Can't lease Randwick for WYD, trainers tell club

Saying the decision to hold Mass at Randwick racecourse for World Youth Day was made with "reckless disregard" for the course, a trainers spokesperson says there is a strong case that the Australian Jockey Club has no legal power to lease out the course.

Anthony Cummings, president of the Randwick Trainers Association, said there was a strong legal argument that the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) did not have the power to enter into an agreement with WYD organisers or the state government, for Randwick Racecourse to be used as the venue, Racing and Sports reports.

The racecourse is on Crown Land which the AJC leases from the NSW government, the paper says.

Training and racing will stop at Randwick for at least 10 weeks next year as a result of the WYD celebrations, the highlight of which will be a Papal mass which up to 600,000 people are expected to attend with the overflow going to neighbouring Centennial Park.

The closure of Randwick as a thoroughbred centre will result in more than 20 trainers and a myriad of staff being forced to relocate during the 10-week period.

"We've had advice to say that what we thought was the case, is, that the AJC is not empowered to enter into an agreement (to exclude trainers from the track)," Cummings said.

"I wish to make the point that the Randwick trainers are not in any way opposed to the Papal Mass.

"The trainers' view is that the decision to use Randwick has been made with reckless disregard to the damage it will do to the racecourse itself, as well as having the potential to be financially devastating to each of us, our staff, and our suppliers.

"No-one seems to have taken this into account, or given it sufficient weight, when selecting the racecourse as the venue for the Papal Mass.

"The consequential loss we will suffer as a result of being thrown off Randwick for such a period during the critical lead up to the Spring Racing Carnival is immeasurable and some trainers will not recover from it.

"We will pursue every avenue to protect the livelihoods of our members, the future of the horses entrusted to us and the people who depend on us for their livelihood."

Cummings, along with fellow Randwick trainers John O'Shea and Grahame Begg and Randwick Equine Centre veterinarian Treve Williams will meet with NSW Minister John Della Bosca tomorrow to further discuss the Pope's visit.

Pope event not past the post at Randwick (Racing and Sports, 10/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Anthony Cummings website
World Youth Day 2008
Australian Jockey Club

Randwick no place for pope, opines Cup winner Cummings (CathNews, 10/7/07)
Pope set to come, trainers to sue over WYD (CathNews, 5/7/07)
WYD Cross arrives amid Randwick turmoil (CathNews, 2/7/07)
Randwick trainers "emotional" over WYD compensation (CathNews, 29/6/07)
Trainers still jumpy about WYD (CathNews, 26/6/07)
Guy's WYD song to welcome cross and icon (CathNews, 25/6/07)
US leads Australia in WYD registrations (CathNews, 15/5/07)
Aussie idol to sing WYD theme song (CathNews, 14/5/07)
Give young people WYD opportunities, nuncio says (CathNews, 11/5/07)
Sydney airport can't handle all WYD visitors, Pell says (CathNews, 2/5/07)
Thousands already on way to WYD (CathNews, 30/4/07)
Trainers seek $12 million compo over Benedict's WYD visit (CathNews, 23/4/07)
Telstra chief signs on for WYD (CathNews, 20/4/07)
Tsunami town welcomes WYD cross (CathNews, 19/4/07)
WYD Cross to visit tsunami-hit Gizo (CathNews, 5/4/07)
WYD Cross at N Korea border (CathNews, 1/3/07)
Race industry fears over WYD "chaos" (CathNews, 19/3/07)
Canberra parish launches live-in WYD community (CathNews, 6/3/07)
Free tourist visas for WYD participants (CathNews, 5/3/07)
500,000 crosses for WYD (CathNews, 2/3/07)

11 Jul 2007