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No Joy at Racing Inquiry

The More Joyous saga has dominated news headlines since MJ’s poor showing at the All Aged Stakes over a fortnight ago. While some may joke the champion mare is still running, the inquiry into his pre-race condition and the associated game of Chinese-whispers will have some serious consequences and shows no signs of hitting the back straight any time soon.

Businessman John Singleton and horse trainer Gai Waterhouse have terminated their long and successful association following their public spat on Sydney Cup Day that was broadcast around the nation. While Gai has proven herself to be one tough-mother in the fall-out of the race, the mudslinging looks set to continue as the inquiry runs its course.

Also party to the drama have been Waterhouse’s son and bookmaker Tom Waterhouse, rugby league immortal Andrew Johns, former jockey Allan Robinson and brothel owner Eddie Hayson. Amongst all the high profiles, really the only thing missing from this calamitous affair was some rock-n-roll but Singo made sure he brought it with his “rock-star” welcome at proceedings.

I would rate the track this inquiry has gone down a Dead 5- as it’s been only slightly the better side of slow and there has been a significant amount of give, or misgivings to be more precise. The issue at stake is whether or not More Joyous, who had been installed as second-favourite on race day, was fit to run and to what extent those involved “embellished” how he would perform.

It was alleged that Tom Waterhouse told Andrew Johns that More Joyous had little chance of winning the All Age Stakes. How he formed this opinion is debateable but Johns passed this information onto Hayson, who passed it on to Robinson, who told Singleton and that’s when the horse bolted (or didn’t bolt depending on which way you look at it).  

Subsequently at the inquiry John Singleton has pleaded guilty and was fined $15,000 for displaying conduct “prejudicial to the image or the conduct of racing.” While Gai Waterhouse has denied two charges of failing to inform stewards of the mare’s condition, which she will defend next week.

Tom Waterhouse, Andrew Johns, Eddie Hayson and Allan Robinson have all been cleared of any wrong-doing for their part in what’s been referred to as Waterhouse-Gate. However clearly reputations and friendships have been hammered like a blacksmith battering a horseshoe.

While the legalities of Tom Waterhouse’s bookie business are not in dispute, the stewards have warned him about the perceived conflict of interest his business has with his mother’s horse training operations. They are set to put the flamboyant bookie on a tighter rein by constricting controls affecting his business, in an attempt to ensure he is not seen to be privy to inside information. Of course they have about as much chance of proving any impropriety as they do wiping the grin off young Tom’s face.

The court of public opinion is seemingly divided on whether to side with the legendary Waterhouse, who has professed her innocence throughout the affair, or the laconic Singleton, who claims he was duped. This was summed up by Hayson’s remarks that; ‘‘Everyone knew the horse had problems, except poor Singo.”

According to Hayson there are other sources involved who spoke of More Joyous’ ill health but he is refusing to name them. So it seems we’ve about as much chance of finding out who they are as we are the identity of Mrs Mosby in the television series How I Met Your Mother.

Actually as of this week we now know who she is- so we’ll soon see if other players are brought into this high-stakes or rather All Aged Stakes game. Much like the series itself, the next instalment of the stewards inquiry is to be continued. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait until the next season as not even the Spring Carnival is that far away!

 

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