ATA Queensland Branch – Members Update / Queensland / 08 Dec, 2015

The new year approaches and the uncertainty in the future direction of our industry continues. As we all maintain our business as usual attitude, behind the scenes at Racing Queensland the wheels are apparently in motion for significant changes required to address the poor financial position racing is in. The continual slur and backlash between disenchanted participants and the government and its appointed hierarchy rages on, and this is before we are any wiser to what these changes are.

The fact that consultation within the industry has taken place is positive, but when this consultation doesn't involve debating, or let alone even discussing the potential changes and the impact they will have, it's difficult to understand the benefit of it. We hope that we are wrong, and that the new direction chosen is one that offers our thoroughbred racing industry the opportunity to thrive.

There has been a lot of political comment lately, aimed directly at the Racing Minister who, under appointment by the Premier, is responsible for our racing industry. All we can offer here is, that other than what appeared initially to be a positive and successful meeting with him earlier in the year, we have had no further communication.

After receiving a significant amount of questions and concerns around the current situation of apprentices jockeys, we have arranged a meeting with RQ to discuss the matter. Trainers appear to have been given confusing and misleading information about the process for putting on new apprentices, and the other main issue is that of the new classification process for their riding licences. We hope to have a better understanding of this after the meeting, and information on this will be in next month's report.

Whilst there certainly is an air of negativity and uncertainty in our industry, what is so pleasing is the performances of our trainers continue to shine at the highest levels. Rob Heathcote's effort travelling his star Buffering to W.A to claim another group one, is the obvious highlight. But week in week out, our horses continue to put on the show that is the platform for the government to reap the financial rewards of betting turnover, taxes and providing income for thousands of people. Racing is a massive contributor to the economic viability of the country, and our trainers are an integral and vital cog in the wheel.

There is much activity happening from a national perspective that directly affects trainers. In particular, we have just seen the amended whip rule come into play across the country from 1 December. Time will tell how well the jockeys adapt to the new regime. Leading into the first quarter of 2016, the new helmet, due to become mandatory in March 2016, is receiving a mixed reception across the country. And lastly, the Security For Training Fees (SFTF) model, or in plain language, the new Racing Australia (RA) Owner and Trainer Agreement, is about to enter the education phase, in advance of a late March/early April official release.


The 2016 Wayne Wilson Medal for the month of November has been won by Pat Duff with STEEL ZIP winning the Listed Keith Noud Handicap making it 3 metropolitan wins in a row. This 8yo gelding by Canadian Silver repeated his victory from 3 years ago showing that he certainly hasn't lost anything with age.

In what is a fantastic training effort, Pat has the old boy in career best form. This preparation so far has seen 4 wins, 3 seconds, 1 third and a 5th from 9 starts, earning nearly $250k in just over 4 months. The zest for racing STEEL ZIP is showing is testament to Pat's skills as he has been training winners for over 50 years. Ironically, the jockey Jeff Lloyd who has ridden STEEL ZIP for all the 4 wins this preparation, is also in the twilight of his career. So with the combination of horse, jockey and trainer it's a great advertisement for longevity in our industry.

Pat is now in the running for the 2016 Wayne Wilson Medal proudly supported by Ubet and Wimmers Soft Drinks.

The Wayne Wilson Medal 2015 / 16

August : John, Dan & Chris Meagher - SHOTOVER RIVER 3 metropolitan wins in a row.

September : Brian Smith - LOCK'S LEGEND winning 4 Metro Open Handicaps in a row, 3 in the month.

October : Rob Heathcote - BUFFERING winning back to back Moir Stakes (G1) at Moonee Valley.

November : Pat Duff - STEEL ZIP winning the Keith Noud Hcp, making it 3 metropolitan wins in a row.


Communication is very important to the ATA, and here in Qld we do our best to ensure information is passed on as often as possible. Cameron sends regular emails and SMS with latest news and issues, if you are currently not receiving these emails or SMS please make us aware by contacting Cameron at the email or phone below.

One of the major benefits of being a member of the ATA is having a support network to go to if you have problems or concerns. We can’t solve them all, but we will take your issue on board and try and negotiate on your behalf where we can. Whatever the problem contact us and we will at the least, point you in the right direction. If you are not a member yet, now is the right time to join. Call Cameron Partington on 0433-329-395 or email for further information about the Queensland Branch of the Australian Trainers Association.