The Australian Turf Club Foundation has started rolling out its drought relief funds for racing industry participants across several towns in the NSW Central and Western Districts.
Thoroughbred trainers in Nyngan, Trangie, Narromine, Dubbo, Gligandra, Coonamble, Cobar and Cuttabri will receive bales of hay and the Walgett Jockey Club will receive funds for the provision of water in the worst affected areas.
The ATC Foundation has raised more than $60,000 in the first stage through the sale of merchandise on racecourses, saddle cloth auctions and a percentage of prize money won by the ATC’s runner Osborne Bulls in the 2018 Everest at Randwick.
Aussie Helpers, an organisation which aids drought relief, has also helped to raise and distribute the funds.
Racing NSW, Godolphin as slot partners in the Everest with the ATC, and the NSW Trainers Association have also supported the Foundation’s first round of relief.
Trainers linked to the Dubbo Turf Club as well as the Walgett Jockey Club will be among the first major beneficiaries.
ATC Foundation chairman Phil Morley said the foundation was announced in October 2018 to oversee collections and programs for charitable organisations to enhance the club’s support of racing in NSW communities.
“The Australian Turf Club is proud of its role as NSW’s principal thoroughbred racing club and is very pleased to be able to help other racing clubs across the State,” Morley said.
“This drought has been one of the worst in living memory for so many people and the ATC Foundation wanted to make it a first priority with these initial funds.
“We will continue to invite expressions of interest from NSW thoroughbred racing clubs and participants for the allocation of future funds raised by our customers and racing fans.”
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said the ATC Foundation funds were in addition to the $500,000 paid by Racing NSW to drought-affected participants.
“Racing NSW is most pleased to further help racing industry participants for this very worthy cause,” he said.
Trainer Allan Prisk, who has 14 horses and is the only trainer at Cobar in the central west of the state, said his bills for oats and hay had tripled in the past 12 months.
“I’d like to thank the Australian Turf Club Foundation and everyone involved, it is most appreciated,” Prisk said.
“I don’t think everyone understands just how tough trainers and owners are doing it out here. Big bales of hay were about $180, now I’m paying $540.”