Veteran trainer fears for the future of country racing
RACING: He is one of the last genuine characters of Queensland country racing.
A salt-of-the-earth type who has put countless hours of blood, sweat and tears on to the track.
For Gympie trainer Dennis Heinemann, working racehorses is more than a way to pay the bills, it is a lifestyle.
However, Heinemann is worried.
An outspoken advocate for country racing, he believes bush trainers are not getting the support they need to make the sport profitable.
Speaking with The Gympie Times from the Ted Fisher Lodge, Heinemann was full of praise for Gympie's facilities but said working horses in 2017 was a struggle.
"Whenever people ask, I tell them Gympie is the best place in Australia to train a horse.
"Here, you can actually watch your horses work. Down in Caloundra for instance, they (horses) are 300m away with billboards in between. All you see is a little black dot.
"Gympie is a good track. They do good maintenance on it but, there is an end-by date for country racing as we know it.
"There is not enough money to split around to feed everybody.”
Heinemann explained that country race meetings were "crucial” for regional towns.
He cites a lack of quality prize money and the rising cost of owning a racehorse as contributing to the sports' woes.
He said it was not the responsibility of individual turf clubs to fix these issues, and praised Gympie Turf Club officials for providing a quality racing product.
"It is a business, and I am not whinging, because I have enough money to finish off my career with my horses but I argue for other trainers.
"I love the Gympie meets and the club needs all the credit, but part of their job is to fight for better prize money.”
Heinemann will start Cutting Jet in the Gympie Tennis Club Class-B today.
Racing kicks off at the Gympie Turf Club 1.30pm..