CRJC overruled by Racing NSW

MOVES by Racing NSW to lift the ban on under-18s at the Grafton Cup were news to Clarence River Jockey Club chief executive Bradley de Martino Rosaroll yesterday.

He said the club had had no contact with the authority on the issue but had read online media reports.

"We have not been contacted by Racing NSW with any directive," he said.

"It is disappointing to see that with no consultation with us about how we've dealt with these issues, this decision has been made public."

The blanket ban on under-18s was introduced for Grafton Cup day for the first time this year after licensing and operational concerns were raised in previous years.

Mr de Martino Rosaroll said an exception was made for "about half a dozen" children of families who had horses on the card that day.

"We did not make the decision lightly - it took the board almost 12 months," he said.

"Managing the day it creates a much better environment for adults and it's not a great environment to have children at in our opinion."

He said the issue would be discussed at a board meeting last night.

The move from Racing NSW came in response to the Port Macquarie Race Club's plan to ban children at tomorrow's Port Macquarie Cup.

Racing NSW officials met with the Port club for urgent talks over the matter and it was resolved that kids would be allowed to attend the meeting if they were accompanied and supervised by a responsible adult.

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys welcomed the club's decision.

"We love the fact that kids can experience the magic, colour and excitement of thoroughbred racing by going with their mum or dad," he said.

"As such, Racing NSW will ensure that attendance by people under 18 years of age is not restricted at any NSW race meeting."

Mr V'landys said the age restriction at the Grafton Cup meeting got under the guard of the governing body but he stressed policy would introduced to ensure it did not happen in the future.

Mr de Martino Rosaroll said the club had received overwhelmingly supportive comments over the under-18s ban.

He said the club had no under-age related licensing breaches and only one minor breach over a promotional worker giving out alcohol samples without an RSA licence.

He said the Grafton Cup's attendance was down only 55 on last year with 10,054 clocking through the gates but that people were spending slightly less per head on bars.

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