King empire

Trainers promise horses as King Island fights to keep racing

The response began to save history King’s Island races.

A fortnight ago, the club revealed with a heavy heart that 130 years of the race was under the threat for a myriad of reasons but mostly because the island was short of horses.

At last count, King Island was only home to 10 gallopers and 12 leaders and his summer festival of six race meetings was on the on the verge of collapse.

The first race meeting was held on Bass Strait Island in 1892. The winners were paid in wallaby skins.

A lack of trainers, steady staff and monitor volunteers leads to calls for help, including approaches to Tasracing and the Tasmanian State Government.

This led to a positive written statement support from Tasmania’s new racing minister Madeleine Ogilvievia a statement and from a handful of continental trainers at ship horses to King Island for the races.

Some said they would settle on the island for the Christmas/New Year period.

The season begins on December 26 and ends on February 5.

Same Ciaron Maher said he would try to find horses within his vast empire to set aside for King Island, which holds its Cup meeting on January 22.

Ciaron Maher said he would try to help King Island by finding some horses to send to King Island

Tasmania Events indicated that he could offer financial aid.

There was a suggestion of expedition grants for intestate horses.

Club President Audrey Hamerwho runs the club local bakery and that of the island food storesaid the response to the club’s plea for help had been encouraging.

She said trainers Shane Bottomley, Chris Diplock and even one based in New South Wales had offered to send horses to support races on the island, a popular tourist destination known for beef, cheese, crayfish, Golf and horses race.

“We hope to attract eight or nine horses that can compete during the carnival,” Hamer said, adding that she hopes to speak directly to the Minister of Racing soon.

Hamer said that a handful of local girls were keen on getting stable hand licenses to help out on race days.

“The problem remains that none of them would likely be able to work with the horses other than on race day,” she said.

“There are promising signs. There is an indication from Events Tasmania that they could help in any way they can if we go ahead this summer.

If staff and horses cannot be found in Tasmania and the mainland, the summer festival is in danger of collapsing.

Last summer’s festival was cut short for fear of covid widespread on the island.

Diplock, who is forming a small team to Pakenham and trains horses for a number of stables, said King Island had always been on her to-do list.

Pakenham manager Christopher Diplock backs King Island plea for help

“I saw the club’s recent Facebook post and thought ‘yes, I think I might take a horse or two,'” Diplock said.

“It’s a quiet time of year for me (summer) and from my perspective I could take a small team and have a working holiday.

“I would get mine in shape before they get there and have them ready to go in mid-December.

“I have three virgin horses that would be very competitive there.”

Diplock said the horses that were picnic lesson in victoria would be competitive on King Island, where the standard bet was $12,500. Picnic scholarships are less than half of that.