Tasracing statement in response to comments made by Kristie Johnston in relation to thoroughbred trainer Scott Brunton.

Thursday 7 September 2023

Tasracing will correct any misinformation or misinformed commentary regarding the Tasmanian racing industry when it occurs.

The most recent example of this relates to comments attributed to the Tasmanian Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston, about thoroughbred trainer Scott Brunton.

Ms Johnston has drawn a line between Mr Brunton’s financial situation (which has been widely reported in various media outlets and is unrelated to his training ability) and the industry’s social licence and community confidence in the industry. She also said she has welfare concerns for the horses that are under Mr Brunton’s care. Strangely, Ms Johnston appears also to attempt taking credit for the Office of Racing Integrity’s (ORI) investigation subsequent to a Federal Court Ruling.

While Tasracing cannot and will not speak for ORI, we can say that we understand an appropriate process was followed to determine Mr Brunton’s suitability to remain licensed, outside of any comments made by Ms Johnston.

Further, that once ORI had determined that it would revoke Mr Brunton’s licence, arrangements were made for the care of horses under his control, again independent of any commentary by Ms Johnston.

To her comments about our social licence and community support for the industry, the facts contradict this. The racing industry continues to be in a strong place – participant numbers are growing, along with annual racing attendance and economic contribution to the Tasmanian economy.

Finally, if Ms Johnston – or anyone for that matter – has legitimate concerns about animal welfare, I would encourage them to please raise them formally with ORI, the RSPCA or Tasmania Police.

As the Principal Racing Authority, we do not believe it is fair for Mr Brunton, or any racing industry participant for that matter, to be the focus of this type of inaccurate commentary. And, as noted at the outset, will continue to advocate for Tasmanian racing industry participants.

Andrew Jenkins, CEO Tasracing