Leading South Australian trainer Leon Macdonald says the state’s racing industry needs to act to reduce costs or risk losing trainers and horses interstate.
A new track fee of $4.40 per horse per day puts Morphettville on a par with Flemington but Adelaide’s prize money returns are around half that of Melbourne.
Adelaide owners also now have to pay a starter’s fee of $82.50, up from $73.70, per horse while most other jurisdictions do not charge.
The South Australian Jockey Club recently announced a loss of $3.68 million and while acknowledging something has to be done, Macdonald and his fellow trainers do not believe increased costs to trainers and owners is the right way to go about it.
Macdonald has been training at Morphettville for more than 40 years and has no intentions of going anywhere else, but he will do his best to minimise the charges to owners.
“I’m putting in a treadmill which will mean the horses don”t have to work on the track every day,” Macdonald said.
“And I don’t have to pay a rider $15 to ride the horse.
“The club put the stake money up to $42,500 per race but they pay down to 10th so when you split it up the winner gets an extra $500.
“They are trying to recover $750,000 but the increased costs have to be passed on to the owners.
“We are the poorest state and we don’t even have a million dollar race.
“I can do three things: No. 1 is the treadmill. No. 2 I can reduce the number of horses I train and No. 3 I can retire if I want to.
“But there are other trainers who are not in the same position.”