** Kindly supplied by the Western Australian Racing Trainers Association
Two conditions were placed on the $900,000 grant approved by RWWA to build the Ascot horse swimming pool – that Perth Racing is responsible for on-going maintenance and the pool must be made available to both thoroughbred and harness participants. This is the explanation provided to the WA Racing Trainers Association by RWWA why no further funding is available and why fees for use of the facility are in the hands of Perth Racing.
Pool fees were recently increased by 100 per cent leading to protests from trainers over the hike in their costs. In relation to costs, RWWA said it will be working with the major clubs that provide training facilities to establish the true cost of training. RWWA foreshadows that over time a “more equitable balance between the costs of training and participant contributions will prevail.”
Is that a hint that fees loom for use of training tracks?
A proposal to implement a system where horses racing in the outer provincial and country areas are assigned a separate metro-centric and country rating is being considered by RWWA. In a report to the racing authority it was claimed that some trainers are “giving runs” to horses in Perth before heading into country racing with a lower rating than appropriate at that level of racing.
The issue is becoming evident in the months leading to the Nor-West season where horses destined for Broome, Carnarvon or Port Hedland have several “prep” runs at Perth or inner provincial venues prior to being floated north for the winter. “In some cases the improvement in form between racing in the metro or inner provincials can only be described as remarkable,” the report noted.
The dual rating system designed to overcome this anomaly is expected to be implemented in October.
Apprentice riding in Western Australia has rarely been in better hands, according to Apprentice Riding Master Laurie Millington. “The more experienced young riders continue to ride excellent races, but it is the spread of apprentices who are winning almost immediately after qualifying in trials that is surprising,” he said.
One of those riders is Jayce Buckley who qualified to ride in late August and rode Danarazi to win a 1200m race at Carnarvon on August 22 at his second race ride. Another is Michael Grantham, a school based apprentice who rode a double aboard Matt Finish and Got Nothin Tofear at Kunnunurra on August 28 and a few days later followed up with a win on Moniker at Carnarvon. Grantham is apprenticed to his mother Kelly Grantham.
A third rider to come under notice in August was Ryan Hill, a former apprentice in England where he rode one winner from 37 rides. After a period as a track rider in Perth, Hill decided to resume his apprenticeship and in a one-week period recently he scored wins on Pascali at Carnarvon on August 25, Zurich at Belmont on August 25, Speccio at Belmont on August 28 and Coolism at Kalgoorlie on August 29.
Buckley, Grantham and Hill have each been awarded a $200 encouragement award jointly sponsored by the WA Racing Trainers’ Association and Bio John.
Plans to develop a synthetic track and expand the course proper at the picturesque provincial racecourse at Hawkesbury could revolutionise racing in New South Wales, according to reports from that State. It also raises the point that a similar development at Northam or Pinjarra might be the answer to WA’s pressing need to provide a rest for Belmont and Ascot, two of the most hammered tracks in Australia.
Hawkesbury plans to expand the course proper from 2000m to 2142m with the home straight being lengthened from 280m to 400m. The synthetic course, similar to that of Geelong in Victoria, will be 1983m in circumference and have a 370m home straight. Hawkesbury Race Club’s close proximity to Sydney would enable race meetings to be transferred at short notice in times of inclement weather as well as provide city tracks with some rest before major race days. The Hawkesbury plan to develop their track into a major racing and training venue could depend on Racing NSW winning its Federal Court appeal on the Race Fields Legislation. Racing NSW is holding in trust some $100 million in fees from wagering operators pending the outcome of legal challenges. That case will also have long-term effects on racing throughout the nation.
HI GAINS AWARDS
The North-West racing season has seen recent Hi Gains awards go to those trainers who follow the sun, and now it’s the turn of those who are trekking to the goldfields. Racing expert Ernie Manning’s recent nominations include:
Deserved Winner: Back in the 1980s Kevin Byleveld was working as a policeman in Mt Newman when he became the driving force behind the formation of the Newman Race Club. Since then he has always taken a keen interest in the progress of the club. After a tilt at the Broome racing season during August, Byleveld took the nine-year-old Hooks Reason back to the town to win his second Newman Cup in three years.
Bargain Winner: A Sunday morning mixed stock sale several years ago saw one of the biggest bargains in WA racing snapped up. The horse was Inarticulate, winner of the $100,000 Coolgardie Cup on August 28. For trainer Adam Durrant, Inarticulate’s leg problems have been a major source of concern, but his record more than makes amend. The horse cost just $500 at that sale and has since had 25 starts for 11 wins and stake earnings of $350,000.
Training Change: Until recently, the seven-year-old gelding King Kool Kat would not have raised an eyebrow among racing followers. His first 50 starts resulted in just one win. However, it his latest preparation for trainer Ian Glading, King Kool Kat has had five runs for five wins. Glading attributes much of the success to a farrier’s work on the horse’s feet and a program of swimming.