It will cost $250 per horse to train on a Warrnambool beach during the summer months.
A compromise reached with local authorities means Warrnambool Racing Club (WRC) has a licence to allow 50 horses a day access to Mills Reef beach at Port Fairy.
Exercise at other beach locations will be off limits from December 1 until February 28, but horses will be allowed to wade and swim at Warrnambool’s Lady Bay.
WRC chief executive Peter Downs has been contacting the more than 50 licensed trainers in the area to explain the new beach training conditions.
“We’re contacting all the trainers regardless of whether they’ve got one horse or 100 horses and asking them if they want a licence, which has a cost associated with it, and how many they would like,” Downs told RSN927.
“Once we’ve got all that data we’ll break it up into as an equal way as possible depending on how many licences the trainers would like to apply for.”
Downs said there had previously been no costs associated with beach training, however it was considered illegal to practise commercial horse training on a Parks Victoria reserve.
“The WRC will be paying a licence fee that will be a lot more than $250 per horse,” Downs said.
“We won’t be covering all our costs in that $250 and if we were to pass on all the costs we think it would be too prohibitive to some of the smaller trainers.”
Downs pointed out the $250 licence wasn’t restricted to one horse, but could be interchanged among horses within a stable.
He said most of the trainers were understanding about the situation which will ,mean beach training numbers will be cut from between 100 and 120 horses to 50 while a further 130 horses worked at the racecourse daily.
“Killarney beach had between 80 to 100 horses a day and then there were other small beaches that are now off limits which may have taken the total to 120 horses a day using the beaches,” he said.
Group One-winning trainers Darren Weir and Ciaron Maher have credited beach training in the area with the success of horses with problems.