NSW punters are hopeful the state’s standalone TAB agencies will re-open soon.The NSW Government has allowed pubs and clubs to welcome patrons back to dine although gaming areas remain shut.However, standalone TAB agencies don’t prepare or serve food and alcohol, so the health risks are less.“We know many punters miss going to their local TAB,’’ said Tabcorp’s General Manager Corporate Communications Nicholas Tzaferis.
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“We’ve developed protocols for the safe re-opening of TAB agencies and are working with public health officials
“We’re hopeful they can be given the green light when it’s right to do so.’’
TAB wagering turnover nationwide has taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic with TAB agencies and outlets forced to close.
But there has been some encouraging signs with offcourse operators TAB Fixed Odds, corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges recording turnover increases.
Who wants the TABs opened? Picture: Mark Evans/GettySource:Getty Images
Sky Racing’s two main channels, 526 and 528, have also attracted record viewing audiences for their Saturday racing coverage.
The challenge for racing officials now is to try and retain the interest of this growing audience share once others sports like the NRL resume next week.
WHAT A GUY!
His name is The Big Guy and he is racing’s feel-good story of the year – without even winning a race.
The Big Guy – which is a play on words as the four-year-old gelding is diminutive in stature – makes an extraordinary comeback to racing in a Maiden Plate at Wagga Wagga on Thursday.
Unplaced in each of his six starts and beaten by huge margins at moderate picnic race meetings last year, The Big Guy had been entered for the Echuca Sales late last year.
The drought and bushfires were ravaging the nation at the time and the gelding was hardly a picture of health when he walked into the sale ring – and an uncertain fate.
This is where Goulburn trainers Emma and Lucy Longmire first noticed The Big Guy and decided they had to save the horse.
The Big Guy.Source:Supplied
“The starting bids on some horses at the sales was $2 but we had to pay $500 for him,’’ Emma Longmire said.
“We certainly weren’t buying The Big Guy on form but we just wanted to give him a safe and happy home.’’
Sky Sports Radio presenter Shawn Cosgrove was so touched by the Longmire twins act of compassion he offered to buy into the ownership of The Big Guy to help pay for his ongoing care.
“We decided to put The Big Guy into work just to get him fit and healthy,’’ Emma Longmire said.
“When we first got him, he was lifeless but the change in him has been remarkable. He’s a happy horse now and he’s kept improving. We couldn’t believe it when he won a jumpout the other day.’’
The Big Guy is ready for an unlikely return to racing but the Longmires and Cosgrove are not expecting too much on Thursday.
“He’s a lovely, kind horse with a massive stride on him,’’ Emma Longmire said. “It’s been such a wonderful journey just to get him back to the races.’’
Cosgrove said “it’s irrelevant where he finishes in the race because he’s already a winner.’’
“Emma and Lucy have given this horse a second chance and he will have a great life now,’’ Cosgrove said.
DIRTY WORK TO PAY OFF
Dirty Work and Fituese are destined to win better races after giving a demonstration of their emerging talents with impressive breakthrough stakes wins at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
The Team Hawkes-trained three-year-old Dirty Work completed a hat-trick of city wins in the Listed Ortensia Stakes, defeating older rivals convincingly and producing the best closing splits of the meeting.
Dirty Work ran his final 600nm in a very fast 32.53s including the best 200m splits of the program when he sprinted between the 400m and 200m in a stunning 10.40s, then the final 200m in 10.90s, the best of the program.
Tommy Berry riding Dirty Work. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/GettySource:Getty Images
Prophet’s Thumb equalled Dirty Work’s closing sectionals in the same race but fifth, nearly four lengths behind the winner.
Fituese, a three-year-old filly trained by John Thompson, scored her fifth win in just seven starts when she zoomed away with the Denise’s Joy Stakes, winning by nearly three lengths with a final 600m sectional of 32.98s.
RACE TO THE EVEREST PEAK
Trekking and Gytrash continue to impress their claims for a start in The TAB Everest after fighting out the finish of The Goodwood last Saturday.
Godolphin’s Trekking scored his second Group 1 win and took his earnings over $3.5 million winning the Goodwood. He did contest The Everest last year and ran third behind Yes Yes Yes.
John Allen rides Trekking to victory in The Furphy Goodwood. Picture: AAP/David MariuzSource:AAP
Adelaide sprinter Gytrash has had an outstanding autumn campaign, winning the Group 1 Lightning Stakes and Group 3 Irwin Stakes, and being placed in another three Group 1 sprints from his five starts.
Nature Strip is the only horse into The Everest field so far but slot-holders will have taken note of the consistent form of Trekking and Gytrash.
STAR HOOP ON CUSP OF TITLE
James McDonald is clearly the man to beat in the Sydney jockey premiership after his Rosehill treble including stakes wins on unbeaten juvenile filly Macroura (Listed Woodlands Stakes) and Irithea (Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic).
The champion jockey moved to 84.5 wins for the season and has opened up a 8.5 win lead over nearest rival Nash Rawiller (76 wins).
Jockey James McDonald. Picture: AAP/Dan HimbrechtsSource:AAP
Rawiller isn’t relinquishing his title ambitions just yet but with more than two months of the 2019-20 season remaining McDonald is in the box seat to win a fourth premiership.
McDonald is the defending champion after winning the title with 104 wins last season – the first jockey to break the 100-win barrier in a Sydney season since Hall of Famer Darren Beadman rode an all-time record of 164 wins in 2006-07.
Although McDonald won’t challenge Beadman’s record, he should ride at least 100 winners for the second successive season which should be enough to clinch the title.
NO HEARING DATE FOR COLOUR IDENTITIES
Racing NSW stewards have yet to set a date to hear charges issued against Sydney racing identities Glenn Pollett and Marc Lambourne after potentially defamatory comments were made about McDonald’s riding in a subscriber video.
It is understood the comments were made in a light-hearted manner but after becoming aware of the video stewards opened an inquiry although it should be stressed McDonald is not being investigated.
This is a matter that should be fairly routine and would not usually warrant much media attention but it will be interesting to see if stewards open the hearing to the press given there has been some critical, ill-informed social media commentary about the matter.
Originally published asPunters’ playgrounds set for welcome return
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