The future of jumps racing in Warrnambool and Victoria is strong for at least the next decade, despite a recent South Australian ban on the sport, an industry source says.
The South Australian government supported legislation to ban jumps racing last week, bringing it into line with most other states. Victoria is the only remaining state to hold jumps racing events.
Warrnambool Racing Club chief executive Tom O'Connor said the legislation change wasn't a surprise and more a formality, with Racing South Australia announcing in October 2021 jumps events would cease in SA from 2022.
He said in 2021, following the removal of jumps events from the SA calendar, Racing Victoria (RV) increased its commitment to the sport with an additional $850,000 in prize money and extra meetings at Hamilton and Pakenham.
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This also ensured there were good lead-in races to Warrnambool, he said.
"There's certainly been a commitment over a period of time to ensure the industry is strong in Victoria," Mr O'Connor said.
"That commitment has been led by some key groups in Victoria which is why we can continually run the (May) carnival and the likes."
Mr O'Connor said as long as the club and broader industry continued to adhere to the increased safety measures and participant education and training was introduced he believed it was "in a really healthy space".
Adding to his confidence about the future of the May Racing Carnival's feature jumps events was a RV Infrastructure Green Paper, released on June 5, which outlined its goals for the next decade.
It states "RV is proposing to retain jumps racing throughout the next decade and program races at those tracks currently conducting meetings subject to appropriate safety standards being maintained, club support and the availability of venues and horses".
"Based on the atmosphere and support that we got for this year's carnival I think we're in a really strong position, particularly with the green paper around the 10-year commitment, as well as the great support we've got from both sides government," Mr O'Connor said.
"From our club's point of view, and the jumps racing point of view, it was fantastic to read and it's something our industry is backing given how important jumps is to the carnival."
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