Ballarat and District Trotting Club slashes stakes

Trackside: The 2014 Ballarat Pacing Cup, which carried $175,000 in prizemoney. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Trackside: The 2014 Ballarat Pacing Cup, which carried $175,000 in prizemoney. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

BALLARAT Pacing Cup stakemoney has been slashed by $75,000 for next season.

Ballarat and District Trotting Club chief executive officer Paul Rowse said the reduction in stakes to $100,000 was a direct result of the increase in the state government gaming tax.

He said the club would pay an additional $200,000 in state gaming tax in 2014-15.

Rowse said the BDTC did not have the funding reserves to cover the increase and maintain stake levels.

He said with the tax coming straight from profit, there was no way of reducing the drain from club resources.

All-up, the BDTC is cutting feature race stakes by more than $100,000.

The club has contributed $270,000 to stakemoney from its own resources this financial year.

This will be reduced to $166,500, with the John Slack Memorial Trotters’ Cup, Lightning Mile, Holloway 3yo Classic, AJ Prendergast Memorial Oaks Trial, 2yo Rising Star, Tontine Pacers Series final, Snowball Series final and Eureka Cup also affected.

Rowse said exactly how much each of these races would be trimmed would not be known until after Harness Racing Victoria stakemoney levels for the new season were finalised.

A BDTC bonus scheme for multiple winners at the track, which distributes almost $40,000 a year, has also been dropped. Rowse said despite the reduction, the Cup remained at the upper level of country cups in Australia.

He said making such substantial cuts was a hard pill to swallow, but the club had been left with no choice.

“It is disappointing the state government is treating clubs such as ours as if we were a large hotel, earning massive amounts of money from gaming venues for private owners,” Mr Rowse said.

He said that for many years the club had been seen within the harness racing industry as a clear leader when it came to the level of stakemoney distributed.

“Our aim is to always provide the maximum stakemoney and this will remain at the forefront of the club’s financial endeavours.”

He said despite the setback, the club would continue to support many community organisations that, through race night fundraising events, had raised more than $150,000 for various projects.

However, the BDTC will also reduce capital works projects.

Next season’s Ballarat Pacing Cup will be run on Saturday, December 13 – much earlier than its usual late January timeslot.

The group 1 Cup has had a meteoric rise in stakes in the past two years, climbing from $125,000 in 2012 to $150,000 in 2013, then a record $175,000 this season.

The Cup broke the $100,000 barrier in 2005 when it went from $75,000 to $105,000 and then to $125,000 in 2006.

david.brehaut@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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