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Final blow looms for jumps racing in SA


The South Australian Greens say the fate of their bill to ban jumps racing in the state now rests with the Labor government after it passed the upper house yesterday.

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South Australia and Victoria are the only states to still allow jumps racing despite opposition from animal welfare groups.

The bill to ban it will go before parliament’s House of Assembly where the Labor government has a clear majority.

Greens MP Tammy Franks said the sport’s fate was now in Labor’s hands.

“Time and again jumps racing has proven dangerous for jockeys and deadly for horses. It’s time to finally put an end to the carnage,” Franks said.

“The industry itself is ready for the end of jumps racing.

“Attendance is low, injuries and deaths are high, and while jumps racing accounts for a very small proportion of the industry it accounts for most of the bad publicity the industry receives.”

Queensland stopped jumps racing in 1903, WA in 1941 and the sport was banned in NSW in 1997.

The last race was held in Tasmania in 2007.

Oakbank Racing Club in the Adelaide Hills has been a major supporter of jumps racing in South Australia for more than a century but did not host jumps racing at its Easter carnival this year.

The growing split in SA’s horseracing community over the future of jumps racing could be headed back to court, with prominent members of the Oakbank Racing Club this week rejecting the re-election of the organisation’s board.

A board election had been called as part of a settlement with prominent life members of the club – including parole board chair Frances Nelson QC, former Supreme Court and Federal Court judge John von Doussa and racing legend and former club chairman John Glatz – who launched legal action against the club arguing it was complicit in a decision by Racing SA to stop jumps racing.

That meant the abandonment of Oakbank’s annual fixture the Great Eastern Steeplechase, with the group adamant the change was responsible for poor crowds at this year’s event.

The election was finalised on Friday, with the existing board, led by chair Arabella Branson, re-elected – but the rebel group has launched a fresh broadside, arguing the election was invalid.

 – AAP

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