CRJC in the black

By TONY WHITE

CLARENCE River Jockey Club (CRJC) chairman Bob Pavitt remains optimistic the club can maintain current prizemoney levels this season despite a national downturn in wagering and reduced TAB returns.

However, he warned unless an imminent solution was found to the controversial and costly broadcast wars, for the CRJC and other raceclubs throughout NSW, 'there may have to be some sort of reductions'.

On Tuesday the CRJC held its AGM with only 15 members in attendance at Grafton racecourse.

Pavitt said the club had posted a profit of $164,000, but due to accounting procedures, costing of new barrier stalls worth $69,000 and other factors, the 'real profit' was just under $100,000.

"It has been a pleasing result," Pavitt said of club's financial state.

"The previous financial year (2003-04) we showed a slight profit, but this year's increase is due to an extraordinary July Carnival (2004) when we had record turnover."

The downturn in wagering is already biting into club's budgets with many under increasing pressure to maintain current prizemoney levels.

This week Tabcorp made a public announcement they have downgraded their profit forecast and predictions are for negative growth for only the second time in the NSW TAB's history.

Questions were raised at the AGM regarding funding and prizemoney levels, particularly the new Saturday TAB meetings which are currently underwritten by Racing NSW Country.

As part of the reduction to race clubs caused by the drop in TAB returns, the CRJC has had its $14,000 per TAB meeting payment under the Premium Payment Scheme for Regional Race Clubs which goes towards prizemoney, reduced to $11,000.

The CRJC conducts 18 TAB meetings each season, not including Saturdays.

"We're currently carrying that $3000 loss," Pavitt said. "This year will be a tough one, not only for us, but all people in racing.

"We (CRJC) have recognised that and we are doing our best to reduce any losses as much as we can without reducing prizemoney.

"In future unless something happens and the CRJC are not getting the same amount of funding, there may have to be some sort of reductions."

The 12-member Board of Directors was returned unopposed for a two-year term.

Pavitt said a resolution to reduce the board to 10 members was agreed to and will take place next year.

The board is: chairman Bob Pavitt; vice-chairman Wal Green; treasurer Rowan Wicks; directors ? Brian Ferrie, Graeme Green, Stephen Haines, Julie Hutchings, John Kenny, Garry McCormick, Graeme Rickwood, Lance Timms, Garry Williams.



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