NATHAN Tinkler's Queensland racing dream could be over.
The former billionaire's Patinack Farm racing stable scratched every runner in Brisbane on Saturday, with racing industry insiders claiming the Newcastle Knights owner is set to place his Queensland operations on ice until his business empire bounces back from mounting debts, The Courier Mail reports.
More than 30 people are employed at Patinack's Canungra base in the Gold Coast hinterland and many are already reportedly looking for new jobs as speculation continues that Mr Tinkler's racing empire is on borrowed time.
The mogul has closed his Melbourne stables and speculation continues that Queensland will be next to go.
Patinack Farm has 15 horses listed for sale at next month's Magic Millions carnival after more than 300 were offloaded in a fire sale earlier this year.
Retail king Gerry Harvey has confirmed loaning Mr Tinkler millions of dollars.
A win to Ferment in NSW at the weekend was a rare bright spot for Patinack on the same day four horses were scratched at Doomben, sending the racing rumour mill into overdrive.
No Patinack horse has won in Brisbane for 28 starts, placing further financial strain on the business.
Patinack Farm is easily the biggest employer at Canungra, but locals say many staff have had enough.
"It's already come out that a lot of them weren't getting their super and a lot of them are looking for new jobs," a Canungra trader said.
"They can see the writing on the wall and it's been the talk of the town."
Another trader said it would be a sad end to a sorry saga if Mr Tinkler closed Canungra's Patinack operations.
"It's sad because when he set up Patinack out here everyone thought of him as a saviour who was going to drive the economy for the whole town," he said.
"But he got a lot of people offside right from the start."
Some contractors and suppliers contacted by The Courier-Mail yesterday said they were paid up to date, but others have cut their losses.
Mr Tinkler bought his Canungra holdings three years ago for a reported $28 million, but real estate agents said he would be lucky to get close to $20 million for it now.
Read more at The Courier Mail.