Executive Committee Election 2016

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Please click through for the Candidate Statements, details on how to vote and submission deadlines.

For the results of the Annual General Meeting please click here.

The AGM of the Melbourne Racing Club which is to be held in the Committee Room, 3rd Floor, Rupert Clarke Grandstand, Caulfield Racecourse, Station Street, Caulfield on Thursday, 29 September 2016 at 6:00 pm will include confirmation of the Executive Committee.

The Club has received five (5) nominations for three (3) vacancies on Executive Committee and there is to be an election.

Mr Roger Donazzan, Mr Rod Fenwick and Ms Patricia Faulkner AO as existing Committee Members are seeking re-election. Mr Peter Brown and Mr Peter Selleck have also nominated.

Eligible members have been sent a postal pack on how to vote on 7 September 2016. Please note that in order to be eligible to vote you must be a Full Financial Member or Life Member as at 5:00 pm on 7 September 2016.

Please click here for the Candidate Statements, details on how to vote and submission deadlines.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

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Dear Members,

The Melbourne Racing Club wishes to advise of the upcoming Annual General Meeting.

The Annual General Meeting of members of the Victoria Amateur Turf Club (incorporating the Melbourne Racing Club) will be held in the Committee Room, 3rd Floor, Rupert Clarke Grandstand, Caulfield Racecourse, Station Street, Caulfield on Thursday, 29 September 2016 at 6pm.

The Business of the AGM will include:

  1. Confirmation of the minutes of the 2015 Annual General Meeting and the minutes of the 2016 Special General Meeting;
  2. To receive a report as to the general activities of the Club;
  3. To receive the Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2016;
  4. Confirmation of the Executive Committee;
  5. To appoint Auditors; and
  6. General Business.

The 2016 Annual Report will be made available to members in advance of the Annual General Meeting. It will be posted on the club website on the 20th of September 2016, with printed copies available upon request. Please contact membership@mrc.net.au or 1300 GO RACE (46 7223) to request a printed copy.

The 2016 Annual Report for Melbourne Racing Club can be viewed by clicking here.

Please note that any members wishing to nominate for Executive Committee must contact the Club to request the nomination forms. All nomination forms and associated materials must be returned to the Club by 5pm on 25 August 2016 in order to be eligible.

Please don’t hesitate to contact the Membership Team on 1300 GO RACE (46 7223) or membership@mrc.net.au should you have any further queries.

Kind Regards,

Brodie Arnhold
Chief Executive Officer
Returning Officer

Special General Meeting – Declaration of Result

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Thank you to all MRC Members that attended today’s Special General Meeting at Caulfield Racecourse. The Club would also like to thank all MRC Members who submitted postal votes.

At this Special General Meeting the Executive Committee was seeking the change to the Club Rules.

The proposed change was as follows: 

Clause 14.2 of the Club Rules stated: 
“No Executive Committee Member may hold the office of chairman, vice-chairman or treasurer for more than six terms of twelve months. For the avoidance of doubt, the maximum period of time an Executive Committee Member may hold the office of chairman, vice-chairman or treasurer is six years in aggregate” 

The proposal was to change the reference to “six terms” and “six years” to “twelve terms” and “twelve years”.

The proposed new clause 14.2 of the Club Rules will state: 
“No Executive Committee Member may hold the office of chairman, vice-chairman or treasurer for more than twelve terms of twelve months. For the avoidance of doubt, the maximum period of time an Executive Committee Member may hold the office of chairman, vice-chairman or treasurer is twelve years in aggregate”

The special resolution, facilitated by independent scrutineers, CorpVote, was passed by a majority of 1283 votes in favour of the amendment, among a total of 2522.

The amendment brings the maximum terms of office bearer positions in line with that of general club Committee tenure, and enables incumbent Chairman, Mike Symons, and Vice-Chairman, Peter Le Grand, to remain in those positions, which they have held since 2010. Club Treasurer, Domenic Romanelli, has occupied that office since the club’s most recent Annual General Meeting in October 2015.

MRC Chairman, Mike Symons, thanked the club’s members for their support in carrying the resolution.

“We welcome today’s endorsement by members for this rule change,” Mr Symons said.

“It allows the Committee to continue to position the club for long-term growth and sustainability.”

Office bearer positions will continue to require nomination and support on an annual basis by the full Committee, upon the election of Committee members at the club’s Annual General Meeting. Committee members are elected on a rolling three-year basis.

The club rule change approved by MRC members must also be endorsed by the Victorian Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, before taking effect. If that formal endorsement is not received before August 1, Mr Le Grand will act in Mr Symons’s stead from that time as necessary.

Forging strong relationships with Japan

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Mike Symons and Josh Rodder join VRC Chairman Michael Burn and MVRC CEO Michael Browell in representing Victorian racing in a race presentation at Kyoto.
Mike Symons and Josh Rodder join VRC Chairman Michael Burn and MVRC CEO Michael Browell in representing Victorian racing in a race presentation at Kyoto.

The club’s resident Japanophiles, Matt Cain and Josh Rodder, have been visiting trainers and owners across the Land of the Rising Sun in an effort to recruit horses to run in races across this year’s BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival.

Matt and Josh’s great relationships throughout Japan have garnered significant representation from the Pacific island nation at Caulfield in recent years. Who could forget Admire Rakti’s famous victory in the 2014 Caulfield Cup (in which compatriot Bande was an unfortunate eleventh-hour scratching), along with Admire Inazuma, who ran in the Moonga Stakes. This was repeated last year, when Fame Game was a popular elect in the Cup, in which he was joined by Hokko Brave.

More importantly, Matt and Josh’s deeds have forged particularly strong relations and high levels of respect between the world-leading Japan Racing Association (JRA), its constituent trainers and owners, and the MRC.

In exciting news for the club, this mutual respect and fortified relationship is set to bear even more fruit in 2016. That is because the Caulfield Cup is set to become one of just a handful of the world’s great races run outside of Japan that the JRA will televise and permit its nation of racing-mad customers to bet on.

3.Josh Rodder and Matt Cain with the team behind 2014 Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti at the famous Ritto training centre. Ritto is like an amplified version of Caulfield, and is the home of many of the club’s 2016 BMW Caulfield Cup targets.
Josh Rodder and Matt Cain with the team behind 2014 Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti at the famous Ritto training centre. Ritto is like an amplified version of Caulfield, and is the home of many of the club’s 2016 BMW Caulfield Cup targets.

The club’s Chairman and CEO, Mike Symons and Brodie Arnhold, were recently in Japan to discuss this Caulfield Cup simulcast arrangement with key representatives from the JRA. This deal also looms as a significant financial windfall for the MRC, given the scale of the Japanese wagering market the club will recoup a percentage of turnover from.

Mike and Brodie were able to conduct these discussions to correspond with the day on which the JRA acknowledges its sister clubs in Australian, of which the MRC is one. In keeping with respect for Japanese culture, it was considered important for the club to be represented by its chairman and CEO, particularly in the context of the burgeoning commercial relationship between the two entities. This was appreciated greatly by our Japanese counterparts.

It is the JRA’s strong preference for the new suite of international races it simulcasts to include runners from Japan, so the club delegates’ contact there this year is particularly crucial for the success of the relationship, hence the club’s concerted efforts.

MRC Committeeman Matt Cain showcases his bowing prowess.
MRC Committeeman Matt Cain showcases his bowing prowess.

The simulcast arrangement with the JRA is an important element in a broader international media rights strategy the club is embarking on in 2016. Until now, Sky Channel were afforded the right to distribute vision of the MRC’s races to relevant racing jurisdictions around the world, which it did under a generic ‘Australia’ banner, and of which it retained 50% of generated revenue (based on wagering turnover).

Now, for the first time, the MRC has elected to distribute vision of its racing directly to those jurisdictions abroad. This will see the club recouping all of the revenue generated by people betting on the MRC’s racing product internationally, with the added bonus of being able to grow the renown of its racecourses and racing brand globally.

It’s certainly an exciting time for the club – particularly, the prospect of hosting some Japanese friends at Caulfield this October.

Statement from Chairman Mike Symons

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There are a number of reports in today’s media regarding the future of the Melbourne Racing Club’s racecourses at Caulfield and Sandown.

The club announced over two years ago that we were developing a Master Plan for Caulfield and Sandown. This was a prudent course of action to canvas the opportunities for the two racecourses and allow planning for their future – all built upon the premise of the long-term sustainability of the club, and benefit to members.

The Master Plan continues to be developed and discussions have been held with State Government and Racing Victoria regarding key matters which require resolution – particularly long-term tenure at Caulfield.

The Master Plan presents a number of options for the future of Caulfield and Sandown, however I want to assure you that no decisions have been made by the club, and ultimately any decision on the future will be made by members.

The Melbourne Racing Club is foremost a members’ club and any major decision regarding our racecourses will be done in consultation with members and for the long term benefit of the club.

The club’s vision is to provide world class facilities for our members and the racing industry. The assets of the club and any benefits generated from them will be re-directed with your interests in mind.

We will continue to engage with key stakeholders including our members, trainers, participants, local communities and State Government regarding our Master Plan.

Any future decisions will be made in the best interests of members whilst also achieving the most efficient and optimal racing footprint to ensure Victorian racing remains at the forefront for our customers.

Yours sincerely,


Mike Symons
Melbourne Racing Club

MRC Special General Meeting set for July 30

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The Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) has announced that the club rule amendment originally proposed at a Special General Meeting on April 28 will be decided at a further meeting of members on July 30 at Caulfield Racecourse, coinciding with the club’s Bletchingly Stakes race day.

MRC Chief Executive Officer, Brodie Arnhold, outlined details of the repeat Special General Meeting and associated voting process regarding the proposed amendment.

“Another Special General Meeting of members will take place at 11am, before the first race, on Bletchingly Stakes day, July 30, to consider the club rule amendment first proposed in April,” Arnhold said.

“We’ve taken the decision to conduct the meeting on a race day to allow as many members as possible to attend and take part in the voting process.

“Comprehensive information regarding the vote, including postal voting material, will be posted to our 9,597 eligible voting members in mid-June, while details of the Special General Meeting will be emailed to all members and placed on the club’s website and online members’ portal.

“On review, our analysis showed that the notification regarding the original meeting reached 99.21 per cent of the 8,870 members we emailed, with the remaining 727 receiving notice via post. However, we have listened to feedback from members and in the spirit of full transparency, and to eliminate any confusion or dissatisfaction, we have opted to run the process again.

“We are a club that operates wholly for its members and their interests, and we want to ensure every one of them is satisfied that they have been given the opportunity to participate in this decision, which we fully encourage them to do.”

Special General Meeting Update

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Statement regarding Special General Meeting

At the Special General Meeting of members held last Thursday, April 28, a vote to amend the club’s rules to align the maximum terms of the offices of Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer with general Executive Committee tenure was approved.

Despite the approval of the motion by independent election and voting specialists, Corpvote, the MRC has opted not to seek the approval of the Minister for Racing of the club rule change, as is required under the Racing Act, the effect of which is that the motion approved by members on April 28 does not stand.

Alternatively, the club will conduct a repeat of the vote in a commitment to high standards of governance and to quell any perception around the integrity of the original vote. The vote will take place at a time to be determined by the MRC Executive Committee.

A statement by MRC Chief Executive Officer, Brodie Arnhold, is following.

“We are a members’ club and, while very much in the minority, a select few members expressed concerns over the process undertaken as the amendment was successfully passed.

“We want to demonstrate that our governance standards are unconditional and that our integrity cannot be questioned. In order to achieve that, we have decided to run the vote again at a time to be determined.

“We encourage all of our members to participate in that process once again, and in doing so, apologise to all members who voted in favour of the amendment originally, who have been disenfranchised by our decision to repeat the process.

April Special General Meeting Q&As

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April Special General Meeting Q&As

At the Special General Meeting we held an open members forum to ask questions of the committee and executives. Below is a summary of those questions and answers.

1. Why didn’t you offer EFTPOS facilities in the member’s bars downstairs at Mornington on Mornington Cup Day?

We are planning to install an EFTPOS machine in the members’ area for major race days at Mornington. Our sales systems at Mornington are currently being upgraded, which will allow for “tap and go” transactions and much faster credit card transactions.

2. What is the plan for Ladbrokes Park (Sandown) and when do you expect to make a decision?

We are in a fortunate position as we own all of the land around the race course at Ladbrokes Park. The club has been developing a masterplan strategy over the past year, which we are currently working on with the State Government and key stakeholders. There are a number of potential options for Ladbrokes Park, and we will share our preferred vision with members once we have all relevant input. Racing at Sandown will still continue in the foreseeable future.

3. When will you be making a decision on whether to re-build the Terrance Whitaker Grandstand (the stand previously in the gap area)?

Similar to Sandown, we have a Caulfield masterplan process we are working on with the State Government and key stakeholders. We are absolutely committed to providing world-class facilities at Caulfield, and we are very excited about these plans. We will share more information about this shortly with our members.

4. The food in the Bernborough Restaurant needs improvement, what are you doing about it?

We believe the quality of food at Caulfield has lifted significantly over the past two years, with dining numbers and overall feedback supporting this. However, we strive to continually exceed expectations and our General Manager of Food and Beverage has been notified of this feedback and will conduct a review specifically on the Bernborough Restaurant to see where we can improve.

5. Has the MRC opened a bakery in which it has a 50% share in and if so, why?

The MRC is proud to announce that our new food venture, Gontran Cherrier, is now open on Smith Street, Collingwood!

Gontran Cherrier is a world-famous French boulangerie and café that adds to the MRC’s vision to be one of the best food providers in Melbourne, both on race days and in all our other venues.

Furthermore, this partnership with Gontran Cherrier, a renowned Parisian baker who has lent his name to a number of bakeries around the world, provides another diverse income stream that we can reinvest into racing.

This new and delicious business will also see our racing and leisure venues supplied with Gontran Cherrier’s famous croissants, baguettes and sweet treats.

As an introductory offer, for the next three months MRC members can enjoy significant discounts in both the boulangerie and café with 20% off take-away items and 10% off the dine-in menu by simply showing your Membership Card at the time of sale (limit of four items per transaction).

6. When will the new members’ loyalty/rewards program be rolled out to Mornington and Ladbrokes Park (Sandown)?

We launched phase 1 of the new rewards program in February 2016 at Caulfield. Now it is successfully implemented, we will introduce it to both Mornington and Ladbrokes Park from next season.

7. There is less information in the Annual Report than there used to be, why is this? Also why isn’t it mailed out to members?

We are happy to include more information on our major initiatives and we’ll ensure we include more information this season. Our Annual Report is fully audited and signed off by KPMG and all of the key financial information is included. On accessing the Annual Report, we have printed copies available at the AGM, plus the full report is loaded on our website as soon as it is signed off by the auditors, and members can request a copy to be posted to them. We will endeavour to have the Annual Report completed and available to members well in advance of the AGM this year to allow questions and discussion to take place.

8. Can you deliver Mornington race books to Steeples before each Mornington race day?

Yes, we will work with our Mornington team to set this up.

9. The cost of wine at Caulfield is expensive, why is that?

We benchmark our costs against the local market and we work with our suppliers to get the best deal possible. Members also enjoy a discount, usually around 10%, on food and drinks at our bars and snack outlets around the racecourse. The new members loyalty program also allows members to use the rewards points they’ve earned from attending the races or purchasing food and drink at Caulfield to be spent on beverages at the racecourse.

10. For the Wednesday meetings at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown), there is no members-only area, why?

Given the small crowds for most Wednesday race meetings at Ladbrokes Park, we only open part of the race course. This is done to minimise costs, but still provide everyone attending with the relevant facilities.