Picture: David Clark
Picture: David Clark

Whip issue needs top level focus


Denis Smith

THE contentious subject of "the whip" in horse racing has been heating up for the past decade.

In recent weeks, the forge has gone to strong draft in the Ipswich footprint.

In Queensland at least, two strategically placed billboards on the Warrego and Cunningham highways send the "no whips'' message loud and clear.

A third is contracted and signed for.

Racing administrators in this country (both horse codes) continue to amaze me.

They appear to have several stock formulae to counter any questions or initiatives put forward from the rank and file with a genuine love of the sport/industry, and a love of the four-legged players on our team.

Formula one was applied to the regular question asked: "What can we do about falling on-course attendances and the consequent fall in turnover"?

Answer: "There are too many other distractions for people today and people have changed.''

Comment: The people's perception of the horse has changed too. They are no longer "beasts of burden'' but much loved pets and pampered athletes.

People who oppose abolition of the whip are perpetuating cruelty. Nothing more, nothing less.

Growing stables chase 'pot of gold' in Ipswich region

ON a happier note, and mainly due to the attractive price of rural acreage in this area, the "Ipswich factor" is about to rise dramatically against the backdrop of weekly harness results. At least three larger stables will be developed in the Ipswich footprint in the immediate future. Young, vigorous couples, full of ambition to get to the top of the Queensland harness tree. Narissa McMullen and Matt Elkins are headed up the Brisbane Valley to Coominya, electing not to stray too far from the "pot of gold" influence surrounding the Fernvale district.

Ryan Vievers and Danielle McMullen have chosen the picturesque Harrisville area near the Camel Dairy, on very good horse country.

Former NSW couple Ben Battle and Tamara Baker are headed for Goebbels Road Mutdapilly, or Rosewood.

All six have a very extensive experience of all facets of harness racing. It is difficult to see any other factor than misfortune stopping these teams in their quest for success.

Winners, and more winners.

Clifford Park to re-open

THE rumour mill has been very strong in the past few days.

Of prime interest is the word that Racing Queensland is looking very seriously at reopening Clifford Park at Toowoomba with a rumoured cost $1-1.5 million to bring the course on line. One can only wonder why it was ever closed in the first place as the Thursday afternoon meetings were viable from a turnover point of view.

No doubt it would be very popular with the professional arm of the sport/industry with additional racing opportunity in the Great South East.

If it's true, it would be interesting to learn what factors influenced the decision to spend such money in an area, which is approaching overload in racing capacity. This is while continually refusing to listen to any proposition to put an 800 metre track (plus dog tracks) in Smiles Stadium (formerly The Willows) at Townsville and restore harness to North Queensland.

While we retain the whip in horse racing we are probably close to the limit of available punting dollars in SEQ.

The opening of Townsville would reignite interest in an area which is largely stagnant.

Fresh dollars means progress.

To be considered is the political process about to be undertaken.

What is certain in every day life in Australia today, is that, ultimately the government in power has the final say.

Joe Average has only one opportunity to have their say and that is at the ballot box.

The vibes coming out of North Queensland include an emphatic call from the LNP candidate for Thuringowa, Natalie Marr, for a serious feasibility study into the "Smiles" dual code and multi-use proposal, to be carried out by a local company.

Honour board

IT'S "Pete Week" on the driver's side of the leaderboard yet again. With an average of just over one win per day, we add another eight big ones to McMullen's career total.

Darrel Graham has returned to prominence with three winners for the week, nosing out Melissa Gillies who posted a double last Wednesday at headquarters, and ever consistent Chantal Turpin, scoring on two occasions.

Most pleasing for different reasons were the two "Gs" - Gillies and Graham.

Ipswich factor: 26/54.

Albion Park, September 4: Double Or Nothing (Pete McMullen for Brett Cargill); Ima Top Tycoon (Taleah McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Clover Lou (Steven Doherty for Mal Charlton). Albion Park, Septembere 5: Maywyns Best (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer); Blue Moon Rising (Darrel Graham); Castlereagh (Narissa McMullen for Steve Cini).

Marburg, September 6: Elle Jaye (Pete McMullen for Peter Grieg); Rockintingira (Pete McMullen for Richard Hutchinson); Western Showgirl (Pete McMullen for Peter Grieg); All Good Wally (Brendan Barnes for Graham Dwyer); Ideal Tiger (Matt Elkins for Doug Manger); Beef City Blaze (Trent Lethaby for Peter Grieg).

Albion Park, September 7: Bonnies A Rockin (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Hurricane Special (Taleah McMullen for Steve Benham); Cobbler Lane (Shane Graham for Warren Hinze); Coppice (Danielle McMullen for Steve Cini); Call Me Demaro (Pete McMullen for Graham Dwyer); Machin Out (Matt Elkins for Mark Dux); Weedons Express (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen).

Albion Park, September 8: Majestic Simon (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Courageous Saint (Nathan Dawson for Darrel Graham); Kiwis Are Flyin (Narissa McMullen).

Albion Park, September 10: Katana (Paul Diebert for Melissa Gillies); Watuseeiswatyuget (Nathan Dawson for Justin Pascoe); Itz My Generation (Trent Lethaby for Darrel Graham); Lisa Lincoln (Paul Diebert for Melissa Gillies).

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park on Saturday night.

R1: E/w 2: Tulhurst Ace (N McMullen).

R2: Quinella 1-8: Ideal World (N McMullen) and Blue Moon Rising (D Graham).

R3: Box trifecta 4-7-8: Mister Brazil (A Garrard)-Colt Thirty One (G Dixon)-Subtle Delight J Elkins).

R4: E/w 1: Mafuta Vautin (A Garrard).

R5: Box trifecta 2-9-10: Box trifecta: Tommy Under Fire (T McMullen)-Betterthanajeep (A Donohoe)-Game Set Major (D Cernovskis).

R6: Quinella 1-8: Call Me Demaro (P McMullen) and Coolie Kid (M Elkins).

R7: E/w 2: Killara Kaos (G Dixon).

R8: Box trifecta 5-7-10: All Good Wally (B Barnes)-Allstar Sea (B Battle)-One Last Roll (N Dawson).

R9: E/w 1: Chromozone (T Moffat).

R10: Box trifecta 4-7-8: Our Overanova (G Dixon)-Wee Man Trouble (A Sanderson)-Greg The Great (P McMullen).

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