Racing in Victoria is at the cross-roads in many areas – whether it be the retention of crowds, the seemingly never ending battle with Racing NSW over prizemoney and pop-up races designed to disrupt the status quo or our own internal political battles within the confines of the 3 metropolitan Victorian Race Clubs.
This week is the turn of the MRC and its annual elections. We have 3 retiring members and 3 new faces seeking to stand up and be counted for the good of the Club. Clanbrooke has always had a close affiliation with the MRC through our sponsorships both at Caulfield and Sandown. As a Syndicator and Owner, I have no doubt this election is basically a plebiscite on whether to sell Sandown to finance the future buildings of a new Caulfield Grandstand and surrounds.
The first question I would ask is – do we really need a new grandstand? Can we afford to build this new monolith when attendances continue to fall and building costs are soaring out of control? The current costing would no doubt be shown to be totally out of context if costed today. Can we go back and re-think the Master Plan?
The second question to be asked is about the future of Sandown. We have no doubt that the sometimes maligned Sandown is actually one of the jewels in the crown of Victorian racing. The big open fairways of the two tracks continually give horses the best chance of success – name one trainer who doesn’t want to race their horses there. Sandown is also the saviour of city winter racing in this state. Without it, where does RVL propose to race weekly – the new inner Caulfield track that will be torn to shreds in the first couple of years from over-use?
The 3 new nominating candidates are all people with deep and historical links to our Sport. They have been transparent in nominating their goals – and all include the retention of Sandown. It is up to all of us as members to make our voice heard make our vote count.