So, you want to talk ELITISM.

Then let’s talk gate opening time for Members on this year’s Golden Slipper Day and for that matter, any major or semi major race day of the ATC.

May I say from the outset – nothing beats being at the track, NOTHING !!!

The horses, the racing, the theatre, the adrenalin . . . trouble is . . . to get to the pleasure, you have to go through the pain.

Not everyone can either afford to pay the outrageous cost for Carnival hospitality AND not everyone wants necessarily a prime table or spot, they just want, what should be their entitlement as a Member, a free table and/or chair for the day, if available and attainable.

And for that, some Members are willing to arrive early and patiently wait for gate opening time.


What those Members should NOT have to put up with, is being treated as SECOND RATE , LOWER CLASS, DESPERATES.

Not to mention track and field athletes.

All whilst the Chairman, Committee and paid CEO, enjoy the trappings of their office.

And I hasten to add that I do not begrudge that, but to turn a blind eye to the discomfort loyal Members have to endure, is beyond the pale.

Again I and other Members, on Golden Slipper Day, numbering one or two hundred, want to know is – why does the Chairman, Committee, staff – CEO and Membership, feel compelled to force Members to rush, run, scramble and almost fight at gate entry time, from the main entry gate to the actual Members area entry point and then inside ?

On Golden Slipper Day, at Members gate entry time, at the railway entry, Members were frantic, screaming, jostling, arguing with each other Members and the one lone female staff member, cards weren’t scanning or scanning properly and then the mad rush, running to the Member’s gate entry, then a mad scramble for tables in the Members Only area, let alone downstairs. Then Members arguing with each other.

Shortly after I walked outside to calm down and ran into Darren Pearce. Gone was the smile and welcome and handshake from him. My first comment to Darren was me advising him that if he ventured inside, Members would tear strips off him. His comment to me was that I knew what time gate opening was and that I was wrong. Of course I knew opening time, I was there ! How was I wrong ? Both his comments indicated to me he had/ has no idea ! He just disappeared away, avoiding any further Member confrontation, into the ELITE area.

Of course, the Chairman, Committee, staff – CEO and Membership will argue that they are not forcing Members to behave in such a manner and even openly say they can’t understand the need for it.

1. The excuse from them is that they can’t allow entry for OH & S reasons. Ugh ?!?! Against what happens between the main entry and the Members entry ?!?!

2. Having to pay for extra staff. You pay staff now to monitor other unauthorised entry and to keep Members out.

3. Staff need to set up. Members never bother staff setting up.

4. Other venues have gate opening times. I don’t give a tinkers cuss about other venues. I am a Member of the ATC, that’s all I care about.

Admit it Mr Chairman, there are no reasons, except you, the Committee, CEO and Management just want Members to pay for tables and seating.

It’s just pay, pay, pay. If you can afford to be a Member of the ATC, then you can afford to pay for what is effectively, the gap, the gap between basic Membership and ELITE Membership.

Well, it just shows how out of touch you all are with Members basic hopes and expectations of having an enjoyable day at the races.

Those loyal, week in, week out Members. Those Members who front up to every meeting, even mid weeks. Where is the loyalty returned by you Mr Chairman, Committee, paid CEO and Membership Department ?

I’m calling all of you out – Mr Chairman, Committee and paid CEO of the ATC.

Tell us loyal Members, how many times have you actually witnessed a frantic gate opening time, live.

If you haven’t seen it live, have you at least seen the chaos on CCTV ?

Tell us Mr Chairman, Committee and paid CEO, are you totally satisfied that gate opening is handled in a professional manner by an events supplier, such as the ATC ?
Tell us Mr Chairman, Committee and paid CEO, is the ATC public liability insurer, happy with the way gate entry opening is handled ?

Tell us Mr Chairman, Committee and paid CEO, are the police happy with the way gate entry opening is handled ?

Tell us Mr Chairman, Committee and paid CEO, how can you justify this paragraph in the Membership section on the ATC website, under the heading, Who we are, “ To our most prized assets, our members, we provide a constantly evolving portfolio of products and services that ultimately delivers a desirable, rewarding and exclusive experience. “

Tell us Mr Chairman, Committee and paid CEO, does that mean, ONLY if Members pay for that “desirable, rewarding and exclusive experience “, after paying their Membership fees ?

I gave you several options to this problem when we have spoken, one of which was to simply turn on the outer entry turnstiles at say, 8.30/9am and allow Members to enter to the Members entry in a cordial, dignified manner and coral them in removable fencing and then allow a more casual entry at the official gate entry time. Didn’t police and other authorities advise the major department stores to change the way they handled entry during the main sale days years ago ?

There is a saying, if you’re not part of the solution, then you are the problem. I am trying to find a solution. So does that make you the problem ?

This is just one of the many bread and butter issues that concern many of the ATC’s loyal Members. When this issue is satisfactorily completed, I’ll move onto the next issue. Bottom line is, I’m not going away and I will continue to fight for Members rights and entitlements and to hell with what you Mr Chairman, the Committee, staff – CEO and Membership staff in what is the most convenient for you.

I, we the Members, want to hear from you Mr Chairman, not Julia Ritchie, the Committeeman responsible for Membership, nor the paid CEO. No, we want to hear from you, the duly elected, by Members, Committeeman and Chairman. The buck stops with you. This is happening on your watch. Take ownership of this issue and resolve it to the satisfaction of the early entry Members.

I thank Racing*itch for being a conduit to voice my opinion in an open forum.

Clearly, the ATC will never have an on-line forum. They would rather channel matters and issues in their own controlled, blinkered Member forums.

Norm Snowden

This entry was posted in Australian horse racing industry, Racing NSW, The horse racing industry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Norm
    Fair call. Answers required.
    However be careful otherwise you may be expelled from the ATC.
    More of that at another time!

  2. grant bell says:

    Well said Norm, couldn’t agree more.

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