Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys, the mastermind behind The Everest, has launched a broadside at the NSW Government over their failure to support the promotion of the world's richest turf race on October 13.
V'landys went on a media blitz on Thursday across print, radio and television to condemn Gladys Berejiklian's government for failing to get behind an ambitious plan to use the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the centrepiece of the draw for the $13 million race.
He said that NSW was mired in bureaucracy which had re-enforced a 'can't-do' attitude and left Sydney well behind Melbourne when it came to major events.
“Melbourne has the smelly Yarra river, it’s got the most dreary city on Earth with the worst weather yet NSW bows and scrapes to it all the time,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “We consume the Melbourne Cup, the AFL grand final, the Australian Tennis Open."
“In stark contrast Sydney has the most beautiful city in the world and without any doubt the best harbour in the world and we do nothing to drive our own assets.”
“It (The Everest) is the most talked-about race in NSW and internationally at the moment, Sydney has a chance to promote it but there’s just road blocks,” Peter V'landys
Racing NSW wanted to drape massive flags featuring the 12 horse's colours from the Sydney Harbour Bridge alongside a number as part of the barrier draw to create an iconic image.
V'landys said the world famous bridge was a vasty underutilised resource and that Racing NSW had been thwarted by bureaucrats as they sought to realise their vision.
“The government has to start being forceful and use the assets of Sydney rather than trying to hide them,” he said.
“We never use the Harbour Bridge to promote anything. We never use the Opera House to promote anything. Everyone is so possessive of them that we’re not promoting Sydney. Rather than looking for reasons to use these assets, they give you pages of reasons why you can’t.”
Rally cry for NSW
The Everest has been a phenomenal success just 18 months after V'landys shocked the racing world by announcing it as Australia's richest race in February last year.
Three weeks ahead of its second running, V'landys has urged all of NSW to get behind the event, including those in state parliament.
“It’s the most talked-about race in NSW and internationally at the moment, Sydney has a chance to promote it but there’s just road blocks,” V’landys said.
He contrasted that with the amount of support that major events, such as the Melbourne Cup Carnival, are given in Victoria.
“One thing the Victorian government has over NSW is the conscientiousness of being a Victorian and how parochial they are,” he said. “They would fight for Victoria. In NSW we seem to be apathetic.”