Well we certainly have had a wet start to our year, with cancelled and postponed meetings across the State in the first 3 months. Racing Queensland has had a difficult task in trying to re-allocate the races to satisfy our trainers and owners as well as contribute to the income stream that keeps our industry afloat. The cushion tracks have certainly played a part in keeping the racing and training going and the positive benefits of these surfaces is highlighted in these times.
ATA QLD BRANCH QUARTERLY MEETING / ATA/RQ FORUM
The ATA Queensland held our first quarterly meeting of the year on February 28th with a good representation of trainers from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts as well as the metropolitan area.
Issues from our meeting were then addressed at the ATA/RQ Forum which was held on March 7th and attended by RQ Chairman Kevin Dixon, CEO Adam Carter, Chief Steward Wade Birch, Operations Manager Warren Williams and Handicapper Nathan Bourke.
The outcomes of the agenda items discussed are as follows.
Assistance to Trainers with debt collection
RQ are committed to introducing a “mandatory” contract for all horses trained in Qld. This agreement is between the owner and the trainer, setting out the basic details of the arrangement, and in particular the financial commitment. RQ plan to have this contract available shortly and intend making it mandatory from 1 August 2013. The benefit of it being mandatory is that owners will not be able to “shop around” and use a trainer who wants to operate without one, making it a level playing field for all trainers. Having this contract in place will allow RQ to be much more involved with assisting with debt collection – with options of deducting from prize-money and stopping horses transferring to other trainers the intention. RQ’s plan is by the 1/8/13 if there is not a current contract in place, the horse will not be allowed to be nominated. This is a great outcome for all trainers as this is one of the most common problems faced by trainers.
Communication to Trainers from RQ
RQ have committed to increase the amount of information and the frequency of the delivery of the information out to trainers via SMS. A problem facing RQ currently is that some trainers have advised they don’t want to receive the SMS information. We agreed that a trainer not wanting the information would be extremely rare – and that every effort should be made to have all trainers on the list to receive SMS information. If you are not currently receiving this important information you should contact RQ immediately to ensure your mobile is on the list.
Sunshine Coast Situation
RQ advised that the SCTC would be holding approx 68 meetings in the next 12mths, which is significantly more than any other club. The plan is to use Sat night racing whilst the work is done at Toowoomba to fill a gap that is needed in our programming. This should be completed by January 2014. The removal of some Sunday racing from SCTC is to allow other clubs in Qld the opportunity to have the financial gains that weekend racing can provide.
RQ advise that they have received no offer for “free” land in the area to build a new venue and estimate the overall cost of selling and rebuilding would be approx $30m. The new grass track being built will allow for 14 starters and with rail movement of up to 4 meters this is reduced to 11. If the activity in the area warrants it, further grass can be added to the inside of the track at a very similar expense if it was done now. The current cushion track if it was to continue would require approx $3.5m in repair in the short term. $4m of the funding required for the new grass track has been granted by the Qld Govt and if not used for this purpose it will be lost.
RQ advise that to further investigate this issue they need authority from trainers to allow Work-Cover to release information to them. ATA advised RQ that this is still a major concern in our industry and needs immediate attention. The ATA also advised RQ that this is not an issue for individuals or groups to have a final decision on and that it is up to RQ as the industry administrator to investigate the issues faced by all trainers and implement a solution as satisfactory as possible for all.
Apprentice Awards Night
RQ agree that these award nights should be re-introduced and will put plans in place for that to happen.
ARB introduction of Minimum Penalties
RQ stated their reasons as to why they didn’t support allowing for such discrepancy in the minimum penalties. They believe the rules that they apply to are of such a serious nature they do not warrant any negotiation once a guilty verdict is arrived at.
Manipulation of Races with nominating Top-Weights
RQ acknowledged that this has been an ongoing concern and they want to address it. They are committed to bringing in a system of re-handicapping prior to the final field being produced, once acceptances have been taken for most races where applicable. They also suggest providing the actual weight of those that have been given the minimum be advertised in the weights, then also allowing this actual weight to be used when weights are raised, not the minimum that is currently uses.
Warwick TAFE Stable-hand Course
RQ has agreed to utilise the Warwick TAFE program within its new training arrangements.
RQ agreed that they should be able to deduct past expenses out of future trainer percentage payments, reducing workload and the potential of oversight for trainers.
2013 WAYNE WILSON MEDAL
The 2013 Wayne Wilson Medal has been won for the month of February by Desleigh Forster for her fantastic win with ADEBESI in the Group 3 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield. ADEBISI, a five year old gelding by Shovhog now has ten wins from 34 starts and $650,000 in prize-money.
Desleigh has been having a fantastic run recently, and with a winning strike-rate of nearly 50% the winners have just kept coming. On the same day ADEBISI won at Caulfield, Desleigh was able to have SAHFEEQ win at Eagle Farm making it a great day for the stable.
ADEBISI is now being set for the Group 1 Galaxy at Rosehill and then into our Winter Carnival.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for further information about the Queensland Branch of the Australian Trainers Association.