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Racing gets back on track -

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LISA MILLAR: First it was the horse flu that sent them fleeing from the track then the pilgrims
arrived taking over the racecourse, but now the billion dollar racing industry is doing its best to
prove all is back in order.

Sydney's Royal Randwick Racecourse will tomorrow be the venue for "Super Saturday" - a day where
time honoured races are held, designer hats get an outing and wallets get a work out.

But after the horse flu forced the unprecedented cancelling of last year's spring racing carnival,
has the industry truly recovered?

Karen Barlow was trackside at dawn.

KAREN BARLOW: Top Australian horse trainer Gai Waterhouse is putting her runners for Randwick's
Super Saturday through their final paces.

Among her many career wins Waterhouse has taken out the Epsom Handicap four times before.

GAI WATERHOUSE: And like the Doncaster in the autumn it is our premier mile race in Australia so
it's very exciting, you know. It's lovely to have a couple of runs. I've got two star thoroughbreds
geldings in tomorrow. One is called Bank Robber and he just might be the bank robber.

KAREN BARLOW: Super Saturday is one of the main days on the Australia racing calendar along with
Victoria's Melbourne Cup and Derby Day.

RICHARD KIMPTON: It is a three week carnival compressed into one whatever it is and that is a
little bit different but yeah, there's plenty of races on, there's plenty of horses here and that's
what we're here for.

KAREN BARLOW: The clerk of the Randwick racecourse, Richard Kimpton. He's worked at the track for
longer than he cares to admit and he's noted that the smiles of the workers are now returning after
the tough times of the past 12 months.

RICHARD KIMPTON: It looked like a morgue this place. You looked down there and you couldn't see a
horse or a person anywhere, you know. It was frustrating because you never seen it like that. In
150 years it's never ever been like that this place you know.

So that was a bit of a change you know but, you don't like to see it like that you know.

KAREN BARLOW: Were you working at all or trying to work?

RICHARD KIMPTON: Well we were coming to work put it that way and there was no work to do so you
know that was the frustrating thing about it. You know you wanted to do something; you wanted to be
able to do something but you couldn't because there was no point in doing anything. You're sitting
there twiddling your thumbs feeling sorry for yourself and everyone else you know?

KAREN BARLOW: The Randwick track has also not completely recovered from having more than 100,000
World Youth Day pilgrims sleeping, praying and celebrating on it in April.

Most of the horses were sent to another Sydney track for several months and the State and Federal
governments spent $42-million compensating the industry.

With the horse flu it's been a double whammy for Randwick trainers such as Graeme Begg.

GRAEME BEGG: You know gradually getting back into gear. I don't think a lot of trainers have really
got their full compliment of horses back yet. We've also found that it has taken a while to get
horses going again because they were put back six months at least and I think we're going to find
that it is going to be probably at least another six to 12 months before we are fully operational.

KAREN BARLOW: Were any of your horses sick?

GRAEME BEGG: Oh every horse at Randwick was sick. Every horse, 700-odd horses which were sick at
Randwick. Yeah, it went through the place like wildfire. It was a hard time but it's amazing how
quickly it's gone past. It's 12 months has past and we're back to having a major race day in the
spring.

KAREN BARLOW: Racing rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne has always been intense and Melbourne has
just launched its spring racing carnival.

Centrebet's Neil Evans says this weekend is when Randwick proves itself as a major player again.

NEIL EVANS: It is extreme. Look Melbourne is always in the box seat this time of the year but
really I think they've been giggling in Sydney over the last few weeks. Most of the headline horses
have been going around in Melbourne. Plenty of depth and quality in the fields and that progresses
to competitive betting races.

Sydney hasn't had that. A lot of short priced favourites, a lack of depth but it turns around for
Epsom day where the fields are bigger and the betting should be a lot more competitive.

KAREN BARLOW: Punters are returning to horse racing for the spring carnival after having to find
other sports to bet on.

Earnings were down last financial year for betting companies but they have coped since they also
offer wagers on football, cricket, major awards ceremonies and politics.

Centrebet's Neil Evans.

NEIL EVANS: A lot of relief there of course because, look, if New South Wales had been struck by a
another bout of equine influenza it would have crippled the industry. Racing people are resilient
and punters are probably even more resilient.

KAREN BARLOW: There was a horse flu scare in Sydney last week but it turned out to be a false
alarm.

Randwick trainer Graeme Begg doesn't think the racing industry is big enough to cope with another
bad year.

GRAEME BEGG: I don't know if we'd get the support from the Government. It would be a very difficult
time and I think a lot of people would be out of business.

KAREN BARLOW: But the clerk of Randwick Racecourse Richard Kimpton says the industry is tougher
than it looks.

RICHARD KIMPTON: Of course it is, yes, not a problem. Do it on its head. Do it easily.

LISA MILLAR: The sounds from the track. Karen Barlow was our reporter.