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By John Schreck | Thursday, October 12, 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.

Let me say at the outset that The Everest race concept deserves its opportunity to be a success ... and it will not be for the want of trying.

Having said that, right from when the concept was first announced, I have had a number of concerns.

I do worry about owners sponsoring races and I do worry about copying concepts from America so far as horse racing is concerned ... The Pegasus in America was the forerunner to The Everest ... because American horse racing is kept going by a few zillionaires and slot machines and that is not a model we would want to follow.

The advertising of The Everest has also concerned me. I have not seen a horse feature in any of the television commercials that have been run in Sydney.

There are lots of glamorous women and men drinking copious amounts of champagne. I thought the star of the show was the horse and, in promoting a horse race of this nature, you would surely promote the stars of the show and the stars have to be the horses.

So that has been disappointing and perhaps an opportunity lost in terms of the special coverage that The Everest is being afforded.

Generally though, it is true to say that Sydney is saturated with publicity for the race. Sydney only ... there is not that much publicity in Melbourne and not that much internationally.

A lot of people know why that is. It is a contra agreement between racing and the newspapers and that is just the way that works.


To get somebody ... organisations or whatever ... to put in $1.8 million every three years is an ask. Racing NSW say this is no problem at all but only time will tell whether the business plan will stack up after a while when the bulk of the contestants will be losing money.

It is difficult to tell from this far out, but at this stage I would think it would be difficult to get all slot holders to reinvest every three years, just as I imagine it would be hard to keep finding new players every three years.

That is speculation of course, but there is a possibility that situation could eventuate.

But, then again, maybe it will all work out!

Mrs Elliot, the Chair of the Victorian Racing Club, summed up the situation regarding the current hype around The Everest very well. She said, come back and see me in a hundred and fifty years and see what I have to say.

By that, of course, she means the proof of the Everest pudding will be in the eating, not right now, but over years to come.

Inherent in Mrs Elliot’s comment is a question ... can The Everest go on to become entrenched in the Australian racing scene and in its consciousness and become a tradition as races like The Melbourne Cup, the Caulfield Cup, the Doncaster Handicap and others have become?

The Everest is a unique concept in Australian racing and, as I said at the outset, it deserves its chance to become an ongoing success but Mrs Elliot’s sentiment also carries a simple message worthy of note, namely that there are a lot of factors that will play out over time which will impact on the longevity of the race ... either way ... and it would be wise to wait and see what transpires before shouting the success of this particular concept from the high heavens.


Of course we all know there is no love lost between New South Wales and Victoria in the competitive stakes.

I was very sad when I saw that one of the people who bought a slot said he had bought it to stick it to the Melbourne people.

I wouldn’t have thought that was really the way to go into it and, as I’ve said so many times before, it is sad there can’t be a better relationship and more cooperation between different states.

That sort of jibe might represent some underlying current to some degree but it really is unnecessary because it serves no real purpose.

Melbourne racing, I can assure you, is pretty secure and, irrespective of The Everest, the day at Caulfield on Saturday ... as it has been for a long, long time ... will be an outstanding day’s racing.

It is the first big day of the spring ... just a week out now from the Caulfield Cup.

Caulfield Guineas day at Caulfield on Saturday will be a great day.


Winx’s run last week at Flemington deserves special mention.

After her last couple of runs in Sydney I think people were beginning to think she was beatable but her run at Flemington was really outstanding and only bad luck can beat her in the Cox Plate.

It really did look like a training gallop and some people are saying that she is better in Melbourne than in Sydney.

That view is understandable. The Melbourne way of going ... the left-handed way of going ... is a natural way for a horse to race. You catch a horse on the left hand side. You get on and off a horse on the left hand side. You lead it on the left hand side so the Melbourne way is the natural way of going and maybe it does suit Winx better.

That is the last thing her opposition would want to hear!

The ATC would have been disappointed, no doubt, that Winx went to Flemington last week instead of racing at Randwick on Everest day, but I am firmly on the side of Mr Waller and the owners.

They are entitled, without any question at all, to do what they think is best for their horse and I think they should be congratulated because that is exactly what they are doing.

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