It's tough to keep up with the constant racing and breeding news cycle. So we regularly share some newsworthy snippets to keep you in the loop.
Below is our quick selection of Industry news from May. Look out for more Trainer and Breeding news on our site in coming days.
Victoria prizemoney increases
An additional $15.5m has been injected in next season's prize money disbursements, taking the total prize money and bonuses above the $200m level for the first time.
The increases were spread across several feature races:
- MRC Memsie Stakes (now $1m)
- VRC Maybe Diva Stakes (now $750k)
- MRC Underwood Stakes (now $750k)
- MRC Caulfield Stakes (now $1m)
- MRC Caulfield Guineas (now $2m)
- VRC Coolmore Stud Stakes (now $1m)
- VRC Australian Guineas (now $1m).
We are advocate of a greater spread of prizemoney across all levels of racing, rather than concentrating on the top end. So in our view, the most important increases are in the mid-tier and lower level races.
Standard Saturday metropolitan races are now worth a minimum $100k. This now rewards Victorian owners at least equal to owners in New South Wales - in fact, a little better as owners receive a higher percentage of total prize money (85% in VIC, 81.65% in NSW).
Standard country maidens receive a $2k bump up to $22k, with premium maidens up to $25k and night maidens up to $27k.
Saturday races over 2000m and further now come with a minimum $120k purse, rewarding patient owners and trainers with horses that mature with age and excel over a distance.
Last but not least, there is an allocation of 1% of prizemoney to both jockey welfare and equine welfare to fund investment in programs, services and initiatives.
Sadly, still no standard bonus scheme for stable staff, unlike in NSW. Although we suspect the execution of that disbursement is difficult when not disbursed according to a trainer's policy or input. Perhaps trainers who use a small part of these increases to commence a bonus structure for stable staff, may begin attracting more and better qualified staff?
WA introducing dual Trainer/Jockey licences
Dual Trainer/Jockey licensing has been a hot debate in recent times, especially in NSW. This week, Racing & Wagering WA (RWWA) announced that dual licences will be allowed from the start of next season (August 1st).
"RWWA has recognised that it is important for Jockeys to be afforded opportunities to transition into other areas of the industry. Therefore, the new dual Jockey/Trainer licence will provide Jockeys with an opportunity to transition their career into the training of horses." - RWWA
Here is the full RWWA announcement.
BOBS bonuses extended
From 1 August, a BOBS eligible racehorse winning a metropolitan Saturday race will earn the owner of the winner's dam a $5,000 bonus (currently only $500). The bonus slides down for mid-week races ($2,500) and provincial/country races ($1,250).
These bonus schemes are wonderful rewards to owners, trainers and breeders. They are largely funded by nomination fees, but do greatly benefit from industry and state government funding. They promote state breeding and that has a flow on effect to the breeding industry and economies.
However, if every state is doing it, what is the true benefit? If funding was re-directed, what benefits could that deliver? If the stallion market was left to, well, the market, would anything really change? Do these schemes create more demand for yearlings and increase yearling prices owners have to pay?
Food for thought. We receive variety of feedback from owners on these schemes and would be interested to see a study on their effectiveness and returns on investment.
The same questions apply for the auction house race series, but the way.
Racing NSW lifts race fields fee
From 1 July, Racing NSW (RNSW) will raise its race fields fee from 1.5% to 2.0% of wages on NSW standard races.
The fee on wages laid on Premium (2.5%) and Premier (3.0%) race meetings remain as is. As does the additional 0.5% fee on all wages laid at totaliser derived odds.
RNSW are also tinkering with the program to boost the number of individual race meetings classed as "Premium" meetings, by strategically placing at least one race with $150,000 prize money on more race days.
Godolphin Flying Start intake
One program we are particularly impressed with, is the Godolphin Flying Start program.
This week, Godolphin Flying Start announced their 2017-2019 intake. The 12 recipients of scholarships for the two-year program are chosen from a world-wide list of applicants.
One Australian is a lucky recipient, Swettenham Stud employee Katelyn Butler. Best wishes to Katelyn.
Government funds for R&D levy
The federal government has approved funding for an industry-led research and development levy.
Breeders will pay $10 per mare and $10 per stallion return. The government will then match the funds, with the total pool used for research that benefits the thoroughbred breeding industry.
A board is now being selected to oversee the spend.
Queensland racing on racing.com
Racing Queensland (RQ) and Racing.com have finalised an agreement to secure live free-to-air coverage of the Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival (13-May to 10-Jun). This provides some much needed coverage to help boost wagering in the sunshine state.
This also fills some gaps in racing.com's raceday coverage, although in our view those gaps exist more in weekday provincial coverage, less so on Saturdays. There is a risk that coverage of Brisbane will negatively impact on Victorian coverage, particular in the parade ring and interviews with participants.
With so much interstate bickering at the moment though, we are happy to see how it unfolds in the interest of national racing promotion.