TTC won’t rule out trots

Townsville Turf Club won’t rule out trots

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Terry Butts analyses news from the North Queensland racing scene.

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LAST WEEK we sneered at the prospect of a rebirth of trotting in the state and attacked  Racing Queensland for even contemplating such a waste of valuable funds on the proposal to build new venues in the SE corner.

We stand by those comments but we can also confirm that the Townsville Turf Club is in consultation with a new trotting club committee anxious to re-introduce the aptly named red hots to the north.

We said last week that it was a furphy. That the idea is absurd. And it is.

New TTC chairman Mal Petrofski has his doubts but hasn’t totally ruled it out.

“It may fit with a proposed new greyhound track on the corner block adjacent to the racecourse,” he said after meeting with the trotting identities keen to reintroduce the so-called sport.

“Our club will look at any proposal to offset our cost structure,” he said.

“Trotting is just one of the partnerships we are looking at but I stress it must not impact on our current thoroughbred industry.”

Surely Racing Queensland would not seriously contemplate spending more money on trotting which has sponged off racing, and to a lesser extent greyhounds, for far too long. It is not self-sufficient, having lost its appeal to punters years ago. It really is game over.

IF RQ is genuinely committed to the future of racing outside the SE corner, and has the $124 million in available funds, it must seriously consider night racing at Cluden and on-course stabling. Townsville is strategically placed both climatically and geographically. And on-course stabling is an absolute necessity for a club hosting national TAB meetings at least once a fortnight.

Surely they don’t need Delloite to tell them that.

It’s just elementary dear chaps!

TRAFFIC STOPPER: It has been reported that talks are in progress with an English promoter to stage a six-race program over Sydney Harbour Bridge.

TRAFFIC STOPPER: It has been reported that talks are in progress with an English promoter to stage a six-race program over Sydney Harbour Bridge.

MELBOURNE has the race that stops the nation.

Sydney might soon have the race that stops the traffic.

Can you believe the latest Racing NSW prank is a six race program – over the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

The mind boggles at the very thought. But while Racing NSW is being uncharacteristically coy, it has been confirmed that talks are in progress with an English promoter to stage a six race program over Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Yes, can you believe?

And can you also believe that trainer Chris (the untouchable) Waller has already nodded his approval. Well, then again he wouldn’t knock it, would he?

"It would be amazing if they could get it up and running and everyone would want to be involved," Waller said. "There are probably a lot of things that have to happen before it happens.

"As long as it's safe for horses, jockeys and everyone watching, I would definitely want to be involved and most trainers would.

"It would be an amazing event."

According to a Fairfax report at the weekend, Racing NSW is keen to hold a race meeting on the Harbour Bridge, under the rules of racing, to coincide with the $10 million Everest, in October 2018 – the same day as the Caulfield Guineas, the unofficial start of Melbourne’s spring carnival.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys told Fairfax Media he could not comment on the plans "as they would be commercial in confidence".

So Pete just leaked it to some chosen media. Who needs a press conference?

Reportedly there are two English firms, City Racing and GAG 403, which claim to have developed the technology to hold races on roads and plans include race meetings in London and on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

The Fairfax report said English entrepreneurs Olly Neil and Andy King of GAG 403 have patented a racing track system that they describe as similar to a giant Scalextric model car system. The modular system track is 1400 metres – the Harbour Bridge has a span of 1149 metres.

"We will create a global circuit of horse racing events with high-quality local horses thundering down iconic city streets ridden by the world's top jockeys," Neil told Britain's Racing Post.

"We're going to do for horse racing what Twenty20 has done for cricket – reinterpreting the sport of kings for a young urban audience and dialling up on technology, entertainment, excitement and energy."

City Racing's Johnno Spence said his company could have a race in London by the end of the year.

What next?

Home Hill Cup over the Burdekin Bridge?

Come on.

AND finally, we are pleased to report some good news from the Deagon bunker.

Racing Queensland has established a special fund to assist trainers who have encountered additional animal welfare, care and transportation costs due to the recent cyclone and flooding across parts of Queensland.

CEO Eliot Forbes announced the establishment of the Animal Welfare and Training Assistance Fund, for all codes, kick-starting the fund with an initial contribution of $20,000.

Dr Forbes said wagering operators had also been quick to respond.

“I want to thank UBet, Tabcorp, Ladbrokes, William Hill and Sportsbet for their major donations and quick support. Already we have around $120,000, a fantastic effort in just two days.

“The Brisbane Racing Club is going to run a charity auction on Victory Stakes day to raise funds.”

It’s estimated more than 200 trainers across multiple regions have faced additional costs for transport, food, forage and bedding for animals, directly related to the cyclone and flooding.

The fund will provide payments to eligible trainers of $350 or $700 depending on the level of  impact the cyclone had on them.

Dr Forbes invited other key supporters and suppliers to donate funds.

“We recognise that the participants and their animals are the backbone of the racing industry,” he said.

Full details on how to apply for funding, the assessment criteria and how you can donate to the fund are available at: http://www.racingqueensland.com.au/Industry-Services/Animal-Welfare-and-Training-Assistance-Fund.

Racing Queensland is also working with clubs to ensure normal racing and training operations are restored as soon as possible with races rescheduled or relocated where possible. Where events have been abandoned RQ has repositioned races and race meetings to other venues to ensure animals have had an opportunity to compete.

Dr Forbes also said that early estimates indicate the damage to clubs from the cyclone and floods will be in excess of $1m.

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