Claims Queensland's horse racing industry is off track
TRAINER Russell Adair thinks prize money cuts announced by Racing Queensland will be the final nail in the coffin for country racing.
There will be $18.8 million in prize money, across horse, harness and greyhound codes, slashed next financial year, including $8.5 million from thoroughbred racing and $4.6 from country racing.
While the state government announced $21 million to buoy the industry through the cuts the next four years, Mr Adair said he would rather "be killed off quickly than starved out slowly".
"It's absolutely devastating," Mr Adair said.
"Most owners run at a loss as it is.
"It's not the industry's fault: if a business isn't going well you don't sack the cleaners, you sack the managers."
He looked to New South Wales where all country and provincial TAB races would have prize money boosted by $5000 next financial year.
Horses that didn't place would even get a $200 starting subsidy, unheard of in Queensland.
"I wouldn't look at moving myself, but a lot of people are talking about moving down south, where the racing industry is absolutely thriving," Mr Adair said.
He called for a racing minister "with a real passion for racing" to get the Queensland industry on track again.
Ooralea trainer Lyle Wright was also concerned by the Racing Queensland cuts, which could see 60 fewer races around Queensland.
"If you cut back meetings, the industry won't survive," Mr Wright said. "Trainers like me will just have to travel further; it's a 16-18 hour day to go to Rockhampton or Townsville. It eats into your profits and there's the extra wear and tear on everything.
"And there's the flow on effects. If racing dies away, there are a lot of people involved."