Armidale solicitor Rod Watt was returned for another term as Hunter and North West Racing Association chairman yesterday and believes his member clubs are all well placed to record strong seasons.
“We have had a good year,” he said of a season where the decision of the High Court to uphold the decision by the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal in relation to the Racefields legislation was probably the most important decision made in the history of NSW racing.
“All the clubs had good years and the prizemoney increases have done much to encourage and keep people interested in the industry,” Watt said.
Prizemoney in the HNWRA increased by almost a million dollars over the season with an average of around $82,000 distributed.
8133 horses started at the HNWRA meetings, almost 300 up on last season with 755 races conducted and an average of 10.77 runners compared to 10.76 the previous season.
“At this present time country racing is benefiting substantially from the Racefields income,” Watt said.
“At this stage some $15.5million will be paid into Racing NSW Country to enable prizemoney to be paid at the rate of $15,000, $8,000 and $6,000 for full TAB, Sky2 TABS and non-TAB meetings respectively. This $15.5million is in addition to our previous income.
“The Hunter and North West is lucky that three clubs – Scone Muswellbrook and Tamworth – will receive a substantial input from the first allocation of funds from the accumulated race field funds.
“These allocations have been made on a strictly confidential basis.”
Watt said those allocations and exact amounts were not yet available from Racing NSW.