** Kindly supplied by the Western Australian Racing Trainers Association
Racing will lose nine meetings in the 2009-10 season as Racing and Wagering WA moves to help cover the $17 million costs involved in WA remaining in the SuperTAB pool and the introduction of product fees from September last year.
Seven meetings listed for York will go, two mid-week WATC days and two Northam race cards. Kalgoorlie and Pinjarra pick up one extra date. In addition nine race cards will be limited to feature Perth and provincial feature days.
The one-off costs will be offset when legislation is passed enabling WA to receive $12 million in product fees from interstate operators. However, the net cost to WA will be about $5 million a year.
In outlining the reductions to industry funding, RWWA Chief Executive Richard Burt pointed out that since RWWA was established annual distributions to the three racing codes have increased from $59m in 2003-04 to $108.5m this season, an increase of 84 per cent. The distribution to thoroughbred racing has helped this State maintain a high level of stakemoney.
A recent mid-week program showed stakes paid at a Belmont meeting ($25,000 per race) were second only to Sydney (Warwick Farm $27,000) and well ahead of Brisbane (Doomben $13,000), Victoria (Ballarat $15,000) and Adelaide (Morphetville $8000).
Payment of jockeys’ public liability and personal accident insurances as well as other welfare programs has added $372,000 to RWWA’s expenditure this season.
Other cost increases include the Westspeed budget ($175,000) and $190,000 paid to the racing clubs which conduct training, based on starter numbers in a prior season. RWWA has also undertaken other initiatives including growing the coverage of SKY Channel covered WA racing events, moving non-vision races to coverage on SKY and expanding TABForm to provide more form coverage.
In addition a submission has been made to Government for a reduction in the $60 million tax dividend paid by RWWA.
Trainers are again seeking a right-hand turn arrow at the intersection of Great Eastern Highway and Epsom Avenue.
In a submission to Main Roads WA, trainers pointed out that traffic intensity on the highway has increased and floats being taken to and from Ascot for racing and trackwork are facing increasing danger in turning into Epsom Avenue.
Right-hand turns are invariably negotiated on the amber signal, if not the red, posing the possibility of a serious accident.
For young apprentice riders, the north-west racing season has provided some of the State’s best jockeys with valuable learning experiences and this year is no exception.
Amy Sandiford is the first of the “new riders” to benefit from opportunities provided on the Broome circuit this season, winning two races at the June 6 meeting.
Amy, who is apprenticed to Robert Harvey, suffered an early setback to her career when she was injured and had only three race rides before it was suggested she head north on loan to former leading jockey and trainer Tom Pike.
Amy Sandiford had five rides at the meeting, winning two 1100m races on 15/1 chance Marion Jay and 12/1 chance Chinoto. Her three other rides included two thirds for the stable to bring her riding record to 15 races for a 33 per cent win-place record.
Apprentice Riding Master Laurie Millington, who reviewed Amy’s efforts on race videos, described her as a “very promising apprentice” and a good example of the benefits gained by riders at country meetings. “She will pick up her 40-50 rides in the north-west and return to Robert Harvey with more confidence,” Millington said.
Amy Sandiford has been chosen as the winner of a $200 Encouragement Award jointly sponsored by West Australian trainers and Bio John.
HY GAINS AWARDS
Racing journalist Ernie Manning had no trouble finding one winner of the weekly Hi-Gains Awards in the Perth-owned and trained Scenic Blast, convincingly winner of the Group One Kings’ Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 16.
In fact, the four-year-old gelding looms as favourite for the Horse of the Year Title following earlier wins in two other Group One events – the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket at Flemington. Then, there’s the other Scenic - Scenic Shot, winner of three big races at Queensland’s Winter Carnival – the O’Shea Stakes, Doomben Cup and Brisbane Cup.
For trainer Dan Morton, the run of six major race wins in just a few months is one of the most remarkable training achievements in WA racing history and adds enormous lustre to the family record established by his father Len Morton as one of the State’s top trainers from the 1980s onwards.
Other recent award winners were:
Small Team – Big Results: Veteran trainer Arthur Mortimer has never had more than a few horses in work, but his strike rate is very impressive and Hawkeye Mort added to that with another win at Belmont on May 23, making it two in a row at that track. The trainer’s father was one of the early settlers in Wellard with Mortimer Road being named after him. Arthur Mortimer is best remembered for the exploits of big-race winner and weight-for-age performer Tribula in the 1990s.
Another Winner: Trainer Fred Kersley is rarely without a big-race winner to keep the pot boiling and Grand Nirvana provided the stable with another boost by winning the $125,000 Roma Cup at Belmont on May 30. The three-year-old Grand Nirvana has won four races, all in top company.
Durrant Double: Karnup trainer Adam Durrant had the happy knack of training winning doubles recently with Ma Ma Machine breaking a track record for 1000m before Star Encounter scored at Belmont on June 6. The week before, Durrant won with Star Encounter and Strait Laced. Star Encounter displayed Durrant’s ability to keep horses in top form for a long period as the gelding had been racing without a break for several months.