How I can save Qld Racing. Along with Moody, Singo, a radio legend and a sexy model.

April 28, 2012

First off, on behalf of all Queenslanders, let me congratulate the good folk of South Australia.

You won the Black Caviar battle. She’ll be breaking records in your backyard this afternoon, instead of ours.

What an experience to savour. Maybe even your greatest racing moment. Something to tell the kids, and the grandkids. Like we did up here last year.

Yep, they’ll be celebrating into the night down there. The pubs might even allow one last beer after 9pm. Wild times.

So where did we go wrong? Why is the Mighty Mare thrilling the southerners, instead of dazzling Doomben again?

It’s clear that we need a plan, to make sure it doesn’t happen again. To do that, we need the sharpest and most innovative minds in the game.

Sadly, they’re all either asleep or trying to make bail at the time of writing. So the job has been left in my less than capable hands.

And that’s a good thing. Because I have a simple solution, that will only cost a few million.

It’s time we appointed Queensland Racing ambassadors. Some superstars to get us noticed from boardrooms to bush tracks. And I have just the cattle.

Ambassador #1 .. Peter Moody.

Yes, the bloke who’s in Adelaide today. If Australian Racing had a Board of Directors, Moods would be my chairman.

They don’t, so we can pinch him.

Moody is constantly promoting the industry. Taking the best mare ever all over the nation, so everyone can experience racing at its finest.

He wants to attract people back to the races. And knows the best way to it. Show them a superstar.

It doesn’t hurt that he’s a Charleville boy. Proud Queenslander. And he’d come cheap. Give him free XXXX Gold at every pub in Brisbane, and he’d never go home.

Ambassador #2 .. John Singleton.

My mate Singo is another who can’t help but promote racing. It’s his passion. And he cares more for the bloke in shorts at the bar than anyone in the Members.

He might be a Blue, but he’s at war with NSW Racing officials. Perfect time to make him an honourary Queenslander.

Whack on a big money race for More Joyous at Eagle Farm, and he’d be ours. Believe me, having Singo in our corner would be a huge asset.

Ambassador #3 .. Alan Jones.

As much as I love the boys on 4TAB, we need some added punch down south. Selling our story, to get the horses, jockeys and fans spending their cash north of the border.

Alan is our man. Another Queenslander, living in enemy territory. It’s now law in Sydney to listen to his breakfast show. He’ll spread the message far and wide.

The radio legend gets back to his home state whenever he can. Let’s make it official.

Ambassador #4 .. Miranda Kerr.

The world’s most famous model went to school in Brisbane. With some creative story-telling, we’ll tell her fans overseas that she was a trackwork rider for Rob Heathcote in her early days. I’m pretty sure she weights less than Chris Munce.

The international interest would be enormous, if we could have Miranda and her Hollywood boyfriend in a photo shoot inside the new Eagle Farm enclosure.

She has other friends too, that she could invite to the Winter Carnival. Make no mistake, there can never be enough Supermodels at the racetrack.

So there we have it. A foolproof plan, to put the national and international spotlight on Queensland racing. The four of them will be our version of The Avengers.

They can have caps with a catchy slogan. “Queensland Racing Ahead”. Get them and their horses/partners/fans on board, and we won’t be able to fit the crowds onto the course.

I’ve done the hard work. The officials can take it from here. Please send my cheque to the Hold All Tickets office. And one of those fancy caps.

Winners and Losers from a memorable year. The racing industry awards you’ve been waiting for.

December 17, 2011

Dust off your best jacket. Straighten that tie. It’s show time.

Yes, here they are. The first annual Hold All Tickets racing gongs.

The awards all decent racing folk are desperate to win. Even if they won’t admit it. Or don’t know they exist.

So here we go. Dim the lights. Save applause to the end. Any whingeing can be directed to our Complaints Department. End of the hall, turn right.

***The ‘Getting Bums on Seats’ award – Peter Moody.***

How good is this bloke? He’s a Queenslander, which is a fair start. But I don’t know anyone who’s done more this year to get people back to racetracks.

He’s more than a champion trainer. He gets it. The fact that people want to see his magnificent mare.

Moody wants Australians to experience the thrill of Black Caviar in action, so he takes her all over our great land. It means so much to him. Much more than an overseas jaunt.

Take the tip. Very few other trainers would be doing the same thing.

***The ‘Jockey to win my Bus Fare Home’ award’ – Nash Rawiller.***

Tough to overlook my Queensland boys. But Rawiller could end up one of the greats. Gives them every chance, every time. A thinking hoop. Stays out of trouble. And you want to be on him in a photo.

Honourable mentions for D. Browne and C. Munce. Super competitors, showing the young blokes how it’s done. Munce would win on a broomstick at the minute.

Watch out for Jason Holder back in Adelaide. He’ll win a heap. And how good is young Chad Schofield going to be? Back him, any day, without hesitation.

***The ‘Trainer Making room on the Mantlepiece’ award – Rob Heathcote.***

He can smell that Group One. Taste it. It’s so close. And no one is more deserving.

Few work harder. Turns out his horses in immaculate fashion, each and every time.

He won’t want to wait this long, but I’d love to see the great moment unfold at next year’s Brisbane Winter carnival. So we can all gather at the stable and make him shout us expensive drinks.

Even better, let’s make it with an as-yet unraced 3-year-old, part owned by some rough heads, who’s ready to light up the track. Stradbroke would be nice. Over to you Rob!

***The ‘Someone make it a Decent Race Again’ award – Caulfield Cup.***

It was one of our great events. Not any more. Most punters didn’t know more than a handful of runners this year. The experts dispute that, but they don’t ask blokes sitting in the TAB. Believe me, it’s in trouble.

Where the overseas runners are now considered sexy in the Melbourne Cup, they’ve done the opposite to the great Caulfield race.

It’s become a giant yawn. And it needs fixing. When the Geelong Cup becomes a better form guide for our great race, something is badly out of whack.

***The ‘Duracell Non-stop Media Man’ award – Andrew Bensley.***

He’s here. He’s there. He’s everywhere. The perfect example of a modern racing media man.

No one is better connected. The big man understands the importance of getting decent information to punters, as soon as it’s available.

His work on Twitter is truly amazing. If you don’t follow him, you’re missing out. Bensley is leading the way in this new age of punting.

Honourable mentions to Ron Dufficy, who tells it like it is (so bloody refreshing), and the Brisbane duo of Steve Hewlett and Tony Clements on 4TAB. Two blokes who love their racing, and put listeners first. A radio show that’s not ego-driven. Try and find one elsewhere.

And keep an eye on a young journo, who lives and breathes racing. Find Andrew Hawkins on Twitter, and follow him. He’ll be running the industry in five years.

So there we have it. Congratulations to all. Prizes are in the mail, and can be redeemed at any Night Owl store where the slushie machine is working.