ATA Victorian Branch – Members Update


RVL has assured the ATA that no final decisions will be made in relation to the proposed withdrawal of funding for training at several country race tracks identified in the draft Directions Paper, pending the review of all submissions from country clubs, industry associations and other interested parties.

This controversial issue which has generated concerns both from within the industry and outside, has rightly alarmed many of our Member trainers and industry participants, concerned that their livelihoods and futures will be threatened if funding for training is withdrawn and they are forced to relocate.

RVL Chief Operating Officer Bernard Saundry has also informed the ATA that RVL was completing an analysis aimed at identifying which country training tracks were used for the pre-training of large numbers of racehorses, and this information would also be taken into consideration along with many other factors before any decisions are finalised.

The ATA is continuing to consult with Member trainers and RVL on this issue to achieve the best possible outcomes for country trainers and their staff and families.


The ATA has also received assurances from RVL that further consultation will be undertaken before the compulsory trialing of unraced horses in the metropolitan area becomes mandatory on June 1, 2009.

There are many unresolved issues which need to be addressed before changes can be implemented. The ATA has proposed that, where necessary and feasible, jumpouts could be staged as organised trials to accommodate the new requirements. The ATA has also proposed that ALL training tracks in the metropolitan and country areas should stage these trials to help contain yet another layer of costs to owners and trainers. Costs associated with complying with these compulsory trials must be borne by RVL and not passed on to owners and trainers.


“Transparency” has been one of the buzz words in recent years in the racing industry. And yes, in this day and age and in particular in the wagering and gaming industries, it is an imperative.

However, the racing industry and its administrators must realise that transparency works both ways. It should not be just the industry participants who should be subjected to the rules and regulations that ensures the integrity and transparency of the racing industry.

Let’s use the example of track preparation and ratings as an example. How often are tracks rated incorrectly, and sometimes we suspect deliberately, as Dead 4’s before a meeting commences when in reality they are Good 3’s or even Good 2’s?

These incorrect ratings strike at the core of transparency, causing a great deal of angst for owners, trainers, jockeys and yes punters as well.

It is time racing administrators addressed this issue. If mistakes are made, own up to it and make sure that the same mistake does not recur. Trainers are the first to have the “book thrown at them” when they make a mistake. Transparency works both ways, or it certainly should in the racing industry.


Tabcorp’s half yearly result announced last month revealed that earnings before interest and taxes for Wagering was $145.4 million, up 14.9 per cent from the comparable period last year.

Wagering revenue itself was up 13 per cent, which in this tough and challenging economic environment, is a positive sign for the racing industry.

It should ensure increased returns to the industry which should in turn make certain that the recent prize money increases are not only sustained but increased in the new racing season as the industry commits to cost efficiencies and savings.

Against this background Tabcorp has initiated Supreme Court legal action against RVL on the fees charged by RVL for the use of race fields.

The cost of legal challenges is a cost the racing industry can well do without. The legal action is puzzling given that both RVL and Tabcorp not only share a commercial relationship based on mutual benefits, but are also joint venture partners in the pari-mutuel wagering agreement.