Hurdle and steeplechase racing will continue to be held at Oakbank Racing Club and throughout South Australia in 2017 and beyond, after a Parliamentary Select Committee enquiry found that there was no case for banning jumps racing in the state.
An extensive and wide-ranging enquiry was conducted by the five-member Select Committee over a period of eight months and received more than 1800 written submissions from the industry and the general public (including oral testimony from 22 witnesses), producing in November a final report that includes 28 recommendations.
Most significant of these are the recommendations that jumps racing in South Australia should not be banned and that the Parliament should not revisit the question of its continuation in the state for at least three years.
MPs on the Select Committee visited the Carnival on Easter Monday in 2016 and were introduced to some of the finer points of jumps racing and riding by leading figures in the industry, including owners, trainers and jockeys, and also met with the Oakbank Committee and a number of enthusiastic Oakbank members and interstate visitors who wanted to share their love of the sport.
Members of the Oakbank Committee also appeared as witnesses in a hearing at Parliament House, while a number of other industry bodies including South Australian Jumps Racing and the Australian Jumping Racing Association also gave oral evidence. The Club is grateful that these and other organisations, along with so many Oakbank Members, took the time to make written submissions in support of the Club and jumps racing.
In response to the final report, Oakbank Racing Club Chairman, Barney Gask, said, “The Club is delighted that we will be hosting the 141st running of the Great Eastern Steeplechase at the 2017 Easter Racing Carnival, along with our other classic jumping races.
“Hurdle and Steeplechase racing help to make the Easter Racing Carnival a unique event that has for so long been a part of South Australian life, and we are extremely pleased that we will again be holding our premier races next year.”
The Club is naturally delighted that we will now be able to retain our status as one of Australia’s greatest racing carnivals, while South Australian jumps racing fans will once again be able to enjoy other popular jumping races in the calendar like the Grand National Hurdle and the Irish Day Steeplechase at Morphettville.
The first meeting of the 2017 jumps racing season will be held at Oakbank on Sunday 2 April, with the 2017 Easter Racing Carnival being held on Saturday 15 April and Monday 17 April.