The Sunday Afternoon ‘Finish On'

WHILE the focus of racing in Queensland has been at Brisbane's Albion Park this week, QRIC, on Tuesday, were up and about in Bundaberg.

WHILE the focus of racing in Queensland has been at Albion Park this week, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC), on Tuesday, were up and about in Bundaberg.

A number of properties had QRIC staff along with two Queensland Police Service officers arrive to carry out property inspections.

"They arrived here about 9.30am, there were 10 people including two carrying (holstered) guns," one participant said.

"It was very confronting and everything was in order here and I'm at a loss to why they targeted me."

QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard would not "disclose information that may prejudice investigations and outcomes."

Outgoing QRIC Commissioner Shane Gillard

"QRIC acts on complaints and intelligence received, we hold and assess intelligence from various sources through the anonymous online portal, Report Something," he said.

The need for QPS to attend might be considered an over-reach yet circumstances surrounding the shooting of two officers at Wieambilla (2 ½ hours west of Toowoomba) just on 16 months back remain fresh and nothing is taken for granted these days.

QRIC might have acted in this circumstance but the overarching responsibility is for everyone to be doing the right thing be it welfare, integrity or ethical practices.

Make no mistake, one slip up by any participant in terms of welfare will send shockwaves across borders and it's about time people really digest the fact that big brother is watching.

NOT SO STRAIGHT FORWARD

The make-up of fields for the June 16 Straight of Origin at Capalaba were released this week with Valhalla the number one seed for the Bananabenders while reigning champ Shall Not heads the Blues team.

One aspect to the SoO is that the preferential box draw has an added racing trait option this year.

In 2023, Shall Not was the only ‘railer' drawn in the $40,000 to-the-winner contest and, guaranteed a clear run, he duly saluted by two panels over Panama Canal with Lose Your Cool third and Valhalla fourth.

This time, Mocona Express is likely to be drawn as an inside dog while a couple of ‘middle' draws are expected but no final racing traits have been formally assessed.

What could have thrown a spanner in the works was the inclusion of "the widest runner in captivity" – Jedda Cutlack's I'm Peakin'.

Capalaba will host the Straight Of Origin next Saturday

In New Zealand – albeit in a much-reduced racing population – there are seven racing trait positions but only three in NSW and Queensland – being rail, straight and wide.

Had I'm Peakin' been in this series, even with the PBD in place, he may well have drawn box five in an eight-dog field on June 16 but he really needs box 88 … not eight!

I understand, seven racing traits might be unmanageable locally yet there should be some short of extreme allowance – be it searing wide runners or crash tackling railers – in every PBD event.

Had I'm Peakin's racing trait matched Valhalla's record at Capalaba, he would have been in the field and a very messy feature race would have been produced.

The recipe to make this a better wagering, spectacle and welfare outcome is quite transparent yet there seems no will to even test a change.

HELLO, ASIC – YOU THERE?

In the wagering landscape of increasing taxation, punters seek value and many look to open accounts with new players but there is a catch.

A successful and well-known Victorian punter has a story to tell and his circumstance would not be isolated.

"I only bet on greyhound racing and Minimum Bet Limits regulations were put in place so that a Wagering Service Provider could not reject bets due to the customer being considered a ‘winner'," he explained.

"The MBL's come into play two hours before the first race although some of the bigger players (TAB, Ladbrokes and Sportsbet) bet to the MBL from the time markets are first posted – usually mid-morning.

"Back in March, submissions closed with Greyhound Racing Victoria regarding wagering in relation to a downturn in turnover and we await their determinations.

"GRV publishes all WSPs which must comply with MBLs and those which are exempt yet, on Wednesday, I tried to place a bet with a ‘must comply' bookie and had the bet rejected. Supposedly their turnover had dropped under the threshold and they no longer had to comply.

"They said they were not in control of GRV's publications and were within their rights to wholly reject the bet.

"Once contacted, GRV amended the list but that was no help to me as I had contacted them a month earlier about the same scenario but no change of process was put in place. Hopefully that can change soon.

"And then there is the prospect of sharing personal information.

"I opened a new account, placed one bet, which was market price ($2.50) about a dog at Warragul which lost, yet all bets thereafter were rejected. No reason was given.

"In the absence of my personal information being shared by this mob's platform (Betmakers), I have no concept of why they'd black ban me for all bets.

"Another mob bet me $100 at $4.40 on my first bet placed but I was cut to zero after that race.

"They are also on the Betmakers platform as are another five or six which restrict my Victorian wagers after only a snapshot of standard bets. It is unfathomable that these determinations could be based on my betting activity alone."

A fluid process for GRV would be to have fixed terms for compliance with MBLs – being quarterly or half yearly – and the playing field would become transparent.

As it stands, the oversight is failing punters and turnover (revenue) is impacted negatively.

Reading T&C's on WSPs website is a cure for insomnia but this writer does not expect that sharing personal information (with other WSPs) should be allowed whatsoever and it's something regulators (at the very least) and or the Australian Securities & Investments Commission should be diving into.

CASTLEREAGH STREET SYNDROME

Supporters of Fahey's Magic in Thursday's Group 2 Cyndie's Magic Final at Albion Park had reason to celebrate after her surging effort to collar One Hot Bandit in the latter stages but there is a dark side to the wagering in this contest.

The early scratching of star Victorian Hector Fawley realigned Fixed Odds markets significantly yet how Wagering Service Providers attend to deductions vary drastically and regulators continue to turn a blind eye to the ‘theft' of winning from punters.

Fortunately, Tabcorp does the right thing by punters and applies the correct model in every instance.

In the case of Hector Fawley, his pre-scratching price was something in the order of $2.10 and, had no reserve taken his place in the decider, a deduction in the order of 45 cent in the dollar would have been applied.

He, as we know, was replaced by Plum Tuckered ($6) at the jump and the correct deduction is simple – 45 cents in the dollar less the 16.5 per cent (or cents in the dollar) which comes in around 28 cents in the dollar.

Punters who risked cash with other bookies' were in for a nasty shock however.

Each did not factor in the inclusion of Plum Tuckered into the deductions with some still wanting 45 cents in the dollar on the face value of the ticket.

Another finished up deducting 42 cents in the dollar while one did not take a deduction for Hector's absence but, for an ungodly reason, wanted 9c for Black Tsunami's absence which, as the second reserve, was unlikely to secure a start.

It's unfathomable that regulators consider what was done in some instances with reserves in lieu of deductions as fair play.

Imagine if a punter had taken $2.50 about a dog drawn in the original feature race field and the reserve was also assessed at the same price … The ‘drawn' dog's price should drift sharply (to allow for a workable percentage) but the inflated price will never be offered to the battler who chipped in at $2.50.

If bets had been taken before final scratchings, on the example below (with 36c being the deductions), punters would have been returned $1.53 had favourite In The Hub prevailed and $3.2 should Highly Alert (box 1) have won.

With deductions in place, one market was a galling 194% and could only happen in greyhound racing – a riot would be in place the moment this lunacy was served up for thoroughbred wagering.

No doubt this is one way traffic – a la Castlereagh Street in the always congested Sydney CBD – for the Wagering Service Providers.

Unwitting punters are being robbed and it's been going on for far too long.

Regulators could be accused of being asleep at the wheel but, in truth, they don't know how to drive!

TOUGH CALL

Race broadcasting is something this writer will never attempt, it's something I know I'd completely fail at.

Those who have mastered the craft – no doubt Paul Ambrosoli has no peer in greyhound racing – are often called to task when making a blunder or – as Terry Bailey does all too often – tries to predict what will happen rather than just calling the race … the despised ‘Early Crow'.

And then there is the unfortunate, poorly placed utterance that cropped up once again at Wentworth Park on Saturday when Nad Al Sheba finished a gritty second to the talented Nangar Larry in 29.56 – just .06 outside Boston Banner's best time of the night.

Just how Matt Jackson could assert that Nad Al Sheba "would not go past" Nangar Larry goes beyond the pale.

"He loomed like he was going to go straight on by but would not go past at all," Jackson added after the contest was over.

Nad Al Sheba winning his Golden Easter Egg semi-final

Maybe the stewards might have considered having the winner run 30.20 or so yet in registering 29.59 personally, his effort – being his first start at 520m for five weeks – did not deserve such a derogatory comment and connections were understandably disappointed.

The stewards, in fact, reported only that Nangar Larry was to be swabbed – there were no racing incidents in the six-dog contest.

As noted previously, I could not even start to get a race call right but those who are willing to give it a go – and be paid for the task – need to be more professional and stick to the job at hand.

If the plan is to begin critiquing each dog's performance and habits, it will soon become a slippery slope.

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