Now you can’t tell me that the Quest Hotel in the background of this picture – the building with the crane in the middle of it – isn’t lower down than the track and infield at Albion Park.
It’s obvious isn’t it?
So what’s all this crap from Clip Clop Kev and the Brisbane City Council about not being able to build on the harness racing track site because it’s flood prone?
Oh, that was last year’s excuse was it? Or the year before’s? Or the year before that’s.
There’s always an excuse not to build on Albion Park, and I am dead set certain that Clip Clop makes them up as he goes to make sure his four-legged equivalent of an only child’s favorite train set forever set up on the kitchen table by his ever-loving mammy never gets sold, at least not as long as he’s alive to watch the joint fall down anyway.
Clip Clop is a conman.
An absolute bullsh*t artist who makes tales about Albion Park up as he goes.
The truth is that the joint has been f*cked for years, long before the dodgy Russ Hinze stand got torn down by ….guess who?
Clip Clop’s then company Watpac.
It was structurally unsound says Clip Clop. They had to do it. Just like he had to pocket millions for doing it. But no-one asks the obvious question: who built the f*cking thing in the first place, and why did they do it so badly?
That’s only one thing though.
Like I said, Albion Park’s been buggered for years, decades even. The new stand was falling down from the moment it was built with money siphoned off from the education budget that was supposed to be spent on constructing schools by Clip Clop’s corrupt crony and partner in crime Russ Hinze, and the rest of the joint’s always been just as bad.
Old bastards like me remember the you beaut, gee whiz world’s largest semaphore board erected at the Hamilton end of the course on the turn out of the back straight. It worked properly for about 5 minutes on the opening night of the new track – the night Clip Clop and his mates changed the course’s history by refiguring it so races were now run anti-clockwise instead of the traditional clockwise, the sanctimonious sentimental ‘you can’t destroy our heritage’ hypocrites – and then started throwing up wildly innacurate prices and sectional times, and within weeks of the ribbon being cut it was semi on the blink and stayed that way for 20 years, and neither Clip Clop nor his handbags and acolytes like David ‘the Bantam’ Fowler ever did a single f*cking thing about it.
I guess it was okay for the Bantam. At least he had a comfortable, safe and stable interior broadcast tower to work from. Poor old callers like Chris Barsby, Dogs Dolan, Johnny Brasch and Anthony Jeffress have had to put up with working for a decade in a highly dubious and most doubtfully safe Leaning Tower of Pizza replica (above) that looks for all the world like it was built by Jedd Clampett.
Dead set you wouldn’t put your dog in that scaffold surrounded for a decade doss pit on stilts, let alone one of your sport’s most prized assets, the highly skilled race broadcaster. I’d love to know how that kennel built on sticks ever passed a workplace health and safety inspection, and I’d love to know how it still does.
Even more so I’d love to know how one of Queensland’s richest men worth billions can claim to be the sport’s benefactor when he refused to dig into his pocket or hock the club’s assets or investments to provide a safe and comfortable workplace for the heirs to the no-balled clown who became the faux-chairman of the nepotism and corruption ridden Albion Park Club.
You’d have to wonder why any race caller in the world still talks to David Fowler after his three-quarters of a decade doing absolutely diddly squat about their third-world working conditions wouldn’t you?
The truth is that from the minute Hinze and Seymour took over the joint Albion Park was never about the punters at all.
It was all about Kevin and his mates who huddled together up at the southern end of the venal, crooked, corrupt brothel jockey Russ Hinze stand, drinking free piss and sucking on a seafood smorgasboard in the members rooms while the average Joe like me stood six-deep waiting to pay twice the price for a beer as I would next door in the Spanish Garden of the Brekky Creek pub.
We all look back and remember wrong, our minds playing tricks with us and telling us that the glory days of harness racing came after Russ Hinze and Clip Clop assumed absolute control of the joint and the code.
It’s bullsh*t, absolute bullsh*t.
The real halcyon days of Albion Park were in the 70’s, when it still a sport run by people who loved it rather than crooks who couldn’t look at a dollar passing through hands without scheming up a plan to get theirs on it.
Those were the days when families would pack the snack bars, bistros, bars and stands, and the front lawn would be chocka block full of little cherubs like me racing each other up and down all night long while brandishing imaginary shillelagh’s and hollering out our favorite horse’s name.
You didn’t need a flash stand or a seafood smorgasboard to pull ten thousand punters to Albion Park every Saturday night; you simply needed a product. A wholesome, clean, fun sport affordable enough that families could take their whole tribe to itand have an absolute whale of a time, and Mums and Dads could have a drink and a night’s worth of bets too, secure in the knowledge that everything they backed was trying and that they were even money of backing a winner and going home with something in their pocket, and even if it was less than half of what they came with gee it was wages well-spent.
But then the bandits came along and stole the working class punters dream.
My name is Clip Clop Mandius, King of the Creek! Look on my works ye mighty, and despair
It was a free for all the minute Russ took over and made Clip Clop his deputy, an orgy of nepotism and favors and mates looking after mates and everyone getting rich except for the 98% of poor honest punters getting ripped off that made up the crowds.
There were racebook rorts where club Directors would give their family or friends concessions to print, publish and sell the form guides at massive mark ups, and restaurant rorts where catering contracts were awarded to c*nts in the know who couldn’t cook but were prepared to kick the contract givers back in cash or contra or kind, and all manner of swindles and stiffs and switches of all kinds.
It was red hot alright, and it was mainly off the track not on that it was sizzling. Of course while the going was good and people were still coming out to the track in the days before digital, the Clip Clop coterie had you over a barrel. If you wanted to have a bet with a bookie on your favorite trotter you had to come to the Creek to do it, and because most punters traveled to the track by motor vehicle there was a car park rort going on too, and who do you reckon held that particular contract?
The King’s car park capo himself, Clip Clop Kev, making money just like he did from the minute the joint stamped all over the Brisbane Amateur Turf Club and gained control of the publicly owned (through a trust) parcel of undeveloped prime inner city land.
Oh yeah, let’s not forget about that shall we? Albion Park was never Clip Clop’s or the Albion Park Harness Racing Club’s land originally at all, and it still isn’t. They just stole control of it from their rival code and usurped the public’s interest by making it all their own, and although it wasn’t Clip Clop’s doing in the early days he sure made a good quid out of holding the rights to the gate and recycling those gold and silver tokens whenever no-one was looking, that’s for sure, and he learnt fast and well and had long decades of salad days in what over time would become his self-proclaimed and claimed kingdom.
Every dog has his day senor, but every dog always dies, and now in his 50th consecutive year of continuous involvement – skimming, rorting, freeloading, profiteering, call it what you like he was always there – and at a time when he should be bowing out in a blaze of congratulatory acclaim, Clip Clop Kev finds himself surrounded by bonfires on all sides and praying for rain as his Empire of dirt, clay and deep dark mud begins to crack into a thousand pieces.
And do you know what?
It’s all the rich old fool’s own f*cking fault.
Clip Clop’s mad and massive ego wouldn’t allow him to let go, and his notorious love of a quid over-rode and partial instinct that he might have had to dig into his or the club’s pocket and try to fix a few of the basics up.
And now the house is about to come crashing down.
It’s always been about pride and ego and vainglorious peacocks, not about the sport; it always has been and it always will be, but most of all it’s always been about the dough.
The dough, the dough. For fifty years wherever Clip Clop’s gone an obsessive love of a quid has gone with him, and if he’s not making one then the whole thing’s not worth doing. That’s been Kevin’s MO for half a century and unless by miracle the old money-grubber has a Road to Damascus moment and turns the habits of a lifetime on their gead it always will be, and that’s why harness racing in Queensland finds itself where it is today.
Totally and utterly f*cked.
It’s taken me until now to say it, but ten race fixing arrests is enough, even though it’s far from the end.
We’ve seen just last week through the great Interdominion series at Gloucester Park how wonderful the time honored chariot racing can truly be.
Well punters, there’s only one way we are ever going to make harness racing great again in Queensland, and that’s to clean the whole bloody code out and start again.
Seymour must go today.
Fowler must go.
The whole board table full of troughers, suck-ups, sycophants and blokes on the make and take must go.
The Albion Park Harness Racing Club must be put under administration.
Every race fixer must be rooted out and banned for life.
Albion Park must be sold to the highest bidder and the whole ramshackle shell torn down and rebuilt into something vibrant and fun for the next generation so that they can enjoy the great surrounds of the creek in their own way, just like my Mum and Dad and my mates and me did for so long all those years ago.
Nothing lasts forever Axl said, and we both know hearts can change.
They don’t have to die to do it though, and nor does our sport.
Clip Clop stole the magic trotting kingdom years ago.
Now it’s time to wrest it back.
The future is ours you see.
Clip Clip sera, sera.
Piss off Kevin.
And don’t come back.