THE most successful jockey in NSW, Greg Ryan, has launched a scathing attack on the state’s peak racing body in the wake of another lost meeting in the central west.
Orange’s meeting last Sunday was originally re-scheduled to Wednesday following a downpour of rain during the weekend, but on Tuesday afternoon it was announced it wouldn’t go ahead in the new slot due to further rain.
According to Ryan, a meeting could easily have been held at Dubbo but he believes “pig-headedness” stopped that from happening.
“The stewards out here told Racing NSW that Dubbo would be a more suitable venue but they just don’t want to put meetings on outside a three-hour radius of Sydney,” Ryan said.
“We could have raced at Dubbo on Wednesday on a dead track and given something back to the owners, trainers and participants. Instead we had nothing and nobody gets anything except Racing NSW, because the money goes back into their coffers.
“There’s a million different opportunities for them to run a washed-out meeting somewhere and give something back to the people who pay the bills and put on the show.”
Ryan said he held grave fears for the future of racing in country areas, as provincial and metropolitan trainers and horses continue to plunder bush meetings.
He said venues like Bathurst, Orange, Scone, Cessnock and Muswellbrook had become second-tier provincial centres, leaving country participants with a tough time making a living.
“There’s some jockeys out there who might have hardly earned a thing since the weekend the Dubbo meeting was called off after two races,” he said.
“The provincial and Sydney trainers who go to those venues generally bring the jockeys with them, so it’s harder for the bush riders to get rides at these places which until recently have been country meetings.
“The combination of having less available horses in races, washouts and then the re-scheduled meeting not going ahead ... it’s not good.
“It’s the same for the trainers, who miss out on earning prizemoney, and the owners who are paying to have the horses trained and losing chances to get something back.
“You see them spending $150 million on a grandstand and $18 million on prizemoney for the autumn carnival, and at the same time they don’t want to reschedule meetings in the bush that get washed out.”