Key Victorian racing participants have demanded much better communication from Racing Victoria but remain concerned their major misgivings over the future direction of racing are yet to be addressed, despite Tuesday’s RV-led ‘strategy’ day.

Racing Victoria called in the Melbourne racing clubs, Country Racing Victoria, plus the associations representing the owners, trainers, jockeys and breeders to present their concerns and opportunities for the Victorian industry. It was the first time in six years that such a meeting of stakeholders had been held.

But the overwhelming feeling from participants The Straight spoke to was that while a lot of problems had been identified during an occasionally fierce discussion, no solutions were offered and the core problem remained, a lack of proper consultation by Racing Victoria's executive.

Significantly, among opportunities identified by at least one key participant body was the chance to refresh the RV executive and board in the coming months.

That echoes the recent call by participants for changes at the top after Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association (TROA) chairman Jonathan Munz led criticisms of mooted innovations by Racing Victoria.

Munz didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting, but TROA was represented by Vice Chairman and Executive Officer Tanya Fullarton.

The Straight has been told by several sources that Fullarton’s presentation was the most forthright of the day and made for uncomfortable listening for Racing Victoria chief executive Andrew Jones and interim chairman Mike Hirst, who at one point interjected.

Earlier Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria Executive Officer Carrie Hu spoke of concerns from breeders that their interests weren’t being listened to and that breeding did not feature in any meaningful way in Racing Victoria’s strategy document.

As well as updates from clubs, Australian Trainers Association chief executive Andrew Nicholl and Victorian Jockeys Association CEO Matthew Hyland also addressed the room.  

On the conclusion of the participants’ submissions, the event moderator reportedly remarked ‘there was a lot to unpack’.

Nicholl told The Straight that while it was a positive to get the participants in the same room in such a forum for the first time since 2017, there was still a lot of ground to cover.

“It broke the ice….in terms of actions, we are waiting with bated breath,” he said.

“It has been six long years where we have not got around the table as a group and said ‘what are our challenges as an industry and as individuals?’ and ‘what do we need to do to make sure we all prosper and survive?’

“A number of the stakeholders implored Racing Victoria to work with them. We all get more out of this industry if we work as a collective rather than working as individual parts. It’s not about dividing and conquering, let’s work collegiately and you would be amazed what we can produce.”

Nicholls said all the participant groups were united in their call at the meeting for Racing Victoria to ‘engage better with your stakeholders’.  

"It’s not about dividing and conquering, let’s work collegiately and you would be amazed what we can produce." - Andrew Nicholl

He felt that Racing Victoria’s executive had been very focussed on revenue and wagering in the past year and this had come at the expense of listening to the experiences of jockeys, trainers, owners and breeders.

“The disjoint has been that Racing Victoria has had a singular focus and it has been around the revenue and the income. I think to a large degree that has caused a lot of the angst,” he said.

“They are new kids on the block, Andrew (Jones) and Matt (Welsh). I suppose it takes time to win confidence and trust and work out how to work well with people. They probably came in at 100kmh in the past 12 months and they saw a real need to change the model.“

“I get that, and I know at the time the priority was to address that. They were public about the fact they had to plug gaps in revenue.”

Racing Victoria has been contacted for comment.