EARTH TO RAY MURRIHY.
It’s getting increasingly difficult to maintain the little residual respect with which the larger part of the Australian racing media is held when you get the likes of Christian Nicolussi (Christian who?), from the Daily Telegraph putting his name to such drivel as he did in his At the Track column in last Sunday’s issue.
“Christian Who” was having a go at our friends in bleak city for their decision to bring forward the times of their Group One race day at Caulfield last Saturday to an 11am start with the last at 3.20pm – a decision made by the Race Club and the governing body Racing Victoria in the interests of jockey and equine welfare on a day where the forecasted maximum temperature was predicted to hit 40C by 4pm, ahead of the last three races which included the Group One Orr Stakes.
From what we have learned the temperature reached that maximum and exceeded it in different suburbs during the afternoon and early part of the evening.
“Christian Who’s” shock jock type piece was reminiscent of Alan Jones, Ray Hadley etc and is not taken seriously by anyone in the racing industry with half a brain.
The alarm bells started ringing loud and clear when Sydney’s Chief upholder of the rules of racing – Chief Steward Ray “Colonel Klink” Murrihy- was bought into a subject which he should have stayed out of for the sake of sanity.
But, as our great mate Kieron Fallon would know, klunky Klinky just can’t help himself.
Quoted by “Christian Who”, Brother Ray commented how “It’s a gross overreaction”. And then, “If we choose not to race in hot weather, we choose not to race for three or four months of the year. It’a simply not on. I’ve been in this business for 40 years and for 30 years no one even bothered to check the temperature. Now people go into hysterics when it gets to 30C. The number of horses we see affected …most of them are in September when you get a warm day out of the blue. I’m not against the idea of altering race times as a one-off situation to avoid the heat in the day, but horses have been used in desert campaigns during the war. They handle heat”.
The WAR??? DESERT campaigns??? Klink, Klink, lay off the Kool Aid! PUHLEEEEEEZE!
Phew, where do you start! First, Ray, let’s get one thing out of the way.
By your own word, you’ve been in the industry for 40 years and, mate, it’s time for Racing NSW to organize a gold watch for you and send you off into the sunset singing Happy Trails- or, depending on what drugs you might be self-medicating yourself with, In A Gadda Da Vida.
A question to you, Ray, and Onward Christian Soldier: Have you dudes heard of Occupational Health and Safety and Workplace regulations?
It might be useful if you two familiarized yourselves with a measurement that they use down there in bleak city which, we are told, if exceeded certain temperature and humidity levels, would pose an unacceptable danger to the health and welfare of both jockey and horse.
Both of you dudes should also familiarize yourselves with the very clear apportioning of responsibility and culpability, should an injury or, heaven forbid, a fatality were to occur if races were staged when clearly extreme weather posed an unacceptable risk.
Further, in the 21st century (Ray it is 2014, mate), the jockeys have every right to refuse to ride in such extreme conditions. And puhleeze don’t tell us, Ray, that these avaricious young and middle aged men and women would pass up an opportunity to earn their winning percentages and from wagers that almost certainly would be laid on their behalf.
Remember the day last year, Ray, when a provincial race meeting- from memory at Gosford- was scheduled for a late start in summer and the poor old trainers, strappers, jockeys and horses trundled their way to the races only to find the temperature was in excess of 41C and jockeys pleaded on their bended knees for the meeting to be called off, which it was?
Remember the backlash from the these people and from owners who demanded to know why the meeting was not called off earlier in the morning when it should have been called off? And did anyone give a stuff about the costs incurred by owners and everyone else? Costs which could have been avoided if an early call had been made to call off the meeting?
Ray? Ray? Earth to Ray?
In Australian racing, these issues, problems, utterances, brain fades – call them what you like- are a recurring theme. Correction NIGHTMARE. It is racing’s Mission Impossible.
Australian racing is just so immovably bogged down in a bygone era from which it finds itself incapable of extricating itself. And the people in charge – the executives, senior and middle management, Boards and Committees and decision makers- are all cut from the same cloth with that thinking having insidiously infiltrated the fawning and deadly dull racing media.
For anyone, and particularly someone in Ray Murrihy’s position to make these types of comments is plainly lamentable.
For Christian Nicolussi to make comparisons with the temperature at Caulfield (33.8C) with Cowra (36.5C) and Tumbarumba (yes Tumbarumba near the Snowy Mountains, where it was 35.6C) beggars belief.
It is not the type of journalism that you would expect from journos covering the NRL, AFL or Cricket.
Amazingly, racing keeps surviving despite itself, albeit it is no longer taken seriously by the broader community. It has succeeding in marginalizing itself. Probably terminally.
Equally amazingly, Australian racing is acknowledged- overwhelmingly- by all its stakeholders as being poorly administered and woefully managed.
It manages to shine each year during the narrowest of windows at carnival time – read Melbourne spring racing carnival.
It is soooo very, very out of touch with contemporary life, society and its expectations it is downright embarrassing.
AWWWWW, PETER’S GOT THE MOODY BLUES…
Still feeling sorry for yourself, Moods?
Mate, whenever we read or hear comments from you about anything and everything in racing these days, you just come across as one very unhappy chappy.
Now, we can fully understand how deeply affronted you were when your former bestie trainer mate from Flemington unleashed a war of attrition on you.
It was character assassination at its best, and, hate to say it, mate, but even in Sydney, it’s been a talking point, particularly among trainers close to your former Flemington bestie. You know who they are, mate.
Bit of advice mate, and don’t take it as gratuitous: The more you publicly raise the question of your so-called lean patch in training winners, the more you give credence to the “chinese whispers” that were and probably still being spread by your former Flemington bestie and his irrelevant sycophantic mates .
To use a cricket analogy, let your bat and ball do the talking. Or even just your balls.
Stop whingeing and whining about the dress code and making those pathetic, tall poppy syndrome-type swipes comparing the collar, tie and jacket brigade in the Committee rooms and your attire at Caulfield last Saturday when apparently you had a run-in with the Fashion Police manning the gates.
Mate, you’re better than that, aren’t you? Are you freaking out?
The message you are sending to the racing community is that of a “ranter”- and some of your rants are just that – illogical and irrational.
It’s scary shit, dude and the antithesis of Relaxed Racing. Chill, dude.
Haven’t you got better things to concentrate on- like getting your deadly and lethal winning strike rate up to where it was and where it belongs?
SURPRISED THERE ARE NO SURPRISES IN THE SHEIKH MO FINDINGS?
So the independent inquiry instigated by Sheikh Mo himself into the Godolphin doping scandal surrounding the administration of the prohibited anabolic steroids into some of their horses, has exonerated, er, well, Sheikh Mohammed. Quelle supris.
Lord Stevens, the former head of London’s metropolitan police concluded that: “We have established that no evidence whatsoever exists to suggest that HH Sheikh Mohammed had any knowledge of the purchase, transportation or use of any unregulated medicines. Equally neither did he have any knowledge of the illegal activities of Mohammed Al Zarooni”.
We have no doubt that Lord Stevens’ findings are correct and the integrity of Sheikh Mo is not and has never, ever been questioned or at issue.
But with the greatest respect to the Good Lord, the real crux of the issue is the conclusion in his report that the seizures (of drugs from both Al Zarooni’s Godolphin stables at Newmarket and from a private jet), resulted from “management failings, insufficient oversight, and complacency within the organization”.
That established, the obvious question is what Sheikh Mo is going to do about this particular damning finding.
The inescapable conclusion is that the management and administration of Sheikh Mo’s Godolphin empire in the UK was incompetent.
The findings just cannot be taken lightly and swept aside.
The Godolphin scandal strikes at the very core of racing – it’s Integrity. And integrity in racing cannot, and must never, ever be compromised.
As a passionate racing man, Sheikh Mo must understand this.
He owes it to racing the world over to uphold integrity and clean up his management team.
Otherwise, the Lord Stevens independent inquiry will be perceived as nothing more than a cover-up. And in racing , as in life in general, perception is reality.
OFF TO COURT AGAIN, PETE?
It must be one of the more enduring love affairs of our time – that between the NSW legal system and Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter “the not so great” V’lundies, the fearless and fearsome protector of the interests of the “50,000 Participants” in the NSW racing industry and, more recently, champion of the punters. What a man!
Fearless Pete is the man you want on your side if ever you go into battle in NSW – flushed with the financial resources of racing NSW, which, incidentally, come directly from the pockets of the punters who, bless their cotton pickin’ hearts, lose millions if not billions each year on the punt, giving the jolly green giant Tabcorp and their shareholders handsome dividends, some of which finishes up in the bank accounts of Racing NSW.
Fearless Pete is the lawyer’s best friend.
Lord only knows how many millions he has spent on legal fees fighting anyone and everyone from the dastardly corporate bookmakers over product fees to TVN and the then- AJC and STC over vision rights plus a member of his own executive team who successfully prosecuted an unfair dismissal case against the fearless one- to name just a few.
Fast track to this week and the news today that the NSW Racing Appeals tribunal has upheld Gai Waterhouse’s appeals against Racing NSW in the case they brought against her in respect of notifying them of the condition of More Joyous in the lead up to the All Aged Stakes and Queen Of The Turf Stakes in 2013.
Quoting from the Racing NSW website: “The Racing Appeals Tribunal upheld the appeals on the basis that Racing NSW had not established on the Briginshaw standard (legal precedent) that Ms Waterhouse was required to report the respective conditions, namely soreness to the neck and lameness of More Joyous to the Stewards”.
Racing NSW is, apparently, having nothing of that and certainly not their fearless leader Peter V’lundies.
“Racing NSW is naturally disappointed in the decisions of the Racing Appeals Tribunal which provide no protection for the punters,” he thundered in that basso voice that had our mate Baba Shane recently quivering like Peter Pan bonking Tinkerbell.
“The confidence of the public and, particularly, punters is critical to the integrity of the industry!”
Great words from the great pretender-sorry, great protector- of NSW punters though that old Platters’ hit keeps running our heads.
The wash up- and hear it comes: “Racing NSW intends to appeal the decisions to the SUPREME COURT (capitals inserted by us) on the basis that they are against the weight of evidence and that the Racing Appeals Tribunal has incorrectly applied the relevant test”.
Yeah, baby, here we go again: Another all too familiar walk up the steps of the Supreme Court by Racing NSW, and at the expense of the NSW racing industry to fight the umpire’s decision – all in the name of the Punter.
It almost has a Rocky Moment attached to it and we can hear Rocky’s Theme following Peter V’Lundies everywhere he goes with his knickers in a twist.
What a noble cause celebre by the Fearless Peter V’lundies. We can speculate very, very accurately what Lady GaiGai response would be.
We can only say to you, Pete, heaven help you battling Lady GaiGai.
You are either very brave or fucking stupid- or both.