Tinkler's troubles hit new depths

NATHAN TINKLER'S troubled Patinack operation in Queensland will not field any runners for a fortnight following a raid by Racing Queensland stewards.

It is a fresh blow to the high-flying coal magnate, whose well-documented financial troubles have placed his ownership of the Newcastle Knights and Jets teams in jeopardy.

Racing Queensland stewards and a veterinary officer inspected the Canungra training establishment south of Brisbane on Monday after Patinack scratched all four of its runners at Saturday's Doomben meeting.

As a result, Patinack will not field any runners until the second week of January because of a broken waterwalker and a swimming pool in need of maintenance at Canungra.

Rumours horses were not being fed were quickly laid to rest as staff explained it had been a directive from Patinack boss Nathan Tinkler, which had led to the scratchings.

"The horses were all in good health and there was not a problem with them at all," Racing Queensland steward Daniel Aurisch said. "The vet, Martin Lenz, said they were all in good condition and being cared for properly. The reason for the scratchings was that the waterwalker was broken and they are waiting for parts to repair it.

"The swimming pool is also out of action, and Nathan Tinkler has instructed staff that none of the horses are to run until everything is fully operational. They are both used as part of the daily routine at the stable, and he doesn't want horses going to the races if they cannot be given a full preparation."

Patinack's Queensland foreman Brett Killion was advised that trainer John Thompson would have to give stewards assurances about the fitness of any horse before they accept for a race.

Patinack has struggled with cashflow for the past six months, and laid off several key staff, including chief executive Peter Beer, and sold outstanding stallion prospect All Too Hard, which won the Caulfield Guineas and ran second in the Cox Plate during the spring, in a deal reportedly worth $30 million.

Meanwhile, Paul Murray, fresh from a successful trip to Brisbane last weekend with Alma's Fury, believes his father's horse Darci Be Good can make it two features in four days for the Kembla Grange yard in the Tattersall's Club Cup at Rosehill on Tuesday.

Villiers Stakes runner-up Alma's Fury went to Brisbane and won the Bernborough Stakes and it made Murray more confident about Darci Be Good, which was third to All Legal after being posted three wide in the Villiers.

"The form looks very strong after what Alma's [Fury] did on the weekend,'' Murray said. "Darci [Be Good] is looking for the 2000m. You saw that with how tough he was in the Villiers.''