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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/04/2019 in all areas

  1. 20 points
    Boss Hogg

    The good old days

    Remember the good old days about six months ago when on a Saturday morning you sprung out of bed and skipped down the hall to the kitchen giving the missus a cuddle and a kiss .Sitting down at the table opening your laptop and spending a couple of hours going thru all the fields . You get your bacon and eggs while you put your bets together ew bets done multis done doubles done pick6 done ahh life was easy.Outside the kitchen window the birds are cherping in your favorite bottle brush tree boy they sound great .Giving the missus a little kiss goodbye you wonder down to the pub to compare and discuss your bets with your mates .Happy hour is on so a nice jug of Speights and a few bets life it doesnt get much better for an old digger. Fast forward six months Saturday morning you wake up knowing you have a mission you look down the hall it seems longer and narrower you finally reach the kitchen giving the missus a knowing nod. You circle the table and open laptop to tab,yeap click on buffering click buffering scratching click scroll,scroll on to feilds ,network down please click to restart.Click buffering scroll on and on . Breakfast arrives, it is muesli, seems that recently my blood pressure has risen sharply and wife says its good for me I can hear those f##*en birds squawking in the bottle brush tree must get the chainsaw out and chop that tree down.Not sure what bets I"ve on decide to watch an episode of Chernobyl to put me into a happier frame of mind to go to pub. Walking into pub which has changed hands two nice young chaps who have turned it into a craft beer bar,the tab is gone as takings were down and a Kiosk was put in which doesnt work because of technical problems, Im no technician but I think the axe sticking out of the screen after Bluey couldnt get his money out might be the problem.I walk over to the boys table with my handle that looks like horse piss and whiskey chaser.No one is saying much just mumbling about dont think their bets are on ,network down click on and try again .Its not good seeing grown men crying so decide to go home to watch big races from Wellington..Wife is watching boxset of Married and the First one in the sack on the big tv so watch on small tv in kitchen the big race was so close but no photo finish what were the numbers ?Waiting for judges call ,noooo Sweeeeenys burbling on no call Ahhhhh were did it all go wrong I sit with my head in my hands. Thats all I've got to say about that.
  2. 17 points

    Vale Trevor McKee.....

    Trev was a humble and modest man, without peer as a horseman and human being. Despite his enormous success he never lost his sense of decency and kindness. He had time for everyone, and he listened more than he spoke, but when he spoke we all listened. Throughout his long illness Trev showed remarkable bravery, he suffered without complaint and worked until his frail body finally cried enough and refused to function. In the tapestry of NZ Racing Trev was a golden thread, and whilst he may be gone his light will shine forever through his enormous achievements, not the least of which was the mighty Sunline. Last week we got lucky at The Valley with our McKee trained horse in the Sunline Stakes. I couldn’t help but think afterwards that Trev helped us get her there, and steer her around. To Noelene, Stephen an the girls, we offer our sincere condolences. You must be so proud of what your husband and father did and the example he set for you. His giant shadow will be cast over you and give you comfort forever. Rest easy now Trev, you’ve worked bloody hard, go have a long rest...and do me one last favour, ride Consensus in spirit for us next week and I’ll genuflect to you afterwards Love you Trev.
  3. 16 points

    Yaldhurst to Hong Kong to Ascot

    I just want to thank everyone who wished us well over the weekend with Enzo's Lad it's an amazing experience having a runner up here in an international race. The owners, Diane, Matty, Brittany and I could not have wished for better in all facets of our trip. Despite EL going in to Sunday's race very well in great order he once again showed his utter dislike for going right handed- he won't race that way again. He was well placed and traveled well to the 600m where he stumbled 2 or 3 times and that was the end. Initially I was very disappointed but after talking with J Mac, The Owners, Diane, Matt and I have made the decision to head to Ascot on 18th and 22 June. This decision is obviously made easy by the substantial incentive provided by Ascot to go there, better than winning a Listed race in NZ, its huge With HK Jockey Club paying our travel to U.K., no matter the outcome it is a great situation to be in and I am sure we will make the most of a week at the home of the sport of kings Ascot. Regarding my own health I'm going great and looking forward to May 23rd when I get "reconnected" . Hopefully I bounce through that operation in good order as I want to be buying at the Gold Coast sales in early June where I bought Enzo's Lad for $A15,000, prior to heading up to Ascot. I am traveling with EL to Mark Todds property in Lambourn tonight. I very much appreciate that we can head there initially where our horse can get a chance to get some grass under his feet and get some grass back through his system
  4. 16 points

    Vale RJ (Dick) Bothwell

    Today we lost one of the good guys with the passing of RJ Dick Bothwell,who died peacefully surrounded by friends and family. I was proud to call him a friend, one of best trainers or horsemen I ever worked for, he taught me so much about riding ,training and later owning horses. I never saw him in the 30 odd years I knew him ever lose his temper in any situation.Most of the success I had as an owner was with the Bothwell stable training some of my best horses to win many group races... which we always celebrated long into the night the way it should be done. Dick was never one to chase owners he always let the results on the track speak for themselves, and over the years he had many top horses go through his care. Dick was supported throughout 49 years of married his life by his loving wife, my second Mum...Jill, Jilly, or Mummy depending on who you were but one thing was always for sure in the Bothwell house, you were welcome, the food was always fantastic, and we all would enjoy a drink or two to celebrate our many winners together. Jilly was his rock and was behind him in everything he ever did. Dick is survived by Jill and their three children Bones, Burt and Dale and two grandchildren. I will never forget what you or your family did for me and the many memories you gave me over the years,RIP my friend, go join the other great trainers in the sky...till we meet again someday...Leigh
  5. 15 points
    Pam Robson

    Brian is trying to stay relevant ....

    The interesting point for me in the link provided is the support given by NSW racing to country racing. Also supported by Destination NSW, country racing is seen as an integral part of the social fabric of the regions, and vital in the overall attraction for tourism. Here, our leaders are intent upon closing regional tracks down - with no figures to show how much will be 'saved' by so doing, nor any analysis to indicate how much overall turnover will increase as a result.
  6. 15 points
    Thank you all for taking part today - it's been fun and a fantastic way to see out Autumn racing. Well done to our winners ivanthegreat and Sir Castleton and a beaut effort, Thepaw and Kundalini. I will of course do a check of the points but if you think I've duped you out of a few please msg me and I'll remedy it asap That's it from me for a couple of weeks as I get some stuff done around the place before the colder months set in I'll catch you all again in the Winter season I hope!
  7. 14 points

    John Allen

    I'll just reiterate this one more time...and that is that for thelast 20yrs...we've been run by Globalists through the corporate channels..the last 10 yrs has been rampant management by Crisis..and Allen is working To those ends.,...posing as a leader with all his buffoonery and bluster on a series of promises that he still chooses to enact. NZ Racing has been given a death sentence all the while we are expected to 'stomach' what we're told is best for us..including the smashing of the T.A.B. interfces for betting..and the withdrawl of free to air TRACKSIDE. RITA will be the final hurrah as they impliment there closure agenda
  8. 14 points
    Dear Chestnut , You're a superstar ! scooby3051 must be feeling over the Moon at the amazing new Tipping Competition's you have recently brought to Race Cafe and produced for all of us to enjoy . The hard work you must put in is truly appreciated by all of us player's. My favourite Race Cafe Tipping Competition was the old Group (1) One Tipping Competition . You are a true Tipping Legend and inspiration to us all. Chestnut , you are the best ! Young lady , keep up your good work .
  9. 14 points
    For fooks sake Leo, just became the “Nikki’s of this world hang around the Viaduct, it doesn’t mean that the real people of the rest of NZ don’t know what they are talking about. Again for fooks sake, your mob had 9 years to fook everything up, and what a bloody good job they did. Lets see who gets more likes, your post above or mine!
  10. 13 points
    tim vince

    Chris Dell is

    A star.rode in the Monte at Auckland late last night goes to rotorua and wins a race.great bloke who deserves more goid rides.goes to new Caledonia, fought terrible injuries and always a smile on his face.
  11. 13 points

    Now the sh#t hits the fan

    The Industry has and is paying a high price for Nationals naivety for their appointments of Glenda Hughes and John Allen, two individuals lacking any racing or wagering experience and knowledge when it was most needed. Both of these appointments challenged and downplayed the report by Deloittes on why the Industry couldn't sustain a new betting platform budgeted to be $30 million which subsequently blew out to be millions more. Not one of the promised areas of extra generated income from the new betting platform has come to fruition. Many customers have stopped betting locally due to poor service and a betting platform which is not performing. Political naivety has helped to escalate the problems the Industry faces today. When your $30 million in overdraft, have sold your assets and your major organisation providing revenue is run by management with poor skills wouldn't you want to see a Bill rushing through for changes to try and stop the leaking? On paper the NZRB is in liquidation. The $#@% will hit the fan when Australia turn around and start charging a fee to NZRB for taking betting on their sports. How will the Industry be able to pay to Australia and NZ a code like Rugby League when about 90% of betting is done on the NRL.
  12. 13 points


    It’s taken me a while to put this tome together. It’s part experience, part observation and part opinion. Those farming in the Auckland or northern Waikato areas in the 50s and 60s may have come across Agronomist and farm advisor Ralph du Faur, from Papakura. My Dad sought his advice in the late 50s and though I was only about 12 years old at the time I have always remembered something he told me, have noted it over the years and found it to be particularly relevant to the state of our racetracks today. He said this: “Irrigated water comes from a well, a dam, a pond or a reservoir where it generally sits open to the sun then is pumped through a maze of pipes and sprayed onto pasture. Because of this, along the way it has lost its oxidisation and is “dead.” He likened it to flat beer. Lifeless. Sure, it keeps soil damp or moist but comparatively, the oxygen in rainfall keeps soil aerated. Debra Moss shared an historical pic recently on Facebook relating to Aussie farmers that read “despite all of our accomplishments, we owe our existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” Never was this more true here. A Racecafe post said “40 mm total in last 10 days and what is Trentham track rated - YEP - Heavy 11.” That should not be possible. In old parlance, tracks up until Easter should be somewhere between hard and fast, and easy. Those who instigated the current grading system were unaware that in rating tracks “dead” that’s exactly what they are – dead, lifeless. Fill your watering can and pour it on your driveway from as high as you can. It spreads in a mass then runs down the drain. Then watch what happens when it rains. The raindrops bounce because they are oxygenated and it’s this that keeps our soils aerated. Yes, we pour water on our gardens too but in spring we turn them over by spade or fork and open the soil up which realistically can’t happen to a race track. Many farmers irrigate their crops but in the process of grass to maize then back to grass, the ground is cultivated thus allowing nature to do its bit. Trentham was the “Champagne Turf.” It was bubbling and full of life, big crowds, big fields, best horses, fastest times. No false rails, no ‘how is the track “playing” b/s and, no irrigation and a postponed or canned meeting as rare as hen’s teeth. If it pissed with rain the track simply got deeper but racing went on and Trentham, for one, recovered to be the Champagne Turf it was always reputed to be – until irrigation. . No chance of record times on soft tracks which are now standard in summer racing. All of that is now assigned to history and for those who complain about hard summer tracks, no more horses went sore or broke down 50 years ago than do today and back then though there were fewer races, horses generally had more starts, a number of two year olds having 8, 10, 12 starts or more. Average NZ rainfall is around 50-odd inches (say 1200 mls). I would ascertain that irrigated tracks might get ten or twenty times this amount of ‘dead’ water poured on them. The sub-soil then becomes like a three-layer sponge where the chef has forgotten to add baking soda. Its like a bloody big layer of sodden blotting paper. Even sand-slitting has minimal effect when the sub-soil is like plasticine. Not being critical but do track managers ever ask themselves “Why are we irrigating? What is it we are trying to achieve?” As I said at the beginning, these are years of observations, generalisations and some opinion. I don’t have an answer but I would, first and foremost, stack the irrigator into the back of the shed and leave it there. I would then investigate the infusion of grass species suited to purpose of racing and in light of climatic conditions in different areas. This could even be a factor when setting racing dates too. It’s no secret that those who set the racing dates have little or no comprehension of any of these factors. It has taken man thirty to forty years to bugger up our racing surfaces.(a stronger term may be more appropriate). Mother nature can fix most things so I would let her do her thing bearing in mind it may take another 30-40 years for the situation to right itself, God willing that the industry can survive for that long.
  13. 12 points

    Vale Trevor McKee.....

    Really sad news to hear of Trevor's passing at the age of 81 after a long illness. A real gentleman. What a career....from Proud Chief to Sunline and everything in between. Condolences to Noeline and Stephen and family. RIP.
  14. 11 points
    Dear Chestnut and scooby3051. What fun it was to enter your Race Cafe Winter Racing Ultimate Trio Teams Challenge Tipping Competition today. It is a wonderful time of the year with the commencement of the 2019 / 2020 Thoroughbred Racing Season which i hope and trust will see 2019 / 2020 produce so many Thoroughbred Racing and Tipping Competition highlight's for you all . Congratulation's to my fellow Team Member's , Right first time and Jack on your superb Tipping Skill's at Pukekohe Park , Riccarton Park , Flemington , Rosehill , Doomben and Belmont today. You both are worthy Winner's of your Prize's. I have played with you both in many Tipping Competition's. I sincerely hope and trust that i get to play with you both again real soon. It mean's a lot to me to be in a Tipping Team with you both . To the runner's up Team of Memphis2 , Chestnut and Lynzim. A truly magnificent effort by you. Folk's well played. Once again , Chestnut and scooby3051 thank you for your fantastic management skill's in presenting and producing these new Tipping Competition 's / and , a special thanks to Chestnut for your race by race summaries for us all to enjoy. Happy 2019 / 2020 Thoroughbred Racing Season everyone . God Bless.
  15. 11 points
    History will paint a different picture. This woman has played a bigger role than anyone else in destroying the industry she was brought in to save. Had no clue when she was hired, and seemingly even less clue five years later as she is going out. Fuck off and good riddance.
  16. 11 points

    Te Rapa track

    Meantime if a trainer makes a small mistake and gives a vitamin dose raceday he gets years penalty......or David Walker has an illegal bet worth $500 to him, he gets 8 years disqualification......the gypsies cop it from Plod, with the RIU support, over some banal discussions re race tactics, Kevin William Morton gets harassed by the RIU for telling the truth about a lying failure, and meantime Foskett gets an industry award for doing nothing useful....... Such is racing.....the useless suits who’ve fucked the game are accountable to no one but the hard working toilers get abused at every opportunity.
  17. 11 points
    Chestnut , what a fantastic Tipping Competition. Thank you and all the Sponsor's for your massive effort's in running this most enjoyable Tipping Competition. Sincere , congratulation's to all the Weekly Winner's. Well done to you all. I wish all you Racing Industry Participates a massive and prosperous remainder of the 2019 Thoroughbred Racing Season and pray it is a wonderful remainder of the year for you all . Cheer's.
  18. 10 points

    Media bias or poor journalism?

    I am getting sick to death of the way our media (digital especially!) focus on the irrelevant, the "high rollers", and in most cases a combination of the two. Last weekend we had the amazing feat of Tallyho Twinkletoe winning the big jumps race in Australia. A cut and paste job from an Aussie scribe is all we can manage. Instead we want to focus on a maiden winner from one of our top stables, some "expert-on-training" jockey who is off to do some shopping in Japan, another update on a riders delayed return to riding, and how another NZ trainer is shifting across the Tasman. What about the real news or real stories? Tallyhoe Twinkletoe is owned by Dave McNab. The guy has been in the game longer than the three individuals mentioned above all put together! He has achieved at the highest level of the game, been a rider, a very prominent owner, and has probably influenced family members like Scotty and Sarah to be involved in racing to the extent they have. Why no story? Well you wont see him with his own ad on Trackside. Living on a farm up the Whanganui River isnt near Cambridge. And the once noble act of "keeping under the radar" is now seen as being ignorant or not trying to promote racing. Not interviewing our true contributors to the industry is not promoting racing. Having no knowledge of who they are is even worse.
  19. 10 points

    Angriest Man In Aucklands Viaduct.

    LEO MOLLOY IN HIS VIADUCT LAIR (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) Leo Molloy: the angriest man in the Viaduct Duncan Greive | Managing Editor The bad boy of hospitality is nearing retirement age, yet his capacity for bitter feuds remains undiminished. Duncan Greive meets Leo Molloy, the Viaduct’s best host and worst enemy. “Iknow Bernie Monk,” said Leo Molloy. “He was a year ahead of me at school.” I had barely sat down at Headquarters, Molloy’s Viaduct restaurant before he, unprompted, brought up the longtime spokesperson for the Pike River families, whose son Michael died in the 2011 tragedy. “[Monk] has this craven desire to be in the media,” he says. “I feel sorry for him obviously. But he’s milked it in the extreme.” There are few individuals who, on meeting you, would launch into a tirade against one of the most sympathetic figures in the country. Within minutes he’d done the same to Andrew Little (“lunatic”), Jesse Mulligan (“all sizzle no sausage”) and the Herald (“toxic”). Making statements on a spectrum running from eye-opening to appalling is just everyday life in what Molloy calls “Leoland”. He’s a youthful 63, wears ripped jeans and open shirts and looks you dead in the eye as he speaks, as if wanting to analyse your reaction to his statements in real time. Even by his standards he’s been saying a lot lately. He lit into The Project over their coverage of a customer complaint, saying “I will do whatever it takes to hurt people until I really hurt you badly… I will seek to extract maximum revenge in every way possible.” A week later he was at it again, responding to his nomination for a hospitality award with a diatribe against other nominees in the ‘outstanding establishment’ category. “Soul, that place where the old white people hang out with girls with flappy lips, sugar daddies, and car salesmen, some sugar daddies who are car salesmen,” he wrote, “where they still serve salt and pepper squid with curry sauce, then there’s Prego, that’s that nursery for young mums in active wear with screaming babies in Ponsonby.” Last week it was the Sugar Club and Sky City, “god awful… parasitic consortium”. Last year it was league fans, “low league following scum… you dogs, you vandals and you abusers.” The year before, Hamilton’s Good George: “a second-rate shithole operation”. He’s come for racing officials and MasterChef contestants, astrologers and journalists, on and on, stretching back for decades, vicious invective sprayed at anyone who crosses him. LEO MOLLOY MEETS WITH STAFF IN MID-JUNE (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) Molloy is not some crank on the fringes of the industry. His restaurant and bar, Headquarters, is “by far the biggest” such establishment in New Zealand, according to Molloy. “We’re seven times bigger than the next biggest champagne retailer,” he says, and while his supplier would not confirm that statistic, they did acknowledge Headquarters as “one of our top-selling accounts”. It sits on what is probably the best hospitality site in the country, alone in a sun-drenched corner of Auckland’s Viaduct. It’s a honeytrap for prominent New Zealanders having a good old time, from politicians to sportspeople to the business elite, and Molloy is always at its centre, sending across food, stopping by their table, ensuring they all feel loved. Headquarters is hardly his first success, either – iconic or infamous venues with names like Cowboys, Euro and Danny Doolans have functioned as the fulcrum of various boozy Auckland scenes over the years. By any measure he’s one of the most successful hospitality entrepreneurs New Zealand has ever seen. I wanted to know how he could be so enormously successful, so beloved by so many important people, while so often being such a gaping arsehole. After he sent some strange emails to The Spinoff, I asked the famously anti-media Molloy if he was prepared to be interviewed. Somewhat to my surprise, he readily agreed. There was only one condition: that I read the story of Headquarters, printed on its menu, before we speak. On a sunny afternoon in mid-May, I headed down to the Viaduct to do some reading. It detailed the brighter spots in Molloy’s hospitality backstory, before setting out a manifesto. What the kitchen puts out is “brutally honest… no silly bloody flowers on your food, the molecular foam or the sparrow sized servings”, and nods at ambience with “our music is loud… don’t be afraid to boogie”. Much of it takes on Leo’s pet hates, at the time The Project and the Labour Party (“Ponsonby politicians [who] want to ban cigarettes but make weed legal”). It’s a deliberately obnoxious piece of writing, especially as it’s the first thing diners see on being handed a menu. Where its pricey neighbours often strain to reflect class and sophistication, Leo Molloy’s operation, much like the man himself, seems grimly determined to do the opposite. Molloy was hesitant about recounting his life story. “It’s actually really fucking boring,” he said. But it’s not, and eventually he agreed to tell it. He was born and raised on the West Coast of the South Island, the second eldest of seven children. “Mum worked in the mines, Dad was a soldier,” he says, the latter working as a mechanic after the war. “They married when Mum was only 19, as Irish Catholics do on the West Coast.” The family lived in Moana, a tiny town at the northern tip of Lake Brunner. When Molloy was seven, his father Kevin had a stroke, and he was thrust into the role of carer. “Dad always called me his ‘right-hand man’,” says Molloy, who had to wash and dress him in the aftermath. After the stroke, the Molloys moved to Moonlight, a small town alongside Pike River, where Kevin worked on the boilers at Stillwater. His mother Maureen worked in the Roa mine, near Blackball, the birthplace of the Labour Party and spiritual home of the labour movement. He says the family home was “very loving, very Irish”. This background is crucial to his sense of self – “we’re fourth generation [immigrants], but still pure-bred” – and Molloy describes the Irish as never happier than when living with tragedy. The Molloys got theirs when Kevin died at 47, of a brain haemorrhage. Molloy was 11. “By the time I was 12, I’d found a proxy father, and an industry I was interested in,” he says. “It was the horse-racing industry. And the reason I found it so compelling was that all the grownups ever talked about was sex, alcohol, or smoking cigarettes. Those were three of my lofty goals at that stage. So I embraced that with a huge appetite.” MOLLOY MEETS WITH PINBALL MACHINE SALESMAN HOWARD JOHNSTON (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) Molloy left school at 15, and became an apprentice jockey. After four years he “got fat”, and, unable to ride horses, took a couple of years travelling to regroup. While in the UK he applied for vet college back home at Massey, but was rejected due to insufficient academics. He returned home to the West Coast and enrolled at Greymouth High School. “I managed to shag a couple of teachers, one teacher’s wife and about 10 students,” he says. “It was a great time.” It was 1980, and Molloy was 25. He stayed two years, then went to vet school and eventually graduated and worked at his own small practice. Around the same time, New Zealand was slowly waking up to the implications of the Sale of Liquor Act of 1989, which massively expanded the number and scope of licensed premises. Molloy and his first wife (he married in 1991) took over a student bar named the Fat Ladies Arms in Palmerston North in 1991, changing the music and interior. It was a huge success, eventually becoming a franchise which peaked at nine locations. He had found his calling. “I can chat to anybody,” he says of the secret to his success. “I’ve got that Irish thing, I can talk shit.” In 1998 he headed to Auckland. When asked why, he pauses for a long time – a rare occurrence. “This is brutally honest time,” he says. “I’d had an affair.” He and his wife moved north to try and escape the aftermath, but couldn’t get past it. Rather than being cowed by the end of the marriage, he “viewed it as a great opportunity”. “I’m a diamond,” he says, over and over. “The more pressure you put on me, the more I sparkle. Every time I’ve had a significant setback in my life, I come up with a diamond in my mouth. I did Euro about six months after she left me.” Arestaurant on the water alongside the Hilton, Euro became an icon of the emerging Auckland restaurant scene, arriving just as the Viaduct and America’s Cup were poised to create a new, monied party crowd downtown. The restaurant made him both host to and a member of a new, rich, flashy crowd. “I was balls deep in that,” he says. “Everyone was shagging everyone else’s partners. Everyone had an amazing life. One year 40 of us went to the Melbourne Cup. Hired a couple of floors of the Melbourne casino. Playing golf every day.” This very quickly became Molloy’s life, helicopters and champagne and celebrities, a culture of conspicuous consumption that now seems dated, but was then all the central city aspired to. Today its last great bastion is Headquarters, where the leading lights of the era still keep the flame alive. At its peak, the scene was acidly chronicled by gossip columnist Bridget Saunders in the Sunday Star-Times, and celebrated by the NBR’s rich list. Euro was its stage, its beating heart. “I don’t know how I got it so right with Euro,” he says. “But I got it awfully right.” THE SIGN WHICH GREETS DINERS ON ARRIVAL TO HEADQUARTERS (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) On a damp Friday night early in June, a queue formed outside Headquarters at around 11pm. The place was pumping, just the right side of uncomfortably full, though Molloy told me the following day that it did only 35% of its peak turnover – “relatively quiet”. It’s a hospitality Frankenstein, open from 11am until very late, fine dining at one end, a whisky bar in the middle, a sports bar that becomes a dancefloor at the other. The tension creates a customer experience that can seem almost comically bad – speakers drowning out conversation while dinner is served, and an epic battle through the dancefloor to the bathroom for diners. Yet the staff are attentive and accommodating, which helps smooth its edges. Besides, for Molloy, the only proof of a destination’s worth is its popularity, and by that measure it’s inarguably a success. At midnight the dancefloor is packed, filled with people in their thirties and forties dancing and drinking with an abandon many of the new Viaduct venues seem designed to discourage. Over on the dining side, a large U-shaped couch is filled with a set of TVNZ employees who’ve been there since 3pm. It’s hard to find anyone who isn’t having a good time. The Viaduct is going through one of its periodic softenings, perhaps as a result of a large influx of new venues like Saint Alice and Dr Rudi’s, and very few have much of a queue. At Headquarters, the queue is out the door. I lined up behind Devin Patuawa, a young, sharply dressed visual merchandiser, and told him I was writing a story about Molloy. “I hear he’s a real cunt,” he said, his eyes shining. This word hangs around Molloy. “I’m an absolute cunt with a capital C,” he said on a call with The Project’s producer Jon Bridges. Kirsty Kilgour has worked for Molloy for over a decade, describes him as a “mad genius” and seems to genuinely love his rough edges. “I wanted to get staff t-shirts for winter that read ‘my boss is a cunt’,” she says. He regularly refers to himself that way, and more regularly to others perceiving him as one. The reputation has been hard-earned over decades. In 2002 he was fined $7000 by the employment tribunal for unjustified dismissal after physically restraining waitress Melanie Cheung from transcribing what he was saying to her. There was an incident involving astrologist Don Murray, who has published bizarre insinuations about Molloy over a period of years, and pro boxer Sean Sullivan, which made Rachel Glucina’s ‘best tiffs and tantrums of 2009’. And in 2014 a long-running defamation proceeding against Molloy, brought by racing executive Greg Purcell, was settled for a six-figure sum and an apology from Molloy. “My claims were baseless,” his statement read. Throughout all this, his businesses careened onwards. As Euro swelled, so did Molloy’s myth. “It was so intoxicating. Suddenly going from being nothing, a nobody who never got invited to a party, to being on everybody’s dance card. Everybody’s. I mean everybody’s. Even [billionaire Oracle CEO] Larry Ellison had me out on his boat.” At the same time, his love life picked up again. “I met another amazing woman. Got married, had five kids,” he says. “She’s gone too now.” Euro was the stage for a frenetic decade for Molloy. Buoyed by its success, he set up Danny Doolans, “named after my grandfather”, an Irish pub that became another hit. “I had such a good run, I thought I could just do anything.” He poured himself into one of the most ambitious ventures New Zealand had seen to that point: a huge, two-level club called Cardiac. Even by the standards of the time, it was extreme. There was a secret “naughty bar” through the toilets, which were unisex. “We put facilities in, so if you wanted to shag, you could do it.” MOLLOY OUT FRONT OF THE MAIN ENTRANCE TO HEADQUARTERS (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) Cardiac was a significant departure from what he knew, away from his Viaduct stomping ground, in a beautiful heritage building on the corner of High and Shortland Sts, at the bottom of the towers full of lawyers further up the hill. “I thought there’d be a whole lot of suits come after work to drink, I’d give them a modest little feed. They’d go home and I’d make a lot of money. Didn’t happen.” He hired pricey DJs like Roger Perry, at the peak of Auckland’s house scene, and hosted hundreds of people, yet “at the end of the night, the tills were empty”. Cardiac coincided with ecstasy and cocaine flowing into the city and quickening the pulse of its nightlife. “They mostly came to snort and drink water, and I just didn’t know what to do.” It’s not hard to imagine that his current opposition to drug liberalisation comes from the bitter experience of hosting full rooms of people high on someone else’s supply. In November of 2003, he was declared bankrupt, owing over $1m, in part due the Cardiac fitout, which he described at the time as “fairly adjacent” to $2.5m. It was a huge setback for Molloy, one which saw him lose the social capital he’d gained, and from which he took years to recover. In April of this year, Headquarters hosted an afternoon event, one only Molloy could have dreamed up or staged. A fundraising auction, featuring a who’s who of New Zealand political, sporting and media elites: Graham Henry, Paula Bennett, Stephen Fleming, Lance O’Sullivan, Shane Jones, Don Brash, Duncan Garner and more. Tickets were $150 a pop, which bought you “lamb and piglet banquet”, pavlova for dessert and “beer and bubbles as required”: a fantasy of 90s New Zealand excess. Attendees bid on the chance to have lunch with the various celebrity groups, mostly clustered by background: cricketers, Crowd Goes Wild hosts, league players, Dancing with the Stars judges, Brian and Hannah Tamaki. (Molloy has lately become acquainted with the Destiny Church founders and attended a recent service.) The final item on the agenda was also the most bizarre: a meal with Hone Harawira and Don Brash. When first asked, Harawira’s response was as you’d expect. “Fuck off, I’m not doing that.” Then Molloy reminded him of the cause. The fundraiser came about after Harawira met Molloy while dining at Headquarters a few months earlier. The former Mana party leader told his host about TaiTokerau rugby league, a breakaway competition he’d helped set up in the far north. Run on passion, completely lacking in funds. “If I do a raffle up here, I’ll make $35,” Harawira told Molloy. That night, Te Tai Tokerau rugby league ended up $75,000 richer. A transformative sum. “I couldn’t dream of that kind of money,” says Harawira. Despite the ideological gulf between the pair – Molloy describes himself as a “Darwinist, basically”, Harawira’s Mana Party advocated for nationalisation of monopolies and duopolies – they get on well. “He’s a go-getter, kind of like me,” says Harawira. “He’s not a person to sit around on his arse.” Harawira met Owen Glenn at the auction, who offered his boat for the lunch date with Brash. So it came to be that a firebrand of the left headed out on a superyacht, after an event organised by a committed Tory, for the benefit of some of New Zealand’s most impoverished children. (Don Brash didn’t show up for lunch.) The lunch is not Molloy’s only charitable endeavour: currently 50% of the proceeds of Headquarters’ Sunday dinners are donated to organisations such as the City Mission. Former National Party president Michelle Boag is a neighbour and friend of Molloy’s and helped organise the auction. She says he’s “incredibly generous”, but a “flawed character”. “He’s a constant doer, therefore he makes mistakes. But people who don’t make mistakes don’t do anything,” she says. “Leo has lived about five lives.” MOLLOY GIVING ORDERS IN MID-JUNE (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) After the crushing failure of Cardiac, Molloy licked his wounds for a spell, doing some design consulting, before a chance encounter hauled him back to hospitality. One afternoon he bumped into Mark Wyborn, part of Viaduct Harbour Holdings, the hugely wealthy collective which owns the Viaduct. “You need Auckland and Auckland needs you,” he told Molloy, and shortly after lent him the money to start his next venture. Cowboys, like most things with Molloy, wasn’t a hugely sophisticated concept. Staff wore stetsons and customers were encouraged to do the same. Yet sophistication can be the enemy of fun, and Cowboys was another success, the more so when a second location opened in Queenstown. Molloy says he and his then-wife saw the future of the area on a trip down, and immediately set about plans for opening a branch there. The bars powered his recovery from Cardiac, helping finance less successful ventures like Harry’s Place in Parnell. But when his second marriage fell apart, Cowboys was lost, too, and by 2016 Molloy was adrift again. Wyborn’s group came to the rescue once more, offering Molloy a site on the western corner of the Viaduct that had never before been available. The rent was incredible: free – the only catch being that he had to have it open in time for the Lions tour. Molloy had Headquarters open six months later, just in time, the pace helped by his giving the tradespeople involved minority stakes (since bought out). After two years it was given a second lease, out to May 2021, this time paying market rent. It now employs 70 people over summer and 50 in winter, and Molloy is often found at the restaurant on the waterside, at a table he likens to a mafia don’s favourite, because it has his back to the wall and a view of the whole operation. THE EXTERIOR OF HEADQUARTERS (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) When I first meet him he’s at the next setting over, running a tasting with his GM Kimmi Curtane and two friends he jokingly describes as “hired muscle”. After raging against Bernie Monk, he’s interrupted by yelling from the pavement outside. A man with long hair and an e-bike is remonstrating with him. “They’re throwing me out, mate,” he says. Molloy heads around to the entrance, where the man attempts to gain re-entry. “You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” the man tells Headquarters staff. “I don’t want to stuff up your business.” The scene is half menace, half farce, with tension in the air as the man refuses to leave the entrance. “I couldn’t care less,” Molloy tells the customer. “Now get on your bike and fuck off.” When I talk to longtime staff about Molloy, the common sentiment is that his willingness to confront situations like that himself is part of what makes them enjoy working for him. “It’s so refreshing to have a business person who does what they say they’re going to do,” says Kilgour. “I’ve worked for a lot of douchebag bosses,” says duty manager Ruben O’Connell. “He’s one of the only ones who really has your back.” Those close to Molloy frequently see him deploying his will and his temper to causes which require it. Yet the incident with The Project exemplified his dark side. It began innocuously enough, with a patron emailing the restaurant complaining after wind blew confetti from a neighbouring table into the water. The reply dripped with sarcasm. “Clearly it’s something Stevie Wonder would’ve seen but not our bloody brain dead staff”, it read in part, and the tone practically ensured it would become news. It was signed Kimmi Delicious, but clearly authored by Molloy. Still, it wouldn’t have been a hugely controversial piece – “a boring beat-up of an environmental story”, is how The Project’s Kanoa Lloyd laughingly describes it – were it not for the fury it aroused in him. THE SHARED PUBLIC SPACE AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF HEADQUARTERS (IMAGE: TINA TILLER) Molloy was in Bali at the time, and Project executive producer Jon Bridges says he was initially chatty. “He was charming: ‘hey fella, how are you doing?’,” as Bridges recalls. Then the tone abruptly changed. “People who mess with me, there’s always tears and they’re never mine,” Molloy said, according to Bridges. “Don’t you know who I am? Who my sister is?” Molloy’s sister is TV producer Dame Julie Christie, until recently a board member at MediaWorks, the parent company of Three, The Project’s broadcaster. (Molloy denies mentioning his sister, flatly calling Bridges’ claim “bullshit”.) His tone in the phone call, parts of which were aired on the show, felt deadly serious, though Molloy claims it was taken out of context and from a conversation he asked to be off the record. The incident didn’t end with the broadcast. Lloyd says she and the segment’s producer received days of abusive text messages from Molloy. “If you get one allegation wrong and damage HQ [Headquarters]… I will pursue all options at my disposal,” he wrote. “And I mean all options.” Another darkly suggested the pair were under surveillance. He cut short his holiday, and wrote a long social media post under the Headquarters account saying he wished “the parents of Kanoa Lloyd… had used rubber prophylactics”. She replied to his texts saying, “it’s wild how mad you are about this. Go for a swim, man,” before eventually blocking his number. Lloyd says she was largely unfazed due to strong support around her, but worries for those who might become targets without such networks. Bridges calls the incident “a bizarre brush with a bizarre character”. Molloy now says he’s over the episode, but days ago, and more than six weeks after the incident, he sent a text to myself, Lloyd and Bridges, claiming to be “fucking outraged that MediaWorks used a plastic confetti glitter bomb” at the Dancing with the Stars wrap party. “How many fucking turtles died because of this outrage?” Molloy is a strange figure. “I’m not a typical Kiwi,” he says, accurately, “in the sense that I’m not that shy and I’m not that modest.” He’s manifestly a gifted hospitality operator, capable of taking the raw materials of food and drink and a location and spinning them up into something which draws people in by their thousands. Yet there’s a lot more to him than that. “He’s a better friend than an enemy,” says Boag ruefully. The flipside of the garrulous host is a man who holds immense, obsessive grudges, even against those who barely know him, like restaurant critic and co-host of The Project Jesse Mulligan, who cannot recall ever meeting him or reviewing his work, and Pasture’s Ed Verner, whose only crime seems to be a business model Molloy thinks foolish. Molloy’s torrent of opinions, his endless provocations, his seething threats and fury are mostly funny to those who love him. Even if he goes too far at times, they see his lashing out as an acceptable price to pay for all the generous, loyal, driven qualities that are packed into his diminutive frame. When he wants you to like him, he’s very hard to resist. His mind is sharp, his tolerance low, his vulgarity often charming, his stories extraordinary. In the right light he can seem like a heroic throwback to a New Zealander fast fading: rugged, take-no-prisoners, brawl-and-resolve-it-over-a-beer, able to break bread with everyone from PMs to paupers, more than willing to dish it out and take it. Yet many of those who have felt his wrath see him in another light. A front runner, combative only on his own terms, willing to do almost anything to win, and unable to see that regardless of his origins and struggles he is now an immensely successful and connected man in his 60s who should know far better. To them he represents another, far less beloved New Zealand archetype: a stunted adolescent and a cruel, pitiless bully.
  20. 10 points
    eastern whipbird

    Now the sh#t hits the fan

    I have never belonged to a political party and never will. I prepared and presented submissions to the select committee on the Racing Bill in 2003. The only person on the Committee who had any idea as to what was going on was Sue Bradford who told me afterwards that she had a couple of broodmares. The National Party have had an abysmal record of non-support for Racing typified by their most recent Ministers but even worse by the political hacks they they have foisted on the Racing Board like the current Chairperson. The current spokesperson, if that is what she is, probably doesn't know where her closest TAB is..
  21. 10 points

    TAB website down for maintenance

    From what I know and from joining a few dots together: Some time ago the 'bright sparks' decided that the new site format should give punters only what they perceived to be the critical information needed to make a decision of which horse to bet on. They wanted to streamline the information provided so chose to implement a style more akin to the KISS style which works in some situations, but IMO, not on a TAB site. Punters, even the Joe Average's, tend to have their own 'systems' & they religiously stick to them, be they based on recent form, breeding, horses for courses, barrier draws, speed maps, gear changes, a combination of factors, etc. etc.. Many also want to know the prize-money, ownership etc. too. The 'picture' needs to be a complete one. The site also needs to react quickly once the punter decides how their precious dollars are going to be invested. To many clicks and lagging are a certain way to send punters to the overseas opposition, or to make them keep their money in their wallets in protest. Making it difficult to find & use any of the above (and a few more I've probably missed), all of which were easily viewed or used on the old site, was pure folly. To put a label on it one could call it "How to alienate your current customer base 101'. If it was working in a way that encouraged a new generation of punters into the game, then I would be willing to forgive some of the things that frustrate the hell out of me, but it fails here too. Then, the industry leaders have the gall to deny there are major issues, preferring to promote ' fairy tales' instead! Wow, they are seemingly intent to just keep on insulting Kiwi punters, spending to fix the stuff that should have been available & working at the launch, and to spin the line that the obscenely huge initial spend on the site is good value is truly beyond belief. Some fixes have been made since the inception, but at what extra cost? I am no expert in the IT field but I suspect that getting the base platform right from day one is critical to the success or otherwise of a site. A few tweaks will always be needed, but the scale of changes needed here are signs of a disaster being covered up. Unfortunately, what we have is a 'dog', cosmetically applying fixes might make it a 'prettier, marginally more user-friendly dog' over time, but it will never fix the underlying deficiencies. Rome's burning fiercely!
  22. 10 points
    Marvellous season for you Maria and Race Cafe: Enjoy your time away. You have Revamped the Race Cafe site competition Factor...... Administration and running these weekly competitions must be a huge time commitment.From you. I will continue to support RCafe. Congratulations to todays winning pair IVAN and CASTLETON . ( Their previous form suggested a win would be next season). The Second placed combination The Paw / Kundalini will be shattered in running second.
  23. 9 points

    Errol Skelton

    Final flight for Errol Skelton New Zealand racing is set to farewell another member of the Skelton family with the sudden death of Errol Bryan Skelton. Skelton, just a month short of his 82ndbirthday, passed away last Friday at home in Levin and a celebration of his life will be held at the Salvation Army Worship and Community Centre in Levin on Thursday at 2pm. The five Skelton brothers – Bill, Frank, Bob, Errol and Max – are synonymous with New Zealand racing, original West Coasters hailing from Cobden in Greymouth and all enjoying success as jockeys, though Errol’s main highlights came as a trainer. The brothers rode a total of 4581 winners in New Zealand with Bill setting the benchmark and becoming the first New Zealand jockey to notch 2000 wins, while Bob included a Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Van Der Hum among his host of victories and Max also enjoyed success overseas. Both Bill and Bob Skelton passed away in 2016, several years after brother Frank, and now with the death of Errol, Max Skelton (living in Christchurch) is the sole survivor of the famous five and feeling the latest loss. “We were all good mates – competitive on racedays, but we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company,” Max Skelton said. “Errol’s death has left a big hole. We were pretty close. He was quite a character, often funny without trying to be, and he loved helping people. He was all set to come for the Grand National meeting next month.” While overshadowed by his brothers as a jockey, Skelton still managed to ride 37 winners from 1955 before increasing weight and injuries from a fall saw him switch to training in 1964. His most memorable win as a jockey was the 1963 Otago Steeplechase on Tarmine. Skelton retired from training in 2006 with 296 wins in New Zealand, the latest being Royal Shaka at Wanganui in September 2004. He never had a big team in work and in the twilight years of training he pottered around with just a few horses. But the statistics don’t tell the whole story. Within his 40 years of training he saddled up some of the best horses in the country and his success spilled over to Australia. “He was so casual with his horses and they responded so well to him,” Max Skelton said. “Some thought he was too casual, but he got results. “One of the biggest thrills Errol got was winning the Greymouth Cup. Brother Bill was there and his son, David, rode him, and Frank, my other brother, had a share in him.” To go back to his hometown and win that 1994 Greymouth Cup was indeed special for Skelton and Grey Raider went on three starts later to also win the Kumara Gold Nuggets (2000m) for the same combination. Skelton initially rose to prominence in the early 1970s with the versatile Frederik, who won 11 races, including the 1971 Listed Parliamentary Handicap (2200m), the Grand National Hurdles (4200m) twice, the Wellington Steeplechase (5400m), the Hawke’s Bay Hurdles (3100m) and the McGregor Grant Steeplechase (4900m). Rose Mellay then emerged to win the 1974 Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) with Bob Skelton aboard after being runner-up the previous season in both the (then Gr.2) New Zealand Derby (2400m) and Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) when they were run at Riccarton for the last time. Skelton later produced his top filly Our Flight, who won the 1982 Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie after just failing to land the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) – New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) double at Riccarton when going down by a mere nose to Clansman in the first leg. Our Flight’s eight wins that season also included Skelton’s hometown feature, the Gr.1 Bayer Classic (1600m), and she was third in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), winding up the 1982-83 New Zealand Filly of the Year. Sly Wink was the top filly on the 1976-77 New Zealand 2YO Free Handicap for Skelton. She won 13 races, was Group One runner-up in the 1978 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) and 1977 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and third in the Gr.1 Railway Handicap (1200m). Rose And Thistle was a hardy performer, winning 10 of his 106 starts, including the Gr.3 Queen Elizabeth Handicap (2400m) at Ellerslie and was runner-up in the 1981 Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and the Gr.1 New Zealand St Leger (2800m). Skelton regularly took Rose And Thistle to Australia, where his many fine efforts included a second in the Gr.3 VATC Herbert Power Handicap (2400m) and thirds in both the 1984 Gr.1 Brisbane Cup (3200m) and Gr.2 P.J. O’Shea Stakes (2232m) and probably the most memorable of all, a fourth in the 1984 Melbourne Cup when ridden by Bob Skelton after being among the tailenders in the 1982 edition with the same rider. In 1990 Skelton won the O’Shea Stakes - Brisbane Cup double with Shuzohra, a dual Group Three winner in New Zealand who went on to finish third in the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), the Gr.2 Turnbull Stakes and the Sandown Cup (2400m) and was unplaced in the 1990 Melbourne Cup. Shuzohra ended her career with a second in the 1991 Gr.1 STC BMW Stakes (2400m) after being runner-up to Castletown in both the Gr.1 Wellington Cup (3200m) and Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2400m). Other top performers for Skelton included Asheen (Gr.2 Cuddle Stakes, 1600m, second Gr.1 Easter Handicap, 1600m), Kosha (10 wins; Gr.2 ARC Flag Inns Trophy, 1600m, second Gr.1 Telegraph Handicap, 1200m) and Fairfield Lad (11 wins; Gr.3 CJC Winter Cup, 1600m).
  24. 9 points

    Lisa Allpress

    What is this obsession you have with Chris Dell?I will remind you that you are only as good as the stock you ride. He has had 4 rides for me this season and i cannot complain about any ride and that is hard for me to do.I watched him ride a horse called Blue Breeze and again i thought he had ridden it well My horse's owners wanted a change with a better credential jockey, the horse went worse and the same happened with Blue Breeze. The reason i put Chris on was for his work ethic, he attends the track every day, rides anything and never complains..If every jockey in NZ had his work ethic you would have to pay for stablehands to ride work, just like the old days
  25. 9 points
    Chris Wood

    Name for my horse please.

    Today’s trial was a little bit disappointing. I will tinker with his gear, and won’t name him until I am confident he can do something when he steps out. The offer I put up still stands and I will sort through the names and let you know the name I choose. I will also keep you updated as to his progress, and the gear amendments. Have a great weekend!