Ea­gle ruf­fles feath­ers

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT RACING - GLENN Mc­FAR­LANE

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.

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