Greenman’s Valley is an equine pacer that raced in South East Queensland between the years of 2012 and 2014.
David Fowler is the human bantam who Chairs the Albion Park Harness Racing Club empire of his benefactor Clip Clop Kevin Seymour.
Stuart Hunter is a disqualified drug cheat who is presently on bail for alleged harness race match-fixing.
Hunter also owns a company named Ravelyn Pty Ltd.
On the 4th of July 2012 David Fowler and Ravelyn Pty Ltd purchased the pacer Greenmans Valley for $4000 after it had run unplaced at odds of 40 to 1 in a poor quality claiming race run at Redcliffe.
At the time Fowler and Hunter bought the horse it had run just one placing (a 3rd) and earned just $871 from its past 11 starts. Ironically two starts prior to the sale and purchase Greenmans Valley had run unplaced in a race called the Marshall Dobson Pace.
Marshall Dobson is a long-time harness racing media colleague and associate of the Bantam David Fowler. Dobson was arrested last month and charged with money-laundering offences in relation to his alleged commission betting on behalf of a person or persons suspected but presently unidentified, in accounts illegally set up under false names.
In its 11 runs after being bought by Hunter and Fowler the pacer Greenman’s Valley won twice, ran one second, and finished third four times. During this streak the horse won $14 980 in prize money, a return of almost $11 000 profit for the new owners in just 5 months in stakes purses alone. It is unknown how much money Fowler and Hunter won betting on the horse during this period.
The driver of the horse for the majority of the races it competed in under the ownership of Fowler and Hunter during this time was high profile reinsperson Matthew Neilson. Neilson was arrested last month on charges of alleged match-fixing relating to harness racing events.
The Hunter, Fowler and Neilson troika must have been either a very highly skilled or extremely lucky combination.
Or maybe not.
On 13 November 2013 Greenmans Valley was backed off the map in a claiming race at the Redcliffe Track, and went on to win the race with a leg in the air after receiving a saloon passage behind its stablemate Highview Pace, which collapsed after giving Greenmans Valley a trail into the sprint lane and ran last.
The replay of the event is available at this link – it is race number 7 on the program.
Greenmans Valley was driven in this race by then rising star reinsperson Barton ‘Bart’ Cockburn, also known in the industry in more recent times as Mariah the Pariah due to rumors that he can hit 7 octaves while singing.
On 4 October 2017 Bart Cockburn pleaded guilty to 3 counts of match fixing and received an eyebrow-raisingly light sentence of a $5000 fine with no conviction recorded for offences that carried maximum terms of imprisonment of 10 years. Cockburn was subsequently disqualified from the racing industry for life.
Highview Pace, the stablemate of Greenmans Valley that gave it the dream run behind it in the 13 November 2013 Redcliffe race, was driven by prominent reinsperson and member of a well-known harness racing dynasty Peter McMullen.
We have alleged on numerous occasions on this website that Peter McMullen is intimately involved in match-fixing of harness racing events. At this stage McMullen has not been charged by police with any offences and our views remain our own, although it is widely said that many concur with our views.
Some months later laboratory tests revealed that Greenman’s Valley had raced with the banned substances Hyoscine and Tropyl Tropate in its system, and along with 6 other horses from the Stuart Hunter stable that had won races during a 4 week period after being heavily backed Greenmans Valley was retrospectively disqualified from the race.
Due to the period of time that had elapsed since the win punters and bookmakers were neither able gain a refund on bets placed on the horses that ran 2nd to 4th behind Greenmans Valley and were subsequently promoted to 1st – 3rd positions after that horse’s disqualification, nor paid a winning dividend on their investments.
In April 2014 a stewards panel headed by sacked former harness racing Chief Steward David Farqurharson found Hunter guilty of seven offences of failing to present his horses, including Greenmans Valley,for races free of prohibited substances.
Remarkably on the 17th of April 2014 the stewards panel headed by Farquharson accepted Hunter’s excuse that he had fed the horses with contaminated feed purchased from a manufacturing company named RB Horse Feeds in NSW, and imposed no monetary penalty or period of suspension on Hunter.
The remarkable aspects of the case included:
- the circumstance that RB Horse Feeds providing direct ‘evidence’ of the contamination, despite the fact that the allegedly contaminated product is not available for purchase direct from that company and is supplied in Queensland through one of its independent contracted stockists;
- that no verification of the alleged contamination of the feed purchased was sought from any of the stockists that supply the product in Queensland;
- no horse presented at the races by any other harness racing or gallops trainer returned a positive swab for the banned substances;
- no horse of Hunters that raced during the relevant period and did not win returned a positive swab to the banned substances;
- each of Hunter’s pacers that won was either heavily backed or collected substantial prize money for their victories.
We have alleged repeatedly on this website that former Chief Steward David Farquharson is corrupt, and that during the period of his employment as an integrity official he was member of the cartel organising and perpetrating match fixing in harness races in Queensland.
At this stage Mr Faquharson has not been charged with any offence in relation to these alleged matters and the opinions expressed remain our own, although once more we are aware that they are widely shared in racing circles, and the circumstances surrounding Farquharson’s departure from his employment remain clouded.
On 22 May 2014 Stuart Hunter appeared before a different stewards panel chaired by Faruharson, this time comprised of 2 younger stewards including experienced race day steward Cameron McClune and former harness racing trainer turned rising star of racing integrity Paul Zimmerman.
It appears that one of these officials ordered a pre-race swab to be conducted on Greenmans Valley when the horse raced at Albion Park on the 15th of March 2014, although strangely the stewards report from the meeting held that day is missing from the Racing Qld and QRIC websites.
The pre-race test and related secondary sample revealed that Greenmans Valley had been presented to race with elevated levels of the prohibited substance TCO2 in his system on that occasion and Hunter was charged with the offence accordingly. On this occasion the trainer was disqualified from racing for 12 months.
Due to the disqualification Hunter was unable to continue owning race horses and he and Fowler sold Greenmans Valley to an unrelated party.
During the less than 2 years that it had raced under the pair’s ownership the $4000 purchase from an unremarkable poor class claiming race at Redcliffe had won multiple races at the higher grade venue of Albion Park, and had returned Fowler and Hunter more than $70 000 in prize money and an unknown but believed to be extremely large amount of money in successful wagers the duo had placed on their pacer.
Greenmans Valley twice tested positive for prohibited substances during this same period, was heavily backed when winning races under the influence of illegal drugs, was driven on a number of occasions by a convicted criminal race-fixing cheat, was driven on a number of other occasions by a driver presently facing criminal charges of race-fixing, and was trained by a multiple-convicted drug cheat now banned from the sport and facing court on criminal race-fixing charges.
And all the while the horse was owned by the Chairman of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and applicant for heritage listing of the course Mr David ‘the Bantam’ Fowler, also an employee of or contractor to the Tatts Group, the Brisbane Racing Club, racing travel business Ambassador Travel, PACE magazine, and the influential website Horse Racing Only.
Integrity in racing is as much about probity and appearances as it is about racing. It is essential that harness industry participants and punters have full confidence that they may compete and bet in races confident in the knowledge that they are being run truly and fairly, and that they are not being cheated or defrauded out of the investments they have made in their pacers or in wagers that they have placed on the events.
David Fowler is the titular head of Harness Racing in this State and the Chairman of Queensland’s principal harness racing club, and right at this moment he is surrounded by many dark clouds of corruption.
Where there is smoke there is not necessarily fire, and we are not alleging that Mr Fowler is corrupt or that he has or has had any knowledge of corrupt conduct or practices in the harness racing industry. But the fires surrounding Fowler are many; the smoke is so dense and all consuming that it impossible to see clearly through it, and the stench is overpowering.
When average Queenslanders sight sulphurous plumes rising in the air they make urgent calls to emergency services.
This is an emergency.
Public confidence in racing and wagering is at risk.
For the good of the industry David Fowler must stand down from all of his racing related positions until such time as any potential involvement or knowledge that he may have or have had in race fixing and/or gambling of fixed races can be investigated and examined, and he can be cleared of any trace or taint of scandal.
The integrity of our sports demands it.