Sunday morning at Kincumber: I was strolling through the hardware store and bumped into an old colleague Dave Hodgson. He was looking for something to do with irrigation and we quickly started to chat about bores, flow rates, water quality and pumps; all interesting stuff to those of us “down under” concerned about water. At one point in his life, Dave was in charge of the tracks at the AJC and is now employed by RNSW to oversee all the tracks and infrastructure at racecourses and training centres in New South Wales. Dave is a great guy, a really open and honest person. He’s a “dinky di” Aussie.
He opened with a comment and a grin…. “I see you didn’t get elected to the board of the ATC”. I said “no”, ” Maybe I didn’t try hard enough and I tend to upset a few people with some of my comments, however I don’t apologise for that” .He was still grinning and then said “at least you speak the truth”. That was nice …I still wasn’t elected.
The conversation quickly got around to the state of racing in New South Wales and I raised with Dave my concerns about the facilities at provincial and country tracks as gleaned by me on social media. We spoke about Gosford, Cessnock, Newcastle and Taree. Dave was across all the details and openly filled me in about what was being done and the problems. I singled out Gosford with their pro-ride track and other bits and pieces. I mentioned Bindi Cheers complaint about kangaroos invading the track at Taree. I also asked why are they still training at Cessnock and what has happened to RNSW rationalisation of racecourse’s and training centres (I actually feel this is a political hotspot not dissimilar to the greyhound issue).
Dave spoke about priorities and funding and what was being done. For me, this was a really pleasing catch up as I have now concluded that a lot is being done and a lot has been done. He told me that five tracks in New South Wales have recently had kangaroo proof fencing erected. I guess you don’t have that problem in Hong Kong, however be assured kangaroos and horses don’t mix. I got the feeling that a lot was happening at Racing New South Wales in certain areas and perhaps the criticism that they have received from me and others over the years has at times been a little unfair.
I said to Dave that I would write to the Racingbitch relaying some of our conversation but wouldn’t quote him. However Dave said “no that’s okay…. go right ahead”. Still grinning he even said “Peter likes good news”. So Peter, please accept my compliments on the good work that is being done….its ok to talk about it .When knowledgeable gentlemen like Sandy Tait and Rob Waterhouse quietly comment favourably on what’s happening with racing in NSW you can be assured things are headed in the right direction.
One grenade…. to my friends at Gosford Race Club; if you are really a race club, primarily in existence for horse racing and training, stop drooling or dribbling over your balance sheet, accede to the governance requirements of Racing New South Wales and spend some money on your training facilities and infrastructure. I know you only have 65 or 70 horses in work . Should that be a surprise? Set up some decent facilities, promote your facilities and the trainers will come. That part of the Central Coast of NSW is a gem. It is a gem of a place to live, work , play and invest. Don’t let your race club become a graveyard because that’s what it’s becoming.
I look forward to my next trip to the Kincumber hardware store and hopefully a catch up with Dave !
#JamesMathers #AJC #RNSW #PeterV’Landys