Race clubs must generate non-racing revenue to survive

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By Darryn Nufer

NEWS that a carnival event featuring rides, entertainment and fire and light shows will be held on land adjacent to Callaghan Park racecourse next month has met with plenty of debate this week.

It came after the Showman’s Guild of Australasia confirmed it would host the Funtime Festival Fantastic near the Rockhampton racecourse on the same dates as the Rocky Show after negotiations between the Guild and Show organisers broke down.

Amid the torrent of public opinion some raised concerns about animal welfare mainly around the planned fire and light shows and noise levels with more than 100 resident horses stabled on-course at Callaghan Park.

Some also asked if greyhounds competing at the regular Wednesday night racing fixture that week would be affected.

It should be pointed out that the Rockhampton Jockey Club is simply leasing the land to the Showman’s Guild which is the event organiser and promoter.

Naturally the RJC takes any concerns about animal welfare very seriously, as confirmed by CEO Tony Fenlon who explained that the club held consultation meetings with key stakeholders to discuss issues and carry out tests to ensure the entertainment would not affect any horses or greyhounds at Callaghan Park.

Those stakeholders included Queensland Racing & Integrity Commission stewards, the local owners and trainers association as well as the Showman’s Guild and Funtime Festival promoters.

“Entertainment each night will contain LED costumes, laser and strobe light shows and a very much toned-down pyrotechnic show,” Fenlon said.

“This show is what was tested this week at Callaghan Park and the readings in decibels were 95 at a distance of two metres and outside Barn 1 (northern end) 73 decibels which is conversation level.

“All parties have agreed to proceed based on the above readings and observations from this testing.”

Fenlon said he had spoken to Rockhampton Greyhound Racing Club president Nev Jackson who was comfortable with the outcome to date.

Fenlon said the greyhound race meeting on June 13 would only require minor changes in relation to access roads and the greyhound exercise area would be suitably relocated for the night.

He said trackwork at Callaghan Park would continue as normal throughout the event and the gallops meeting scheduled for June 16 would not be impacted at all.

During the week some people involved in the racing industry took to social media to level criticism at the RJC for not protecting the interests of racing, its participants and the animals involved.

I had to laugh at those comments because it’s the complete opposite of the truth.

Apart from the above-mentioned proactivity around animal welfare matters it’s a well-known fact that race clubs will not survive if they do not generate revenue from non-racing events as the majority of race days are run at a loss.

Instead of being critical, those invested in local racing should be thankful the RJC is actively working to safeguard their interests and the industry we all love.

I’m sure the knockers wouldn’t be happy with the alternative as the future is promised to no-one.

Battle for apprentice honours set to go down to wire

Lachlan Dodds and Elyce Smith (pictured) continue their intriguing battle for Rockhampton’s leading apprentice honours with two months remaining in the season.

Smith grabbed a winning double at Callaghan Park on Tuesday to move to 15 wins while Dodds also steered home a winner to go to 18 victories.

Siren App steers punters into winners

Followers of the new “App” being used by the RJC on Rocky race days, The Siren, had good success at Tuesday’s meeting.

The App steered punters into winners Cornforth ($1.22), pick of the yard Now Ask Me ($3.20) and each-way special Doogus ($4.60) while also coming close with top selections Let Me Say This ($8.50) and Lucky Clover ($17) who both ran seconds returning great place value respectively.

The Siren App is free to download from The App Store or get it on Google Play for iOS or Android.

Once you have the App you will be able to receive live content on Rockhampton race days (you have to be on course to see live content which becomes “unlocked” the following day for everyone to see).

Racing returns to Callaghan Park on Friday.


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