ACCC wants merger review

ACCC wants Tabcorp-Tatts merger review


Terry Butts analyses news from the North Queensland racing scene.


THE bad news last the week was that the ACCC applied to Federal Court for review of the recent Tabcorp-Tatts merger. A deal that was and still is being hailed as a great breakthrough by every racing body in Australia with the exception of Racing Victoria – and, of course, the much maligned corporate bookmakers.

The good news is Tabcorp responded with a: “Bring it on”.

“The factual findings by the Tribunal of substantial public benefits and of no, or insignificant, detriment arising from the transaction are not in issue in the judicial review application.

“Tabcorp will oppose the ACCC’s application and will pursue an expedited hearing.

Tabcorp and Tatts remain committed to the transaction,” according to an official statement .

It said the ACCC’s application will impact the timing of the implementation which will not be known until the court has considered the matter.

“Tabcorp still considers that implementation remains achievable in the last quarter of 2017.’’

Fancy Crownbet saying punters will be worse off under the merger.

Racing certainly won’t. And isn’t that what it’s all about? A change for the benefit of the industry – not for corporate bloody bookmakers.

RACING Queensland has responded to the Queensland Trainers’ Association complaint about country clubs not sharing any of the prize money increases it announced for SE corner clubs (Silks last week).

The reply really didn’t focus on the real issues of the QTA letter. In fact, it was a gobbledegook reply that included:

“Racing Queensland is committed to enhancing returns and racing infrastructure in all regions of Queensland. In order to achieve this, RQ must focus on making commercial decisions that generate revenue.

“Commercial strategies include initiatives related to race information fee policy, national promotion of TAB racing through strategic partnerships and Queensland-wide promotion such as the ‘We’re racing everywhere’ campaign.

“The recent prize money increases were implemented to help grow revenue, which will benefit the Queensland racing industry as a whole.”

Thanks – but no thanks.

THE reply did mention, however, a $6 million Country and Regional Works Program for infrastructure projects that will provide significant benefits for racing across all regions. But really it was a Queensland government announcement, and very little do with RQ.

Is there an election looming?

The works program includes over $900,000 of improvements for:   Atherton Turf Club – $15,400, Cairns Jockey Club – $352,750, Cooktown ATC – $15,400, Einasleigh Race Club – $15,400, Gordonvale Turf Club – $36,318, Innisfail Turf Club – $15,400, Laura ATC – $15,400, Mareeba Turf Club – $15,400, Mt Garnett ATC – $15,400, Oak Park Race Club – $15,400.

The announcement was made last week in Cairns by Racing Minister Grace Grace. It is a classic case or pork barrelling – pure and simple.

HOWEVER QTA CEO Ross Shannon says he is encouraged by one positive that emerged from his correspondence with RQ. The Mackay meeting on August 26 (Townville amateurs date that has been transferred because of Cluden closure) will be upgraded to $16,000 per race (except Maiden class) as the Gold Coast meeting on that day will become a metropolitan meeting due to the closure of Eagle Farm.

“We have asked for more opportunities like this where northern clubs might become the main provincial meeting on a particular Saturday or Sunday and share the extra prize money as meetings are reshuffled to accommodate the closure of Eagle Farm,” Mr Shannon said.

“The QTA encourages all trainers to target the higher prize money on offer at Mackay and prove that northern clubs can provide good racing and wagering outcomes when presented with the right opportunities.” 

THE Townsville carnival kicked off on Saturday and was highlighted by the return to Cluden of popular Brisbane jockey Nathan Day, who landed the $100,000 Two Year Old Classic on board the Rockhampton visitor Paradis Imperial. It was a brilliant ride to beat the somewhat unlucky short priced favourite Dream Kisses.

Earlier Day, a regular Cluden visitor before sidelined for several months after a race fall, had a lucky pick-up ride on another Rocky visitor,  Chivadahlii in the 2000m WFA cup prelude.

Day was booked for post race favourite Rockette on which he won last year’s Cairns Cup, but the gelding was a late scratching because of a stone bruise.

They say in racing that luck is a fortune – and in Day’s case the age old axiom was fully realised when Chivadalii’s normal rider David Hayse came off Seektowin in the second race. His only other ride for the day was to the hospital in an ambulance.

The fall also cost Hayse the winning ride on Townsville Dollars winner We Just Love It and a book of rides at Tuesday’s Cairns meeting and Ladies Day on Saturday at Cluden.

However luckily the body is bruised, not broken, and he expects to be back on board Chivadilii for the Townsville Cup on July 29.

Another highlight on Saturday was the win of Forgive Me which gave young Leslie Gordy his first win as a trainer after only a handful of starters.

He is the son of the legend Paul Gordy whose many achievements in the saddle at his beloved Cluden are still talked about.

He was rated one of the best judges when riding and the betting on Saturday clearly indicates that it hasn’t blurred over the years.

Forgive Me was one of the best backed horses on the day firming from 30/1 into 8/1 at one stage. And always looked the winner.


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