Trainers outraged at Chipping Norton switch
Outraged Warwick Farm trainers say the decision to switch the Chipping Norton Stakes meeting to Randwick is an insult to the local community and sounds the death knell for racing at the track.
The Australian Jockey Club (AJC) announced the transfer on Thursday of what is traditionally the premier race day at the course citing concerns the track would not be up to standard.
Apart from the enormous Darley operation and the burgeoning Patinack Farm empire, more than 30 other trainers are based at Warwick Farm in the south western Sydney suburb of Chipping Norton.
Marc Conners, a third generation Warwick Farm trainer, says this year’s move to Randwick is a slap in the face for all concerned.
“It’s an absolute f***ing disgrace,” Conners said.
“My father-in-law is the deputy mayer of Liverpool and the Liverpool City Council wanted to pull their sponsorship when they heard but it’s too late.
“They have sponsored the Liverpool City Cup for 30 years but will not do it again if the meeting is not held at Warwick Farm.
“If the AJC had wanted to preserve the track they should have transferred Wednesday’s meeting to the Kensington track at Randwick and saved Warwick Farm.”
Guy Walter has made a major investment in his complex at Warwick Farm, made possible in no small part by the deeds of grand galloper Tie The Knot who won a record four Chipping Norton Stakes.
“It is a shocking decision,” he said.
“The Chipping Norton Stakes belongs at Warwick Farm.
“It’s the flagship race and it’s like not having the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.
“And the track is not that bad that it can’t be used for the meeting.
“It’s Warwick Farm’s race and it sounds the death knell for racing there.”
Gary Portelli believes the AJC underestimates the potential of the area.
“I’m disappointed with the AJC, they have made Warwick Farm the poor cousins again,” Portelli said.
“They don’t understand there is a wealthy market in the area.”
The area holds so much, Joe Pride and his wife Kylie decided to remain there with their young family after being relocated from Randwick to accommodate World Youth Day last year.
Pride has a boutique stable of around 30 horses and has a strike rate second to none including a double at Rosehill on Saturday.
“It is a kick in the teeth for the people in the area,” Pride said.
“It seems that the AJC has just given up on it.”
By Caryl Williamson