Where there’s smoke there’s fire. In racing – more often than not – it is a raging inferno. Which is just about where punters should have lobbed their hard-earned when backing against Sam Kavanagh-trained runners during January.

The additional charges laid last Thursday by Racing NSW stewards in the long-running Kavanagh inquiry into Midsummer Sun’s cobalt-caffeine positive from the Gosford Gold Cup surprised none. And neither will the official betting fluctuations from the races in question.

Of the charges, three additional raceday treatment cases popped up. Closer inspection of those races makes for grim reading for the integrity overlords.

While Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy was at pains to point out all six parties slapped with charges had no findings made in their respective cases yet, punters have had their cases closed. A long time ago.

The extra race-day treatment charges for Kavanagh runners relate to Invinzabeel and Palazzo Pubblico on January 17 – as well as Centre Pivot a week later.

The official betting fluctuations for each tell a very sad tale: all were significantly backed as two out of the three won.

Palazzo Pubblico ($10 into $5) and Centre Pivot ($2.60-$2.25), were only narrow winners at that. Invinzabeel was crunched from $10 into $7.50 and was only just beaten by Good Project.

If there wasn’t already a clear pattern developing in the races Kavanagh was already being questioned over – Midsummer Sun ($4 into $3.90) firmed slightly just before the Gosford Gold Cup and Palazzo Pubblico ($19-$15)  on January 7 – there was later in the month. Money talks. And the trail suggests those in the know were growing with confidence each time they crossed the line.

The rank-and-file punters? They should be entitled to kick and scream as much as they like – particularly those who remember backing Rule The River (beaten by Palazzo Pubblico on January 17) and Sasenkile (beaten by Centre Pivot on January 24). They have no way of recouping their losses.

It might have been more painless to chuck it into the fire that is the seventh circle of hell, where racing’s law enforcers are at the moment trying to clean up this almighty mess.

Fair for all

Admissions that Sydney’s top trainer Chris Waller was afforded the option to subsidise taking a small team of horses to gallop at Canterbury on Friday morning has certainly raised a few eyebrows.

For the record, Waller even went to the lengths of paying for an ambulance and paramedics to be on standby after being given permission to use the track after renovations at Rosehill had closed down some training facilities. No knock on his initiative.

Here’s more food for thought: why not make it a semi-regular exercise – maybe once every couple of months – and allow frustrated trainers from other Sydney tracks to share the burden with track gallops at Canterbury? Put your hand in your pocket and away you go.

There is no better surface in Sydney than Canterbury. It will be able to handle the load – provided it is correctly scheduled around planned race meetings – and alleviate the concerns of disgruntled trainers. Why not one in all in?

Good feedback

This column has had plenty of feedback over last week’s item on Racing Victoria’s free-to-air media rights deal and the imminent launch next month – away from the governing body’s digital feed – of Channel 78.

Curiously, most of the responses have come from viewers in larger regional centres throughout Australia such as the Central Coast, Wollongong and Sunshine Coast.

All have been able to pick up the coverage as punters in the bush went another week without seeing any pictures of Victorian racing.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive to date, a good sign in these very early days of a brave new world.

Chad looks older

Apparently Chad Schofield’s desire to ride in the Durban July in his native South Africa over the weekend even outweighed any excitement about having his first ride at Royal Ascot during the famed carnival last month.

But imagine the young rider’s surprise when official programming notes and racebooks carried a head shot of his father Glyn in all promotional material for South Africa’s biggest race, where Chad rode Australian-bred The Conglomerate into eighth.

Glyn had previously ridden in the race numerous times without success.

On the July, what would Australian punters and racegoers have made of South Africa’s scheduling?

In an era where intervals between races have been trialled at 30 minutes – and some administrators would like even less – the July’s 11-race program stretched over an exasperating eight hours.