The wheels are finally turning ...
Racing Minister Jane Howlett announced on Tuesday that the state government would be conducting a long overdue review of the Office Of Racing Integrity.
She officially called it a review of the Racing Regulation Act 2004 which means, technically, it could also take in 'the general functions and powers of Tasracing'.
However it's a pretty safe bet it is a direct reaction to the goings-on at ORI which current and ex-employees have labelled 'disfunctional' and 'a toxic environment'.
"Probity and integrity are critically important in the racing industry and underpins confidence in racing across all three codes," Howlett said.
"It goes to the heart of sustainability of the industry.
"Therefore, it is timely to review the Act with the view to strengthening and enhancing integrity functions, as well as animal welfare."
Howlett said that ORI and Tasracing would not be merged.
"The Government will be retaining a separation of integrity functions from Tasracing," she said.
The name of the 'independent expert' who will be be appointed to conduct the review will be announced at a later date.
Hopefully, they can find someone with the credentials of a Ray Murrihy or Dale Monteath.
Howlett said the terms of reference would also be released in due course and a discussion paper prepared to "encourage broad engagement, including extensive consultation with the industry and the community".
"This review will be an important step to ensure that the governance and integrity model in Tasmania is effective in delivering probity and integrity with appropriate education, compliance and enforcement functions that are easily understood by participants and the community," she said.
The seventh general manager of ORI in the past five years will start work on Thursday.
He was not named in a release sent to the Examiner but the ABC has reported he is Justin Helmich who, like his two immediate predecessors, is a former policeman.
He is experienced in many fields and is a former government advisor.
Three of Tasmania's best horses trialled nicely over 1009m at Spreyton on Tuesday morning as they prepared for possible interstate assignments.
Mystic Journey won the trial by a long neck from Still A Star with Newhart a neck away third.
Erica Byrne Burke took Mystic Journey back to last to avoid racing wide after she was slightly slow to begin.
The Adam Trinder-trained mare was the widest of the five runners on the home turn and, pushed out hands-and-heels, found the line strongly.
The Bill Ryan-trained Still A Star began well and took up the running. She was urged to the line hands-and-heels by Brendon McCoull but wasn't knocked around.
Daniel Ganderton sat behind the leaders on Newhart before getting a split on the home turn. He only had to go around one horse as Newhart finished off nicely.
Tasmanian thoroughbred stewards have opened a retrospective inquiry into a race at Spreyton more than six weeks ago.
They have reported that they are looking into the riding tactics on Innocent Pegg when she finished seventh in the the Class 1 Plate won by Gee Gee Silentnite on July 18.
The official result shows that Innocent Pegg drifted in the betting from $9.50 to $15.
She raced in second-last place before making ground in the straight to be beaten 2-1/2 lengths.
Retrospective inquiries are rare in Tasmania, especially so long after a race.
The inquiry has been adjourned to a date to be fixed.
Stewards suspended apprentice Brandon Louis for two meetings for careless riding on Has The Look at Spreyton on Sunday.
Has The Look shifted in at the 200m causing interference to third placegetter Gee Gee Can Win whose rider subsequently lodged a successful protest.
The protest decision led to considerable debate on social media, given that the margin between the two horses at the finish was 1-1/2 lengths.
However stewards deemed the interference to be in the high range and, in their opinion, the ground lost exceeded the margin.
Has The Look's disappointed trainer Nigel Schuuring was careful to avoid breaching ORI's social media policy but discreetly posted a video of the race on his Facebook page.
Smart pacer Watchmylips emerged as a Raider Stakes contender with a strong all-the-way win in Hobart on Sunday night.
When allowed to dictate in front, the Rodney Ashwood-trained gelding is always hard to beat and would be difficult to get around if he drew well on the Devonport track.
He scored by almost 15m on Sunday night in a 1:58.8 mile rate, running his last two quarters in 28.8 and 28.5.
Although he'd trialled twice before his first race since early March, driver Ricky Duggan said Watchmylips was still well short of peak fitness.
The new Sires Stake schedule for the revamped January-December racing season will see the $50,000 Raider Stakes final run on September 26.
Injury-troubled pacer Sunny Sanz is listed to return from a long layoff in the Free-For-All at Mowbray on Sunday night.
The Kent Rattray-trained gelding hasn't raced since winning the Carrick Cup in February 2020.
The 2019 Globe Derby Stakes winner has been beaten only once in 10 starts when he came off the second row and went down to Spoilt Sport in 1:56.6 in Hobart.
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