Starter Tibbatts makes the first move for peace

Robin Parke

HE'S going to lose a few hours beauty sleep but starter Mike Tibbatts could be well on his way to defusing the unfortunate situation that arose recently with our licensed trainers.

Tibbatts, who has been going up the ladder and pressing the button that sends them on their way for eight years, is not a pin-up boy with the 24 trainers who recently signed a petition asking for him to be replaced.

But Tibbatts is happily prepared to make the trek from his Beas River encampment to Sha Tin on most weekday mornings so that horses can be sent regularly through the starting stalls.

''I will be on hand to assist trainers who might want to put them through at the top of the straight. It's actually something I have wanted to do for some time,'' he said yesterday.

And Tibbatts, whose racing background includes a stint in Iran when the Shah's empire was tottering, is hopeful that this increasing co-operation will take the confrontational aspect out of recent proceedings.

The starter's initiative is commendable and deserves support. And what's a few hours lost sleep anyway. Certainly better than losing a job.

TALKING of starters, they've got a new one in Macau and we may have to take back some of the criticism levelled at the esteemed RHKJC over their treatment of their poorer brethren at Taipa.

You will recall that Lester Piggott was not welcomed back to this side of the Pearl River estuary after he elected to partner a few horses at the MJC's Derby Day meeting.

It can now be revealed, however, that the aforementioned Michael Tibbatts has spent some time helping a good old army chappie called Dick Rose learn the ropes re the business of starting.

The 56-year-old Rose is an old buddy of Director of Racing, Philip Johnston, and has been around the territory - on and off - since 1960.

It certainly seems that Rose now knows the starting game - presumably courtesy of the RHKJC. He has just been appointed to the position by the MJC and begins his starting stint at Taipa today.

And the best of luck, too . . . but let's hope good old Dick is still smelling as sweet with his current employers 12 months down the line. The casualty rate among expatriates at the course is on a par with the number of chickens surviving when a fox is let loose in a henhouse.

IT was a big day for Neville Begg at Sha Tin yesterday where he chalked up a double - and it could have been an even bigger one in Sydney.

Begg was glued to Radio Australia to hear the commentary of the Group One Doncaster and felt a thrill of delight when Telesto, which he owns, was called first over the line in a three-way photo.

Unfortunately, Telesto actually finished third with the race going to Pharoah - but it was still a mighty effort.

The other big race on the programme was the AJC Derby and Begg, who jetted out to the Sydney sales last night, again took third place. Fraternity was his runner but had no answer to the Greg Hall-ridden Mahogany.

Mind you, a Sha Tin double and two top runs in Australia should have meant a relaxing trip home for Neville.

IRISH champion Mick Kinane also struck with a double yesterday but he, too, was very much in demand for the big Randwick meeting.

Mick, who made an indelible name in Australia after his Melbourne Cup triumph, received a telephone call earlier this week from Lee Freedman.

''He wanted me to ride a filly in the Derby and another one of his in the Doncaster. I like Australia but it wasn't possible because of my commitments here.

''But it's certainly nice to be asked,'' said Kinane.

And he's already eyeing another trip to Australia. Around November.