Day At The Track

What's happening in Victoria - from the CEO

05:28 AM 17 Sep 2012 NZST
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John Anderson
John Anderson - The chief executive officer for Harness Racing Victoria.

We look forward to a new harness racing season which commenced on September 1. For the previous season, Make Mine Cullen won the most races in Victoria (12) and Candy Digger had the most starts (71).

CRANBOURNE TRAINING COMPLEX

The Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine will conduct the official opening of the Cranbourne Training Complex on the morning of September 25.

I had the pleasure of seeing the facilities first hand some weeks ago and am very impressed with what the complex has to offer.

Click here for photos taken on that day.

Several horses are on location already and, since being stabled at Cranbourne, Viv Tomren trained Stylish Jasper has won in consecutive weeks at Melton and Cranbourne.

Industry participants, new or existing, should contact the Cranbourne Club on 5996 8677.

FEDERAL COURT DECISION

While the Board considers the legal advice to appeal the Sportsbet Federal Court Case v HRV, I thought it worth clarifying a misconception in industry reaction that I regularly encounter.

As we know Sportsbet was successful in claiming discrimination in that HRV’s fee of 1.5% of turnover was ruled invalid. Charging a fee based on turnover was ruled valid, however due to the 0.5% subsidy paid to on course bookmakers for turning up at the track (therefore in practical effect pay 1% of turnover) the 1.5% charge to Sportsbet was deemed a discriminatory burden.

The ruling does not mean that Sportsbet should at least pay 1% of turnover. The ruling means Sportsbet’s entire 1.5% fee is invalid.

From September 1, HRV amended its policy so that all wagering service providers pay 1.5% of turnover. The subsidy to on course bookmakers has been removed, therefore the entire turnover condition is now valid for all wagering operators.

CLAIMING RACES

Claimers continue to be a successful way of trading horses in Victoria.

The “Battle of the Claimers” conducted over the past couple of weeks at Tabcorp Park Melton is a perfect illustration.

26 claims were lodged for horses engaged. 20 claims were lodged for 9yo Few Good Men at a price of $5,000.

In a win/win situation, connections pocketed $5,400 for winning a heat, $1,000 for running 4th in the final plus $5,000 claim price – a total of $11,400. The new owners have paid $5,000 for a horse which has the ability to win more races.

The winner of the series, Cosmic Under Fire was not claimed – but won a heat and final totalling $18,900 in stakes – also a good return for a 9yo. If he had been claimed, owners would have pocketed $30,000.

COMMENTS BY TERRY BAILEY

In the course of the media circus surrounding the Terry Bailey/Danny Nikolic incident at Seymour, Terry was quoted as saying no one had spoken to him the way that Nikolic had, “not even trotting drivers”.

In acknowledging that Terry was under pressure it was nevertheless a poor comment, which not surprisingly attracted plenty of reaction from industry participants.

Upon hearing the comments I did contact Terry straight away expressing HRV’s disappointment. Terry’s immediate response was that he was sorry and he recognised that the context in which the comments had come out was inappropriate. His explanation to me was accurately captured in his quotes in Harness Racing Weekly:

“My reference to trotting drivers was an attempt to point out that even at the heights of their anger or emotions, I was never treated to such language or disrespect.

I meant no disrespect, although I did cop a few sprays from drivers. I value my time in harness racing and….had no intentions of putting the sport down. I have nothing but respect for harness racing.

I apologise if it came across a different way.”

While I was aware of the anger among the drivers, I have accepted Terry’s explanation given that I know that he is genuinely grateful for his time in harness racing and still follows and supports the sport.

TABCORP PARK AWARD

HRV’s home at Tabcorp Park has received another major award.

This time the Choice Hotels Group has awarded Tabcorp Park the Gold Award in the Quality Hotel division.

The award is for quality of facilities and service in the accommodation at Tabcorp Park. For those unaware Tabcorp Park has 41 rooms including three suites. We regularly receive feedback, expressing pleasant surprise at the comfort of the rooms.

Kathleen Mullan, daughter of prominent local harness identity Danny Mullan is our Hotel Supervisor. She is pretty proud of her facility so if you would like to say a night or two give her a call on 8746 0600.

HRV BOARD VACANCY

We are expecting an announcement by the Minister for Racing very soon on the appointment of a new Board member to fill a vacancy created by Richard Brice’s departure earlier this year.

NEW ARRIVAL

Congratulations to HRV Deputy Chairman of Stewards, Nick Murray and wife Cass who became the proud parents of a baby girl, Sienna on September 14.

We wish the Murray family well!

DID YOU KNOW.....

The owner of the great Sundons Gift, Neven Botica, now owns another serious trotter, a four-year-old mare by the name of Beatgoeson Hanover.

This week she won the Muscle Hill Aged Mare Trot worth US$191,000 at Vernon Downs in the US.

Beatgoeson Hanover has now had 39 starts, 18 wins, 9 places and $898,000 in stakes.

HRV is now talking to Neven about bringing another of his top US trotters, Imperial Count to Victoria for next March’s Great Southern Star.

by John ANDERSON

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