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

Double meet treat at Marburg

AS summer approaches, things are hotting up at Marburg.

Next weekend, the Marburg Pacing Association will host two TAB meetings.

Friday, November 9, would normally have been a meeting scheduled for the problem-plagued Albion Park.

Having already been shifted once to Redcliffe, it will now be run at "the Burg" in order to lessen strain on the track staff on the peninsula, and dramatically shorten the travel time for participants living in this area.

The meeting will be run on a skeleton basis, with horses going round, vision and broadcast going out. However, while we do not have any commitment as to provision of on-course tote van facilities, our committed and generous bookmaker Stephen Anthony will cater for punters.

The canteen will supply basic burgers and German sausage, coffee, tea and cold drinks.

Please take the time to join us in our first foray onto Sky 1.

No entry fee.

It's just another two days to Sunday, November 11, when it will be the "all the bells and whistles" of a Marburg Sunday TAB meeting.

It will cost $3 to $5 to get in and the meeting will include the usual bonuses like the "pick six" jackpot, funny money bookie, monster raffle, Members lucky draw, mini-trotters, pat a pony, plus finalisation of the Garrards-Marburg Young Driver's Series and the Barastoc Race Horse Feeds trainers "short" Premiership.

Go to the Armistice Day Centenary celebration then head to Marburg for the exciting afternoon of close up action on the 700 metre show ground circuit.

Gates open 11am.

Staggering costs need consideration

TO a degree, the dust has settled on the Point of Consumption Tax controversy.

Galloping militants have come away from the confrontation with a handsome cash gift from the Government as a result of strike action on Cox Plate day.

Oddly, or sadly, which ever you see it, there has been no published statement from thoroughbred participant groups as to any future efforts on their part to increase wagering turnover on Queensland product.

However, our co-providers of racing/wagering product have not forgotten harness.

From a respected contributor to a very popular Brisbane silks and saddles website comes the following: "The gallops also awaits the response of the trots and dogs which are likely to now be looking for a Government hand-out as well. Most of us won't have a problem with the greyhounds receiving their fair share or more - they pull their way. But the 'red hots' are nothing more than a sideshow these days, and deserve no more than they are already receiving, which many believe is too much.''

With the harness position firmly thrust upon us, one can only wonder at the Government's lack of acumen in failing to come out of the dispute with a "quid pro quo'" for this massive donation to what might be described as a collection of ingrates.

Costs were a key thrust of the thoroughbred argument, and it may be of interest to compare a few figures from each of the horse codes. Not by any means an in depth study, but an honest comparison just the same.

Training costs for harness range between $30 and $45 per day plus extras. These can include shoeing, routine vet (worming, vitamins etc), transport (cost should recognise $50 float rebate).

I asked the question at Albion Park about 12 months ago.

All trainers asked had no formal labour arrangements, using mates, partners and other family unpaid help.

Monthly bills ranged from $900 to $1200, and all trainers felt that they were subsidising owner's bills to a lesser or greater degree in order to keep the owners in the game.

All cited low levels of prizemoney as a prime cause of the depressed condition.

While you may often find my view point a trifle confusing, I also believe that prizemoney is too low.

On the other hand, I fervently believe that the onus is on harness to create more turnover.

From a ring around this week , by a long-term harness fanatic and former owner who has a friend wealthy enough to own a galloper in Queensland and a share in another, trained NSW provincial area.

The costs of owning a racehorse are staggering.

My friend's trainer charges $88 per day while in work includes on course stabling which 10 years ago was $350 a month there's also track fees about $135 a month race day strapper $120-$140 floating to Gold or Sunshine Coast $160, race day plating $150 plus vet and chiro, vitamins and noms runs out at about $5K a month.

While in in work, there is pre training $66 a day shoeing, spelling costs $25 a day plus any treatments so a month out of work comes to over $1K.

He also has a share in one down NSW.

The trainer costs there are $95 a day and he's not in Sydney so it would be a little cheaper in the country Gosford, Kembla I expect.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Redcliffe tonight.

R1: Quinella 2-4: Nerio (B Barnes) and Darby Brights (K Rasmussen).

R2: Quinella 1-2: Sweet As (B Graham) and The Charging Moa (K Rasmussen).

R3: box trifecta 2-4-5: Just Rokin (P Greig)-Werelivinthedream-T Moffat)-Big In America (M Elkins).

R4: E/w 1: Vettel (T Dawson).

R5: E/w 1: Sir Julian (J Cremin).

R6: Box trifecta 1-3-8: Amajorjo (N McMullen)-Bohdi Tree (L Cain)-Match Point (K Rasmussen).

R7: E/w 6: January (K Rasmussen).

R8: Quinella 1-2: Lethal Star (B Graham) and Just Seduce Me (N McMullen).

R9: Quinella 4-7: Soldier Of Fortune (K Rasmussen) and Blazing VC (G Whitaker).

R10: Box trifecta 3-6-8: Spirit Walker (B Barnes)-Mister Gunsen (T Moffat)-Our Overanova (T Dixon).

Honour board

Sweeping changes to the leader board this week with Calvert-based Matt Elkins rating 200 to take the crown with four wins from Adam Richardson close up on three. Ron Sallis ousted long time high pointer, Darrell Graham, with a score of three winners for the week. Most pleasing was Warren Hinze with Strange Conduct. Ipswich factor: 20/44.

Redcliffe, October 26: Northern Muscle (Denis Smith); Monivae (Matt Elkins for Ron Sallis); French Globe (Gary Whitaker for Donny Smith); Ohoka Squire (Adam Richardson); Comply Or Die (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis).

Redcliffe, October 27: Always My Mate (Adam Richardson for Chantal Turpin); Franco Totem (Darrell Graham); Gangster Boy (Taleah McMullen for Ryan Veivers).

Redcliffe, October 30: Classy Guy (Nathan Dawson for Ryan Veivers); Strange Conduct (Matt Elkins for Warren Hinze); Argyle Beach (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).

Redcliffe, October 31: Lynnsanity (Darrell Graham); Splash Of Gold (Adam Sanderson for Grant Dixon); Vande Velde (Matt Elkins for Jason Mckrill); Colombian Gold (Gary Whitaker for Gary Gerrard); Kylie Bromac (Nathan Dawson for Daren Garrard); Clasy Toff (Adam Richardson for Errol O'Shea); Northen Muscle (Denis Smith).

Redcliffe, November 1: The Boys GNP (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Subtle Advice (Matt Elkins for Terry Hancock).

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