Rising tides, board shorts and designer thongs

In his virtually 12-month tenure, Andrew Jones, CEO of Racing Victoria, has supplied up numerous attention-grabbing (troubling?) insights into his fascinated with the strategic route of the racing ‘business’ (let’s overlook its sporting origins). I’ve recognized 4 principal themes, and there could also be others I’ve snoozed via.

Chief amongst these is the dedication to a gambling-led fan proposition. RVL’s more and more cosy relationship with company bookmakers, to the detriment of ‘accountable playing’ sits entrance and centre. New amenities for laptop-toting punters was the brand new GM of Playing (Matt Welsh)’s first name to re-invigorate ‘fashionable’ fan engagement – all 20 of them, all with company bookmaker accounts.

Focusing on the 18-34-year-old ‘bet-with-mates’ cohort was one other Welsh gem – bear in mind the footy analogy? This, regardless of RVL figuring out this cohort is essentially the most liable to gambling-related hurt. Accountable or exploitation?

A have a look at RVL’s flagship racing.com and totally owned RSN ‘fan’ channels demonstrates simply how far the horse fan-gambling proposition has swung. Nowhere on racing.com might I discover protection of the newsworthy Birdsville jigger affair however odds, or suggestions for Ipswich, Warwick or Townsville ‘purchased to you by’, racing.com has you lined.

I might even submit a racing.com display shot of a racing web page that reveals no reference to Victorian racing… on a flagship Saturday. I’m simply undecided how that aligns with the RVL board’s unique intent to “make Victorian thoroughbred racing accessible to extra individuals in additional locations”. Nowhere did they are saying to make interstate playing extra accessible.

Then there was Jones’ reference to the aphorism “a rising tide lifts all boats” when defending the spirit of direct prize money-driven competitors for horses, jockeys and trainers between NSW and Victoria.

Kerrin McEvoy onboard Deauville Legend during trackwork at Werribee Racecourse on October 25, 2022 in Werribee, Australia. (Jay Town/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

Kerrin McEvoy onboard Deauville Legend throughout trackwork at Werribee Racecourse on October 25, 2022 in Werribee, Australia. (Jay City/Racing Pictures by way of Getty Photographs)

Any research of the bodily or social sciences (and the Australian financial system) reveals simply how missing that perspective is.

In racing, the prize cash distribution information for the final 20 years reveals that these not lucky (or threat tolerant) sufficient to personal a brilliant maxi are spending rather more time bailing out their ‘tinnies’ simply to maintain afloat. I ponder what number of trainers who’ve downsized in recent times attributable to business constructions and situations agree with Jones that they’re having fun with the fruits of file tides?

If the growing ‘true’ prices have been really factored in, many extra could be floating stomach up – and never in a great way. Assume shark bait.

Once you’re speaking many tens of millions of {dollars} – even small ‘tidal’ (share) variations translate into massively completely different fortunes. This was maybe most starkly proven within the distribution of 2022 Victorian spring black kind riches – which had benefited from a rise of $15 million in 2022 prize cash allocations. Simply three stables accounted for 53 per cent of all black kind prize cash. The highest 5, over 64 per cent.

The highest three stables took residence about $8 million of the elevated distributions – greater than all of the will increase allotted to all of the nation races for a complete 12 months.

This tells me that however for a couple of, the vast majority of house owners, trainers and jockeys are situated a continent away from Jones’ ‘rising tide’. What’s that different saying – one man’s excessive tide is one other man’s…

Extra just lately Jones launched RVL’s Equine Welfare Strategic Plan. Neither very strategic nor a lot of a plan. Even worse, 99 per cent of the KPIs in that plan may very well be met – and never assure a single improved well being or wellbeing end result could be noticed for the equine inhabitants, until you’re non secular.

Watch a few episodes of Utopia and also you’ll get the drift. You would possibly even marvel what ‘horse first considering’ actually means.

The newest providing on the worldwide racing convention by Jones was the suggestion that gown requirements of board shorts and thongs would deliver racegoers again to the monitor of their droves. Maybe a tidal browsing pool within the Flemington Members automobile park would assist – in any case, the automobile park sits empty 98 per cent of the 12 months.

His analogy of non-existent gown codes at eating places (MCC eating places do and that hasn’t diminished crowds) is so large of the buoy as to be humorous. What Jones ignores is that “potential” racing followers have already selected their garments for the day earlier than anybody mentions “gown requirements”.

So, after 12 months of a brand new CEO’s insights, has the well being and wellbeing of the Victorian racing business benefited?

As a substitute of pointing to the identical shiny mega-yachts anchored within the RVL harbour and giving featured prominence in all RVL promoting retailers, maybe a greater take a look at is to take a look at the big variety of ‘tinnies’ which are at risk of being swamped by even the slightest of waves.

Maybe it’s too late however I cant assist however suppose what racing would possibly appear to be if the business technique was realigned to 1 making it as straightforward as potential to be a fan of horse racing relatively than a fan of the punt?

In spite of everything, what latest historical past (information) tells me is it’s simpler to make a punter out of a fan than a fan out of a punter.

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