Racing loses iconic trainer

Qld racing farewells Richard Freyer

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Great country horse trainer Richard Freyer's funeral was held at Corowa on Saturday.

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WHILE Queensland and to a lesser degree South Australian racing are on their knees with most of their licensees struggling to survive, foreign-owned corporate bookmaker Sportsbet revenue and customer numbers have far exceeded those of local giant Tabcorp and other competitors in the Australian market.

Sportsbet's underlying operating profit in the six months to June hit $75.7 million, according to a report in the financial Review last week.

The results also revealed Sportsbet's active customers in Australia rose 13 per cent to 688,000, compared to the 475,000 customers Tabcorp revealed in its full 2017 financial results last week.

Sportsbet's underlying operating profit in the six months to June hit $75.7 million.

Sportsbet's underlying operating profit in the six months to June hit $75.7 million.

Little wonder Sportsbet so strongly opposed the Tabcorp merger with Tatts.

Sportsbet, which was acquired by Paddy Power in 2010, were up 78pc and 35pc from the previous corresponding period.

Australia accounts for 25pc of Paddy Power global operating profit of $180 million.

It is also revealed Sportsbet has spent a whopping $62 million on sales and marketing in Australia in the six months to June. But the company warned it would soon have to cease much of its heavy advertising during live matches on television between 5pm and 8.30pm. in March next year and the introduction of the 15pc betting point of consumption tax that was introduced in South Australia on July 1 would also make its mark on its future results.

"At current revenue levels, the additional cost would be approximately £4 million [$6.6 million] per annum," it said in the results, revealing that South Australia accounted for about 7pc of its Australian business.

It was also revealed William Hill, which last week announced an 85pc fall in net profit to $1.1 million despite a 28pc rise in the amount wagered by Australian punters to $1.48 billion - yes billion!

It really is about time government woke up.

Or at least question whether the corporates are paying enough turnover tax.

No doubt other states are looking closely at South Australia’s new point of consumption ruling that has the big bookies squealing and retaliating by refusing to offer full service to punters in that state.

Frankly the gambling industry is way out of control and if it requires a Royal Commission to fix - so be it.

Racing Queensland (RQ) has awarded the tender for Townsville track remediation to local company, Maccas Sports Turf after what RQ described as “a competitive and open tendering process”.

Yes, well....

Cluden track was closed after the Townsville Cup on July 29 for remediation and a scope of work was put out to tender. Three submissions were received by the end of the tendering process on Friday the 4th of August, in a statement (dated August 8 but released on August 10).

“A number of factors were considered in awarding the successful tender including the cost of the work and the ability of the contractor to undertake the work in a timely yet effective manner.

The statement continued: TTC Chairman Malcolm Petrofski thanked his staff “for the hard work that has gone into keeping the track in good racing condition for the winter carnival”.

The statement also referred to a contracting company (unnamed) that undertook work on the track before the tenders had closed, that just happened sparked the ire of another contractor - as reported here last week.

RQ CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said there was a “miscommunication by a Racing Queensland staff member” during this period which is now under review.

If you happen to be intrigued by that comment - you are certainly not alone.

He added “Some work took place that was originally intended to be part of the broader scope of remediation. When that was discovered work was stopped and the tender re-scoped to take account of the work already undertaken. The integrity of the tender process was not impacted by this miscommunication and the tender was awarded in strict accordance with policies and procedures.

“Sand and chemicals were also ordered by RQ as part of that miscommunication and delivered to the club. The TTC played no role in the sourcing of that material or the work that began on the surface. The sand, while deemed acceptable for other purposes at the site, will not be used for the track surface as it doesn’t meet RQ’s stringent standards.”

Well that’s their story but there is another version of events.

When and how did Dr Forbes first hear that the sand delivered on track last Monday was unsuitable?

And what was his immediate reaction?

VALE RICHARD FREYER

Your scribe was absent from the successful Cairns Cup day on Saturday that saw Rockhampton horses again dominate - winning both features, the Lightning (Isa Tala) and the Cup (Chivadahlii).

I was attending the funeral of one of the great country trainers Richard Freyer at Corowa. It was the biggest funeral the town has seen said one local mourner for the man who won the NSW country premiership an incredible 16 times and eight Albury Gold Cups among the 2500 winners amassed in a truly great career. And Richard went to his grave convinced his star Leica Falcon was robbed of a Melbourne Cup because of the travel bans invoked during the EI crisis that year that prevented him from crossing the NSW border.

They came from everywhere to farewell the gentle giant. Mathew Cahill drove from his home base Cowra and rode at Narromine on Sunday. Brendan Ward was down from Canberra and hundreds of others from all over were there to pay their last respects for a man who broke records that will never-ever be bettered.

Ironically he was buried on Cairns Cup day.

IT was 26 years to the day that Gift Man won the Cairns cup under Paul Gordy. Richard (who I grew up with) sent the horse to me in Townsville and came to Cairns that year to see him win the Cup. It was one of his rare visits outside his home patch and it is a memory he treasured to the very end.

WAR OF THE BOOKIES

Is there a bookies war going on between Townsville and Cairns clubs?  Only one Townsville bookie, Lloyd Mitchell was allowed to work at Cairns on Saturday. Was this in retaliation to Townsville TC refusing to allow bookies from Cairns and other centres to work at the recent cup carnival? Apparently Lloyd is a member of the Cairns 100 Club and apparently that was why he got the nod.

According one local bookie it wasn’t the Townsville bookmakers who requested a closed ring at Cluden -he insists it was club decision that as not supported by the local bookies.

Not only does TTC continue to ban the kids on cup day- it is now banning bookies.

To be fair the new committee inherited a no- kids policy from the previous administration. It is wrong for lots of reasons and really the club must stand up to licensing and get the issue resolved.

It only happens in Queensland, apparently.

Aa

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