This is the steward’s report from the fixed race at Redcliffe.
There is not a mention about Pete McMullen’s strange driving tactics, or any comment or question about him curiously – and unduly – looking around left and right just after the start while restraining his drive, when he should in fact have been focusing all his attention on securing his horse a favorable forward position in the race.
There is no mention of him looking hard over his shoulder in the straight to make sure that Mark McNee’s horse doesn’t run a place either.
There was no chance of that.
Take another look at the replay.
It’s red hot.
McNee pulls his horse – the second favourite – out from the back seemingly far too late, but he has misjudged it from a race-fixing perspective because as he pulls the deafeners, and as the horse accelerates he suddenly realises that it is going so quickly that it is about to run straight past McMullen’s horse so what does he do?
Restrains his horse of course.
And then – when despite his attempts at restraing it his horse is still gobbling up ground at a rapid rate – instead of racing it around the outside McNee deliberately steers the horse back onto the rail and then up the arse of Whittaker’s grey horse in front of him, which is weird because the grey’s race is run and it’s going backwards.
What is even weirder though is that Whitaker has taken about half a dozen looks left and right in the 50m before this happens, and it is absolutely clear that he is looking for McNee.
McMullen’s horse clearly has Whitaker’s grey beaten into fourth place, and 5th to last pays the same $50 no matter what order you finish in.
So why is Whitaker looking around so hard to see where McNee is?
Because they’ve taken the First Four on the interstate TAB’s Banjo, and they’ve left the second favorite out.
What do you reckon the now disgraced harness racing identity Marshall Dobson, who was placing bets in accounts under false names, was betting on sportsfans?
You got it.
Next thing McNee runs the horse almost up Whitaker’s rectum, hooks it around at the last second, momentarily checking its momentum and costing it valuable ground.
He couldn’t miss because Whitaker has started half-carting – basically driving on both sides of the middle white line on a two lane road and taking up both lanes – when he was still three lengths away, which is nonsensical because the grey was gone and there was no reason to try to block any opponent or beat it to a run, and even if there was Whitaker’s horse couldn’t have raised another sprint if it tried.
Funny thing is that as McNee checked and hooked around the fading grey, Whitaker turned and looked at him, and then started deliberately boring his drive out to check the fast closing second favorite’s momentum.
You’re not going to believe this, but at the same time McNee looks for all the world like he is intentionally tugging and reefing on the reins to make his horse hang or lug out, which means turn it’s head sharply to the right.
This of course slows a horse’s momentum appreciably. Remember how your athletics coach told you never to look around near the end of the race? Or how you got cut down a metre from the line by the winger coming in from the other side as you looked around to see how far back the halfback chasing you was? Same thing.
And guess who was looking back over their shoulder to see what was going on?
McMullen. Who else?
It’s just a sh*tty little Redcliffe meeting this one isn’t it? Why would professional drivers put their whole careers at risk by rigging races for such small returns?
Ever heard the old adage about books and covers?
The Albion Park dogs on a Thursday night are sh*tty little meetings too, and the prize money and wagering pools on them are no bigger than the Redcliffe trot meetings.
Know how much just a single one of the Asian betting exchanges held on a race at Albion Park last Thursday night?
Organised race fixing is a cancer that is going to kill harness racing stone dead if it’s not stopped soon. The ravenous disease should never have been allowed to progress as far as it has, but there are powerful people with strong interests in never finding a cure.
The stewards are in the main honest men and women working long hours police huge numbers of race meeting across the three codes that just keep rolling on day after day after day. They have no time to stop and look at the video of a race twenty times like I did last night, although they should have and must if we want to keep our sport clean and encourage people to bet.
Rugby League has the bunker to support the on-field refs, so does the AFL and Rugby Union and Soccer and Tennis and Cricket and Basketball and just about every professional sport. The officials in those sports are afforded time and the resources to go back over matches and look closely to make sure that their sports are being played honestly and true.
It’s well past time that we started doing the same.
The excessively slow pace set by Mathew Neilson on the leader draws no attention from the race day stewards.
Darrel Graham’s obvious and observable lack of vigor over the final 300 metres or failure to drive his horse out to the finish doesn’t either, or does his abject failure to drive his horse on its merits.
Mark McNee’s failure to take all reasonable and permissible measures during the race to ensure that his horse was given the best opportunity to win or obtain the best possible placing in the race – to give it any chance at all really – attracts only the sounds of silence.