14 June 2011

World's best horses race for peanuts at Royal Ascot

ARGUABLY the world's most prestigious five days in the global racing calendar kick off tonight with day 1 of Royal Ascot and the eagerly awaited clash of champions in the traditional opening race of the carnival, the time honoured Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.

But just think for a minute what the champion French mare Goldikova, and her arch-rival, super four year old Canford Cliffs would do in the Group 3 Launceston Cup? They would be racing for more prizemoney. In fact Australia offers 108 races worth more than the paltry £141,925.00 (AUD$218,782) on offer in the Queen Anne. It's her special week, can't Her Majesty chip in a bit? Please don't tell us British racing is leading the world. ... UPDATE: Meanwhile, leading Australian trainer Peter Moody confirmed our assessment with comments published yesterday in the Melbourne Herald-Sun:
...Moody, speaking on Radio Sport National while in England for Royal Ascot, said a recent prize-money reduction there was another example of why Australia should go with a tote only system. "They are running for peanuts here (in the UK).  They've just had another prize-money cut by about a quarter,'' Moody said referring to the recent announcement that AU$3.3m would be cut from prize money. "The racing here is only for the upper class who are looking at ways to spend their money. In Australia it's about getting quick returns for owners who can then spend it on another horse.'' 
Moody went on to state the obvious: that Racing Victoria's decision to run with a pro-corporate bookie regime of taxing profits was fraught with danger as businesses invariably liked to reduce profits for taxation purposes.

06 June 2011

Victorian Owners slam RV's product fee model

The Victorian Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association has “come out strongly against the recent decision by Racing Victoria to charge a low product fee” which according to TROA “may result in a shortfall of as much as $50 million a year below what RV should be charging”. Following criticism last year, RV commissioned a study by PWC & Peter Yates to review the product fee model. The Yates/PWC report has now been released “to a sceptical racing industry” & TROA chairman Jonathan Munz declared it is “fundamentally flawed” adding: “The report gave RV what it wanted, but not what the racing industry needed. It is based on academic pricing theories that are overly simplistic & some assumptions that are clearly wrong. This is a big concern. . . . . We call on the Racing Minister Denis Napthine to intervene to protect the industry’s revenue base.” 

Get used to it: ATC is here to stay

Breeding & Racing reports: The ATC Board announced “Australian Turf Club” will be retained as the name of the merged Sydney Club (from the old Australian Jockey Club & Sydney Turf Club) “following strategic brand research” which consisted of “analysis of the club’s developing business strategy, an email survey to over 11,000 members, member focus groups & stakeholder interviews”. Over 1,300 former STC & AJC Members “actively participated in the research, as well as industry stakeholders including media, trainers & racehorse owners”. A key research finding was the majority of survey respondents (65%) think the name Australian Turf Club is an “impressive” to “excellent brand”. In considering alternative names the name Australian Turf Club “is preferred to the Sydney Jockey Club & Sydney Racing”. ATC chairman John Cornish announced the Board was “unanimous in their resolution to retain the launch name. As a Board, we are aware of the subjectivity of the matter & of the differing opinions in the market. We are never going to appease everyone; but the research findings support the chosen name, as well as the Club’s vision to be internationally recognised as a leader for racing, events & membership.”

03 June 2011

Melbourne's Valley vision puts Sydney red hots to shame

A tale of two cities? Announcing a visionary $150m masterplan to redevelop the Valley into a "night racing Mecca", Moonee Valley Racing Club chairman, Bob Scarborough, said "at no stage" had his board countenanced merging with the VRC or moving the Cox Plate to another track. "We could have quickly found a buyer for 40ha of prime freehold land within 7km of the city. It would have been a surer bet than Black Caviar winning her 14th successive race," Scarborough reportedly said. "We have a different view. We're proud of our history and contribution to the industry and the broader community since our establishment in Moonee Ponds almost 130 years ago." Puts into stark relief the visionless mob at the NSW Harness Racing Club who grabbed the money for the 120 year old Harold Park to the cheers of owners, trainers and drivers who will divvy up the estimated $187m windfall until it runs out. The developers also did very well, meanwhile, for punters and long-term fans of the trots, what is the lasting legacy of Sydney's once iconic "ribbon of light"?
Goulburn and Bathurst will have two ''new'' stewards' towers as part of the legacy of Harold Park. The stewards' towers were removed from Harold Park yesterday and transported to the country centres. ''Mirvac allowed us to take the towers down, which was good of them, because they owned everything once we signed the contracts,'' NSW harness racing boss John Dumesny said. ''It is good that the towers can help a couple of country clubs and means they have a part of Harold Park.''
Dismembered, broken up, cast to the four winds. The march of 'progress'. That's Sydney

02 June 2011

WA Jockey pleads guilty to fraud over tote scam

B&R reports: WA jockey Clint Harvey “has been fined $3,000 for his role in a racing scam in which he let money be directed into his own personal bank account,” reported The West Australian. Harvey, 28, was sentenced in Perth Magistrate’s Court after pleading guilty to 21 fraud charges relating to a total of $11,358. The court was told Harvey had allowed his best friend Bernard James Ryan, who had access to Racing And Wagering WA computers “to fraudulently shift late scratching fees into his own bank account”; Harvey had not received any of the funds, but Ryan (who is due to be sentenced in June) “had benefited from the payments”. Harvey’s lawyer Michael Tudori told the court his client had “withdrawn from the scam because he no longer wanted to be part of an illegal venture & had made full admission to the turf club stewards & the police fraud squad”. Magistrate Richard Bayly agreed Harvey “had been the lesser participant in the scam, had given significant assistance to authorities & was remorseful”. 

Aussie 3YOs leave for Royal Ascot

B&R reports: As Danny O'Brien-trained dual Gr1-winning 3YO colt Star Witness (Starcraft-Leone Chiara, by Lion Hunter) & Peter Moody-trained Gr3-winning & 4-time Gr1-placed 3YO colt Hinchinbrook (Fastnet Rock-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) left Australia last night for their upcoming campaigns at Royal Ascot in England, Star Witness has been installed early favourite or equal favourite for the Gr1 King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs on the carnival’s June 14 opening day) with all 9 leading bookmakers, varying from 6-1 (SkyBet & Bet365) to 7-1 (William Hill, Blue Square & Victor Chandler) to 8-1 (Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, SportingBet & BoyleSports). Star Witness is also 3rd favourite (after Delegator & Rocket Man) for the Gr1 Golden Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs on June 18) varying from 7-1 (Ladbrokes, Bet365 & Blue Square) to 8-1 (William Hill, Paddy Power, SkyBet, BoyleSports & Victor Chandler). Meanwhile Hinchinbrook’s quote in early Gr1 Golden Jubilee markets varies from 16-1 (Bet365 & SkyBet) to 20-1 (Ladbrokes & William Hill) to 25-1 (Paddy Power, Blue Square, BoyleSports & William Chandler). Trainer Peter Moody told The Herald-Sun: “On what I know of the opposition, I'm happy to take them on. His form-line behind Black Caviar & Hay List is similar to the likes of Crystal Lily & Star Witness.”