Wong in fury at Aussie scandal
HONGKONG trainer Alex Wong Siu-tan is seething after being unwittingly trapped in a scandal currently rocking the Australian turf.
The affair yesterday led to prominent Sydney and New Zealand trainer Graeme Rogerson receiving a six-month ban in an inquiry involving a horse owned by Wong.
Rogerson, a frequent visitor to the territory, was disqualified by the stewards of the Australian Jockey Club for giving false and misleading evidence concerning the performance of Wong's colt Total Effect in the Dual Quest Handicap at Randwick, Sydney, on Wednesday.
The AJC will later consider a recommendation to ban the well-bred Total Effect from ever racing again.
A visibly shaken Wong stressed yesterday: ''I know absolutely nothing about Rogie's (Rogerson's) ban or what they have said about my fellow.
''I only found out about the inquiry this morning and have been waiting to find out the outcome. I can't tell you how irritating this is.
''I bought Total Effect from Rogie as I liked the horse's pedigree.
''He's by Last Tycoon out of a Lyphard mare and I thought that if he could win a few races as a two-year-old he would be a valuable addition to my bloodstock interests.
''I have a few mares down there and I wanted to use him as a stallion. So I'm desperate for him to win races to boost his stallion value and make his progeny worth more.
''I don't bet outside Hongkong and this kind of thing is no good for me at all.
''I want my horse to win races not to get mixed up in this business. It is really, really annoying.'' Total Effect, an uneasy favourite in the betting, dropped out early in the race won by his heavily-backed stablemate Carry On Winning before running home strongly under Jim Cassidy for third spot.
Total Effect was then found to have had an operation on his near-fore hoof prior to racing which had left him with no feeling in that hoof and unable to stride out properly.
Wong stormed: ''I don't know anything about this operation. My trainer should have told me. I will now have to contact my stud manager to petition the stewards to allow the horse to continue racing.'' Rogerson immediately lodged an appeal and was granted a stay of proceedings to allow him to train his large Randwick-based team until the appeal is heard.
Rogerson was also fined A$10,000 for presenting Total Effect in a condition that may affect his performance.
There is no suggestion that Wong was in any way involved.
Rogerson maintains that the operation was done in the best interests of the horse.
''We did it to reduce pain,'' he insisted. ''The stewards have a job to do but I know in my own mind that I'm innocent.'' But Rogerson did admit to yesterday's hearing that he gave misleading evidence at the inquiry which immediately followed the race on Wednesday.
''I should have told the stewards at the time but I wanted to talk to my vet first but he had left the course,'' said Rogerson.
The AJC's chief stipendiary steward John Schreck was having none of it. ''When we asked you why the horse hadn't raced for six weeks you told us you were unsure why and that you thought he had raced in the time you were in Melbourne,'' he told Rogerson.
''You said that as a calculated attempt to mislead the stewards.'' He added that what Rogerson had done was ''in the top echelon of offences'' committed under code AR175G.
Total Effect was a big drifter in the betting market. He opened as the 6-4 on favourite before easing to 10-9 favourite.
In contrast, Carry On Winning landed an old-fashioned betting plunge, hardening from 7-2 to 5-2 before being returned the 11-4 second favourite.
Rogerson, a large supplier of horses to Eddie K. C. Lo and other local handlers, trained last season's unplaced Invitation Bowl favourite Quick Score.
To add to the Hongkong connection, Carry On Winning was ridden by Terry Duckett who spent a season riding here for Cliff Roberson in the early eighties.
No action was taken against either Duckett or Cassidy who rode Gun Sin to his first ever win for Lo on Invitation Cup day two seasons ago.
Carry On Winning was named by his Singaporean-based owners after the horse of the same name that races here.