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V'Landys Says Randwick Night Racing "Attractive Proposition"
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys answered a series of key questions for The Daily Telegraph:
- Is Racing NSW still on schedule to deliver minimum race prize-money increases for metropolitan, provincial & country racing from July? Yes. We see increasing prize-money as our 1st priority for the benefit of owners & all industry participants. The punter benefits from quality racing on surfaces that play fair, tracks that are conducive to competitive racing & with the tightest integrity controls.
- Is Racing NSW intent on centralising racing & training facilities in country centres? John Messara (Racing NSW chairman) & I recently toured 8 country & regional centres to hear the views of country participants. Our immediate lifting of country races (prize-money) from $10,000 to $15,000 reflects our commitment to country racing & that's stage one only. The most important message we could give was that the word rationalisation is not in our dictionary. Considerable infrastructure investment will be made across the board to country clubs, but where it makes sense to build on an existing large population of horses in training we will.
- What is your view on night racing at Randwick? It is an attractive proposition. You have an iconic racecourse located on the fringe of Australia's international city & from 2013 the best grandstand in the world. Stay tuned.
- What is the future of Canterbury & Warwick Farm racetracks? That is principally a question for the ATC. There is a need to balance the need for multiple turf tracks with putting capital to better use. There's nothing more dispiriting than seeing the massive infrastructure at Canterbury catering for only a couple of hundred people. Funds derived from its sale would benefit the industry to a far greater extent. We shouldn't be afraid to examine & debate these issues. The demands of racegoers & punters have evolved in line with general community trends & racing must compete with other recreational & gaming industries that go all out to capture the gambling dollar. If we just keep doing what we've always done we'll never grow.
- Is enough being done to program races for stayers? Yes. The problem is not programming but breeding of stayers; hence the rush to import them. There's good stake money on offer & owners & trainers have brought horses from around the globe to win it. Now it's up to the Australian breeding industry to meet the demand. Our BOBS Extra initiative for older horses is also contributing to the resurgence in stayers.