Jane Howlett,Minister for Racing
I shared the disappointment of racing industry participants at the late cancellations of race meetings at the Mowbray and Elwick racetracks late last year, along with the anger and confusion felt by owners, trainers, jockeys and the host racing clubs.
In response, I undertook to engage an eminent and independent member of the racing industry to provide advice on the causes of these cancellations and to recommend ways to prevent them from happening again in the future.
Mr Dale Monteith, a former Chief Executive of the Victorian Racing Club, led this investigation, with 33 individuals interviewed throughout January and February as part of his work.
Mr Monteith has identified a range of procedural and operational matters to address the track issues that were experienced late last year, and our Government accepts all of his recommendations.
Pleasingly for the racing industry, Mr Monteith has expressed confidence that the Elwick track will mature as a fit-for-purpose race track and meet stakeholder expectations following the significant investment in its resurfacing.
He has also noted the success of urgent remedial actions that were taken following the abandoned race meetings.
Mr Monteith has made a series of comprehensive recommendations covering the effectiveness of track management structures, allocation of resources, sharing of expertise, training of track staff, the purchase of specialised equipment, technical advice on turf management techniques and the process of track inspections prior to race days for both the Mowbray and Elwick turf tracks.
In identifying the causes of the Elwick race cancellation, Mr Monteith says the overuse of the track for trials at the recommencement of racing last winter led to damage of an immature, re-developed surface that had only been raced on for the first time just months before.
After taking advice from a number of experts, Mr Monteith has recommended a range of track management changes as well as improvements to track inspection protocols, better coordination between track managers and stewards, and improved communications to prevent a reoccurance of the late cancellations.
I am pleased to advise that Tasracing has already implemented a number of early recommendations in relation to turf management at Elwick and I will be discussing the Report’s recommendations with both Tasracing and the Office of Racing Integrity.
I am confident that the findings of this Report, along with the measures being taken by the industry, will lead to a positive and productive time ahead for all three of the State’s racing codes.
The full Report can be viewed at www.dpipwe.tas.gov.au/racetracks