Sign in to follow this  
dock leaf

B De Lore on the Messara appointment

80 posts in this topic

Hope this is not considered copyright Scoobs? It's Brian's Informant article, taken from Waikato Stud newsletter

MESSARA APPOINTMENT THE PRECURSOR TO A PARADIGM-SHIFT IN OUR RACING CULTURE

19 April 2018

John-Messara-600x540.jpg

John Messara is determined to turn the New Zealand racing industry around.

 

(By Brian De Lore, The Informant)

Close your eyes and make a wish for racing!

If a year ago you had been accorded that luxury and thought “I want Winston Peters back as Minister for Racing and I want him to appoint John Messara to review New Zealand racing”, the TAB odds on that double would have been 10,000 to one.

Yet, it’s happened. No-one in their wildest dreams could have predicted such a long-shot double. For a decade or more, we in New Zealand racing and breeding have experienced a steady decline that has become serious to point of a crisis.

Not everyone in racing recognises we have reached crisis point, and not everyone is happy about either the Peters return as Minister or the Messara appointment. But then again, not everyone in racing has an IQ over 70, either.

This is a double that this writer had both hoped for and actively sought but never believed might become an actual reality. But now, I can pinch myself along with everyone else who has been constantly separating facts from NZRB fiction and say that the light at the end of the tunnel may not be a gravy-train heading straight at us but instead rays of sunlight from the rising dawn of a new racing era.

We are not over the line by any stretch, but to quote an oft-used line ‘the wheels are in motion’ is enough to say we have commenced a journey that will take us down a path never previously taken by racing and towards a destination of greener fields and richer pickings.

Using the train-station analogy – after years of sitting idle on rusty tracks we have now set off with the Minister driving the train at his speed and Messara firing up the furnace to produce a head of steam that will easily propel us to a new destination called Racebetter.

Messara has already commenced his review as you read this and will be working at full pace to produce an analysis of the structure and strategies of New Zealand racing to be delivered in a report to the Minister with his recommended changes at the earliest possible time.

Speaking to Messara soon after the announcement last Thursday, he said: “We are going to turn it around; I’ve agreed to it and I’m happy to help – New Zealand is part of the family and we are going to get moving on it.

“I will be doing a lot of research before I come up with my recommendations and I’ll be visiting once every two weeks for a couple of days. I have been retained by the government so I can’t say anything more than that.

“Any questions will have to be answered by Winston Peters and not by me. I can’t say anything about the project – my report has to be to him and nobody else.”

The blank sheet of paper is on the desk but still blank and understandably, little more will be heard until Minister Peters has devoured the completed Messara Report and is ready to make an announcement about changes. Rest assured, the Minister will not be saying anything until he is good and ready.

Reaction to the Messara appointment has mostly been very positive and both the Messara office in Sydney and NZ First having been inundated with emails of support and enthusiasm for the review.

And while ‘mum’s the word’ on the progress Messara will make while delving into racing’s administrative abyss, his record as a trouble-shooter for Racing NSW suggests his recommendations in the end will be substantial and game changing.

Having known Messara since the late1970s as a somewhat younger journalist working for the monthly Racetrack magazine in Sydney; having knowledge of his entree committee role in racing which happened to be the NSW Racehorse Owners’ Association, Messara is a familiar character to this writer.

Add to that his commissioning from me a feasibility study into founding a new racing publication in the early 1980s for which there were numerous visits to his then Sydney stockbrokers office, also his two years as a director of Ra Ora Stud during my term as general manager, and having attended his lavish 40th birthday party at Arrowfield Stud way back in the day, it’s fair to say those experiences have provided an insight to how the man thinks and acts.

Then take a look at his achievements in more recent times. He was the founder and is principal of Australia’s most successful stud and the business acumen he displayed during his five years as Chairman of Racing NSW (2011-2016), and as Chairman of Racing Australia for just on three years during the same timeframe, is unprecedented.

He and Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys turned around racing in their state, where the industry was declining alarmingly and falling behind Victoria until the pair constantly lobbied the NSW Government and took drastic remedial action.

Messara is an uncompromising character who likes to get his way and isn’t fazed by treading over a few slowcoaches or dissenters to achieve a result for the greater good. His appointment by Peters is a stroke of genius and there’s no doubt the Minister will trust the Messara recommendations and get straight into action with the appropriate legislation.

My experience with Messara tells me he will be savage on expenses – he will cut costs to the bone as he did at Ra Ora and later Racing NSW. Instead of the NZRB costing $205 million to run and returning $143 million to the codes, those figures might be reversed. He will set out to maximise the returns to the codes which will on-flow to the owners, trainers and all other participants in thoroughbreds, harness and greyhounds.

In my chat with Messara at this year’s Karaka Yearling Sales from which the ‘blank sheet of paper’ article published in the February 1 edition of The Informant was hatched, one of the points he stressed was cost saving.

“I can’t understand why you don’t immediately cut your costs and stop variegating about it,” Messara said. “It’s one thing you could do straight away.”

Messara’s list of achievements at Racing NSW under the sub-heading of ‘Costs’ is highlighted by ‘Cost effective industry management’ which states that ‘Racing NSW operates at 38 per cent of the cost of Victoria despite running approximately 20 per cent more race meetings.’

All this points to the costs at NZRB having the guts ripped out of them. But costs at NZRB will not be scrutinised alone, because the code bodies are certain to get the same treatment as are the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) and the Judicial Control Authority (JCA).

This cumbersome set-up is not only expensive but poorly conceived and possibly destined for the dustbin. Messara overhauled ‘Integrity’ in NSW and setup a Racing NSW Investigation and Surveillance Unit amongst many other associated reforms that streamlined the integrity side of racing. This could well be the template for an alternative New Zealand model.

Other reforms that Messara addressed and vastly improved during his tenure for Racing NSW included industry modernisation sustainability, animal welfare and jockey welfare. He was also the overseer of NSW thoroughbred prize-money increasing from $118 million to $203 million per annum and he was instrumental in the creation of The Championships.

It all points to Messara being the perfect man for the job. But despite the impressive CV and his impartiality, immediate criticism was levelled by National Party Spokesperson for Racing Ian McKelvie who released a statement a day after the Peters announcement entitled ‘Shine coming off Peters’ racing crusade’.

But the only shine detected in McKelvie’s press release was that radiating from the adjacent photo of his own bald head. He contended the Messara appointment was contrived only to ‘deliver the answers Mr Peters was wanting on behalf of his supporters’ and the delay to the racefields legislation was costing the industry unnecessarily.

McKelvie’s words barely justify a response, except to say that with the shallow knowledge displayed in his rant it doesn’t look good for racing if National eventually regained power and this ill-advised pretender was to become the Minister for Racing.

When former Prime Minister and legal expert Geoffrey Palmer was used as an adviser to the racing industry back in 2002, he told the authors of the Racing Act 2003 that they should get the wording of that legislation absolutely correct because the train stops at the station only once every 15 to 20 years. Here we are 15 years later with the race-fields legislation on hold for very good reason.

The new legislation will not be rolled out until after the Messara Report has been lodged and then considered by the Minister and to which the race-fields legislation will be added and rolled into one package. The racing industry will get only one chance at this and that’s why Peters confided a month ago, “It’s very complicated and very slow to write but it has to be right before we roll it out.”

In the meantime, Messara will be seen here talking to what he described last week as the ‘key players of the industry’.

Knowing Messara, he will be avoiding those who look as though they know the answers, or those who would have him believe they know the answers. Instead, he is more likely to seek the company of those who are trying to understand the question.

To read this and other important industry stories in The Informant each week email ADMIN@RACINGMEDIA.CO.NZ. Mention W@W and get 20% off an online subscription.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why on earth would P4P be on the outer ?

He’s never been anywhere else FFS

As for Messara, yes he’s a luminary in Australia but this is NZ, and curiously the very traitors who betrayed us as an industry in 2003 are now the puppeteers moving Brian de Lore’s jaw for him.

Watch what happens when The Racing Act is changed, watch the big sports all want their pound of flesh, and watch the 20 million pokie money go back to where it belongs ( and not into racing )

As they say, be careful what you wish for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interestingly, myself and many others who regularly contribute to the Racecafe banter, have regularly hammered home the point that "COSTS" have to be cut. I've mentioned it many many times. There's been no attempt at all to rein in the ludicrous cost of running racing in NZ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, gubellini said:

John Messara can’t come soon enough!Tomorrow the time honoured Easter Handicap is to be run at Counties the stake being a pitiful $100,000. 20 years ago in 1998 the race was won by Aimee Jay ridden by Kelly Davidson. Yes the stake was $100,000.

Run at Counties and not even at Easter - who was the genius that came up with that???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Ellerslie is going ahead with a 1/2 arsed drainage job instead of installing a Strathayr track like Moonee Valley?

Surely they should be told to wait for the Messara report before doing anything? Whatever they do now is likely to be a waste of time and money.

The hardest thing for the industry to swallow will be if he recommends significant racetrack centralisation. If he does do that then it’s essential for Ellerslie to be Strathayr or similar. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that gets my back up, mentioned it to a committee man..... ooops Board man a few months back and you should have heard his response, no idea! We are going to put up new tie-up stalls, can you please tell me if it is true that one prominent NZ racing owner is paying for these? As I have always said, I love going to Ellerslie to race, but I can see in 5 years time, oh, we have to close down for the winter, off you go to Ruakaka, more cost to the owners!

Fine having money in the bank, get a surface you can race on regularly, get the punters into a pattern, and you might just get a few back that NZ racing has chased away over the years!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ian McKelvie’s comments on the racing industry are bordering on vandalism and betrayal. But I just don’t get what politicians don’t get about this racefields legislation?  If after 15 years of incompetence, hidden agendas and bullying, why should anything surprise? National Party should bow their collective heads in shame, but they’re too arrogant to acknowledge through their inaction they have decimated an industry...whilst I welcome John Messara’s appointment, I can only pray the big ship which carries a lot of non paying passengers is decommissioned. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This must fail.

Peters is loathed by National, he failed in coalitions with Shipley and Bolger, and his own party split to stay with National when they rightly kicked him into touch.

Labour hates racing because of the right wing tendencies of the affiliated, and the “fat cat” image racing has, an image enhanced at yearling sales time with the champagne and Range Rovers.

The Greens in turn hate racing for animal welfare reasons.

Winston cannot get his partners to support this reformation, and the fact Garry Chittick is involved, and he has his arm so far up de Lore’s chutney he can feel his tonsils, doesn’t help ( given that Chittick stood for National against Ben Couch ).

Now de Lore is putting the boot into Ian McKelvie, I know McKelvie, he’s a good man, highly successful and well connected.

When the well soaked Winston falls out with his coalition partners and National gets back in power ( as they always do ) racing will pay a high price for de Lore’s reckless comments and Peters’ bitterness.

In addition the major sports are sitting and waiting to pounce on the revenues they earn, so any legislative change will mean a huge loss in sports revenue / profit, and with the Greens influence the loss of all industry pokie turnover, about 500 million a year, and the net 20 million from Pokies.

De Lore makes a disparaging remark about the intelligence of racing folk, bad call Brian, you’re the fuckwit mate and you’re showing it with your lack of vision, not to mention the oleaginous grovelling shit about Messara’s 40th birthday party

As an aside whatever happened to Ra Ora, weren’t they listed ? and their breeding operations ?

Peters is fucked, he’s old, he appears to have health issues, his speech is often slurred nowadays, and he has no loyalty to his pay masters anyway otherwise he wouldn’t have gone into coalition with Labour.

He’s also a terrible xenophobe and given that racing needs immigrant labour Peters will potentially do enormous damage to the game.

The dreamers of racing ( read the ignorant and uneducated ) might subscribe to this appointment but the intelligent and the informed are deeply suspicious, and we harbour deep reservations about the likely outcome.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian, tell us all about Ra Ora, what you achieved there, what Messara and Arrowfield did when they took over, and the success stories there with stallions etc...

My information is that Messara, Arrowfield, and you, drove that operation into oblivion, eventually back into the hands of the Fishers, and ultimately into the history books.

Is that what we can expect when your “white knight” tries to reform NZ Racing ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, poundforpound said:

The dreamers of racing ( read the ignorant and uneducated ) might subscribe to this appointment but the intelligent and the informed are deeply suspicious, and we harbour deep reservations about the likely outcome.

 

 

 

'we', says the person who deludes himself that he is a mover and a shaker! knows nothing about politics! as shown by the posts above!  

remind everyone about what happened when you had the chance at making change when given the chance via the Trainers Assoc... poisoned that lot as you do anything you touch!  stick to being a bartender! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, oh dear me said:

'we', says the person who deludes himself that he is a mover and a shaker! knows nothing about politics! as shown by the posts above!  

remind everyone about what happened when you had the chance at making change when given the chance via the Trainers Assoc... poisoned that lot as you do anything you touch!  stick to being a bartender! 

 It sure I’m suited to being a bar tender but thanks for your kind thoughts 

I do know a lot about politics though, how about we debate what I’ve said above and see who’s the pretender.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Memo Leo

Why don’t you get on the List of your beloved National Party at the next election and become the next Racing Minister? Then all our problems will be solved! You wouldn’t have to extend yourself much to beat the record of those also rans Nathan Guy and David (Invisible Man) Bennett.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, gubellini said:

Memo Leo

Why don’t you get on the List of your beloved National Party at the next election and become the next Racing Minister? Then all our problems will be solved! You wouldn’t have to extend yourself much to beat the record of those also rans Nathan Guy and David (Invisible Man) Bennett.

The Nats will never support racing because of Winston’s vituperative behaviour 

Racing will get what it deserves as long as it doesn’t learn to utilise it’s own resources and stand on its own two feet.

Society despises racing on many levels, some justified, some not, and any favourable unilateral decision making by Winston will come at a high long term cost to the industry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just can't see how this is going to be the silver bullet NZ racing needs.

Didn't Australia have the contributions from bookmakers etc to improve prizemoney, have infrastructure in place that is centuries ahead of where NZ racing is and most important of all have racing as a  sport in Australia that is major player in the sporting landscape of the nation? 

I would have thought what he'll find in NZ is that there is no juice left in the provincial clubs/product and the real need to change needing to happen at the metropolitan level and obviously in both administrative bodies from both a financial and operational standpoint. As an example there are several of the larger clubs around the country that could surely be amalgamated into one body and thus save the industry $$ , can anyone see that happening?

Surely it doesn't take an import to write a report to tell us that, its been well known for years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Huey said:

I just can't see how this is going to be the silver bullet NZ racing needs.

 

It may not be Huey, but its a heck of a lot better than what has been happening for years. anything that does happen is only a temporary stay of execution I am afraid unless some key fundamentals are addressed. As P4P posts above "society despises racing on many levels" this unfortunately will ultimately see racing struggle to survive the next 20 years. Racing's got 3 serious challenges if its going to make it through.

1) Aging population - those interested are aging and becoming less financial.

2)Costs - the costs to race a horse in NZ are out of control, the people providing the product are getting financially hit in all directions.

3) Societal Change - the biggest challenge is that society is becoming less tolerant of anything to do with farming animals, racing is a very easy target as its linked to gambling. https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/103299091/a-kangaroo-wouldnt-hop--so-zoo-visitors-in-china-stoned-it-to-death this article has been one of the lead Stuff stories over the last 2 days, seriously it was a kangaroo in a chinese zoo 2 years ago ffs. Really highlights how much society has shifted in thinking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, barryb said:

It may not be Huey, but its a heck of a lot better than what has been happening for years. anything that does happen is only a temporary stay of execution I am afraid unless some key fundamentals are addressed. As P4P posts above "society despises racing on many levels" this unfortunately will ultimately see racing struggle to survive the next 20 years. Racing's got 3 serious challenges if its going to make it through.

1) Aging population - those interested are aging and becoming less financial.

2)Costs - the costs to race a horse in NZ are out of control, the people providing the product are getting financially hit in all directions.

3) Societal Change - the biggest challenge is that society is becoming less tolerant of anything to do with farming animals, racing is a very easy target as its linked to gambling. https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/asia/103299091/a-kangaroo-wouldnt-hop--so-zoo-visitors-in-china-stoned-it-to-death this article has been one of the lead Stuff stories over the last 2 days, seriously it was a kangaroo in a chinese zoo 2 years ago ffs. Really highlights how much society has shifted in thinking.

No argument from me there Barry but of the 3 things you've mentioned 1 & 3 I can't see this report having much impact on and the 2nd one is widely known and has been for sometime so why would it be taken any more seriously because an Australian identifies it as an issue?

I guess the point I'm trying to make is the problems with the Industry have been blindly obvious for some time why will this report be any different and instigate change?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brian de Lore means well, but he’s representing the interests of one team in a three team world, and it’s a dysfunctional team that needs a scapegoat to conceal its own vacuous leadership.

My first question to Brian would be this, if the NZRB is so inefficient, and The Racing Act so corrupted, why is the greyhound code doing so well ?

You never bear “boo” from them, they just watch smugly from the periphery, as they prosper and grow.

The inescapable fact is that NZTR and the big clubs ( the fat white stale male crowd ) have betrayed this code and the industry by wasting cash resources and handling their assets poorly.

The best analogy I can think of is this. 

The TB code is like a drunk in the gutter, they’ve pissed their pants, vomited all over themselves, they’re cold and shivering, but all they want to do is point their crooked fingers and blame the liquor sellers for supplying their poison, and the government for not protecting them from themselves.

Anyone who cannot see that our predicament is entirely due to our own code incompetence and a lack of strong leadership needs to go see Fred Hollows.

Meantime Jackson and his crew will keep plying the ignorant with more delusional fantasies and promises of “blue sky” ( give me time, I’ll deliver ) when the harsh reality is that they’ve got no idea, and if they even understood racing at the grass roots level  they’d do the right thing and resign tomorrow.

Messara is just another distraction, presumably designed to give the incumbents more time, meantime the innocent ( but ignorant ) victims who “put on the show” in this game continue to suffer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Ian McKelvie is now the Nats racing spokesperson,  and is apparently a well connected and well versed racing man, why is it only now that he has voiced an opinion? If he has the answers to extract our ailing industry from further misery, why did he not come out prior (last 9 years) with a plan? Unfortunately all I see is political opportunism....which garners mistrust in many of us.

whilst many contributors to this forum are decidedly suspicious of JM, I can empathise....believe me, I do...but if only half of what he has identified can be implemented, then we’re a bit further down the resurrection path...otherwise our industry is not sustainable in its current form. As I have mentioned several times on this forum, Miss Aderns “colours nailed to the mast” agenda is child poverty...and racing is not going to get that pokie money over shoeless kids...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Further to my post, where I say believe me, here in Australia, JM has had many knockers over the years due to him being very, very successful and where the Aussie tall poppy syndrome prevails. if JM’s knockers could match half of his achievements, they would only be a fraction of the way to his level of success! 

I do hope he is being paid an amount commensurate with his track record! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this