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By David Fowler | Tuesday, July 18, 2017

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

Today, I am using my weekly blog to repeat the editorial of my Press Room program on RadioTAB yesterday. I believe this is an important issue in itself but it will be even further under the microscope in an election year.

You might recall recently I discussed that I felt Queensland's racing model on a Saturday was flawed.

Too many non TAB meetings flooding the market in stark contrast to the rest of Australia. Rationalisation and prizemoney concerns were issues raised.

Well I've had a good dose of your typical Country Cup atmosphere being in Bundaberg for the past few days. I'll talk more about that later but it's given me the chance to rethink and recalibrate my thoughts.

Let's put some facts on the table first-up that I consider an important foundation to this mornings remarks.

To their credit, the State Labor Government delivered a commitment to country racing in late 2015 to cover four financial years, forwarding amounts of six, six, five and four million,

It was decided, after consultation, that financial commitment would be used exclusively for stakemoney for the non TAB meetings.

However, Press Room understands that the total cost of running country racing per annum in Queensland is $15 million.

So, for example, in the financial year of 2016/17 just gone, it was a $6 million contribution from the State Government and $9 million from Racing Queensland.

You don't have to be the smartest of mathematicians to realise when the Government's contribution wanes...remember the six six five four breakdown, either the prizemoney has to be reduced or Racing Queensland has to stump up more to maintain it.

And here's my central talking point. What do these Cup Meetings or once a year racedays represent?

Well, they represent more than just a race meeting. They are a social event, generally encompassing most of the community whatever it's size.

More often than not, they generate extra income for the city or town that wouldn't normally be there but for the raceday.

Any State Government worth their salt would see the merit or value of the local race meeting as a benefit to the community.

So it comes down to dollars. I put it to you the pie ... $15 million is finite ... but shouldn't the lion's share be shouldered by State Government with that understanding these are more than just "race meetings"

I saw the hard work, primarily volunteer, first hand at Bundaberg. They and so many other industrious non TAB clubs don't need the well worn chant that " they don't deliver anything back because they're non TAB" hang over them like the Sword Of Damocles.

Here's the rub. Non TAB country racing needs the utmost protection. Whatever party leads the state, they must acknowledge these racedays are about more than prizemoney. It must reflect that a faith and a belief in that community's raceday is integral to the community's self esteem and well being.

Make no mistake, this will be an election issue.

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best