Racing: Rain ruins day at Thames

While Hasselhoof revelled in the rain at Ellerslie on New Year's Day some other meetings over the long weekend were abandoned.Picture / Steven McNicholl
While Hasselhoof revelled in the rain at Ellerslie on New Year's Day some other meetings over the long weekend were abandoned.Picture / Steven McNicholl

A combination of factors caused the abandonment of yesterday's Thames races.

"Probably the predominant factor was the course surrounds were so wet there would have been problems getting the trucks and the horse floats on to the track," said stipendiary steward Alan Coles.

"I couldn't guarantee the track would not have been all right -- it might have raced okay, but I would have been nervous for the first couple of races.

"They might have got into the track okay, but after the drought they had had in the area there was a lot of new grass coming through and that may not have been ideal."

Other factors were the limited number of horses remaining after scratchings. "If the meeting had gone ahead it would have been with just 54 horses, so there would have been four and five in each race.

"The decision had to be made before 7.30am because after that you have tote staff leaving home and the cost of the catering. There will still be a loss made by the club but not as substantial as it would have been if they'd started racing and then had to call the day off."

Tauherenikau was called off on Saturday after four races. The winner of Race 4, Balham, slipped and fell free of interference a short distance past the winning post, rider Jonathan Riddell receiving moderate wrist injuries. The track was then deemed unsafe.

?Now here's a move into the integrity arena of sport and possibly racing that could have huge implications.

Victoria's gambling commission has refused to let Tabcorp take bets on cage fighting amid suggestions the sport -- if anyone could dare call cage fighting sport -- is suspected of corruption and money laundering.

In a landmark decision the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has for the first time refused permission for betting on UFC and slammed the powerful sporting franchise for suspected dodgy connections.

And Tabcorp has revealed that measure included the world title fight between champ Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm, in which Holm beat the world champion senseless.

A spokeswoman for the VCGLR told the Age newspaper: "In determining the application VCGLR formed the view UFC does not have in place appropriate policies or measures as required by Victoria's gambling laws."

A bold move, the problem being that as in many other areas of endeavour in Australia, each state has independent rules and regulations.

Betting on UFC can continue in all other states of the country and through offshore betting agencies.

But it could be the iceberg tip. At this point there are no wary looks at horse racing, because the industry has stringent regulations in place, but what if solid evidence emerged that drug money was being laundered at Australian tracks, and there have been suggestions from time to time.

Could anyone perceive the ramifications if the VCGLR refused permission to bet on horse racing.

UK bookmaking company Ladbrokes, aggressively pushing into Australia, recently employed former fighter Julian Gallin to recruit punters at cage-fighting events in Melbourne.

It is understood Gallin was paid a commission for each new account opened with Ladbrokes and openly promoted the firm on social media.

In December, Gallin was arrested and charged over his alleged involvement in a major cocaine trafficking ring that made more than 2000 drug deals from a Melbourne apartment.

- NZ Herald

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