UHRA Finally met with HRNSW on 18th April and the following is a summary of items discussed and UHRA comments on same.
HRNSW Financial Position
HRNSW explained their position in respect of expenditure including Futures Fund , Capital Expenditure Projects (including Mobile Barrier expenditure) etc and income received including Tax Parity etc. UHRA of course were looking for a Prizemoney ‘pot of gold’ which unfortunately was not forthcoming.
Subsequent discussions amongst UHRA Committee Members revealed queries on the appropriateness of some of the expenditure and these queries will be raised at HRICG Meeting on 7th May.
HRA Whip Rule
A final Draft was put before UHRA (and hopefully all other State’s Horseman’s Associations) which has been agreed in principle by UHRA however its success is dependent on a common sense , uniform and consistent application by Stewards nationally.
Ironically the Draft Rule basically mirrors what was put to HRNSW by Participants in January 2017. We have stated we hope the situation that occurred in respect of non-consultative HRA announcement in December 2016 never happens again and with HRA ‘under new management’ we trust this will be the case. After nine years and millions of dollars in Fines , enough is finally enough.
Change of Tactics Rule
Still causing great angst at time of writing and will go to HRA May Meeting. We stated to HRNSW we unfortunately don’t expect any State to stand up and call for the repelling of a totally inappropriate Rule. Can HRNSW get this over the line like they did with the Whip Rule?
New Metro Handicapping System
Although we are told ‘turnover has not decreased’ , we are looking for more definitive statistics.
We were advised the Fund now has over $300,000 in reserve. This is far too much and we will be going to HRICG with a proposal to reduce the $4 premium and increase recovery costs.
UHRA AGM Inquiries
Issues tabled at our AGM in January were discussed and included:
No Metro Meetings during Bathurst Carnival – review taking place
10 Horse Fields – also raised at Trainer Focus Groups – HRICG Agenda item
Provincial/Country Derbies and Oaks – run as lead up to NSW Derby/Oaks i/o afterwards
HRNSW $2.8mill Funding Injection
UHRA through its website asked for feedback on HRNSW Notice. The overwhelming feedback we received was that respondents felt the Injection was top heavy and that more should have been done to the bottom line , ie increase prizemoney levels for ‘the bread and butter horses’ from Maiden level upwards.
There was and still is confusion as to what the intention is with R Racing. The suggestion that R races may be run as a trial in one area to give slow horses a chance to earn was met with ‘what about slow horses in all other areas’. This and all other issues directed to UHRA on this matter will be tabled at HRICG.
As you aware this is an ongoing issue for UHRA via HRNSW and HRICG. UHRA has to put ‘an initial position’ to HRICG for its May 7 Meeting with a view to any changes that place will be from beginning of Financial Year July 1. The NSW Trainer Prizemoney Earnings Table on the HRA website for 2016/7 show the 10th ranked trainer would have received a maximum of $37,000 (based on 7.5% however Breeders Challenge races are only remunerated at 5% - a glaring anomaly) which is not sustainable.
The question here of course is WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER 900 Trainers in the State , how can they possibly make ends meet??
It is disappointing that Administrators ‘simple solution’ is for trainers to put their fees up however the reality is that it is not feasible. Costs have increased dramatically and margins have decreased , that is the reality. Accounting advice says that Metropolitan Trainers (dependant on own or oncourse training) should be charging a minimum of $80 per day. There is no cost difference in feeding a thoroughbred or Standardbred but a Metropolitan Thoroughbred Trainer can charge a base rate of $110-150 per day. The market dictates the price Trainers can command , how many horses would a Trainer have in his stable if he or she was to charge $80 ? The same equation of course applies to Country Trainers.
We are continuing to work on a much needed changed remuneration package for Trainers through HRICG and HRNSW. It goes without saying that any improvement to a Trainer’s lot is dependent on prizemoney increases.
Monday Racing / Shortage of Horses
We were disappointed to be advised that Menangle racing on Mondays is to cease with one reason given as lack of horses. Whilst one can cite Programming and Handicapping as another reason, in respect of shortage of horses we pointed out that in a recent 5 days of racing at Yonkers Paceway in New York 75 Australian and New Zealand horses raced and this included 24 mares !! The USA have a shortage of horses and so do New Zealand and we continue to supplement Queensland racing.
We keep running out a figure of 16.7% of horses paid their way last season , the conclusion here is that unless we change our Programming and Handicapping and improve the lot of the ‘bottom end’ horses then the current trend will continue.
Marketing our Product
We produced print media articles for Thoroughbreds and Greyhounds and referred to perceived lack of same for Harness Racing. We also referred to the very successful Thoroughbred Syndications which have given the smaller investor an opportunity to share in racehorse ownership for a reasonable investment. These Syndications have resulted in more people becoming involved as well as prominent personalities becoming involved and being promoted thus giving free marketing for racing.
If you have any constructive comments to make on any subject please contact UHRA at firstname.lastname@example.org . Your correspondence will be received on a Strictly Confidential basis.