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

Time for harness industry to declare real position

THE Queensland Racing Industry Participants Association has declared strike action inevitable in view of the lack of a positive response from the Government over Point of Consumption (POC) Tax distribution.

The group issued a statement which reads: After years of neglect by various Governments and with the current negotiations reaching a standstill with no sign of a positive resolution, the move to industrial action by the racing participants of Queensland is unfortunately now unavoidable.

All participants in Queensland will stand down on Saturday, October 27 (Cox Plate Day) for meetings scheduled at Doomben, Gold Coast, Toowoomba and Townsville, and then again on Tuesday 6th of November (Melbourne Cup Day) across all TAB meetings.

At this stage we will keep our commitment to allow the non-TAB meetings on both these days to proceed.

This action has the full support of the four industry bodies comprising trainers, jockeys, breeders and owners and comes after a deadline yesterday for the Government failed to deliver the requested commitment to return 100% of the racing component of the Point of Consumption tax to racing.

Despite claims that 100% of this new tax will be returned to racing, the clear fact is none of this will be returned to thoroughbred racing this year.

Prizemoney is our wages. Ten years ago our people were receiving 75% of what NSW racing delivered in prizemoney and now Queensland sits at 45%, and as all the other states embrace this new betting tax this gap will only widen further.

The significant financial investment from this new 'betting tax' given by the other states into their racing industries, is in stark contrast to what is shown in Queensland and whilst this industrial action is certainly not the industry participants preferred response, the Government's lack of understanding of the importance of the current situation in Queensland, leaves us with no alternative.

Not good enough

IT'S a funny world we live in.

The above statement tells us what the thoroughbred industry/sport participants think of the current Government.

There don't appear to be too many statements coming from the three galloping appointees on the "over arching'' five-person panel, which carries the title of Racing Queensland.

Surely these three gentlemen are sidestepping the issue by their neutrality.

The other two codes are also conspicuous by their absence from the fray.

The greyhounds have no need to comment, as their position is underpinned by the fact that they are a profitable operation, and it would be a brave Government indeed that pointed a finger at the "dogs".

Harness falls into a similar category to the gallops. We are a code which has deep rooted problems.

What is our real position?

There is a position, but, as has been the case for some decades now, only a handful of privileged people are aware of what it is.

At this point, the bulk of participants who stick in the game to see it go forward in a fair and honest fashion with hope of a resurrection, are told absolutely nothing.

That's not good enough.

We want an intelligible and believable statement from our appointed leaders, which includes a clear direction forward based on lifting turnover, and no mention of "begging bowls" or washed out tracks.

Reward for effort

A GOOD place to start would be to re-instate the funding system which existed in 1980.

A base line for prizemoney, relevant to the needs of each club, was struck, to run for a period of five years.

If a club by whatever means increased turnover, sponsorship, increased income from peripheral sources etc, was able to pay out a minimum of 110% of the base figure in any racing year, then the base line was raised to that 110% for the succeeding years to he end of the five year period.

Should a 110% increase be achieved in the following year, then the compounding principle was applied.

So the onus to succeed was placed squarely on the clubs.

This is how the real world of harness should operate, with reward for effort.

No Albion Park

TONIGHT'S Albion Park meeting was abandoned and shifted to Redcliffe.

Fields were to be redrawn.

Honour board

A fairly predictable leaderboard this week with Pete McMullen top driver scoring on five occasions (rate 250). Darrell Graham returned to the top of the trainer's list presenting three winning runners. Most pleasing was Real Knuckey for Peter Jones. Ipswich factor: 29/48.

Redcliffe, October 19: Comply Or Die (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis).

Redcliffe, October 20: The Ides Of March (Nathan Dawson for Donny Smith); Hot Dogma (Matt Elkins for Ross Fletcher); Glenferrie Hood (Pete McMullen for Wayne Graham); Wattlebank Flyer (Gary Whitaker for Bianca Hooper).

Marburg, October 21: Impetuoso (Trent Dawson for John Cockburn); Manoflisa (Jack Rees for Kevin Annetts); Oscars Glory (Danielle McMullen for John McMullen); Northern Muscle (Denis Smith); Red Luck (Taleah McMullen for Darrell Graham); If You Believe (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Reddy Fire (Leonard Cain for Paul Matis); Gangster Boy (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers).

Redcliffe, October 23: None Bettor (Matt Elkins for Donny Smith); Daenerys Stormborn (Adam Sanderson); Royal Lincoln (Adam Sanderson for Jacob Wallace); Just Rokin (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig); Our Major Day ( Nathan Dawson for Dayl March).

Redciffe, October 24: Mister Hart (Reece MaGuire for Darrell Graham); Motu Real Style (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Blazing VC (Gary Whitaker for Bianca Hooper); Wave Dancer (Hayden Barnes for Josh Moore); Feelingforarainbow ( Adam Richardson for Dave Russell).

Redcliffe, October 25: Gotothemoon (Matt Elkins for Donny Smith); Photozen (Darrell Graham for Barb Barry); The Boys GNP (Narissa McMullen for Ron Sallis); Real Knucky (Keith Durston for Peter Jones); Werelivinthe- dream (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig); Stevie Dee (Darrell Graham).