Houlahan's Dream

Ellerslie - Premier race-day experience?

27 posts in this topic

I would be interested to hear others' experiences at Ellerslie for NY day. 

As usual I took my 5 yr old to the track and our experience in the public stand was typically underwhelming. Yes, they had some kids stuff there but really it was pretty meagre and basic. They had a cricket game, some paddle tennis, and a soccer kick thing. They had miniature horses that left before the Railway. Sort of an afterthought. We had issues crossing over the path where the gallopers go back to the stables AFTER the race, when they shut the gates 15 mins before one race with us on the wrong side. I pointed out to the attendant that the horses go the other way, through the birdcage, BEFORE the race, hence it was totally safe to let us across. He was sceptical, but after about 10 people objected, he opened the gates. You might argue that the races is no place for children but I remember going with my Mum while Dad worked at the races, when I was very small. You need that family experience if the industry is to survive, in my view. 

But perhaps I am wrong. How much do they care about the racing experience for non-owners or members, normal punters up for a day out? Would they rather we stay home and bet through the TAB? They play inane music all through the lead up to races, they let people erect tents on the lawn that block the view of the track, they think you are happy surviving on hot dogs and chips (actually, my kid is but hey) - really, it seems there main plan is to get young people there, allow them to get deeply drunk so they can keep selling $10 beers to them while they bet wildly. This plan only works on, say, five days a year at Ellerslie? Derby Day, Boxing day, NYDay, Melb cup? 

Is the industry built on breeding half decent horses then selling them to Australia or Hong Kong? Is that the business plan? 

Or is part of the Messara plan getting people along to the races so it survives as an employer of NZrs from many walks of life. 

I suppose what I am saying is, if Ellerslie on a 'BIG' day is an example of their planning for the future I would have to call into question whether racing has a financially viable future in this country at all. 

What am I missing? 

 

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Just what are you missing HD, maybe the good old days when your Mum took you to the races. Please tell all the activities that captured you as a young 'un.

There is a place for children at the races now as there was then. Please keep in mind thought it is a day at the races.

I am sick of reading about everyone who seems to go to the races to become a "victim".

I didn't go to Ellerslie or Matamata but from what I saw on TV the kids all seemed to be having a good time as were the rest .

 

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We had cool fun when our parents took us to the races. We played in a big drain!. None of that boring stuff like games and other stuff.

Irony aside we had a few hours on the Ascot Stand 4 x1 wooden seats. Hard on the skinny old butts and Ladywhatsit I think screeching full tit on the sound system just below the threshold of pain was punishing too.. The presenttations out front gave blessed respite.

But made some $$$ on Lethal and M M'cNab and went home happy

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I

3 hours ago, GOM said:

Just what are you missing HD, maybe the good old days when your Mum took you to the races. Please tell all the activities that captured you as a young 'un.

There is a place for children at the races now as there was then. Please keep in mind thought it is a day at the races.

I am sick of reading about everyone who seems to go to the races to become a "victim".

I didn't go to Ellerslie or Matamata but from what I saw on TV the kids all seemed to be having a good time as were the rest .

 

Being a critic of the product on offer doesn't make me a victim. It makes me a critic. I go and I will keep going because it is in the blood, I suppose. 

My query is based on how sustainable the current model is, when yesterday is close to as good as it gets, or as big as it gets. 

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4 hours ago, Houlahan's Dream said:

I would be interested to hear others' experiences at Ellerslie for NY day. 

As usual I took my 5 yr old to the track and our experience in the public stand was typically underwhelming. Yes, they had some kids stuff there but really it was pretty meagre and basic. They had a cricket game, some paddle tennis, and a soccer kick thing. They had miniature horses that left before the Railway. Sort of an afterthought. We had issues crossing over the path where the gallopers go back to the stables AFTER the race, when they shut the gates 15 mins before one race with us on the wrong side. I pointed out to the attendant that the horses go the other way, through the birdcage, BEFORE the race, hence it was totally safe to let us across. He was sceptical, but after about 10 people objected, he opened the gates. You might argue that the races is no place for children but I remember going with my Mum while Dad worked at the races, when I was very small. You need that family experience if the industry is to survive, in my view. 

But perhaps I am wrong. How much do they care about the racing experience for non-owners or members, normal punters up for a day out? Would they rather we stay home and bet through the TAB? They play inane music all through the lead up to races, they let people erect tents on the lawn that block the view of the track, they think you are happy surviving on hot dogs and chips (actually, my kid is but hey) - really, it seems there main plan is to get young people there, allow them to get deeply drunk so they can keep selling $10 beers to them while they bet wildly. This plan only works on, say, five days a year at Ellerslie? Derby Day, Boxing day, NYDay, Melb cup? 

Is the industry built on breeding half decent horses then selling them to Australia or Hong Kong? Is that the business plan? 

Or is part of the Messara plan getting people along to the races so it survives as an employer of NZrs from many walks of life. 

I suppose what I am saying is, if Ellerslie on a 'BIG' day is an example of their planning for the future I would have to call into question whether racing has a financially viable future in this country at all. 

What am I missing? 

 

You have to go to the country meeting they put on a fair bit of stuff for the kids entertainment. 

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4 hours ago, Houlahan's Dream said:

I would be interested to hear others' experiences at Ellerslie for NY day. 

As usual I took my 5 yr old to the track and our experience in the public stand was typically underwhelming. Yes, they had some kids stuff there but really it was pretty meagre and basic. They had a cricket game, some paddle tennis, and a soccer kick thing. They had miniature horses that left before the Railway. Sort of an afterthought. We had issues crossing over the path where the gallopers go back to the stables AFTER the race, when they shut the gates 15 mins before one race with us on the wrong side. I pointed out to the attendant that the horses go the other way, through the birdcage, BEFORE the race, hence it was totally safe to let us across. He was sceptical, but after about 10 people objected, he opened the gates. You might argue that the races is no place for children but I remember going with my Mum while Dad worked at the races, when I was very small. You need that family experience if the industry is to survive, in my view. 

But perhaps I am wrong. How much do they care about the racing experience for non-owners or members, normal punters up for a day out? Would they rather we stay home and bet through the TAB? They play inane music all through the lead up to races, they let people erect tents on the lawn that block the view of the track, they think you are happy surviving on hot dogs and chips (actually, my kid is but hey) - really, it seems there main plan is to get young people there, allow them to get deeply drunk so they can keep selling $10 beers to them while they bet wildly. This plan only works on, say, five days a year at Ellerslie? Derby Day, Boxing day, NYDay, Melb cup? 

Is the industry built on breeding half decent horses then selling them to Australia or Hong Kong? Is that the business plan? 

Or is part of the Messara plan getting people along to the races so it survives as an employer of NZrs from many walks of life. 

I suppose what I am saying is, if Ellerslie on a 'BIG' day is an example of their planning for the future I would have to call into question whether racing has a financially viable future in this country at all. 

What am I missing? 

 

If children’s entertainment is your priority then maybe you should be looking elsewhere to take your kids? It’s the “horse races”, not a children’s theme park.

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1 hour ago, Houlahan's Dream said:

I

 

My query is based on how sustainable the current model is,

That is the nub of the matter HD--at present the big race days are really a young person's "Rave", where dozens of young women dress inappropriately for their fuller figures (amazing unsightliness at NZ Cup day this year in spite of chilly wind), load up on Lindauer and then get tipped up by Christ's College opportunists! Ellerslie generally a better presentation ( my kids go, daughter doesn't drink, son a model of decency in spite of private schooling) but I haven't been since seeing Castles, red-faced and shirt hanging out, remonstrating with pissed group of youth outside Secretary's office 2-3 years ago.

Anyway , back to sustainability. If world trends are to be believed there will shortly be no need to congregate at race meetings as the young will be into virtual relationships via hand held media, smoking Cindy's free-range organic dope and then bunking down with blow up dolls as is the norm in Japan. All the old codgers like us will slowly wilt away hanging onto the memories of the great days trying to find standing room to watch Balmerino, La Mer, Proud Chief, Mayo Gold, Grey Way etc clutching our transferable "doubles" tickets.

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1 hour ago, Trump said:

If children’s entertainment is your priority then maybe you should be looking elsewhere to take your kids? It’s the “horse races”, not a children’s theme park.

Yes, good points raised there. And certainly yours is an opinion shared by the racing 'authorities'. 

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1 hour ago, Trump said:

If children’s entertainment is your priority then maybe you should be looking elsewhere to take your kids? It’s the “horse races”, not a children’s theme park.

Agree Trump--what is the betting turnover attributed to the average 5 year-old? A bit like all the public libraries these days. They used to be the bastion of silence and literary pursuit but now that are bloody public creches with indulgent mothers interacting with noisy "snot-gobblers".

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1 hour ago, Trump said:

If children’s entertainment is your priority then maybe you should be looking elsewhere to take your kids? It’s the “horse races”, not a children’s theme park.

As long as all you send all the fashion shows and the bands as well, no place for them at the races, the fashions are only there for the prizes, and probably  don't spend a cracker on the tote.

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1 minute ago, Shad said:

As long as all you send all the fashion shows and the bands as well, no place for them at the races, the fashions are only there for the prizes, and probably  don't spend a cracker on the tote.

And most of those bludgers get free entry, free booze, free eats, don't punt, wouldn't know horses are herbivores and all the cost comes off the Club/Industry top end that all the mug owners pay for! And to rub salt in the wound we get all the inane verbiage from the well-paid Rodley, Sweeney, Guerin, Popperwell,etc. (Must be well-paid because Guerin now a major owner!) Only one I rate is Steve D and he is under utilised. IMO

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2 hours ago, Trump said:

If children’s entertainment is your priority then maybe you should be looking elsewhere to take your kids? It’s the “horse races”, not a children’s theme park.

It comes down to what your "target market" is....and you schedule accordingly. It seems family groups have become less important over the years so race day preparation is not geared towards them..and as HD says, anything there is probably an afterthought.

Target groups, if there are any, would probably be primarily 18-35 year olds, Corporates and the usual mob who always turn up. Family groups I suspect are regarded as more trouble than they are worth ( at least at Auckland ) as minimal input through tote and only value through food and beverages.

 

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I thought  Ellerslie turned on a brilliant day...the racing was just outstanding .

Big ,even fields racing for good stakes [by NZ standards] ,some good horses[ by NZ standards] and the racing IMO was outstanding.

The facilities are far and away the best in NZ , and the track seems to be vastly improved and generally things ran like clockwork.Public facilities very good and improvements being made throughout from upgraded track ,great new stabling area and freshly painted seats in Ascot Stand.Plenty of widows open, great viewing ,free water ,well staffed and good security.

It was a top days racing ,the best available and the racing lived up to the Group status of most of the races, exciting and competitive.

Sorry ,not a day for 5 year olds and bouncy castles.

The only complaint I heard was sitting beside me in stand...a grumpy old man complaining about the music on horses return when they blast out the winning jockeys choice.....it turns out it was Nerula...haha. Us young guys love that....the winning horse and smiling jockey trot down the chute with the beautiful white clerks horses while the winning connections get very excited ,some waving to their friends in stand ,others kissing and hugging  or being interviewed all orchestrated by MGuerin who I thought did a fine job !

Great commentating by GSimon .....my only minor complaint would be the shortening cooking the hot chips was past its use by date ! Needed changing !

Not quite the vibe and eye candy of Boxing Day but a brilliant days racing .

Well done Ellerslie....roll on Karaka Day , Derby Day and Cup day.

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I went to Tauherenikau today, it is such a beautiful course with several thousand race goers  enjoying picnics under native trees  hundreds'of years old.

Great entertainment for the kids and the Punters club returned $82 for $10. The racing Club is very financial and no doubt they are very  grateful lhat they showed sound judgement by not becoming part of "The Race Debacle"

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I went to Tauranga today & like you mention above bloke, it was a great day out in the very hot sun. Kids entertainment was fantastic & Andre had them doing all sorts of stuff that the crowd got right into as well. The racing was entertaining, food nicely done, facilities good, parking and entry easy for such a massive crowd. Ted will enlighten us I am sure as to what the punters club did, but it appeared to be going very well.

If anyone was grumbling about today they would be a hard bastard to please.

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I think that country racing on carnival days and holidays are more the “family type” race days. Group days at tracks like Ellerslie are more for the regular racegoer and punter. JMHO. One of my favourite days was the year (1986) Kerry Lane won the Auckland Cup. I was in course for the races at “Hanging Rock”, a beautiful picturesque Race Course our near Mt Macedon, an hour from Melbourne. In between races, me and my kids played cricket on the course proper - along with a hundred others. Took our picnic rug, sandwiches and beer. A great day. But Flemington on Derby Day or Cox Plate day at Moonee Valley are def not for the kiddies. 

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I went to Ellerslie, did my dough but had a marvellous day ( again, Boxing Day was excellent too ).

Ellerslie is the best host club in NZ IMO, they treat me and whomever I choose to take racing with me so well, mind you I am racing royalty so nothing is too good or too much trouble for me.

They even did a reasonable job with the cheeseboard, but Herb or Craig, if you’re reading this, I can do a lot better for you, and I’ll do it for nothing.

 

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Yes, Ellerslie is a very progressive and innovative Club. Best facilities too. Comparing Ellerslie and Trentham is difficult. I used to love going to the top open deck of the Trentham public stand, but unfortunately, for whatever reason you want to put it to, Trentham seems to have gone backwards over the last 20 years. What’s changed? Very little. Whereas Ellerslie is a very slick run business and Is evolving.

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1 hour ago, poundforpound said:

I went to Ellerslie, did my dough but had a marvellous day ( again, Boxing Day was excellent too ).

Ellerslie is the best host club in NZ IMO, they treat me and whomever I choose to take racing with me so well, mind you I am racing royalty so nothing is too good or too much trouble for me.

They even did a reasonable job with the cheeseboard, but Herb or Craig, if you’re reading this, I can do a lot better for you, and I’ll do it for nothing.

 

Did Marshy not tip you Starrybeel then Leo ?!!;) 

Serious horse that....he will win a few races for sure.....

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1 hour ago, barryb said:

I went to Tauranga today & like you mention above bloke, it was a great day out in the very hot sun. Kids entertainment was fantastic & Andre had them doing all sorts of stuff that the crowd got right into as well. The racing was entertaining, food nicely done, facilities good, parking and entry easy for such a massive crowd. Ted will enlighten us I am sure as to what the punters club did, but it appeared to be going very well.

If anyone was grumbling about today they would be a hard bastard to please.

Punters Club was at $72,000 after Veine D'or won...how did they end up...??

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Sat at home, watched great fields competing and made a small positive amount.

Observations; Track has improved considerably, new CEO has some clues as the presentation of all aspects of the club which  has improved enormously over the previous 2 CEO’s, a bit of style and an invitation to become part of it.

Great benefit from the investment in the track surface, and will only be better next year. First time I have seen in years that the Railway has been a “true quality Gr 1 race”. Winner was the best horse, ridden well and got the “air” at the right time. Second and third can win a group one any tick of the clock, great race to enjoy watching from afar. Very strong form from a number of winners will evolve from the race day. Well done Ellerslie.

 

 

 

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Hats off to the Ellerslie track, tie ups and crowds for the two days racing.

Great Racing, close finishes and the track playing very fair.

The tie ups are a massive improvement, right down to the seats in the stalls for the staff strapping the horses. I see Cambridge Stud sponsored them, well done the Lindsay’s!

Just one thing, I hope the track doesn’t get closed for 3 months through the winter period and we are forced to head to Ruakaka, after all, you don’t see Caulfield, Flemington or Mooney Valley  close through this period.

Surely the new drainage system will be able to cope.

Edited by Chris Wood

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11 hours ago, Trump said:

Yes, Ellerslie is a very progressive and innovative Club. Best facilities too. Comparing Ellerslie and Trentham is difficult. I used to love going to the top open deck of the Trentham public stand, but unfortunately, for whatever reason you want to put it to, Trentham seems to have gone backwards over the last 20 years. What’s changed? Very little. Whereas Ellerslie is a very slick run business and Is evolving.

Trentham has cocked up in the past with a bunch of fools creating their demise. But in recent years they have run some very good Cup Days and  their Christmas at The Races  Day last month was huge. I spent the day in the public stand which was packed and I waited 20 minutes to buy a beer with several bar staff going flat out.  Also since the current Track Manager took over about 5 years ago  we have not had any of the track disasters that the previous one created. 

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