Odyssey set for Magic Millions after upset win

KELLY Schweida took great delight in the upset win of The Odyssey, who became the first winner for his former top sprinter Better Than Ready at Doomben on Saturday.

The Odyssey ($16) improved on his debut second at the same track a fortnight earlier to turn the tables on Guntantes, who was slowly away and never really comfortable in behind horses.

“That feels pretty good. Obviously Better Than Ready was a great horse for us and to get his first winner means a lot to me,” Schweida said.

“I’ve got about four of them in the stable, but I was underbidder on about six of them in New Zealand this year.

“I’m not really surprised he’s done that.

“I thought he was the fattest horse in the yard first up and even (Guntantes’ trainer) Robbie Heathcote said to me before the race he thought my horse was over the odds.”

The Odyssey is raced by an all-female team of owners, including Schweida’s wife Vera, and will now be set for the Magic Millions.

The Odyssey was a winner at Doomben. Picture: AAP ImagesSource:AAP

Heathcote labelled Femme Fireball as potentially the best horse in his stable after she took the first steps to a long-term Magic Millions tilt resuming at Doomben on Saturday.

Femme Fireball settled third last off her wide gate, with jockey Dale Smith biding his time before unleashing her soon after turning.

“She’s got a devastating turn of foot and I would say she could be about to take over the mantle as the best horse in our stable,” Heathcote said.

“We will win a couple more Saturday races to get her rating up and then hopefully have a live chance come January.”

The F&M Magic Millions is the race Heathcote is aiming at.

Tony Gollan was in Sydney on Saturday to supervise the unplaced Brian Crowley run of Ef Troop, but he enjoyed better fortunes on the home front, with four winners on the Doomben card.

Prue’s Angel and Umberto landed earlier races on the card before Galtero stretched his winning sequence to four by winning the 2000m BM80.

Impressive filly Light Up The Room rounded out four winners on the card.

Mark Du Plessis after his win on The Odyssey. Picture: AAP ImagesSource:AAP


THE fallout from a pre-meeting incident at Saturday’s Innisfail Cup meeting is likely to be significant after stewards opened a race-day treatment inquiry.

The incident not only implicated trainer Greg Strickland, but also others linked to the club.

In the fallout, Strickland was charged by the Racing Crime Squad after being allegedly found to have injected a substance into Oakland Avenger, who was engaged to race at the meeting.

The trainer was given notice to appear before the Innisfail Magistrates Court on November 12.

Three horses were declared late scratchings after the QRIC IIT unit allegedly saw an incident it believed to be illegal race-day treatment by way of a substance being administered orally by a person involved with the club, who was also an owner of the horse being treated.

After a second incident, officials entered the stables, where they allegedly saw a person giving the injection.

One of the men involved left the course, while it is believed another of those implicated, acts in an official race-day role at Innisfail.


BRAD Stewart gave a glowing report after lightly raced filly Light Up The Room sprouted wings late to win the Ray White Ascot QTIS Three-Years-Old Handicap.

“She showed a good turn of foot and she needed to, because I only got out very late,” Stewart said.

“I haven’t had a lot to do with her up until now, but she’s a nice filly.”

The race changed complexion a few times in the home straight.

The well-backed favourite Jami Lady burst clear soon after turning, but her tough run in transit took its toll soon after and she drifted out of the placings.

Light Up The Room impressed in victory. Picture: AAP ImagesSource:AAP


TOP bookie Michael Sullivan says the 15 per cent point of consumption tax rate in Queensland is a short-term cash grab and tipped it will have long term negative implications for the industry and punters.

The point of consumption tax debate – in Queensland at least – has centred very much around returns to the industry, but the high rate of 15 per cent is seen by those on the wagering side of the fence as equally controversial.

Sullivan, who was one of Queensland’s top rails bookmakers before moving to Sydney and eventually becoming Australia’s biggest bookmaker when he headed up Sportingbet, described 15 per cent as “a tax grab at the expense of bookmakers and the Queensland racing industry as a whole”.

Sullivan, who now runs the Bluebet wagering company, said: “If they insist on charging a 15 per cent POC tax, this (debate over funding) will all be irrelevant in a few years anyway as they will have killed off all the people they are trying to tax.

Bookmaker Michael Sullivan.Source:News Limited

“It is not a sustainable tax for many operators at any level and certainly not at 15 per cent. The Racing Minister claimed during the week the corporate bookmakers contribute nothing to Queensland racing, which is totally false.

“It is a tax that double-dips. Bookmakers already pay a significant product fee from punters from all over Australia betting on Queensland racing. They now want to put a tax on Queensland punters betting anywhere. This government seems intent on taxing bookmakers out of business.”

Sullivan noted the rebate given to the TAB (under its existing licensing agreement) means it will only be other bookmakers affected by the tax.

Tabcorp, which runs UBET, has argued it is merely a levelling of the playing field, given the higher fees it returns to racing.

Sullivan said ultimately punters will be the big losers because “this cost will be passed on and there will be diminished competition”.

Racing Queensland has not campaigned on price through the POC process, rather the need to secure enduring funding for the industry as a result of POC receipts.

Originally published as Odyssey set for Magic Millions after upset win

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