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By John Schreck | Thursday, November 23, 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.

Mr Lloyd Williams has again created headlines throughout the racing world by declaring that he is the head trainer of horses coming out of Macedon Lodge.

Mr Williams, as reported in the in the Sydney Morning Herald, has said that this issue had been cleared up many years ago. It would be interesting to know with whom he made those arrangements which allowed him to train horses when not licenced to do so.

I think that it is very disappointing for Racing Victoria that a leading owner would make the comments that he has and obviously the matter will have to be settled somehow.

Personally I can’t understand why Mr Williams is so reluctant to be licenced as an owner/trainer as many significant people over the years have been so licenced. Why he made his comments ... and to what purpose ... I do not know. Perhaps, like me, Mr Williams is in the home stretch of life and he had a massive senior’s moment.

All his comments do is inflame the situation and put authorities in an almost impossible situation. It opens up a can of worms in terms of which horses were trained in accordance with the rules and which horses were not trained in accordance with the rules ... and what sort of fallout could there be from that determination.

Taken to its proper conclusion, it really is a massive situation for authorities to confront down there.


A comment from the Chief Executive of Racing Victoria was also an interesting one. He said they intend to ‘reach out’ to Mr Williams in order to ‘explore’ the situation at Macedon Lodge.

The words ‘reach out’ and ‘explore’ are, of course, open to interpretation, but I think it is a shame that sort of terminology was used in this case as this approach is seldom brought into play.

A more formal description of what will happen next would have removed any possible perception ... and I stress possible perception only ...that special treatment is being applied.

While he not a registered trainer Mr Williams is a registered owner and, as such, he agrees to be bound by the rules of racing ... so he is easily accessible to the authorities in that capacity.

I’m pleased it is Racing Victoria who has to handle this and not me because it is a big, big deal.

I, like many others, will be very interested to see how it all turns out.


The authorities employed by Racing Victoria clearly have plenty on their plate at the moment with all that is going on.

Much of it is still sub judice so I really can’t comment other than to say the cases of the former Racing Victoria Chairman David Moodie v Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna and those of Danny O’Brien and Mark Kavanagh, which has been referred back to VCAT by the Appeal Court with a changed finding, all still have to be brought to a conclusion ... and these are not small issues.

Throw the current investigation into serious alleged doping, which is still in its formative stages, into that mix and, as I say, there is a lot that needs to be sorted out.


An important decision has been handed down with the Australian Competition Tribunal finally giving the ‘all clear’ for the Tatts / Tabcorp merger to go ahead.

In handing down the decision the judge stated, “the proposed merger is likely to result in substantial public benefits" and that "the detriments identified by the ACCC and the interveners are unlikely to either arise or are not otherwise material".

Hopefully the merged enterprise will treat their customers with the respect they deserve and they probably will, in no small part, because of the competition that comes from corporate bookmakers these days.

Without the competition of the corporate’s I would have been surprised if the merger had been allowed to go ahead.


The decision of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s to restrict the overseas meetings which their contracted riders can attend has been a while coming. It really has been foreseeable.

The new ruling identifies which oversees Group 1 races they can ride in, limits the number of meetings per overseas visit to one and will only be approved for racing jurisdictions which allow a deferral of any penalties that might be imposed.

The Australian authorities have a part to play in that last point. Some states allow a nine day deferment of suspension while some only allow deferments for those rides that have already been officially declared.

Why the Australian authorities can’t get together and have one, national deferment policy is beyond me.

As far as the Hong Kong jockeys are concerned they can certainly have no complaint about the changes.

They are incredibly well looked after on so many fronts, both professionally and personally, by the Hong Kong Jockey Club that I am sure that those who are licensed in Hong Kong do realise where their obligations lie ... and that is in Hong Kong!

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