By Jamien Rees I have been reading Max Presnell’s articles for more than 20 years. I am a punter and a racing fan – a sports fan. I live in Griffith, NSW. At least 2 hours from any decent racing track. I have always regarded Max as the leading racing writer in Australia. He has the best knowledge of racing history. He loves poetry. He supports South Sydney and we need all the support we can get. But above all he has always stood up for the punter. He has always fought for the voice of the punter being heard. But at this momentous time for NSW Racing, Max has dropped the ball. Appropriate for a Souths-Man I suppose. He has become “The Lost Leader”. Not for thirty pieces of silver as Browning reminded us, Max. No! Just to join the racing and breeding establishment. Max’s support for the 1.5% turnover tax has completely stripped him of his punter-friendly reputation. I am a small punter. My turnover is not in the thousands and thousands. My turnover is measured in much smaller amounts. Betfair has given me the greatest freedom of my punting life. Thanks to Betfair, no longer is betting at the top of the market and laying at the bottom, the domain of the big bookies. I can do it – thanks to Betfair – within my own budget. Betfair has helped me to get better odds, make use of my studied opinions and make steady profits. And guess what else, Max, it has allowed me to increase my turnover. Without Betfair, being able to lay a horse when you think it is unders, will again become only available to the big bookies. Only for the Waterhouses, the Tidies, the Honest Harries. Yes, those men we punters once regarded as the great enemy. Oh and the illegal bookies. No tax there Max. Max printed a story recently where he quoted a punter who told how punting made him feel strong, controlled and exhilarated. I thought the article was the sports story of the year. Unfortunately, it didn’t receive any awards. But now Max has turned his back on all of this. He supports a regime that makes it harder for punters to get good odds. He wants a punter like me to just take the TAB odds. Or in other words the bottom of the market. To be condemned to losses. Last Saturday (thanks to Betfair) I was able to make the following plays. Back Master of Design at $9 and lay it at $5.40. Back Zabillionaire at $3.40 and lay it at $3.00. Back Maules Creek at $5 and lay it at $4.00. And all within my budget. Controlled, business-like and exhilarating. Meanwhile, my friends who liked Maules Creek took the $3.80 down at the local club on the TAB. Poor sods. But, Max doesn’t want me to do this anymore. He only wants Robbie to do this. Only the Big Boys in the commission rooms. Only the pros. Instead, Max wants to quote the ignorant on Racenet. He wants allow ill-informed anti-British sentiment to clinch the argument. And draft a poor version of British racing history. He wants to praise the man who will lead NSW punters back to the dark ages. Praise the men who will increase the values at the next sales and pay no turnover tax while they splash their millions. He wants an industry that gives all the advantages to Singo, Tinkler, Robbie, Sullo and the average TAB punter to get the swill. I call on the Sydney Morning Herald to put Max out to pasture. To retire him. He has given up on the average punter. Let him go to the members at Randwick of his own accord and dodge the drinkers and the yuppies. Jamien Rees