VISIT TO TASMANIA
John Alducci (ATA, Strategy Manager) and I spent two days recently in Tasmania.
We met with Dr Eliot Forbes (CEO, Tasracing) and David Manshanden (Racing Manager, Tasracing) to gain perspective on the thoroughbred racing landscape. They acknowledged participant confidence was lower than desired at present, primarily the result of a number of major challenges faced in recent years. Front and centre of these is the ageing infrastructure trainers presently cope with at many of the racecourses, together with increasing running costs compounded in the last few years by cuts that have occurred to stakes money.
On a positive note, the Tasracing consultation process (commenced November 2015) designed to move the thoroughbred industry forward, had produced many excellent submissions. At the forefront was an overwhelming response on a need to build sustainability into the industry. There were a variety of opinions on how to best achieve this, from increased investment in the state’s breeding strategies and incentive program, to systematic planning required to tackle re-development of ageing infrastructure, through to urgent need to increase stakes money to re-build industry participation & confidence. Tasracing will present its strategy document to shareholding ministers at the end of March 2016, with the final plan & agreed strategies to be made public mid year.
The ATA also highlighted to Tasracing a number of race day marketing initiatives it proposed to roll out in Tasmania. This will involve named race events, with supporting themes designed to promote the training profession. We expect to provide exciting news to trainers on this subject, including dates and specific details on each initiative, in our next update.
Our final meeting was the ATA Tasmanian Branch meeting at Longford, where Committee members were joined by Tasracing’s Kym Elliot and Simon Stout. A packed agenda confirmed there is much happening at the operations level, including new tie up stalls with rubberised floors to be trialled at Mowbray and Hobart, a 4 month trial of Class 3 & 5 races to be introduced shortly, and for the extremely unusual – a consensus that racing’s governing body need address at a Rules of Racing level, the anomaly of positive swabs occurring from oripavine (poppy seeds) found in commercial stockfeed.
John and I look forward to making the trek to Tasmania again shortly. In the meantime, should you wish to raise any issues or provide feedback in writing, please do so by CLICKING HERE
Alternatively, contact the office on (03) 9372-1688 should any one wish to discuss this matter with myself.