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By David Fowler | Tuesday, August 26, 2014

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

If we listen to the chatter in the north, that their prize-money increases are not comparable to the south-east, we must believe the premise that the racing product of both areas is equal.

It is not!

It's worth reminding some that one of the key planks in arriving at the final stake-money increases was that strong performers would be rewarded so as to continue their optimum growth.

That sustained optimum growth will see further windfalls for ALL … but, again, some will be better beneficiaries than others.

I'm the first to admit that racing in Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville presents well. Generally good fields on good tracks. The brand is more than respectable.

But the quality of horse and rider is not the same as south-east Queensland or if you want to be more diplomatic, not as well known.

Hence, it's a no brainer that turnover on central and north Queensland races will never be as strong as their south-east counterparts.

It is worth pointing out, in the north's defence, they are not afforded the best timeslots compared to their southern partners.

But complaining that the increase is not the same is hollow. The racing product is NOT the same.


Many will recall when there was no TAB racing north of the Sunshine Coast except for a win and place and daily double on feature days.

The introduction of full TAB cover allowed those clubs to become real contributors.

Governments of both persuasions have never taken their eye off them totally. Major track renovations were rolled out at Rockhampton, Mackay and Cairns and Townsville's Cluden Park is ready for a makeover. Such infrastructure projects can't be disputed.

Carnivals are now afforded publicity outside of their own backyard with Cup days afforded major provincial status on the TAB.

"Terrible Tuesdays" were wiped so clubs could garner their bottom line better on TAB covered Saturdays and Sundays.

Yes, it is Sky 2 television coverage on many occasions but that is the best that can be done on a crammed schedule.

The northern licencees are more than entitled to put their hand up and ask for more … that's their right … but they are not, and haven't been hard done by.


This year's Horse Of The Year title is a tough call.

While there are six nominated, Spirit Of Boom and Buffering are expected to attract the lion's share of the votes.

I was recently quoted in the Courier Mail saying it was "evens each of two" and I have no reason to alter my position.

Facts for and against still see the scales balanced.

Just for the record the other contenders are River Lad, Tinto, Temple Of Boom and Solzenhitsyn.

The big night is at the Hilton on September 6.


Grapevine tip No 1: Are some local bookmakers considering setting up shop against their fellow colleagues who are fielding at a legitimate racing meeting? Surely not?

Grapevine tip No 2: Are changes to Radio TAB's popular Saturday morning schedule in the wind?

Until next week

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best