The Australian Trainers Association (ATA) has followed the Aquanita Inquiry with a great deal of concern.
On behalf of its members nationally and for the training profession as a whole, the ATA works closely with the Principal Racing Authorities and Racing Australia. The representation process performed by the ATA involves consultation on the formulation and review of the Rules of Racing. A significant part of this process focuses on matters of safety, welfare, and of course that which is at the heart of this matter - integrity.
The ATA and the broader racing industry understand these important matters contribute to what is known as the level playing field, and there is no room for improper behaviour or actions by participants outside the rules which can unfairly and improperly create an advantage, and including no tolerance for attempts to distort the level playing field. Such outcomes in breach of the rules are grossly unfair to the vast majority who abide by the rules.
When rules are breached, the ramifications can be widespread including erosion of confidence by industry participants and the public. It also follows that the wider training fraternity may feel a reflection of the misdemeanours of a minority of industry participants who may seek unfair advantage outside the rules.
Notwithstanding the outcome at the County Court today, our members will, as always, be out there again pre-dawn caring for their horses, but will also be reflecting on the disappointment that such events occurred. They will also be heartened, however, by the fact that Racing Victoria has directed significant effort and resources into ensuring that all participants are abiding by the rules, and that they are indeed on a level playing field.