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This sledge was published today by the veteran trots journalist with the verbal trots John ‘Lucky’ Lingard on his website http://www.letsgohorseracing.com.au/

Here’s my retort.

Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. 

Dear John

It’s an ironic salutation given the subject matter isn’t it?

After reading the vitriol and innuendo directed at me in the lead story on your website http://www.letsgohorseracing.com.au today the inner masochist in me feels compelled to reply, in what I strongly suspect will be a vain attempt to set the record straight, however given that my remarkably consistent career form as a lifelong mug punter I remain the perennial optimist and am prepared to chance my arm on the bookie’s hope that you allow me a fair rub of the green.

Let me put a couple of things straight up front.

Firstly, I could only possibly be regarded as a left-winger were the person making the judgment the sort of cove that considers Genghis Khan to be a communist.

Any objective read of the articles on my website itsnotnormalisit.com will demonstrate that I attack Labor as much, if not more, than the LNP in my political commentary and musings, and that I am without fail particularly scathing about the Greens. Do yourself a favor and have a Captain Cook at the site. It’s a good read and you never know, you might just against your will find yourself enjoying my raw, humorist larrikin’s take on life. And given the depth of research that goes into many of my stories, as an added bonus there’s even a chance that you might learn something you didn’t know before to boot.

As you’ll notice at even a cursory glance, I attacked Hot Rod Harding unmercifully during the recent Brisbane City Council campaign, and personally voted for Graham Quirke, who my old man used to drive around town in his pre-retirement role as the Lord Mayor’s chauffeur. The old man reckons that Quirky’s a great bloke, salt of the earth, and he’s Jeff Horne the boxer’s cousin too, and how many Mayors do you know who are close blood rellies of a bloke who’s going to win a world title?

Dad used to drive old Can-Do Campbell, and Sallyanne Atkinson too. He remains on the best of terms with both, and in fact when the old girl copped the death knell diagnosis of terminal cancer from the quack Can-Do sent me old Mum a great big bunch of beautiful flowers to cheer her up, which it did no end. Mind you Diamond Jim Soorley did too, so I suppose you could say we’re a family for all seasons.

It’s hardly the pedigree of a left winger though is it digger?

Secondly old son, I’m not a bloody blogger, and resent being described as such no matter which wing of the political plane you dump me on. I’ll have you know sir that I am in fact a fully accredited and experienced freelance journalist who in fact once upon a time worked with you at the now long-defunct Daily Sun. How about that hey? Haven’t I got a bloody elephant of a long memory?

It just so happens that I’m old and a bloody Luddite, so rather than attempt to negotiate what for me is the Minotaur’s labyrinth of technological know how required to operate an autonomous website – and can’t be bloody bothered either – I prefer to publish my eclectic current affairs website in the form of a automatically formatted blog. It’s simply far easier and more time-efficient for an antiquated geezer like me.

Thirdly, whilst I love punting on horses, and would every day if I could stump a bank, I can’t actually stand being near the bloody four-legged things. And I hate getting up early in the mornings, my nocturnal habits usually seeing me hitting the hay at about the same time that trackwork begins.

So the chances of me ever gaining membership of the Australian Trainer’s Association, let alone life membership, are 330 to 1 and blowing like a gale.

I know Plus Vite once won the Missile Stakes at those odds, but that was a flag start so itdoesn’t count, and you only usually get one Pablo’s Pulse or Antelle in a lifetime – and we’ve had two – so I’d be pushing my luck to expect another wouldn’t I?

In any event Johnny boy, I’d be sound asleep and snoring when the ATA held the award ceremony, so you can rule a big fat black line through that one right now.

Next up, yes I am well informed. After all, if you’re the garrulous type of compulsive plunger who is usually broke by the time they cross the finish line in the second at Birdsville – and therefore always searching around for a friendly sling to kick with – you don’t spend your life from the age of 6 kicking around the racetracks of the nation without getting to know a lot of people from all walks of life do you?

But let me tell you brother, I can put my hand on my heart and say that not a single one of the rabid racegoers I know had a solitary ounce of input into my stories about either your mate Mr Rundle or about the Medici Prince now heading Racing Qld, the squillionaire who was appointed by the world’s worst Racing Minister because of his superb talents at God-only knows what other than privatising government-run concerns, wearing flash clobber, and putting the bite on cashed up private school boys for tax-deductible funds.

Having said that, Medici’s skills at the latter might certainly come in handy given the parlous state of the peak body’s finances, because red’s not the color of love when the creditors come knocking at the door, let me give you the late mail as one who knows more than somewhat about such terrible things.



Speaking of finances though, why don’t you write a wee little feature story or two about Rockhampton Racing Pty Ltd and that fine outfit’s contribution to the financial mess that Qld racing presently finds itself mired in?

Perhaps while you’re at it you might elaborate on that particular entity’s dealings with Contour Consulting and Douglas Partners in relation to the upgrade of the Callaghan Park track, and explain to the punters how and why these dealings should be viewed as 100% kosher and above board, given the goings on up at Corbould Park? That’d be a good read I reckon, and perhaps you might be able to fill the gaps that have puzzled curious punters for a year or three now.

I’ll tell you what old China, while you’re at it why don’t you write a piece explaining the circumstances of your own departure from Racing Queensland too, before I write one based on my deep and meaningful discussions with the birds in your old office and beyond? Remember I’m well informed,  and for reasons unfathomable to most fellas I know birds seem to take a shine to me and sing lullabies like canaries, don’t you worry about that, let me give you the drum.

Anyway, now that we’re done with the cheap personal shots, let’s get down to discussing the pertinent issues at hand shall we?

You write about the ‘volatile history between the Queensland branch of the Australian Trainers’ Association and the Queensland Trainers’ Association which was formed by Rundle’. The way you write the sonnet it sounds for all money like a lovers tiff between equals, but let’s not beat around the bush here John, and lets call a spade a bloody shovel so that the readers can understand the play.

I’ll put it bluntly – you’re a smoke and mirror variety flim-flam man, and you’re absolutely f*cking full of it.

You and I both know that a thorn by any other name’s still a thorn, and that the QTA is nothing more than the pissant Rockhampton Trainer’s Association re-branded don’t we?

How many members outside of Central Queensland does it have John?

The office bearers of the outfit are all based in the Beef Capital, that’s for sure. The said officials being the racehorse trainers Mr Jim Rundle himself, Mr Mike Dore, Ms Lyn Sullivan and Mr Tony Burgoyne. No disrespect to any of these undoubtedly fine folk, but in the words of the average punter, ‘Who?’.

The ATA office bearers are of course much better known, being trainers of the ilk of Colin Alderson, Richard Jolly, Leon MacDonald, Colin Webster, Pat Duff, Les Ross, Philip Stokes, Fran Houlahan and Robert Smerdon.

Actually, now I think of it, how many members does the QTA have in total at all? Given that they publish neither annual returns or financial reports you wouldn’t bloody know unless you were in the know, would you? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

I can tell you how many members the Australian Trainers Association has, to the the last man and woman, and not because I have a deep throat inside the tent, but rather because the ATA is a Registered Association under the Fair Work Act, and is thus required to lodge annual returns that are published on the Fair Work website.

These returns reveal that as at 31 December the ATA membership was 1132.

I personally doubt that the QTA has 32, but if my skepticism is misplaced then I’m certainly happy to be disabused of my fanciful notion.

The ATA also publish financial reports – unlike the secretive QTA – and in 2015 recorded income of $1.19 million, and net assets of $3.65 million, with more than $2 million of the loot in cold, hard cash.


If the QTA has even 50 grand in the bank I’ll hop backwards naked down the length of the newly opened Eagle Farm straight.

In fact, unless the pay ups for the 2yo classic are waived by the Rockhampton Jockey Club I’ll be prepared to stake my share in Casa Del Geebung to a brick that the association actually runs in the red, because it offers 2 pay ups to the Classic at $990 a head as an incentive for trainers to join, yet only charges $50 a year as their membership fee, which means that they need 40 members just to cover the costs of their loss leading promotion before they even spend a penny on any basic outgoings such as stationery, administration, postage or phone calls.

And that’s before the QTA even begin to provide its members with the more expensive services that the ATA offer like professional advice and representation, legal assistance, insurance, payroll services and debt recovery. Just joking about the latter of course, because If the QTA provide more than one of these services then Jim Rundle’s a multiple Group 1 winning trainer and I’m a monkey’s uncle.

Let’s not misreport the two organisations as equals hey John, because if you are going to slide down that path then you might as well start putting the Rise Up Australia Party on the same pedestal of representative importance as the LNP. Even if Jimmy Rundle may support Rise Up’s policies, most Aussie’s don’t, so the comparison is simply misleading and ridiculous, isn’t it old son?

Just like your comparison between the QTA and the ATA. It’s a two horse race between Black Caviar and Ourene, with the unbeaten champion carrying 49kg and the 1oo start maiden lumping top weight of 60 kegs, and you calling the odds at 11 to 8 on the pair.

Now shall we talk for a moment about self-interest and bias?

Perhaps we could compare and contrast our respective websites and do an analysis of who flogs online casinos to their readers and who doesn’t?

Who pretends to care deeply about Queensland Racing while simultaneously doing sales spruiks for  corporate bookies that don’t pay licensing fees or turnover tax to Queensland Racing and who doesn’t?

Who tries to suck mugs into buying their genius tips and who doesn’t?

Nah, let’s not go there, because you’re bound to come out on the wrong side of the ledger if we do old son.

Here’s my tip Lucky, and I’ll gift it to you gratis.

Go back to to the red hots mate, because it’s where you truly belong.

Happy Punting!


PS – You can cop my tips on itsnotnormalisit.com for free sportsfans. My strike rates a lot higher that Lucky’s, don’t you worry about that, and I won’t try to sell you a simple thing except the facts, the lay of the land, and my take on it all. And what more could a punter want for nothing than that?