Home' Breeding and Racing : Issue 113 December 2013-January 2014 Contents 24 FOR DAILY INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES VISIT WWW.BREEDINGRACING.COM
ecently, a high profile bookmaker
claimed: ”The Victoria
Racing Club should cap the
Melbourne Cup and so, while
the internationals will be part of the race, at
least Australia will not be left out. The locals
made the race great so they are entitled to be
Sorry, I simply cannot agree. On this
matter, the bookie has it totally wrong.
The race has become great because of the
international participants. I know the race
has been an important national event for us
since almost 1861, but now it is great around
Locals like Toparoa, Hi Jinx, Lord Fury,
Even Stevens, Red Handed, Baghdad Note,
Piping Lane, Baystone etc. are, with great
respect, hardly great.
The late great trainer T.J.Smith reckoned
the race was for old hurdlers and should be
run over a mile and a half. Guess that was
before Tulloch and Kingstown Town were
runners for him. Remember Tulloch being
asked to carry 10stone 3lbs; that’s 66kgs today.
What a horse he was. Many good judges
used to say the Cup was just another 2-mile
The Cup has always stopped the nation
and used to reach across the Tasman to thrill
all New Zealanders. Now the Cup reaches
around the world because of the international
involvement. And look at how it’s raised our
profile among the international thoroughbred
Please, never let the authorities think about
drawing some sort of line in the sand. The
Melbourne Cup today is doing more than
it ever did to make the State of Victoria and
its capital city known overseas. Good stayers
must have a real will to win and if they have
to come from overseas to show us that will,
then that doesn’t matter. Actually it’s good.
Some newspapers have jumped on the
restriction ”band wagon” and are saying it
is time to rein in the foreign domination of
“our” Cup. Our Cup is now open to the world
and it should stay that way.
Quality in racing is terribly important,
even to nations that have no breeding
industry. Why did Hong Kong institute its
now marvelous international races? You can
bet it was to improve the quality of the racing.
Ditto Japan. I suggest to you, although it is
a major breeding country in its own right, it
invites the best available horses to Tokyo each
November, for the very same reason.
Better horses lead to better racing – the
drover’s dog recognizes that. It is a simple
commercial imperative, the need for
recognition. Our racing needs recognition
around the world, not just here and in New
Zealand. International relationships and
the recognition they entail are vital to the
Australian racing scene.
No one today can claim to have the
best horses in the world.
The industry is too fluid, too commercial
and too international. But we, in Australia
Japan’s Delta Blues & Pop Rock
quinella the 2006 Cup
Against a backdrop where major sports continue to spread their
tentacles in order to survive and grow, John Schreck argues that
Australia’s racing needs to do likewise to reach its potential.
p24-25_Cup's March of Progress.indd 24
12/12/13 4:50 PM
FOR DAILY INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES VISIT WWW.BREEDINGRACING.COM 25
and New Zealand, can today claim that our
best are as good as the best from anywhere
else. Balmerino, Strawberry Road, Better
Loosen Up, Horlicks, Naturalism, Takeover
Target, Black Caviar etc. all showed when
they travelled that they were nobody’s second
One day we will see more of our horses
winning in the United Kingdom and Europe
although probably not the United States
while the medication rules are as they are
in that country. So far, not a lot of travelling
has been done from Australia for simple
commercial reasons. Asia and Australia
provide great stake money and strong
International horse racing can be a
wonderful marketing tool. Other sports and
businesses have, without a doubt, established
that. However, now global organisations such
as Longines are starting to see the worth in
racing. Truly I don’t care what anyone says,
international racing is necessary for the
future development of the sport. It is vital to
the enhancement of the racing product.
Football, or soccer to us, has become the
world game. And no doubt all sports fans
saw the incredible interest when Manchester
United and Liverpool visited us recently.
Rugby would be in real trouble without its
international competition. Sorry, but I am an
unabashed fan of internationalism. It is the
only way of opening our racing to the world.
Our sport needs to prove to the rest of the
world that it is as good here as we say it is.
I have heard so-called ‘clever’ people say
we should somehow follow the Formula 1
model. There is no way that business can
be compared to horse racing. But much
can and should be learnt from the motor
racing model. Just look at the way that
sport and others of the global kind go about
aggressively chasing the corporate dollar.
And they are able to do that because of the
internationalism of their respective sports.
The world is becoming a really small place,
just ask Emirates Airlines.
Because of the international horses here
for the Cup, many high profile people visited
Melbourne. Racing was often off the back
pages and into the news section. We had
people like Michael Owen regularly on the
chat shows, not confined to Sky Channel and
In Australia, the carnivals are usually great
and Melbourne, because of the Victoria
Racing Club’s decision to turn its nation-
stopping Melbourne Cup meeting into a real
“event”, is simply outstanding. And whether
you like it or not, one of the main reasons
for this is internationalism. Not only horses
but also people. These days, celebrities are
everywhere. It has lifted the Cup profile to an
altogether new level and it is great!
Racing authorities must ensure the tension
of the competition is high and the excitement
great. But it must not be a one-way street.
Race Clubs must chase overseas horses as well
as people. There is no negativity in having so
called foreign raiders. The great Australian
dream of owning or training a Cup winner is
still there and still achievable.
The late Robert Sangster once described
Melbourne Cup week as ”the only week long
cocktail party he had ever attended”. I think
it is getting better and better. The colour, the
fashions and the frivolity all contribute greatly
to the festive atmosphere which is, of course,
so imperative to a successful day. If people
enjoy themselves, they will return and also
help spread the word around the world.
Recently John Messara, chairman of
Racing New South Wales, announced what is
to be called, ’The Championships”. It includes
races like the Doncaster going to $3 million
and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes to $4 million.
Surely stakes such as this will entice overseas
horses to Sydney?
Sydney may, unfortunately, still have
trouble attracting good staying horses for an
autumn meeting. In the United Kingdom and
Europe, their racing season has usually just
begun. But good sprinters and milers may be
an entirely different story. Remember there
are some quick horses in Asia these days with
many having been bred in Australia or New
However, years ago the Sydney Turf Club
did do a lot of work and spent a lot of money
on international races without success. It will
always be difficult to attract good horses from
the northern hemisphere to Sydney in our
Autumn. But the authorities have obviously
seen the need to internationalise and are
going all out to make it work this time.
Internationalising Australian racing will
continue to showcase it to the world. It will
prove our sport is anything but some back-
country business. Try to tell me we don’t need
to show the northern hemisphere just how
good our horses are. They reckon the world
ends at the Equator!
The international movement of horses will
always be difficult. Shifting racehorses about
can be a dangerous exercise for the horse
travelling and the national horse population.
Racing authorities actually have little to
do with international horse movement as
it comes under the control of the national
veterinary authorities. And we must all
remember they have a great responsibility
to protect the health of the general horse
population. No doubt the quarantine facility
at Werribee is an excellent one and something
similar in Sydney is both essential and
Racehorses that are brought here from
overseas to compete need convenient access
to good training facilities. Such facilities
are often expensive and can be difficult
to establish. But the sport does not have
an alternative. If it is going to promote
international racing into the future, then
money has to be spent on facilities and
It just cannot be overstated how important
the international harmonisation of the
medication rules are going to be if horses
continue to travel. Racehorse trainers are
baffled by inconsistent rules regarding
simple therapeutic substances. We all know
there are classes of substances that have
absolutely no place in horse racing. Make
no mistake, rules regarding such substances
must be harmonised. But harmonisation
is useless unless all racing laboratories use
the most sensitive methods available when
testing for totally prohibited substances.
And now anabolic steroids fall into such a
category. Not all horse people agree with the
steroid decision but, henceforth, be careful.
Laboratories have to continue improving
their methods and again, resources will have
to be found.
Growing racing internationally will be
difficult and it will be costly but I do think it
has to be attempted. Please let us forget about
some sort of limit on the number of horses
from overseas running in our races.
Let us embrace the visitors and one day the
wheel will turn!
ensure the tension
of the competition
is high and the
p24-25_Cup's March of Progress.indd 25
12/12/13 4:50 PM
Links Archive Issue 112 October-November 2013 Issue 114 February - March 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page