Date: May 23 2012
RACING Victoria Limited is urging the Victoria Racing Club to reconsider a proposal to cut prizemoney for selected group and listed races next season.
VRC chief executive Dale Monteith confirmed yesterday it had received a letter from RVL chairman Michael Duffy asking the club to reconsider plans to cut more than $1 million in prizemoney.
But Monteith reiterated that no final decision had been made on prizemoney reductions and guaranteed that prizemoney overall would increase next season.
''This is not unusual. Each year we prepare a budget and look at all areas of the business, including prizemoney,'' Monteith said.
''In recent years we have boosted prizemoney to some black-type races, like the Kewney Stakes, in the hope of getting them upgraded. The club will look at whether it has over-invested in those races that will probably not get that group 1 status. Categorically I can say that prizemoney will go up next year, but nothing has been finalised as it has not yet been put to our board.''
Monteith said changes to the TAB joint venture revenue distribution model - which will bring an end to the fixed allocation of funds to clubs, with RVL soon to be in control of distribution - had been a factor in the VRC's budget planning, as had a planned rebuild of the old members' grandstand.
''Last year we handed out $8 million of the club's own money [in prizemoney] and we think we have the right to decide where that money is spent in the future. A final decision on prizemoney may not be made until the end of July,'' Monteith said.
The Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association voiced its opposition to the VRC's proposed cuts, with chairman Jonathan Munz labelling the move ''a major backwards step for the VRC and racing in this state''.
With Racing NSW to begin rolling out the largest band of prizemoney increases in the state's history, Munz said any move to cut prizemoney levels in Victoria was foolish.
''It sends the wrong message and undermines all the efforts made to improve and promote racing,'' he said.
''These sorts of attitudes and actions feed into a slippery slide of reduced participation, reduced betting turnover and reduced industry revenue.''
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