By Scott Woodward of Champion Profits
The Championships initiative by Racing NSW, headed up by breeder John Messara, has missed the big picture. What is the point of putting on big prize money Group 1s for the fat cats, if the little battling trainers are starving?
The operating expenses for the average trainer have sky rocketed. Unless you have mass, or are born with a silver spoon in your mouth like Paul Messara or Gai Waterhouse, it is very difficult to survive.
Of late, we have seen some outstanding horsemen that have thrown the towel, stating “it’s too hard”.
One of those trainers is the great Brian Mayfield-Smith – the man who broke TJ Smith’s run of 33 consecutive Premierships in 1985-86. Mayfield-Smith found that the incomings don’t surpass the outgoings, and unless you have a big team the mathematics are against you.
Can the industry afford to lose quality trainers like Mayfield-Smith?
Statistically, Robbie Laing is clearly one of the best horsemen in the country. After he had just won the 2013 Victorian Derby with his $4,000 purchase Polanski, he said how hard it has been and how close he came to looking for another job.
Chris Waller, the country’s leading trainer, has been able to make it to the top by employing a number of assistant trainers who each train 20 horses for him.
I am sure each one of these horseman would like to be a trainer in their own right, but first they would have to cough up $10,000 and then be able to afford the high priced rent on the boxes.
The system is against the ‘little’ guy. And while our authorities keep throwing money at the ‘fat cats’ and overseas, the problem will continue to fester and we will move closer the day when an entire programme will be represented by a handful of trainers.
This strategy of “let’s throw some cash in the Autumn and outdo the Victorians” will have zero impact on their Spring Carnival.
They just completed arguably their best ever Spring carnival without a real star attraction, and certainly no WFA champion.
A thinking Racing NSW would focus on the other 50 weeks of the year and the hundreds of battlers that are on the brink of leaving the game.