Racing Queensland’s new structure failing to deliver
UNTIL a few years ago, thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing in Queensland had separate boards charged with the task of operating their own code.
That changed and a combined board to oversee the three codes was introduced and regarded by many, if not most, to be far from the ideal method of operation.
Last year the combined board was dismissed by the government in light of the Four Corners investigation into greyhound racing.
What has alarmed many participants of the three codes is that the Racing Minister Grace Grace has said that the situation of one board administering the three codes will remain.
Separate boards for each code seems logical but it's not happening.
Also creating heartache has been Grace's declaration that the new seven member board will consist of one representative from each of the three codes and four independent members.
This immediately caused concern that the four independents would be non racing people and therefore not ideal choices.
Grace spoke on radio TAB this week concerning upcoming changes and did her best to allay fears concerning the makeup of the new board, particularly concerning the independents.
"The independents can't have been involved in racing for the past two years. But that's not to say they have no racing knowledge, they could have been involved as, say, owners or trainers more than two years ago,'' Grace said.
"Best practise models is to have independents who have not been connected for two years.''
As for the appointment of a board for each code, Grace has ruled that out.
"I'm not hearing any convincing argument that the way we are going is wrong,'' she said.
If that's the case, those lobbying for a change back to the former system of having three separate boards haven't impressed the Minister.
The Queensland Racing Integrity Bill will be discussed in State Parliament this month.
Grace believes integrity needs to run separately from the RQ board.
"RQ needs to concentrate on racing, marketing and the commercial arm. Integrity needs to be separate,'' she said.
The cost of a separate Integrity Commission is of major concern.
Grace says the costs will be manageable and no more than integrity currently costs RQ.
Prizemoney cuts for greyhound racing seem certain from next month.
The thoroughbreds will have a reduction of around 10 percent and the cut for greyhound racing is likely to be about the same.
RQ announced that cuts are necessary because of a "black hole'' in this year's finances to the order of $28 million.
More is being paid out in prizemoney to the three codes than can be afforded.
Grace says there are two areas which, under current legislation, she cannot intervene.
That's prizemoney and the calendar of events.
So it seems that Racing Queensland, which currently consists of one board member John Muir, and the acting CEO Ian Hall, can make decisions on those matters and what they decide stands.
It's grasping at straws trying to find anything positive about a prizemoney cut.
One matter springs to mind, however, and that's the significant drop in the cost of petrol lately.
Sure, that won't match any prizemoney cuts but it's a small softener to the blow for greyhound owners and trainers.
Of course, the price of petrol will go back up to former levels before we see any prizemoney increases.
THERE'S Ipswich interest in Saturday afternoon's heats of the Bundaberg Cup.
It's a non TAB meeting. Amy O'Reilly from Lanefield has four runners in the heats. They are Knight's Templar, Far From Fear, Hopping Houdini and Flash Houdini.
Peter Dunne, from Willowbank, is heading there with Spring Firechief. And Bill Elson from Churchable has a strong contender in Lauryn's Best.
The Bundaberg Cup final on Saturday week is worth just over $5000.
Bundaberg is one of the few remaining grass tracks in Australia.
Easter Saturday racing
EASTER can fall anywhere between mid March and late April.
The date of Easter is set as the Sunday after the paschal full moon.
Easter this year runs from Good Friday, March 25.
The Ipswich greyhounds will race on Easter Saturday night, March 26, and it's the opening night of the lucrative Rosewood and Community Bank sponsored Magical Puppy Auction series.
If you're not going away for Easter, that's a good night to head out to the Showgrounds and see some stars in action.
IF you want expert advice, talk to yourself.