** Kindly supplied by the Western Australian Racing Trainers Association
Trainers were told that falling TAB turnover was one of several reasons behind Perth Racing’s decision to cut stakemoney which had been aimed at lifting basic Saturday stakes to $50,000 and mid-week to 45 per cent of Saturday stakes. Other reasons included losses on some major meetings, including the Perth Cup where the crowd was down from 40,000 to 23,000. WA also lost exclusive rights to the Singapore market which has seen a $700,000 reduction in income at a time of escalating costs.
Perth Racing’s 2010-11 budget had decided to maintain stake levels with six-month reviews and the recent decrease was the result of the first review. Stake levels are now totally dependent on what Perth Racing receives from RWWA and the $3.3 million used to top up stakes was now gone with little possibility of stakes being topped up in the near future.
Trainers questioned the lack of Monday holiday races and the disappearance of the Boxing Day meeting and were advised that turnover figures did not justify their existence. The decision to lift the Winterbottom Stakes by $250,000 also drew criticism.
The future of Belmont Park as a racecourse has been assured with Perth Racing confident that a development proposal will be taken up. Under the current plans the 72 acres owned by Perth Racing will be broken up into five “super blocks” – two to be retained by Perth Racing for the Belmont track, two for developers and one to be retained as public open space.
Within two years of agreements being signed money is expected to flow through to refurbish the Belmont grandstand and upgrade facilities at Belmont and Ascot. Ultimately the development will provide investment for a continuous income stream.
Suggestions from trainers at the meeting included:
The reintroduction of a “starter’s fee” of $200
Trainers to be eligible for 10 per cent of the $1.5 million RWWA subsidy for Westspeed races as had been promised when the scheme was considered in the 1990s.
More maiden races required.
Perth tracks are too hard in summer with too many horses jarring up. Pentrometer readings should be taken more than once during the day and not just immediately after the track is subject to heavy watering.
Belmont should be used occasionally during summer to give Ascot track a rest and time to recover.
Trainers should be encouraged to take out Perth Racing membership
HI GAINS AWARDS
Recent winners named by Perth racing journalist Ernie Manning include:
Guyno’s Effort: Trainer Lou Luciani was responsible for a brilliant training performance with the veteran stayer Guyno when he took the gelding east to win the $300,000 Mornington Cup on February 16 at his first start since running in the Perth Cup. He followed that win with another victory in Adelaide in the Lord Reimis Stakes on March 5. Guyno has been patiently nursed back into racing since suffering a bleeding attack in the 2009 Geelong Cup.
Escadiare Wins: The seven-year-old gelding Escadiare has passed through a few stables since his racing debut with his latest change proving a success for trainer Raquel Mills. Racing first up for former jockey Mills, Escadiare took out the $80,000 Cyril Flower Stakes at Ascot on February 26. At his previous run the horse had finished sixth in a race at Mt Barker.
Derby Preparation: The three-year-old View The Stars took a big step towards a start in the WA Derby in winning the J.C. Roberts Stakes at Ascot on March 5. For trainer Paul Jordan it was his third win in the race, following success with El Cordero and The Bukhra. It was View The Stars fourth outing since winning a race at Ascot in November.
Proart’s Back: Proart has proved a handy horse for the Adam Durrant stable since returning from an unsuccessful trip to Melbourne in April last year. On March 13 the six-year-old scored a brilliant win in the $120,000 Bunbury Stakes on a limited preparation. Pro Art had not raced for some two months and had just the one trial at Bunbury before the big race.