VRC faces Federal Court action over racing manager dismissal
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VRC faces Federal Court action over racing manager dismissal

The VRC has disputed allegations made in a statement of claim lodged in the Federal Court that their former racing manager, Martin Talty, was dismissed because he raised governance concerns with the VRC CEO about how last year's final Melbourne Cup field was assembled.

The statement of claim, lodged with the Federal Court by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on June 8, alleges that his dismissal occurred because Talty told Neil Wilson in early February he believed the VRC chair, Amanda Elliott, should have removed herself from VRC Board decisions on Derby Day that finalised the Melbourne Cup field.

VRC chair Amanda Elliott.

VRC chair Amanda Elliott. Credit:Jason South

Elliott was in a syndicate that owned Melbourne Cup runner Libran, which had qualified for the Melbourne Cup, and eventually finished eighth in the race.

In a statement provided to Fairfax Media, the VRC has denied Talty's dismissal was related to concerns raised in the statement of claim.

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"The Victoria Racing Club is confident it acted appropriately regarding these matters.

"Martin Talty’s dismissal was not related to matters outlined in his statement of claim regarding the Melbourne Cup field.

"The Victoria Racing Club will not be providing any further comment at this time."

The VRC Board has the discretionary power to eliminate horses from the final field of 24 under certain circumstances and meets on Derby Day to finalise the field ahead of the barrier draw later that night.

No horses which had qualified from the field were eliminated at the board meeting on Derby Day with connections of the Murray Baker-trained horse Jon Snow deciding not to pay a final acceptance after the horse failed a veterinary examination in the lead-up to Derby Day.

In late February, after the VRC released a new strategic plan, Talty was dismissed with a media release declaring the club wanted to go in a new direction.

Talty, a former journalist with Fairfax Media , was the racing manager in Dubai and responsible for the development of the Dubai World Cup Series before joining the VRC.

He is seeking damages relating to his dismissal with a hearing set down for July 17 with Johnson Winter and Slattery appointed to represent the VRC.

Peter Ryan joined The Age in 2017 having covered AFL as a senior reporter with AFL Media.