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By Graham Potter | Sunday, May 11, 2014

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily

How did life get to be so complicated? Why is everything always an issue?

These questions came to mind after reading an article by Kerrina King, the President of the Queensland Racehorse Owners’ Association (QROA) concerning payments due by owners to trainers.

King comes out of the gates by saying, ‘All industries face the problem of accounts rendered for services that the client disputes due to the quality of the service provided.’ She continues, ‘Many service providers complain their invoice has not been paid, but neglect to mention they have not adequately provided the service for which they are attempting the charge the client.’

King claims the QROA ‘was deluged by complaints from racehorse owners about trainer’s accounts and services’ after the Australian Racing Board (ARB) had attempted to introduce an auto deduction payment from owners to trainers to provide a seemless settlement of the issue.


Surely, as an owner, you have a responsibility to pay your training fees and, if you are doing the right thing, an auto-payment could not be seen as a problem. Sure, some owners might have special arrangements in place, in terms of payment, with their trainer in a good relationship … and they might be inconvenienced by the change … but they should not mind biting the bullet for the greater cause.

On the other hand, if an owner has issues with the service being provided and cannot resolve it, he or she has the simple right to pay their dues and move their horse to another trainer … but the owner has no right to continually run up a bill once the service provided supposedly falls below their level of satisfaction and then ‘cry foul’ when he is she is called to account.

That can happen … and that is why trainers deserve some protection in this regard because currently, at the end of the day, the owner can leave behind a sometimes substantial unpaid bill and take their horse away with them … as the trainer having no call on the owner’s property … perhaps to move on and do the same again at another stable.

That can never be an acceptable arrangement, hence the ARB’s search for an across the board solution.

It is not a new situation. Over many years owners, some of whom have got in way above their heads, have gone broke and many trainers have been compromised by non-payment of bills, some of whom had to get out of the game.

This is not to suggest that trainers are faultless or that there are never cases where an owner has a valid grievance against a trainer.

But that really is separate issue to the point at hand.

In real terms, an auto payment arrangement of a payment you have the responsibility to make anyway, should be a non-issue to owners if all was generally well on the paying front.

That contention really puts another of King’s statements in a fairly disturbing light.

In the article previously mentioned, the President of the Queensland Racehorse Owners’ Association says, 'Overwhelmingly, owners said they would give up racing horses if they were required to automatically pay trainer’s accounts.'

I’ll leave it to you to figure out the reason behind that ‘over the top’ response.

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Graham Potter
Graham Potter
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best