THE LET’S GET SERIOUS AND LET’S GET REAL ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

BEING OPEN MAKES A DIFFERENCE

What a refreshing change listening to two down to earth trainers – David Vandyke, below, and Michael Costa, interviewed this week by Michael Felgate on RSN.

GET REAL 1

David Vandyke’s long and troubled journey, battling his well-documented demons – drugs and its twin brother depression and coming out on the other brighter side is a lesson for everyone in racing – young and old – that hope actually does spring eternal and that there is a better life that can be reclaimed. Having given training away, thanks to the life threatening place that he had descended into- a place many in which many in racing silently live is a subject that must be addressed, especially- it would have taken a brave person to predict that David Hayes, as he was then known, would change his name to David Vandyke, and take the equally brave step to jump start his training career. The name change was the first hint that Vandyke was starting to think through the maze. There was no room for two David Hayes’ in the training ranks. And yes, there is only one David Hayes.

David Vandyke did not take long to reignite the promising training career that he had left behind, and in a short space of time his innate skills of horsemanship and racehorse training were there for all the racing world to see. It was impossible to ignore the man who had returned from the wilderness and was starting to make a serious impact in the NSW training ranks. He had successes with sprinters, middle distance horses, stayers and expats from the northern hemisphere.

GET REAL 2

Then, late last year along came Yankee Rose – no oil painting to look at and admire, not very big and a horse that you could quite easily walk past without making any inquisitive inquiry. Vandyke’s skills were to the fore with Yankee Rose. After a debut win in the Autumn at very big odds, he put the daughter of All American away and backed his judgment and skills setting her up for a first up tilt at Australia and the world’s premier two year old race – the Golden Slipper. It was a task that some of the better known, old fashioned conservative trainers would never have dreamed of entertaining. Not even in their wildest dreams. And it came so perilously close to becoming a reality with Vandyke’s brave filly chasing home Capitalist in the Slipper and securing a Group One during the Championships carnival.

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DOES RACING TRULY UNDERSTAND THAT CONTENT MUST BE KING, QUEEN AND SERF?

By Hans Ebert

SERF 1

Racing.com recently launched a campaign to attract advertisers. Apart from its wagering partner sponsors, Crownbet and Luxbet, and a handful of Race Clubs does it have any? The strategy is that the site and television channel will “increase” the customer bases of potential advertisers. But how? By promoting Crownbet and Luxbet as the jewels in its advertising game of tiaras?

SERF 2

The Racing.com website, like most corporate websites, is like Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. It’s bare. It’s toothless. And it doesn’t have a strategy nor the carrots to communicate with and dangle in front of its visitors. Like other racing club websites- let’s leave the disaster owned by RNSW’s in its own little Jack Horner- Racing.com, a domain name apparently bought for an obscene price, is the result of internal corporate navel gazing that so often results in a dog’s breakfast of feeble bibs and bobs and where navigation is so darn tiresome, it’s not worth the hassle. And often, so called “news” on this site outstays their welcome. They’re there gathering dust. Hardly the characteristics of a dynamic and vibrant website, launched with great expectations, but in an indecent haste, and at a great cost.

SERF 3

As usual, however, many of those who sail in these racing governing bodies are brainwashed into thinking that this is their field of dreams: Build it and “they” will come. “They” will? Really? For what? Where’s this “customer engagement” that’s trotted out by many of these people with increasing two-faced monotony? Where’s the interactivity? There is none. It’s the same group of corporate “content writers” churning out vapid “content” that’s ignored by most, or all, visitors to these sites except for the most hardcore punter wanting to absorb as much racing information as possible. In 2016, is this- and other similar relics- allowed to flounder with no one looking at the price tag, only for historians in the future to study and say, “Man, them racing people were plenty dumb”.

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THE ALL SHOOK UP ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

THE DAVID MOODIE BLUES?

SHOOK UP 1

Victoria’s now infamous and tedious cobalt saga continues on its destructive path embroiling more prominent names in the Victorian governing body along the way.

SHOOK UP 2

The past two weeks have seen more of these senior figures in the management and administration of Victorian racing snared in the spiders web that has been carefully woven by counsel representing embattled trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh at their appeals against disqualification relating to the cobalt charges found to have been sustained by the Victorian Racing Disciplinary Board.

SHOOK UP 3

Their counsel, Damian Sheales, from what we have learned and observed from the coverage of the Appeals tribunal, is clearly someone who goes for the jugular, and takes no prisoners. And as legal counsel, so he should.

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THE BALLAD OF THE RACING QUEENS OF VICTORIA

By Hans Ebert

It’s a murder of crows and one gungha din
It’s goes more pear-shaped everyday
It’s a tangled web of lies and deceit
Welcome to Melbourne racing today

VICTORIA 1

Where has all the good times gone?
Been replaced by a circus of cheats?
Then there’s the tedious social commentary
The same old stories on repeat

VICTORIA 2

“Always keep watching your back, mate”
“And don’t trust him or her”
The whole place is a House Of Cards
You can’t tell Batman from the Joker

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THE DON’T TAKE ANYTHING FOR TROY GRANTED ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

TIME FOR ACTION, TROY!

TROY GRANTED 1

Thanks to its cantankerous neighbours down south in bleak city, NSW racing has enjoyed an unwanted and unnecessarily extended honeymoon period escaping the blow torch which MUST be applied to its expanding belly. It has flown under the radar with the spotlight rightly and firmly on the appalling self-inflicted mess that is Victorian racing and the even unholier mess inflicted on greyhound racing by the NSW State Government “god squad” led by none other than Premier Mike Baird. No one can dispute the abhorrence of the plethora of animal welfare and cruelty issues which have been exposed thanks to the diligent work and research of the Four Corners team. But to say that Baird and his Government have handled the situation appallingly would have to be the gross understatement of the year.

That aside, Racing Minister and Deputy Premier Troy Grant, can no longer spectate while the NSW racing colosseum continues an undignified slide into decay and eventual extinction. This is no exaggeration. Troy Grant has to be aware of the open rebellion that is about to breakout among the “50,000” participants and their representative groups in his home state.

TROY GRANTED 2

Time and time again, it’s a repetitive chorus of what has now become white hot anger at Racing NSW’s inaction at the almost weekly loss of multiple race meetings due to the regular temper tantrums of the Weather Gods. Provincial and Country racing in NSW is being subjected to tornado-like devastation as race meeting after race meeting is lost to the ravages of rain.

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THE PROBLEMS WITH THE BUSINESS OF HORSE RACING

By Hans Ebert

“This is another fine mess you’ve got us into”. It was a running gag in nearly every Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy movie. But the genius of comedy and the crux of much of its appeal is that beneath the laughter and lightness lies a message, a reality check that can instantly bring us back to earth.

opening

And so it is with the Australian racing industry which has been in free fall for some time. What has sped things up at an alarming rate have been the number of Laurels and Hardys in racing in Victoria, who have contributed to a laundry list of integrity issues mixed with embarrassing bumbling, face-saving U-turns, accusations of bullying, politics, pettiness, extreme vindictiveness right across the spectrum of every group that makes up racing. The flagrant disrespect for rules coupled with a directionless executive and rabid self-serving agendas by those at the very top of the tree, has fuelled an almost weekly outbreak of lawlessness in Victorian racing. The mess doesn’t need more airing here. This is for those being paid the big bucks to put their house in order. Or, as has been reported, for Victoria’s Minister of Racing Martin Pakula, below, to step in, bring all the warring factions together, and read these highly paid executives the riot act. But how will this change anything? Really.

opening 2

We’re not talking here about a headmaster lecturing the Dead Poets Society or The Young Rascals. These are supposedly shrewd, mature businessmen in their fifties and sixties, who have either been recruited into the racing industry, or have pursued a career in it for, perhaps, equal parts passion for the sport, and the financial opportunities to be had. How well are they at doing their job? Is it almost a part-time gig before retirement? Or even a hobby? Who knows. But when questions and doubts like these are raised, especially in today’s nanu-second social media world, the problem doesn’t go away. It multiplies. One thing’s for certain: their actions speak loudly demonstrating an ineptitude that keeps racing in the bottom end of sports and entertainment from which position it will struggle to create it’s own raison d’etre.

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THE SANCTIMONIOUS AND HIDEOUSLY HYPOCRITICAL ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

TIME TO END THE HYPOCRISY

HYPOCRITICAL 1

The past week has seen some of the most blatant hypocrisy and disingenuous commentary about the turmoil which Victorian racing has created by its own stained hands, and which has inflicted long lasting damage to its fragile image. Commentary by the very sections of the racing media who have deliberately spectated, and at times tacitly provided a forum for some of the instigators to vent their vituperative, vindictive and damaging personal attacks on the Victorian racing industry and some of its senior officials.

HYPOCRITICAL 1b

These chameleons (Jokers? Penguins?)have suddenly converted, at a minute before midnight, to assuming the role of “protectors” of the image of Victorian racing with such calls to arms as “Racing must rise above it all” – echoing the bleeding obvious to what RacingB*tch has been publicly stating since its inception: Australian racing is a dysfunctional and a conflicted mess dominated by polarizing individuals, motivated by self-interest and greed. If Australian racing had been around in ancient times, it would have shared billing with some of the barbaric games at the Colosseum in ancient Rome.

HYPOCRITICAL 2

What rankles is the blatant cynical  “Eureka Moment” of some of these commentators, many who find it difficult to communicate outside their 140 character comfort zone. They are the very same ones on the radio programs and newspaper columns and social media who have given cylinder loads of oxygen to the high profile and lesser light trainers and their cheer squads to trash the Victorian racing industry, the governing body and its senior management and Integrity department. Suddenly, they wish to be seen as visionaries? Suddenly they see that they’ve been backing the wrong horses? Suddenly they furiously back peddle to be patron saints of the little people?

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THE GUIDE TO AUSTRALIAN RACING ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

RIDE GUIDE RIDES OFF INTO THE SUNSET…

RIDE GUIDE 1

Try as hard as they might to “spin” their way out of it, those associated with the Ride Guide have a public relations disaster on their hands. Individually and collectively, its creator Chris Symons, their sponsorship brokerage company Unscriptd, and the Jockeys Association appear to have botched their process of negotiating an outcome which would have benefitted the entire racing community – the Governing Bodies Racing NSW and Racing Victoria, wagering operators including the tote operator Tabcorp and the corporate bookmaking sector, Owners and Trainers ( Remember them?), and last but certainly not the least – the Punter, who ultimately puts the food on the tables of every stakeholder in Australian racing.

Ultimately, the NSW and Victorian Stewards made the only sensible and rational decision available to them and banned the Ride Guide from becoming a reality. For once, they acted swiftly. For the Ride Guide to ever become a reality it would need major open heart surgery. It would also require Symons, Unscriptd, the Jockeys Association and it’s “man for all causes” in Des O’Keefe to acknowledge their arrogance in not properly consulting the Owners and Trainers Bodies. Duh. And double Duh, Einsteins.

RIDE GUIDE 2

Take the Owners and Trainers out of the equation and there would be no racing industry. And there would be several hundred Jockeys- Australia wide- joining the Centrelink dole queues and registering for the welfare handout that is the dole.

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WHAT “RIDE GUIDE” AND THE CIRCUS INVOLVED CAN LEARN FROM KATY PERRY AND BOB LEFSETZ

Read the blog below from respected and outspoken American music blogger Bob Lefsetz.

RIDE GUIDE 1

Simply change the music industry to the Australian horse racing industry.

Apple’s Tim Cook can be any of the racing administrators involved in the Ride Guide farce.

RIDE GUIDE 2

Music fans can be punters, and Katy Perry and her team can be the circus behind the flawed Ride Guide concept that has no concept, but pretends it does.

RIDE GUIDE 3

One hopes that all those overthinking this “Ride Guide” thing to death, when it has always had more holes in it than a slab of blue cheese, reads the blog below, have the penny finally drop, return to Fawlty Towers, and try to do some work that might even benefit those who keep horse racing alive: Owners, punters, racing fans and whatever we’re called. Peasants? The little people?

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THE “RIDE GUIDE GETS LOST” ISSUE

By Keyser Soze

“RIDE OUT” BECOMES BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN…

gets lost 1

The Australian’s Patrick Smith called for it to be outlawed, while the “Ride Guide’s” creator (?), jockey Chris Symons, the Kim Kardashian and Perez Hilton of Australian racing, donned his now-familiar self-promotion attire and made a vain attempt to describe his blatantly commercial arrangement with corporate bookmaker Ladbrokes as a way to “bring jockeys closer to their target audience”. Bollocks. Symons’ rabid self-promotion is getting tedious. It might have been fun two years ago, but he’s no Simon Cowell. Okay?

gets lost 2

The “Ride Guide” was described by Patrick Smith as an information service, developed by Chris Symons and managed by a sports company Unscriptd and exclusive to Ladbrokes, which allows Ladbrokes punters to click on to a jockeys silks, which triggers a video in which the rider assesses the horses’ chances in a race. It made its debut last weekend. The “brainchild” of Chris Symons? More like a brain freeze. But he’s a bit player in what is the mismanagement of racing, and where in all the diatribe spewed out, there’s zero mention of the OWNERS. You know, the owners? Those people who pay the bills would go along with THEIR horses chances being discussed? By their jockeys? And where do the trainers fit in? That Chris Symons’ flawed programming concept would go this far is mind boggling.

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