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Priest backs horse trainers' fears over Randwick


An unlikely ally of Sydney's racing community has surfaced in the controversy over the use of the Randwick racecourse for World Youth Day's vigil and papal Mass next year.

Fox Sports reports that Fr Brendan Dillon, parish priest of St Leonard's in Melbourne's suburb of Glen Waverley and Racing Victoria Limited chaplain, said the Sydney racing fraternity would be dealt "immense hardship" and "financial difficulties" during the 10 weeks World Youth Day event next year.

He described such a scenario as "matters of justice" for both the Church and the NSW Government.

Fr Dillon doubted whether the pope would want to be associated with such a situation, according to the Fox report.

"The betting is that he is totally unaware of all this," he said.

Fr Dillon, in his weekly bulletin, sympathised with Randwick trainers, who face relocation, and the likely general upheaval before the 2008 Sydney spring carnival.

"Veterinary surgeons, farriers, small-team trainers are facing grave financial difficulties because they can't entertain moving interstate for close to three months," Fr Dillon said.

"(It's) a challenging enough proposition for even the big trainers. Where will they go and at what cost?

"How can Randwick prepare for its September spring carnival? These are matters of justice for both the church and the State Government."

He queried why the church and the NSW Government needed Randwick for so long.

Fr Dillon said when his brother, Fr Kevin, directed the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1986, racing's needs were of primary importance.

"Horses galloped in training at Flemington right up to and on the day the Pope came to celebrate mass there with a crowd of 125,000," he wrote.


SOURCE
Priest fears for trainers (Fox News, 18/07/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
World Youth Day 2008

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18 Jul 2007