The much-anticipated final report from Ray Murrihy has laid bare what every observer already knew – harness racing is rotten to the core:
- Rampant race fixing and team driving.
- Cruel and inhumane treatment of horses. The horses are just a unit of production to be abused and used.
- Tas Racing, the Office of Racing Integrity and a succession of Racing Ministers have been negligent in their duty to keep racing clean and honest.
Minister Ellis has sat on this report since December and trainer Ben Yole has still been allowed to race. Why? More time wasted and more suffering to horses when he could have been doing something – anything – to put this right. But all we get after almost a year’s worth of investigation is another investigation – a “new” stewards panel and a snail’s pace on progress towards improving animal welfare.
Given this government and ORI’s incredibly poor track record of successfully prosecuting the wrong-doers in the racing industry, the community and I can be forgiven for not holding our breath waiting for Yole to actually be held to account any time soon, if at all.
The Government and Minister Ellis need to act. Harness racing in Tasmania must be suspended. Leading trainer Ben Yole must be suspended. If you are an owner or a punter why would you become involved in Tasmanian racing? What confidence could you have that your money is being invested in a fair game?
The whole industry, across all three codes is in a mess. ORI and Tas Racing have shown they are not up to the job and the Minister is putting blind faith in a yet to be realised reform that puts the fox in charge of the hen house. There needs to be a new broom put through the lot of them.