You know you’ve hit a raw nerve when suddenly a pale horseman floats out of the empty cupboard at Callaghan Park and begins writing on like Ernest Hemingway in a futile and ill-fated attempt to discredit you, your character, your motives, and the important messages about nepotism, cronyism, corruption and electoral pork barreling that you’ve gone out on a limb to explain to the fine folk of Queensland who love a punt, and to the good doers of the racing industry that put the horses on the tracks to allow them to do so.

Some big ugly fat-necked wombat headed big bellied magpie legged narrow hipped splaw-footed sons of Irish Bailiffs or English landlords – the old QTC Committee members for example – might take offence at such an outrageous attacks by one trick ponies like Ross Shannon, the newly installed President of the ‘Queensland’ Trainers Association, but not your humble correspondent Archie, because I’m like the Big O – Octagonal – and like nothing better than a fight, and like Occy I more often than not stick my neck out and win.

So we’re off and racing, and first out of the barrier is Sharia Law, the well bred rig by Beat Up out of Bullsh*t, owned by the One Nation syndicate, trained by Wedge Politics, and ridden by C. Rap.

Newly elected Qld Trainers Association President Ross Shannon, who seems like a decent bloke but doesn’t have a lot of luck with his horse – the singular is not a misprint, see below – has done his best to defend his early morning Callaghan Park comrade Jimmy ‘Halal’ Rundle, but its hard to defend the indefensible, and this is about the best he could come up with.

On the subject of Sharia Law, Australia’s former Treasurer, Peter Costello, argued in 2006 that “there is one law we are all expected to abide by. It is the law enacted by Parliament under the Australian Constitution. If you can’t accept that then you don’t accept the fundamentals of what Australia is and what it stands for.”

Well the first thing I’ll say is that when you’re quoting the shiver looking for a spine to run up – the most gutless gunna in the modern history of Australian politics – then you’re scraping the very bottom of the cheapest barrel of cheap plonk. If you take that to mean that I hold pea-hearted Peter Costello in very low esteem, then you’re 100% correct, and the statement that Mr Shannon has quoted above is an excellent example of why.

There is not, has never been, and never will be any form of Sharia law in Australia, just like there will never be a caste system, or a politburo, Costello was just doing what Costello does, playing the wedge and beating up issues out of nothing.

At least he was quoted in context however, unlike the researchers Poynting and Noble below, who were actually writing about the rise of racism and the isolation of immigrant youths as a consequence of the social policy shift away from multiculturalism, not attempting to whip up racist hysteria.

Research undertaken in 2004-2005 reported that “there is a high level of apprehension amongst the general population about Muslims in our suburbs”

And the comparison between Rundle’s support of fringe groups on the far right of the social spectrum with a government inquiry into the funding of terrorism is simply laughable, a quite ridiculous. But at least Shannon tried.

He tries with his horses too, but doesn’t have a lot of luck. There were at last count 4 horses in his stable, but three of them are aged seven and up, and two haven’t raced for more than 2 years, so are unlikely to return to the track, and another is a rising 10-year-old that hasn’t been sighted for 8 months, which leaves Shannon with just the one horse in active work, and it’s a 6-year-old nine start maiden that has never run a place in its life.

Here’s a quick run down on the stable:

Urban Spaceman

A six-year-old gelding who has had 9 starts over 2 years, without ever running a place. The mule has only ever once picked up a prize money cheque. That was for running a gallant 4th of five runners, beaten 4 lengths, in a maiden at Emerald for which it earned the princely sum of $350.


Nordic Warrior

A nine-year-old gelded camel that has has 44 starts over five seasons, winning five races. Three of them were in Emerald, the other two in Clermont and Springsure respectively.

Hasn’t won for over 2 years, has been off the scene for over 8months, and its career earnings are just $25 000, which may or may not have been enough to pay its feed and vet bills, dependent on how many times he had to go to see the equine quack.

It’s a nice town Clermont by the way, and steeped in history. My Grandad used to captain-coach the town’s rugby league team in the 1950’s, and managed the pub that was owned by his father-in-law, my Great-Uncle Duck Anderson.

Royal Fusilier

Another gelding, this time a seven-year-old wombat that has won just one race – three years ago in Rockhampton – and has collected just over $12 000 in 4 seasons at the track.

Unraced for nearly 2 years.


Saschas Spririt

A budding champion 8-year-old mare who has snuck under the handicapper’s gaze for this year’s cup, and if she qualifies through the Muckadilla Siding Racing Club’s national hunt series sponsored by Big Clive’s Queensland Nickel outfit.

Has won 2 races for a grand earnings total of $14 599, and hasn’t started for almost 3 years. I’ve asked Sportsbet for a price about its chances in the big one, but apparently there are too many zeroes on the end to fit in an email.

That’s the stable covered, now let’s have a look at the membership numbers that Shannon’s quoted in his article.

He claims that there are just 33 financial members of the Qld Branch of the Australian Trainer’s Association, which seemed a bit light, so I asked Ross how he calculated the figure. The answer was by counting the names on an email distributed by the ATA, which is not the most scientific method in the world, and thus I gave Cameron Partington from the ATA Queensland Branch a call to get his take on the figures. .

Partington advised that the membership of his outfit is just a tick shy of the double ton, which for the non-punters reading is 200. I’d love to tell you how that stacks up against the QTA, but unfortunately Ross Shannon was unwilling to share his numbers with me, which is unfortunate but not surprising given that the QTA don’t share anything publicly, with no annual or financial statements published and no copy of the organisation’s constitution available for perusal by journalists and interested parties.

Shannon did say that the QTA is aiming for 300 members, but I’m aiming for a bank balance of $300 million, and with dole day not ’til Monday I reckon that I’m about as close to achieving it as the QTA are of cracking even the half ton.

I also asked Ross Shannon how he actually became the President of the outfit, and he advised that he in fact simply the interim President pending the next AGM, and was appointed by those present at a recent monthly meeting. Of course in line with the QTA’s Standard Operating Procedures Shannon wouldn’t reveal how many members were actually in attendance at the meeting, but I reckon half a dozen would just about pull it up.

I’m a lifelong punter, and I’m prepared to double down on the Shaman’s offer to crowd fund to get the QTA bank balance high enough to force to me to deliver on my pledge to run naked backwards if the faux voice of country racing’s bank manager can show us that they have $50 large in the jug at the local branch of The Rock.

(By the way punters, if you’re not sure what crowd funding is, I’ll break it down into laymen’s terms for you and simply say that this is the 21st century internet version of Happy Jack putting the bite on you for a beer a pie and a punt. And then snipping you again for his train ticket home. Anyone who ever met Happy will get the picture, long may he rest in peace)

Here’s my offer Sir – if you are prepared to put your membership cards on the table and prove your claim that you have more members that the Qld branch of the ATA, then I undertake to get my missus, the Bead Twirler, to walk the 1350m at Doomben on her hands wearing nothing but her birthday suit.

Don’t for a moment fret that I may be a misogynist – I’m not a member of the BRC – for I have shown the Twirler your erudite article, and she’s been laughing so hard for the past 2 hours at the idea that I’m afraid the neighbors may soon call triple O and some men in white jackets carrying restraints in their Members Stands will any minute be knocking upon our Casa Del Geebung door to take the good thing away.

I’ll give you a hot tip for free though, if you’re right and I’m wrong then the crowd at Doomben for the Rothmans Ten Thousand Naked Walking On Hands Stakes will be the largest since Black Caviar strutted the Brisbane stage a few years ago. Just take a Captain Cook at the twirlers Double Bed pictured at the top of the website, and multiply it by three to get a gauge on her Cubes and Rum and you’ll be jacking up the ticket prices quicker than you can say wouldn’t you give that Faith Healer a Donald Duck.

Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe.

That’s all I have to say on the matter, and on that note I’ll bid you adieu, because the thought of the naked hand walk’s making me tingle, and sometimes dear sportsfans actions speak louder than words, particularly when your punting bank’s dry and she’s given you the mail that there’s but one way she’s going to replenish.

Woo hoo!

Happy punting!