Highlights & Shock Stories in Racing this Month!
Written on the 25 November 2016
Leading jockey, James McDonald, Stands Down After Being Party to a Bet on Astern
One of Australia's leading jockeys, James McDonald, was dragged away from the Randwick trials, had his phone confiscated and was grilled for hours, before stewards charged him over being party to a bet on Astern in his first start in a race.
The Australian rules of racing ban any jockey from backing or laying any horse or from having an interest in any bet on a race.
McDonald, a retained jockey for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin racing empire, voluntarily stood himself down from riding after being charged over the placement of the bet last December before he subsequently rode the star colt to a win on debut at Randwick. McDonald could face a lengthy ban from racing if found guilty of having involvement in betting activity on a horse.
The last jockey betting scandal to rock Australian racing involved three-time Melbourne Cup winner Damien Oliver, who was found to have bet $10,000 on a rival horse in a Moonee Valley race in which he rode in 2012.
(Photo: James McDonald and Hartnell, courtesy The Australian)
Doomben's Biggest Event Set to be Transferred to Eagle Farm
The Courier Mail announced that the states second biggest race, the Doomben 10,000 will be moved from Doomben Racecourse to the redeveloped Eagle Farm Racecourse.
Under Racing Queensland's proposed Winter Carnival changes, the Group 1 weight-for-age Doomben 10,000 will also have a distance change from 1350m to 1300m. It will be run on May 27 and be called either 'The 10,000' or 'Brisbane 10,000'.
Trainers such as Tony Gollan and jockeys like Michael Rodd are among others who are outraged by a proposed move.
It is said the move would be worth $100,000 to the Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland's return on turnover at Eagle Farm is 10 per cent higher than at Doomben.
If the plan goes ahead, it will mean there are three straight Saturdays of Group One racing at Eagle Farm compared to the usual two.
Brisbane Racing Club chairman Neville Bell has backed the move but the overall reaction has been negative, with participants taking to social media to express their disappointment. Further, Bell ruled out rumours of a Doomben sale as "absolute nonsense". "It's not in our wildest dreams. It's not in our thinking and never will be," he said.
The move was one of two proposals regarding the 10,000 put to the Queensland Thoroughbred Advisory Panel at a meeting in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago.
It is understood the second proposal would mean the Doomben 10,000 would stay at Doomben but be run earlier, on May 13 and shorteneed to 1200m, the original distance of the race.
A rich stakes sprint race, either new or the current BRC Sprint, would then be run at Eagle Farm on May 27 as the first of three days at Eagle Farm.
(Photo: Neville Bell, courtesy the Herald Sun)
Frespanol Bounces Back in Fine Winning Form After Float Accident
Frespanol, one of the miracle survivors from the Sunshine Coast float crash in April, returned to winning form in last week's rescheduled Open Handicap at Caloundra.
Witnesses to the April accident said it was a miracle no one was killed after the float veered off the highway and slid on its side down an 8m embankment.
The $60,000, 1350m sprint last week was one of 13 races run at the Sunshine Coast meeting.
Queensland's leading trainer, Tony Gollan watched Frespanol win from the Ready to Run Sales in New Zealand and took extra satisfaction given what the six-year-old went through.
"That's as satisfying a win as I've had for a good while," Gollan said.
"He was an older horse that found his way to our stable for a new group of clients and the day of the crash was meant to be his first run for us. He wasn't badly injured in the crash, but I just wanted to give him a long enough spell to get him mentally right. He had a good rehabilitation at Washpool Lodge but I was mindful I wanted to get him back to give me enough time to give him a run or two before the good races came around."
"Alannah Fancourt didn't ride him (Jim Byrne was the winning rider) but she deserves a lot of credit because she's done a heap of work with him."
"It's just fantastic to see him back in that kind of form."
Gollan said Frespanol would run this Saturday in the Recognition Stakes at Eagle Farm.
(Photo: Frespanol, courtesy Gollan Racing)