ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update / Victoria / 09 Jan, 2009


The confirmation of across the board increases in prize money minimums for the metropolitan and country sectors from February 1 2009 is welcomed by the ATA, which has strongly lobbied RVL for these increases for some time.

The prize money increases are timely given the overall gloomy economic outlook and the surge in the costs of racing over recent years against a background of unacceptably stagnant levels of prize money.

For a state that prides itself as the leading racing state in Australia, Victoria cannot afford to allow its returns to owners to fall behind levels which are being enjoyed by stakeholders in Queensland and WA, where prize money has continued to increase in recent times.

The ATA firmly believes that Victorian prize money minimums cannot remain stagnant at their present levels. It is the responsibility of the industry bodies and Clubs to ensure that the cost efficiencies and structural changes to improve the productivity and streamline the administration of the Victorian racing industry, are implemented as a high priority.


The ATA has successfully sought an extension to the deadline for responses to RVL’s Directions Paper on Racing and Training Facilities to the end of February 2009.

The extension to the deadline follows a process of continuing consultation and feedback with and from Members in many of the areas affected by RVL’s proposal to withdraw funding for training and racing facilities.

The ATA will also consult closely with its wider membership on many of the important issues raised in the RVL Blueprint for the future direction of the Victorian racing industry prior to formalizing its response to RVL.


The recent spate of positives to the therapeutic medication Buscopan has again highlighted the ATA push for improved communication to Trainers on such issues.

In its submission to the Lewis inquiry on Integrity issues several months ago, the ATA highlighted the importance of Trainers being informed and aware of any problems with horses returning positives to therapeutic medications long after the manufacturers stated withholding period has passed – a point acknowledged as valid by Judge Lewis.

The ATA has subsequently again raised the issue with RVL and stressed that Trainers are not being properly informed and advised when there are such problems with legitimate therapeutic medications. The ATA believes that RVL has an obligation to communicate such important matters promptly and directly with Trainers. All licensed Trainers must be alerted as a priority so that they can then take appropriate measures to minimize the risk of their horses returning positives to therapeutic medications which are commonly and legitimately prescribed to treat illnesses and injuries in horses. Information bulletins must be issued and Trainers advised when such issues arise and Inside Racing should be prioritized and repositioned as the print medium for communication with Trainers.

The ATA will continue to follow up on these issues with RVL.


Following representations from Trainers prior to last year’s Spring Racing Carnival, the ATA has raised the licensing of Racing Managers with RVL. In the modern era, Racing Managers play an increasingly important role in communicating with owners and stable clients, particularly in stables with a large ownership base. With the heavy racing schedule, particularly at carnival times, providing Racing Managers with the necessary access to fulfill these important functions will assist greatly in enabling them to provide important support to Trainers.

The ATA has been informed by RVL Chief Operating Officer Bernard Saundry that he expects the matter to be finalized shortly.


Following representations by the ATA, RVL has issued all Race Club Track Managers with an important reminder on following the correct procedures and protocols on track preparation and ratings, particularly during the warmer and drier months when problems have previously arisen in these areas.

With climate change and the drought continuing to impact on racing and training tracks, track managers need to be particularly mindful of the importance of adhering to the RVL Track Preparation Policy which has the support of the industry.