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rich blokes seek government support to get richer and alienate racing industry even further

Gerry Harvey and John Singleton are very successful Aussie entrepreneurs with a deep interest in horse racing - but this latest story shows their interest in much more about their own pockets than for the good of the industry...

World's richest race pledge

JOHN Singleton and Gerry Harvey want to turn their Magic Millions scamper on the Gold Coast into the world's richest race.

The $2 million Magic Millions Classic will be run over 1200m on Saturday.

Next January, Singleton and Harvey propose an $11 million globe-stopper.

....

Only yearlings sold through the Magic Millions sales are eligible for the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic, so a jump from $2 million to $11 million prizemoney would provide a massive boost to the business.


There's nothing wrong with big prizemoney in races, after all, it gives owners something to dream about. But having ridiculous amounts of money on offer for two-year-olds in the first half of their season, who have only been purchased via a specific yearling sale, is just plain stupid.

Firstly, the RSPCA are already putting heat on the Aus industry over 2yo racing, and I agree with them to an extent. No other country in the world races its juveniles as much as Australia. Go through the starters in big juvenile races and see how many of them managed to win races later in their career - so many of them are over-raced when their bodies aren't ready and suffer for it later on. Do the trainers care? Not many of them, they'll just sell the slow ones to the bush and start all over again with the next crop of juveniles. Regular readers of this blog will know I don't think UK racing does a lot right, but I do applaud them on the way they treat two-year-old racing. The only G1 race of the year is right at the end of the season, and it's only in recent years that sales races have entered the calendar (Goff's in Ireland, Timeform Tattersall's in the UK). They have their place, but hopefully their numbers stay restricted.

Secondly, Gerry Harvey has slammed Betfair and other non-TAB wagering operators for damaging the industry, by not paying their 'dues' over the profits they make. What is Harvey doing here then? Putting his hand out to the government, during the middle of a recession, to put more money in his pocket and to the rich people who can afford to purchase at his sales. Exactly how much from sales at the Magic Millions goes back to the racing industry? He runs a commercial business, just like anyone else. Many of the yearlings bought at his sales head overseas - does that help the Australian industry... or just his bank account?

3. Of all the places to have a big race, the Gold Coast would have to be very low on the list of venues. Summer carnivals there are stinking hot, the facilities are long out-of-date and it can't handle a crowd. Don't spend any money on infrastructure, just run a mega-rich race there.... great idea :S

4. The Dubai World Cup, the Melbourne Cup, the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, the Japan Cup, the Breeders' Cup - all these rich, prestige events are open to all-comers. They are for the best horses from any nation (slight restriction on the Breeders' Cup, but a fee can be paid to be added). Juvenile races can't be entered by horses from the other hemisphere because they would be at a six-month disadvantage and have to go into the category above. Northern hemisphere 2yos don't even race until April of that season. Putting a restriction on horses which are eligible further dilutes the quality of the pool.

After the Queensland Government said they wouldn't contribute to Harvey and Singleton's private party, the pair starting talking to other governments to see who they could suck in to foot the bill for them, although they conveniently twisted it to sound like the Vic govt was chasing them.

Singo gets behind Magic Millions

If you want to be serious about improving the industry, then put your money into upgrading a racecourse, improving the prizemoney and facilities for everyone involved... not just one race which serves as an enormous piece of advertising for your own company.

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