Tasmania hosted its final thoroughbred night race meeting for the season last night in Launceston, delivering Tasmanian thoroughbred racing product to markets around the world. Tasmanian racing continues to be very popular among international audiences.
This is demonstrated by continued demand for our racing from countries like Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa and France (Tasmanian thoroughbred racing is one of the few Australian racing products regularly broadcast into France). Tasracing’s partnership and close working relationship with Sky Racing, and with these country’s overseas wagering operators, has been an important factor in our success in this part of our business. I would very much like to thank everyone involved in making the season such a success including the Tasmanian Turf Club, all the staff involved and the industry participants who put on the show.
Still on thoroughbreds, Tasmanian apprentice jockey Shiralee Maher rode an outstanding race to win the final heat of the National Apprentice Series at Ascot in Western Australia last week. Winning the heat meant Shiralee lifted Tasmania into second place in the series with a credible 17 points. While Shiralee knew that Tasmania could not win the series before the race, she knew second place was achievable if her horse beat whichever horse the Victorian rider was on – which she did.
Congratulations to Shiralee in her first representative ride for Tasmania – and all apprentices who competed for the state during the series – this was her 14th winning ride for the season.
After extensive consultation with industry, and a review by Tasracing, Tasbreeders and the Tasmanian Racehorse Owners Association, the Tasracing Board recently determined that the tasBonus scheme will continue to be available for horses turning two-years-old on 1 August 2017. This includes yearlings purchased at the 2017 Tasmanian Magic Millions sale. The cut-off date to be included into this year’s tasBonus scheme is 31 May 2017.
Last week five young harness drivers – Taylor Ford, Samantha Gangell, Matthew Howlett, Jack Laugher and Hannah Van Dongen – travelled to Lords Raceway at Bendigo in Victoria to participate in a workshop that covered race preparation and race tactics. The group heard from drivers Chris Alford and Greg Sugars, and a local accountant who spoke about the basics of business management. The workshop, organised by Victorian country harness racing clubs, was an excellent opportunity for our young drivers to travel together and hear directly from two of Australia’s leading drivers.
Our young harness representatives were very positive about the experience and what they learned at the session.
Tasracing is continuing to work closely with the Tasmanian Government on plans to build a purpose-built greyhound adoption centre in southern Tasmania. The land on which the facility will be developed is to be leased from the government. Work will commence on the project as soon as the lease is finalised.
I have been in Tasmania for over four months since my appointment as CEO and have had a good opportunity to meet and speak directly with a cross section of Tasmanian racing industry participants. It has been pleasing to note that everyone I have spoken with demonstrates a strong commitment to the industry here.
Our joint challenge is to work together to deliver a thriving racing industry across all three codes. My focus, and the focus of Tasracing, remains firmly on ensuring the long-term sustainability and viability of the racing industry.
Finally, on behalf of Tasracing I would like to wish everyone involved in the Tasmanian racing industry a safe and happy Easter.