The Roar
The Roar


Tinkler's Jets loss tiny compared to his horse racing binge

The Jets are in disarray, and face a resurgent Brisbane Roar. (AAP Images)
Roar Guru
10th April, 2012
5039 Reads

”You’re a f—ing deadbeat, people like me don’t bother with f—ing you,” he said. ”You climb out of your bed every morning for your pathetic hundred grand a year, good luck.” That was Nathan Tinkler, talking to a journalist from Melbourne’s Sunday Age in 2010 in response to a question regarding his sporting interests.

Nathan Tinkler didn’t even bother with the club’s devoted supporter base when he decided to pull the pin on his involvement with the Newcastle Jets yesterday.

A relationship with the FFA that was supposed to last for at least 10 years came to an abrupt end after 18 months as Tinkler returned the ring and his A-League marriage licence in an envelope addressed to College Street, Sydney.

If only the club was a horse, a super expensive horse, then he might have cared.

In fact, the Jets, the A-League and the FFA might have been better off having Pablo Escobar as their benefactor. At least the cocaine lord, unlike the coal lord, was a devoted fan of the game.

Oh yes, back to the money lost on horses compared to football.

Actually, it’s more like a veritable stampede of the expensive critters.

Because Nathan Tinkler is to horse yearling sales what Imelda Marcos was to designer shoes.

According to The Age:


“Figures obtained by the Herald show that Tinkler has pumped in at least $140 million buying horses, $70 million on acquiring and developing farms and studs, and $90 million more in running costs.

“In 2008, he spent $40 million on 155 horses in Australia and New Zealand, picking up young, unraced horses at the top auctions. It was a scale of investment unprecedented for a new player, not just in the Australian racing industry, but globally, too.”

“But his returns have been minimal: about $14 million in prizemoney from racing, $4.5 million in receipts from horses sold and a further $14 million in income from the stallions he keeps on his studs.”

It certainly makes the losses at the Newcastle Jets that Troy Palmer, Hunter Sports Group’s CEO, complained about look like very small beer indeed.

Then again, we are dealing with a person who refused and was then made to pay, in a settlement, fees owing to a horse trainer because he declined to work exclusively for Tinkler.

In another recent outcome which wouldn’t have pleased the volatile coal miner, The Newcastle Herald reported a few months ago, “The state government has rejected mining magnate Nathan Tinkler’s plans to build a $2.5billion coal-loader on the former BHP steelworks site at Mayfield.”

Just when it was all becoming all too hard for Nathan Tinkler to look like a winner and not a despised deadbeat, along comes All Too Hard, Black Caviar’s half-brother.

He bought the horse for $1,025,000 at the William Inglis Easter sales last year.


The losing bidder at the sales put it this way, ”Nathan Tinkler has a lot more money than we have and he wasn’t going to stop.”

The valuable two year old colt is unbeaten in his two starts and will be racing again this Saturday at Royal Randwick in the $400k Sires Produce.

Tinkler could have started the horse in the last Saturday’s $3.5m Golden Slipper, but thought better of it. The welfare and longevity of his prized investment was paramount.

Fairfax football scribe and horse racing enthusiast Michael Lynch wrote last week. “It is to be hoped that Tinkler’s foresight and caution is to be rewarded.”

The irony for outraged Jets fans and the broader football community could not even be lost in Himalayan snowstorm.

”I have no desire to own a football club,” he said.

If only Nathan Tinkler did, then he and the Hunter Sports Group would have acted with some foresight and worked in concert with the A-League’s other club owners to settle their justifiable grievances with the FFA.

Unlike Clive Palmer’s Gold Coast United, it will be grave mistake to see the Newcastle Jets sent to the A-League knackery.


Athas Zafiris is on Twitter @ArtSapphire