A NATIONAL AND CO-ORDINATED APPROACH TO JOCKEY DEATH AND SERIOUS INJURY MONETARY APPEALS IS NEEDED

A NATIONAL AND CO-ORDINATED APPROACH TO JOCKEY DEATH AND SERIOUS INJURY MONETARY APPEALS IS NEEDED

09/08/13

I must say I’ve been totally amazed at the thoroughbred industry response to the tragic death in Darwin on Monday of Simone Montgomerie. Almost instantaneously an appeal was launched to raise funds for Simone’s daughter Kodah. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to date, which is all good. Race 1 at each of Randwick and Flemington tomorrow are each named the “Simone Montgomerie Tribute” and today’s Sportsman advises “the TAB will be donating profits from the opening races at both venues to the Montgomerie Fund”. There’s also a Westpac bank account to contribute to – and all that sort of thing.

So far so good. Over the last decade I’ve told the obvious slow learning non-thinkers, most of whom are incapable of making a decision, in the top roles in the thoroughbred industry, how to put a stop to an appeal having to be launched every time a jockey gets killed, or seriously injured. My suggestion has always been that .10 of 1% of TAB turnover, from every TAB around Australia should be put into a central fund and then when a fatality involving a jockey occurs, there would be money immediately available for the family, exclusive of any insurance payout, superannuation, etcetera. The TAB is the blatantly obvious place that the racing would self-fund the venture from, such that if a single jockey got killed the next of kin gets $200,000. If a jockey with one dependant gets killed the dependant’s guardians get $400,000 (the names of the relevant guardians would be either a) in the deceased person’s will, or b) lodged with the governing authority in the State) – and so on and so forth. Someone smarter than both me and those in senior positions within the racing industry could work out what the correct payment levels should be when rearing and education costs and so on of dependants were taken into account.

What should have stopped years ago though is the disgraceful difference in the way the next of kin are treated when there is a jockey death and/or bad injury. We need to have what I would call “a uniform payment system for all jockeys next of kin, irrespective of whether the jockey is a country, provincial or metropolitan jockey”. Why is that? Well, put simply the way things have been done in recent years is little more than a disgrace.

In November 2009, jockey Corey Gilby died in Townsville Hospital as the result of a race fall at Julia Creek in western Queensland earlier that day. Corey Gilby was just 25 years old and whilst he had no dependants, the point is that there was no appeal for his next of kin. In short, hardly anybody cared. Corey Gilby had two funeral services, one in Sarina in north Queensland, so that licensees from north and western Queensland could attend that one to pay their last respects, then five days later a service was held in Brisbane to allow south-east Queensland licensees and friends to attend. There was no south-east Queensland race meeting on the day of Corey’s Brisbane funeral, which was a Thursday, in fact the nearest thoroughbred meeting on the day was 700 kilometres away in Rockhampton. I attended the Brisbane funeral service of Corey Gilby and the attendance of south-east Queensland based jockeys, drawn from the jockey ranks of Caloundra, Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast and Toowoomba, was what I called at the time “an absolute and utter disgrace.” In fact I was so disgusted with the jockey roll-up to the funeral of one of their own, that I penned a standalone article on this website entitled “Jockeys non attendance at funeral of one of their own an absolute and utter disgrace.” The only three jockeys that bothered attending were Bobby El-Issa, Shane Scriven and Kelvin Wharton, the latter even travelled all the way from Gympie to the service. That full story can be read HERE. Corey Gilby was even known to most south-east Queensland jockeys as he’d ridden city winners, his most memorable victory being aboard the Ivan Duke trained Adavale Hornet, when Gilby was only a three-kilo claiming apprentice, in 2006. I stand corrected, but I fancy that Adavale Hornet was the young man’s first city Saturday winner.

Tomorrow at Doomben the “local Brisbane jockeys” are selling $100 raffle tickets for the chance to win naming rights to one of seven races to be run at Eagle Farm on 24/8/13. I sincerely hope that the “local Brisbane jockeys” have woken up to themselves and realised that their visible non-attendance in their droves at Corey Gilby’s funeral was one of the most pathetic scenes I’ve witnessed in 40-odd years of following racing. The lack of money the Gilby family got was also deplorable and very little fundraising was ever done to help.

It’s high time fund raising in Australia finished and “a uniform payment system” was invoked upon the death, or serious injury, of one of our jockeys. It is a nothing more than a pathetic indictment on the thoroughbred racing industry to think that one deceased jockey can get almost nothing, whilst the next can get hundreds of thousands of dollars. If there is any fairness in that sort of system well I’m yet to see it. Under this present madness, a country jockey’s death is treated totally differently to that of a city jockey. Yet if a little known jockey gets killed tomorrow afternoon at a non-TAB meeting at Woop Woop, sadly past history tells me that virtually no one in the industry will care.

It should also be noted that both the Queensland Jockey Association boss, Glen Prentice, along with Pam O’Neill who does work with the young riders, both attended Corey Gilby’s funeral, whilst Darren Condon represented the Brisbane Racing Club at the service. The Brisbane Racing Club later named the Keith Noud Quality the “Corey Gilby Keith Noud Quality” in Corey’s honour, so my only gripe is solely with the south-east Queensland jockeys, except of course for the three that attended, namely El-issa, Scriven and Wharton. To me it reeks of hypocrisy that anyone bar those three aforesaid jockeys could have the front to now sell $100 raffle tickets to aid a fallen jockey at the other end of Australia, when they couldn’t even be bothered travelling a short distance to attend the funeral of one of their own who hailed from Queensland. (The full Media Release regarding tomorrow’s $100 raffle tickets is at the bottom of this article.)

Racing Queensland Chief Handicapper Lester Grimmett has advised the scaled weights for tomorrow and they are Race 1 – 1 kg, Race 3 + 1.5 kgs, Race 4 + 3.5 kgs, Race 5 + 1 kg, Race 6 + 3.5 kgs and Race 7 + 3.5 kgs.

Brisbane Racing Club Track Manager Bill Shuck advised the website late today that after such a good week weather wise the Eagle Farm track is currently a good 3. Bill added “the rail is out 2.5 metres the entire and the track looks really good and will race as a genuine good 3 track”.

The apprentice jockey weights for tomorrow should be:

JOCKEY

WEIGHT

Anthony Allen

50 claims 2 kgs.

Janette Johnson

53 claims 3 kgs.

Kirk Matheson

52.5 claims 2 kgs.

Ashley Butler

53 claims 2 kgs.

Tiffany Jeffries

49 claims 3 kgs.

Aidan Holt

55 claims 3 kgs.

Maija Vance

54 claims 2 kgs.

Alisha Taylor

51 claims 3 kgs.

Brooke Richardson

47 claims 3 kgs.

 

Today on www.brisbaneracing.com.au I preview Eagle Farm Race 6. On www.sydneyracing.com.au I look at what a dreadful race this Missile Stakes at Randwick tomorrow really is, whilst on www.melbourneracing.com.au Matt Nicholls looks at Flemington.

The Postman has come out of his winter hibernation and has furnished is thoughts for tomorrow which read:

It’s great to back & I think we can kick off with a winner @ Flemington in the shape of Bel Thor in race 5. This 4YO gelding has come back to racing in fine fettle & has been super impressive in his two starts back from a spell. First up @ Sandown Lakeside over 1200m he carried 58.5kg on a heavy track, where he drew wide & was ridden back in the field. He was still well back rounding the home turn, then scorched down the middle of the track to just go under behind Written Off. Bel Thor then stepped up in class & distance @ Ballarat last start to easily account for a small field over 1600m. I was impressed by the way he put paid to his rivals soon after straightening and just powered away on a heavy track with 57kg for a solid win. Tomorrow Bel Thor steps up in class again, but I think he can handle the rise, given the likely conditions. Firstly, I’m expecting the track to be most likely in the slow 6-7 range, which will hold no fears. The step up to 1720m looks ideal considering he was competitive in listed 3YO races @ 2000m+ in his 3YO season. He drops to 54kg and gets the services of C. Williams, which are big ticks also. In a race where many of his rivals are either out of form and/or suspect on slow-heavy tracks, this assignment looks well within his capabilities. I expect Craig Williams to attempt to go forward from his wide barrier on Bel Thor early & try to find a spot in the running line, 3 or 4 pairs back. If he can secure a good run in transit, he should be able to track into the race soon after straightening & be very hard to hold out. His obvious danger is the talented Stereosonic, however he’s a shade of unders for mine considering he’s unknown on slow-heavy going, and I’m not 100% sold on his formline coming into this.

Bel Thor opened around the $6 mark with most agencies, and you can secure even better on the exchanges. I think he’s a good each way bet @ those odds. I have Bel Thor marked around 9/2 or $5.5.

Flemington 5-12 Bel Thor (each way).

Here is the full Brisbane Racing Club Media Release re the Simone Montgomerie Appeal:

Brisbane Racing Club and the National Jockeys Trust will pay their respects on Saturday 24 August to female jockey Simone Montgomerie who died tragically following a fall in Darwin last Monday.

The BRC and local jockeys have combined efforts to generate revenue for ‘The Montgomerie Fund’ which has been established as a trust for Simone’s daughter Kodah.

The Fund will be administered by the Darwin Turf Club in conjunction with the National Jockeys Trust.

BRC has donated the naming rights of seven races at Eagle Farm on Saturday 24 August.

Local Brisbane jockeys have organized a raffle for the naming rights with all proceeds going to The Montgomerie Fund. Tickets are $100 each and will be sold by the Brisbane jockeys and also be available at the raceday office.

Seven winners will be drawn after race 7 at Doomben on Saturday 17 August with each prize being the naming rights to a single race on Saturday, 24 August.

BRC will also donate all gate proceeds from the day to The Montgomerie Fund.

Brisbane Racing Club Chairman, Neville Bell said “The loss of Simone in such tragic circumstances has really affected the Brisbane racing community.  The BRC hopes these gestures will assist the National Jockeys Trust in raising funds for The Montgomerie Fund”

Leading jockey Larry Cassidy said “All the Brisbane jockeys are banding together to sell as many raffle tickets as we can. I encourage all racing people to dig deep and buy a ticket.”

Tickets available from:

· Brisbane jockeys

 

· BRC raceday offices

 

· BRC administration

 

· Gallopers Sports Club