Day At The Track

From the CEO's Desk - Volume 37 - January

06:50 AM 16 Jan 2014 NZDT
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HRV CEO John Anderson
HRV CEO John Anderson

An Introduction From The CEO

It has been a week of scorching heat and I thank those participants who have braved the conditions. A reminder of HRV's Heat Policy, which specifies that when temperatures are forecast to be over 38 degrees, trainers may scratch before 8.30am without penalty.

HRV has also moved day meetings through the week to earlier timeslots and shifted night meetings back to avoid the hottest part of the day. Stewards at meetings have been monitoring the condition of horses and personnel.

Follow HRV on Twitter @HRVnews

Premier on the Spot

The float carrying 4yo Art Major Colt Arts Professor was involved in a nasty accident on the Ring Road, heading to Yarra Valley (January 16).

One of the first on the scene was Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine. Dr Napthine, a qualified vet, stopped to render assistance. He reported to HRV that apart from some scratches, the horse was in good condition.

Click here for a photo of the Premier inspecting Arts Professor.

Wagering - 6 months to December 31

We have now completed the first half of the financial year, so it is opportune to share some of the key indicators.

HRV's revenue and stakemoney are dependent totally on wagering on harness racing. Over the past couple of years we have seen a significant shift in the way punters bet on our product.

Only as recent as five years ago, the Joint Venture arrangement with Tabcorp was virtually the single source of HRV wagering revenue. The betting with Tabcorp was all 'parimutuel' betting - the traditional form of tote betting.

In recent times there has been a material shift away from the parimutuel form of betting. Unfortunately the products increasing in popularity do not provide the higher returns to the industry. Any shift away from parimutuel tote betting to other forms of betting will provide lower marginal returns. These products are:

"Fixed Odds" betting with Tabcorp;

Corporate bookmakers and betting exchanges.

HRV has fought hard to ensure all corporate bookmakers pay a fair return to the industry. Despite the shift to fixed odds (Tabcorp) and the corporates providing a lesser return to the industry than the traditional parimutuel, it is clearly the market responding to punter preference.

The diminishing size of parimutuel pools is a concern to HRV. HRV has made representation to Tabcorp to merge the pools with NSW to provide pool size and encourage betting back into the pools.

For the six months ended December 2013, some key indicators, compared to the same period in 2012:

Revenue from Tabcorp 'Parimutuel' ↓11.9%
Revenue from Tabcorp 'Fixed Odds' ↑146.3%
Combined Tabcorp Revenue ↓1%

Revenue from Corporate Bookmakers ↑50%

The Gross Turnover numbers for six months are:

Tabcorp Parimutuel $205 million
Tabcorp Fixed Odds $55 million
Corporates $87 million

Our market share of Tabcorp Revenue is slightly up on last year.

At the commencement of the year HRV budgeted for a profit of $1.6 million. To the end of December we are not forecasting any material variation to that figure by the end of June.

Raising The Standards

There are a number of people and groups doing a fantastic job in caring for, and placing horses post their racing career.

We remember Kathleen Mullan and 'James' participating in the Garryowen and the horses from the Northern Standardbred Riding Group leading the Bendigo Parade, for example.

In particular I draw your attention to the work being done by Nicole Tassone at 'Raising the Standards'.

With State Government and HRV support, Nicole is doing a great job giving standardbreds a second chance after their racing career is over. There are some awesome stories of horses being cared for at Raising The Standards and then moving on to another life.

I recommend that you 'Like" the Raising the Standards Facebook page or go to to read some of the heart-warming stories.

Cranbourne Training Centre

David Scott is retiring from his position as Chief Executive at Cranbourne at the end of January. We wish David well in his retirement, particularly in his continued breeding interests.

One of David's major legacies will be the establishment of the Cranbourne Training Centre. Attracting joint State Government, HRV and Cranbourne Club funding, the project has proved to be an overwhelming success and a blueprint for future expansion around Victoria.

I am pleased to hear that with two new trainers taking up residence late in 2013, the centre is fully occupied. I am equally pleased for David that he can leave knowing that his efforts have been rewarded with a barn full of horses and many winners.


Keith McGowan

HRV was shocked and saddened at the sudden passing of radio legend and harness racing devotee Keith McGowan.

Keith was fanatical about the trots.A prolific breeder and owner, he was a regular attendee at the track, whether it be a feature or regional weekday meeting.

His last trotter Simon Tappertit, which he raced in partnership with fellow 3AW legends Ross Stevenson and Tony Leonard, won 14 races.

Always one for a quirky horse name, among Keith's other successful horses were Dick Swiveller (14 wins) and Comedy of Eros (15 wins).

Keith's highly successful radio career spanned 54 years, the last 21 as host of the 3AW overnight shift.

Our condolences to his family, including his son Nathan, HRV's Racing Manager.

Barry Garbutt

HRV was also saddened to learn of the peaceful passing of Barry Garbutt on New Year's Eve.

Barry held a trainer/driver license for many years and was associated with some very good horses - most recently Sunset Invasion.

Barry fitted the description "colourful" character - instantly recognisable at Melton with his large cowboy hat and, on big occasions, his pink suit.


Congratulations to Cassandra Troon who drove her first winner in a race at Kilmore on New Year's Day behind Armbro Higgens. She combined with the same horse a week later at the same venue for her second win.

I witnessed Tania Ward drive her second winner behind Nuggets brother at Echuca on New Year's Night. I neglected to congratulate her on her first winner as a driver behind What A Fine Fella in June 2013 at Cobram.

Rising star Jason Lee drove his 100th winner in late December behind Keayang Starzz at Terang. His cousin Matt Craven is closing in on 500 winners.

This week at Kilmore (January 15) Chris Alford added to his milestone when he became the first driver in Australia to driver 100 winners for the season - the 13th quickest century in history.

Did You Know?

Gordon Rothacker Medallist Graeme Lang drove his first winner since July 2011 when he won on 3yo trotter Maybelina at Tabcorp Park on January 10.

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