Quantity versus Quality in TB Racing & Breeding?

Sydney hoops shine at season finale but quality needs to trump quantity


By Max Presnell

July 31, 2022 — 6.00pm

See: Sydney racing Max Presnell: Hugh Bowman, James McDonald, Kerrin McEvoy, Jason Collett, Jean Van Overmeire, Reece Jones shine as Racing NSW eye 12-race Saturdays (smh.com.au)

Featured Image: James McDonald acknowledge Getty

Author’s Prelude: I think Max has raised a very important issue here in both Thoroughbred Racing AND Breeding?

With Hugh Bowman a major player, jockeys more than horses stole the show on the season’s final Sydney Saturday, a day which could be in line for an extension.

It is being mentioned that 10 races on Saturday just isn’t enough, with 11 and possibly even 12 being introduced to appease the turnover gods. Apparently figures are not flash midweek, and more action on the biggest punting day of the week is expected to pick up the slack.

From a personal viewpoint seven events, the figure when I kicked off, was too few, eight perfect, nine the extreme and the current 10, introduced on carnival days but too lucrative to drop, too many.

Of course, Saturday form was superior, and how will more events affect quality and field sizes?

Having experienced 16 races on a program in Argentina a day at the races was a marathon rather than a pleasure.

Still, it can be argued racecourse patrons can tailor on-course experience by arriving late and leaving early, a cut back for the enthusiast, again given plenty of evidence at Rosehill on Saturday that the current jockey ranks, with Bowman firing, are very strong indeed.

“He gets the job done and has a will to win,” Bowman declared about Wicklow, one of his successful treble, after the Shelby Sixtysix Handicap.

It also applies to the jockey.

Every win has merit but a Bowman pearl is special, certainly the situation on Pizarro from a wide gate and delivering an elbow in the vicinity of James McDonald (Kalino) around the 700-metre mark in the Thank You Staff.

But the bunker, after studying every possible replay, found “the extended right arm” was not intentional

McDonald, notching his usual double, was very much in the firing line and received a buffeting on Enchanted Heart who should have won the Bill Picken OAM, the former Sydney Turf Club chairman who was approached across a crowded room by Princess Anne on his recent England visit due to an earlier association here.

Taking a split for a very skinny horse, Enchanted Heart ended up third with the stewards after McDonald, who went where wise navigators would fear to tread, lodged a protest. Stewards found that runner-up Siege (Rachel King) was the culprit, and thus the placings were reversed.

Cross Talk wins but Gold Trip back in the conversation

With Bowman and McDonald in the spotlight the depth of Sydney riding ranks was again emphasised due to the opposition on Saturday: proven topliners Kerrin McEvoy (Contributingfactor in the Midway) and Jason Collett (Easy Single in the Picken) scored while the judgment and power of Brenton Avdulla was vital on Elusive Jewel (Thank You Owners).

Jan Van Overmeire triumphed in the best race on the program with a slick exhibition on Winter Challenge frontrunner Cross Talk while leading Sydney apprentice Reese Jones ended a strong season on Troach (Precise Air) for Godolphin.

To boost the Sydney riding ranks further apprentice Dylan Gibbons, top of the NSW jockey’s premiership, has been absent from recently but will return next Saturday with the benefit of a 3kg claim in town.

Recent Racing Supremos by Max Presnell

V’landys is king but not without peer in racing royalty Down Under

By Max Presnell

July 29, 2022 — 6.00pm

See: V’landys is king but not without peer in racing royalty Down Under (smh.com.au)

Author’s Prelude (WPH)

I still buy the SMH to read Max Presnell’s erudite contributions based on rich historic experience. I used to do the same with ‘The Australian’ and Tony Arrold. I was intrigued by Max’s shortlist of six (6) of the most influential in recent racing history. Perhaps his ranking of Gai Waterhouse as higher than her illustrious father TJS will evoke most debate?


Featured Image: Australian Rugby League chairman Peter V’landys in the royal procession at Ascot.CREDIT:GETTY

Riding shotgun in the royal procession at Ascot topped off a season when Peter V’landys confirmed that he is not only the most powerful administrator in Australian racing this century but any in my time going back to the 1950s.

Yes, even superior to the Australian Jockey Club committee who had the benefit of media moguls, knights of the realm, landed gentry and giants at law.

Kerry Packer also threw his considerable bulk as much around the corridors at the AJC Randwick office as the betting rings but without the traction of V’landys in the position of Racing NSW CEO.

The 2021-22 season ends with I Am Invincible (a possible catchcry applied to V’landys) as the leading sire and with four acceptors in one of the major events in Australia today, the Lightning Stakes at Morphettville.

During his reign he has been responsible for getting more money out of the state government for racing, which was regarded as impossible, as well as getting corporate bookmakers to give their fair whack back to the industry, plus putting The Everest on the world stage as a top race (popular opinion, if not my own).

Thus NSW racing has never boomed more affluent, triggering memories of those who have done so much for the industry since I arrived, although possibly more contributors than power players. The six highlighted are not in rating order but come to mind, as do dozens of others.


In 1996 Bob Charley, who was also a candidate being an AJC chairman, Racing NSW chairman, ARB chairman, punter, racecourse, trainer and publisher of two outstanding books on the turf, decreed: “Gai Waterhouse is the best thing to happen to racing since Phar Lap.”

Waterhouse even sparks interest abroad, as she did recently during her recent British sojourn.

“Gai Waterhouse will raise an army of eyebrows here [in England] with her assertion ‘the whole reason for racing is it’s a gambling industry and it really needs to be promoted that way’,” tweeted David Ashford to Winning Post.

GEORGE RYDER gets into the top six for coming up with the Golden Slipper for the Sydney Turf Club and being a forerunner for the owner syndication in which thousands are now involved. The Golden Slipper changed the face of Australian racing (although also not one of my favourites).

LLOYD WILLIAMS certainly wielded more weight in Victoria than elsewhere as a VRC committeeman but made a massive contribution to the Melbourne Cup and as the owner of countless horses.

PERCY SYKES, the super doc of racehorse veterinary skills, gets the nod by keeping more champions buoyant and hence maintaining racing as a feature for the masses.

Also getting a start is JACK INGHAM, an AJC committeeman, who with brother Bob founded the Woodlands Stud breeding empire and Crown Lodge stables. He was also a plunger, bigger than the normal high roller, in an era when they were thick in the betting ring.

And rounding out the top six is JOHN INGLIS, a gentleman and giant of the bloodstock industry who knocked down thousands of yearlings under his auctioneer’s hammer but kept countless battling trainers afloat. Bid now, pay much later.

However, his final bid was at Easter weekend, 2006. Confined to a mobile walker, he went to Randwick and got on a tote queue to plonk $100,000 on Racing To Win in the Doncaster and collected a cheque for $509,600.

A special mention, too, for colleague and mate John Holloway, an STC committeeman who dabbles in bloodstock promotion.

Holly was a prime mover in getting I Am Invincible to Scone when the stallion’s race record entitled him to a lesser venue. Holly hawked a service to the stallion for a negotiable $10,000 in his first season. This season I Am Invincible covered 193 mares at a fee of $247,500.

PS I enjoyed a beer with Arthur Mitchell at the Old Buffer’s Scone Rugby Match on Saturday (30/07/2022). He’d just arrived back from Europe; no doubt to enjoy the ‘Coronation’ of I Am Invincible as Champion Sire.