19 November 2012

"The Spring has been terrific in every way!" - Hines wraps up.

Tomorrow's the big day. Like a reveal on Extreme Makeover, tomorrow the racing public finds out just how it's been duly processed.
Meanwhile the Racing Review chaps were a force for good yesterday. Bruce Clark kicked off with a topic close to our heart: "Why is it an Independent Panel?"
HINES: "It's not really Independent, I think you've got to get this in context."
Ok. So the panel that was so independent they wouldn't talk about, is now not independent at all.
"Its a panel established by the integrity subcommittee of Racing Victoria  to look specifically at the Oliver matter, so it was identified as an inquiry panel, it has Rob Montgomery Deputy Chairman of Stewards, James Hitchcock, a steward and Tony Burns, a barrister that we appointed to that panel."
Yes, very informative, but why was it necessary? And who appointed it and why is Terry Bailey not on it?  Hines said Bailey couldn't be involved in the Oliver matter, because he was tied up with the VCAT Nikolic matter. "It's a workload issue." But that hearing was on the two days after the Melbourne Cup, not in the two weeks before the Cup when swift action was necessary to protect the betting public.

Clark pressed on: When did you know? When did you know anything about Damien Oliver having a bet on Miss Octopussy?
HINES: "Well, of course I heard the rumours... I was not advised that until Monday that there was an admission (by Oliver). There was no factual basis, there was insufficient evidence? There was not an admission."
Noted, Hines doesn't say when he knew. Adrian Dunn: "But if this investigation's been going for three weeks now, isn't the first question that investigators ask Damien Oliver is: Did you have a bet?
HINES: "I think what we need to do now is stop this conversation."
Er, ok. No need to shout.

Mick Sharkey, alive to the existential danger to racing the knackeries scandal presents, asked Hines if RVL should "get more on the front foot?"
HINES: "You don't want to look defensive."
No, you wouldn't want that. that would signal weakness to other Alpha males. Let's hope this quote doesn't go viral...
HINES: "When something is as overdramatised and sensational as that was, you don't want to be knee jerk.... The people I talk to, none of their horses go to knackeries"

We've come a long way, this Spring and the chaps put it to Rob Hines yesterday; posing questions he didn't want to answer, but that we wanted put to him. Didn't get clear answers, but they put the questions and so deserve credit. Well done, you exposed that Victorian racing will be better off when this CEO sails off into the sunset.

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