RVL Board Proposal to Reintroduce Non-Acceptance Race Fees
Trainers will have received a communication today from Racing Victoria (RV) EGM racing, Matt Welsh, confirming it is RV’s want to reintroduce non-acceptance race fees from 1 April 2023.
Before we address this subject specifically, it is important to understand the history of the subject matter;
The ATA & TROA jointly – and successfully - lobbied RV for the abolition of these fees in 2007.
At this time, it was argued removing these fees would:
- Support owners, reducing the expense associated with their racing in Victoria;
- Eliminate administration cost, and ease cash flow concerns, for trainers; and
- Allow trainers to program more effectively, without financial encumbrance or penalty
These benefits remain just as relevant today!
Why the change of heart by RV?
One reason RV have identified is a rising cost, another, is the view the current system promotes indiscriminate nomination by trainers. On the dollars, they point to the “operating expense” (fees they pay for the RISA service), which has increased significantly over recent years. For example, in 2017, the sum was $620K, last season, $983K.
RV advise Victoria also has the lowest ratio of nominations to race acceptors when compared to other states (Victoria is circa 31%, Qld 66%, NSW 67%). A more targeted nomination approach they believe will improve this percentage, and likely result in an increase in the starter numbers per race.
The ATA is strongly opposed to the reintroduction of this fee!
We acknowledge the increased cost for the service, however, if the metric is to be measured in this fashion, we believe it is modest when compared with a number of RV’s participant & customer related expenses incurred for FYE 30 June 2022:
- Support - Race Club Grants $ 25m*
- Welfare Support - Equine $ 9.2m
- Support - Jockeys $ 1.0m
*increased due to COVID
We are firmly of the view the benefits from the current system for trainers & owners, and to Victorian racing generally, outweigh any need for change.
It should also be said that Victoria is the acknowledged leader in many areas of racing; installation of plastic running rail on the course proper at all 67 racetracks, an innovative access fee model operated by many of our training centres, synthetic racetrack options at two venues, and world class metropolitan racing. The free nomination system is yet another attribute that sets Victorian racing aside from its interstate counterparts; our view is we should maintain and actively promote this, rather than remove it and lose a significant point of difference.
Unfortunately, the Racing Victoria Board remain unmoved by our arguments!
Looking forward, the ATA has managed at this time to “buy” a small window of opportunity. The RV Board has agreed to a three-month trial, where trainers will be encouraged to adopt a more targeted approach with their use of the nomination system. If they see a noticeable change - measured by reduced volumes and an improved “nomination to acceptor” ratio across the next 3 months, then we can avoid this change. Accordingly, I simply encourage every trainer to employ whatever reasonable action he or she can take cross this period, across the trial period, which will commence on 1 December 2022, and conclude on 28 February 2023.
I also urge trainers to share your views directly with RV on this subject. If you feel there are other issues that should be considered and that have not been raised in this communication, we encourage you to not only share them with the ATA (via the link below), but also direct with RV, at either their Racing Operations level, with the CEO Andrew Jones, or indeed, direct to the RV Board Members.
To share your views with the ATA, do so by clicking here.