Taku Umanga

ATC Update

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Hi owners/trainers,

This is an update from the ATC regarding the recent stakes increases and the effects these will have on field selection going forward into the foreseeable future. The ATC has put in place numerous ventures in recent times to ensure the viability of the ATC and racing here at Alexandra Park and it is our commitment to our members, supporters and the wider industry that everything is done to enable us to remain as the premier harness racing venue here in the North Island.

As with many new building developments in Auckland at this present time, periodic issues have stalled the flow of timely construction and unfortunately for the ATC, this has been no different. The new increased stakes that came into effect as of March 1 2019 was originally meant to have coincided with the opening of both Building A & B and a fully functioning village – however due to numerous issues experienced to date on the building site, completion has now been deferred to an expected September 2019 date TBC. The ATC Board understood how important these new stakes increases were for many in the industry to provide a level of confidence proceeding forward into the future and as a result, the decision was made not to defer these stakes increases until the village opened and to continue with the promised March 1 2019 date for these to kick into effect.

What this has meant of the industry is that the ATC now has a $15K minimum stake (2YO’s & non-winners), race winners are racing for $20K and the highest rated pacers/trotters are regularly racing for $25K – stakes levels that are above and beyond any other racing club in the country and allow both owners & trainers to achieve and sustain a far greater potential return than has otherwise been seen for many years in this industry. What we have experienced in recent weeks is the flow-on effect from these increases – with a wealth of nominations for both the meetings of April 5 & 12 and unfortunately (due to limited funding from HRNZ) some horses have had to miss a start. Given the ATC races 41 times for the 2018/19 seasons and hopes to replicate that for the upcoming 2019/20 season, outside of the six Premier meetings there are 35 remaining standard race nights in which most horses are always catered for – again well over and above the number of racing opportunities that are being offered to the industry by the balance of clubs.

What has come to light in recent times is that many are not made aware that the ATC is bulk funded at the beginning of the season by HRNZ and this is based on the number of approved meeting/race number licences given to us by HRNZ and the NZRB. For the ATC to achieve the new increased stakes levels of March 1 2019, all available funds (until the completion of the village) have gone into achieving these and hence the ATC is unable to additionally self-fund any extra races here at The Park. HRNZ are in a similar predicament at this current time – having exhausted their own cash reserves which again does not allow for them at this current point to confirm reimbursement to clubs for any additional races that are approved. Both above points are why on April 5 & 12, even given the wealth of nominations, that additional races were not able to be programmed over and above the pre-approved (and funded) race licences for each of these meetings (besides from the additional 10th race that was approved and self-funded by the ATC for $10K this Friday 12 April).

Going forward, the ATC wanted to advise owners/trainers on the process of how fields will be selected going forward into the foreseeable future so that while disappointment for some may not be avoidable on a given week, a clearer and more open picture of what can be expected could be instated. The ATC is committed to being the premier harness racing venue in the North Island as aforementioned and this combined with a strong Cambridge & Manawatu will allow for the foreseeability of harness racing in the North for many years to come. What this will mean is that our fields will always be selected from the top downwards, with selection preference (where applicable) always going to those rated R55 & faster on any given week – with the spread of horses gaining preference in any given race to be chosen (at the club’s discretion) using a combination of both ratings & form. This doesn’t mean that horses rated below R55 won’t be given racing opportunities here at The Park on a regular enough basis - series such the ‘South Of The Bombay’s’ will continue to be programmed (again where applicable to the overall racing population) as will races for the R40-54 grade horse. What this will mean though is that Cambridge & Manawatu will derive direct benefit as horses will have to race at these tracks to incur rating points that will allow them to safely guarantee themselves a start here at The Park on a more regular basis than previously – something that while may not please everyone right now, will actually be to the overall benefit of all three North Island clubs and most importantly the industry in the North as a collective.

We thank you for your time and understanding during this period and we look forward to having you racing your horses here at The Park not only now but for many years to come.

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As a Waikato owner and Cambridge club member, I think aspects of the above letter are great for NI racing. The lower rated horses should be racing at Cambridge and now there's a better incentive to win as that means the horse becomes eligible to race for bigger bikkies up the road. Previously a win was a mixed blessing because not great stake  for the hcp gained.

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8 hours ago, john legend said:

Preparation for the backdowns to come !!

Why John. Any improvement in stakes should be welcome surely. Are Cambridge able or prepared to up their game? $500 for 5th at Auckland not to be sneezed at compared to running third at Cambridge. Despite what you may think about the class of horse it's still no easier to win a lower class race. 

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The  part that worries me in this statement is that it says HRNZ have exhausted their cash reserves.   HRNZ need to update the industry on what their finances are,  what their income projections are for next year and what plans if any they have to produce increasing revenues to sustain and improve current stake levels.

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the backdown Tim (and i dont enjoy pointing out the obvious, having my first visit to Alex pk in a push chair 70 years ago) is that cash flow from develpments would enable 15.20 or even 25 000 min stakes by now. ATC Committee has decided to continue with the promise without the extra income available. at approx 5000 per race above previously the cost would be approx  2million dolars per season !  The backdown will come if the A B C D shops/apartments are not  positive income real soon . and ATCreserves get seriously depleted.. My problem is hiding behind a lot of hyperbole    and grandstanding about wanting to remain top HR in north Island  and only catering for top class horses and generously suggesting Cambridge and Manawatu are to gain huge benefit by forcing AK horses South to win points (which has been happening for years)The hot air started 3 years ago by previous employees of AtC  is continuing. unabated. I rue the day when I read    "ATC has been forced into liquidation due to on going legal matters relating to the non completion of their Building project originally due for partial completion 2 years ago. The committee has a fiduciary responsibility with personal liability for continuing to spend increased funds on racing  only on the assumption of future postive income.  "   

Edited by john legend
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Typically  of Auckland  they were happy to use lower grade horses  to fill the card last 2 years and now they saying thanks u we don't  need or want u here racing .Everybody  needs a share  or the pie for it to work or the system  doesn't  work most stables have those type of horses cant justifie racing further than cambridge it's to far for the guy that has a couple  of horses in work when coping those points hard to do if ur a 1 man operation with family and work not hard u need strong foundations for a business  to work if the top of the tree is the only 1 getting the fruit ur left with bitter fruit at the bottom taste bad ? It must be shared around we all need to eat . The club must support  the little guys  if there making  some return the will continue  in this great game not walk away to many young people walking away there our future  the old guys  and there loyal  owners call it quits not enough  for the younger horse  man and woman to say in the game after u lose u claim wake u auckland before  it's  to late please

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John I see. Fair enough.talking last night it seems to concern trainers about the low grade horses

.i think good plan to watch this space

.personally I would be happy to run more than nine races when the numbers allow by spreading the available money and having say 18k or less.i wouldn't c this as a back down .I would see it as more people getting a slice of the increased pie.

Owners and trainers need to flex there muscle.

The club seems to try and 'reinvigorate northern harness racing by ramping up the money.

The last 2 meetings suggest it is working but it is only 2 meetings.

The buildings I hear so much rumour innuendo.i have no idea.maybe the club needs to  update.

Since the departure of the ceo there seems to be renewed optimism but the future I have no idea

One thing for sure the next 12 months might determine the future

.im optimistic now.might be misplaced  I don't know.

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