Thoroughbred Breeders Queensland Association President Basil Nolan has slammed the Australian Pattern Committee for completely overlooking Queensland during the latest upgrades for 2013-14.
A total of 41 races have been elevated – 39 of those are in NSW and Victoria, one in South Australia and one in Western Australia.
“The sheer arrogance of this Pattern Committee astounds me,” Nolan said. “The Committee is top-heavy with NSW and Victorian representatives, only two of the 14 members are from Queensland, and it certainly shows.”
Nolan is astounded that provincial events such as the Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle, Dark Jewel Classic at Scone and Belle of the Turf Stakes at Gosford can all warrant upgrades to Group status over some of Queensland’s top races, including the Magic Millions 2yo and 3yo events and any number of Listed races in Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
He questions how the Magic Millions 2yo Classic can remain the same restricted rating as the William Inglis Classic, when the Magic Millions is a much more important race and its form stands up, unlike the William Inglis.
The prime example is this year’s events. Sweet Idea placed second in the Magic Millions 2yo Classic, then won the Group 2 Silver Slipper first-up from a seven week break and is now second favourite for the Golden Slipper.
Yet the winner of the William Inglis Classic, Marseille Roulette, ran last in the Blue Diamond Prelude at his next start and then 7 th from 11 in an Open 2yo Handicap at Warwick Farm.
Nolan said there’s been no upgrades of Queensland races for at least three years and the Magic Millions Classic is just one example of a race that deserves more recognition. “This Pattern Committee is wholly focussed on the two major States at the expensive of Queensland, South Australian, Western Australia and Tasmania,” he said.
“I don’t know what criteria they use to upgrade races but it is questionable. Does prizemoney play a role? Are Queensland’s two representatives not doing their job or not putting forth adequate races? Or are the major States simply over-ruling the others?
“Maybe we should look at changing our Queensland representatives on the Committee. This is the second consecutive year that the Pattern Committee has delivered a slap in the face to Queensland.”
Nolan heavily campaigned for Queensland’s interests after the State was overlooked in last year’s round of upgrades, but his arguments have obviously fallen on deaf ears. “All that Committee wanted to do last year was downgrade the Queensland Oaks – the TBQA had to fight tooth and nail to retain its listing.
“With the consistent, outstanding performances of Queensland horses we certainly rate up-there and it’s time we received the accolades that are well overdue. I do not believe the Pattern Committee is representing the best interests of racing across Australia.”
Nolan will once again raise his concerns in a meeting with the Pattern Committee later this week, but after instigating similar delegations last year, he doesn’t know what more can be done to ensure a more balanced allocation of black-type events.
“It is blatantly obvious the Pattern Committee is advancing their own States to the detriment of the others. How can the rest of the country compete when inequities like this continue to be allowed to happen?
“The Pattern Committee continues to upgrade these races in New South Wales and Victoria at their whim, while the other four States wither on the vine.”