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By John Schreck | Wednesday, December 20, 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.

It was interesting to see the appointment of Jamie Stier to the position of General Manager of Integrity Services at Racing Victoria.

That means there are now four people working within the Racing Victoria ranks who were trained at the AJC during the time of Jim Bell (AM) when he was chairman.

In addition to those four another three of those trained during Mr Bell’s time are with Racing New South Wales. Martin Knibbs is in Queensland and there are a number working overseas.

All told during Mr Bell’s time as chairman twenty-one young people got their start in racing.

They are not all still in the sport these days of course but that was a natural progression for some of them like Stephen Ferguson, a former CEO of the Brisbane Racing Club, and one of the very big stars, Damien Foley, who was CEO of the Canberra Race Club before moving on to become CEO of a large licensed club on the South Coast.

There is never a guarantee that you are going to keep them all but each of them have made a contribution to racing along the way ... and subsequently to society.

Whether they are still in racing or not, the grounding these people got was invaluable to them and to racing so it is a bit sad that others haven’t followed what was being done during Mr Bell’s time in the eighties and into the nineties.

What was he doing differently?

Mr Bell insisted that young people be brought into the sport and properly trained in racing administration. He could see that was needed then. His philosophy was ... find the people and I’ll find the money. That philosophy was his way of looking after the future.

I think Jamie Stier was the second one we put on back in the early eighties as a trainee. He, like the other twenty, only got their start because of the AJC training scheme and he is just one example of how that system worked out particularly well.

I don’t think that sort of solid training structure is happening today, at least not to the extent that it was in play at the AJC during Mr Bell’s time in charge ... and more’s the pity, not just for the present but for how that might impact on that particular aspect of the sport in the future.

There was once a clear indication that we were looking after the future in this regard.

Now I’m not so sure!


The news about the further Eagle Farm track delay not only affects Queensland but affects racing country wide.

With simulcast betting so important in Australia these days it affects the national turnover if things are not flying along swimmingly in Brisbane.

Eagle Farm is Brisbane racing’s headquarters ... and headquarters simply has to be active for an industry to be healthy.


Publicity is already ramping up for the Magic Millions race-day in January.

You can expect a lot of coverage in the build up to the big day and, whether you agree with the concept on which the race-day is based or not, it is an event that is always captures attention and due credit must be given to the Magic Millions team for the successful way they go about the business of promoting and growing their brand year after year.


I do hope Santa is kind to everybody and that maybe during 2018 you will stab a few winners.

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