The Sydney Turf Club board has agreed to a merger with the Australian Jockey Club, as long as a number of conditions are met.
The Sydney Turf Club (STC) operates out of Rosehill Gardens and Canterbury Park Racecourses, while the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) is based at Royal Randwick Racecourse, but also owns Warwick Farm.
STC Chairman Bill Picken said that the decision had not been easy.
â€œThe Sydney Turf Club Board has listened to its Members and has acted to overcome their concerns in relation to the merger,â€ he said.
â€œWe believe that the decision to merge the two Sydney clubs is in the best long term interests of STC and its Members and in the best interests of thoroughbred racing in Sydney.”
Key features of the STC agreement include:
- the merged board will decide, in consultation with the government, how the $24 million for Rosehill and $150 million for Randwick will be spent
- that the merged board will initially have 3 AJC directors, 3 STC directors and 3 independent directors. This will change to 2 AJC directors, 2 STC directors and 3 independent directors after 12 months
- that Canterbury will not be sold for 10 years
- that a merger agreement between the STC and AJC be signed and published before the merger, so as to protect the rights of members. The merger agreement would include the following:
- the name of the merged club must not be “Sydney Turf Club” or “Australian Jockey Club”, but a new entity
- that within 5 years of the agreement, STC prizemoney would not be reduced in favour of AJC prizemoney
- that the Golden Slipper festival will not be threatened
- that the rights of members will be maintained, if not enhanced
The merger has been controversial for seemingly favouring the AJC, and for the introduction of Tabcorp as a major stakeholder through the introduction of virtual racing game “Trackside” into NSW TABs.
Written by Andrew Hawkins