Considering the turmoil that Queensland Racing finds itself in during its biggest week, it is not surprising that there will be some anxiety in the Victorian thoroughbred industry about what implications that turmoil has for racing in this state, says

The implosion in the Sunshine State, which started out in the greyhound industry and spread through the two other racing codes, harness and thoroughbred, has claimed four racing boards, plus most likely the CEO of Racing Queensland.

What started out as an inquiry into live baiting in greyhound racing has ended up tipping the entire racing landscape on its head, with all of the sport’s figureheads all-but-removed. Racing Queensland has been revealed to be in a perilous financial state and in the words of Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, it’s time for a ‘clean slate’.

It has prompted a furious reaction from those within the Queensland thoroughbred industry, with trainer Rob Heathcote leading the charge describing the government’s actions as a ‘nuclear bomb’ during Stradbroke week.

That consternation has spread through Victoria and New South Wales, despite the fact that the structure of racing in those two states is vastly different to that in Queensland.

In Victoria, all three industries fall under the Racing Minister as well as the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, but there is no connection between the codes in terms of governance or operations.

That means that any damage caused by the tabling of a report to state parliament next week into live baiting in Victoria will be contained to the greyhound industry.

However, the live baiting scandal combined with the cobalt issues within the thoroughbred industry and other concerns within harness racing have put the integrity structures of the three codes under the microscope by Racing Minister Martin Pakula.

It has been suggested that integrity be taken away from those running the individual codes and placed into one independent body, a centralised Racing Commission.

The concern from those in thoroughbred racing, is that a structure like that in Queensland allows for a fire of scandal to engulf all codes, not be limited to one. An example cited is an improper action by a steward operating under an ‘all-in’ integrity model could compromise all three codes of racing, not just one.

Pakula told the Herald Sun on Thursday that any model would be markedly different from Queensland, but that the situation did highlight that every governance model has its own challenges.

The competitive tensions between the three codes are nothing new. Thoroughbred racing firmly holds the position as the older brother and it has a much stronger financial footprint than both of its racing siblings.

But as has been proven in Queensland, thoroughbred racing has a lot more to lose than gain from being lumped together with harness and greyhounds.

And that’s the concern that those in the thoroughbred industry have. As the old adage goes, when you lie down with dogs.....