Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association (TROA) Chairman Jonathan Munz has backed Tim Rourke to be appointed new chairman of Racing Victoria, cautioning Victorian Racing Minister Anthony Carbines against selecting a current board member, such as Tim Eddy, for the role.

Racing Victoria offices.
Newly appointed director Tim Rourke is the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association's preferred choice as Racing Victoria chairman. (Photo: Google Maps)

Munz, who led an unsuccessful bid in February to unseat five of the board directors, including Eddy, said it would be a misstep by Carbines if he were to select one of those board members who weren’t seen as candidates for the chair when Gillon McLachlan was in the running for the role.

McLachlan withdrew from the race this week, prompting Carbines to appoint Rourke and bloodstock figure Mark Player to the board, three months after their candidacy became public knowledge.

“Tim Rourke and Mark Player are excellent choices as new directors of Racing Victoria (RVL), but the industry has been clear that the majority of the board needs to be replaced and that the new chairman needs to be a fresh outside person,” Munz said in a statement.

“There are eight Racing Victoria directors, plus the CEO and appointing only two new directors to a poorly performing board, without having one of the new directors being appointed as the chairman, is not going to be acceptable or sensible.”

Munz said Carbines had promised a board refresh last September and then subsequently proposed appointing three new directors with McLachlan as chairman. The new chairman would then recommend and decide which other directors needed to be replaced.

Tim Eddy
Tim Eddy is believed to be the frontrunner to take over as Racing Victoria chairman. (Photo: Racing Victoria)

“The Minister has delayed us since January waiting for Gill McLachlan and now looks like he has again changed tack and is proposing to limit us to only two new directors and impose Tim Eddy on the industry as the new RVL Chair, which no one wants,” Munz said, referring to reports that Eddy would be appointed chair when the board next meets.

“There has been widespread dissatisfaction and lack of confidence from industry participants and race clubs in the Racing Victoria Board, resulting in an effective no-confidence vote in the Board in February and the subsequent forced departure of discredited CEO Andrew Jones.”

Munz said in many ways the current members of the board were “more culpable than Andrew Jones and it is not enough to just be rid of Jones without meaningful change at board level.”

“They set the policy and enabled the poor decisions and dysfunction. It makes no sense and would be inappropriate to leave them in charge or let them choose the new CEO,” he said.

“Apart from that, most people would recognise the absurdity of the Minister taking more than 12 months to appoint a chairman who he clearly did not think was appropriate to appoint more than a year ago.”

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Munz was on the board advisory panel, convened by the racing minister, which helped select Rourke and Player as directors.

“Logically, Tim Rourke should be the obvious new Chairman,” he said.

“He clearly has superior qualifications to the existing board members, even if they were not surrounded by pre-existing controversies.

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“He brings no baggage and will be accepted by race clubs and industry participants. Choosing Tim Eddy or one of the other incumbents as Chair would in my view be a huge mistake and will result in unnecessary conflict, when what the racing industry now requires is common sense and unity.”