Bigger country clubs in pole position for funding breaks

The splitting up of country racing’s multimillion-dollar bonanza thanks to the state’s recently announced tax parity is likely to be concentrated on the bush’s bigger clubs, says Racing NSW Country chairman Bob Pavitt.

Racing NSW has pledged an annual $2 million payment to race clubs from July 1 next year to help alleviate operating costs on top of $50 million for capital works at non-metropolitan tracks from accumulated race fields fees, the majority of which is being used to fund current projects, including Port Macquarie and Ballina.

Country clubs are likely to clamour for a slice of the pie – especially given rising costs associated with wages, electricity and ambulances – to complement the $21 million increase to country and provincial prizemoney from next financial year.

But it is the money for infrastructure upgrades that will be most hotly debated.

“We’re confident monies will go out to clubs and it will be spent where it is needed, certainly the upgrading of training facilities will be high on our list,” Pavitt said. “We want to see it spent in the best manner it gets a result and where it reaches the most people.

“In our own strategic plan we’ve already put to Racing NSW some time ago that we think initially money should be concentrated on those clubs that generate the majority of starters.

“We have our own track maintenance scheme and we pay the clubs which generate 1000 starters [per year] more than others. We would see them as the priority.”

It means clubs of the ilk of Grafton, Tamworth, Goulburn, Wagga and Taree, which shoulder the majority of country starters, are in line for extra funding when the money is handed out.

“Racing NSW will make the final call and that’s been our advice to them and it has been taken on board,” Pavitt said.

TAB meetings

Sunday – Grafton. Monday – Taree. Tuesday – Orange. Thursday – Goulburn. Friday – Armidale, Murwillumbah. Saturday – Albury, Ballina.

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