We hope you enjoyed Australia Day. It is good to have a patriotic day to help celebrate and remind you of our unique country. The politics, multiculturalism, geographic location and wildlife are all unique. But it is sport and food that are front of the mind on 26th January. Tennis, cricket and 2yo racing watched with a lamb chop and beer in hand is difficult to beat. Unfortunately for racing, due to its long standing funding structure and ‘deals’ done in the past, the strategic approach has tended to be state driven rather than “Australian”. In a global industry such as this a collaborative, national approach would provide a much more efficient structure including administration, financing and marketing. However we see some promising signs. Victoria and New South Wales coming together on TV rights assets and intellectual property will continue to attract attention as the industry aims to capitalize on it’s main asset, the racing product/ vision. Furthermore, Aushorse, the marketing arm of the thoroughbred breeding industry, has a board represented by most states. It’s global reach for participation in Australia, by non-residents and new domestic buying benches is showing strong success. At the recent Magic Millions sale for instance, purchasing by South Africans was up from $40,000 to $732,500 and the USA up from $nil to $2,230,000. (It’s largest spend at any sale in Australia since 2008 Magic Millions). The Australia Racing Board is chaired by Hon. Michael Duffy who is also current chair of the RVL. This month it released its annual Australia Racing Fact book. For the first time an on-line version is only available (a sign of the times.) It is full of very interesting data that should be analysed by those serious about the industry. A look at the Australian thoroughbred racing structure on pages 6 & 7 reveals a complex, mainly state based system. The layers of structure could probably be consolidated in parts but due to the nature of our industry, with so many stakeholder interests at play, it would be no easy task. However in my new role as treasurer of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Aushorse, I have found that robust discussion exists and all states appear to be working towards a common goal. A National approach where sensible strategies are implemented, for instance the work performed by Aushorse, is vital to ensure an industry well-positioned for the changing face of world commerce and interaction.
Adam Tims is a director of leading industry financial consultants, Stable Financial