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Ray Gatti is a decent, honest 93-year-old man who has been put through hell by the Queensland Government, Police and Racing Authorities over the past three years and he deserves a bloody apology.

He deserves a sh*tload of compensation too, because what Mr Gatti has been put through during the past 36 months would have ruined a lesser man’s life, and damned near ruined his too.

At a time in his life when he should have been placed on an elevated recliner chair and allowed the luxury to look back on his achievements over nine decades of hard graft and honest work Mr Gatti has – thanks to the hysterical reaction of the State Government to an illegally recorded instance of alleged animal cruelty that he had nothing to with, and the hyper-desire of a Police Commissioner whose contract was coming up for renewal to please – been subjected to a series of privations that would have tested the patience and will even of Job.

Poor old Mr Gatti has been dragged through the criminal justice system on a charge that never should have been laid and was promptly dismissed, but not before his name and address and details of the bullshit crime he didn’t commit were splashed all over the front and back pages of the papers and embarrassed his family and caused him the sort of shame and opprobrium that should rightly only ever be directed at the sort of criminal c*nts who f*cking deserve it, not at a pensioner who has done no wrong.

He’s been banned from the sport that he’s loved since the days that Phar Lap used to scorch the Flemington Spring Carnival turf, and had to battle through the ridiculously convoluted (we will be writing more about this soon, and suggesting a remedy) racing appeals system just so he can have his lifetime disqualification reduced to ten years, which when you are 93 years of age doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.

Mr Gatti could have given up like so many average working men and women in his situation would have and have given the legal complexities and expense involved, but he’s made of sterner stuff, and besides he had a mate who felt responsible for his mentor’s predicament and was determined to stick by his hero like glue.

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That bloke’s name was Tracyy Kunde (right, with Ray on the left), and he had been brought up among the waterways and canals flowing from Downfall Creek and the Zillman Waterholes and had been steeped from birth in the ANZAC legend, and thus knew right from wrong.

Tracy – like Johnny Cash’s Boy Named Sue – might have had a girl’s name, but so did Kelly Slater, Cooper Cronk and the greyhound trainer’s basket balling doppelganger Tracy McGrady, and they were all champions and so is he.

Kunde copped the same life sentence that Mr Gatti did, and had it reduced to 10 years on appeal just like the older man did, but he was no live baiter and neither was his revered greyhound conditioning guru Ray, and Tracy wasn’t going to allow his mate to be reputation to be despoiled that way or his legacy to be trashed.

And so the Banyo boy turned wrongly disqualified dog trainer set to work to earn the scratch to pay a good solicitor to fight to clear his mate’s name, but because Racing Queensland had hurled he and Mr Gatti head first into the same basket first Tracy had to clear his.

He told QCAT that, and the first properly constituted judicial body that he’d come up against since he had been slandered and his good name trashed by all and sundry agreed that it was a case of one for all and all for one, and they stayed Ray Gatti’s appeal against his disqualification pending the hearing of Tracy Kunde’s.

Well guess what?

Tracy Kunde won.

Now he’s back, and so my mate bloody should be, and I’m going to tell you a whole lot more about it and help restore his reputation, Mr Gatti’s, and that of the entire greyhound industry as the week rolls on.

First though I have an urgent request.

QCAT and QRIC – give Mr Gatti his licence back.

He’s nothing wrong and he deserves a huge apology, and it should be delivered to him right here and right now.

Ray Gatti you’re a good man.

Tracy Kunde you are too.

Happy New Year to the both of you.

You’ve done us proud.

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