Off the Pace: How Our Industry Must Change

POSTED ON  |  10-07-2017

Istock Racing
By Vicky Leonard: Ask anyone in horse racing how the Australian horse racing industry is going and they would answer ‘pretty darn well.’ Our prizemoney is relatively sustainable across all levels, our bloodstock prices are among the highest in the world and our racehorse quality is now appropriately recognised by international standards.

We have Winx, Chautauqua and a national treasure called the Melbourne Cup. However, the startling reality is that the majority of Australians wouldn’t know that Winx is a horse–let alone what a Chautauqua is, and have a waning interest (at best) in the Melbourne Cup. The most concerning thing? Not only are we not addressing it, those of us immersed in horse racing don’t actually realise how irrelevant the industry is, especially to young Australians.

Horse racing is my life. I spend my weekends at Randwick or Rosehill (or at the pub watching Randwick or Rosehill); my Twitter feed is filled with racing journalists, my Instagram with horse photographers and Longines, and I’ve culled any anti-racing commentators from my Facebook page. However around nine months ago, about the time of Premier Baird’s incredible (since reverted) decision to suddenly ban Greyhound Racing in NSW, I was forced into a fairly depressing realisation.

I’m currently studying part-time and in class we were asked to discuss our jobs. Everyone was at first surprised, then very interested, when I said I work for a horse stud–not being a lawyer, engineer or project manager like the rest of my 40 classmates, it was rather exotic, especially for a 30-year-old female.

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