For trainer Glenn Stevenson, those integrity structures are crucial to the industry’s faith in the system. Stevenson, who has a team of about 20 horses in work, based at Wesley Vale in the state’s north, is concerned that the current system does not make for a level playing field.
“It’s nothing personal against the people that work in integrity, but I feel they are under-resourced,” Stevenson said.
“It’s not their fault but I believe that it needs to get more professional. They hold us to the highest standards and I believe they also need to pick their game up, and a bit of money needs to be spent and get the right people in the right spots.”
A disqualification Stevenson received in 2017 for a caffeine positive still rankles the experienced trainer, who believes a bigger stable would not have drawn such attention.
“I’m an easy bloke to make an example of, and I felt that was the case there. I am not sure that would be the case for everyone else. If everyone gets treated the same, make it a level playing field, that’s what we really want,” he said.
The other area Stevenson would love some focus on is race programming, with increased prize money for maidens and more focus on boosting focus on feature races at sprint-middle distance, as opposed to staying races traditionally dominated by mainland trainers.
History tells us non-local trainers have won the past seven editions of the Tasmanian Derby, five of the past eight editions of the Tasmanian Oaks, four of the past five Hobart Cups and five of the past seven Launceston Cups. Combined, those races are worth $900,000 each year.
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have won five feature races in Tasmania over the past seven weeks, scooping close to $500,000 in prize money. Stevenson doesn’t begrudge the big stables for coming and winning these races, but would love some more investment in races the locals can win.
He knows he is lucky to have a horse like Turk Warrior, the sprinter-miler who has won over $600,000. On Sunday, he notched his 11th career win in a Magic Millions series race at Launceston, and less than 24 hours later Stevenson was at nearby Carrick trying to bid for his much-coveted half-sister at the Tasmanian Yearling Sale.
The daughter of Stratosphere was eventually purchased by Star Thoroughbreds, one of Australia’s most successful syndicators, which is headed by Tasmanian-born and Sydney-based Denise Martin.