Economic Contribution of the Melbourne Racing Club

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The Melbourne Racing Club (MRC), the organisation responsible for the Caulfield Cup Carnival, The Peninsula Picnic, Gourmet Cinema and almost 500 other annual events was responsible for a $463.9 million injection into the Victorian economy for the 2017 financial year, a new study has found.

In addition to the MRC’s economic contribution, the Club created an additional 1,952 full, part time and casual jobs, welcomed 2 million patrons and raised a total of $1.1 million through the Club’s charitable arm, the MRC Foundation.

The Economic Impact Study was commissioned by the Club and undertaken by Ernst & Young to investigate the level of economic value generated through its events, hospitality portfolio, activities and functions. The Club manages Caulfield, Mornington and Ladbrokes Park Racecourses, as well as eleven other hospitality and gaming venues in Victoria. The economic impact is identified as the total value of goods and services produced through activity by the Club.

The major contributor to the value driven by the Club came from gaming and ancillary revenue made through the Club’s then 13 venues managed under the Pegasus Leisure Group ($141.8 million).

Ongoing benefits associated with horse racing at the Club’s three tracks has seen an increase in prizemoney from trainers located at the Club’s training sites along with increased nominations further contributing to the economic value.

Significantly, almost half ($218.8 million) of the total contribution made by the Club to the economy was derived from non-racing activity; gaming and function and venue hire, highlighting the Club’s diversification into more events, hospitality and other interests.

Despite this, the Club’s racing events, including the Caulfield Cup Carnival and the 70+ other races conducted at the Club’s three racecourses, continue to be major drawcards for visitation for the Club, attracting 223,800 patrons across the year.

When compared to the figures presented in the previous study undertaken in 2014, the Club has contributed a further $62 million to the state’s economy in 2017. This has been attributable to:

  • The Club’s further diversification of its operational activities in its non raceday activity,
  • The expansion of its broadcasting rights to a number of jurisdiction’s
  • The ongoing investment in its Gaming portfolio and
  • The continued growth and quality of its racing product across the Club’s three tracks.

MRC CEO, Josh Blanksby, says the findings quantify the significant role the Club plays in its wider operating community.

“We are very conscious of the role the Melbourne Racing Club plays in the community,” Mr Blanksby says.

“We have put significant effort into diversifying the Club’s activities to ensure we continue to employ, engage and entertain the 2 million plus people who walk through our gates and doors each year.”

“While the Caulfield Cup Carnival and our spring race days are the jewels in our annual calendar, the Club has over recent years placed particular focus on our non-raceday activities, including our owned events and functions, which is evidenced by the $77.1 million in revenue attributed to our non-raceday venue hire business.

“We are also very aware of our responsibility to local communities, over and above our own operations, and this is why we will be looking to increase the $1.1 million in funds raised by the MRC Foundation this year and ongoing.”

The Economic Contribution of the Melbourne Racing Club report can be viewed in full here.

Scott Davidson joins the MRC Committee

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The MRC Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott Davidson to the club Committee, assuming the position vacated by former Chairman, Mike Symons.

The MRC Committee is pleased to announce the appointment of Scott Davidson to the club Committee, assuming the position vacated by former Chairman, Mike Symons.

A member of the Club for five years, Scott is the majority owner and Chairman of QMC Logistics, one of Australia’s leading refrigerated supply chain providers, and is a Director of the National Road Transport Association, the largest member organisation representing the trucking and logistics industry.

Scott is also a successful racehorse owner and breeder, and has raced horses at Ascot, Meydan, Arlington and Tokyo. His horses include internationally bred Group One winners Jakkalberry and Crackerjack King, dual Group winner La Passe as well as Stakes winners Firehouse Rock and Rockolicious.  Scott currently has an exciting band of home bred 2 and 3 year olds emerging as well as the recent listed winner and progressive stayer Yogi on a Melbourne Cup path.

“As an avid racing enthusiast, to be involved with this preeminent Club is a real honour,” Davidson said of the appointment.

“It’s a changing time for the Club, and we are seeing a much broader diversity in age, gender and background represented on the Committee. I welcome the opportunity to provide a new perspective, and will be paying particular focus to how the Club can cater for the wants and needs of the average member.”

“Looking towards spring I am excited at the prospect of seeing some Japanese imports at Caulfield in October. With the increased prizemoney, it’s sure to be an outstanding field and it’s therefore a really thrilling time to be joining the Committee under our new Chairman, Peter Le Grand.”

The Committee, executive and staff of the club warmly welcome Scott to the Committee and look forward to working with him across the busy coming months and beyond.

Living Legends Tour

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MRC Members and their guests* are invited to join us this June at Living Legends, which is home to some of Australia’s finest retired champion racehorses, including legendary Caulfield Cup winners and Racing Hall of Fame horses.

Where: Living Legends – Oaklands Road, Greenvale
When: Sunday 17 June, 2018
Time: 12.00pm – 4.00pm

BBQ lunch, Devonshire Tea and Champagne will be provided.

Limited complimentary bus transport (departing from Caulfield Racecourse and return) is also available. Please ensure you select this option at the time of your booking.
Alternatively, parking is available at Living Legends.

Cost: $50.00

Click here to RSVP

Shark Bites: Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day Preview

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Scratching your head over who to back this Saturday at Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day? Well, this is your lucky day.

Not only do I guarantee winners* this Saturday, I promise that after reading my snapshot of what is undoubtedly a stupendous the nine-race card at Caulfield, you will automatically become 17% more attractive to the opposite sex.**

What more do you want punters? Enjoy one of the great Caulfield race days this Saturday!

R1: Ladbrokes Mornington Cup Prelude 2000m

If there is strong market support for either Almandin or Homesman then I suggest you follow it – if there’s not then get on board with #4 GALLIC CHIEFTAIN which had no hope in a stop-start race fresh here first-up. Loved his last 600m, he can win this.

BET: #4 Gallic Chieftain to win

R2: G2 Heritage Finance Autumn Classic 1800m

Favourites have won the last three editions of this race so happy days if you like a shorty. I’m a huge fan of #3 MR SO AND SO and he was unlucky not to win the G2 Autumn Stakes last start when held up rounding the home turn. 1800m looks within his reach. #9 ARMED AND READY is a bit like a young M. Sharkie; a bit goofy but there’s an engine there.

BET: #3 Mr So And So to win, something smaller #9 Armed And Ready

R3: G3 Ladbrokes Zeditave Stakes 1200m

Tricky race…might be time for a dip in the Bondi Sands pool (did anyone actually swim in it the other day?). If the leaders fry each other up front, #5 ALBUMIN will come home at a cracking pace, no yolking. Punters are waiting for the always well-backed #6 I DID IT AGAIN to do it again and maybe this is his chance after a good first-up run behind Cliff’s Edge – same race #1 OVERSHARE comes through.

BET: That I’ve run out of egg puns. Each-way #5 Albumin

R4: G2 Ladbrokes Angus Armanasco Stakes 1400m

I reckon there’s some value in this race and I’m liking the odds for #7 EARTH ANGEL, a daughter of one of my all-time favourites Miss Finland. The other two fillies I think will run much better than the market suggests are #1 COUNTERPLAY and #11 MISS OKLAHOMA.

BET: Each-way #7 Earth Angel, boxed exacta 1, 7, 11

R5: G3 Premier Signs Mannerism Stakes 1400m

What the heck happened to #1 SILENT SEDITION last start? One minute she’s going to bolt in, next minute she’s in reverse. I’m not backing her at short odds on that! This is not a race I’m super hungry to have a go at but #7 SAMOVARE might be worth a shout to cause an upset fresh. Has been jumping out well at Flemington.

BET: #7 Samovare at odds

R6: G1 italktravel Futurity Stakes 1400m

I know it’s a G1 feature, but I really don’t like this race! I’m not completely trusting the Orr Stakes form so I’m looking left field. Surely #11 SHOWTIME and #5 SOVEREIGN NATION are better than $12 and $26 chances on their best form? They’ll do me.

BET: A (hesitant) tenner on #11 Showtime & #5 Sovereign Nation

R7: G1 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes 1200m

Oh good – a 16-horse 2yo raffle with no stand out. Don’t be put off by wide gates, horses can win this race drawn wide especially if they have a turn of foot which is exactly what #11 KINKY BOOM has. She lived up to the hype of her trial win with a very good debut victory and current odds are generous. #15 QAFILA is very talented and she could become the first horse to win the Diamond first-up. Huge odds on offer compared to her ability.

BET: Each-way #11 Kinky Boom, boxed trifecta 2, 4, 11, 13, 15, 16

R8: G1 Ladbrokes Oakleigh Plate 1100m

I may love the Oakleigh Plate more than I love pies in the Medallion Bar. I really love pies in the Medallion Bar. I feel really dirty for abandoning one of my equine girlfriends #17 CATCHY, but I’m going to have a lash here at #11 BONS AWAY. I’ve been seduced by his recent jump outs in which he has accelerated like Usain Bolt; let’s find out if he’s up to this level. Be brave.

BET: Each-way #11 Bon’s Away

R9: G2 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes 1800m

It’s been six years since my mate Lucas Cranach won this race and I haven’t backed a winner of it since so mathematics say I’m due. I knocked the Orr Stakes form in the Futurity but half contradicting myself by landing on #10 ABBEY MARIE – enormous run, very unlucky, she pushed Bonneval second-up last preparation.

BET: #10 Abbey Marie each-way

*By “guarantee” I mean if you’re lucky.

**Yes, my tips are that good. Feel the love Caulfield.

Shark Bites: BMW Caulfield Cup Day Preview

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BMW Caulfield Cup Day marks one of the great days on my social and sporting calendar.

It marks “The Annual”, a get together of a group of like-minded individuals that I grew up with in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. We spent our formative years knocking around local cricket and footy clubs, now we indulge in the Three P’s (pies, pots, and the punt) in the Medallion Bar at Caulfield on Cup.

There’s got to be something to that – growing up in sports clubs very much entrenched in suburban community culture, then ending up years later feeling as comfortable as a foot in a worn in footy boot at another club far removed from the mud and liniment of our youth.

The day the MRC introduces pre-race rub downs for members will be the day that these two unlikely worlds truly collide.

But the culture is right and that’s what brings this particular group of blokes back to the track year after year.

Released from the responsibilities of fatherhood for the day by our much better halves, you can have your last $20 on this multi; someone will peak far too early, someone will be on the snip by race three, someone will dodge a shout (probably me), and someone will get out of trouble on the last at Belmont.

God bless BMW Caulfield Cup day.

And God bless (please) my mare OCEAN EMBERS in Race 7, the G2 Caulfield Sprint. The poor thing had a sniffle last week and missed a run in the Northwood Plume Stakes but is fighting fit for a return this week. She loves Caulfield as much as The Annual crew do, and if she happens to win on Saturday, I know a corner of the Medallion Bar will go absolutely off its head.

I’ve been tossing and turning about the likely Cup result and have arrived at the following conclusion – HARLEM is the forgotten horse in the race. His two Caulfield runs have been excellent, he carries a feather weight from the inside gate and gets blinkers for the first time; he’s worth an each-way bet.

Of the rest, SAMOVARE will get some of mine in Race 5 and if she’s beaten then the shout-dodge could be on early.

Shark Bites: Catanach’s Jeweller’s Blue Sapphire Stakes Day Preview

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You’ve got to give it to the Melbourne Racing Club.

Not only has the decision to move the Thousand Guineas to Caulfield Guineas day provided the extra dollop of rich, velvety cream on an already glorious cake, the creation of the Blue Sapphire meant that the Wednesday leg of the three-day Caulfield Cup Carnival was maintained.

I’m sure the executives at Caulfield won’t admit it – publicly anyway – but there’s only one reason why the Club kept the Wednesday meeting going; to encourage that great Australian tradition of the sickie.

You know what I mean. Wednesday’s Catanach’s Jeweller’s Blue Sapphire Stakes meeting has had a big red circle around it in your diary for months now. Maybe even a long standing “appointment” written in code. Go on. Admit it.

Whether it’s skipping work, university, your Great Aunty’s funeral, or your son’s starring role in Malvern High School’s adaptation of Cats, we all have something we’re willing to forego to celebrate the fact that we’re Australians, it’s Wednesday and there’s a bloody great race meeting on.


While you sort out your excuse for leaving that board meeting early on Wednesday, I’ll handle the form to give you a head start on a couple to consider.

Although last start five-length Benalla maiden winner VILLERMONT looks awfully hard to beat in race 3, give some consideration to CIRCOMO at $14. Circomo has been thumping the line in maiden races over shorter distances and was heavily backed to win a similar race at Flemington a fortnight ago before being withdrawn with a minor issue. Villermont may well win the race, but Circomo is not without a chance.

Surely FLYING JESS gets her chance to break through this preparation in race 5. The John Moloney trained mare is absolutely flying this preparation and put up a mighty final 600m at Moonee Valley last start when chasing I Am A Star off a tempo that didn’t suit. She’s ready now as is PROMPT RESPONSE.

I was fortunate enough to be at Lindsay Park Euroa a couple of weeks ago for a gallop morning and FORMALITY really caught my eye. The filly had the better of Alizee and Champagne Cuddles in Sydney before a tough run in the Golden Rose, she will be very hard to beat in race 6, the G3 Blue Sapphire Stakes.

Shark Bites: Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day Preview

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I was casually strolling through the Medallion Bar at Caulfield on Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes Day, minding my own business, with half an eye on the time so I didn’t miss the first.

As I’d tipped in this very blog, I was very keen on South Aussie Steel Frost and I was determined to kick my day off the right way.

Mates tell me that I have a love / late relationship with time – so often do I test the boundaries of punctuality that I must surely enjoy it – but even at my most tardy I’d be at The Heath with 15 minutes to spare before race one; perfect.

“Shark! Shark! Have you got a minute mate?” said an unfamiliar voice from the bar.

Now I’m an affable fellow, friendly, accommodating, occasionally willing to indulge the drunken ramblings of a stranger at the risk of errant spittle, so given the day was only young I figured that this was a low percentage risk I could take to lend an ear to a fellow punter.

And that, friends, is where my perfect plan came crashing down.

Not only did this gent want to wax lyrical about former glories – at least they were mine, mostly of the Get On variety – he dragged over a couple of mates fresh from Swan Street and the Tigers after-party to complete what was the finest pincer move since the Battle of Stalingrad (look it up, classic pincer).

I watched the clock tick away over the lead pest’s right shoulder. I watched Will Clarken on the big screen. I watched the field leave the gates. I watched Steel Frost win.

“Oh sorry mate – did you want to have a bet?” said my new chum.

His parting words, though frustratingly vapid in that moment, may yet pay off – for all of us –  this Saturday.

“Mate,” he said, dropping his voice and dragging me closer by the elbow like any proper racetrack tout about to deliver a fair dinkum street corner tip.

“My mate owns a bit of Gallic Chieftain. He’s going to the Herbert Power, you know what to do Shark.”

By that I doubt he meant relay that tip to all MRC members, but hey, I like to share.

My best for Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Day are;

R8 No. 16 CATCHY

Shark Bites: Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes Preview

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At the risk of going the early crow, I have had some fair dinkum amazing days on the punt on Underwood Stakes day.

Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes Preview – Tips by the Shark

At the risk of going the early crow, I have had some fair dinkum amazing days on the punt on Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes day.

My run probably began with a little mare called Rewaaya. I think I shouted my then girlfriend’s parents (now my in-laws) Chinese after the mare on the 2006 Rupert Clarke. Nothing turns opinions faster than a good lemon chicken and I was Golden Boy from that day forth.

Then there was Sunburnt Land into Weekend Hussler into Orange County in 2008 when a mate was reduced to tears as the latter hit the line. He loved Orange County so much that he decided to go and shake trainer Brian Mayfield-Smith’s hand after the race, Brian snubbed him and broke his heart.

Then there was 2010 when I nailed the Big 6 thanks in part to So You Think and Response landing their respective legs as one-out picks.

Unfortunately, after that self indulgent trip down memory lane we are pretty much guaranteed to get nowhere near it on Sunday. So if you thought you’d be getting a decent tip from this blog I apologise in advance.

But for those of you that still have faith that this plucky silver fox still can turn on the magic, let’s have a look at this Sunday’s card.

I think I’ll open the shoulders early with South Aussie raider STEEL FROST (R1. No. 5). Trainer Will Clarken is a genius with a tried horse and has this ex-NSW bushwhacker racing like Phar Lap – I’m jumping on the bandwagon.

We’re getting $2 to find out if the best filly in Australia CATCHY (R5 No. 1) can run 1400m…I’m happy to take that bet despite the resistance likely to come from the so far unbeaten Shoals.

It’s a similar story with HARTNELL (R7 No. 1) in the G1 Underwood Stakes. He’s arguably the second best horse in Australia and we’re getting $1.90 about him in a race where Kerrin McEvoy can control the speed and dominate from the front. Surely none of these Cups and Plate bound rivals will sacrifice themselves in the first 400m to bring that plan unstuck?

TOSEN STARDOM (R8 No. 4) comes back from WFA racing in a race where Darren Weir is likely to have him peaking third-up. $6 is a good price for a horse twice placed at G1 level over the Caulfield 1400m. LAND OF PLENTY (No. 16) is the best roughie in the race.

If you’ve had a decent day of it come the last, save a few shekels for my girl OCEAN EMBERS (R9 No. 10) and hope she runs to her best Caulfield form – I’ll go absolutely nuts if she wins, follow me to the bar!