THE proposed introduction of extended day/night race meetings at the Sunshine Coast and the return to Tuesday racing are the features of a draft 2016-17 TAB race dates calendar tabled by Racing Queensland for industry feedback.

The draft schedule, which has been sent to TAB thoroughbred race clubs throughout Queensland for submissions, is focused on maximising wagering returns in accordance with Racing Queensland’s Tracking Towards Sustainability Plan.

The draft schedule proposes the introduction of extended 12-race day/night race meetings to be held at the Sunshine Coast on Wednesdays or Fridays, while a designated Queensland thoroughbred meeting every Tuesday will ensure the delivery of racing product is lengthened from five to six days per week.

The return to Tuesday racing, for the first time in two seasons, is expected to generate an increase in turnover of around seven per cent and also brings Queensland closer in line with southern states which reap the benefit of racing seven days per week.

“This draft racing schedule has been designed to enhance wagering opportunities and therefore generate higher returns for the industry as a whole,’’ said Racing Queensland Racing Operations Manager Ross Gove.

“Southern states race seven days a week and reap the benefit of attracting Queensland punters to their product. For Queensland, increasing wagering opportunities and revenue is the key to maintaining and potentially enhancing Queensland prizemoney levels.

“The proposed introduction of midweek day/night racing at the Sunshine Coast is aimed at delivering additional wagering opportunities on top of those which already exist, with the additional night component to a Wednesday or Friday race meeting.

“Tuesday racing has been placed in regional Queensland to provide increased prizemoney opportunities to regional trainers, jockeys and owners.  It is anticipated that this will also reduce the significant burden placed on stakeholders through the running of back-to-back race meetings in the northern region and at the same time significantly reduce the broadcast costs associated with these meetings.

“Racing Queensland will collate the feedback from race clubs and also seek input from wagering partners and SKY Channel before finalising the 2016/17 racing schedule in the coming weeks.”

Racing Queensland Acting Chief Executive Officer Ian Hall said it was important for all Queensland race clubs and industry stakeholders to embrace the broad view approach to the proposed racing calendar for the greater good of the industry in Queensland.

“The economy of Racing in Queensland is underpinned by the revenue racing Queensland generates through wagering,” said Hall.

“In creating sustainable prizemoney levels, we need clubs to play a role in providing race meetings that target the off-course customer.

“In the new world, we need to find a better balance between race days where clubs can attract customers to the track and days that are run to generate much needed wagering revenue for the industry.

“We need to spread our racing across days of the week and times that off-course customers are available, such as night meetings coinciding with prominent meetings in the southern states or internationally.

“Clubs must take a whole of industry approach by sharing the load and accepting that in 2016, not everyone can race on Saturday, and Racing Queensland will recognise that through a revised subsidy model.”

Other key considerations made by Racing Queensland in formulating the draft schedule include:

-        An emphasis on placement of meetings at Brisbane Racing Club and in particular at the redeveloped Eagle Farm;

-        The commercial viability of race meetings based on venues;

-        Track/venue availability – including pre-determined unavailability of venues due to track renovation and closures and RQ’s independent track assessment outcomes;

-        The need for suitable patterns within the respective regions;

-        The avoidance of clashes (TAB and Non-TAB meetings) within regions and between regions where potential overlaps are prevalent;

-        The place of the Summer and Winter Carnivals;

-        Optimisation of the “racing clock’ in conjunction with meeting start and finish times;

-        The southern states’ schedule of dates;

-        Twilight/night racing opportunities;

-        The desire to create ‘back-up’ venues which will retain stakeholder/punter confidence in times of track closures and redevelopment;

-        The eradication of as many Sky 2 meetings as possible;

-        Where possible, and with the aim of generating positive returns to the industry, the potential for some non-TAB meetings to be converted to TAB meetings; and

-        The underlying necessity to engage both UBET and Sky throughout the calendar’s development.


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