The Roar
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The great irony about racing in Australia

Jockey Joao Moreira (L) takes off from the barrier on Regal Monarch before falling in the near the hme straight in race 4 the Ronald McDonald House Charities Plate during Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Racecourse on November 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)
Roar Rookie
16th September, 2022

Spring is the time of year that many owners and trainers use to justify their participation in the Victorian Racing industry.

It is the time of year when they have eyes on grand finals much like those in the AFL and NRL, which extend right through to the sub leagues.

There are country cups and country finals. There are support GFs through the Flemington carnival.

Yet, Racing Victoria and club officials treat owners and trainers investment of time and money with utter contempt.

With industry blessing, Cranbourne has become a behemoth training complex. It copes most of the time.

Today it was left to Lloyd Kennewell (Cranbourne trainer) to appeal to RVL to do something to assist trainers having to trial (jump out) horses on the Cranbourne bog grass track (which has been a heavy 15 for weeks). That’s no fault of the club. I suspect the same applies in other major regional training centres.

It is not new news that we’ve had a wet winter and start to spring. It’s not new news that Cranbourne has become the behemoth of training centres. It’s not new news that the grass tracks at Cranbourne are a cow paddock (despite the best efforts of track staff).

Many have pondered the deleterious affects of Sydney’s autumn wet tracks on horses well-being and performance going forward. What we don’t have to ponder is the importance of training surfaces that prepare horses for racing on surfaces they confront on raceday. RVL’s own sponsored research into equine limb injury showed this unequivocally.


In the absence of a more suitable bridge between trialling and racing, what are owners and trainers meant to do – give up on their dream?

Take short cuts or deviate from the science and invite serious injury? All at significant cost and disruption. Is that the definition of looking after your customers?

And this extends beyond the training track. Flemington hosts a meeting on Sunday 18th Sept that has a number of stepping stones to grand finals in the month or two ahead.

Melbourne Cup finish post

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images for the VRC)

So what does the club do – put the rail out 15 metres which restricts the number of runners to 13 in each and every race. In turn this leads to many horses being denied the opportunity to participate in these lead up races on a good racing surface.

Flemington has hosted just one meeting since 6 August. It hosts just one more meeting before Derby day on 31st October (that’s four in three months). In the same period the much disparaged Randwick track hosts eight meetings. Is Flemington the basket case not Randwick?

Now is the time of year when RVL and Club executives should be doing everything to accommodate the needs and aspirations of those owners and trainers preparing horses to race. This is why they participate in the industry.


It therefore beggars belief that racing executives including the new RVL CEO can spend so much time musing about how they can better fleece punters, yet on the cusp of the spring carnival, spend so little time making sure the training and racing surfaces available to trainers are better than third world.

Further, it is a great irony that RVL executives talk about reducing barriers to customer participation – yet seem oblivious to the barriers presented by their own actions (and inaction).

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