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By Graham Potter | Sunday, December 16, 2018

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.

Peter V’Landys is certainly not all things to all men … but he is a mover and a shaker, a man with an unrelenting focus that goes far beyond mere determination and all of that comes with a dose of ruthlessness which helps him get things done, often against the odds, when others might waver.

His goal, quite simply, is to achieve the best possible outcome for his brand and he makes no excuse for the fact that the brand he represents is Racing NSW and not Racing Australia.

So, when the state he leads has the audacity to challenge the national racing schedule’s status quo, to many, the mover and the shaker becomes the arch villain seemingly intent on rocking the boat and unseating those who have, for so long, been comfortably sunning themselves in their deckchairs.

And V’Landys isn’t satisfied with any easy target or shy of controversy. He organised The Everest on Caulfield Cup day and plans to have the inaugural running of the Golden Eagle event on Victoria Derby day. These objectives have led to clear battle lines being drawn between the New South Wales schedule and the long established, iconic Melbourne Spring Carnival.

That ‘initiative’ was tantamount to encroaching onto scared land and Racing Victoria was not impressed.

“We do not support ongoing potentially destructive agendas that have no regard for the broader impacts and the national responsibilities we all have,” VRC CEO Neil Wilson said.

VRC chairwoman Amanda Elliott claimed the NSW decision showed little understanding of the Melbourne Cup carnival’s sporting and economic importance for the country.

Both Elliot and Wilson should have been able to rest easy. The Melbourne Cup carnival is not under any serious threat, but that makes their adverse reaction to The Golden Eagle announcement even more interesting. They could have just shrugged it off but instead they came out firing.

Was it just tradition trying to rebuff the new world upstart or was it more deeply seated than that?

Racing’s interstate rivalry between Victoria and New South Wales has never been less amicable than it is now and the question can be asked whether Racing Victoria is not just as guilty as they claim V’Landys to be in terms of their parochial approach to their business?

Either way, Racing Victoria has taken V’Landys bait.

Yes, V’Landys has an immediate problem to solve with the Golden Eagle following the withdrawal of Tabcorp from their expected involvement in the sponsorship of the new venture … but that is water off a duck’s back to V’Landys.

It’s the old Opera House drama all over again with V’Landys, with a touch of marketing genius, somehow provoking those opposed to his cause to do his marketing for him.

The Golden Eagle has only just been announced.

The race is eleven months away.

Already, everybody has heard of it!

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