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SAROA spruiking joys of the ‘own zone’

Ken Cock is a small-time owner, armed with a big-time desire to help SAROA maximise fellow owners’ enjoyment of thoroughbred racing.

Ken has a lifetime interest in horse racing and his initial ownership experience was with a group of friends “many years ago”.

After working in Asia for 15 years Ken returned home and again decided to dabble in horse racing ownership. Currently he has shares in several horses in the Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas stable. Ken became a SAROA (South Australian Racehorse Owners’ Association) member four years ago with the view to “giving something back to the industry which has provided me with so much fun over many years”.

Ken is now SAROA president and works with the committee to advocate for owners, aiming to optimise their involvement in the industry and to maximise their race-day experience.

“SAROA is there to support owners’ interests in the racing industry,” Ken says.

“We are an advocacy group for owners, but beyond that we seek to help owners become better informed about the industry, as well as providing social activities across the year.

“To do that, we talk to various industry groups and trainers, and address any particular issues as they arise.

“Essentially, SAROA is there to promote racing, and hopefully to get more owners in the industry.

“Small-time owners, such as myself, make up a large percentage of owners out there and often we don’t have a good understanding of the roles of the variety of the industry’s participants.”

SAROA believes fostering a better understanding of racing among the group’s members will help owners take a greater involvement in the industry – and enjoy it more.

“As an example, owners often receive invoices from the vet describing treatment given to horses,” Ken says.

“But the treatment described can have little meaning for the layman, so we’ve had an evening for SAROA members where we’ve invited racehorse vets along to enlighten us about the role of the vet in racing.

“We look forward to running similar education sessions with other participants in the industry, because the more owners understand about racing and the part the different contributors play, the more enjoyment they get from their ownership experience.”

Ken says the SAROA committee is sometimes asked by members to clarify information or to provide advice to owners about “the variety of influences on racing”.

“These include such things the relationship between racing clubs and owners, actions of racehorse trainers, and policies of TRSA,” he says.

“Positive liaison between SAROA and the various sectors of the industry is seen to be important to drive the industry forward.

“The most important relationship is that between the owner and the trainer and that relationship has to be built on. While there’s responsibility for the owners, there’s a much greater responsibility with the trainers to keep owners involved and of course trainers understand the importance of keeping the customer satisfied.”

SAROA also organises regular social gatherings for members.

“The social aspect of our organisation is really important,” Ken says.

“Several functions are organised over the year and are published in our regular newsletters to members. It’s one of the things many of our members look forward to the most.”

Some of the continuing input received from SAROA members relates to prizemoney, with committee members meeting regularly with TRSA to discuss various prizemoney-related issues, and other matters.

“We seek the support of TRSA and work with it to contribute to continual improvement of industry outcomes,” Ken says.

“Through our regular newsletter, we make our members aware of the many issues that TRSA is facing within the industry.”

With a membership of around 250, SAROA is looking to grow its base. Anyone interested in joining the group is urged to email SAROA (president.saroa@gmail.com) or contact the SAROA secretary Richard Stafford (secretary@saroa.com.au).

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