From the CEO’s Desk

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Elwick track update

It has been four weeks since the last thoroughbred meeting was held at Elwick on 19 July.

While the extra use the track sustained to accommodate additional trials and racing after the COVID-19 shut down was obviously unplanned, it did, as expected, impact the track.

While kickback during the 19 July meeting was obvious, the footing remained “consolidated” which is an overall safety improvement compared to the old track.

It is important to note at the outset that the inside eight metres of the track has benefited from essential grow-in maintenance prior to the end of the racing season. It is in “excellent” condition.

Renovation is progressing well on the course proper – it has been top-dressed, cored and verti-drained.

The track team has applied selective herbicides and will continue with high nutrient inputs over the next six weeks.

Despite low overnight temperatures, we are seeing active leaf growth of the bluegrass and active root growth from all species.

Importantly, track builder Strathayr is making regular inspections of the track and continues to work closely with the team.

At the time of writing it was still proposed that thoroughbred racing will return to Elwick on 20 September.

Tasracing and Strathayr will continue to assess the track in the lead-up to this race meeting, and if it is determined that moving the meeting is in the best interests of the track, that will be communicated to industry participants as soon as possible.

Funding increase

The Minister for Racing, Jane Howlett, recently announced a further three per cent increase in stakes money for the racing industry across the three codes.

The stakes increase comes at a critical time and will assist the industry to recover following the COVID-19 enforced shutdown.

Speaking at the weekend’s thoroughbred meeting at Spreyton, the Minister said this three per cent increase was on top of a three per cent increase announced in June,

Tasracing will hold meetings with each code to discuss the increases and how they will be rolled out.

The Minister also revealed that the government would provide a further stakes increase for 2021/22 after a full year’s collection of the Point of Consumption Tax (POCT).

She said more than $2.5 million would be provided to racing from the first six months of the (POCT), with the majority of this funding to be directed into prizemoney, with funds also to be allocated to animal welfare and infrastructure.

There will also be one-off support from the POCT for Tasracing, which was unable to collect any race field fees during the COVID-19 enforced shutdown.

Paul Eriksson