Victoria Racing Club (VRC) members returned Directors Amanda Elliott, Katherine Bourke and Elisa Robinson to the Club’s Board at today’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) following a ballot.
In total, nine VRC members—the three incumbent directors and six candidates—stood for three vacant positions.
VRC Chairman Mrs Elliott said, “I congratulate my fellow Directors on their re-election and am delighted to receive the support of VRC members by being returned to the Board.”
At the AGM the following changes were announced regarding the VRC Board office bearers.
Michael Ramsden was appointed by the Board as Vice Chairman and Glenn Carmody was appointed Honorary Treasurer.
Mrs Elliott and VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson reported at the AGM another successful racing season and strong progress towards important strategic goals.
VRC revenue increased by $27.4 million to $204.8 million in season 2018/19. The Club invested $21.6 million in capital projects during the year, including $8.2 million to complete construction of The Club Stand.
“Much was achieved in 2018/19 and future strategic goals and plans were established to continue to build on the momentum of the Club’s success and to ensure we maintain our leading position in the industry,” Mrs Elliott said.
“Our commitment to our members continued to be demonstrated with the opening of the state-of-the-art Club Stand, on AAMI Victoria Derby Day 2018. It has been so well received by our members and has also helped drive membership, with almost 5,000 joining the VRC during the year.
“We were pleased to report a Melbourne Cup Carnival record economic impact of $447.6 million to the state of Victoria and as a direct result of the Club’s ambitious international strategy an increase in the event’s awareness on the global stage with overseas attendances coming from 31 countries. The Cup itself was broadcast to 163 territories and reached a record 2.4 million total unique viewers worldwide on Twitter.
“The VRC’s media and content strategy delivered a landmark Cup Week media rights deal with Network 10, the biggest in the history of the Club and one of the biggest in racing worldwide. We also launched our global digital platform World Horse Racing in conjunction with Ascot, Goodwood and Breeders’ Cup, which exceeded expectations and delivered 147 million video views in its first year of operation.
“We finalised the next phase of our racing strategy, retaining the one-track model and focussing on 25 premium racedays. We also enhanced our equine welfare initiatives with the installation of a state-of-the-art synthetic training surface.”
With the 2019/20 season well underway, Mrs Elliott also reflected on the highlights of November’s Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“In the face of serious headwinds, the 2019 Carnival was successful and it was a privilege and honour to oversee my third Cup Week as Chairman.”
Highlights from the 2019 Carnival included:
- The four best attended racedays in the nation, with almost 280,000 people at Flemington for Cup Week.
- Record prizemoney for the Lexus Melbourne Cup of $8 million and the doubling of prizemoney to $2 million for the Darley Sprint Classic and the Kennedy Cantala.
- 487 horses, including 12 internationally-trained runners in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, competing across 37 races throughout the week on an outstanding Flemington track surface.
- The establishment of the VRC Equine Wellbeing Fund, with 10% of Melbourne Cup Carnival public ticket sales and 5% of membership fees providing $1 million to enable the acceleration of more of the Club’s and industry’s plans to support the wellbeing of racehorses across all stages of their lives.
- Network 10’s coverage of the Lexus Melbourne Cup reaching 2.9 million nationally in its first year, and the Cup being screened at primetime into the USA on America’s biggest network, CBS. Across all platforms the total audience was up 4% on 2018.
- The reimagined Birdcage, featuring a jaw-dropping new entrance and an all-star lineup of partner marquees.
- $450,000 raised by Pin & Win partner Very Special Kids and the VRC to support an upgrade of Very Special Kids’ children’s hospice.
- The donation of $50,000 by the VRC to bushfire-affected Bunyip for community initiatives after the Victorian town was the inaugural winner of the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour’s National Sweep.
- The Cup Day Festival at Barangaroo in Sydney attracting an attendance of 11,000 in its third year.
“The VRC Board and management continue to focus on the Club’s vision of being a world leader in racing and events, delivering an unrivalled experience for all,” Mrs Elliott said.
“A key pillar of our future strategy is to ensure the VRC and Flemington are preeminent in both Australia and worldwide. The relationships and partnerships we have been developing domestically and internationally are important to our long-term future.”