The last six months since January, have flown by in the blink of an eye. To think that it has been nine months since I took over as Executive Officer from Patrick Clancy is hard to comprehend.

The two questions I get asked frequently are, are you enjoying the role and what has been happening?

My answer to the first question is, I am loving the role. I am very lucky to be able to be in a position where I can make a change to the industry and people’s lives. I am lucky to get out and meet the grassroots of the industry and love hearing feedback from our community. To get this opportunity, is one in a lifetime.

And to answer the second question? Well let me begin.

Our annual awards night was held on the 6th of December 2018, at the Champagne Bar at Flemington racecourse. It was a great night which was enjoyed by many. On this night, we also released the first of our videos, The Symbol, to promote VOBIS Sires and The Showdown. I must say thank you to Tim Patterson from DMC Media for his hard work and efforts through this campaign.

Unveiling The Symbol video with Tim at our awards nights (Racing Photos).

Before I knew it, I was touching down on the Gold Coast, after a 24-hour flight from Dublin – the difference in temperatures certainly shocked the jet lag out of me!

The MM Gold Coast Yearling sale kicked off the sales season and a busy time for everyone in Victoria, which as I am sure you are all aware has finally concluded.

We saw the Victorian State Government contribute $33 million dollars to prizemoney levels and saw Racing Victoria contribute an additional $7 million, to reach a total of $40 million dollars, to be spread across a two-year period.

We also saw the State Government uncouple the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) from unclaimed dividends. Therefore, this means that VOBIS Gold prizemoney will continue to remain, if not increase despite unclaimed dividends declining.

Between meetings and planning for a landmark Victorian Owners & Breeders Race Day, the 27th of April saw history be made, when Prince of Sussex took out the inaugural Showdown for Matt Laurie and Swettenham’s Toronado. The atmosphere on this day was phenomenal.  With the concept being created years earlier by Victorian breeders for the Victorian industry, and the initiative well into planning mode prior to my time with TBV, it was an honour to be part of this memorable day.

Our marketing campaign which commenced in December 2018, to promote Victorian sires, sales and The Showdown, exceeded our expectations. The reach of this campaign saw our content reach a staggering, 220,000 people in the space of six months. We also combined with Racing Victoria to leverage their media campaign which saw national coverage of The Showdown across all the major television channels and media outlets in Australia.

In June, TBV said thank you and farewell to Board Member Matt Tillett, whilst welcoming Yulong’s Sam Fairgray.

Just after the Great Southern Sale, we implemented a new newsletter series, called Grassroots, which is aimed at profiling our community. The aim, is to bring a new story each week and if you think somebody would be good to profile, please let me know. I am slowly working through all the suggestions we have been given.

Amongst all the sales, running of The Showdown and the 18 VOBIS Gold Premier Races, the Board and I have been working together to finalise TBV’s strategic framework and objectives. This will guide key projects which TBV will work upon in the coming months and year. I look forward to sharing this with everyone. In the next six months, I hope to share our finalised strategic framework & objectives with you. This will guide key projects which TBV will work upon in the coming months and year. I must give a big thank you to the Board, who have supported my ideas, concepts and have great passion for the Victorian industry.

I have continued to meet with Racing Victoria fortnightly to provide and seek updates on key issues in breeding such as the VOBIS program, welfare, prizemoney, sales results and trends.

I have also had the opportunity to visit many farms, such as Longwood Thoroughbred Farm, Sun Stud, Spendthrift, Sunhill Bloodstock, Yarran, Glen Eden, Blue Gum, Rangal Park, Yulong, Darley, Heartford Thoroughbreds, Springmount, Merrivale, Gilgai and Miranda Park, to name a few and will continue to visit many more in the next six months and beyond.

No doubt the next six months will be busy for everyone in Victoria, as the breeding season commences.

I am also working on unveiling a new website, which we hope to have more information and resources on and I welcome any suggestions for content.

We will also look for submissions for the foal gallery for the coming season and I cannot wait to see all the adorable pictures from Victorian farms.

I look forward to discussing my last six months in person. I have no doubt that I will see more of you on my travels, whether it be at the upcoming stallion parades, at your farm, at the race track or at other events. I always love hearing from members in our community, so please do not hesitate to give me a call or drop me a line.

Charmein Bukovec – TBV Executive Officer

Miranda Park was one of many Victorian farms I’ve visited recently.
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