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The End of Victoria's Jump Racing
1st December 2009
In what will be deemed an historic announcement for thoroughbred racing in Australia, Racing Victoria has announced that the 2010 season will be the last for jumps racing in Victoria.
A program of highweight races will be scheduled for the 2011 season to assist with the transition for jockeys, trainers and horses.
RVL has also committed $1 million to a Transition and Marketing Fund to ensure the famous Warrnambool May Carnival maintains its position as one of Australia's most popular and successful regional racing events.
Following a series of reviews undertaken in 1991, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008, the RVL Board undertook an internal review of the 2009 season which examined the current state of jumps racing, a five year trend analysis of key data and took into consideration submissions from various parties including the Australian Jumps Racing Association (AJRA).
RVL Chairman Michael Duffy said that jumps racing had been an important contributor to the history and evolution of thoroughbred racing in Victoria for many years.
"This has been an extremely tough decision for the Board," Duffy said.
"The RVL Board is duty bound to always act in the best interests of the long term sustainability of Victorian thoroughbred racing and to protect the industry's image and reputation within the broader community.
"After careful consideration, it is the RVL Board's view that there is an inevitability about the long term future of jumps racing and consequently, it is in the interests of all to provide some certainty and an appropriate transition to a Victorian racing industry without jumps racing.
"Despite the implementation of all of the safety recommendations of the Jones Report conducted in 2008, the incidence of falls and fatalities has continued to increase. The recommendations of six previous reviews had been implemented without any sustained reduction in incident rates.
"Over the coming months RVL will be working closely with the participants and clubs impacted by the decision to ensure an effective and smooth transition.
"The safety of riders and horses in all forms of racing is of paramount importance and we will continue to do whatever is reasonably practicable to make jumps racing less hazardous during its final year in 2010," Duffy said.
The key findings of the review included:
All key statistics for jumps racing have been declining over the past five years
Falls in jumps racing increased from 3.02% in 2008 to 5.08% of total starters in 2009
Fatalities increased from 1.17% of starters to 1.27% (with 8 fatalities in races)
Total falls increased despite 41 (33%) less races being run during the 2009 season
In 2009, jumps racing received 2.2% of total prize money, represented 2.0% of the total races and produced 0.78% of total wagering
Key statistics and the design of obstacles in other jurisdictions were considered (UK, South Australia, Japan and New Zealand). The results of this work did not definitively identify a preferred alternative obstacle for use in Victoria
Customer research revealed that 65% of Victorians surveyed believed that the incidents that occur in jumps racing are not an acceptable price to pay for the retention of the sport.
The popularity of jumps racing amongst owners, trainers, punters and the general public has diminished over the past five years
All information obtained from Racing Victoria Ltd.