The long-held truism that any publicity is good publicity is being seriously challenged by a racing industry jaded by an ongoing circus that makes this week’s notoriously loud Eurovision Song Contest look comparatively tame.
(I’ve finally succeeded in getting a Eurovision reference into an article about Gai and Singo. Score.)
Seriously though, this fiasco has only served to remind the wider community of the negative aspects of the racing industry.
At first, I believed racing would only benefit from the More Joyous affair. Racing splashed across the front pages outside of carnival time? Even if there is some negativity, what’s bad about that?
But as it has continued on and on, dominating air time and newspaper space, it has become clear there is no benefit for racing in this scandal.
Chief steward Ray Murrihy told the gathered media corps the matter had been dealt with thoroughly, but also as quickly as possible.
I’m not sure that’s accurate.
After the ‘trumped up, beaten up jockey, the famous footballer and the brothel owner’ didn’t turn up last week, should they have been given a second opportunity to appear, given all three had knocked back the chance the first time around?
Sanction them and end it right there, given they could easily have been charged on the evidence presented last week.
The former jockey, Allan Robinson, especially seemed to take the inquiry none too seriously.
He acted like a petulant child, demanding the opportunity to present new evidence (which he’d failed to mention at his first appearance as a witness). When this was denied, he sat there stubbornly, silence enveloping the room, before he stormed out of the inquiry.
Was the theatre really necessary?
The other two characters look to have been pulled straight from the Italian theatre form commedia dell’arte, which is renowned for its tragic yet humourous play on stereotypes.
Andrew Johns, renowned for his calm under pressure as a rugby league player, looked anything but relaxed.
Despite his professional appearance, he looked weary, stressed and slightly dishevelled. Quite frankly, he looked dreadful.
If it wasn’t so sad, it would have been comical.
As for Eddie Hayson, the brothel owner… well, what more can you expect?
He added nothing to the inquiry except salacious headlines for the mainstream media.
I’m still scratching my head as to how Jeff Fenech’s wife Suzee is related to the scandal at all, except for a tenuous link to Hayson.
And yet, she was touted as a new identity in Waterhousegate. Please.
At least it looks like the time of hearing from this gang of ghouls about the saga is over.
Alas, the inquiry continues.
Gai Waterhouse, in her wisdom, has decided to contest charges under the Australian rules of racing that she didn’t record the treatments given to More Joyous properly and failed in her obligation to inform stewards of such treatments.
She admitted the treatments were not recorded properly, although she has argued she has never hidden the procedures.
Still, she has erred by not keeping her books in order and as a result, she has next to no chance of getting off on that charge.
I also firmly believe Waterhouse should have informed stewards about the condition of More Joyous, for the ethical implications are enormous.
If she’d reported it in the first place, it’s unlikely this hearing would have taken place.
Really, all it has done is ensure this ailing matter gets another extra week of unwanted, unneeded and stale coverage.
Like most in the racing game, I’m ready to move on. Next?