COUNTRYRACINGSCENE:Grafton trainer John Shelton, holding the reins, at a post-race presentation last weekend.Photo: SIMONHUGHES
COUNTRYRACINGSCENE:Grafton trainer John Shelton, holding the reins, at a post-race presentation last weekend.Photo: SIMONHUGHES

Casualties of war

By TONY WHITE

twhite@dailyexaminer.com.au

FIFTY race meetings will be slashed from the country racing calendar for 2006-07 in a bid to combat the crippling revenue downturn caused by the ongoing, controversial broadcast wars.

The planned reduction ? around 30 TAB and 20 non-TAB meetings ? will affect clubs across NSW including the Clarence River Jockey Club (CRJC). The CRJC will conduct 26 TAB and one non-TAB meeting this financial year.

Racing NSW Country have predicted a budget deficit upwards of $1.7 million.

Due to an across-the-board decline in TAB turnover directly attributed to the broadcast wars between Tabcorp-owned Sky Channel and rival TVN, jointly owned by Racing Victoria, the Australian Jockey Club and Sydney Turf Club, race clubs across NSW will receive considerably less revenue than in the 2004-05 financial year.

Forecasts suggest the NSW TAB this financial year will return a negative growth rate for only the second time in its history.

At Racing NSW headquarters in Sydney on Thursday, around 30 delegates from country race clubs met with the Racing NSW Country Board to discuss how best to alleviate the financial concerns.

"As part of the correction process to recover and address the downturn in revenue and budgets, a reduction in race dates is planned," general manager industry Brian Judd said.

"The Board has taken a change in its strategic direction. The Board felt it had maximised quantity (number of race dates).

n Continued: P46.



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