WA Trainers Economic Viability and Sustainability Report
A recent independent study into the economic future of WA’s racehorse trainers has detailed the significant vulnerability of the sector and the need for urgent reform to avoid a wholesale collapse of the WA racing industry.
The WA Racing Trainers Association (Inc.) commissioned former WARRG Chairman Michael Grant, and respected industry analyst Scott McDowell to undertake a study of WA training businesses and the state’s thoroughbred racing industry to determine the strength and vulnerability of the code’s lynch pin cohort, in the face of increasing economic pressures.
In examining industry performance and trends overlaid by the structure and successes of WA training businesses. The review was able to conclude that without significant intervention and reform at an industry level and by individual training operations, there is a very real risk that a number of WA’s established and emerging trainers are facing an uncertain future and their loss has the potential to trigger a partial or complete collapse of WA racing.
“In examining the cost of production facing WA trainers, it is clear that it is costing more to train a horse on behalf of our stable clients, than trainers are receiving in training fees” WARTA Executive Officer Warwick Bradshaw said. “Costs have risen exponentially over the past 4 or 5 years and training fees across the board have certainly not kept pace. And that was before the most recent inflation indicators, which I can assure you pale alongside some of the rising costs WA trainers are now experiencing, with no end in sight.”
The review shows that most trainers are making large net losses on horses they have in work and that the flow down of stake money is insufficient for many to make up the shortfall. While increases in stakemoney, riding fees and starter incentives recently announced will be welcome, much of this increased funding will not find its way to the very businesses that have the largest financial stake and commitment in the industry.
“The concern here has to be the viability of WA trainers” Bradshaw said, “These people are responsible for the care of the animals in their charge, and they will put the horses in front of everything else but eventually following the current trends, they will collapse. Once that occurs a
trickle becomes a stream, and there will be wholesale loss of experience and skill from the industry that won’t be easily replaced.
The report calls for significant reform in the manner by which trainers generate revenue to meet the costs of production, and calls for changes to the way professional standards and qualifications of WA racehorse trainers are administered. It also highlights the significant impact spiralling workers compensation premiums are having on the sustainability of businesses, in what is traditionally a labour intensive industry.
In providing the analysis to Racing and Wagering WA senior management, and presenting same to industry participants the WA Racing Trainers Association are calling for urgent action by the industry to make the necessary corrections before risk turns to reality.
Hall of Fame member and veteran trainer Fred Kersley. “What this review does is place the facts squarely in the frame, it examines the situation faced by all WA trainers thoroughly. All participants but particularly, all trainers owe it to themselves to read the report and attend the seminars, become part of the solution by understanding how your business is being impacted.”
The Western Australian Racing Trainers’ Association’s Economic Viability & Sustainability of the Thoroughbred Training Sector Review is the most comprehensive study of thoroughbred training ever undertaken in WA, if not Australia. It clearly shows the evolution of the business of training without structure has led to significant deficiencies which have been further exposed in recent times. The risks to the long term future of thoroughbred racing in WA posed by a failure to begin addressing the issues and trends identified in the report are dire and cannot be ignored. It is incumbent of RWWA management and industry leaders to develop and undertake the necessary reforms before the industry reaches a critical tipping point from which it may not recover.
WARTA calls for RWWA as the lead industry body to address recommendations made in the review as a matter of urgency and instigate a restructuring of the sector to reflect a professional standard that becomes a template for sustainability.
Western Australian Racing Trainers’ Association’
Trainer Economic Sustainability and Viability Review
Friday 24th June 2022
Directors Lounge 2nd Floor
In 2021/22 WARTA commissioned an independent review into the economic viability of the WA racing training sector. The review covers industry trends, economic conditions and projections facing all thoroughbred trainers in WA.
The completed report has recently been presented to senior RWWA management and to the WARTA committee.
All Trainers are invited to attend a presentation to industry on the report’s findings, projections and recommendations as made to RWWA.