Tamworth race club rejects claims of sellout

TAMWORTH Jockey Club president Tim Coates has dismissed claims his club is selling control of the club to Racing NSW in order to receive $2.15million funding for its track.

The club’s annual general meeting will be held in the John Clift Function Room at the Tamworth Racecourse from 7pm tonight where Coates and his board hope to have a change of constitution motion passed whereby the club will be run by a board of five elected board members and four Racing NSW appointees.

He believes it is a sensible and financial outcome for the club, with Racing NSW promising to provide the $2.15m track upgrade funding if Racing NSW gains four positions on the new board.

However, club member Jim Green believes it is not in the best interests of the  members and racing stakeholders.

“They’ve kept this all hush- hush,” Green said yesterday.

“We haven’t had an information night or had the chance to ask questions and they want to slip through these changes to the constitution.

“I think they and Racing NSW want to ride roughshod over us and treat us like mushrooms. 

“Why do they want to give control away to Racing NSW and sell control of the place for 10 pieces of silver.

“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s quite disgusting really.”

 Coates said  Green was entitled to his opinion but said there was nothing sinister.

He said every member had been circulated notes on the proposed changes complete with notices for the AGM and the AGM agenda.

“We’ve given all the members five weeks’ notice of the proposed changes.

“It’s now up to the members as to whether they vote for the changes or not.”

“I believe the changes will be good for us. 

“Sure, they have strings attached but the four people Racing NSW will appoint are all locals anyway.”

If the Tamworth Jockey Club  members elect not to change the constitution, paving the way for a new board of five elected and four RNSW appointee board members, then the club will have an election to select 10 board members.

If the membership elects to change the constitution, then Racing NSW will have 28 days to select its four appointees from a list of seven.

“There are some very good people who have put their hand up for the Racing NSW appointees,” Coates said.

“They include Gary Birtles, a former policeman and lawyer, Tim Cotter, a former captain-coach of the Tamworth Kangaroos AFL and Bob Kellow, an industrial relations expert.

“They are all local and well respected.

“So whatever happens we will be run by local people.

“And the easiest way to get the new funding is if we change the makeup of the board.”

He said it would be far better as well to work in a “collaborative way” with Racing NSW, which controls racing, than against it.

He also wants to be able to provide the stakeholders (trainers and owners) with the best tracks, racing and training) the club possibly can.

The AGM starts at 7pm tonight in the John Clift Function Room.

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