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Country racing is the No.1 priority for Racing NSW in light of the tax relief the industry will get in the state budget.

The extra funds will also ensure the long-term future of The Championships during the autumn carnival.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said he and his board would discuss the details of their strategic plan with Racing Minister Troy Grant in the coming days.

Because the reduction in tax will come in stages, V’landys says not all aspects of the plan, formulated last year, could come into force immediately.

It will be four years before NSW reaches parity with Victoria which gets $7.90 from every $100 wagered on the TAB with $1.28 going to the government.

In NSW the figures are $4.70 for racing and $3.22 to the government. The first stage of the government’s plan means its share will be reduced to $2.83 on January 1, 2016.

“Country racing is number one,” V’landys said.

“The government is aware of our strategic plan but not everything can be implemented at once because we won’t get all the money at once.

“We need to increase country prize money to keep the participants in the industry.”

V’landys said the success of The Championships run over two Saturdays in April had been proven after just two years.

However, he stopped short of Premier Mike Baird’s assertions The Championships would overtake the Melbourne Cup carnival in the spring.

“We see them as two different carnivals,” V’landys said.

“They complement each other.

“The success we have had with The Championships in attracting overseas horses in just two years has ticked all the boxes to make it an international event.

“And the Country Championship series this year was a great success.”

Among the priorities in the strategic plan is for Saturday metropolitan races to carry prize money of $100,000 with significant increases for all other races including $30,000 races in provincial areas and $20,000 for country races.

Racing NSW also wants to invest $2 million in traineeships and apprenticeships in high youth unemployment areas.

 
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