ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update / Victoria / 28 Nov, 2008


RVL Chief Executive Rob Hines gave the Victorian ATA Branch Committee a detailed briefing and power point presentation on the decision by RVL to impose a product fee on corporate bookmakers based on 10 per cent of their gross profit for the racing season, and 15 per cent for the spring racing carnival, rather than on annual turnover. Hines stated that the product fee arrangements would be in place until the outcome of the court challenge by corporate bookmakers in NSW against the Racing NSW decision to charge them a product fee based on turnover.
Hines also pointed out that he expected the revenue from the product fee to offset any possible decline in wagering revenue from Tabcorp caused either by the economic downturn or through the deregulation of advertising restrictions on corporate bookmakers.


RVL will release its Directions Paper in early December on the future direction of the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry and in particular the restructure of funding arrangements for racing and training facilities in both the country and the metropolitan areas. RVL CEO Rob Hines and his executive team will visit all regional country centres to discuss the Directions paper with Race Clubs and Stakeholders. The ATA urges trainers to contact their country Race Clubs and participate in the discussion process. It is proposed for recommendations to be presented to the RVL Board in early 2009.


Following discussions with the ATA, General Manager Integrity Services Dayle Brown has advised that a senior position will be created within the Integrity Services Department to deal specifically with the recording, follow up and resolution of disputes between licensed trainers and owners and provide a wider “help desk” service and function. Specifically the new resource will work closely with the ATA in dealing with and resolving matters relating to owners debt disputes and where necessary, provide a mediation role in the resolution of disputes between owners and trainers. It is expected that the new position will be in place in early 2009. We look forward to this so that trainers can finally have some assistance in this area.


RVL has advised that a study is being undertaken into both horse and jockey welfare relating to racing on synthetic tracks. The study will attempt to determine the extent and incidence of injuries and soreness recorded among racehorses both when racing and working on synthetic surfaces, and the extent and nature of injuries suffered by jockeys who have fallen in races conducted on synthetic tracks. The results of the study will provide RVL with important information in future decisions which are pending on the installation of synthetic surfaces for racing at different venues.


Trainers License categories in Victoria will be revamped following discussions with the ATA. General Manager Integrity Services Dayle Brown informed the recent ATA Victorian Branch Committee meeting that a new structure was under recommendation to the RVL Board which would result in three license categories – General ‘A’ class, General Trainers Licence and a Provisional Trainers License category which would include all picnic and owner trainers and trainers who are first granted a license to train. Prior to seeking a General Trainers License, trainers in the Provisional Trainers category will be required to serve a yet to be determined probationary period and possible benchmarks.


The ATA has supported calls for the introduction of optional blood testing of yearlings and weanlings offered at thoroughbred sales and horses entered for Ready To Run sales, for the presence of steroids, anti-inflammatory medications and sedatives. The ATA supports a similar system for Scoping horses at sales, where a box is included on the sales docket, in this instance to request a blood test at the purchaser’s expense, with the option to rescind the sale according to the outcome of the blood test. The ATA has received numerous representations from trainers on this issue and the Victorian Branch Committee is of the firm view that the adoption of such a proposal would offer protection to owners, trainers and their agents in their decision making process at the sales.


The ATA has launched its new website. The website has been redeveloped to keep members informed and updated on State and national issues. The website also provides information about Member Services and Benefits, Employer Information and links to other industry related websites. Importantly members can include a link to their own website. If you have sourced this article remotely the ATA website address is


Rule changes to Local Rules of Racing will in future be announced twice a year, except in special circumstances. RVL is in the process of deciding on the timing of the twice yearly announcements as well as streamlining the communication process through Inside Racing and its online network. The changes will enable trainers and their staff to better keep in touch with rule changes and readily access information relating to the changes.


The recommendations of the review into Jumps Racing conducted by Judge David Jones will be released by RVL on December 4 following a meeting of the RVL Board. The recommendations were presented to RVL last week. The Review was instigated by RVL following a variety of safety issues raised during the last jumping season and in particular the Grand National Hurdle meeting. It is believed that the Review has made several recommendations to make jumps racing safer.


Well known trainer Benny Benbow has recently undergone brain surgery to remove a brain aneurism, and a Golf day and Dinner have been arranged at Amstel Golf Course at Cranbourne on Monday, December 8, to help raise enough funds to cover medical costs and expenses associated with Benny’s illness and operation. The ATA strongly urges trainers and the racing fraternity to support this very worthwhile fund raising effort. For further information and bookings Benny’s son Jason Benbow can be contacted on 0450 517 623 or by email on


RVL has invited the ATA to provide input into a discussion paper proposing options for revamping the Super Vobis Incentive Scheme in Victoria. The Discussion paper contains recommendations for changes to the format of Super Vobis and following consultation with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Board (TOBA) and other stakeholders such as the ATA, final recommendations will be presented to the RVL Board.


With the depressed economic conditions, trainers are strongly advised to exercise caution at the forthcoming yearling sales circuit when purchasing yearlings on spec with the intention of later selling them on to clients or syndicating them. Trainers should carefully consider their own exposure to risk aversion during the yearling sales circuit which kicks off early in the New Year.