WE ARE getting chump change…
That’s the outcry from baffled industry participants following Racing Queensland’s additional prize money distribution announcement today.
In what should have been a huge boost for morale, the state government is injecting $12million in stakes across the three codes.
Thoroughbred racing is poised to receive the bulk of the funds at $8.6million, with greyhounds rewarded with 25 per cent – or $3million – of the kitty.
That leaves harness racing with a paltry $400,000!
Long time industry supporter Kevin Seymour has labelled harness racing’s “meagre ration” as a slap in the face to stakeholders.
“It’s disgraceful,” Seymour declared. “Harness racing holds about 12 per cent of the market share, so should be getting 12 per cent of the money.
“There should be increases equal in set proportion to the market share.
“As an industry we can’t just sit back and accept this.
“As it is harness racing in Queensland isn’t conducive to people investing money and this is a terrible snub from Racing Queensland that we can’t just take.”
BOTRA chairman Dan Costello is scheduled to meet with RQ tomorrow, with the respected identity likened to the orphan Oliver asking “please Sir, I want some more.”
Costello is also adamant each allotment should match market share, which would convert to a windfall of $1.44million for harness racing.
“We are getting chump change,” Costello said. “We want to know how they worked out that amount of money.
“If it was worked out on turnover percentage, we should be getting a lot more than that.
“It’s a bit hard to take. A lot of people in the industry are down in the dumps now, especially with all the negative publicity, and this has hit hard.
“It is extremely disappointing, but I do have a meeting with RQ tomorrow and will be seeking answers.”
Costello has no doubt RQ have failed the sport with its “sharing”, which he believes mirrors the governing body’s overall commitment to harness racing.
Costello was also quick to point out the equine codes were previously forced to make sacrifices to aid the struggling greyhound code.
“The board do absolutely nothing for harness racing,” Costello said. “Why aren’t they helping and telling us with what needs to be done to improve the industry?
“They never give us guidance and let us know what we have to do to get it back to where it used to be…we just seem to be neglected.
“When the greyhounds were in all sorts of trouble the previous RQ board took away prize money from us to help their welfare.
“We lost about $3million…now everyone is getting their prize money back but not harness racing!”
Interestingly, the Racing Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe referred to the additional prize money as a massive win for all three codes.
“Racing Queensland’s extended prize money package is exactly what the racing industry has been crying out for,” Hinchcliffe said.
“It means an extra $12million will be pumped directly into the industry each year across the thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing codes.”
- PAUL COURTS