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

Time to promote harness in positive, profitable way

IT seems the advent of a 15% POC tax in Queensland wagering has been all the catalyst required to produce a massive reaction against the State Government.

Key participant bodies in the gallops were threatening strike action unless their demands for more prizemoney are met.

They point to the massive amounts up for grabs in new novelties such as the Everest, and the plethora of Group One events, of recent and traditional origin.

The preceding interstate "golden eggs", incidentally, are to be part-funded by POC taxes of eight and 10%, depending which state we are looking at.

At this point, we should make up our minds as to how "animal racing" should be defined once and for all.

Is it a sport, or is it an industry/business?

A precedent for your consideration was the answer given to me by Justice Alf Goran QC, when I appeared before him at the Queensland hearing of the first "working party on whips in harness racing" (many years ago).

I asked the good judge the "sport or industry" question as a side issue based on the perceived promotional value of each term.

I was told in no uncertain words that: "Of course it must be an industry. What else would you call it when you go to the Government for a hand-out".

If nothing else, it was proof positive that the "begging bowl mentality'' was alive and well all those years ago. Which is right where we are today.

It is now time for the two horse codes to take a good hard look at themselves.

They should accept:

(1) that prizemoney has to come from somewhere other than the Government coffers,

(2) that the disasters in infrastructure (tracks that just won't cut it), are entirely man made and not "acts of God" as they would like us to believe, and

(3) that "both codes must present a racing format which is friendly to the recreational punter's dollar, and an entertainment/spectacle which attracts on-course attendance in viable numbers''.

The whole "more prizemoney" exercise has drawn support from a star-studded line-up of Brisbane racing and sporting journalists, none of whom has had the temerity to mention such a heretical course of action as put forward in the preceding paragraphs.

I can't speak for the gallops lobby but it is time for harness in the Sunshine State to get off its collective backside and start trying to promote the sport in a positive and profitable manner.

Being ever mindful that the punter's dollar is where the money is, not in the worship of some "cargo cult" of never ending, un-earnt handouts.

Marburg meeting

TODAY'S Marburg racing is non-TAB but an important leg in the October trio of meetings.

It's the first two rounds of the Garrard-Marburg Young Drivers Series, more opportunities for trainers to earn points in the mammoth Barastoc Feeds and lead-ins to the $10,000 Oakwood Capital-Marburg Marathon and the Graham Harriott Memorial.

As always, it's the reliable "value for money" Marburg package.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Redcliffe tonight.

R1: Quinella 3-9: Chapter One (T Dixon) and Frankie Rocks (G Dixon).

R2: Box trifecta 1-2-10: Whiskey Blaze (G Dixon)-January (K Rasmussen)-The Ides Of March (N Dawson).

R3: E/w 2: Devil Dodger (G Dixon).

R4: Quinella 1-10: Annika Magic (K Smith) and Lancelot Bromac (P McMullen).

R5: Quinella 1-3: Jacks At The Beach (S Doherty) and Tact Ollie (A Sanderson).

R6: Quinella 2-6: Lynnsanity (B Graham) and Lilac Flash (K Rasmussen).

R7: Quinella 1-2: Bohdi Tree (P Greig) and Ohoka Punter (G Dixon).

R8: Quinella 1-9: Caesars Astrum (P McMullen) and Novena Rose (A Sanderson).

R9: Quinella 4-5: Shady Sadie (G Whitaker) and Miracle Rising (G Dixon).

R10: E/w 1: Concentration (G Whitaker).

Honour board

Only 34 races contested this week due to track problems. Greg Elkins led in thee winners to be top trainer, besting John McMullen on two. Pete McMullen was top driver, scoring on three occasions (150), hotly pursued by Adam Richardson, Adam Sanderson and Gary Whitaker, all on two apiece (100). Most pleasing was Reece Maguire, up there with Rory Mach for Darrell Graham. Ipswich factor: 17/34.

Albion Park, October 5: Shady Sadie (Gary Whitaker for Brad Connelly); Madam Jujon (Adam Sanderson for Grant Dixon); Big Bruce (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Levi Jade (Danielle McMullen for John McMullen); Exceptional Mach (Pete McMullen); Cardles From Heaven (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney).

Albion Park, October 6: Withalotofluck (Hayden Barnes for Steve Cini).

Albion Park, October 9: Corey William (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig); Lovely Moth (Adam Richardson); Maywyns Courage (Kelli Dawson).

Redcliffe, October 10: Franks Fortune (Adam Richardson for Lee Storie); Rory Mach (Reece Maguire for Darrell Graham); Takitimu Express (Matt Elkins for Greg Elkins); Blue Eyed Creation (Justin Elkins for Greg Elkins).

Redcliffe, October 11: Kaanapali (Narissa McMullen for John McMullen); Big In America (Pete McMullen for Stewie Dickson); Blazing VC (Gary Whitaker for Bianca Hooper).

Marburg tips and comment for today's meeting.

Race 1 selections: 2-6-3.

MR MEDDLE: Reliable stand starts, OK effort when led and close third here last run.

GANGSTER BOY: Veteran, gets big lift here and winner of $193k. One win, one place from six stand starts.

OHOKA COOPER: Twelve stands for one win at Gloucester Park 2016.

Race 2 selections: 1-9-10.

HONEY PLEASE: Disappointing last start. Chance to make amends.

NORTHERN MUSCLE: Tough effort to win here two starts back. Placed Albion Park since.

STONED AGAIN: Second to Northern Muscle last time out. Goes well here.

Race 3 selections: 2-4-7.

OSCARS GLORY: Not won for eight months. Improving after let-up, has gate speed.

COLOMBIAN GOLD: First start Queensland. Newcastle winner 2018, sat death seat. Chance.

MEANT TO BE ME: Third here August 5 at last start. Fair trial here last Saturday and gets easy run into this.

Race 4 selections: 1-2-6.

MY GIRL CHLOE: On debut. Top draw, top stable top driver. Market best guide.

MISTER ROCKTOBER: Trained here. Unlucky at only start to date.

DONOMOOR: Winner here 1/10. Ordinary draw but tough last time.

Race 5 selections: 8-7-1.

FORTES IN FIDE: Might be a bit better than these. Will have to work.

MOLLIGUANA: Solid form in two starts from spell. Improving and gets nice trail today.

SURREAL DEAL: Ace draw and will give a lot of cheek.

Race 6 selections: 8-5-1.

SLIPASLYGRIN: Big class drop here today. Can work around these.

INVITE ONLY: Close up in four runs from spell. Should be right now.

RUFFALO: Gets all the favours here. Big chance.

Race 7 selections: 1-2-4.

JULIA MAC: Form ordinary since resuming. Better if leads and gets chance today.

OUR MAGIC MOLLY: Has gate speed good trainer. Should be up handy.

EULO FLYER: Goes well here but likely to get caught wide.

Race 8 selections: 1-4-7.

LETHAL STAR: Not won since July 2018 at Newcastle. Showed gate speed on that occasion drawn to lead today.

RUATO BAY: Resuming. Has ability. Very strong stable.

RED LUCK: Form fair coming into this. Gets lovely trail.



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