I've been going to country meetings since the early 1960s and 'fervently believe they are integral to the fabric of rural communities as well as playing an important part in the development of licensees (ie Peter Moodys of the world).
But the economics of country racing is certain to be an on-going issue ... who is going to continue to prop them up?
John Messara's report to NZ Racing is sobering ... he has recommended 20 of 48 clubs be closed and they are not all bush outposts.
It is worth a look...
Same here Bish. Went to my first country meeting at Scone in 1966. It is in my blood. I prefer to go to a country meeting than a city meeting and the reason I am on this forum is via my advocacy for country racing,
NSW and Victoria have been through the same thing and a lot of non tabbies were deleted from their schedules. And look at their country racing now. I would be confident in saying that the country racing in NSW and Victoria is second to none in the world when it comes to prizemoney and professionalism for non metro racing.
And still they have enough resources to maintain non tabbies - albeit on a smaller scale. The once a year country cup meetings at non tab venues are great meets and at this time of year some of the Victorian country meetings are held at some of the most picturesque sites you could ever imagine.
NSW has a loose categorization of City, Provincial, Country (A), Country (B) and Non TAB + Picnics.
I think Qld would benefit from a similar categorization and maybe more resources put into a few non tab tracks to bring them up to TAB standard. Pretty sure Dalby and Gympie were once TAB venues.
In the modern racing game it is a sad fact that you need "product" to supply to the TAB and Corporates to get a return on your investment and non tabbies produce no return.
And no-one is saying get rid of all non tabbies.
On Saturday there are three non tabbies in NSW, three in Victoria and six in Queensland. Maybe that would be a starting point - try and get them down to the same number as NSW and Vic.
Robert Heathcote pointed out that the percentage of prizemoney for Qld had fallen from 75% down to 45% of NSW and Vic. We are not going to get an improvement in those figures unless we start copying NSW and Vic - my opinion anyway.