As the hot weather becomes a feature of our summer race days, I want to extend to every one an equally warm welcome to 2018, and wish you the very best of luck with your team for the racing year ahead.
On the work front, the Australian Trainers’ Association (ATA) has a busy period ahead of it for the first quarter of 2018.
There are two key industry matters that are the subject of extended consultation between Racing Victoria and industry participants at this time of year. In addition, the debate around Victoria’s second synthetic track has carried over from 2017.
We wanted to update members on these issues, including the forward process with each:
- It is public knowledge that three locations remain under consideration – Geelong, which will be the subject of a major renovation should synthetic racing continue there, or investment in a ‘new build’ should either Ballarat or Kilmore be selected as the preferred second venue (to sit along side Pakenham).
Whilst it is a difficult choice given all three venues offer positive reasons for selection, we nonetheless would all welcome clarity and direction on this subject. Fortunately, we will not have too much longer, as our advice is the Victorian racing strategy that surrounds our immediate synthetic track requirements is set to finally be determined by Racing Victoria at their February 2018 Board meeting.
- Consultation around prizemoney for the 2018/2019 racing season commences in earnest in February 2018. This process will consume much of the first half of 2018, and will see Racing Victoria consult broadly with the race clubs, Country Racing Victoria and the various industry associations.
Preliminary indications are increased revenues will be made available by Racing Victoria to support prizemoney increases. Hence, the conversation will largely be to help determine strategies with the “where” & the “how much”.
- Lastly, design of the programme of our 550+ race meetings and venues for the 2018/2019 season has commenced. Once again, this will involve Racing Victoria consulting with the race clubs, Country Racing Victoria and the various industry associations. In addition, key wagering operators will be asked for input.
Discussions invariably continue on this subject into late March, with full and final details usually made public in April 2018.
We can assure members that our conversations to date with Racing Victoria have been, and will continue to be, focussed on ensuring favourable outcomes for our trainers across the three matters.