ATA Queensland Branch – Members Update / Queensland / 06 Jul, 2010

The end of the racing season always signals the end to certain careers and the 2009-10 ending is no different.

The retirement of Wayne Wilson after 25 years as the number one racecaller in Queensland is both surprising and disappointing.

Surprising as Wayne is still at the peak of his powers and disappointing as licensees in Queensland have never had a better friend than Wayne Wilson.

Wayne's support and mentorship for young people, whichever career path they were choosing, in the industry has been a mark of his long and distinguished career. His vocal support for Queenslanders - horses, trainers, jockeys and the overall industry - may draw gentle mocking from southerners but it is sincere and much appreciated.

Wayne was not just a bystander in Queensland racing, having been a very successful owner including the brilliant filly Do You Remember, which won the 1988 Macdougall Stakes.

It is difficult to think of a great moment in Queensland racing over the past quarter century without Wayne's voice being the backing track.

It is to be hoped that Wayne's passion, experience and knowledge are not lost and the Board of Racing Queensland Limited find an appropriate way to utilise his skills into the future.


Also retiring after a long career is senior steward John Hackett.

Being a steward is usually a thankless task but the respect that John has gained in two codes over decades in the role speaks volumes for the man.

Hopefully John will spend plenty of enjoyable days reeling in plenty of fish.


While stewarding is usually a thankless task, all trainers and owners would be thankful for the decision that Wade Birch and his team made over the Dariana incident in the Queensland Oaks.

Had Dariana been forced to pass the barriers twice before starting again, we would have missed one of the most impressive Queensland Derby winners of modern times.

The policy of forcing owners through the expense of having to pass the barriers twice for horses that do not have a history of offending at the barrier stalls is poor policy that could only drive people out of the industry.

The Rules of Racing are designed to give Stewards the option of using their own commonsense on the facts in front of them so to introduce policies that do not allow discretion is counter to the Rules of Racing.

It is to be hoped that the Stewards are able to continue to use their discretion.