TAB meetings will cost club
WITH only nine regular TAB meetings allocated for the 2011-12 season across Queensland, the feeling among trackside circles is that country racing is becoming more and more neglected.
Warwick Turf Club vice president Garry Adcock said in years gone by Allman Park had successfully run TAB meetings, where race meetings were broadcast in every TAB facility in Australia.
“Dalby used to have TAB meetings every month, Gatton every couple of weeks and we used to have some but ever since Racing Queensland Ltd rationalised country racing they knocked all that on the head,” Mr Adcock said.
“Now we don’t have a choice whether our meetings are TAB or not – they’re all allocated by RQL.”
RQL non-TAB thoroughbred racing services manager Col Truscott said after a comprehensive review a few years ago, the RQL board identified nine primary TAB venues “largely due to the economies of scale”.
“Also having only nine primary venues allows for punting recognition – people get used to a certain number of venues with repeat horses and jockeys,” Mr Truscott said.
When shown the comparison between Warwick and NSW tracks with the same number of meetings a year – as shown in The Horse Whisperer on the left – he said it was “very hard” to compare state to state.
“We’re required to conduct a commercial business and (running extra TAB meetings including in Warwick) is just not a viable option at this time,” Mr Truscott said.
“We have testing times ahead for the industry in regards to the amount of money we generate and certainly we need to run a commercial business.”
He said while there was no chance of Warwick applying for TAB meetings in the current season, the turf club could apply to be included in the 2012-13 schedule.
“They could apply but know it would come at a considerable cost to them – they have to weigh up the costs and the benefits but at this stage it would be highly unlikely RQL will approve it (given the economic conditions),” Mr Truscott said.
To run a TAB meeting, Mr Truscott said it would cost the turf club $15,000 just to have the vision streamed on the Sky News channels, with additional costs for extra staff required for the higher-standard meeting.
But for Mr Adcock, the benefit of having punters bet on an Allman Park race across the nation would far outweigh the initial cost to run the meetings.
“Back when we ran TAB meetings, we ran in the marquee Saturday timeslot and we even ran one on the Friday after the Melbourne Cup, which was possibly the worst day of the year to run a race meeting because everyone was punted out,” he said.
“But in the end, we conducted one of the most successful meetings we could have hoped for on that day and our performance for running TAB meetings have been very successful in the past.”
Mr Adcock said they had been trying for years to add meetings to their yearly schedule, which currently had six Saturday race meetings for the year plus the picnic races in May.
“We’ve repeatedly tried to obtain more and RQL may say we’re able to apply for additional TAB meetings but we know the answer would be no,” he said.
“If it was up to the turf club we’d get as many TAB meetings as we could get but RQL certainly wouldn’t be keen judging on their rationalising on country TAB meetings.
“But we’d certainly relish the opportunity and would be very interested to hear if there was a chance we could start them again.”
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