My ATC Membership Musings:-

· Race days – 7.30am – open 1 entry gate with one staff member or security guard for Members. Then 1 of 2 options – 1. Allow Members to enter all areas or 2. Corral all entrants in a specific area closer to secondary entry point. Seriously, is it that difficult ? If someone is that keen to arrive early, they deserve consideration and gate staff can be on shifts and we are only talking 1 or 2 staff and how many arrive at that time anyway ? Geeze. Normal race day staff will already be around and will be a visible, albeit, non-existent, security presence,

1. Early Bird renewals – vouchers for Members guests, INCLUDING 1 voucher per Member per major race day – HOWEVER, access is only gate and outside Member’s areas, no inside access – to be controlled by attendants WITH SIGHT, if the weather is inclement, tough, designer covered areas could be installed on a permanent basis or part time in the area behind the old Official Stand,

2. No loyalty programme, instead, issue Membership photo ID cards allowing various point of sale discounts, either Members pay extra and get 20%, 10% or 5% discount on hospitality or another option is, the Member gets the same discount as his/her Membership,

3. The price of Members Guest cards should have the same discount the Member receives,

4. Every so often offer No Joining Fees for direct family for Members over 30 years continuous Membership,

5. Sack any attendant that requires a seeing eye dog to enforce dress regulations and/or allow less dress regulations in outdoor Members area, Members could dress down, but only for the outside area AND NOT admitted to inside areas,

6. Reconfigure the ATC website so as to give Members accurate, up to date, useful information EVERY race day – what areas are open, what is available in those areas, be able to make bookings with add-ons, like cheese platters, different beverage options – basic, deluxe, superior, top shelf,

7. Cease locked in contracts with sponsors who supply goods, unless they are competitive, otherwise, Hospitality should be able to go out into the market and source the best and cheapest options. If it is true that goods can be purchased cheaper by Members at a pub, than Hospitality can buy it from present suppliers/sponsors, then that is ludicrous,

8. Look at the viability of enclosing the downstairs of the Owners/Trainers Bar, adjacent the present Theatre of the Horse, with a view to making that area available to other owners and syndicate members,

9. New furniture needs to be purchased for the Champagne Room. I would suggest square tables that can be placed together easily for larger groups. Round tables are nice, but really aren’t suitable for the room’s purpose,

10. I would also like to know why ATC staff are used on race days for what I consider to be the responsibility of RNSW. There should be a clear and transparent demarcation of racing staff. If RNSW want to run the show, then they supply race staff, like Judges, Clerk of Scales, etc, let RNSW pay the true cost of racing, ( As an aside, I believe the handling of the matter involving Messrs Murray Conallin and Shaun Lyall was over the top and that they should have simply been suspended without pay for a period and therefore their experience not lost to racing. But again I ask, why is the ATC supplying and paying people who should be on the payroll of RNSW ? )

11. Urgently investigate how the ATC can return to a fully elected Committee and not have quango appointees by the government,

12. Have Member forums every 3 months and turn around the rundown of the forums so that Members speak first and not be hoodwinked by Committee, Management and staff in wasting time with drivel, the same with the AGM,

13. The ATC needs to come up with a proper logo, one that stands out. The AJC was once a Principal Race Club and had an impressive emblem/logo, now it’s as plain as flour,

14. Member merchandise – whatever merchandise is available should have the ATC logo on it. The present men’s’ tie is nondescript, no indication that it is an ATC tie, the present race book cover – doesn’t it have a pen in the middle making it impossible to insert a race book and how about making it slightly bigger to accommodate other types of race book,

15. The ATC brand has been cheapened, after all, you can win a Membership on the Big Sports Breakfast or buy a year’s Membership through TAB Rewards. The brand needs to be raised to a proper standard.

If Management and/or staff have problems with implementing any new initiatives, or have an attitude, then they may find that they may be happy elsewhere.

For too long, I believe that Members are treated like school children instead of the Principal.

Committee, Management and staff need to be reminded that the ATC is a Members Club FOR Members, it is not what is convenient for Committee, Management and staff.


Investigate why the Horsley Park, ( Sydney International Equestrian Centre, SIEC ) cannot be used as the quarantine area for interstate and overseas horses,

Race field sizes – I don’t care what it takes, we need to get to the bottom of why Sydney racing has long had small fields and can only supply a 7 race card for midweeks. I would involve all stakeholders and I don’t care if they have to be dragged screaming, locked in a room or threatened, we have to get to the bottom of this crap. And if an individual or group or it can be traced to a particular reason or hidden agenda, then it needs to be weeded out and exposed,

Like religion, the courts and politics are all kept separate, so too should the ATC and RNSW. Both should have clear, transparent lines and boundaries of responsibilities, ownership and governance. At the moment, what is the ATC – the dog or the tail ?I feel too, that for far too long, only some in the industry are carrying the can and fronting up to the bar and shouting. Corporate bookmakers are still getting off cheap. I am also interested in what the breeding industry brings to the table. I am more than happy for someone to enlighten me, but at the moment, all I see are stud owners reaping big money out of racing, yet what do they really put back ? What concessions do they get, tax breaks, etc ? Do they invest in research ? What would happen if stallion owners were taxed and that tax ploughed back into the industry ? Oh I can hear the bleating now.

These are just some of my thoughts and personal views.

I have said previously, we all join the ATC and go racing for our various reasons. It would be great to have an avalanche of responses – good, bad or indifferent.

Apathy is society’s greatest liability.


Norm Snowden

This entry was posted in Australian horse racing industry, Horse Racing, HORSE RACING AND SOCIAL MEDIA, Racing NSW and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mel Bourne says:

    I haven’t made it to Randwick since Assertive Lad stitched up the Donc. however I’ve watched keenly and eagerly week in week out month in month out season in season out, and as I see it the most pertinent of all issues is the one staring everyone in the face: Field Sizes!!!! What it says more than anything else is that the participants don’t want to participate – the reasons why need to be found out now. Every owner I know wants their horse racing so why they aren’t running in Sydney flies in the face of what is reasonable. I do know that without people wanting to put on a show there is no show. As for the aesthetics of furniture, food, drink tickets etc I support Norms sentiments however I do note that aside from the MCC membership all clubs today are struggling to keep people on their lists.

  2. Go Norm! I have been a full member for over 23years and share your thoughts. Perhaps we should invent an app to direct members to find the heart of their club! Or maybe we need an equivalent of 20-20 cricket or tennis4 in racing to get bigger fields. May the force be with you!

  3. Luke says:

    The clubs only do contracts with hospitality suppliers because they charge them big money for the right to sell their product at the races. The suppliers then jack the price to cover what they pay the clubs. Clubs win. Suppliers win. Patrons lose.
    If the industry made the corporate bookmakers pay the same % of revenue the drink suppliers have to pay to sell their product to racing patrons, then the new furniture you want would be made of gold. Perhaps not that comfortable to sit on but salubrious none the less.

  4. Jack says:

    Since the redevelopment members of ATC have really missed out. It is really about slugging the once a year race goer for as much as possible. Membership has been cheapened to the point that they will be giving it away in cornflake packets soon. Facilities for punters are below expectations even in the betting ring. Recently major group races from NZ picture no sound. Punters much better off in a pub or club or at home. I agree members forums need to be member focussed and not PR exercises like the AGM.m

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