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QTOA Chairman's Report: April 2024

Dear Members,

The QTOA held its Annual General Meeting on April 15 where several committee members were re-elected.

I am pleased to report that Linda Huddy, treasurer Drue Schofield and Justine Oppermann will continue on the QTOA Committee along with myself.

Under the constitution, two elected committee members hold a term for three years and two members hold a term over two years - which is designed to ensure that the committee members are not all ending their terms at the same time.

With that in mind, Linda and myself have agreed to continue on the committee for a further three years, while Drue and Justine will continue for another two years.

At our next Committee meeting, the QTOA committee will appoint three additional committee members.

A special thank you to Di Robinson who has assisted us with administration duties over the past two years. Unfortunately Di no longer has the capacity to assist in this area but we thank her for her efforts.

Among the attendees at the AGM was Racing Queensland board member Graham Quirk, who was able to provide an update on various topics and issues facing the racing industry.

Prizemoney is naturally always a talking point in racing circles and we asked Graham if there was any possibility of prizemoney increases on the horizon, particular in areas such as Central and North Queensland.

Graham advised that due to recent downturns in wagering on racing, Racing Queensland wouldn’t be in a position to provide increased prizemoney any time soon.

Off the back of the wagering highs of the COVID period, reduced wagering turnover appears a trend that the racing industry has to face and we must finds ways to innovate and attract patronage to our sport.

Whilst we will continue to advocate for enhanced prizemoney in areas of need, particulary regional and country Queensland, in the current economic climate we understand Racing Queensland’s position on the matter. We also discussed with Graham the need for upgraded infrastructure at tracks, industry recruitment and health and safety issues and appreciate the time Graham gave to the meeting.


Stradbroke Season is on our doorstep and it is and exciting time for the industry in Queensland.

The QTOA is again pleased to be partnering with our good friends at Ladbrokes who are offering QTOA members the chance to win a double pass to the exclusive Ladbrokes Lounge on Qld Oaks Day on Saturday, June 8.

We once again thank Ladbrokes for supporting the QTOA with initiatives like this and we urge members to support those that are supporting us - along with all our valued commercial partners, who provide us with regular offers and discounts every month in our newsletter.

Good luck to all owners over the Winter Carnival.


As part of the Thoroughbred Alliance we have made representations to Racing Queensland regarding ongoing concerns around track conditions and ratings.

This matter is one which is ongoing and largely driven by weather conditions and the consequences that flow from those. We will work with the regulatory authorities and the clubs to find optimal solutions.

A copy of the statement issued by the Alliance is listed below:

The Thoroughbred Alliance met today to discuss the ongoing concerns the participant associations have with our grass tracks in S.E.Q, highlighted by recent questionable track ratings at Eagle Farm Saturday and Ipswich on Wednesday. These are certainly not isolated instances, it's been an ongoing problem for many years. 

We fully understand how difficult it is for clubs currently with their grass tracks, battling consistent wet weather causing issues of its own with pests and viruses etc, and the continual over-use of the tracks at times when many deserve a break to recover.

Recent recovery time given to SCTC, the delays in the return for GCTC, have put added pressure on our other venues to keep our product moving feeding the racing industry food-chain. We all are extremely sympathetic to our clubs at this time, in what for most is a constant battle to produce a safe racing surface the foremost priority, with limited control over many of the contributing elements. 

What we believe can be improved, and what is more controllable is the accuracy of our track ratings - information that when provided to the industry has a major bearing on the decision of a trainer/owner to proceed to a race, and just as importantly the decision of a punter to invest into our industry. 

RQ previously employed the services of an independent track walker, who would supervise our Clubs in the obtaining of track rating race mornings, ensuring a rating was as accurate and independent as possible. Clearly this wasn't working as it was removed, but we certainly haven't noticed any significant improvement since, with recent downgrade of our tracks from the morning rating to the race-day happening all to often.

Put simply without rain during the day, any downgrade could only occur by an inaccurate rating in the morning - with on most occasions the expectation would be an improvement (upgrade) if anything. 

The rating of a track is certainly not an exact science, and inconsistencies have  plagued our industry and those throughout Australia for many years. The change to the 10 point rating system was introduced ten years ago, and if anything we believe has just caused more confusion with too much reliance on numbers, a system that only works if the numbers are consistently and accurately applied.

Perhaps it's time to revert back to the simple method of Fast, Good, Dead, Soft & Heavy - taking pressure off those doing the track ratings (currently Clubs) in not having to try and get it perfect, with more of an emphasis on just getting it accurately in the range. Comments and information from the curators who know their individual tracks best, could be added to advise industry what their expectations are for the day with sometimes saying nothing being the right answer, acknowledging at times the condition of their tracks for a variety of reasons could be too unpredictable.  

The other suggestion is using the industries most trained and experienced people to inspect and rate the tracks. The same people who just a few hours later take control of the meeting, ensuring the safety and integrity for participants and punters is upheld - our Stewards. Alternately a track walker, supervised by them for regional areas that logistically are difficult to get to early morning on race-days.

The important point the Alliance wants to make to both RQ & QRIC is the industry deserves better, that's the horses connections (owner, jockey, breeder & trainer) along with our very important punters. Take the pressure off the Clubs, allowing them to concentrate on the more important job of presenting tracks to the best of their abilities whilst battling ever changing environmental conditions. With better quality, consistent and independent information, that is accountable to the Stewards who ultimately control the safety & integrity for all participants of our race meetings.

The Thoroughbred Alliance looks forward to working with both Racing Qld & QRIC, to investigate and consult on this major concern, with the outcome and solutions for the betterment of the industry as a whole.


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