Club leaders back body

Talk of Gallop South's impending doom has been fuelled by the organisation's own staff, according to Otago thoroughbred racing club leaders.

Rumours that the organisation would soon close and its employees would be made redundant were extinguished by members of the Gallop South board, who spoke with the Otago Daily Times this week.

The rumours were described as a storm in a tea cup by the presidents of Otago-based clubs which are members of the Gallop South organisation.

Those clubs include the Beaumont Racing Club, Central Otago Racing Club, Kurow Jockey Club and Waikouaiti Racing Club, which use Gallop South's administrative services.

The rumour mill was fuelled in panic by staff who received notification that restructure of the organisation was possible if a new general manager or chief executive was appointed, Kurow president Simon Williamson said.

''In this day and age you have got to tell your staff that and I think maybe that letter was taken out of context . . .''

He doubted the staff were familiar with employment law.

Gallop South has been without a chief executive since Malcolm Little resigned in August, 2015.

The Kurow Racing Club has been pleased with the services Gallop South has provided and the club remains committed to the organisation.

Racing had plenty of challenges and being united to face those challenges from both inside and outside of the racing industry was important, Williamson said.

''We set Gallop South up so that we had one voice.''

''Hopefully, going forward, that's the whole voice of southern racing and we need it.''

Waikouaiti Racing Club president Andy Denham backed Gallop South.

''As far as I am concerned we want Gallop South.''

Denham preferred not to comment about a possible restructuring of the organisation, but did say recent rumours were a storm in a tea cup.

''I think it has been blown out of proportion a little bit.''

Beaumont Racing Club president Phil Williams was in a similar position.

''It is a staff matter and I can't comment on that.''

Williams said the Beaumont club was committed to remaining in Gallop South and his club had enjoyed a good working relationship with the organisation.

Williams would like better communication from Gallop South.

''We don't get told what that board is doing. There is a very poor lack of communication.''

Central Otago Racing Club president Tony Lepper said his club also wanted to stay with Gallop South.

''At this stage we intend to stay in with them.''

Lepper said it made sense for clubs that race only once a year to be a part of Gallop South.

''For the likes of us who have one meeting, it is an impossibility for us to do it [all] ourselves.''

-By Jonny Turner

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