ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update / Victoria / 03 Feb, 2010


The Free Nominations System, initiated by the ATA and introduced by RVL two years ago is under review. Both the ATA and RVL have consistently appealed to trainers to refrain from abusing the system by their indiscriminate nomination of horses for multiple races – races for which they have little intention of starting these horses in. RVL has provided the ATA with printouts demonstrating the blatant abuse of the system by some trainers, who quite clearly appear to be “serial” offenders, with some horses nominated for multiple races for a single race day, and repeated for several consecutive days.

The Free Nominations System has the overwhelming support of trainers who recognise and appreciate the massive cost savings to their owners, and to their own administrative costs and cash flows. It would be extremely disappointing if the future of the Free Nominations System was threatened through its abuse by a minority of trainers. The ATA urges all trainers to respect the System to ensure the important cost benefits which it delivers to trainers and owners can continue.


Following representations by the ATA, we welcome the decision by the VRC to introduce refreshments vouchers for strappers at Flemington race meetings. Strappers arriving on-course with horses on race days are provided with a refreshments voucher for food and drinks at no cost, which they are able to redeem at a kiosk in the stabling area at Flemington. It’s a small yet fitting gesture to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of strappers on racedays. The VRC initiative is to be applauded and it is hoped that this initiative is introduced at other racetracks in Victoria.


The ATA commends RVL for reversing its earlier decision to cease jumps racing at the end of the 2010 jumps racing season. The reprieve for jumps racing comes at a price – with some challenging key performance indicators to be achieved during the 2010 jumps racing season if jumps racing is to survive into 2011 and beyond. To meet these challenging targets, all jumps racing participants will need to co-operate and contribute towards making jumps racing safer for horses and jockeys and for the image of horse racing in Victoria.

The ATA also commends the very positive contribution of Melbourne Racing Club Vice-Chairman Mike Symons who successfully performed the role of advocate and mediator for jumps racing.


The tributes have flowed for the late George Hanlon - one of the iconic names among the ranks of Australian racehorse trainers. George Hanlon who passed away in late January was a long standing member of the ATA and was also one of the most successful professional trainers of the modern era.

George was a master trainer of stayers, winning just about every major staying race in Australia during his long and distinguished career as a racehorse trainer. Training the winners of three Melbourne Cups would certainly rank as his greatest achievement, with Piping Lane, Arwon and Black Knight ensuring that George Hanlon was made a member of Australian Racing’s Hall of Fame.

The tributes from two of his fellow Hall Of Fame trainers - Bart Cummings and John Hawkes had a common theme - George Hanlon trained runners were always respected as serious competitors by his peers. The ATA extends its condolences to the family of George Hanlon.