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The current state of Racing in Australia is the result of aggressive marketing by the various TAB’s and Gaming bodies and the need for a “product” to sell.

Racing profits are all about turnover. The Racing authorities gain a percentage of every dollar wagered whether that be with the TAB or Bookmaker.

To make sure they don’t miss out the TAB also offers wagering on a variety of sports events and also participates on other gaming activities, notably Poker Machines.

A single poker machine can average hundreds of dollars per day in revenue and this is multiplied by thousands and thousands in each State and Territory.

But back to Racing. In the environment where Poker machines are available virtually 24 hours Racing has extended it’s coverage through Sky Channel by hours per day. Where once there was a gap between the gallops finishing and the trots and dogs starting, that gap has been eliminated by scheduling early starts with the trots and dogs and late finishes with the gallop meetings.

In Western Australia, due to time differences, Racing is happening from around 9.00 a.m. through and it doesn’t stop on Sunday either. There are now only about six Sundays and perhaps two other days, Christmas Day and Good Friday when no Racing is taking place.

From the point of view of country Racing Clubs that now have TAB coverage for there otherwise Non TAB meetings, this is good but from the view of the Racing professional and I mean Punters, Bookmakers, Trainers, Jockeys and Stable Hands this is bad.

Our Racing coverage i.e. Ratings and selections for all TAB meetings everyday, comes at the expense of lifestyle until such time as the business grows sufficiently to allow additional staff to be able to roster for the extra Racing days. It is no different with Trainers but what about jockeys? Are there jockeys who can afford to say “No” to rides on Sundays? Probably not, unless you are a member of the elite few.

Is it any wonder that some riders have severe lapses of form and judgement?

Racing as it is today will not stop, indeed this year (1999) we will see another night Racing venue (Canterbury) to make up a roster of twelve multiple night meetings. How many by the year 2000?

Our advice is to you as a punter is to choose the day (night) or days you wish to operate and build your plans around that. You may wish to only bet at certain venues e.g Randwick and Rosehill and only at certain times of the year. Or you may choose to become a night Racing expert. In time you will find that there will be horses that race better, or worse, of a night. It happens with the trots and dogs, now!

Finally. How long before all Australians can access Sky Racing? The coverage is a joke. Did you know that many areas of Rural Australia can receive Sky Racing while many major Metropolitan areas cannot?

Good luck for all of 1999

Garry Robinson

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