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By David Fowler | Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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.

There was an intriguing quote in Racing Queensland’s press release on the revamped Aquis Raceday at this year’s Summer Carnival.

It was attributed to the Gold Coast Turf Club Chairman Brett Cook.

“It’s great to have Gerry Harvey and Katie Page’s extra involvement with the club through their Magic Millions brand; these type of new initiatives continue to help us progress towards OUR LONG TERM GOAL OF BECOMING A REGULAR METROPOLITAN RACE CLUB IN QUEENSLAND.” (Author’s licence of italics).

Now this is not a totally “out of the blue” statement but it does demand some attention.

The past decade has seen a gradual erosion of the number of meetings conducted by the city clubs Australia-wide.

Several major provincial clubs have got their foot in the door with one-off meetings which are by and large both well promoted and attended.

The Gold Coast club, for example, illustrates this point well in the 2019-20 racing season.

It’s Magic Millions double header is firmly entrenched in January and the Magic Millions raceday is in the iconic bracket. (Full credit to Racing Queensland and the Gold Coast club on their revamped first Saturday in January. It’s a winner).

The QTIS raceday in March is swiftly building in stature as a keynote fixture.

The “Winter Carnival” May date has long been established and recently a “bread and butter” metro meeting was staged last month.

Mysteriously, a meeting scheduled for May 16 next year has been tagged with “metropolitan” status yet this is the same day as the Doomben Cup.

That could be a story for another day.

Allowing for Sunshine Coast (three) and Ipswich (one), the BRC and Tatts make up the other 43 Saturdays.

The burning question is how many more metropolitan meetings does the Gold Coast want to secure this “regular” status that the Chairman speaks of?

What would Racing Queensland factor in to secure a switch away from the BRC to the Gold Coast club?

Is the term metropolitan meaning “in the city” now an understanding of bygone days and does the geographical location count for nothing?

It is beyond argument that the Gold Coast club with their Aquis association provide a platform for one of Australia’s most successful racing organisations.

Proposed revamping of their tracks and the lighting project can only enhance this reputation.

These days, clubs sink or swim based on their commercial model and associated enterprises.

The point I will make is does the Gold Coast club think it will achieve higher attendances and a better bottom line by running a metropolitan standard meeting than offering provincial fare?

I would suggest there would be hardly any difference at all.

Will this potential scenario involve the metropolitan meeting at the Gold Coast and a provincial meeting at Eagle Farm or Doomben ?

More food for thought.

I firmly believe the Gold Coast club has actually got the best end of the deal the way things presently stand.

Their current allocation of Saturday meetings are Carnival-standard events.

Do they really want that gloss to wear off?

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