Since joining Tasracing at the start of December last year, I have attended many race meetings across the three codes and across the state.
Regardless of the code, without exception, all of the participants with whom I have met have a strong passion and commitment for the racing industry.
We all appreciate that the Tasmanian racing industry operates in a highly competitive environment, and we need to present a professional and exciting product to compete.
It is a challenge we all need to accept if the industry is to develop further and thrive.
To assist Tasracing – and the industry – to achieve this outcome, we have recently appointed Kim Elliot to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Kim, who is already well-known to the industry through his previous role at Tasracing as the Asset and Facilities Manager, is now responsible for the operations of the organisation, primarily facilities and racing.
I am looking forward to working with Kim, the Tasracing team and our industry stakeholders as we ensure the long-term sustainability of racing in Tasmania.
Further to my earlier comments about attending many race meetings around the state, I was recently at Devonport Cup meetings for thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds.
All clubs concerned are to be congratulated for the job they did hosting these race meetings.
The Simons Design Devonport Cup for thoroughbreds on 11 January was a particularly important one for the Devonport Racing Club (DRC) as it was the first time it was included in the Luxbet Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival (TSRC).
Already an important social day on the north west coast calendar, DRC chairman Barry Milton said in the local press that it gave the race day “more of a special feeling”.
More than 5000 people attended, which was a slight increase in attendance compared to last year.
The TSRC officially started on 6 January with the running of the $100,000 Tasmanian Guineas, won by local star Hot Dipped, and will conclude on Luxbet Launceston Cup day, six weeks later.
The Luxbet Hobart Cup barrier draw will be held next week.
The Luxbet Hobart Cup has once generated significant local and interstate interest, including from Victorian trainer Darren Weir, who has already won four Hobart Cups, and last start winner Big Duke, and the winner of last year’s Hobart and Launceston Cup, Up Cups, trained by David Brunton.
We have already seen Gai Waterhouse’s Northwest Passage win the Hobart Guineas.
While the carnival always attracts strong interstate interest from trainers and owners, and interstate punters as well, it is worth noting that last year 80 per cent of the carnival’s stakes were won by Tasmanian horses.
In closing, I travelled to King Island at the weekend for the final race day of the King Island Racing Club season.
It is great to see a club committee working so well together on a race meeting that has so much broader community benefit.
President Audrey Hamer and her team are to be congratulated on a fantastic job well done.
Chief Executive Officer