Champion Trainer Murray Baker suggested post Bonneval’s win at Moonee Valley on Saturday that it’s been the “wettest winter in the Waikato for 40 years”. I reckon he’s right. In my near four decade career in this industry I’ve never witnessed a more difficult time for trainers to get horses ready for spring & summer racing, not to mention the scores of vendors battling to prepare two-year-olds for the Ready To Run breeze ups next month.
I regularly see racing on all-weather tracks on Trackside from all around the globe. It’s become an absolute must, but here in NZ a purpose-built major all-weather training & racing facility remains very much in the too-hard basket.
Administrators reading this will say there is “not enough money” or find 50 other reasons why it’s not a good idea. Well try telling that to a syndicate of owners who have been paying months of training fees and they can’t even get their horse to a trial – let alone a race – due to track conditions.
I live in Cambridge. It’s thoroughbred heartland. This town & the surrounding area has a concentration of horses in work like no other part of the country, yet there is not a purpose-built facility to ensure that training, trials & race days are not governed by the weather.
Two minutes from where I live is NZ’s No.1 cycling facility. The Velodrome cost tens of millions and many said it wasn’t possible. But they made it happen. Fifteen minutes from where I live is NZ’s No.1 rowing facility. Again world-class, lacking for nothing.
Racing generates levels of revenue through gambling & thoroughbred exports which would stagger the bean-counters at cycling & rowing.
Yet here we are with training tracks struggling to cope, trial meetings being called off every week & race meetings a regular casualty too.
I’ve probably wasted 15 minutes of my day raising this topic as the people that can make a difference to the status quo would prefer to “have a meeting about a meeting”. Let’s ditch the meetings and make it happen. I know I don’t speak alone.