QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith.
QT trot columnist and harness racer Denis Smith. David Nielsen

Countdown on to Marburg Easter meet

TROT TACTICS

WE are gathering momentum for the Easter Sunday Fun Day at Marburg on April 21.

The lead-up will be a low profile TAB meeting on Monday, April 15, with the first race at 11.35am.

There's no entry charge and it will feature bookmaker Stephen Anthony, the UTAB van and basic bar and eats.

That will be a blast from the past as we work our way through the heats and preludes heading into the big day.

On the Sunday, along with the 500 runner car raffle, there is a highly collectable framed display commemorating Winx's fourth Cox Plate victory in a separate draw.

A full rundown on the Easter deal next Saturday.

Thoughts with Whitaker family

CURRENT reports on the Whitaker family tragedy in National Trotguide indicate that little Lara is still far from well.

Further surgery was due this week and a slow withdrawal process from induced coma is the program at this point.

All our thoughts and best wishes are with the Whitaker family at this time, and with a little girl who faces a long and painful road on the journey to rehabilitation.

QRIC questions

THERE is no more contentious issue in the early preparations to next year's state election than the performance, or lack of it, from the racing watchdog Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Certainly, the harness arm of QRIC began with a bang, with multiple licencees arrested and thrust into the legal system.

At this time most of those accused have been through the lower courts and the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal mill.

At this point, of the 21 cases heard by QCAT, only five have stood up. No doubt, they are at some point in the "appeals” process, with reasonable hopes of exoneration.

There is reason therefore to support the LNP view that QRIC is an expensive failure and should be dismantled.

There are, however, several questions which have never been answered.

The most mystifying is the constant refusal of QRIC to engage the services of a recognised form analyst to assist the stewards panel to prepare a solid case against licencees, deemed to be in breach of race track rules (running and handling as well as team driving).

This is a small cost when weighed against the embarrassment of consistent failure in the legal arena.

Equally disturbing but little known, is the animosity which became instantly evident when the harness stewards switched from positions at Racing Queensland to government employees at QRIC.

Anyone familiar with the debacle surrounding the debate over race patrol footage supplied on DVDs, as against USB sticks, will appreciate the full meaning of non-cooperation.

The answer, as always, is to split the codes and buy in reliable integrity from a revamped QRIC.

There are faults both on the race track and in QRIC.

No matter who the participants and punters vote for, they have the right to protection.

The onus is on both the major parties to co-operate in fixing the problem now, not in 18 months time.

Taleah stars

ON the bright side are the efforts of Taleah McMullen this week.

The super lightweight driver has saluted on sfour occasions this week, including a treble at Redcliffe on Wednesday night.

Father John provided three of the winners while Ryan Veivers came good with the fourth.

Wednesday was good all round at camp McMullen with self proclaimed "hobbyist” John providing three winners and a trifecta in race 2. That was with Kaanapali (Taleah), Falcon Vista (Adam Richardson) and Hammerhof (Danielle McMullen).

Ratings update

LATEST from the ratings system for Queensland only.

Due no doubt to low horse pool numbers, Racing Queensland will run a a class system in parallel to the 'ratings'.

(A) The Graduation or R penalty will disappear and all races over $2000 (total stakes) will carry a C penalty.

(B) No 'class' drop backs. Class will continually rise, and never come down, while ratings component will fluctuate.

At least there is one constant in the above. Whether it is relevant is another matter.

Handy tips

SELECTIONS for Albion Park tonight.

R1: Quinella 1-2: Weedons Express (T McMullen) and Gas Monkey (Madi Dux).

R2: Quinella 2-9: My Ultimate Fella (P Diebert) and Broadwater (G Dixon).

R3: E/w 4: Rays Choice (L Davis).

R4: E/w 3: Makoa (G Dixon).

R5: Box trifecta 1-3-6: Zaras Delight (C Geary)-Trilight Brigade (G Dixon)-Beau Cishlom (D McMullen).

R6: E/w 2 - Lancelot Bromac (P McMullen).

R7: E/w 2: The Golden Cross (G Dixon).

R8: E/w 8: Sache Girl (A Richardson).

R9: E/w 3: Mr Meddle (H Barnes).

R10: Quinella 4-5: Xavier Hurrikane (G Dixon) and Frost En Ice (K Rasmussen).

R11: E/w 2: Caesars Astrum (P McMullen).

Honour board

Honours spread this week with five drivers supplying 15 winners. In a three-way tie for the top were Taleah McMullen, Nathan Dawson and Pete McMullen, all rating 200 for four wins apiece. They were hotly pursued by Adam Sanderson and Adam Richardson, three each for rates of 150. John McMullen is out on his own with three winners.

Most pleasing was Elzboy for Steve Towns. Nathan Dawson had the steer.

Albion Park, March 29: Somepartysomewhere (Nathan Dawson for Greg Franklin); Feel The Reign (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Cardlesfromheaven (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Riverleigh William (Hayden Barnes for Charlie Chiang); Much Bettor (Adam Sanderson for Ian Gurney); Elzboy (Nathan Dawson for Steve Towns).

Albion Park, March 30: Our Major Day (Nathan Dawson for Richard March); Hot Rod Heaven (Adam Richardson for Tayla Gillespie); Lancelot Bromac (Danielle McMullen for Stewie Dickson); Nui Toc Tien (Matt Elkins for Trevor Lambourn); Our Chittybangbang (Trent Dawson); Our Bondi Beach (Nathan Dawson for Greg Franklin); Spike Bromac (Taleah McMullen for Steve Cini); Empire Bay (Pete McMullen for Wayne Graham); Big In America (Pete McMullen for Stewie Dickson).

Albion Park, April 1: Royal Taz (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Non Passare (Adam Richardson for Ken Belford); Headwin (T Moffat for Allan Godwin).

Redcliffe, April 3: Kaanapali (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen); Unassuming Champ (Adam Richardson for Mitchell Dawson); Taffy Boy (Matt Elkins for Mick Benham); Ernie Barasso (Taleah McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Studleigh Will (Taleah McMullen for John McMullen).

Redcliffe, April 4: Subtle Advice (Narissa McMullen for Terry Hancock); Grizzly Montana (Hayden Barnes for Brett Cargil); Megiddo (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Chloes Cloud (Adam Sanderson for Darrell Graham).