TRAINERS TARGET TRACKS
WA Racing Trainers’ Association President Michael Grant has named improvements in the quality and maintenance of Western Australian racing and training tracks as well as issues involving handicapping, programs, the rating system and help in debt recovery as targets for the association in the coming year.
“Much of this starts with membership and most of us are aware that for too long the WARTA has lacked the support of trainers in this State so necessary to be an effective voice to initiate positive change for WA trainers,” he said.
Grant, who was elected President in October, said he was confident the recently appointed WARTA committee had the potential to bring about those changes.
“Trainers such as international Group 1 winning trainer Danny Morton, current leading WA trainer Adam Durrant, multiple Group 1 conditioner Trever Andrews ad highly respected and experienced long-time racing administrator Ross Price will bring much needed experience, creditability and strength to our association,” he said. “I would also like to thank respected veteran trainer Colin Webster and Hall of Fame inductee Fred Kersley for taking up roles as senior counsels to the association”.
“Our association is now represented by a true cross section of trainers in this State. For the first time in years we are represented by open class trainers from our three major training centres, Ascot, Lark Hill and Bunbury. In conjunction with my highly respected vice president John Lugg, I believe we have the right group to represent WA trainers with an enthusiastic, direct and positive approach”.
Apart from upgrading training and race tracks, Grant said there is a need to periodically review handicapping, programming and the ratings system. “There is still much work to be done to ensure trainers receive assistance from our governing bodies with the ever constant problem of debt recovery,” he said.
“This is a long-term issue that continues to cause ongoing stress and financial hardship for too many trainers.”
Grant added, “I strongly encourage all trainers to become financial members of the WARTA in order for us to be an effective advocate for trainers in this State and with that support, I am confident that we can achieve positive changes”.
FIRST TEST FOR NEW WARTA COMMITTEE
The first test for the new committee came almost immediately with advice that Perth Racing is considering charging trainers a fee-per-horse for use of Ascot training tracks. A meeting of trainers was scheduled for November 30 to discuss this matter and consider a range of options for trackwork charges. Trainers will also be meeting with owners, pointing out that any charges will have to passed on in full to owners. Lack of maintenance stalls and walkways and the need to replace the viscoride track are other matters likely to be raised at meeting with Government and Opposition members of Parliament. The replacement track is expected to cost over $3 million.
Meanwhile, Perth Racing CEO Stephen Wicks said an approach will be made to RWWA for short-term funding to do some remedial work to the viscoride until it is replaced with a pro-ride or similar surface. The work includes placing a race onto the visco from the big sand and trainers and jockeys have been asked to reach an agreement on this measure. In the interim, Perth Racing will do regular checks and weekly work in this area.