In-form trainer Robert Heathcote believes Queensland racing is finally on the right path but says an improved new media rights deal is essential to safeguard the future of the industry.
Heathcote has been openly critical of racing officials in Queensland and was one of the leaders of a strike last year which resulted in an increase in prize money from the Point Of Consumption tax.
He was also outspoken about the state of the previous Eagle Farm racetrack.
Heathcote is far happier these days with the way the industry is progressing in Queensland.
“There is plenty to be happy about with prize money increases and new races around the state,” Heathcote said.
“Eagle Farm is racing really well and will get even better. So with it back in action things look bright.”
The media rights for Queensland racing are up for renewal by June this year.
There is a consensus among Queensland industry stakeholders that the current Sky Racing coverage favours second-tier NSW meetings ahead of Brisbane metropolitan races with pre and post-race interviews.
Heathcote said it was vital Queensland received the best possible deal when the new contract was signed.
“It doesn’t matter if the new contract goes to Sky, Racing.com, free-to-air, or a combination of all three,” he said.
“What must be assured is we get a guarantee of the best coverage and the most money for the industry.”
Heathcote has been in dynamic form and clinched a treble at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
He has trained 26 winners, placing him a clear second to runaway leader Tony Gollan in the Queensland metropolitan trainers premiership.