UHRA Newsletter - December 2019
Firstly we should apologise for the irregularity in News updates but as a volunteer Association it comes down to a matter of resources. We have some ideas to improve on this next year which we will detail in due course.
In saying that we have attended all HRICG Meetings and UHRA/HRNSW bi-monthly scheduled Meetings. We have represented Licensees in a forthright and robust manner and not shirked any issue which at times has ‘ruffled feathers’. We do not intend to hang out any ‘dirty washing’ in this Newsletter but we can assure Licensees , in what are trying times for Harness Racing ,we are at all times working to improve the lot for Participants.
Current Outstanding Issues:
National Ratings Handicapping
We preface our comments by saying that a UHRA viewpoint has always worked on a clear majority. On this issue there are many diverse opinions and we proposed Industry Forums after 3 months of introduction of new System where participants could air their views. These were held and submissions were tabled by all States at a ‘HRA Sub-Committee’ 9th December with a view to implementation 1st January 2020. We have advised HRNSW we are extremely disappointed nothing was forthcoming and the matter has been deferred.
Industry Marketing and Promotion
We have advised HRNSW through HRICG that we are disappointed with the lack of perceived promotion of Harness Racing in print media and TV. HRNSW have advised a ‘promotion campaign’ for our 2020 Carnival and the 2020 Inter Dominion.
Imposition of Fines on Licensees
Recently HRNSW advised there would be an increase of Fines for Gear Offences from 1st January 2020. One way Fines on Participants has been an ongoing issue between HRNSW and UHRA. We asked for data relating to Fines to be tabled at HRICG where we were advised HRNSW had collected $1.5 mill in past 10 years. Our reaction was to call this an ‘obscene amount’ considering the level of Prizemoney on offer as well as the ‘poverty rates’ charged by many Trainers.
As this amount ‘tops up’ the Benevolent Fund there also needs to be more realistic look at Licensee’s circumstance AS THEY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE CONRIBUTED.
Substances and Penalty Review
UHRA had traditionally not become involved in Substance issues however in short we have supported HRICG (via Breeders Assn) Submission on Altrenogest (Regumate) for race mares with no result to date.
With the ongoing Cobalt issues we have called for a National Moratorium on this Substance as well as Altrenogest on the basis that different States and different Jurisdictions have differing Rules.
This is a very time consuming Forum for this Volunteer Group, especially for the Chairman , and without elaborating there are unfortunately conflicts of interest which have resulted in some regrettable ‘incidents’ There will be changes which we hope will benefit THE INDUSTRY AS A WHOLE.
Two years ago when HRNSW increased Prizemoney by almost $5mill UHRA sought an increase in commission from 7.5% to 10% to bring us in line with Thoroughbred Trainers. We asked for 10% on all Prizemoney on the basis that when Unplaced Prizemoney(UPP) was introduced it actually reduced Trainer’s race commission ie in simple terms on a $6000 Race prior to UPP Trainers received 7.5% on full $6000 , after UPP Trainers only received 7.5% on $5400. In a calculation put to HRNSW by HRICG Trainers are being under compensated to the tune of 7.5% of $500,000 per annum. This calculation did include a percentage of Bonuses of which Thoroughbred Trainers and Jockeys receive 5% each.
The matter was ‘blocked’ at HRICG resulting in other proposals being tendered by UHRA ie Trainer Presentation Fee , etc. Each proposal has been ‘blocked’.
We ask you to ignore all the ‘fake news’ and propaganda surrounding this matter , if you are a Trainer YOU HAVE BEEN UNDERPAID since UPP was introduced.
The matter remains on the table for the new Board of HRNSW.
Matters Concluded During 2019:
Change of Tactics Rule rescinded
10 Starters at Menangle Tuesday , Bathurst and Wagga agreed
Sulky Insurance will be reduced to $3 and recovery increased to 80%
Free entry for Licensees to all tracks
Trainers will now receive compensation for Abandoned (after start) Meetings
Unfortunately the drought continues and feed prices continue to rise making things difficult for all. HRNSW Drought Assistance measures are welcomed by all.
After the regrettable ABC programme this of course is a top agenda item and UHRA will take its place on the Board of Industry Rehoming Company. It is recognised here the large number of Industry Participants who rehome their Standardbreds and it’s a pity the ABC didn’t choose to do a good news story on this side of the Industry.
Please be advised in concurrence with (Dept of) Fair Trading , UHRA does not and never has operated with Proxy Voting.
Annual General Meeting
Will take place 6.30 pm Wednesday 22nd January 2020 at Menangle (refer separate Notice)
THE UNITED HARNESS RACING ASSOCIATION TAKES THIS OPPORTUNITY TO WISH ALL PARTICPANTS BEST WISHES AND SEASONS GREETINGS FOR 2020 AND EVERY SUCCESS WITH YOUR HORSES