Ater a terrible day on the punt on Saturday surrounded by Richmond fans and really good looking, muscled-up hetero early twenty something blokes with super hot girlfriends who (the blokes) were dressed in tight denim shorts and matching jackets with cut off sleeves, and had YES written in lipstick or glitter on their arms, I was starting to feel
- great admiration for the young people of today
- huge hope for the future of the world
- a million to one of pulling a young bird so I could make Maggie jealous
- desperate to recoup the 1500 I’d lost laying Happy Clappy on Betfair
And so I did what half-drunk desperate punters had been doing since Jesus got dropped to the bench by Benny after a shocker against the Raiders.
I headed to the Creek.
And there in the very first race of the night – the only one in retrospect that mattered – I saw the hottest thing I’d ever seen since the night before when Maggie gave me a lap dance, and without doubt the hottest race at Albion Park since Race 1 of the week before. It was so hot that it made Rachel Hunter as Stacey’s Mum look frigid.
The fact I mention Race 1 twice is no accident or coincidence, for there is something very, very special about the first race at Albion Park each week, and that is that it carries a guaranteed $50 000 Trifecta or First Four pool, and a $100 000 guaranteed pool for one or other – usually the Trifecta – every 4th or 5th week.
A quick glossary for the uninitiated.
A Trifecta is where a punter picks the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placegetters in a race in the exact order of finishing.
A First Four is where the punters picks the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th horses in a race in the correct order.
Both bet types – known as ‘exotics’ or ‘multiples’ – usually pay lucrative dividends due to the greater improbability of a punter making a correct selection than if they were simply backing a horse for a win or a place. As my mate Rusty the Red says, ‘F*ck Arch, it’s hard enough just finding the winner, let alone picking 2nd and 3rd’.
A guaranteed pool means that trifecta punters on Race 1 at the trots are assured that the total UBET wagering pool available for distribution to winning ticket holders is $50 000, or $100 000 on the even more lucrative weeks.
The pool may be guaranteed by the TAB, in our case UBET (out of surplus funds deducted as commission at a higher than average rate from other events UBET frames a market on, usually gallop racing pools), by the racing or harness club (from its own funds, or with money pledged by a sponsor), or by a combination of both.
In the case of the guaranteed pools on the 1st race at Albion Park there is insufficient information available to determine who exactly is putting up the guarantee for the wagering pool, but in any event the fact is that the pool is there, and in this case it (supposedly) topped more than $66 grand.
The average hold on a trifecta pool at Albion Park was – until I started writing about the issue a couple of weeks ago and began asking questions around the traps – about $4 grand a race, but all of a sudden it has inexplicably spiked and now the trifecta pools are averaging about $14 000 a race, or four times the total value of the win pool.
Statistics show that this just doesn’t happen, no matter how large the guarantee of the pool, and a number of smart but extremely cynical punters are starting to ask why , which suggests that they are perhaps not that smart really after all because the answer is blindingly obvious and very simple.
Someone – or more likely a group of someone’s – is rigging the results of race 1 at Albion Park most weeks and walking away with the lion’s share of the huge pools, and now that the prime movers of the scam realise that Archie is on to them, which means the whole racing world is too, they are trying desperately to cover the long running rip-off up by loading up the other trifecta pools on the card in an attempt to pretend that the mass splurge on the guaranteed win pools is simply part of a broader push by punters keen to spend their money rather than what it really is.
A f*cking rort.
As I mentioned earlier I was at Albion Park on Saturday night and I was watching the trifecta pool on the first like a hawk, and when I saw the late money flooding into the pools at the same time that the favorite started blowing like a gale I threw into the Turpin trifecta and loaded up like a troop transport on the eventual winner as the pools continued to grow.
All of which means that when I tell you that this race was hotter that the pedophile priest Tom Treherne’s eternal resting place down underfoot I’m not talking through my kick, but rather simply echoing what any experienced punter who watched the 1st at the Creek on Saturday night unfold would say.
There were 11 runners in the 2138 metre C6 or better mobile start race on Saturday night, and 7 of them came from just 3 stables.
Chantal Turpin had 3 starters, and Grant Dixon and Jack Butler had 2 each.
Dixon, who is Clip Clop Kev’s main stable trainer, has the two drawn in 1 and 2 positions off the inside of the front row. in the mobile barrier start. One of them was Applause, a $12.80 shot driven by Isabel Ross and drawn the one slot, and the other was Max Richter, the $5.60 second favorite driven by Trista Dixon the trainer’s wife and drawn two/
Both horses would in normal circumstances be expected to shoot hard out of the barrier, with the speed map analysts expecting Max Richter to cross its stablemate and lead, with Applause sitting pretty on its back conserving energy and waiting to scoot up the Jayco passing lane in the home straight, but it didn’t happen because for no apparent reason both of the pair were eased at the start and allowed the wider drawn horses to cross.
Jack Butler has two 20-1 shots: Western Blaze drawn the widest of the front row runners in position 7 and driven by Trent Moffatt, and Jester Oh Jester drawn 4 on the front line and driven by Hayden Barnes, a close friend of Narissa McMullen’s; the pair spent months together in Canada and the US developing their skills, courtesy of a scholarship sponsored by Clip Clop Kevin and Kay Seymour.
Like Dixon’s pair of horses the Butler duo were both restrained at the start and made no attempt whatsoever to take up a prominent position in the early stages of the race, and went back in the field.
What the Dixon and Butler stables runner’s decidedly odd tactics at the start meant was that 4 of the 7 runners beginning off the front line made no effort at all to take up a prominent position out of the mobile barrier, leaving only 3 horses to contest the lead.
Two of them were trained by Chantal Turpin.
Amajorjo, the easing $3 favourite, was drawn the 5 and driven my Turpin’s husband Peter McMullen, and Feel The Courage, a $15 longshot, was in the 6 with Turpin’s sister-in-law Narissa McMullen in the cart.
Turpin’s other runner Watch Pulp Fiction, part owned by her parents, was drawn 8 on the inside of the back row behind Dixon’s runner Applause. The eight draw is great when the horse drawn 1 that you are following leads, but is usually disastrous when it doesn’t because nine times out of ten you will land 3 or 4 back on the fence and never see clear daylight throughout the race.
The mobile barrier picked up speed and the starter released them. With the Dixon horses in the 1 and 2 draws showing no interest in contesting the lead the 3 horse Montana Falcon, a former top flight juvenile who had only won 6 of its past 55 starts speared across and led.
The Turpin runner Amajorjo began quickly on its outside, and its stablemate Feel the Courage began quickly but eased. The other Turpin stable runner Watch Pulp Fiction was restrained at the start due to combination of the speed burn on in front and the highly unusual election by driver Matt Elkins to give up a certain trailing position in favor of easing his horse toward the rear the trainer/driver was able to immediately extricate her horse from the fence and put it straight into the running lane.
That was the first 100m of the race, and boy it was strange.
And then it got a whole lot stranger.
The favourite Amajorjo attacked Montana Falcon for the lead, and won the speed burn to cross to the rail, in the process running one of the fastest lead times (first 529m) ever run at Albion Park in its 50 plus year history.
Amajorjo’s stablemate Feel the Courage then attacked it for the lead, and the pair went lickety spit for another 400m until it finally crossed to the rail and put Amajorjo in the pocket behind it.
Feel the Courage then slowed the speed for the next 400m, but with 800m to go the other Turpin trained horse Watch Pulp Fiction, who had been sitting back quietly smoking its pipe while the stablemates set the race up for it, took off, and once again something strange happened.
Watch Pulp Fiction had taken off at a million miles an hour and for about three strides it looked set to race around outside the leaders in more than the time it takes eye, but just as it was about to go whoosh Chantal Turpin suddenly grabbed hold of the reins and pulled it back, and then Jester Oh Jester the horse in the 1-1 (behind the horse sitting outside the leader) and driven by Hayden Barnes, took off a lot earlier than you would have expected, and in the process gave Watch Pulp Fiction the perfect cart into the race.
Jester Oh Jester went hard for all of about 300m and then ran out of gas, and Turpin let Watch Pulp Fiction – who hadnts spent a single penny in the run so far – loose and within 100m it had circled the field and was in front and flying as they turned for home.
Here’s another crazy thing though, During the entire 100m in which Watch Pulp Fiction made its run from sixth to first the favourite Amajorjo, who was sitting behind the leader, could have got off the fence as the horse outside it tired and dropped back, but driver Peter McMullen made no effort to do so until his stablemate was at least a length in front and with its momentum up totally uncatchable, a decision that defies logic goven that it is clearly apparent live and on the video replay that he had turned his head to the right and was watching his stablemate swoop and win the race while he did nothing.
And then, when McMullen did finally pull Amajorjo around the heels of the leader and into the clear he f*cked around with the reins for a further 50m, tugging hard first left and then right and then left again and completely stuffing up his horse’s momentum, which not only cost it a chance of victory but also the prospect of running second too.
Watch Pulp Fiction won the race, Feel the Courage ran second and Amajorjo ran third, giving Chantal Turpin the winning trifecta.
‘It paid $359 in the Queensland pool of 66k plus, but only paid $254 in Victoria and $314 in NSW, a differential of 40 and 14% respectively.
The Queensland load pool punters sure did get the advantage, including me with my miserable 20% of it, but plenty of people won plenty and I don’t think for a mere second that it was accidental, because I reckon it was a dead set boatie (a ‘boat race’ or predetermined outcome) and that all but perhaps 4, maybe 5, drivers in the race were in on it. Given the size of the trifecta pool the way that the place getters panned out so was far to the extremes of credibility or coincidence that it might well have been in Quilpe.
The time for the race was 2 minutes 31.1 seconds, with a mile rate of 1:53 :7 recorded, the second fastest EVER in the long history of racing at this distance at Albion Park, and far faster than the great modern day champion Blacks a Fake ever ran.
Blackie was an open class and top shelf pacer. These pacers were mere restricted quality cattle whose form collectively was 10 wins in weakish races from their last 66 starts. Horses of this class just don’t run these sorts of times, ever.
The fix was in.
Disgraced driver and self-confessed harness racing cheat Bart Cockburn wasn’t lying when he stated that trot race were being rigged when he spoke to 9 News tonight In fact, never a truer word was ever said, and if Ross ‘the Boss’ Barnett and his crew at the hitherto impotent $30 million a year Queensland Racing Integrity Commission don’t act now and act fast to investigate this emergent scandal then they might as well lock the doors and go home.
I’m sure that political pressure will force The Boss to act though, and The Boss will be forced to wake from his two eyes closed slumber and get moving, and the obvious place to start is Race 1 at Albion Park last Saturday night.
Punters, the harness racing industry and the public at large deserve better than to suffer the ignominy of being subjected to low scams like that pulled in the first at Albion Park a few days ago., don’t you worry about that, because this sort of crap isn’t just a rort it’s downright blatant theft.
Theft of the unsuspecting punters hard earned cash, and wicked larceny of the last strands of the harness racing industry’s ever-diminishing credibility.
If this harness racing Kevin and Seymour style then they can have it all to themselves and their fast dwindling band of supporters, and next Saturday I will bring a lyre to Albion Park and personally present it to Clip Clop so that he can fiddle as the sport he claims to love so dearly burns.
All of a sudden the Emperor of Albion Park has no clothes.
I’m starting to wonder whether he ever had any at all.
The future of Albion Park. At least with the bikies running the show it will be more honest.