Former Melbourne jockey Danny Adam is back in the north on a mission to fulfil a long time ambition to take up training. But not just yet.
He is no stranger to Queensland and will be remembered for winning the big three on the western circuit 15 years ago … the Birdsville, Betoota and Bedourie cups all on horses trained by that renowned bush trainer Neville "Knocker" Peoples of Aramac.
It was also on the western circuit that Adam and four other jockeys including the recently and sadly departed Butch Mules got tangled up in one of the most controversial and talked about steward’s enquiries of all time. The jockeys sat down to a card game with the chief steward after the first day of the Jundah Cup meeting and played all night … literally.
Next morning the steward, inexplicably, put the breathalyser on the lads and they were all stood down before the first race.
It is a story Adam will never forget – and in fact he still seethes at the thought.
His riding career was fraught with bad luck and injury. Most would have walked away after a frightening fall he suffered several years ago at Geelong. But he soldiered on and still carries injuries from the near fatal fall.
He began his apprenticeship in the Damian Oliver era and more than held his own in metropolitan Melbourne. He is perhaps best remembered as the jock who stood up in the irons to give a rival jockey a memorable one-two with his whip at the finish of the Bairnsdale Cup 10 years ago.
"Because he deserved it,” says the diminutive Danny who is walking confirmation that dynamite comes in small parcels. The video of the incident went viral world wide. A big hit in more ways than one!
Danny first came to NQ to ride Tintagel, the runner up in the 2008 Townsville Cup and made several subsequent visits before deciding that there was more to life than Melbourne and the rigours of big city racing. He recently purchased the house and stables of Gilbert Bow, a legend in the north, and hopes to eventually train. But he hasn't completely retired from the saddle. He rides regular work at Cluden and with avoirdupois gradually dripping off him in the Townsville wet a return to race riding is not impossible.
THEY called Roy Higgins the professor, and before him it was Sydney's Jack Thompson who had the tag.
In North Queensland the professor is undoubtedly Graham Kliese. But unfortunately the popular jock is a scratching from immediate riding engagements after an unfortunate mishap at Cairns last week.
He was Townsville' s leading jockey (again) last season, though the feat is still yet to be officially recognised. And he was on the way to repeating it this season, but todayKliese is recuperating after surgery to repair a badly broken leg the result of the fall.
The riding ranks in Townsville are already seriously depleted with Jeffrey Felix and Graeme Watson both recuperating from race day falls and the retirement of Adrian Coome and on Monday Peter Cullen became another casualty when involved in an incident at Cluden barrier trials. The full extent of his injuries was not known when we went to press but it surely exacerbates the current jockey problem – and might even exacerbate the return of Danny Adam!
NO matter what you thought of Archie Butterfly and his sometimes seemingly outrageous claims about issues and high profile personalities of the racing game… you read them.
Archie's website was getting 70,000 hits a day and was still firing on all fours when the coppers suddenly appeared last week, raided his home, laid some charges that will be defended and closed his popular website.
Few would believe the raid was an act in the public interest.
It seems Archie stepped on the toes of someone with sufficient influence to have him unceremoniously gagged ... the full details of which will no doubt emerge. And we can't wait to divulge them. Meanwhile a few of the QRIC chiefs might sleep easier, but Archie has made certain that everyone is well aware of the shortcomings of our much maligned integrity unit that survives only because of the recent election result.
It might also be safely stated that harness racing in Queensland is well into the bell lap because of the startling and unchallenged revelations of the popular scribe … the man who possibly knew too much. And paid the price for sharing it with his many followers.
THE other issue making news this week was the corporate bookmakers whose continued domination of the Australian gambling industry might be floundering. All because of a crackdown by government on credit gambling and the imposition of a point of consumption tax by various states.
William Hill, according to reports, could be first to fold, with one spokesman claiming that "the government has the power to regulate the industry out of existence – the strike of a pen just puts us out of business".