Jumps association pushing RVL to reverse decision
The Australian Jumps Racing Association (AJRA) says it has overwhelming support from racing’s stakeholders in the fight against the Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) decision to stop jumps racing in the state at the end of the 2009-2010 season.
The AJRA committee met on Monday in preparation for its meeting with RVL shareholders on Wednesday night.
This will involve the Victoria Racing Club, Melbourne Racing Club, Moonee Valley Racing Club, Country Racing Victoria, trainers, jockeys, breeders, bookmakers and unions.
The RVL annual general meeting will be held the following day at the Yarra Valley Racing Club but 60 days notice must be given if a vote of no confidence is decided upon.
If a call for a motion to spill the board is called a special general meeting would have to be called and 75 per cent of the members would have to vote in favour of that motion.
"We have a pretty clear position on where we want to go with this issue. We want this decision rescinded, as simple as that, and we will be seeking shareholder support to have that achieved," said AJRA president Rodney Rae.
"We have considered some courses of action we can take, others we are seeking addition advice on, but our first preference is to have this matter resolved within the industry with our fellow shareholders.
"There is overwhelming support amongst the shareholders and we will harness that on Wednesday night and be in a position to put forward certain resolutions to the RVL board."
Last Friday’s vote to end jumps racing was believed to be 9-2, but two new members of the RVL board, David Moodie and Ross Dobinson, will be confirmed at the AGM.
Rae said jumps racing involved around $100 million per annum in around 5,000 full and part time jobs.
He said that RVL wanted to end jumping racing it should have been ended immediately as the season ahead was inevitably going to be "disastrous" given that people were not going to buy horses or put them into work.
"It takes a preparatory year to get a jumper going," he said.
"After we’ve had our disastrous year certain forces will turn around and say `I told you so’."
Meanwhile leading jumps trainers, Robbie Laing and Eric Musgrove, are reported to be looking at setting up satellite stables in South Australia where jumps racing will continue.
Warrnambool trainer Ciaron Maher is considering a permanent move to Adelaide after the next season, while several jumps jockeys would also relocate.
Thoroughbred Racing SA chairman Phillip Bentley said it would be difficult for the South Australian industry to go it alone but he was adamant the sport would continue in SA if the jumps industry supported it.
Bentley said the TRSA board would meet to discuss options for the future of jumps racing in SA, which includes Oakbank, which regularly attracts over 100,000 spectators to its two-day meeting at Easter.
By Mark Ryan