As more trainers become vocal in their opposition to Racing Victoria’s race-free week next week, the Australian Trainers’ Association (ATA) has attempted to get Racing Victoria to re-think their decision, but they came up empty after their late push for a change to next week’s racing schedule was rejected.
ATA CEO Andrew Nicholl and President Robbie Griffiths met with Racing Victoria Chairman Brian Kruger and CEO Giles Thompson to put their case. Their argument was then carried forward and put to the Racing Victoria Board late on Tuesday but, after due consideration, the Board decided to confirm that racing from July 26 to July 31, inclusive, would remain a race free week as originally programmed.
“Robbie and I had a conversation with Brian Kruger and Giles Thompson, just to say look at the current climate here in Victoria, we understand the objectives from a RV perspective was to lighten to load, but we now also need to look at what’s best for the participants, they can’t go on holidays, they can’t even leave the house.” Nicholl told Racing.com.
“In the current climate, when we are talking lockdown, border closures and the inability to really do anything, are we really going to get data from this trial that is going to be meaningful?
“But we put this to them, ‘Let’s not abandon the trial, why don’t we defer this initiative to another time to later in the year, and we can do it in a free environment and test the waters to produce the data we want to see?
“The view of many trainers is it’s RV’s job to program meetings and for trainers to decide where and when they race and that’s a very fundamental view of many them and a forced week off is forcing them in a way to change how they think and caused many of them to come out publicly and disagree,” he said.
“Clearly, we are disappointed for the trainers … they clearly wanted the choice to run or not rather than have that option taken away.
“It did go close (at the Board meeting), but there are other factors too that worked against it … but kudos to RV for listening to the participants and what we wanted.”
As it stands currently, the race-free week is scheduled to be repeated at the end of next season.
With more time to lobby and nothing set in stone twelve months away, you would have to think that, moving forward, this will not be the last we hear of this matter.