Prize Money Stand-off Continues In Queensland

Racing Queensland has once again rejected a call from the Queensland Racehorse Owners Association to boost levels of prize money, specifically in mid-week events.

They said while they acknowledge the continuing importance of lifting mid-week, maiden and Class 1 prize money they were currently not in a position to do so.

They say that the current level of income cannot justify any substantial increases to prize money in Queensland.

Chairman of Racing QLD Bob Bentley said they continue to be plagued by a range of issues including wagering turnover, legal debates and expensive infrastructure re-developments.

“RQL has already increased jockey’s riding fees this year and will increase prize money at the first feasible opportunity, but there is no magic pot of gold,” Bentley said.

“RQL has held detailed discussions outlining the financial constraints on the industry to the Queensland Racehorse Owners’ Association (QROA) so it could make some considered recommendations regarding prize money increases.

“It’s disappointing that the QROA review only makes recommendations covering two areas and offers no solutions on how to substantially fund these increases.

“In addition to mid-week and provincial prize money a proper review should have included recommendations on QTIS and QTIS 600 schemes as well as country racing. The QTIS and QTIS 600 schemes have a potential exposure of $11.3 million and a budgeted payout for the 2011/12 year of $7.9 million. The overall cost of country racing for the 2011/12 year is budgeted at $12.4 million.”

Bentley seems somewhat frustrated by the lack of details in the QROA report and considers it as a rather rushed list of demands rather than a well thought out and workable document.

“The QROA proposal based on the 2011/12 budget would mean an increase of $11.3 million or 15 per cent of the overall thoroughbred prize money budget at a time when wagering revenue is expected to slow and only increase by one per cent,” he said.

“RQL knows mid-week-and Provincial prize money increases are vital for the industry but with minimum growth in wagering revenue, other established prize money distributions and club funding would need to be reviewed to achieve the QROA expectation.”

Despite the lack of common ground currently visible in the argument Bentley has vowed to continue talks with the QROA to try and create some achievable and financially viable targets.

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