THE Cup has been run and the deaths of favourite Admire Rakti and fellow runner Araldo have stirred opponents of horse racing once again.
With another important race on the cards for later in the month — the state election — the thoroughbred racing fraternity and particularly those with close ties to jumps racing will be watching the outcome of the vote with more than a passing interest.
It is no secret that the sport of jumps racing has been under immense pressure from those who seek to destroy it.
Arguably, its darkest hour was when the previous Labor government was in power and calls for its abolition reached a crescendo, driven by powerful interests on the periphery of the halls of power in Spring Street.
A ray of sunshine broke through when Labor was booted out and our local member Denis Napthine became the state’s racing minister.
Dr Napthine could not have made his position clearer, stating time and again that he supported the jumps and always making time to show his face at Warrnambool’s famous three-day carnival in May.
Lovers of the sport will breathe a sigh of relief if the Coalition win the state election on November 29 for obvious reasons, but if the pendulum swings the other way and Labor sweeps into power again, the future of the jumps will be uncertain once more, with the ALP yet to confirm where it stands.
It is a fair bet that if Labor wins it will have the doors of Parliament battered down by the lobbyists from the RSPCA and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses who want jumps banned.
As our local member and a former vet, Dr Napthine has a deep and detailed understanding of the sport and an even better grasp of how important it is to his constituency.
He has been a champion for the industry in the south-west and has stood firm against the often hysterical outpourings of the naysayers.
With this in mind, Warrnambool and the south-west must hope and pray that if Dr Napthine finds himself with less power and influence post-November 29 that his successor will be just as sympathetic. But don’t bet on it.
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