So old Moses (Grant Dixon) bowls into the stewards room at 9.30am yesterday to face the music on a single charge of unacceptable driving, which is what they charge the rank amateurs who can’t drive for crap and keep doing things so wrong that stewards have no option but to haul them in and them that their hopes and dreams of Sunshine Sprint glory are over, and that they really need to take up a new hobby.
Moses should have been facing a fail to drive on your merits charge, or been hauled up on both, but for some reason unintelligible to anyone other than bitter cynics and half billionaires he hasn’t been, and instead has been gifted a 3/4 remission on any potential guilty verdict and sentence simply by virtue of being charged with the wrong offence.
Oh well the stewards simply stuffed up yet again but our man Moses still should have been shaky kneed because just 2 days before he’d upped and left the earlier iteration of the inquiry without cause and for no reason that anyone has attempted to explain either now or then – which is queer, especially when you take a look at the sentence and compare it to a wet bus ticket and then try to spot the difference before you slap yourself on the wrist with it – decided to breach a whole bunch of rules by loading them on to the truck that used to belong to his old man Bill and taking the bolt, leaving owners, punters and drivers who’d mapped out their speed charts and race tactics on the reasonable assumption that Moses pacers were starters.
But Moses wasn’t worried at all, for the bloke whose drove to the hearing with his trainer and drivers licenses suspended and his hopes of getting them back seeming forlorn had a bunch of nomination and acceptance forms for the following Tuesday’s meeting at Albion Park in his pocket filled in, signed and ready to go, which just goes to show that hope springs eternal in the human breast.
That or that someone in high places who owned a star colt that was scheduled to have a vital preparatory run for its big upcoming classic race campaign had given Moses a wink and a nod and told him to make sure not to leave the bloody paperwork at home* anyway.
Dixon entered the stewards room at 9.30 am.
We don’t know exactly how long the inquiry hearing took, but given that Dixon plead not guilty the stewards would have had to spell out their case, then he or his representative would have presented his defense, he would have been examined on it, in between there you’d expect there were a number of viewings of the replay of the race, and perhaps even of some of Baron Jujon’s recent races (you’d hope so, for reasons to be explained later) plus if there were any witnesses called (the report doesn’t say) they would have been examined and cross-examined, and with them or without them it has to have taken somewhere upward from an hour and a half to a couple of hours.
That brings the time to somewhere between 11.00 am and 11.30.
Nominations closed at 10.00 am.
Acceptances were taken at 11.00 am.
Grant Dixon nominated and declared acceptances for seven horses for the Tuesday program, most of them the same horses he had packed onto a float and pissed off home with when they were supposed to be racing just two days before.
Since his flight from Egypt on Tuesday morning Dixon’s training license had been suspended, and he was only permitted to give his horses light exercise. If he was abiding by the conditions of his suspension it means that his team had missed 48 hours work only 5 days before they were due to compete.
It also means that each and all of his horses were unable to compete in races while they remained under his care as their trainer.
More importantly – critically in fact – as the spouse of the disqualified Trista Dixon, and as a person with an interest in each of the horses by virtue of his role as their paid trainer who shares a percentage of the pacers winnings, nominations for horses trained by Grant Dixon may not be taken for any race run under the Australian Harness Racing Rules unless the Controlling Body gives its express consent for the nomination to be accepted.
So here are the questions:
Was consent given by the Controlling Body for the acceptance of the nominations made for Grant Dixon’s seven horse entered for next Tuesday’s program?
Has a blanket consent been given to accept nominations for horses from the Dixon stables generally?
If the answer to either of the questions above is yes, then who from the Controlling Body authorised and/or gave the consent?
Under what authority did they do so?
Why did they give consent?
What form was it given in?
Exactly when was it given?
Who nominated and accepted Grant Dixon’s seven entrants for next Tuesday’s meeting?
At what time precisely did they make the nominations and acceptances?
How did – how could – Grant Dixon know that he would be free to race his horses on Tuesday, and thus have the certainty to nominate and accept them as starters, when his trainers license was suspended and he was facing what should have been a lengthy further suspension for his blatant disregard for the rules of the sport and the utter contempt of the authority of the stewards that he had displayed by his actions just 48 hours later?
How on earth could he have known that his horses would be eligible to run when he was sitting in the stewards room answering for these actions and awaiting sentence at the time the nominations and acceptances closed?
Does Grant Dixon have the gift of prophecy?
And lastly, do you reckon that Clip Clop Kev’s star young pacer Colt Thirty One will continue his march toward his much hoped for classic glory by winning Race 2 at Albion Park on Tuesday afternoon with trainer Grant Dixon in the gig?
“Hey Mum, what’s that real strange stink in the air at Albion Park?”
Don’t you worry about that son.
Clip Clop will fix it.
Kevin fixes everything.
* The reference to paper forms for race nominations and acceptances in this story is metaphorical, and has been employed for dramatic effect. Grant did indeed nominate and accept his runners for Tuesday, and did do so before the published deadlines, but they were lodged online via the Racing Queensland portal.
The question that needs to be investigated and answered is who lodged them? Grant Dixon could not have: he was traveling to and then attending the stewards inquiry, and it is an offence to use hand held electronic devices while driving.
Was is Trista Dixon, his wife and business partner who is presently serving a 12 month disqualification for corruptly shifting her horse to the inside to allow her husband to win a Group 2 race just a couple of weeks before?
Surely not? She is absolutely prohibited from having any involvement at all with harness racing, and is not allowed to be involved in the management of her husband’s racing affairs in any way, shape or form, although it is understood that she still resides on the property from where the Dixon family racing business is run which raises some major questions about the Queensland stewards commitment to the proper enforcement of the rules of harness racing.
So who was it?
The office manager? The admin clerk? Grant’s Mum? Santa Claus? Who?
There is an easy way for the highly skilled and resourced QRIC investigators to find out, it’s as simple as conducting a search to see which IP address the nominations and acceptances came from, and if that doesn’t work because an IP blocker has been used then all they need do is seize the Dixon’s computers and forensically analyse them.
Is it worth the effort?
I guess it depends on how serious you are about racing integrity, and ensuring that licencees abide by the rules isn’t it?