Sideshow Bob Bentley doesn’t appear to be doing anyone any favors including himself by his lack of transparency in particular with Harness Racing and Greyhounds. Promises he made to both codes prior to the Racing Queensland amalgamation are being broken , his proposals in relation to industry restructure seem to be vitally flawed .
Races.com.au spoke with prominent harness racing owner Dean Shannon to get his views on this issue.
‘ I am a pretty forgiving sort of person and i dont mind giving people a fair go , i think Harness Racing here in Queensland did need some changes and what was presented to stakeholders prior to the amalgamation was supported by most in the industry but to back flip on some critical issues which won over the support is disgusting. Its pretty hard to find anyone in the industry that has anything good to say about Bob Bentley’s handling of affairs to date in particular the proposed sale of Albion Park. What i find extremely amateurish is that in Bentleys proposal he didnt even check to see if the site could be sold for redevelopment , which town planning has subsequently come out and said that it wont be approved and the number of $100 million dollars just seems like it was plucked from thin air and most people i have spoken to agree that figure is unrealistic and overstated. And dont get me started on the race fields deal , cannot understand why he didnt wait for the decision or at least consult with RacingNSW or did he how would we know ?
On top of this he is not communicating with stakeholders in the industry and the groundswell against him and the new structure is gathering alot of momentum , the new structure seems very much like a dictatorship which is the opposite of what it is supposed to be , if this was private enterprise the board would have asked for his resignation.
My advice to Bob is to communicate to stakeholders and get consultation from people it affects directly , include people in the vision but at this point it seems that he doesn’t care what the stakeholders think and if this is the case then he isnt the right person to lead Racing Queensland into the future.’
We asked Shannon about his personal views on moving harness racing from Albion Park.
‘ I am not adverse to the idea or at least exploring options , i am interested in the progression of Harness Racing in Queensland and growth, if a compelling case can be made to move from Albion park and it made sense and stakeholders could see the benefits of it then there is no reason not to consider it , at this stage we are really in the dark and noone can really tell us why it is better to move. New tracks and facilities have worked well in both Victoria and Nsw. My preferred option would be a redevelopment of Albion Park to include more facilities, restaurants , pokies , nightclub , moving it more to a alternative general entertainment complex and leasehold premises to bring in external revenue and give people other reasons to attend race meetings.’
We spoke to Shannon about his team and its immediate future.
‘ I currently have about 70 horses which consists of 40 horses of racing age with 20 of them being 2 year olds and the balance predominately 3 and 4 year olds and a further 30 broodmares , yearlings and a couple of chaff bandits , and have spent the last few years rebuilding our stable and trying to focus on quality , i am nervous where the industry is heading under Racing Queensland and if Bentley doesnt care about Harness racing then maybe the industry should row its own boat again. We cant afford to go backwards any further and i have to consider having a chat to my mate and trainer Darrel and see if he wants to move to NSW or i hear Luke McCarthy has recently bought down there maybe he has some room.’
And who do you think will win the Miracle Mile.
‘Well its a tough race this year as much as i would love to see Blacks A Fake win you cant ignore for various reasons this just hasn’t been his race and i think Mr Feelgood even from the horror draw can win. He is currently $7 with Luxbet and he is certainly a horse that can run an Australian mile record to win. I think luke has some options , he does have brilliant gate speed and it would not shock me to see him come out humming or he has the option of going back and getting a nice trail up , i am sure he could find the back of something to take him into the race , Washakie perhaps.’
Luxbet are betting fixed odds on all races at Menangle tonight and have their markets up right now , open an account with them today and get a free bet of up to $400 and if we followed Shannon we can plonk it on Mr Feelgood and pocket $2400 from a free bet if it salutes !