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Australian Trainers’ Association Report – July

The ATA held a meeting on Tuesday 19th July at Doomben to meet with key industry people and discuss many of the major issues currently facing trainers. RQ Board member and Thoroughbred Representative Graham Quirk was there to support the ATA members as we tackled issues with QRIC & RQ. Some of the topics on the agenda included the recent run of avoidable abandoned meetings on race-days, an update on the proposed Racing Appeals Panel, track rating consistency, handicapping policy (ratings, true weights etc) and more.

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The process of transferring an originally programmed grass meeting at another venue to the SCTC poly track, always is at risk of failure due to mass scratching of horses decimating fields. In the case from last Saturday’s Gold Coast meeting, the great majority of horses being from the Gold Coast area and having to travel significant distance in often peak traffic both ways, these horse mostly not familiar with the poly surface, the difficulty of timely communication and the well-known general consensus of reluctance to race on the Poly surface. All these factors are the perfect storm for field obliteration unfortunately.

Across SEQ (and Qld in general) our tracks are over-raced and worn out due to the amount of racing we have being greater than ever and the amount of tracks we have and use has not grown to accommodate this. In fact, with the unfortunate events over recent years availing us only minimal use of our premier track (Eagle Farm), the demand on all the other tracks has taken its toll. These tracks which the majority (Doomben, Gold and Sunshine Coast & Ipswich) used to offer fantastic usability and were very good at bouncing back quickly after bad weather. This is no longer the case, fortunately we have an upcoming major renovation of the Gold Coast, and Eagle Farm has shown some very positive improvements over the winter, but all our tracks are needing immediate attention. The growth of our industry in recent years, the amount of racing that we have, warranted investment in additional tracks that just hasn’t happened, and now the industry is suffering badly for that.

The use of the SCTC poly track (and that of the future GCTC Poly) should always be able to sustain racing that is originally scheduled there, provided the class of races programmed suit the horses that are generally wanting to race there. Transferring to the Poly from the grass at the same venue when absolutely necessary, should still be viable as all the above concerns are reduced considerably. Its been reinforced again with the scratchings at the transfer to the SCTC that moving a GCTC meeting there, particularly on a different day (not the original Saturday) just doesn’t work. The meeting would have been so much better supported and massive help to the industry food-chain if it could have been run today ( Monday) on the grass at the Gold Coast even with a heavy track.

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The ATA (Qld) has worked extremely hard to ensure all fees and compensation payments are as fair and equitable as possible – and we have had great outcomes here. But these only of benefit to trainers (owners etc) if they are applied accurately and reliably by RQ so we encourage members to watch closely your invoices/payments from RQ.

Below are a few of the important ones that are often missed or incorrectly charged by RQ.

*** Abandoned meeting compensations – Any meeting (or individual race) abandoned after scratching deadline (7.30am) will see compensation paid to the trainer at $330 (inc GST) for TAB, and $440 (inc GST) for non-TAB. The extra for non-TAB is due to the generally greater distance travelled to these meetings.

*** Early Scratching Fee Discount –   if scratched before 4pm the day prior to race-day the fee is just $165 (inc GST) with or without a declared rider, instead of the usual $313.50 if a rider declared. This is a great incentive to not only declare your rider to avoid a late jockey declaration fine, but also encourage trainers to scratch early if no intention to run giving emergencies a better idea if they will secure a run.

*** Scratching Fee Waived if 5th Emergency or worse – RQ are increasingly using up to 8 emergencies for some races to try and maximise the best eventual field. If you are 5th emergency or worse, you can scratch with no Fee at all even if you eventually would have secured a run.

*** Late Scratching Fee Waived – if your horse is scratched after 7.30 (injured or transport difficulties on way to track, unable to load or injured at barriers etc) you will not be charged a scratching fee and you may also be eligible for the $330/$440 compensation payment if it is no fault of yours or your horse. These are case by case and I encourage you contact ATA if you are victim of this and we will negotiate this with RQ on your behalf.

The ATA often takes up errors and omissions on behalf of member trainers with RQ to get reimbursement etc. Our concern is that if happens to one it obviously can happen to another – and it happens regularly.

The most recent example was the $330 abandoned meeting compensation not paid to horse from the Doomben Cup washout 21/5/22.  I strongly suggest you check if your horse was at this meeting, you received the $330 payment.

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The ATA Trainers Awards night which is highlighted by the vote count for TAB Wayne Wilson Medal, will be held this year on Thursday 15th September at the Brisbane Airport Hotel Conference Centre. Each year the function gets bigger and better with other major awards on the night the Nationwide Super Rising Star and the Pat Duff Trophy. Once again we thank TAB, Racing Queensland, Nationwide Super and the Brisbane Airport Hotel for their fantastic support. For tickets to the night contact Cameron as soon as possible as the night is always a full house.

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A reminder ATA membership renewals are now due for the 2022/23 racing season. If you are not a member now would be a great time to join and start to experience the individual benefits of being a member as well as support all Qld trainers in the ongoing commitment the ATA has in making the industry better for all.

One of the major benefits of being a member of the ATA in Qld is the regular supply of information sent by email, text and predominantly WhatsApp (if you don’t have this on your phone download it now it’s simple and very reliable). This information often precedes official confirmation which gives trainers more time to better plan and organise etc. Reminders of important deadlines also can be very helpful, along with detail explanations of upcoming rule changes. Being an ATA member also gives you a chance to have your say, with often members deciding on important issues which hold a lot of weight in negotiations with both RQ & QRIC.

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The 2021/22 TAB Wayne Wilson Medal for the month of June has been won by both Robert Heathcote and David Vandyke. In what was a huge month for Qld trainers making it very difficult to narrow down the winner, these 3 other efforts could have easily won. Chris Munce winning the Lightning Stakes with Boomnova and then the feature double on Ipswich Cup day with Smart Meteor and Centrefire, Lawrie Mayfield-Smith winning the listed Wayne Wison with Charmmebaby and Olivia Cairns winning the Battle of the Bush with Ammoudi Bay.

David Vandyke claimed his fourth G1 win with Gypsy Goddess taking out the Qld Oaks, giving her 6 wins, two seconds and third from her 9 starts amassing nearly $1m in stakes so far. The 3 times she hasn’t won were 2nd and a 3rd both a G1 level, and a 3rd in a listed race. After winning a 1400m maiden only 8 months ago this filly by Tarzino has a huge future ahead of her on the track, and then later on in life in the breeding barn.

Gypsy Goddess is having a well-earned break before coming back in the Spring with her target being the $10m Golden Eagle at Rosehill where David plans to have her ready win first-up over the 1500m.

Rob Heathcote was able to win his 12th G1 with his little “pumpkin” Startantes winning the Tatts Tiara taking her total earnings to just under $900k. The win was well deserved after the filly was narrowly beaten in the G1 Surround Stakes earlier in the year.  Startantes has booked herself a spot in the $2m “The Invitational” at Randwick in October which is more excitement for the owners who have been with Rob from when he started training over 20yrs ago.

David and Rob are now both in the running for the for the 2022 TAB Wayne Wilson Medal.

 

The Wayne Wilson Medal 2021/22

August:  Janel Ryan for winning the Cairns Cup with Tutelage.

September: Jack Duncan for Wapiti winning the Toowoomba Cup.

October: Desleigh Forster winning the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup at Eagle Farm.

November: Paul Nolan (Jnr) winning metro races at Toowoomba and Doomben with Don’t Stop.

December: Nick Walsh winning a metro race with Aleysa’s Dream at Eagle Farm.

January: Kacy Fogden winning the G3 Canonbury Stakes at Rosehill with Best of Bordeaux.

February: Lyle Wright winning 5 races in a row with Emilee’s Empire.

March: Steven O’Dea & Matt Hoysted winning the 2yo QTIS Jewel with She’sgottheboom

April: Todd Austin winning the Birdsville Cup with Echo Point and 4 other races at the Carnival.

May: Mark Currie winning the ATC Cup and the Group 3 BRC Sprint with Soxagon.

June: David Vandyke winning the G1 Qld Oaks with Gypsy Goddess at Eagle Farm.

June: Rob Heathcote for winning the G1 Tatts Tiara with Startantes  at Eagle Farm.

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