Racing club turmoil

POOR track maintenance and trainer dissatisfaction is threatening the viability of the Moe Racing Club as a racing venue, an industry insider has revealed.

In the past month three race meets have been transferred from the club due to wet weather, according to Racing Victoria Limited.

Yet other sources believe a number of factors, including inadequate track maintenance, have led to the transfers.

The industry insider, who did not want to be named, said it was “pretty clear” the club had disenfranchised many trainers in the area and people involved with the racing side of the club.

“The track needs a lot of work done to it if the club is to stay on as a racing club from Racing Victoria’s perspective,” an insider said.

“They’ve got a strong pokies venue which is great for bringing in money, but they’ve got to decide – are they a racing club or a pokies venue, because they’re not putting enough money into the track.”

Earlier this year, a meeting was called between Moe based trainers, RVL, Country Racing Victoria and MRC chief executive David McKinnon, to address the communication issues.

Moe based trainer Allison Bennett confirmed the insider’s assertions regarding trainer dissatisfaction with the club and lack of attention paid to the course.

She said the meeting was welcomed but had so far led to few changes.

“Trainers never know what’s going on,” Ms Bennett said.

“For over 12 months we’ve hardly been given the course to gallop our horses, there are hardly ever any trials and we never find anything out until the last minute.

“It’s such a hard place to work, you win races in spite of training there, not because of it.”

However, earlier this week RVL racing operations manager Paul Bloodworth denied the track was in a “state of disrepair”.

He said the track in its current state would be “fine” in drier weather.

“There’s an issue at the moment with poa annua, which is low-lying grass that doesn’t have a root system, so when it gets wet and chopped up a lot it becomes an issue with visibility for the jockeys,” Mr Bloodworth said.

Mr Bloodworth assured The Express there was nothing “fundamentally” wrong with the track, and the situation was the result of “ageing infrastructure” and maintenance issues.

“The club has to take some responsibility (for the track), but we do have issues with other tracks around Victoria as well,” he said.

Tomorrow, an infrastructure sub committee of RVL and CRV will meet and address the issues at Moe.

“We’ll discuss what to do with Moe so after the meeting we’ll be in a much better position to say what the plan is,” Mr Bloodworth said.