Pressure to reinstate Qld winter carnivalSunday 5 April 2020
Pressure is mounting on Racing Queensland to reverse its decision to scrap the winter carnival which was due to start later this month.
The Brisbane Racing Club, breeders, and some trainers and owners are pushing for a scaled down carnival to be run in June and July after RQ cancelled all stakes racing because of uncertainty amid the coronavirus crisis.
BRC chairman Neville Bell said it was vital to have some type of carnival even without crowds.
The Sydney autumn carnival is continuing with reduced prize money for Group One racing.
"Every other state has gone ahead with their carnivals. South Australia had four black-type races on Saturday," Bell said.
"We accept prize money cuts on the races are inevitable but for breeders, trainers and owners we should be running our main races."
"And Listed races are vital for breeders and owners."
Queensland breeders president Basil Nolan agreed and sent an email to all members to "rally" in a tough time.
"The decision to scrap the carnival will impact on yearling sales catalogues for years if this continues" he said.
Nolan said RQ should postpone the carnival until later in the year, possibly June or July, rather than abandon it completely.
"There will be a significantly negative impact on the breeding industry in the years to come if we can't have the two-year-old and three-year-old black-type and Listed races that are offered during the carnival," he said.
"It is imperative that these age groups get a shot at the big races this season.
"The prize money on offer is irrelevant and it doesn't matter when these races are run, as long as it is in this season."
Several leading trainers, who did not want to be named, have indicated they could lose top horses if some form of carnival is not run.
RQ boss Brendan Parnell issued a statement on Saturday night which reiterated the governing body's commitment to keep racing.
"The livelihoods of the 40,000 participants involved in the Queensland racing industry is at the heart of our decision making in this moment," Parnell said.
"As part of this model, we said we would program more features and we intend to fulfil that promise.
"Presently, we're working on innovative ways to reward our trainers, owners, breeders and clubs in the coming months.
"We all know any prize money cuts hurt. These are the salaries and wages that sustain our industry but we are committed to providing our participants with hope during this challenging period."