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Hickmott & Morgan Lead Fight Against SA Fee Rise

Thursday, 21st July 2011

Thoroughbred Racing South Australia says the industry it administers “is not broke & that significant increases in training fees are not a desperate grab for cash on its behalf” reported The Advertiser. Murray Bridge-based trainer John Hickmott & former trainer & club committeeman Ron Morgan “are leading the charge against the fee increases at their club that exceed 100% in some instances”. Hickmott said the fee increases “could take a minimum of $15,000 out of his bottom line” & declared: “There has been no consultation & this has just come out of the blue. We are organising a meeting of trainers, as we believe Gawler & Strathalbyn are also affected. We're not looking to be militant, but this is creating a them-and-us situation that is not healthy.” Morgan added the issue “is clearly identifying the haves and have-nots” in the local racing industry, noting: “It appears racing in SA is still somewhat divided, as one side is rolling in money while the rest of us are left to pay through the nose. On one hand we have the SAJC that took 2 racetracks (Victoria Park & Cheltenham Park) out of the industry & are now sitting on $50 million in the bank to spend as they like. Meanwhile you've got a club like Murray Bridge that has gone out on a limb to build a new state-of-the-art racecourse & training facility that has not cost the industry or the government one cent.” However Morgan's “claim that TRSA threatened to decrease funding to Murray Bridge by $50,000 a year if the club didn't impose the fee increases” has been categorically denied by TRSA chief executive Jim Watters, who added: “The fees are recommendations & its up to the clubs whether they charge them or not.”

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