Documents reveal how The Everest tore Australian racing apart
- Racing NSW says its bid for The Everest to be granted group 1 status was approved by every Racing Australia board member bar Victoria’s
- It also accused a former Racing Victoria employee of not lobbying for better ratings for a winner of The Everest
- The allegations have been revealed in court papers lodged to uncover a bid to exile Racing NSW from the other states
The bitter divide between Australia’s racing bodies has been laid bare in NSW Supreme Court action taken by Racing NSW to uncover an alleged plot to isolate it from the other states – and The Everest has been central to the feud.
A Racing Victoria board member voted against The Everest being granted group 1 status, while another ex-Victorian employee has been asked to explain his position on a rating for one of the race’s former winners, explosive court documents allege.
In a summons lodged by Racing NSW, Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger, director Greg Nichols and its former general manager of racing, Greg Carpenter, have been named as defendants and asked for documents explaining why The Everest was not granted group 1 status at a Racing Australia meeting in 2018.
Racing NSW tried to fast-track the rich slots race to group 1 status after its first running in 2017.
The Everest was established to beef up Sydney’s spring racing carnival, scheduled at a time which was dominated by major races in Melbourne, and last year attracted a record modern-day crowd of 46,221 to Royal Randwick. The race is now worth $15 million.
Court documents claim Nichols exercised Racing Victoria’s right of veto to prevent The Everest being classified as a group 1.
Kerrin McEvoy can’t stop smiling as he steers Classique Legend to victory in the 2020 Everest.Credit:Getty
The nominated directors from Racing NSW and Racing Victoria have the power to block any proposal before the Racing Australia board.
Racing NSW and the second plaintiff in the case, RNSW chairman Russell Balding, have also asked ex-Melbourne Cup handicapper Carpenter to explain his advocacy for the merits of The Everest in various meetings of international handicapping committees.
In particular, the summons wants Carpenter to provide documents surrounding the rating afforded to Classique Legend after he won The Everest in 2020.
Racing NSW says Classique Legend was assigned a rating of 127 after he won the world’s richest turf race.
Racing Victoria chief executive Andrew Jones, Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys and Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell.
They want Carpenter to explain his actions during the deliberations and meetings of the International Federation Horseracing Authority’s world’s best racehorse rankings committee later that year.
The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities is one of two international committees that consider the assessments.
The documents also highlight Racing NSW’s request for Carpenter, who now works for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, to explain his advocacy for horses contesting NSW races as compared to Victorian events at a meeting of the Asian Racing Federation handicappers committee in July 2020.
The Herald revealed earlier this month Racing NSW had served papers on Racing Victoria, Nichols, Kruger, Carpenter and four other principal racing jurisdictions – Racing Queensland, Racing South Australia, Racing and Wagering Western Australia and Tasracing – over an alleged covert scheme to cut NSW out of Racing Australia.
The summons seeks access to alleged secret documents between the defendants regarding “the exclusion of Racing NSW from the Australian thoroughbred industry” or the “establishment of a new entity or joint venture for the provision of services relating to thoroughbred racing in Australia”.
Last week, Racing Victoria chief executive Andrew Jones said Racing NSW tried to exclude Nichols from Racing Australia over a series of whip-free races. He claimed his organisation, as well as Nichols and Carpenter, would defend the accusations.
“Racing NSW’s claims that something unlawful occurred in relation to The Everest, NSW horses or Classique Legend are fanciful,” he said.
“The decisions were validly made and just because Racing NSW didn’t like them, doesn’t make them illegal. Effectively Racing NSW is whining about umpiring decisions from three and five years ago.
“If they were fair dinkum about wanting group 1 status for The Everest and any other races, they would reconstitute the pattern committee, sign off on the draft guidelines and go through the usual process.
V’landys responded: “No matter which way they spin it, the documents and facts speak for themselves.”
The matter continues in court.
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