ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update / Victoria / 08 Nov, 2011


Following continued requests by the ATA, RVL has announced to the Victorian ATA Branch Committee that minimum prize money levels for country and metropolitan sectors will be increased from August 1 2012. The prize money increases will be formally announced by RVL at its annual general meeting in December, with country prize money minimums prioritised, and the bulk of the increases to be targeted to the country sector. The announcement follows the finalisation of the new wagering licence with Tabcorp commencing in 2012.


Responding to continuing ATA requests for assistance with bad debts in the industry, and recent lengthy discussions involving ATA Committee Member Tony Noonan and ATA Chief Executive John Alducci, RVL has informed the ATA Committee that it will implement a process whereby defaulting owners who have had a judgment recorded against them will be publicly identified on the RVL website and also listed in the RVL monthly publication Inside Racing. This process will serve as a “name and shame” mechanism to discourage owners from defaulting on their obligations to trainers for legitimately providing training services for their horses, and also provide trainers with an up to date reference service in identifying such owners.

RVL has committed to finalising details of the process with the ATA.


The proposed enhanced Super Vobis scheme has been presented to Racing Minister Denis Napthine for consideration and assistance with funding. The Minister has previously indicated that he is both supportive of the proposal and has expressed his willingness to consider subsidising part of the funding required for the nomination component, to enable the scheme to become a reality. It is hoped that subject to this approval, the Vobis Gold scheme will operate from the 2012 Nominations Date for the Super Vobis scheme. The ATA has expressed its strong support for Vobis Gold, dating to when we were initially consulted by RVL. The introduction of Vobis Gold would deliver a further important boost to trainers’ incomes from prize money percentages.


Members are reminded that they have the choice of two separate options in their financial transactions with RVL. The two options, which were proposed by the ATA at the time of the introduction of direct billing of owners for Group One fees and charges, and the introduction of the free nominations system, provide trainers with the option of separating their prize money percentages from fees and charges billed to them by RVL. This enables trainers to keep their incomes separate from the costs of RVL racing transactions, which they can then bill their Owners. However, trainers can also choose to offset RVL fees and charges from prize money, if they wish to do so.


The ATA has raised concerns with RVL on the non-compliance of some track managers with properly implementing their Track Preparation Policy, which appears to recur each year with the early advent of unseasonal warmer weather in the spring months. The resulting firmer tracks at the start of a race meeting, which sometimes start at a Good 3 rating and inevitably firm up to a Good 2, continue to result in horses jarring up or pulling up sore. The ATA has also expressed concern at the reluctance of track managers and stewards to accurately rate tracks prior to scratching time, which would enable trainers to make an informed decision on whether they should choose to scratch their horse and avoid the additional costs of travelling to a race meeting, rather then seek permission to scratch the horse as a result of a track upgrade. RVL has responded by sending a notice to all track managers, regional service managers and Stewards, reminding them of their obligation to comply with the official RVL Track Preparation Policy and report track ratings accurately. RVL has also committed to monitoring adherence to the official policy.


RVL has informed the ATA that a series of important infrastructure projects resulting from the major rain and flood damage earlier this year were expected to be completed before the end of the year, and subject to no further weather related damage or delays would be returned to their race date schedule within that period. Some projects have been completed and racing and training facilities have resumed.


RVL’s new Chief Veterinary Steward Brian Stewart has commenced duties, and has agreed to meet with the ATA following the spring racing carnival to discuss and address several important integrity issues relating to veterinary matters.