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Hines Warns Vic Jumps Future Uncertain
In Victoria, the future of jumps racing "beyond this season remains precariously balanced," reported The Herald-Sun. Racing Victoria chief executive Rob Hines noted the "key performance indicators" - falls & fatalities - were "trending higher than the figures agreed to this season". Two horses have died & another 6 have fallen from the 128 jumps starts this season. Hines also noted jumps racing continued to prove "uneconomical" for owners & the industry, explaining: "It's effectively being subsidised. I think everyone knows & understands that. This year significant amounts of money have been spent & whether it's viable is still uncertain. But, this year we have to get the safety right. If we get it right, then the prize-money can go up next year." Hines said he understood why field sizes were down this year & added that "if the key performance indicators were reached, work could be undertaken to increase fields, which in turn would make jumps races more attractive for punters". Hines said neither fatality this season "could be attributed to the new jumps, which were working well" & summed up: "We're pretty pleased with the new hurdles & steeples & there is an opportunity, with the bigger volume of racing coming up; so we are optimistic the industry can meet those KPIs (key performance indicators)." But he warned: "Make no mistake, if the KPIs are not met it will be the last season of jumps racing. We've done everything we can & we ask the participants to do everything they can. But if it doesn't improve from here, then we have a problem."