HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW?
Start bidding punters. The deal is for four years. Do we hear a bid of $1.6 billion? C’mon, start us off at a $1 billion! No? Then, what about $50 million? $20 million? $10 million? No takers? Well, screw it.
Does anyone in the racing industry know what its main, and, perhaps, only remaining industry-owned piece of prime realm estate is worth? Thought the answer would be in the negative.
Just for comparison, ask the same question on the AFL, NRL or Cricket Australia, and you will get a well researched, well documented and extremely logically and analytical response which hovers perilously close to an accurate monetary figure ultimately validated by the amount shown on the cheque butt from the successful bidder.
The reported $1.6 billion placed on the value of the next four year television rights deal by the AFL when the Seven Network’s current contract runs out at the end of 2015 makes Horse Racing look like the sporting orphan that it is in the Australian media landscape.
But then again, there is a genuine excuse for Racing’s woes, isn’t there?
After promises stretching back well over 18 months and approaching a second year anniversary, Racing has still been unable to achieve a compromise which two jousting primary school students could achieve in their local schoolyard park.
Absolutely pathetic. And yes, such a scenario would NEVER be tolerated in any of the three aforementioned sports.
When the impact of the financial Armageddon- the tussle over aggregation of Victorian and NSW media rights over that period and dating back to the birth of TVN is considered- such failures would be deemed to be sackable offences. But not so in racing. And why not?
Racing, after all, tolerates mediocrity at the highest levels of management and administration. It is almost a prerequisite to employment in this decaying industry.
The gross incompetence and mediocrity in Oz racings management and administration over the past decade has- good gawd, mama-reduced the industry to little more than a basket case.
If Racing put up its television rights to the commercial networks, it would not be possible to put a plausible value on its vision Rights.
To date, it has failed comprehensively to aggregate its NSW and Victorian rights, to broker a commercial agreement between TVN and its competitor Sky (Tabcorp), and switch the “on” button to allow a flow of funds into the depleted coffers of NSW and Victorian racing.
No, racing has much higher and ethical priorities. Like appealing Tribunal judgements to the NSW Supreme Court on the embarrassing and tragic More Joyous saga.
Like spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions, on poorly researched and woefully scripted and produced “marketing” campaigns.
Like spending millions on legal fees to make confusing and combative statements to opponents, who, in reality, should be treated as allies in a life saving battle to keep racing afloat.
And yet for nearly two years now, Oz racing has been subjected to the spin campaign by both Racing NSW and Racing Victoria gleefully proclaiming how nirvana has been achieved between their various State administrations through a newly discovered COHESION which has even infiltrated through to their media lovechild TVN.
NOTHING could be further from the truth!
TVN is still without a Chairman. The media rights aggregation issue and the resolution of a pricing arrangement and structure for Sky for using TVN vision. remains in limbo- nearly two years after COHESION first made its appearance on Oz racing’s buzz words list.
There’s more: The TVN Board still has to deal with internal divisions and blatant attempts to interfere in editorial content.
In Melbourne last weekend, we were told of at least two Melbourne TVN Directors who are no longer surprised at the tactics of two particular fellow NSW based Directors- tactics which clearly and deliberately are directed at undermining TVN and have been so since “Cohesion” was declared.
The victims of all of this are the “50,000” participants in the racing clubs in NSW and Victoria and the racing industry, who have been, are and will, continue to be shamefully short-changed- not just in revenue, but in the general marketing, promotion and well being of Australian racing.
THE CAPTAIN OF THE TITANIC
No, Ray Thomas and the propaganda unit for Racing NSW that masquerades as the News Limited racing section, Peter “the not so great” V’Lundies is not the “can do man”, nor has he “kept the ship on course during turbulent times”.
Ever heard of the Titanic, Brother Ray?
Brother Ray, your unashamedly sycophantic piece of spin in Friday’s ‘tele’ on the “can do man”- sorry, we’re starting to laugh- hit lows that we didn’t think we would ever see or read in print media.
It made perfectly healthy people turn instantly bulimic.
If this puerile piece of spin can be taken at face value, to the uninitiated racing person, punter or man or woman in the street, one would be entitled to believe that the long awaited “second coming” has belatedly materialized.
Arise ye’ Peter “the not so great” V’Lundies, saviour of NSW racing and The King Of The Racing World.
Can the man be talked into spreading his divine influence to the poorer States?
Don’t forget the loaves and fishes story Pete, your so-called humble beginnings droned on recently to Baba Shane must surely propel your nautical navigational skills into steering Australian racing along the eight path with no Titanics or Costa Concordias in the way.
Mate, as Brother Ray would have us believe, you can walk on fucking water.
Forget the “tidal wave of personal criticism”, which, at times, you have had to endure- you have “stayed on course and steered the racing industry into calmer waters”.
It’s almost a citation for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. But then again, the Prize has never been awarded for instigating conflict, has it? Not yet anyway.
Brother Ray’s citation could have been written for the Order of Australia medal, the value of which, it might be said, has been significantly devalued since Australia Day.
It must also be acknowledged though that even the worst pieces of sycophantic writing do throw up some five star “pearlers” such as this one from V’Lundies on Racing Politics: “Like any industry, there are people who are driven by self interest and those who have an unhealthy sense of entitlement. Unfortunately, I have a low sense of tolerance for these types”.
Spot on Pete and your soiled V’Lundies: Not even your propaganda chief in Brother Ray could have described you any better. And it’s exactly how the industry feels about you.
MORE CREEPY GOINGS ON IN NSW.
If Last Saturday’s Randwick race meeting and some of the “inexplicable” failures by fancied runners are to be taken at face value, then little has changed in Sydney racing.
Form reversals by odds-on favourites and pre-post favourites seem to be explained away in the Stewards Report with one or more of several tried and tested excuses – almost out of a textbook written for jockeys and trainers. And racing being the beast that it is, it is very difficult to “nail” the usual suspects.
When it comes to form reversals and the like, the racing police are powerless to act- unless, of course, they have gold, silver and platinum evidence of misdemeanours. And that is as difficult as getting punters into a Saturday race meeting these days.
There were some shockers last Saturday and maybe a points system for form reversals and rides resembling “barry crockers” could put some of the more prominent and serial offenders on notice.
It’s just not good enough to hear the same limp excuses like “he’s had a long preparation and is ready for the paddock”, or “he may not have fully recovered from a hard run last start” and on and on it goes.
Surely, as so called professionals, trainers should be able to make these judgments, PRIOR to saddling up? Or are they part of the scam?
Quite amazingly when we got back from bleak city, we learned that Blake Shinn had been called in before Uncle Ray who had opened an inquiry into his riding of Oaks prospect and one of the early fancies Zanbagh who was first up last Saturday.
Some spendthrift with a misplaced sense of punting and financial judgment apparently caused the filly to firm in from $100 to $91!
Well, in Oz, that may have taken a couple of $10 wagers- and, people, knock off this crap of hitting it BIG. Compared to Hong Kong, it’s chump change.
However, the ever alert Uncle Ray was, apparently, unimpressed by Shinn’s ride on the leading Oaks prospect in the Light Fingers Stakes- a race run over 1200 metres, won by the well-backed Sweet Idea, and in which the drifting “good thing” and champion filly Guelph finished unplaced, thanks to a “barry crocker” of a ride by Hugh Bowman.
What in heaven’s name is Uncle Ray thinking? That one of our most respected trainers in Guy Walter and Blake Shinn- who, by now, is VERY apparent that he is NOT in Uncle Ray’s little boys club- would carve the filly up at her first run from a spell when the Oaks is nearly two months away?
Even the most simple and uneducated of punters would know that backing Zanbagh last Saturday in a race where some top quality sprinting fillies were starters would be a waste of “hard earned”.
So what was the fucking purpose of such a time wasting fucking stewards fucking inquiry?
Uncle Ray, you look like even more of an over-the-hill buffoon than you already are.
Wouldn’t it have been better to look at the betting movements and fluctuations and do a bit more forensic analysis of the two beaten red hot favourites whose performance still have punters trying to work out what the fuck happened?
THE BLUE DIAMOND SPINSTER
According to Melbourne Racing Club Chief Executive and spin doctor Brodie Arnold, last weekend’s Blue Diamond ticked all the boxes for on and off-course wagering and on-course hospitality related spending.
That is a deep sigh of relief for racing and proves, yet again, that the good, if not best horses in the feature races, will always boost turnover and wagering revenue, and that augurs well for racing in Sydney over the next few months.
But what Brodie was not able to spruik were crowd numbers.
From our observations, and not being too familiar with all the nooks and crannies and hiding places at Caulfield, the crowd numbers did not look all that flash.
The point that Brodie and his Committee- and for that matter everyone who signed off on “relaxed racing”- ought to consider is the ROI and KPI on this sub-standard campaign.
Don’t expect too much from any review- unless it is conducted independently and the results made public.
A prolonged and boring “Om” to that happening.