POLL: You can bet on wet track specialists Bathurst holding Cup

The Daily Liberal's Sports Editor Ben Walker describes Racing NSW's decision to rescind Bathurst Thoroughbred Club's licence as 'grandstanding' and says there is no chance their February 23 Cup meeting will be moved or cancelled.

There's so many things wrong with the whole scenario surrounding the events at Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing last week that it's hard to know where to start.

Obviously the situation on Friday where the meeting was abandoned due to a waterlogged track in the middle of a summer heatwave is highly embarrassing and something has to be done about that.

The fact that this particular incident comes so soon after a set of sprinklers came on during a race back in November is unfortunate.

A number of trainers, jockeys and owners took to social media on Friday to vent their frustrations and rightly so as the bulk of them had travelled some distance to try and win the various races on offer.

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This is where the first problem comes in.

Most of them were provincial trainers travelling from the other side of the mountains who continue to gauge the increased prizemoney on offer at 'country' tracks, most notably Bathurst and Orange.

These clubs have become quasi-provincial setups where bush trainers are finding it harder and harder to compete.

One trainer at Wellington on Monday described Bathurst as "Hawkesbury for slow horses".

And that comical assumption, sadly, is true.


It will be denied by authorities but meetings at Bathurst and Orange are being put on now primarily for the provincial horses, trainers and jockeys to come out for an easy earn when their horses aren't good enough to win races on their home tracks.

They're being forced out here because a lot of city trainers with horses not good enough for the metro circuit are using provincial tracks the same way.

Who does that hinder? 

The true bush trainers, jockeys and owners looking to eek out a living in racing, those so often described as "the lifeblood of the industry".

These meetings used to be another place they could try and win a race, and earn enough to keep going in the sport they love but that chance is being taken away.

It's for that reason the decision to suspend Bathurst's licence is nothing but grandstanding by those in charge at Racing NSW.

You can bet your bottom dollar their next meeting, ironically their Cup meeting on February 23, will go ahead as scheduled.

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