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FROM THE SHERIFF'S DESK: BEN MELHAM'S RIDE ON SHE WILL REIGN WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF GOLDEN SLIPPER DAY

By John Schreck | Wednesday, March 22, 2017

John Schreck, a former Chief Steward in both Sydney and Hong Kong, has seen both the colourful and the dark sides of racing. His wealth of experience and his deep knowledge of racing matters across the board is unquestioned and the reputation he built as a racing ‘lawman’ remains firmly entrenched in racing’s history. Schreck’s personal blog, ‘From the Sheriff’s Desk', appears exclusively on HRO.

The Golden Slipper day was highlighted by three factors.

One ...there was the fact that the track was as good as it was after the weather in the lead up to the meeting. Obviously it was heavy but I thought it was very satisfactory.

Two ... Winx once again proved just how good a racehorse she is ... but the third and most exciting thing for me was the ride of Ben Melham on She Will Reign, the winner of the Golden Slipper.

People don’t always understand how good some people can be in their profession and how wonderful it is to see a good jockey at work ... and Melham’s ride on that horse was really outstanding.

Apparently he said to the trainer before the race, when they were discussing how the horse should be ridden, words to the effect that he was on the best horse in the race and he asked to be allowed to ride it like the best horse in the race ... and that is exactly what he did.

During the run he went where angels fear to tread at times and made decisions which proved to be vital to the result.

Whatever sling Melham got from connections he was entitled to double that. The horse was very good but Melham’s ride clearly won the race.

If he never rides another Group 1 winner he can be really proud of that one.

For me, that was the main highlight of the day ... Winx and all!

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Racing Victoria has received a stark reminder of the fact that any legal system has its technicalities and, while it is unfortunate when you are on the wrong side of them, they are in place for a reason.

I refer to the cobalt cases of trainers Danny O’Brien and Mark Cavanagh who had their lengthy bans, originally imposed by Racing Victoria, overturned on appeal last week after VCAT ruled Racing Victoria had departed from proper testing procedures.

The judge did say that it was a case that should have been brought and so it had to be done but primarily the result centred around a technicality and was ruled on that basis.

No doubt Racing Victoria, given the time and money they have spent on these matters, will be very disappointed with the result from VCAT. There is some talk that there might be further challenges. It would really surprise me if there is.

Having said that, all legal systems have higher courts.

From time to time lower court decisions are overturned. It has happened and will continue to happen into the future.

You would hope this episode has now reached some finality though because it has already dragged on far too long for anybody to really be a winner.

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I have to admit something.

I thought it might have been difficult to sell those twelve high priced ‘slots’ for a place in The Everest, the $10 million race which will take place in September.

I was mistaken. Clearly it is not difficult ... they are selling like maccas!

The race and its concept are bubbling along quite nicely with eight out of the twelve slots already taken and reportedly plenty of other interest being shown.

Racing New South Wales would have to very pleased with the way the concept is moving forward at this early stage of proceedings.

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