Eagle ruffles feathers
VICTORIAN Racing Club chairwoman Amanda Elliott has accused Racing NSW of lacking respect and having a parochial disregard for the industry.
In a strongly worded swipe, Elliott and VRC chief executive Neil Wilson said they opposed “destructive agendas” that gave little consideration to the overall welfare and image of Australian racing.
Their attack came a day after Sydney’s racing powerbrokers launched The Golden Eagle – a $7.5 million race to be run at Rosehill on the same day as Flemington’s famed Derby Day meeting on November 2 next year.
But Elliott and Wilson insisted the 1500m race for four-yearolds would not stop momentum leading into the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival.
“What I find baffling, is the seeming lack of understanding of the importance of (economic impact of Cup week) as evidenced by recent decisions of RNSW – the lack of understanding of the importance of racing patterns and the rhythm of the calendar for all participants,” Elliott said.
“Nothing about the conduct of those north of the border suggests that they have any interest in the bigger picture.
“Throwing money at ‘initiatives’ in an isolated, parochial way, with no sense of respect nor apparent interest in any impact to these crucial foundations and drivers of our industry, seems foreign to us at the VRC.”
On Wednesday, Racing NSW launched three races to compete with Victoria’s biggest spring race days, including the $1 million Bondi Stakes (1600m) for three-year-olds on Cox Plate Day and $1 million Golden Gift (1200m) for twoyear-olds on the final day of the Flemington carnival.
The Golden Eagle, which will become the nation’s second richest race behind the $14 million The Everest, will be run for the first time on November 2.
Wilson said a more “collaborative approach” from state bodies was crucial for the sake of the industry’s future.
“The VRC supports local innovation and appreciates from time to time there are initiatives that push the jurisdiction boundaries, however there is a threshold, and we do not support ongoing potentially destructive agendas that have no regard for the broader impacts and the national responsibilities we all have,” Wilson said.
Elliott said the VRC took its responsibility for Cup week seriously, in part because of the benefits it brought to Australian racing.
“The most important and celebrated week in Australian racing is the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington,” she said.
Amanda Elliott with the Melbourne Cup this year.