What Role Does a Race Track Manager Play?
June 24, 2019
In Australian thoroughbred horse racing, there are many professions, job roles and tasks that bring everything together and make the industry the huge success it is. When people think of horse racing, the racehorses, jockeys and trainers are usually most in the limelight, but there are many other important roles taking place day after day.
The race track manager is an extremely important profession, and without great track managers, the quality of horse racing in the country would seriously suffer.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the roles and responsibilities of race track managers and discover just what an integral role these people play in thoroughbred horse racing.
Racecourse Managers’ Conference
Up until 1995, there weren’t too many hard and fast rules and regulations when it came to race track management and this led to major inconsistencies in racecourses throughout Australia. In a bid to improve standards across the board and across the nation, the Racecourse Managers’ Conference was instigated, taking place at different locations each year.
The conference is attended by racecourse managers from all over Australia, along with suppliers, turf specialists, consultants and researchers.
These conferences are all about educating everyone involved so standards throughout the racing industry are more normalised. It’s all about achieving objectives and putting in place methodologies for improved race track conditions and better presentation overall.
What Does a Racecourse Manager Do?
Quite a lot, actually. It’s a role that comes with a lot of responsibility, and the track manager is really the one in charge of making certain the racecourse is kept up to standard. This includes the track itself, the facilities, venue presentation and even the budgeting for maintenance, upkeep and running of the race track on a day to day basis.
Possibly one of the most challenging roles in Australian thoroughbred racing is that of the race track manager at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse. The biggest and grandest race on Australia’s calendar takes place there on the first Tuesday every November, and the track manager has to ensure a great racing surface for the Melbourne Cup horses, along with ultra impressive venue presentation on the day.
The racecourse manager of any race track in the country is basically running the facility with the help of their key staff.
Just like a manager in any business, the role basically takes on full responsibility for the smooth running of the business. Therefore, a racecourse manager oversees everything that’s happening on the racecourse, both on race days and during times when there is no racing taking place.
Let’s list a few key responsibilities of racecourse managers for easy reference:
- Take care of the racing surface (an understanding of turf management)
- Prepare the track surface for race days
- Manage staff and delegate appropriate duties
- Devise effective budgeting strategies to keep the racecourse in top shape whilst still performing all maintenance within budget
- Communicating with staff and contractors for repairs and upkeep of the facilities
- Keeping records of everything, especially budgeting accounts
- Manage all suppliers, whether it be turf and general upkeep, food, beverages and other supplies
- Be a good problem solver and multi-tasker
- Ensure all occupational health and safety requirements are met and adhered to
The list above illustrates some of the main duties and responsibilities of race track managers. There is actually even more to the role than what we’ve discussed.
Is It a Lucrative Position?
Depending on the racecourse and where it is located, many track managers only work on a part-time basis, maybe up to 30 hours per week. The rates of pay for these racecourses are reasonable, and it will depend on experience and the skillset of the manager what sort of remuneration package they’ll receive.
When it comes to managing Australia’s major racecourses, such as Flemington, Rosehill, Randwick, Eagle Farm, Doomben and so forth, then the job can become a very lucrative one indeed. However, the more famous the venue, the more pressure there is in the job of racecourse manager. It can be a bit of a trade-off.
At any given time there are numerous jobs available for racecourse managers around Australia, either part-time or full-time, so it can be a consistent and very rewarding career for anyone who lives and breathes horse racing.