Premier celebrates a Golden birthday for Victoria’s horses
Horses’ birthday has been celebrated keenly in Victoria with the announcement a record number of horses have been signed up to the state’s breeding incentive scheme, VOBIS Gold.
Premier of Victoria and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine joined racing industry representatives and local school children at a special event at Bendigo Racecourse to celebrate the birthday of all Victorian racehorses with a special horse birthday cake.
“Today is important for all thoroughbred racehorses in the southern hemisphere as they all celebrate their birthday on 1 August,” Dr Napthine said. “It is important also for Victoria’s world-leading, $2.1 billion thoroughbred racing industry as it signals the start of the new racing season and all of the excitement and thrills it is expected to bring.
“On this special day for horses, I am delighted to announce yet more growth in the signing up of new horses to VOBIS Gold which is a partnership between the racing industry and the Victorian Coalition Government to support the breeding and racing of Victorian bred horses.
“Since its establishment in 2012, VOBIS Gold has become increasingly popular, with the number of registrations growing for the second successive year. “In its inaugural year, there were 1,111 foals registered in the scheme, rising to 1,332 in 2013 and 1,485 nominees this year. This represents a 34 per cent increase in just two years.
“By increasing the numbers of Victorian bred horses, we increase the economic benefits and jobs associated with breeding and racing here in Victoria. For regional areas such as the Macedon Ranges and the Goulburn Valley, thoroughbred breeding is a critical part of the local economy.”
Chief Executive Officer of Racing Victoria Bernard Saundry said he was thrilled with the growth of VOBIS Gold as it demonstrated an increase in demand for Victorian bred horses.
“The scheme has seen strong growth since its introduction in 2012 and thus we are delighted to offer Victorian owners and breeders record bonuses across VOBIS Gold and its mother scheme Super VOBIS for the 2014-15 racing season.
“Between Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold, a record $19.4 million in prize money and bonuses will be on offer in the new racing season for Victorian bred horses.
“We thank the Victorian Government for its continued commitment to VOBIS Gold which is delivering clear benefits for thoroughbred racing and breeding in Victoria.”
Dr Napthine said the growth in ownership of racehorses, particularly those bred in Victoria, is requiring the industry and race clubs to upgrade facilities at racecourses.
“I can announce that the Victorian Coalition Government will provide funding to build a bigger and better lounge facility at Bendigo Racecourse to meet the needs of a growing ownership base, from Bendigo, Melbourne, interstate and even overseas that come to watch their horse race.
“There are now more than 50,000 owners of Victorian racehorses ranging from world champions to country maidens. These people are key investors in the racing industry and it is critical race clubs such as Bendigo can adequately cater for them on race days,” Dr Napthine said.
Bendigo Jockey Club Chief Executive Officer Ian Hart said the new owners’ room would entice more patrons to consider racehorse ownership, which helps build economic benefits for the industry.
“The Bendigo Jockey Club will relocate its existing owners‘ room to the Sailors Guide room, which is centrally located near the betting ring and members area,” Mr Hart said.
“The new lounge will be bigger and a major step-up from the current facilities. It will make a major difference to the race day experience to those who make an investment – small or large – in Victorian racing by buying and owning a racehorse.
“The new owners’ area will also allow the club to provide another function room that can be utilised by community and other groups,” Mr Hart said.
The Napthine Government is committing $38,480 from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund to the new owners’ area, with the Bendigo Jockey Club contributing $18,480 and Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria contributing $20,000 to the total project cost of $76,960.