UPDATE Jumps Racing at Oakbank

We thought it might be helpful to provide an update on the current situation regarding jumps racing at Oakbank and in South Australia more generally.

  • On 23 September 2021, the Committee of Oakbank Racing Club agreed to a proposal put to it by Racing SA that the 2022 Oakbank Carnival not include jumps races. Two Members of the ORC Committee resigned in protest.
  • Subsequently, and in response to Oakbank Racing Club’s acquiescence, Racing SA announced that it would not be scheduling jumps races anywhere in South Australia in 2022.
  • Racing SA’s decision was made without reference to SAJR, AJRA, stakeholders or industry participants; likewise, the Oakbank Racing Club Committee made its decision without consulting its Members.
  • Submissions were made to the Board and management of Racing SA by SAJR, AJRA, stakeholders and industry participants to reverse — or at the very least, to reconsider — its stance on jumps racing in 2022. Racing SA has refused to look again at its decision.
  • In addition, despite the efforts of SAJR, AJRA, stakeholders and industry participants to persuade the Oakbank Racing Club Committee to withdraw its approval of, and agreement to, the Racing SA plan for the 2022 Carnival, it has refused even to countenance reversing its decision.
  • The Oakbank Racing Club Constitution states that, “The Committee may, whenever they think fit, and they shall upon a requisition in writing under the hands of not fewer than fifty (50) Members, convene a Special General Meeting. At least seven days’ notice shall be given to the Members of any Special General Meeting and of the matters to be considered at such meeting.” (Clause 37)
  • As a consequence of the actions of both Racing SA and ORC, concerned Members of Oakbank Racing Club have requested that a Special General Meeting be convened (as per clause 37 above). The aim of this meeting would be to hold a vote of no confidence in the current Committee and replace it with a Committee that would withdraw its agreement to Racing SA’s plan not to hold jumps races at Oakbank, i.e., a Committee that consults and listens to its Members, and which will stand up for jumps racing and the Club’s 147-year history of holding steeplechases and hurdle races.
  • This has been deemed necessary because it is believed that the current Oakbank Committee, in agreeing to the Racing SA proposal without reference to its Members, has not only irredeemably tarnished Oakbank’s history and reputation, but will cause irreparable damage to the Carnival’s viability, standing and, ultimately, its future. In short, it is believed that an Easter Carnival at Oakbank without jumps racing will be a failure and place the ongoing future of the Club in jeopardy.
  • Consequently, a Notice to Convene a Special General Meeting was submitted to the Club via email on 20 October 2021. This contained the requisite number of signatures from Members to call a Special General Meeting, as per clause 37 of the Constitution.
  • This request to hold a Special General Meeting was refused by the Club on 3 November 2021. The email in which the request was refused cites clause 37; we believe that the justification offered for the decision in this email to refuse the request is incorrect and in fact contravenes the Constitution.
  • Accordingly, a group of Members of Oakbank Racing Club has, as of 4 November 2021, retained a solicitor and is in the process of instituting legal action against Oakbank Racing Club in order to force the Committee to act in accordance with its own Constitution and to convene a Special General Meeting, as requested by Members.
  • A fighting fund will be established to help defray the associated legal costs, to which it is requested that all supporters of jumps racing in Australia contribute.
  • Subsequently, and in response to Oakbank Racing Club’s acquiescence, Racing SA announced that it would not be scheduling jumps races anywhere in South Australia in 2022.
  • Racing SA’s decision was made without reference to SAJR, AJRA, stakeholders or industry participants; likewise, the Oakbank Racing Club Committee made its decision without consulting its Members.
  • Submissions were made to the Board and management of Racing SA by SAJR, AJRA, stakeholders and industry participants to reverse — or at the very least, to reconsider — its stance on jumps racing in 2022. Racing SA has refused to look again at its decision.
  • In addition, despite the efforts of SAJR, AJRA, stakeholders and industry participants to persuade the Oakbank Racing Club Committee to withdraw its approval of, and agreement to, the Racing SA plan for the 2022 Carnival, it has refused even to countenance reversing its decision.
  • The Oakbank Racing Club Constitution states that, “The Committee may, whenever they think fit, and they shall upon a requisition in writing under the hands of not fewer than fifty (50) Members, convene a Special General Meeting. At least seven days’ notice shall be given to the Members of any Special General Meeting and of the matters to be considered at such meeting.” (Clause 37)
  • As a consequence of the actions of both Racing SA and ORC, concerned Members of Oakbank Racing Club have requested that a Special General Meeting be convened (as per clause 37 above). The aim of this meeting would be to hold a vote of no confidence in the current Committee and replace it with a Committee that would withdraw its agreement to Racing SA’s plan not to hold jumps races at Oakbank, i.e., a Committee that consults and listens to its Members, and which will stand up for jumps racing and the Club’s 147-year history of holding steeplechases and hurdle races.
  • This has been deemed necessary because it is believed that the current Oakbank Committee, in agreeing to the Racing SA proposal without reference to its Members, has not only irredeemably tarnished Oakbank’s history and reputation, but will cause irreparable damage to the Carnival’s viability, standing and, ultimately, its future. In short, it is believed that an Easter Carnival at Oakbank without jumps racing will be a failure and place the ongoing future of the Club in jeopardy.
  • Consequently, a Notice to Convene a Special General Meeting was submitted to the Club via email on 20 October 2021. This contained the requisite number of signatures from Members to call a Special General Meeting, as per clause 37 of the Constitution.
  • This request to hold a Special General Meeting was refused by the Club on 3 November 2021. The email in which the request was refused cites clause 37; we believe that the justification offered for the decision in this email to refuse the request is incorrect and in fact contravenes the Constitution.
  • Accordingly, a group of Members of Oakbank Racing Club has, as of 4 November 2021, retained a solicitor and is in the process of instituting legal action against Oakbank Racing Club in order to force the Committee to act in accordance with its own Constitution and to convene a Special General Meeting, as requested by Members.
  • A fighting fund will be established to help defray the associated legal costs, to which it is requested that all supporters of jumps racing in Australia contribute.

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