The Roar
The Roar

Mark Angus

Roar Rookie

Joined March 2014

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Following jumps racing, cricket, Adelaide Crows, Fulham FC, NY Mets manages to keep me busy,

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Another question for the list is: “Did the selectors at any stage consider picking Michael Klinger, one of Australia’s most accomplished batsmen in English conditions?” And of course, the follow up, “If not, why not?”

35 questions Australian cricket needs to answer now

While I respect your choice not to watch jumps racing, I would take issue with your characterisation of both jumps jockeys and trainers! I also, as I have noted elsewhere, respect the right of the SAJC to run their Club as they ultimately see fit (even though I naturally disagree with their stance on jumps). What I believe is of great concern—not just for the jumps racing fraternity, but for the entire racing industry—is the spectacle of a metropolitan racing club and a state Racing Minister entering into an alliance (however informal) with the Greens Party and Animal Rights activists to effectively destroy a sector of their own industry. My ultimate point is that racing in South Australia should continue to be run by the governing body TRSA, free from government interference. I would venture to suggest that should the SA government align itself with Ms Franks on her Bill, it therefore explicitly endorses her views on horse racing, which would be ultimately to see all racing banned. Given that the Premier and Racing Minster would seem to endorse Ms Franks’ views on this sector of the racing industry, how will the government be able to convincingly to argue against supporting any future Bill to ban to 2 y.o. races? Or the whip? Or 2 mile races? Supporting this Bill and ending an industry that is still active (albeit not in great health) will surely only lead to further encroachments on the racing industry by government, who have clearly shown themselves unwilling or unable to resist the pressure of interest groups. If you really believe that Ms Franks and those whose agenda she promotes will stop at jumps racing, I am afraid that is a view I can’t share. And as someone loves thoroughbred racing, you should be concerned, irrespective of your views on jumps. Let TRSA ultimately be the arbiter of what the racing industry needs, not a government minister who, quite frankly, shows little affection for or interest in the sport.

SAJC gets its way with new bill to ban jumps racing

Please ee my reply to the comment above. Thanks.

SAJC gets its way with new bill to ban jumps racing

I would argue that the attitude of SAJC towards jumps racing has been integral in the running down of the industry (see my previous article). If the state’s premier racing club continually shows open hostility towards the industry and has been maintaining its own campaign to evict jumps racing from Morpehettville, is it really surprising that the industry has declined? In a previous piece, I used the analogy of having a party but not sending out any invitations—and then complaining when no-one turns up. SAJC’s negligence and open animosity towards jumps has unquestionably had a significant role in the number of jumpers in work in SA. With little or no metropolitan racing and exposure, what incentive is there to train jumpers in SA? But then to use the argument—as Brenton Wilkinson did—that there is no industry in SA and so it has no place at Morphettville is at best disingenuous, at worst duplicitous.
However, even if you accept the SAJC’s position—and they are, in the end, entitled to run their Club as they see fit—what is of greater concern is the fact that it now appears to find itself in an unholy alliance with the Racing Minister and the Green Party against jumps racing—surely a situation that is hard to reconcile. The consequences of this arrangement would seem to be that we are now heading towards a total ban on jumping in SA. Whether SAJC, the state government and anyone interested in racing will be pleased to see the demise of Oakbank remains to be seen, but it seems to me that SAJC and Minister Bignell coming out so openly against jumps racing is a short-sighted, populist position that will have greater knock-on effects than they intended. The motivation for this is what puzzles me…

SAJC gets its way with new bill to ban jumps racing

The trouble is that the majority of the SAJC membership have gone along with the Board’s position re: jumps racing and are willing to see it disappear from the racing calendar at Morphettville. However, with SAJC seemingly throwing their support behind Ms Franks’ bill, alongside the Racing Minister, this could now spell the end of all jumps in SA. Whether this is an unintended consequence, or something that SAJC welcomes, is hard at this stage to say.

SAJC gets its way with new bill to ban jumps racing

Thanks for your thoughts Cathy, and especially your comment about the way in which uncertainty around the industry only discourages owners and trainers from continuing in it. And you correctly identify the approach SAJC is taking, in that they don’t promote jumps meetings and then cite poor attendance/turnover as a reason for not continuing. There is a sense that all people—wherever they are in Australia—need to rally round this season, getting to Morphettville jumps meetings whenever they can, in order to prove that it can be a thriving part of the industry.

South Australian Jockey Club blames jumps racing for its own demise

My contention is that the commercial argument is being used so that SAJC can avoid admitting that anti-jumps protests have swayed their decision. This is because they explicitly informed SAJC members and the wider jumps racing fraternity that movements opposed to jumps racing did not and would not play a factor in their decision making process. That this has in actual fact been the case is clearly implied in the interview that CEO Brenton Wilkinson gave shortly after the SAJC announcement (https://soundcloud.com/rsn-racing/brenton-wilkinson-ceo-south-australian-jockey-club).

The problem, as I see it, is that if you accept either of these justifications as being the reasons behind SAJC’s decision, then a decision that crucially affects racing in SA has ultimately been made for non-racing reasons. Either it has been made to appease those who want to use the facilities at Morphettville as a function centre, but otherwise have no interest in supporting racing, or it has been made to appease those who wish to see the demise of jumps racing, and are therefore clearly not interested in the well-being of the industry. Both of these groups’ interests are being placed above those who are actively involved in and support racing—a somewhat odd position for a racing club to find itself in.

If the current board at SAJC simply does not like jumps racing in and of itself, it should say so. Or, if it has decided that the pressures brought to bear by anti-jumps protestors is too much, then it should likewise make this clear. However, as I say, much of the dismay at their decision is based on the fact that a part of the racing industry is being run down for non-racing reasons and for the sake of people who are not involved in racing. It is not unreasonable to expect that a racing club should put the interests of those who support racing above those who don’t.

As for training jumps horses being a job for only five months of the year, I shall elicit the opinions of those who make their living from so doing, as they are far better qualified than I to talk about what their jobs entail.

Decision to abandon jumps racing at Morphetville a betrayal