Benefactor Kevin Seymour also mentioned the great benefits which would flow to harness from the merger of the major Tote operators with Ubet.

The subject of turnover also got a mention with Seymour adamant that harness was putting a steady 12% into the tri-code turnover, rather than the 10% claimed by Racing Queensland.

Of more interest to the people who can't up stakes and re-locate to Sydney or Melbourne should harness in Queensland go belly up in the near future, would be some comparison figures on the subject of distribution versus revenue.

Consider the following hypothesis.

If harness distributes $100 in prize money, and Racing Queensland receives only $61 in revenue from the combined turnover income streams, then, surely, harness is a basket case.

These are the figures which should concern us, accompanied by practical strategies to correct the situation.

One thing is certain. The new concept of a ratings system will not help us should it be adopted.

The punters have not been able to handle "mobile conditioned'' from the day of its appearance.

What will they do with a system which will be adjusted on a daily or weekly basis by supposed experts?

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Box trifecta 1-5-10: Dabeers Zargon (G. Whitaker-Countdown (N. Dawson)-Flaming Hero (M. Elkins).

R2: box trifecta 4-5-12: Bettor Promise (A. Sanderson)-Cherish The Moment (T. Dixon)-Watch Pulp Fiction (P. McMullen).

R3: Quinella 1-8: Sweet As Candy (M. Elkins) and A Good Chance (C. Petroff).

R4: Box trifecta 1-2-8: Im The Smoocha (G. Dixon)-Our Millwood Maizie (G. Dixon)-Remember Them (N. Dawson).

R5: E/w 1: Always Prompt (G. Dixon).

R6: Quinella 3-10: Mini Cam and Only In Rome (P. McMullen).

R7: Quinella 1-2: Border Cross (S. Graham) and War Dan Appollo (T. Moffat).

R8: Quinella 3-7: Illawong Dreamtime (Brittany Graham) and Clarkey (A. Sanderson).

R9: Quinella 5-6: Hughie Green (J. Cremin) and Avonnova (S. Graham).

R10: E/w 2: Annas Best (P. McMullen).

Honour board

It was a one-set affair this week for the drivers with Nathan Dawson taking Adam Sanderson off the pinnacle at six wins to four. Darrell Graham re-asserted himself as top trainer with a solid four winners for the term. Most of the serious winning was concentrated in the lower Brisbane Valley at Fernvale and Glamorganvale. Nathan Dawson's treble at Albion Park were all trained by Greg Elkins and Greg Franklin.

Albion Park, May 19: Ice Crusher (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Rory Mach (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Crowning Glory (Isobel Ross for Greg Elkins); Top Trio (Lachie Manzelmann for Grant Dixon); Mini Cam (Stacey Weidemann for Rachel Scott); Bubbaloobah (Lola Weidemann for Dave Russell).

Albion Park, May 20: Tijuana Bromac (Narissa McMullen); Countdown (Nathan Dawson for Greg Franklin); The Space Invader (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini); Motu Real Style (Danielle McMullen); Flaming Hero (Nathan Dawson for Greg Elkins); Remember Them (Nathan Dawson for Greg Franklin); Constantly Sideways (Danielle McMullen for Bill Crosby); Sweet As Candy (Matt Elkins for Vic Frost).

Albion Park, May 23: Sicilian Slumber (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Bettor Promise (Adam Sanderson for Shannon Price); Queen Zenobia (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham); Exceptional Mach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).

Redcliffe, May 24: Red Luck (Brittany Graham for Darrell Graham); Datsgood (Gary Whitaker for Donny Smith).

Redcliffe, May 25: Acer Animus (Ricky Gordon for Bob Hanrahan); Live In Style (Trent Moffat for Gregg Minns); Jimmy Nga (Gary Whitaker for Lacey Hinze); Ballator Thor (Nathan Dawson for John McMullen); Heavens Hint (Nathan Dawson for Stewie Dickson); Precious Cullen (Nathan Dawson for Graeme White).

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