Trainers, jockeys welcome new RV schedule

Craig Brennan

Trainers and jockeys have applauded a Racing Victoria initiative to ease the burden on key industry figures.

RV will trial in the next two seasons a race and trial-free week during July, no race meeting on Christmas Eve while an earlier finishing time for night meetings will start next month.

Australian Trainers' Association President Robbie Gritths and fellow trainer Henry Dwyer say the week off will allow much-needed down time from the racing schedule.

Jockeys Damien Oliver and Dwayne Dunn welcomed the earlier finishing time of night meetings.

Dwyer said he liked that RV was trying new initiatives.

"Anything in the interests of participant welfare is a positive and a week in the middle of winter is a good start," Dwyer said.

"Us trainers, we are always working whether we are on holidays or not, but having a week off gives us something less to focus on.

"We'll probably be able to give staff some time off because we won't be sending horses to the races, so we could run on a quasi skeleton staff."

Dwyer said in an ideal world a longer break of around three weeks would be suitable.

"We can't have the Hong Kong break, but it would be nice to have a good break and give everyone the chance to freshen up and even the tracks a chance to recover," he said.

"It makes sense apart from the financial aspect which dictates everything."

Dunn and Oliver said jockeys were in a different situation to trainers because they could have holidays, some enforced, when they want.

But both applauded the earlier finishing times for night meetings.

"Hopefully the data will show that there is no difference with turnover if meetings finish early and then we may be able to come back even further," Dunn said.

Oliver said the announcements were an improvement but open for further discussion.

"Getting it back to 9pm would be better but it's good the administrators are listening to the participants," he said.

"The demands are more than ever on all participants in the industry, not just jockeys."