Deagon trainer case is avoidable problem
THE sad thing about the case of Deagon trainer Darren Bell, who has been forced to quit, is that it could have easily been avoided.
For those who missed it, in December one of Bell’s horses got a case of strangles (a contagious respiratory disease) in his stables an did the right thing and reported it to Racing Queensland. No problems so far, except he was left with 24 fit horses he couldn’t work and he had to lock them up in their stalls. It meant he couldn’t have any runners race meetings. Like all trainers Bell runs his business on keeping training fees to a minimum and making a profit on his winning and place percentages. In other words no runners, no income. At the same time Bell had to keep his staff on, and pay for feed, cleaning, farriers, vet’s bills and so on. Again in other words the bills kept coming in and the income didn’t. Now that might have been okay for a fortnight but in effect Bell was shut down for so long he couldn’t get back to the races until April. By that time he was so far in debt he admits he will never get out.
TRAINERS are irate about Bell’s treatment, in the south several stables have only been fined when they were caught not reporting strangles. It is a strange world when Bell is forced out by doing the right thing and others can continue training by doing the wrong thing. Now I am not the only one saying that Racing Queensland should have done something to help Bell months ago. I have and so have many others, been writing and saying such for months. It is yet another case of people who might have half an idea being totally ignored by Racing Queensland. Had they taken some notice then one of the most popular figures in Queensland racing would not have been forced out of the sport.
THE Australian Trainers Association has been fighting for Bell since January with little success. The ATA wants Racing Queensland to develop a general policy for the financial assistance of licensed trainers in Queensland whose horses are the subject of quarantine lockdown arising from a strangles case in the stable. What is needed is financial and personnel support as well as a policy as to exactly how long a stable will be locked down.
THE fact a major organisation and the media have been fighting for Bell for the best part of eight months and had no success says something about RQ. It is not a one off whinge but rather a genuine concern because basically it could happen to any trainer. Brisbane racing is very centralised with over 400 horses at Eagle Farm. If there was a strangles outbreak it would cripple racing here. There needs to be a clear policy now and not one put together in another nine months.
THERE are few better bred sires than Bullet Train who had another Queensland winner with Surprise Bullet last week at the Gold Coast. Bullet Train is a three quarter brother in blood to the champion European galloper Frankel. The Bullet Train’s look as though they will be genuine stayers so watch out for a few around Queensland Derby time next year.
TRAINER Barry Lockwood is one who is regarded as always placings his horses wisely. He has certainly done that of late winning the Ballina Cup with Cashing Up and the Lismore Cup with Sky Trek. Lockwood’s top mare Tumbler is back in work after yet another injury scare. But Barry is not willing to make a prediction about where she will bob up next. He explained Tumbler had got into so much trouble over the years he literally took it one day at a time.
ROBBIE Fradd has had an unusual run of wins as a replacement jockey which saw him ride another treble on Saturday. Fradd won on Snitzkraft ($2), Colosimo ($6) and The Equalizer ($17) at Ipswich but originally thought he would have an early day. He was a late replacement on the Equalizer when Ryan Plumb, who was later fined $300, couldn’t make the weight. It was the third time in a fortnight Fradd had won on a horses after being named the replacement jockey. “Sometimes it goes that way but it is always good to get a treble,” Fradd said.
THE nominations have been finalised for the annual Wayne Wilson Medal presentation to be held at the Geebung RSL on Thursday week. The medal goes to the trainer who has an outstanding performance for the season. There are monthly winners with the overall champion decided by a Brownlow Medal type vote. The most sort after award is run by the Queensland division of the Australian trainers Association. The finalists are: August Trevor Rowe, September Norm Stephens, October Darlene Duryea, November - Desleigh Forster, December - Tony Gollan, January - Toby Edmonds, February - Kelly Doughty, March - Rex Lipp, April Ben Currie, May - Steve Tregea, June - Paul Butterworth, July - Tom Button.
HORSES TO FOLLOW Snitzkraft, Colosimo, Vassal and Fiery Heights.
❝ It is a strange world when Bell is forced out by doing the right thing and others can continue training by doing the wrong thing.