Camperdown Racing Club faces loss of training support

CAMPERDOWN Turf Club is facing an uphill battle to survive as a training centre.

The club is putting together a last-ditch submission to Racing Victoria to retain its annual financial assistance to prepare the course for training.

The funding, $82,000 this season, won’t be renewed when a five-year deal with Racing Victoria expires at the end of July next year.

It gives the club the cash so the course, used for only one race meeting a year, can be maintained for daily track work.

That means the club must find the money to keep the course open for daily training activities — one possibility being that battling trainers will have to make up the shortfall.

Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria officials met club president Laurie Hickey, officials and local trainers earlier this week to tell them the funding would end in 2014.

Hickey said the club hoped it could sway Racing Victoria and vowed to fight on.

But Racing Victoria chief executive Bernard Saundry told The Standard he wasn’t prepared to budge.

“We will listen to the requests of the Camperdown Turf Club but we will not be giving any more funding when the 2013-2014 season ends,” he said.

“When the funding ends, the club would have had five years to put things in place to do the training track maintenance.

“The club has indicated to us that they will forward a detailed submission. We will read it and try and assist the club where we can, but we will not be giving any more funding.”

Saundry said the club had to look at ways to reduce its own costs to provide money for the training track maintenance.

Hickey said the club believed its training centre had a future.

“Our biggest cost is water,” he said. “When we had to water between November 2011 to April 2012, we got a water bill for $65,000.

“We’re looking at connecting all our water pipes together in a bid to slash our water bill and use a bore. 

“We hope the industry listens to our cause.”

The major stabling complex at Camperdown which houses 10 boxes and eight day yards has been vacant since February 1 and Hickey hopes to have a new trainer on course to fill the complex.

“We were told by Racing Victoria on Monday that we never had enough starters from our track over the past year,” he said.

“Four years ago we had 280 starters, this year we’ve had 120 starters. We’ve just got to get more horses trained at Camperdown.

“We’ve got respected trainers like Geoff Daffy, Ron Gravett and Jock McArthur here, plus young trainers like Simon Mahony, Clinton Marshall and Louisa Penn are considering training, but we’ve got to get another couple of trainers which will help keep our costs down if we have to charge trainers for the facilities.”

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