As I think I’ve said before, I get angry when I hear industry participants bleat on about why can’t we be like Australia. Well, last week was the perfect answer to that question, as if there weren’t enough obvious reasons such as population difference, and the fact that big money is offered for our horses, whereas our neighbours sell very few overseas.
On 13 July, the New South Wales State Government (yes government) announced that were going to pump $4.2 million into harness racing for ‘multiple infrastructure projects.’ Specifically, $2.9m for the construction of a new training complex at Bathurst (yes just for training) and $1.3m for the re-homing of standardbreds.
Let’s face it, the likelihood of something like that happening in this Country is about the same as me driving a New Zealand Cup winner! Yes, I know, our government threw $70 odd million at the TAB last year, and thank goodness they did, otherwise the whole racing structure could have collapsed. However, that was a result of an emergency brought on by mis-management and the pandemic. Don’t forget the government make plenty out of a healthy racing industry, so it was in their best interests to throw some money at it.
The NSW money isn’t a prop up, it’s an investment in the future, they obviously consider it to be a good cause, which is great. However, it is a prime example of the difference between harness racing on either side of the Tasman, and that’s most unlikely to change. There can be little doubt that we are becoming more and more of a nursery for horses to cross the ‘ditch’ so, indirectly, investment in their racing will have benefits for our breeders, trainers and owners. We can be jealous and bitter, but we are different Countries with different populations and priorities, and that’s not going to change.