ness Racing Council and Inter Dominion Trotting Council was to rejuvenate the Inter Dominion Series and to substantially increase prize money to no less than $1 million for the Final,” he said recently.
    Initially Seymour’s somewhat brash proposal was met with resistance in some quarters, but as he explains now, it became
obvious to him “that doing nothing was not an option. “It clearly dented a few administrators’ egos when I suggested
the Inter Dominion had lost its public appeal through lack of promotion and diminishing prize money (e.g.: Adelaide 2007 only $500,000).”
    Seymour hit a raw nerve when he suggested the Gold Badge
holders, who follow the Series, were ‘an aging following with their
feet on the front steps of retirement villages.’
    He now says that comment was intended to get the message across that we were not attracting the younger generation, who
are the big spending demographic that entertainment venues have targeted to attend their special events.
     Instead of just talking about it, Seymour put his money where his mouth is, agreeing to sponsor the Inter Dominion, via his construction company Watpac, for $200,000 for the next three years.
    The first ‘Watpac’ Inter Dominion was staged, quite successfully,
in Melbourne earlier this year, but Seymour has seized on the opportunity of doing things a lot better in Brisbane, his
home town, next year.
    And this is the where and why of the World Cup idea.
     “The IDTC has made a token start, introducing some changes but they have not made sufficient ones to identify the event and attract maximum public patronage,” Seymour explained.
    “The criteria I set was to be minimum $1 million finals and to set an example I agreed to sponsor the event by injecting
$200,000 for a three year commitment of $600,000 by Watpac.
    “I realized that unless I took up the challenge to make a real difference to the series, it would continue to be lackluster with declining attendance and betting turnovers,” he said.
    Seymour points out the TA B turnover on the Melbourne 2008 Inter Dominion series just completed, was less than the
event that ran there eight years ago.
   “As a result I decided to get media coverage and whet the appetite of the racing public; we needed something really special which we could promote.
    “I looked at the various successes of both codes of racing (Thoroughbred and harness racing), and this resulted in the decision to internationalize harness racing during a specific carnival period,” he said now, with real passion and genuine excitement.
     “To achieve this we had to have the best pacing horses in the world race against each other and to settle once and for all

pacing horses in the world race against each other and to settle once and for all which are the best, USA, Canadian, New
Zealand or Australian horses.
     “The public comes to the track to see
the world’s best horses compete against each other, and to get the best horses to compete in Australia not only do we need at least two signature events, but also the prize money has to be the best in the world.
    “I conceived that we should inaugurate
a World Cup with a magical $1 million
purse,” he noted proudly.
    “This, coupled with the richest pacing
race in the world being the Watpac Inter
Dominion, with projected prize money for
the final of $1.6 million, will create enormous publicity and interest across the racing fraternity and public at large,” he added.
    Seymour points out the proposed
2009 World Cup does NOT have to be
run at Albion Park (1,000 metre track) in
Brisbane, where the Inter Dominion will
be conducted.
    In New South Wales (where Seymour
was actually born and educated), the new
1,400 metre Menangle track will have
been racing for about 10 months, and is a
distinct possible host for the event.
      “Think of the possibilities. The
world’s best horses racing on a world class
track, pacing sizzling times, while possibly
enhancing stud values of these horses.
    “It would be a huge lure for northern
hemisphere owners and trainers
trying to sell prospective stallions to
come here and show off their horses.
Race world class times in the southern
hemisphere, then sell for big money,”
Seymour said.

    Seymour says ideally the World Cup
would be run two weeks after the Inter
Dominion Final (probably in April). He
already has a prospective sponsor ready
to put $500,000 into the running of the
2009 World Cup.
     He notes that the Queensland Government, via its tourism arm, has expressed considerable interest in contributing to the costs of a World Cup, if it could be guaranteed the event would be run for a five year period in the same place and at the same time.
“There is a lot of work being done to
bring it all together, yet progress has been
swift and support from the corporate sector
and Government has been extremely
encouraging.
     “You can guarantee you will see the
World Cup and Watpac Inter Dominion
conducted for increased prize money
levels in 2009 and our target is to have
a carnival package in excess of $2.5 million,” he enthusiastically announced.
    Kevin Seymour’s record and reputation
in the business and the corporate world in
Australia is right up there with the best.
   Seymour is a go-getter, with the know
how, charisma, funds and contacts to achieve almost anything he wants to target.
    In this instance it’s his love of the harness
horse and the industry he has dedicated
so much of his time (and money) that
is benefiting.
    And why is he doing it?
    He has passion, and he’s putting his
money where his mouth is.

Neale Donnelly is a long time racing
journalist who covered the sport for 20
years for the Melbourne Sun. He now
hosts a daily radio program dedicated to
racing.


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