Ceduna Racing Club president disappointed with changes to racing prize money distribution

DISAPPOINTED: Ceduna Racing Club president Bruce Zippel with It's Humphrey, a mainstay in West Coast racing in recent years.
DISAPPOINTED: Ceduna Racing Club president Bruce Zippel with It's Humphrey, a mainstay in West Coast racing in recent years.

Ceduna Racing Club president Bruce Zippel said he was disappointed with the lack of respect shown to non-TAB racing clubs following Thoroughbred Racing SA's (TRSA) change to prize money distribution.

The organisation announced an additional $5.8 million in prize money would be distributed to thoroughbred racing clubs across the state, with 69 per cent for provincial and country races.

Mr Zippel said non-TAB clubs such as at Ceduna, Streaky Bay, Penong and Lock had "effectively missed out" on funding and did not appear to be included in the category of grassroots racing.

Non-TAB race days with a six-race card program are to gain a three per cent increase on current benchmark allocations, compared to an increase of about 32 per cent for provincial racing such as at Port Lincoln.

Mr Zippel said the new structure amounted to a $1000 per race increase for the cups and that non-TAB clubs across the state would collectively gain about $10,000 of the $5.8 million.

"It's disappointing that non-TAB racing doesn't appear to be considered part of grassroots racing," he said.

"The Minister for Racing (Corey Wingard) made it clear he wanted money to go to grassroots racing, but non-TAB clubs got only a token effort.

"Small amounts make a big difference to us."

"There's potential for a flow-on effect, but there is a massive difference between Port Lincoln and the non-TAB clubs, in excess of $15,000 for some races," he said.

"So, the first preference will always be Port Lincoln, and if the horse can't compete there they could go to the non-TAB's, but non-TAB's need some level of credible prize money to attract horses at Port Lincoln level."

Mr Zippel said it was also disappointing to not be consulted before or after the announcement.

"There was no consultation prior whatsoever, and the announcement was made and we were shocked," he said.

"There was no mention in the press release about non-TAB clubs even getting the $1000 and it was only through making an inquiry that we found out."

TRSA said the total prize money increase was more than double the share of the state government's racing stimulus announced in the most recent state budget.

"The state government's budget commitment was recognition of both the significant adverse impact the point of consumption tax has had on racing, and the importance of a sound racing industry to the state," TRSA chairperson Frances Nelson QC said.

Mr Zippel said it was time for non-TAB clubs to have a say and create their own representative body.

"I haven't spoken to other clubs yet about the distribution change, but I will be raising the matter at the Eyre Peninsula Racing Association's annual general meeting next weekend at Streaky Bay," he said.

"Country Racing SA representatives will be present, and there will be a lot of discussion.

"I will also be proposing that non-TAB clubs across South Australia develop their own voice."