We’re back on track. Time for racing to light up in Queensland.

August 23, 2014

Yes, it’s true. I’ve been out for a spell. In a decent paddock, being fattened up for the Spring carnival.

You’ll be happy to know that little has changed since my last scribbling. Pockets remain empty. Quaddies are elusive as ever. The Sportingbet boys are enjoying overseas holidays thanks to my inability to find the most basic of winners.

Anyway, enough of the hard luck tales. Too much exciting stuff happening in racing for bottom lips to be dropping.

They’re ripping up my beloved Eagle Farm any time soon. A world-class track is on the way. What a difference it will make. Short term pain for long-term yeehaa.

We’re finally going to get some decent prize money in Queensland. That sigh of relief you hear is from the hundreds of owners who pay the bills.

For an industry that talks in billions, it’s hard to believe that owners have been picking up what amounts to loose change for so long.

Change is in the air. So here’s something else for the power brokers to consider. Let’s call it a light bulb moment.

Regular (and long suffering) readers will know of my love of the Gold Coast Turf club. Fun central, every Saturday. But it could be so much better.

Pretend you’re at the bar. Ok, some of you probably are. Anyway, look out across the straight, past the winning post, and what do you see? The amazing skyline of Surfers Paradise.

Few other tracks have such a backdrop. A little piece of magic, each and every time a winner salutes.

Now, hold that thought, and imagine the same scene at night. A dazzling array of lights. Equal to any night racing venue around the world.

What a coup it would be, if the Gold Coast could race under lights. Punters joined by party-goers, on their way out to hit the tiles on the Glitter Strip.

The concept could be sold through Asia. Tourism bosses would be drooling. Reckon the Chinese wouldn’t love it? We could write the campaign in ten seconds on the back of a coaster and it would still be a winner.

Yep, there would be an initial outlay. Make the spend now, and then sit on the pile of gold that night racing on the Coast would attract.

Racing needs new ideas. Something for everyone. Tracks have to be proper entertainment precincts, not just a few tote windows and a keg of XXXX Gold.

The industry here in Queensland finally has the right people making decisions. They now need money to play with.

A new super track at Eagle Farm, and night racing on the Gold Coast. There’s a winning quinella. I can feel my luck changing already.


My precious Christmas angels. How they’re lighting up our street, and costing me a fortune.

December 6, 2011

I live in a house of Christmas fanatics.

These girls, they refuse to live by the regulations set down by society. When it comes to the festive season, they go by their own rules.

Christmas trees go up on December 1, right? Well, tell that to Daughter Two.

She’s taken responsibility for the tree. Her pet project. This year, she decided mid-November would be a good time to get to work.

I explained that this was way too early. Bad luck. Bordering on foolhardy.

Daughter Two wasn’t listening. She was on a yuletide mission. No need to check the calender. It was tree time.

She enlisted the services of The Teenager. Together they emptied several dozen boxes onto the lounge room floor. Tinsel, and coloured balls, and angels, and candy canes, and tiny stockings. A mass of green and red and silver.

They are famous, these two, for their inability to finish any household chore. All things done by half. Their motto is “Make a start, so it looks like we’re actually doing something, and then let someone else finish it”. But not the tree.

They worked all that Sunday arvo. With Christmas carols playing in the background. Not a cross word between them. Another first. And by the end of it, they’d done a spectacular job.

It didn’t take long for them to turn their festive fingers to another project. One that splits our family down the middle. Christmas lights.

They were inspired a few years ago, by a great mate of mine. A crazy man who dedicates weeks of every year to turning his humble house into a showpiece of blazing electricity.

He spends thousands on those damn lights. Works every spare day and night. People come from far and wide to see his dazzling suburban spectacular. He even cooks a sausage sizzle for them, while guzzling cool drinks.

The girls thought it was wonderful. And immediately, demanded to know why I was so lazy, and so lacking in the Christmas spirit.

I explained that my friend was well-known for spending vast amounts of money on ridiculous projects for no clear gain. They were having none of it. We needed our own light show.

My dissenting voice was barely heard. I pointed out how high our power bill already was. It rivals newly created African nations most months. This is because the girls have a medical condition, whereby their fingers are physically unable to turn light switches off.

No-one was listening. Before I knew it, I was wrapping long lines of coloured lights across the deck and around our garden.

I did this task poorly. It didn’t help that ants were munching on me as I stretched across the bushes. But mostly, because I am incapable of untangling anything beyond a shoelace. And Christmas lights are designed to instantly tangle.

It took hours. Neighbours complained about the language, which I admit wasn’t fit for the season. Someone mentioned that my rows may have been comically uneven. It was my first and last time.

This year, out of courtesy, the girls asked me to help. I declined. To their great relief.

They’ve discovered that they can do the job much better without me. Quicker too. What took me half a day, now gets done within the hour. Something about that bloody untangling.

I could happily celebrate the festive season in the dark. As long as I can have a cool drink on Christmas Eve, and play Neil Diamond’s carols, I’m at peace.

But the rest of you seem to like the lights. The concept isn’t fading. I accept defeat.

The Christmas fanatics in my house are doing their bit. More power to them. I just wish I wasn’t paying for it.