A very good read, over the years I have had about a dozen opportunities to registers in racing, but have declined so far
because of what it can be like as told in this report.
Can u imagine 28.8 going under some elses juridiction!!!
Not for this little black duck.
Topic: Bullying In The Racing Industry
Posted: 20 hours 58 minutes ago at 12:39pm Horse trainers speak out about alleged culture of bullying in the racing industry
A champion horse trainer who made headlines last year when she disappeared for three days has spoken out for the first time about an allegedly toxic culture of bullying and harassment in the racing industry.
Bindi Cheers vanished into dense bushland last July after one of her horses was scratched from a race north of Sydney.
She left the Hawkesbury Races in a distressed state, drove to Beresfield, near Newcastle, where she parked her horse float at a service station and wandered into bushland. She was intent on taking her own life.
But she survived for more than three days without food or water before police found her.
In an exclusive interview with the ABC, Ms Cheers said she was driven to breaking point after allegedly being bullied for raising serious safety concerns about her local track at Taree.
The ABC can also reveal that law firm Slater and Gordon is representing Ms Cheers in a suit against the Taree Wingham Racing Club and two club officials in the NSW District Court for alleged trespass and negligence.
She is one of more than 10 trainers who have spoken to the ABC about bullying in the industry.
They say many are being victimised for speaking out.
The CEO of Racing NSW, Peter V'landys, strenuously denied her claims. He said Racing NSW officials had gone out of their way to help Ms Cheers and denied that bullying was a problem in the industry.
Complaint wasn't taken seriously
In a statement of claim, Ms Cheers alleges she was subjected her to an 18-month-long campaign of bullying and harassment at the Taree Wingham Race Club.
"It was horrendous, it was just, each day, you didn't know what you were going to walk into," she said.
Ms Cheers alleges that on December 3, 2014, two club officials came to her home, where they abused and threatened her.
She said her problems started when she raised safety concerns about the track, including sand on the track, kangaroos and inadequate fencing.
"It was something that wasn't taken seriously. We were all basically acknowledged as whingers. You know, 'Go away, we don't want to know about it'," Ms Cheers said.
So, she helped arrange a petition which was sent to Racing NSW in late 2014
In her statement of claim, Ms Cheers says that around the same time, club CEO Brian Leggett came to her home. She told the ABC her husband, Peter Cheers, was at work but her mother, Julia, was home babysitting their then three-year-old daughter, Nicki.
The statement of claim alleges Mr Leggett "blocked her path of exit from her property" and approached her with a letter.
"He got really aggressive and demanding and kept calling me different things," she said.
The claim alleges Mr Leggett was "yelling, advancing in a menacing manner and threatening that he would make her life a misery".
"I called the police," Ms Cheers said.
She says Mr Leggett eventually left the property but then another car arrived. Her claim says it was club president, Greg Coleman.
It states that Mr Coleman grabbed her arm, pushed her in the chest four times, yelled, behaved in an aggressive manner, and threatened that she would lose her trainer's licence.
Mr Leggett and Mr Coleman strenuously denied all the allegations but said it would be inappropriate to comment further because the matters are before the court.
Ms Cheers says she reported the incident to the chief steward, but he took no action.
The CEO of Racing NSW, Peter V'landys, said there was no evidence the men had done anything wrong.
Mr V'landys said she didn't raise the allegations of bullying until she was banned from the track, 18 months later.
However, Ms Cheers has provided the ABC with a copy of a complaint she says she sent to Racing NSW a few days after the incident, in which she complained of "bullying, harassment and intimidation".
Mr V'landys said the men were simply trying to serve Ms Cheers with a notice to attend a meeting to answer charges that she had left her horses unattended at the track, which had compromised track safety.
"Sometimes participants do the wrong thing and then when it comes unstuck, they become the victims," Mr V'landys said.
"At all times they were trying to assist her but she just didn't like the fact that she couldn't leave these horses unattended."
Ms Cheers says in 2015 she had a mental breakdown and took some time off work.
"I was unable to go to the track every day because I was unwell," she said.
In March last year she tried to return to Taree but she was not allowed to train on the track.
Mr V'landys said the club did not want her there because she was "causing stress".
Ms Cheers said she was forced to travel an extra two hours per day to the track at Port Macquarie. Because of the much longer commute time, she began training her horses in the bush, in the paddocks and on the beach.
'I wasn't intending to live'
These training arrangements, Ms Cheers said, meant that on the day of the Hawkesbury race, in July 2016, her horses were not as competitive.
Her first two horses raced and came last and second last.
"The stewards called me in and said they know my situation with Taree but there's nothing they can do to help me. It's not good enough."
Her next horse was scratched after playing up in the gates. Bindi Cheers says she snapped.
"There was nowhere to go. What could I do? I can't use a racetrack. Can't get them anywhere to go. So I went in and handed my licence to the chief steward and said, 'You want my licence? Here's my licence. I've had enough. Enough's enough. I can't take it anymore,'" she said.
She drove her horses to a service station 170 kilometres away, where she fed and watered them. She left them in an area with CCTV cameras so they would be found.
"I left with the wrong intentions, obviously, and took a rope," she said.
"I wasn't intending to live those four days.
"The branch broke and then I sat down and I cried and I cried and I cried and then it got dark and I just thought, 'Well, I'll work it out in the morning.'
"And then it was, like, 'Obviously have to pick a better branch', and it was, like 'Well, obviously I'm not good at what I'm trying to do.'"
"And then after a while it was, like, 'I could live in the bush.'
"And then I decided to go out for water and I was going to walk back to the cliffs and that's when they found me."
Mr V'landys said on the day she disappeared she was abusive to stewards, who had tried to help her.
"They even gave her a pamphlet with all the numbers on it, she threw it on the ground and stormed off," Mr V'landys said.
Ms Cheers has given up her career in horse training and her husband, Peter, now runs the business.
She says she is speaking out in the interest of other trainers.
Licence pulled after successful compo claim
Pam Webber is another trainer who claims she was bullied by racing authorities.
Ms Webber is suing Racing NSW and Mr V'landys in the NSW Supreme Court for alleged restraint of trade, discrimination and oppressive conduct.
Her successful 30-year career came to a halt in 2012 when she fell off a horse on the track.
"I was in a lot of pain, a lot of neck pain and a lot of back pain and the back pain gave me leg pain, so I couldn't work," she said.
She made a worker's compensation claim to Racing NSW, but they rejected the claim.
"I was quite stunned they could possibly think that it wasn't work related. I was unfit for work and then I had to try and find out how I was going to keep my business going," she said.
Pam Webber said she battled through courts for four years before she finally got her money, but within weeks of that win, Racing NSW revoked her trainer's licence.
"It seemed, as it came immediately after we won the final case with workers' compensation, as a punishment for standing up to them. I couldn't believe that I'd got over all those hurdles, all that hardship and they were going to pull the rug from underneath me."
Mr V'landys said Ms Webber caused most of the delays in court proceedings and said her licence was not renewed because she was riding against the advice of her own doctors, posing a danger to herself and others.
"Again, it's easy to portray yourself as the victim when you've done the wrong thing," Mr V'landys said.
'People are giving up and walking away'
Gordon Yorke is a veteran horse trainer and one of the founders of the NSW Trainers Association. He says many trainers are bullied by officials if they speak out.
"They just shut you out. And the more you complain, the more they take you on personally and the more they make it tougher for you," he said.
"It appears we've got these clubs now that are bullying trainers, 'We want you, we don't want you.'"
Like Bindi Cheers, Gordon Yorke says he was prevented from training at a track after raising safety concerns. But the Coffs Harbour club told the ABC it was a commercial decision.
"It was obviously bullying. 'We don't want him back, he embarrasses us. We're not having him near our private boys' club,'" he said.
"What the hell is this about? You know, 'If he rocks the boat, throw him out of the boat.'"
He managed to survive by moving to another track but knows many others who haven't made it.
"Everybody complains about it, the older generation, people my age, are giving it up and walking away, the younger generation don't understand it so they just think it's the rules and it's not good for the industry," he said.
Mr V'landys said Mr Yorke was "indebted" to the club and had been aggressive and abusive to officials.
"Again, it's one of those situations where the person's done the wrong thing and then tried to become the victim in not being allowed on the racecourse," he said.
"We've got 126 racecourses around NSW. People that abide by the rules, they seem to have no problems.