Three Sydney sporting and racing identities "could face life bans from race tracks across the world if they refuse to front a stewards' inquiry into the poor performance of More Joyous, the mare trained by Gai Waterhouse and owned by adman John Singleton," according to Kogoy & Fitzpatrick of THE AUSTRALIAN.
At the end of Monday's hearing -- during which Singleton "traded insults with the Waterhouse family" -- Racing New South Wales Chief Steward Ray Murrihy "issued a warning to ex-footballer Andrew Johns, brothel owner Eddie Hayson and former jockey Allan Robinson to co-operate with the inquiry." Murrihy said, "The strongest sanction we as a panel can impose is a 'warning off' and that's a life ban." The trio "are crucial witnesses in the matter, which centres around whether bookmaker Tom Waterhouse passed on inside information from his mother Gai about More Joyous' fitness to Johns" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/7).
TRIP TO THE VET: In Sydney, Chris Roots reported Gai Waterhouse "faces sanction after conceding she had failed to keep More Joyous' treatment records up to date in the lead-up to last month's All Aged Stakes." Waterhouse conceded More Joyous had heat in her neck, but said that "she didn't believe it was a problem." More Joyous was given Cartrophen, an anti-arthritic drug, on Thursday, then the antibiotic Trimprim, on the request of Singleton's vet, John Peatfield, on Friday -- "but neither were entered in the treatment records book." The treatments were invoiced by Waterhouse's vet, Leanne Begg, "but not logged in the treatment book." Gai Waterhouse said, ''We never tried to hide anything." Murrihy replied, ''I'm not suggesting you did, but it's important those records are accurate'' (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/7).
JOB FEARS: In Canberra, Davies, McClymont & Gridneff reported Johns "fears being sacked by Channel Nine for his role in the More Joyous racing controversy," believing the network values its multi-million-dollar deal with Waterhouse above his services. That was the evidence given by Singleton on Monday afternoon, who told a stewards inquiry that "Johns was extremely upset and anxious that he may have 'embellished' the information given to him by Waterhouse about the state of the horse" (CANBERRA TIMES, 5/6).
'MASSIVE CONCERNS': In Sydney, Ray Thomas reported Murrihy asked Gai Waterhouse "if she had relayed any information about the condition of the horse to her son." Waterhouse said,
"I'll happily swear on a Bible, the first time I made contact with my son was after the race when Mr. Singleton screamed abuse at me." Singleton told stewards that "he had not been aware there was any problem with More Joyous until race day." Singleton said, "I had massive concerns when I heard Allan Robinson and Andrew Johns passed on information which Duncan Grimley said was a bit too close to the bone. I wasn't happy. I was what Andrew Johns would call 'agitated.'" Waterhouse interjected, "I would say drunk." Singleton replied: "I had two to three beers before (the race) and as much as I could after" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/7).
ON THE OFFENSIVE: Also in Sydney, Paul Kent wrote "the longer the hearing went the more it began to be confirmed that, in the battle between conspiracy and stupidity, stupidity wins nine out of every 10 times." Finally, it took Gai Waterhouse to call it. She said, "Chinese whispers." Waterhouse had listened to evidence for more than six hours. She said, "It's an absolute disgrace." She "pointed across to Singleton, who had breathed life into their whispers by airing them in several television interviews before and after the race 10 days ago." Waterhouse said,
"You're an absolute sham, John. You really are. It's a beat-up jockey, a brothel owner and a footballer who can't even turn up to Racing NSW today and show their faces. Meanwhile, we're all looking ridiculous."
Singleton "sank in his chair, seemingly conceding for the first time how foolish Johns had made him look" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/6).