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By Graham Potter | Monday, December 31, 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.

Why can’t it always be like this? The festive season … just kicking back at leisure putting all of your worries in a drawer for a few days and slamming it shut. Ahh … downtime!

Yes, yes, I know. That doesn’t apply to those who work in the racing industry anywhere near as much as it does to others but hey, believe me, even those racing participants find a way to eek out some time away from the grind to enjoy the festive season spirit.

Why can’t it always be like this? Because reality will only be shut out for so long before those rigid routines, which dictate our lives, kick back into place and we carry on mostly the same way as before.

And, for racing, the same way as before means the industry will get back to facing continual challenges.

For Racing New South Wales and Racing Victoria their challenge comes in a different basket to other states. Here, the challenge to be the biggest and the best and to outdo each other both in general prize-money and what they offer for their high-end feature races is the ongoing battle.

They are going at it like Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star did in the famous 1986 Cox Plate with nobody blinking in their eyeball to eyeball confrontation which continues to carry them further away from the faltering pack. The only certain bet here is that there will be more to come as you can hardly imagine them settling down in 2019.

Racing Queensland fairly recently was given some financial respite from local government after forcing the issue with industrial action. That gave them a little breathing space but the fact remains that they did not receive anything back from the Point Of Consumption Tax … which was their original goal and which would have given an ongoing return … so the belt is still going to be pretty tight in 2019.

Whether you are the high flyers like NSW and Victoria or trying to gain ground like Queensland, the latest developments in South Australia gives a real warning to all other racing precincts. They have just announced a $2.25 million cut in infrastructure funding for their clubs and the removal of $3 million in annual funding for the Adelaide Carnival bringing home the point that there is always someone better off and worse off than others.

As I’ve said so many times, racing people are optimists otherwise they wouldn’t be in the game. So, let’s say that it is with that optimism that I wish you all happy new year and I hope that 2019 will treat you well.

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