TVN boss Bruce Mann has revealed for the first time why popular presenter Caroline Searcy was dumped from the network’s race-day coverage.
There has been no shortage of feedback since we revealed last month Searcy would no longer be spotted trackside.
There was overwhelming support for Searcy, with breeders and prominent owner Nick Williams going into bat for her. Even radio king Alan Jones offered his public support for the 20-year TV presenter during the recent Scone Cup carnival.
It was widely believed Searcy’s love of breeding didn’t complement her punt-savvy colleagues, including Jason Richardson,Brent Zerafa, Richard Haynes and Richie Callander.
TVN boss Bruce Mann set the record straight when contacted by At The Track.
“We’re a TV network and what we try to do is put the best on-air combinations together,’’ Mann said.
“I have moved Jason to our race-day coverage, and I think he is a fantastic talent.
“TV networks evolve all the time and move talent around.
“We’re trying to create the best chemistry.
“Caroline is not working on our race-day coverage, she will be focusing on breeding-related TV.’’
The dumping of Searcy, the only female on the box, led to suggestions TVN was nothing more than a ‘’Boy’s Club’’.
Well, Mann sure didn’t muck about when this was put to him.
“Firstly, I’ve never thought of, brought up or mentioned gender on any occasion,’’ Mann said.
“Secondly, any newspaper outlet that has raised this issue, you only have to look at their line-up to find it (to be) only males, and who never discuss breeding.’’
The last time we bumped into Mann was down at the Launceston Cup in February. We asked him about the rollout of TVN into the NSW provincial and country areas.
Victoria’s coverage is bubbling along, yet north of the border punters have been short-changed with the out-of-town action. It’s not TVN’s fault. Talks with Sky continue. TVN have every right to hold out for the best deal.
“There are ongoing discussions,’’ Mann said.
MIDWEEK MEETING A BUMPER OF AN ISSUE
INGLIS officials are understood to be lukewarm about any plan for a Wednesday Group 1 meeting next year during The Championships.
Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club will meet this week to begin thrashing out next year’s bumper autumn program.
The ATC will dig their heels in about Racing NSW’s hopes of running the Sires Produce on the Wednesday that slots in between the two bumper Saturdays.
The ATC are worried about turnover and attendance.
Racing NSW reckon punters can leave the races and head to the nearby Easter Sales at Inglis’ historic Newmarket complex.
At The Track understands Inglis are concerned the middle day of their three-day sale would have to be shortened if a race meeting was run.
Inglis sells about 600 horses over three days, and a night session on a Wednesday would mean the Tuesday and Thursday goes much longer.
Given it’s the busiest time of year for trainers, they’d also hate to think the likes of Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller would have to hang around until 10pm to buy a yearling, only to then back up for Thursday morning trackwork.
Inglis sponsor the Sires’ Produce, and would prefer the two-year-old race to be run on a Saturday, not a school day.
It’s a good debate.
CASSIDY’S FAMILY CELEBRATION
HOW did Jimmy Cassidy plan to celebrate yesterday’s four-win haul?
“With a couple of cold beers with mum and dad,’’ said The Pumper, who at 51 remains right at the top of his game.
WENDY KEEPING BUSY
WENDY Walter is expected to attend her first race meeting tomorrow when she takes a team of horses to Goulburn.
While unlikely to carry on her late husband’s legacy, Wendy will this week roll out runners at Hawkesbury, Warwick Farm, Gosford and Goulburn. It was Goulburn where Walter had his satellite stable, and where the couple had planned to eventually relocate.
One person who has been a huge help to Wendy is jockey Peter Robl, a gifted horseman and bloke who has fronted up racedays on behalf of the stable last week.
GUY THE ADVENTURER
ONE of the more interesting stories told atGuy Walter’s funeral on Friday was how he decided to travel back to Australia from England via the Middle East in the late 1970s.
His brother Jamie revealed how Guy encountered the secret police in Turkey, visited Iran — the country in the middle of its 1979 political revolution — then woke up in an Afghan hospital after a bout of food poisoning.
Walter loved his horses, but clearly had an appetite for all things worldly and people.
Jamie dragged himself on to a plane early yesterday and arrived at Eagle Farm where the horse he owns, Sir Moments, scooped the Queensland Guineas in the final stride.
ON Friday it emerged Newcastle trainerDarren Smith had landed in hot water with stewards who reported some of his horses had been found with the banned drug cobalt.
Yesterday, some of Smith’s horses were already being transferred to
REITH DRESSED FOR SUCCESS IN HONKERS
THEY don’t come any cooler than jockeyChristian Reith.
Reith left Rosehill wearing one of his favourite Jack London jackets, pants and brown leather shoes, complete with mint-coloured laces. He also donned a pair of gold aviator glasses.
Yes, it was dark by the time Reith left the track.
Reith flew out for Hong Kong where seven rides await him at Sha Tin today. He’ll spend the next five weeks in Honkers, and no doubt be keen to spend time with his good mateTommy Berry.
As for the fashion stakes, Reith reckons he’ll be hard to catch.
“I’ll try to give (fellow jockey) Olivier Delouzea run for his money. He’s very stylish,’’ said Reith, whose parting gift to Sydney punters was victory on Cradle Me.
BEAU’S BIG BLUE
APPRENTICE Beau Appo sure picked the wrong week to make the move from Queensland to Warwick Farm.
Appo has started riding for trainer Joe Pride, and visited the local Moorebank Hotel to watch his mighty Maroons in Origin I on Wednesday night.
“I was the only bloke in there cheering them. I copped it all night,’’ said Appo, who had his first spin around Rosehill yesterday.
The 20-year-old plans to boot home his share of winners, and already sat on the likes ofSteps In Time at trackwork.
Pride had a week to forget after having his knee operated on, and was spotted hobbling around on crutches at Rosehill.
PORTELLI’S ORIGIN FAUX PAS
SPEAKING of Origin, how disappointing was it to see trainer Gary Portelli wearing a Broncos jumper at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday?
Portelli, a proud New South Welshman, reckons he was forced to wear something maroon by his mate.
How could you, Gaz?