ATA Tasmanian Branch – Members Update / Tasmania / 04 Dec, 2008

Legislation has been passed through both Houses of Parliament paving the way for a new type of administration to take over control of racing in Tasmania along the lines adopted in W.A.. "Tote Tas" will be disassociated from racing in order to concentrate on wagering. Appointments for the new positions on the Board will be made in the New Year.

The "Newmarket" meeting on November 30th marked the opening of the new Strathayr track at Mowbray and proved to be a great success. Feedback from all participants was extremely positive and we look forward to great racing on the new surface for many years to come. Trainers have been asking for a Strathayr track for many years as other options had failed repeatedly.

Owners, Breeders and Trainers have expressed extreme dissatisfaction in recent months regarding the balloting system for maidens adopted by our decision maker the TTRC. A great number of maiden horses were missing a start, week after week, and in a State normally providing only one meeting a week, it was felt by the majority that we should revert to alternative runs from nominations wherever practicable. Our race programming is not catering for the number of horses in work and this is exacerbated by rating based horses sliding back into races designed for Class racing horses coming up the scale and the opportunity to only race 10 horses per field when racing on the inside track. The TTRC have decided to leave a place for 4 balloted horses in maiden races of late, reserved for a field chosen on performance based criteria. This will allow some horses to compete a little more often until more race dates are approved in Tasmania.

Planning of the restructuring of the training tracks at Brighton has begun as the narrow sand and viscoride tracks constructed by Tote have proved unsatisfactory from the start. A debate by a few on synthetic versus sand was won by synthetic; however current world figures on the breakdown rates of horses on synthetic tracks must pose questions on that decision.

We look forward to our Cup Carnivals at Devonport, Hobart and Launceston in January and February when we will showcase our State to the rest of Australia.

Walter McShane
President ATA Tasmania