This is the lowly trot race that ripped $400 000 out of the NSW TAB on a seemingly ordinary Saturday winter’s night on the 13th of June 2015.
Now that you know the back story take a really close look at how this race was run, and in particular look at the actions of drivers Grant Dixon on the 5 to 2 on ($1.40) favorite in the lead, and of Darryl Graham on the 7-2 ($4.50) second favorite sitting on its back.
What they have done here is so red hot that it’s smoking. These are not just inexplicably odd drives from two of the most experienced reinsmen in the game, this is an organised conspiracy to defraud the NSW TAB and the punting public, and the commission of a major crime. ‘
Both Dixon and Graham should should be disqualified from the sport, warned off all racecourses around the world for life, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law for their role in this race-rigging and match-fixing.
The person or people behind the plunge should be locked in handcuffs and thrown directly into a cell.
The owners of both the winner and the runner up should be hauled before the stewards and warned off too.
What has happened here is an absolute and utter disgrace.
I will talk you through it, and for the sake of ease we’ll call Supreme Mach ‘Dixon’, Broadway Playboy ‘Graham’ and the plunge horse Major Sam ‘Sanderson’.
They stroll out of the mobile gate, and as expected Dixon goes straight to the lead and Graham follows through from the trailing draw and lands directly on his back. Sanderson stay out of the early speed battle which isn’t, because they are walking, and then promptly comes around them and sits in the death.
They run the first quarter in the incredibly slow time of 32.6 seconds, which under the old rules on the 6-7 seconds slower Albion Track of the 80’s would have attracted a huge fine for the driver of the leader, but these days draws only a yawn from the subsequently sacked Chief Steward David Farquharson, who if I were Mick Dowie the leader of the QRIC police force I would be having a very, very close look at indeed.
Nothing happens in the race from then on until about the 400m, but there is a story itself in the lack of action that you need to know.
After the extraordinary snails crawl dawdle in the first quarter the pace picks up only slightly in the second to a 29.8 sectional time which is still slow, and means two things.
The first is that the horse in the death is not suffering the usual disadvantage by being in the death seat that it usually would in a normally run faster paced race, and should have plenty of gas in the tank for the run home.
The second is that the horses back in the second half of the field are severely disadvantaged because after a slow early first half the leaders are going to run home the last half quick. This effectively means that all the runners except the first six have lost all hope.
The pace picks up in the third quarter to 28.6 and now they’re running along a bit but they are still not flying, and at this point in 999 races out of every 1000 run Dixon on the $1.40 leader will start upping the pace dramatically for the last 400m so he can drop Sanderson’s horse in the death off and try to pinch a break of a couple of lengths as they enter the home straight on Graham’s second favorite that is sitting on his back, with the intent of making it impossible for Graham’s horse to catch him.
But he doesn’t.
Dixon just sits quietly and keeps his horse under restraint, and he allows Sanderson’s horse to draw a half to three quarters of a length in front of him on the point of the turn entering the straight, which is almost unheard of because these big strong standardbred pacers aren’t footy players like Jimmy the Jet Roberts who can take off at full speed from a standing start, they are more like trucks and need time to work through their gears to reach full speed.
And what Dixon is doing is allowing Sanderson to work up to full speed before he does, and thus gain full momentum before his horse even clicks into second gear. It’s suicide tactics in a slowly run race where the horse outside you has burnt up no petrol and will for sure still have plenty to offer as they dash down the stretch to the post.
But of course Dixon is doing it deliberately, because he is in on the scam.
There’s another thing that Dixon is doing as well. He’s making sure that Sanderson gets a break of a length a half on Graham who is on Dixon’s back, which means that by the time they reach the sprint lane and that horse starts to fire through its gears it will be too late to catch Sanderson, who Dixon has gifted a flying head start.
They enter the straight and Sanderson is still a half length in front of the $1.40 Dixon on his inside. It’s a little hard to tell by the angle of the still shot below but look closely at the wheels of the two horses carts and you will see it.
Sanderson is going full belt now, and because they’ve gone slow early he is going to burn home at his fastest speed. Dixon on the other hand isn’t, and is going to have to work his horse through the gears. The whole thing reeks of disaster for backers of the hot favorite.
But for the blokes who plonked on the plunge things have panned out exactly as they wanted, and their chances of pulling off the 400 thousand dollar coup are looking very, very good indeed.
They enter the straight and Sanderson puts the stick to his horse Major Sam to urge it on, but Dixon continues to sit quietly until after they have passed the entry to the spring lane and then at about the 120m metre mark he suddenly swings into action and starts revving his horse up but something is clearly amiss because it picks up much slower than it normally does.4
I don’t know if its been doped or if they’ve backed off on its training to ensure that it enters the race only half or three quarters fit but there is definitely something wrong and Graham has prior knowledge of it, because at this point something that’s not in the race fixer’s plan happens.
Peter Greig’s 33-1 outsider How Will I Know, who has been sitting three back on the fence behind Graham, suddenly starts to explode up the inside of Graham on the sprint lane, although explode is probably not the right word because this last quarter is run in only 28.9 which is not fast going off such a slow early pace, but the leader had been deadened by one of the methods mentioned above, Sanderson’s horse is grinding away as fast as can run which isn’t very, and Graham is not trying at all other than to try to make sure he doesn’t win and upset the massive secret plunge.
Now I’ve watched this race 100 times and I don’t think Greig’s horse is going to win the race but the aggregation of the factors listed above mean that Graham, whose assigned role in fix was simply to sit quietly and not win, suddenly spots Greig steaming up inside him and for a share of the $400 grand his boss is about to win he ain’t taking any chances of a driver not in on the scam upsetting the fixer’s rich apple cart.
So with as a smack of the whip on a tender spot and a subtle hard tug on the left rein he steers his horse sharp left and almost puts Greig over the fence, stopping that driver’s horse dead in its tracks and at the same time checking the momentum of his own. It’s two birds with one stone.
He’s a highly skilled and experienced reinsman Graham, and so you need to have driven horses yourself to spot what he’s done or have someone like me to explain it to you.
I’m very familiar with the move and rather adept at it myself because when we were kids working slow trotters around Mum and Dad’s mate’s home track on Church Rd, Zillmere when we were kids my brother and I were always trying to shove each other off the track (there was no rail to put each other over unfortunately, so it was only half the fun it could have been), but with Mum or Dad or both watching we’d have to be bloody sneaky about it because if either of us succeeded in our aim of causing the other to fall out of the cart and breaking a bone we’d get a thrashing if was obvious we’d done it deliberately.
So what we’d do to hide our smash, bang and crash intent was put the whip low on our horse’s rump right near the junction of its balls and its arse using our right hand, and at the same time we’d snag the reins up back, up and across to our right using our left hand, and it worked a treat every time because the horse would suddenly duck in to its left and if we both hadn’t been awake to each others tricks and suddenly jerked back hard on the reins to check out of the coming collision the moment we spotted the other draw back the shillelagh.
Peter Greig would know the trick like the back of his hand too, but in a professional harness race under rules and carrying tens of thousands of dollars in wagers – including certain bets placed in NSW that he didn’t know about – Greig wasn’t expecting one of his colleagues to pull the stunt that could seriously injure or kill him at high speed, and so didn’t see it coming.
It’s exactly what Graham did though, with great skill and subtlety too, and if you slow the replay down and watch him closely on about the sixth viewing you will spot it. What a mongrel dog.
While Graham was putting Greig out of play Dixon was giving the impression that he was driving his $1.40 shot hard out all the way to the line and maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t because from the side shot we can’t tell and need a stewards front on patrol film that we don’t have to assess it properly,l but it doesn’t matter because only one thing did and does.
Sanderson and Major Sam won the race, and Dead Shannon landed the coup of the decade and $400 000 in cold hard cash paid out in untraceable used bank notes that I will bet you any amount you like that he failed to tell the taxman about, which of course is what you call a Commonwealth crime when you make your living from gambling and declare all the other bets you’ve taken or made, or most of them anyway nudge, nudge, wink, wink say no more and let the rozzers ask the hard questions.
I wonder if Jed/Ned is aware that his phones has been off – all of them, even the secret ones – for the past few months since Bart Cockburn gave him and a whole lot of other people up to avoid a jail cell and escape a future-wrecking recorded criminal conviction? Oh dear Deano, got a few problems now haven’t you old son?
I will go out on a limb and declare that Chief Steward Farquharson was in on it up to his eyeballs because for some totally inexplicable and completely incomprehensible reason he decided not to swab the $1.40 shot who’d just been beaten in slow pace and highly dubious circumstances either before or after the race, an abject failure of responsibility that sets off a screaming siren blaring CROOK! CROOK! CROOK!
If you need any further proof it is in the stewards report. Graham was called in to explain his actions – he had to be, the interference he caused was so blatantly obvious that Blind Freddy must have seen it – and charged with careless driving, but after someone (probably Graham or Dixon) either paid off or threatened Peter Greig to make sure he didn’t lodge a protest there was no highly aggrieved victim in the room complaining, which ensured that Farquharson could assume as unforeseen second role in the fix and put the matter quietly to bed, with all likelihood earning him a second slice of the coup expense money for his trouble.
D Graham (BROADWAY PLAYBOY) was fined $200 under Rule 168 (1) after pleading guilty to a charge of careless driving in that when he was shifted the gelding towards a position closer to the marker pegs in the run to the finish, he failed to give sufficient clearance to HOW WILL I KNOW (P Greig) which caused a slight brush to that mare’s off side fore leg resulting in the mare racing roughly for a short distance. In assessing penalty stewards took into account D Graham’s recent driving record and his guilty plea.
Pigs arse he merely brushed Greig’s horse fore leg and caused it to race roughly for a short distance. He cannoned into it deliberately, stopped it in its tracks, prevented it from running a certain third, and made sure that it lost all chance of winning the race is what Graham actually did. He should have been put out for months. Instead he cops a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket and a tiny fine that no doubt Shannon pays on his behalf.
BROADWAY PLAYBOY failed to respond to the inside rein when driver D Graham attempted to move down to the sprint lane in the run to the finish. The gelding had a tendency to race ungenerously at various stages of the race, and consequently was held up for clear running in the later stages. D Graham was advised to take the necessary corrective measures.
If you believe this nonsense you must believe in bet fairies as well, because as we’ve already seen Graham’s horse responded to its inside (left) rein perfectly well thank you very much, and if it was the horse racing ungenerously rather than the driver steering on a toe tapping zig zag path over the last 100m then I’m not here.
They were all in on it – Graham, Dixon, Shannon, the Chief Steward – all of them. By their actions they’ve all shown us their true colors and exactly what they are, which is gutter variety common garden crooks. If the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission doesn’t go back and investigate this crime then they may as well lock the doors, go home early and give the game away because what bloody use are they to anyone if they’re not going to take a huge stick to the conspirators in the most blatant race fix of the year? One that landed the conspirators 400 large, and cost favorite punters a fortune in bets.
Is Peter Greig guilty of knowledge after the event? I wouldn’t like to say, but gee his decision not to lodge a protest that would have been certain to be upheld was a strange one wasn’t it?
What about Clip Clop Kev? He owned the beaten favorite, did he know what was going on? What sort of questions did he ask of his stable driver Grant Dixon after the race? Did he have a bet on the event?
The answer to all questions is I dunno, but I’ve sought a meeting with Mr Seymour to discuss a number of concerns I have about the present parlous state of the industry, and if he agrees to meet I will ask him.
There is one things that’s as certain as death and taxes though, and that is that Queensland Harness Racing is absolutely and utterly on the nose right now and has been for at least the past 3 years.
If Rooster, Seymour, Raedler, Courtney and all the others running the Albion Park Harness Racing Club want to give the Government the perfect excuse to sell off Albion Park then they are doing a damn fine job of it, and unless the whole bloody lot of them are hurled head first off the board and out into the street this once was and can be again wonderful sport beloved by working men and women like my Mum, Dad and me is headed straight into an abyss marked with a big sign on it saying DESTRUCTION.
Ironically on Sunday night they will be holding the Queensland Harness Racing Awards down at Portside, Hamilton and all the folk whose names are mentioned in this article will down there swanning around in their finery and handing each other trophies and prizes while sporting a huge grin on their dials.
If this mob of incompetents, crooks, conspirators, corrupt race day integrity officials, and straight out damn fools had any decency at all they would cancel the event and declare a state of mourning. But they won’t, because in their arrogance, ignorance and down right contempt for the sport they claim to love and its followers they all actually believe that this type of criminal behavior is all right.
Well let me tell you fellas it’s not.
Mick Dowie and the QRIC racing police are coming after you all, and he’s gunna get you too because that particular Detective Inspector doesn’t f*ck around.
You’re all f*cked.
But then again, you always were.