Horse Racing

Trainers vent their issues

…promoting company warns if losses continue then a change in the racing system might be made

Observer writer

Friday, August 24, 2018

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A trainers' meeting filled with wide-ranging views, claims and counter claims for the improvement of horse racing ended with a number of issues unresolved, but with clarity on others.

The meeting was called by the executive of the United Racehorse Trainers Association led by president, trainer Ryan Darby, but included attendees from a wide cross section of racing interests. The Trainers' Room at Caymanas Park was the venue for the meeting held last Tuesday.

The meeting had the participation of executive chairman of the promoting company, Supreme Ventures Racing and Entertainment Limited (SVREL) Michael Bernard, along with Anthony Shoucair, general manager for property operations at SVREL.

The two main issues posited by the trainers to the SVREL management were the water shortage at the Park and the inability of the promoting company to handle the repair of stables located on the 195-acre Caymanas Park property.

Trainer Lawrence Freemantle was particularly vociferous on the issue of stall repairs. Freemantle stated that he requested three stall doors to be fixed, but only two were repaired. Other trainers also voiced their disapproval with the slow rate of the promoting company in dealing with repairs at the track.

In response, Bernard stated that once a request for stall repairs comes to him, thus far, he has approved all such requests. Bernard then promised to expedite repairs requests in a quicker and more efficient manner, by speeding up the process before it reaches his desk for the final signature.

On the water shortage issue, Shoucair was mandated to immediately devise a plan to deal with the critical water problem which, according to the trainers, if not resolved with haste, can seriously affect the existing horse population.

Another challenge the trainers aired was that of satisfactory planned racing programmes. Many of the trainers and others in attendance claimed that the inadequacy of the racing programmes is having a significant impact on their ability to better prepare horses for races, to adequately plan for races and the limited number of racing opportunities offered to some of the horses that they train.

Bernard then offered that he has listened to the views of the trainers and will further examine the process of compiling racing programmes in the future while making the point that — “I understand the concerns of the trainers, but it is also well known that trainers are always on the committee that comes up with the racing programmes. So, please, have a word with your representatives as well, while we do our part.”

It was then that Bernard introduced a new ingredient into the mix.

“I want to give due notice that we at SVREL will be looking very closely at the results of our races over the next three months; that is, up to the end of the year.

“I state further that if the results are not good, plus, if there continues to be a lack of competitiveness in these races, and I am sure, we all agree that competitiveness helps to drive the betting process, then we will be seriously looking at changing from the claiming system to the handicap system or a rating system; of course, with consultation and the requisite approvals from the governing bodies. Suffice it to say no firm decision on this matter has been taken.

“This is something that we are looking at very, very seriously because right now the competition of the races is questionable and we need to ensure that the competition is there.

“A number of studies were done and we are going to continue to analyse the situation before we take a decision as to whether we are going that way or not,” Bernard said.

The SVREL executive chairman ended: “We can no longer endure a situation where we are continuously losing money. We therefore have to assess our product and if necessary make bold changes for the good of the industry.”

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