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Free speech in racing?

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Lordy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lordy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Free speech in racing?
    Posted: 07 May 2013 at 1:44pm
This particular story is one I'm quite close to. Rob Heathcote was fine $500 by stewards for conduct prejudicial to racing based on comments in his blog last week. It related to his description of the tactics employed in the Victory stakes. To me he was only stating the obvious and I think the follow up enquiry was over the top. If anything why didn't the stewards look further into the obvious team riding tactics from the Gollan stable?

Interested to hear other people's view though.

Here is the relevant section from the blog:

"Buffering got well softened up by Cassidy on Listen Son as we expected him to and Buff’s class just shone through in the end.

Ten out of ten for Brownie’s ride as well … although he did consider pulling out of the hectic tempo at one stage. I was never worried as I believed in my heart I had the horse as near to as good as he could be first up.

Nice to get one over Cassidy and my colleague Tony Gollan but, rest assured, the square up may come down the track somewhere.

That’s racing, simple as that. The win was sweet though … pure honey!"


http://www.horseracingonly.com.au/racing-article.aspx?id=1920


Below is the stewards report from the hearing:

STEWARDS REPORT

6 MAY 2013

Stewards: W Birch, D Aurisch & N Torpey

Racing Queensland Stewards today inquired into a complaint lodged by licensed Jockey Larry Cassidy against licensed Trainer Mr. Robert Heathcote.

The basis of the complaint was due to comments attributed to Mr. Heathcote on the Horse Racing Only website, particularly the passage which read “nice to get one over Cassidy and my colleague, Tony Gollan but, rest assured, the square up may come down the track somewhere.”

Mr. Heathcote explained that this comment was made in reference to the possibility that Mr. Gollan or Mr. Cassidy may get the opportunity to “square up” with him in the future by defeating one of his runners and winning a feature race.

After considering the evidence, Stewards accepted the interpretation of the passage as advanced by Mr. Heathcote and were satisfied that the publication of this passage did not offend any Rules of Racing. Mr. Heathcote was nevertheless informed that Stewards believed the words that appeared within the passage were poorly chosen and open to sinister interpretation.

After considering all of the evidence Stewards did however believe that a charge should be laid against Mr. Heathcote under Australian Rule of Racing 175A which reads:

Any person bound by these Rules who either within a racecourse or elsewhere in the opinion of the Committee of any Club or the Stewards has been guilty of conduct prejudicial to the image, or interests, or welfare of racing may be penalised.

The specifics of the charge being that Mr. Robert Heathcote did engage in conduct prejudicial to the image of racing by authoring an article that appeared on the Horse Racing Only website which included the passage “No doubt Cassidy’s ‘job’ in the Victory Stakes was to try and bring Buffering down.”


After hearing submissions from Mr. Heathcote in response to the charge Stewards advised Mr. Heathcote that the relevant passage in the article could be construed that Jockey Cassidy had ridden his mount Listen Son in the Victory Stakes with the sole purpose of negatively impacting the competitive chances of Buffering in the event, this suggestion had no evidentiary basis.

Mr. Heathcote was subsequently found guilty of the charge.

In assessing penalty Stewards believed the comments within the article had the ability to impact the integrity of the sport and call into question the character of his fellow participants.

Stewards informed Mr. Heathcote that his good record, contribution to the sport over a long period of time and his professional conduct as one of Queensland’s leading trainers was also considered when determining penalty.

A fine of $500 was imposed.
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Lordy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lordy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 1:56pm
Courier Mail article:


Brisbane trainer Rob Heathcote furious after fine over blog comments

by: Nathan Exelby, Ben Dorries
From: The Courier-Mail
May 07, 2013 7:53AM

ROB Heathcote was true to his word on the first day of his media ban, but stable star Buffering did the talking for him in a spin around Doomben this morning.

Still incensed at a $500 fine handed out by stewards yesterday for comments he made in an online blog last week, Heathcote declined to make comment to assembled media.

But jockey Damian Browne couldn't have been happier after he and Buffering easily outpointed the lesser performed Bribie over the final 400m of the gallop.

Browne believed Buffering was "better than ever" and has come on strongly since his easy first up win in the Victory Stakes a fortnight ago.

"We know that he is at his absolute best early in his preparation and I feel missing the Sydney trip has been a blessing for this horse," he said.

"He felt great and, in fact, in the association I've had with him he's never gone better."



Acceptances for the BTC Cup will be taken tomorrow.

Sydney raiders Sea Siren and Rain Affair are due to arrive in Brisbane later in the week.

Heathcote and jockey Larry Cassidy traded verbal blows in an explosive stewards' hearing yesterday, with Heathcote fined $500 for comments that chief steward Wade Birch regarded as "conduct prejudicial to the image of racing".

The trainer was bitterly disappointed with the decision, because he has been one of the most willing and best promoter's of the racing industry in Queensland.

"For the amount of time I devote to the industry, aside from my own business, that is what upset me the most, to have to face this charge," he said yesterday.

Queensland's own version of the Singo-Gai feud was laid bare in a Racing Queensland boardroom at Deagon.

Heathcote was fined $500 on a day in which Cassidy claimed he felt threatened by the trainer's comments made on a racing blog.

The inquiry was instigated after Cassidy lodged a complaint over Heathcote's blog comments about the jockey's ride on Listen Son in the Victory Stakes on April 27.

Cassidy, who had unsuccessfully taken on Heathcote's stable star Buffering for the lead, took exception to a segment of the blog where Heathcote wrote: "Rest assured, the square up may come down the track somewhere."

"That is a serious threat to myself that cannot be taken lightly," Cassidy told the hearing.

"My Sydney-based lawyer advises me that comments like this ... should be taken very seriously.

"Rob Heathcote is 120kg and I am 54kg."

Heathcote insisted Cassidy was being "childish" and "ludicrous" and claimed the jockey had wrongly interpreted the blog.

Brisbane's leading trainer said his remarks were intended to be cheeky and were in no way meant to be malicious or threatening.

But he could not deny his relationship with the jockey, who used to be his No.1 rider, was in ruins.

The bitter falling out was obvious as the atmosphere in the stewards room turned glacial.

"There is no love lost between the pair of us," Heathcote said, as Cassidy sat barely two metres away.

"I ignore him (Cassidy) and get on with my job. That is the way it has been and will continue to be.

"I am not responsible for other people's interpretations of what I write. My blog is my opinion.

"I find it incredulous that I am here ... from a person (Cassidy) that I don't give a minute's thought about.

"I am still quite comfortable with what I have written."

Racing Queensland chief steward Wade Birch found there was evidence to charge Heathcote for conduct prejudicial to the image of racing, specifically for the blog segment where Heathcote wrote: "No doubt Cassidy's 'job' ... was to try and bring Buffering down."

Birch said it was no secret that Heathcote and Cassidy had a "fractured relationship".

In fining Heathcote $500, Birch told the trainer: "You are a good ambassador for the sport of racing ... but we feel you have let yourself down."

A livid Heathcote, who was almost shaking with rage after being fined, said he found the sanction "hard to swallow" and would review his media and public commitments.

"For the amount of time I devote to the industry, aside from my own business, that is what has upset me the most to have to face this charge."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bonjour Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 1:57pm
Originally posted by Lordy Lordy wrote:

This particular story is one I'm quite close to. Rob Heathcote was fine $500 by stewards for conduct prejudicial to racing based on comments in his blog last week. It related to his description of the tactics employed in the Victory stakes. To me he was only stating the obvious and I think the follow up enquiry was over the top. If anything why didn't the stewards look further into the obvious team riding tactics from the Gollan stable?

Interested to hear other people's view though.

Here is the relevant section from the blog:

"Buffering got well softened up by Cassidy on Listen Son as we expected him to and Buff’s class just shone through in the end.

Ten out of ten for Brownie’s ride as well … although he did consider pulling out of the hectic tempo at one stage. I was never worried as I believed in my heart I had the horse as near to as good as he could be first up.

Nice to get one over Cassidy and my colleague Tony Gollan but, rest assured, the square up may come down the track somewhere.

That’s racing, simple as that. The win was sweet though … pure honey!"


http://www.horseracingonly.com.au/racing-article.aspx?id=1920


Below is the stewards report from the hearing:

STEWARDS REPORT

6 MAY 2013

Stewards: W Birch, D Aurisch & N Torpey

Racing Queensland Stewards today inquired into a complaint lodged by licensed Jockey Larry Cassidy against licensed Trainer Mr. Robert Heathcote.

The basis of the complaint was due to comments attributed to Mr. Heathcote on the Horse Racing Only website, particularly the passage which read “nice to get one over Cassidy and my colleague, Tony Gollan but, rest assured, the square up may come down the track somewhere.”

Mr. Heathcote explained that this comment was made in reference to the possibility that Mr. Gollan or Mr. Cassidy may get the opportunity to “square up” with him in the future by defeating one of his runners and winning a feature race.

After considering the evidence, Stewards accepted the interpretation of the passage as advanced by Mr. Heathcote and were satisfied that the publication of this passage did not offend any Rules of Racing. Mr. Heathcote was nevertheless informed that Stewards believed the words that appeared within the passage were poorly chosen and open to sinister interpretation.

After considering all of the evidence Stewards did however believe that a charge should be laid against Mr. Heathcote under Australian Rule of Racing 175A which reads:

Any person bound by these Rules who either within a racecourse or elsewhere in the opinion of the Committee of any Club or the Stewards has been guilty of conduct prejudicial to the image, or interests, or welfare of racing may be penalised.

The specifics of the charge being that Mr. Robert Heathcote did engage in conduct prejudicial to the image of racing by authoring an article that appeared on the Horse Racing Only website which included the passage “No doubt Cassidy’s ‘job’ in the Victory Stakes was to try and bring Buffering down.”


After hearing submissions from Mr. Heathcote in response to the charge Stewards advised Mr. Heathcote that the relevant passage in the article could be construed that Jockey Cassidy had ridden his mount Listen Son in the Victory Stakes with the sole purpose of negatively impacting the competitive chances of Buffering in the event, this suggestion had no evidentiary basis.

Mr. Heathcote was subsequently found guilty of the charge.

In assessing penalty Stewards believed the comments within the article had the ability to impact the integrity of the sport and call into question the character of his fellow participants.

Stewards informed Mr. Heathcote that his good record, contribution to the sport over a long period of time and his professional conduct as one of Queensland’s leading trainers was also considered when determining penalty.

A fine of $500 was imposed.

I sacked L Cassidy after he rode mine contrary to instructions....if I hadn't my wife would have! Ron Dufficy was his mate at the time and he watched the race on tv with me under the grandstand at Hawkesbury. I erupted at the 600 and turned to RD only to see him bolting .......when the horse had cooled down and I was giving him a pick, my missus turned up saying she had just nommed the horse for same track the following week! What happened? the horse won, well backed, ridden to instruction by a working man jockey, a good kid who tried his heart out.....didn't have Cassidy's ability, but did what he was told, or tried to.

Doesn't surprise me to read Rob's claim......the stewards only doing their job, transparency and all that, but would love to be a fly on the wall once Rob had left the room.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grinnersawinner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 1:58pm
A QLD harness ex trainer got banned for what he was writing on facebook about Queensland Racing about a month or two ago. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lordy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 2:14pm
Originally posted by Bonjour Bonjour wrote:


Doesn't surprise me to read Rob's claim......the stewards only doing their job, transparency and all that, but would love to be a fly on the wall once Rob had left the room.

Not sure they are doing their job properly in this instance. They have chosen to fine Rob for stating the obvious IMO. The inquiry was held only because of Cassidy's complaint. When that was found to be invalid that should have been the end of it. At most just issue a warning to be more conscious of public comments in future. To find him guilty of conduct prejudicial to racing and issue a fine was extreme.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bonjour Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 2:16pm
Originally posted by Lordy Lordy wrote:

Originally posted by Bonjour Bonjour wrote:


Doesn't surprise me to read Rob's claim......the stewards only doing their job, transparency and all that, but would love to be a fly on the wall once Rob had left the room.

Not sure they are doing their job properly in this instance. They have chosen to fine Rob for stating the obvious IMO. The inquiry was held only because of Cassidy's complaint. When that was found to be invalid that should have been the end of it. At most just issue a warning to be more conscious of public comments in future. To find him guilty of conduct prejudicial to racing and issue a fine was extreme.

Yes, in hindsight you are correct.....a reminder to Rob would have been sufficient. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote scamanda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 2:17pm
Gai is lucky she isn't training in Qld.

Cassidy must have very thin skin. I wonder why.
I started with nothing and still have most of it left
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Grinnersawinner Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 2:22pm
Words is this thread will be deleted. No free speech :(
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote linghi11 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 2:23pm
Queensland Stewards are a pack of hyenas. Please do note that Wade Birch went to school with Mr Gollan and even let Mr Gollan off some positives very recently with nothing but a fine and telling Mr Gollan "to revisit animal husbandry practices". Mr Birch's father Peter Birch, who recently bolted from Mackay Turf Club will be thoroughly investigated by the inquiry into Racing Queensland. 
Everyone saw it, Listen Son tried to soften up Buffering for the stablemate. Period.
to the victor
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marble Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 3:12pm
I remember watching this race and thinking what a crazy ride it was on listen son - then I saw it was Larry and thought it was just one of his usual rides!
If it was team riding the owner should remove Listen Son from the stable. And yes Heathcote had every right to express the truth
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RED HUNTER Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 3:28pm
What's wrong is the inference of "SQUARE UP".


 
Can have,besides many other options, connotations of knocking a horse out of the race. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 3blindmice Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 3:31pm
Good to see the Brisbane stewards on the job. Wacko

Perhaps if I write and complain about the snow jobs trainers and jockeys pull every weekend they'll have a good look at the actual racing?

I'm surprised anyone listens to anything Cassidy says up there. He's one of a growing list of Qld jockeys whose mounts I regularly put a line through.

The charge was ludicrous, and the outcome poor for Qld racing, which Heathcote does his best to promote.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lordy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 3:52pm
Irony is that Rob and Tony Gollan have a very good working relationship. There is no animosity between the two. The tactic employed were just part of racing, as Rob said in the blog. Cassidy is the one who got his nose out of joint. Made a frivolous complaint and the stewards reacted poorly.

We now have a self imposed media ban from Rob. This when he has the favourite in the upcoming feature race and everybody in the media wants comment from him. Now that is prejudicial to the image of racing.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote subastral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 3:57pm
Rob Heathcote is Qld racings best asset. A highly likeable and open interviewee, would be a terrible waste should he choose to remain silent. Larry Cassidy seriously needs to not take everything so literally. People suing or complaining to stewards about something written in a blog....soft.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gee Gee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 3:57pm
Gollan's horses were pests and he got whipped!!
 
It's the same treatment J Pride got back by Nelly in the TJ Smith and what he'll get again in Brisbane.
 
Let Buff do the talking and Kick @$$ in the BTC Cup!!!  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jujuno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 4:13pm
 Out and out joke...

 the Qld stewards would have a field day with Gai's blog...has criticised most of the ATC committee, the track superintendents, the media..and the stewards...

 L the Log has become the 'tagger" of Qld racing...oh, better watch out...he might read this...

 luckily I'm not licensed...
 
  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jujuno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 4:16pm
 oh, by the way...Neville Auld now works for Tony Gollan...Big smile

 very topical... 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote marscay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 4:56pm
We really do have a bunch of clowns running this great industry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rosscoe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 4:59pm
Originally posted by RED HUNTER RED HUNTER wrote:

What's wrong is the inference of "SQUARE UP".


 
Can have,besides many other options, connotations of knocking a horse out of the race. 



See above - I certainly don't want my charge being part of this enquiry Red!Wink


$500 fine for what?

Ridiculous!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Fairest One Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 5:01pm
Simply pathetic.

Lordy it is not you being biased, it is a ridiculous decision and reaction that has resulted in QLD's premier trainer not blogging about horse racing.

Great result all out of stating the obvious.

In any event, isn't it great for racing to see that participants are tlaking about getting one over each other?

Isn't competitive racing what we want?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dr E Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 5:18pm
Lordy, I saw this, and just laughed.

It is ironic that so many people have an aversion to the truth in the racing industry, and particularly the stewards. 

As you point out, why not investigate the accusation? ... well, its clearly easier and more efficient to tell the accuser to shut up!

Sadly, it is typical of virtually all industries that are "self regulated" ... the "police" are purely reactive, and their job is "brand" protection, not much more.

They are simply running around the edges putting out what their bosses perceive to be the obvious little brush fires, whilst the real problems just keep on festering away.

Trouble is, no one wants to know the big ugly truths.

But, like the public servant who complained when his colleague took a day off, and he had to fill in his shift of "looking out the window" ... at least they are keeping busy!LOL



The ONLY reason we have the circus in Sydney is because Singo brought it into the public spot light, rather than go to the stewards ... otherwise it would have been dealt with by a simple "More Joyous required to provide a vet certificate and trial to steward satisfaction" as is standard for Gai.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BlackKnight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 5:40pm
The only issue with the words "square up" is in the context of misreading the earlier post about Cassidy trying to "bring Buffering down" - funnily enough, a misreading that appears front and centre in the press articles about the fine.
 
Agree that no penalty ought have been imposed, but Heathcote should seriously reconsider picking up his bat and ball and going home over a $500 fine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fiddlesticks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 6:12pm
Aussie racing = LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jujuno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 6:50pm

 think Lordy is now taking RH's directive of keeping mum...

 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lordy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 6:55pm
Originally posted by jujuno jujuno wrote:


 think Lordy is now taking RH's directive of keeping mum...

 
no comment




Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bobsghost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 6:58pm
Fine issued matched the written verbal threat...all done.....move on like the racing inq.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lordy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 7:10pm
Originally posted by bobsghost bobsghost wrote:

Fine issued matched the written verbal threat...all done.....move on like the racing inq.
what threat?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote racinglover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 7:17pm
Well the square up thing would be the threat I suppose, does he mean in the future he's gonna send a horse out to cost Gollan a race? In any case I it's over the top even if he did mean that.

Butt surely that's their gripe, rather than him pointing out what happened.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lordy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 7:25pm
Originally posted by racinglover racinglover wrote:

Well the square up thing would be the threat I suppose, does he mean in the future he's gonna send a horse out to cost Gollan a race? In any case I it's over the top even if he did mean that.

Butt surely that's their gripe, rather than him pointing out what happened.
This is the quote:
"Nice to get one over Cassidy and my colleague Tony Gollan but, rest assured, the square up may come down the track somewhere."

The only person who claimed this to be a threat was Cassidy and that clearly took some creative misinterpretation on his part.  Not even the stewards read it that way and thats why the complaint was dismissed.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote racinglover Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2013 at 7:26pm
Ah fair enough, that is mighty silly then. 
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