|The Australian Racing Industry’s opposition to Betfair reached a whole new level today, as it threatened to ban all British trained runners from all Australian races unless Betfair is banished from its shores.|
ARB chief executive Andrew Harding told the Racing Post: “We’re not in the business of punishing owners and trainers, so it would be a last resort, but when it comes down to it, you can’t just pretend we’re good friends - you have to show we are. If they’re not sufficiently interested to help us, why should we help them?'
The vitriol which Australian Racing feels toward the Betting Exchange became apparent when Robert Nason, chief executive of the Racing Victoria, told the Australian media that the UK had “probably the worst level of integrity management of any racing administration anywhere in the world”.
“If it meant getting rid of Betfair I would shut down the Spring Carnival,” he added. “I would say, ‘No Spring Carnival’ - it’s that important an issue for Australian racing. If that’s what it took to get rid of them we would do it.
Betfair can wheel in Kerry Packer, they can wheel in the Queen if they want to, but we will not be backing away from this stand.”
Greg Nichols, chief executive of the British Horseracing Board, who is an Australian himself, however, described the proposals as ‘absurd’, adding that, should the ban go ahead, Australian racing would be the loser.
Betfair’s managing director Mark Davies said: “There is no reason at all for British owners and trainers to be dragged into what is a commercial battle. The only thing to suffer would be the Melbourne Cup itself. It’s an international event with an international flavour.”