Hirst steps down from Racing Victoria

Racing Victoria (RV) Acting Chairman, Mike Hirst, has advised that he will retire from the RV Board on or before 31 May 2024 after more than eight years’ service.

Hirst was last week announced as the new Chairman of AMP Ltd.

A passionate racehorse owner and breeder, Hirst joined the RV Board in October 2015 and was appointed Deputy Chairman from October 2016. He served as Acting Chairman from October 2016 to October 2017 and again from July 2023 after the retirement of Brian Kruger.

Hirst is also a former Managing Director of Bendigo & Adelaide Bank.

In Hirst’s time on the RV Board:

Wagering turnover on Victorian racing has grown from $5.3 to $8.8 billion;
Annual prizemoney paid by RV has grown by $115 million;
Club funding has risen by 100%;
RV’s net assets have grown by more than $110 million, including a major strategic landholding at Oaklands Junction;
RV has delivered world-leading equine welfare protocols; and
It has secured a landmark 10-year industry funding agreement with the Victorian Government.

The RV Board also led the industry through the COVID pandemic, ensuring the continuation of racing and the protection of over 25,000 jobs.
Hirst was a key player throughout, serving as Deputy then Acting Chairman, with terms as Chairman of the Audit & Risk Sub-Committee, RV and Country Racing Victoria (CRV) Steering Committee, and Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Advisory Panel, as well as a member of the Racing Integrity and Equine Welfare Sub-Committee.

Hirst’s replacement on the RV Board will be determined by Victoria’s Minister for Racing who is responsible for appointing Directors in accordance with the Racing Act 1958.

“As a passionate racing fan, owner and breeder, it’s been an honour to serve on the Racing Victoria Board and help drive the growth of Victorian racing," said Hirst.

“Over the past eight years, RV has delivered record returns, invested in growth and strengthened its balance sheet while navigating the challenges of COVID, threats to our social licence and recent economic headwinds. Importantly, the integrity of the industry has never been stronger.

“As the new Chairman of AMP, I need to focus my energy on that role. This affords an opportunity for a new Director to join the Racing Victoria Board to help shape the future of Victorian racing.

“In announcing my retirement from the Board, I want to thank my fellow Directors, and the management and staff of Racing Victoria, for their tireless efforts to ensure a vibrant and sustainable industry, often without praise or fanfare. Their lot is not an easy one and their contribution to the industry is continually underrated by many.

“Having previously been a stablehand and pre-trainer, I have developed a great love for horses, so I will remain an active member and supporter of Victorian racing beyond May, and I hope to breed and race a Group 1 winner in the not-too-distant future.”