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By Graham Potter | Friday, September 29, 2017

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.

‘Build it and they will come.’

Actually, to be exact, the well-known quote from the movie Field Of Dreams was ‘build it and he will come’ but it has so often been misquoted that, for the purposes of this exercise, we’ll stick with the altered, equally accepted version.

The Racing Queensland (RQ) Infrastructure plan seems to slot nicely into the Field Of Dreams mindset.

The RQ CEO described the plan as, ‘a major component of the overall commercial plan that lays the foundation for growth ...’ and ... ‘our vision to connect people through the thrill of racing can only become reality on a wide range of infrastructure needs.’

Sounds good doesn’t it ... but, however well worded the document is, racing, in reality, is far removed from a romanticised movie and the stakeholders are becoming more than restless with being served rhetoric rather than action.

Take Eagle Farm which is still at a standstill as an example.

Enough said.

Of course infrastructure elements need to be addressed. The projects covered under that heading are very important but you have got to wonder whether there is a real danger here of putting the cart before the horse and neglecting the industry’s core product ... that is the horse and the racing itself.

The talk in the plan about non-racing revenue is necessary as it is becoming an increasingly important avenue and ultimately an essential part of a race-club’s financial fabric, but it is equally essential for racing stakeholders that the core product is pushed to a premium level while that solid infrastructure is built around it.

And just how do you keep that product at its best?

Well, just as Location, Location, Location has become a catch phrase in the real estate industry, PRIZE-MONEY, PRIZE-MONEY, PRIZE-MONEY remains the relentless chant of racing stakeholders ... so you can understand if trumpeting infrastructure needs, particular when it is under a three-code banner that few want, is not met with spontaneous applause.

I do acknowledge that the Racing Queensland hierarchy are caught in a Catch 22 situation but, as they say in the classics, that is why they are paid the big bucks.

If they can’t deliver on all fronts at least they have to get the balance right.

Hands up all those who think they are doing so!

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