INFORMATION BULLETIN – Trainer and Owner Reforms / National / 15 Nov, 2016

Dear Member,

A recurring problem over many years for Trainers trying to operate a viable Training and Racing business has been the scourge of Owner bad debt.

Largely the result of unpaid, legitimate Training fees and charges, the constant struggle to collect same has left a legacy of stress and hardship among Trainers, their families and staff. It is an impact which runs deep on the health and wellbeing of Trainers and one which, regrettably, has not been addressed with decisive action by any governing body, state or national.

The ATA has consistently promoted the need for an industry wide solution. The common view from the administrators has always been to recommend Trainers pursue commercial litigation to recover debts. This however, is a process which is not only time consuming, but for many, an expense which is costly at best, or at worst, unaffordable. The ATA has always vigorously rejected this argument. In our view, the model under which Australian racing operates requires a large pool of trainers, owners and racehorses to sustain a viable industry, offering a great product, and in turn, supporting healthy wagering returns. The ATA has been unflinching in it’s view that it is incumbent on PRA’s and our national body, Racing Australia, to ensure that Trainers are able to play their important role within the model, unencumbered by the threat or potential of financial ruin from Owner bad debt.

It is against this background of intense and persistent lobbying by the ATA and our unshakeable belief and commitment to a resolution of Owner bad debt, that the Trainer and Owner Reforms (TOR) were borne, and will soon become reality.

Coming into operation on 1 March 2017, the TOR will mark one of the most significant achievements by the ATA, with standardised Owner Trainer Agreements being introduced, along with a formal Dispute Resolution Tribunal Process to be managed by PRA’s, incorporated into the Rules of Racing for the first time in Australian racing history.

The significance of these Reforms cannot be overstated. At long last, the magnitude of the problem of Owner bad debt, together with their impact on Training Businesses, our Trainers and families, has been recognized with some practical and legally enforceable responsibilities and remedies enshrined in the Australian Rules of Racing.

The TOR would not have become a reality without the support of the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association of Victoria and it’s Chairman Jonathan Munz, who understood and recognized the importance of achieving a resolution and worked in tireless collaboration to achieve this outcome. The ATA also recognizes and acknowledges the support of Racing Australia Chairman John Messara and Chief Executive Peter McGauran, together with pivotal PRA support given by Racing Victoria and Racing NSW.

Racing Australia and all national PRA’s have committed to further communication updates and educational sessions/seminars on the TOR prior to introduction.

The ATA will continue to update members as we progress to implementation of these historic reforms in March 2017.

Should you wish to provide your feedback in writing in relation to this matter, please email

Alternatively, contact the office on (03) 9372-1688 should any one wish to discuss this matter with myself.

Kind Regards

Chief Executive