Perception v Reality – the State of SA Jumps Racing

There’s no jumps racing industry in SA. All the prizemoney goes to Victoria. No-one bets on jumps races. How many times have you heard these and similar laments – too often from within the racing industry?

The reality regarding jumps racing in SA is in fact somewhat different to the negative picture painted above, and the statistics bear this out.

For instance, of the 19 jumps races held in this state during the 2016 season, 11 were won by SA-trained horses, as opposed to 8 from across the border. In addition, SA horses picked up 12 seconds and 10 thirds (7 and 9 respectively for Victorian jumpers). At the Oakbank Easter Racing Carnival, after Warrnambool Australia’s pre-eminent jumps racing meeting, 43.6% of the starters were trained in SA, and these won 33% of both the races and the overall prizemoney.

Save Our Jumps, Save Our Racing has expanded on these figures, adding:

“[I]n terms of prizemoney levels, the proportion of jumps race prizemoney won overall by SA-based starters (we use this as some trainers have stables in multiple states) (and this includes Oakbank) was over 45%. This year, there were more SA-based starters than Victorian starters (51-49 in terms of percentage).

When compared to Group and Listed races, the proportion of SA-trained horses that competed in these races is slightly higher (at over 55%), however, the proportion of prizemoney won is around 35%, and in these races, trainers from outside both SA and Victoria are also competing.

If this is scaled to just Group 1 races, SA starters comprised around 31% of all starters and won just 10% of all prizemoney. Over 85% of the prizemoney went across the border to Victoria, which had over half of all starters, and all Group 1 winners (with prizemoney levels for first typically over $250,000 at the least).”

Given these numbers, South Australian jumps owners, trainers and horses can therefore be said to punch well above their weight, particularly when you consider the obstacles that are constantly placed in their way.

This is why it’s important for SA jumps racing supporters to get the good news out there about the industry in this state. Yes, we are beset by uncertainty as we await the outcome of the Select Committee enquiry, but it’s nevertheless important to look ahead to 2017 positively. SAJR is confident that there will be a future for jump racing in SA next year and beyond, and so we should all be prepared to hit the ground running.

We all need to encourage more local trainers to take on a jumper or two, SA owners to make an investment and, above all, to get those within the industry to start talking positively about jumps racing again.

And the next time someone in the industry makes a complaint such as those above, show them the figures about how SA jumps horses performed this year – odds on they’ll be surprised!

Crowds in excess of 50,000 come to the Easter Racing Carnival every year to support South Australian jumps racing (Image credit: Peter Fuller)

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