ATA Queensland Branch – Members Update / Queensland / 10 Apr, 2013

The Winter Carnival is fast approaching and once again Qld trainers are ready for the onslaught of visitors from the South and New Zealand. The potential for a swansong visit from Black Caviar during this time would be fantastic, as the exposure and interest she creates for our industry is second to none.

When attending race-meetings in Brisbane over the last 35 years, trainers have been very used to seeing the same happy face greeting them as they signed in and collected their race-books. Carmel Demarco will be well and truly missed by all our trainers and we wish her well in her retirement and welcome the new face that greets us next time.


As Work-Cover remains one of our biggest challenges, a large number of trainers continue to ask for more details about the potential of the implementation of a “starters fee” type of system for calculating premiums. Racing Queensland is still very much aware of the concerns being faced and is continuing to work closely with us in finding a solution to the problem.

In simple terms, a starter’s fee system would work like this -

If a trainer was responsible for a portion of their original premium (based on wages and claims history) of say 40%, and the remainder of the premium (60%) was collected via a starters fee, there would still be an emphasis on the trainer to operate a safe working environment and limit the potential for claims. But at the same time offer some protection to all our trainers who are constantly at risk of dramatically increasing premiums. So a current premium of $2000 would become $800 for a trainer (40% of original premium). This would be a form of self-insurance for all participants in our industry, only 40% of the future premium would be subject to an increase – this could make the difference to a fellow trainer (small or large) being able to afford a drastically increased premium and stay in business. That trainer could be you or one of your close friends at any time, as no-one is immune from the potential of serious accidents.

The remaining 60% of the state-wide premium would then need to be collected via starter fees. If the total premium for Queensland was $1m, that would mean $600k (60%) would need to be collected which would equate to approximately $15 per starter. A scale could be implemented to have the fee cheaper in the country at perhaps $10, $15 in the provincials and more expensive in the Metro at perhaps $20. Trainers would have the option to pass this fee onto their owners depending on their own individual business model.

A large majority of our trainers are small (hobby or owner-trainers), and are currently paying the minimum work-cover premium (approx $300) and have very few starters. Under a starters fee system they would see their premiums significantly lower. If there are trainers who would feel that their business would be detrimentally effected by an introduction of a starters fee, or would like to provide feedback or suggestions, they should contact Cameron or a member of the ATA (QLD) Committee, or Racing Queensland.

This subject is a continual work in progress and the ATA is doing what it can to ensure all members views are considered. Eventually a decision will need to be made by Racing Queensland, taking into account all stakeholders and what it feels is best for the future of our industry.


The 2013 Wayne Wilson Medal has been won for the month of March by Natalie McCall for her two fantastic wins with RIVER LAD. Firstly the Gold Coast Stakes and then the Listed Bribie Handicap at Eagle Farm, in what was a superb training effort.

RIVER LAD, a 5yo gelding by Top Echelon, has now won 10 of his 27 starts and nearly $500k in prize-money.

Natalie has been training for 6 years and is based on-course at Caloundra. She has 14 in horses in work and her stable-star is never far from her side, Natalie actually thinks River Lad is obsessed with her. The plans are for a little freshen and back for the Victory Stakes and then a crack at the QTC Cup or maybe even the Stradbroke.

The twelve monthly winners will be in the running for the 2013 Ambassador Travel Wimmers Soft Drinks Wayne Wilson Medal.

The Wayne Wilson Medal 2012-13

August: Patrick Inwood, JABIRU DREAMING winning 9 straight culminating in the Cleveland Bay.

September : Robert Heathcote, BUFFERING winning the Group 3 Moir Stakes at Mooney Valley.

October : Robert Heathcote, SOLZHENITZEN
(G1) and BUFFERING (G2) winning at Caulfield.

November : Don Baker, JET STYLE winning 2 Listed Races at Eagle Farm.

December : Liam Birchley, MISSY LONGSTOCKING winning the B.J McLachlan Stakes (G3) at Eagle Farm.

January : Kelso Wood, REAL SURREAL winning the Magic Millions 2yo Classic at the Gold Coast.

February : Desleigh Forster, ADEBESI winning the Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield (G3).

March : Natalie McCall, RIVER LAD winning the Gold Coast Stakes and the Listed Bribie Handicap.


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.