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17 July 2020

 

 

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) announced today that stakes levels for the 2020/21 racing season will return to those in the 2019/20 season pre-COVID.

 

“The NZTR Board met yesterday and I am pleased to advise the wider industry that our stake levels were determined for the coming season,” NZTR CEO Bernard Saundry said.  “It is our intention that stakes levels will remain consistent with the pre-COVID levels, however we need to be aware that we continue to operate in an uncertain environment.”

 

“As an industry we need to be cognisant of the continuing uncertainties that COVID-19 has brought about and be nimble enough to make adjustments if required,” Saundry said.

 

“As a code we will work closely with the TAB to address any variations that may occur during the upcoming season,” he said.  “At the same time though, we need to provide encouragement for our owners, and we will be continuing with two initiatives introduced during our return to racing period in the new season.”

 

NZTR introduced payment back to 14th place and no nomination or acceptance fees for those horses which started at the return to racing meetings, as an acknowledgement of the difficult times experienced by owners during the lockdown period.  Both will continue from 1 August.

 

On the programming front, August and September will see the return of Maiden, 3YO and R65 races.  Programmes will still include Open Entry races to maximise opportunities for horses, however this will be reviewed throughout that period.

 

“NZTR acknowledges the support of the government and the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) during these difficult times as we navigated the lockdown and post-COVID environment while also negotiating the passage of the Racing Industry Bill,” Saundry said.

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With them continuing to pay stakes back to 14th they might need to address the anomaly that occurs when less than 14 horses start. At Timaru tomorrow for instance the winner of the six horse maiden stayers race receives $10,500 whereas the winners of the rating 83 races on the same programme receive $8,100. That is getting more like the socialist way harness racing arranges their stakes distribution. There should be some incentive for the better performed horses.

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14 hours ago, Guinness said:

Silly me, I thought this entire upheaval was to bring about better stakes???

The whole upheaval was to try and survive. Where do you think these "better stakes" are going to come from? Total stakes as a proportion of total turnover is miles higher than it used to be. 

I don't think total stake money is all that well distributed, so I am a bit disappointed they haven't taken this opportunity to revisit the whole stakes allocation aspect. Obviously they must think it was perfect before lockdown so why change anything.

And yes, I know they have made a slight change: less money to the winners and more to the also rans, which I'm also not a big fan of.

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41 minutes ago, We're Doomed said:

The whole upheaval was to try and survive. Where do you think these "better stakes" are going to come from? Total stakes as a proportion of total turnover is miles higher than it used to be. 

I don't think total stake money is all that well distributed, so I am a bit disappointed they haven't taken this opportunity to revisit the whole stakes allocation aspect. Obviously they must think it was perfect before lockdown so why change anything.

And yes, I know they have made a slight change: less money to the winners and more to the also rans, which I'm also not a big fan of.

Definitely not being critical WD but despite the state of the industry, rumours and innuendo, just look at the numbers of horses lining up and also the numbers at trials. Quite incredible compared to recent past years. Less meetings admittedly but obviously owners are sticking with the ship- sinking or not. Just an observation.

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12 minutes ago, Blue said:

Definitely not being critical WD but despite the state of the industry, rumours and innuendo, just look at the numbers of horses lining up and also the numbers at trials. Quite incredible compared to recent past years. Less meetings admittedly but obviously owners are sticking with the ship- sinking or not. Just an observation.

Yes quite extraordinary Blue. Who would have expected fields like those at Southland in mid July. Sets a bit of a precedent really, with Southland usually closing down for four months during winter. Do we now keep them going during that time? That requires more licences of course, which is the opposite to what the current regime wants. And today at Timaru several ballots and eliminated horses.

The interesting thing will be what happens going forward. Before lockdown horses were continually being eliminated in the South and there was no desire to add extra meetings, or even extra races mostly. The current regime wants to contract everything with fewer tracks, fewer meetings, and fewer races at each meeting. How does this work if we end up with large numbers of horses continually being deprived of starts?

Without having access to any relevant figures it does appear that even a low key meeting with decent fields must struggle to break even. So all of these horses attending trials and trying to get race starts doesn't fit at all with the overriding philosophy behind the current restructuring.

I will wait and hope that NZTR and individual clubs show more imagination and enthusiasm going forward, but I'm not overly optimistic. To give them credit they did relent and add the extra Timaru meeting today and they are sticking with open entry races for a while which is a good idea. The Winter Cup meeting does worry me a bit. The only races above rating rating 65 are the Cup Itself and an open entry 1,200m and 2,000m. So nobody is going to take a horse down for the Cup who might struggle to get a start. If a 72 miler for instance misses out they will have to race over 1,200m or 2,000m.

I am sure we will see a bit of a drop off in numbers after this initial enthusiasm from all of these horses that have been waiting patiently. Some will have had a tough run or two in the mud. We could also end up with the situation where some of these tracks that have been getting regular racing with big fields start to get battered while other unwanted tracks sit unused in pristine condition. Fun times ahead.

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52 minutes ago, We're Doomed said:

I am sure we will see a bit of a drop off in numbers after this initial enthusiasm from all of these horses that have been waiting patiently. Some will have had a tough run or two in the mud. We could also end up with the situation where some of these tracks that have been getting regular racing with big fields start to get battered while other unwanted tracks sit unused in pristine condition. Fun times ahead.

These were my sentiments too a month or more ago. Also a little perplexed at this 780 metre dash a couple of days ago. Barely more than a pony scurry and though it's 2 yr olds against older horses they should still be doing 1200, 1400 and a mile at this end of the season imho.

 

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It is less than 2 weeks before the new season starts and even with this announcement we still don't know what money races are being run for. On the NZTR site the Calendar doesn't have stake money along side the proposed races. Everything has $0 They are sticking with Open Entry races so to be consistent with Pre covid will all these Open entry races be 35K. I think rather than consistent the stakes will be similar to pre covid. An Orange is similar to a Mandarin. Just the Mandarin is smaller and can have a bitter taste. 

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54 minutes ago, Tony said:

It is less than 2 weeks before the new season starts and even with this announcement we still don't know what money races are being run for. On the NZTR site the Calendar doesn't have stake money along side the proposed races. Everything has $0 They are sticking with Open Entry races so to be consistent with Pre covid will all these Open entry races be 35K. I think rather than consistent the stakes will be similar to pre covid. An Orange is similar to a Mandarin. Just the Mandarin is smaller and can have a bitter taste. 

There is no way we can afford to have 6 or 7 horses running around for $35,000. That's what got us into trouble in the first place. Open entry is a good idea given our horse and money resources.If the highest horse nominated is a rating 85 it shouldn't be run for any more than $30,000, and then only if they get a decent sized field.

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2 minutes ago, Guinness said:

Should we have more prize money for North Island races?? Being realistic, not flamatory.

Why? NI usually has smaller fields so they should probably have smaller stakes. 

Currently the NI gets more than a fair share of total stakes money. The SI doesn't even have a group race for 2yos, doesn't have a 3yo race further than 1,600m (except for one fillies race) and misses out in so many other ways. 

As racing is pretty much becoming an off course activity there is even more justification for supporting SI product. The SI can produce reasonable product, generally on better tracks, much more economically than the north.

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2 hours ago, Guinness said:

Should we have more prize money for North Island races?? Being realistic, not flamatory.

On what basis? Do they generate more net revenue? Don't have the figures but my hunch is less on average?

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Going way back to 2004 from the NZRB paper - 'size and scope of NZ racing industry':

Thoroughbred racing in the north held 75% of the meetings and received 80% of the funding payout for the code.

Harness racing in the south held 55% of the meetings and received 65% of the funding payout for the code

Given NI breeders provide over 85% of our thoroughbred foal crop and a large % of South's racing stock............

 

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18 hours ago, We're Doomed said:

There is no way we can afford to have 6 or 7 horses running around for $35,000. That's what got us into trouble in the first place. Open entry is a good idea given our horse and money resources.If the highest horse nominated is a rating 85 it shouldn't be run for any more than $30,000, and then only if they get a decent sized field.

Yes should be based on highest rating back to same stakes last season pre covid but look at maidens going around for $15000 in middle winter  hope that trend continues

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38 minutes ago, wobbly said:

 

Given NI breeders provide over 85% of our thoroughbred foal crop and a large % of South's racing stock............

 

Wee bit "chicken and egg" there Wobbly. Do you not think that if the South received its fair share of licences and funding then more studs would set up in the South and they would bring in better stallions?

I have long thought that one decent speed stallion in the South would revolutionise breeding, and racing, down there.

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NZ in general, but moreso the South IMO, has to work hard on providing a product people want to bet on. And until that is solved there can be no miracle recovery or magical increase in stakes.

Put on a good show, with good information, on consistent surfaces and rest will follow.

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1 hour ago, berzerk said:

NZ in general, but moreso the South IMO, has to work hard on providing a product people want to bet on. And until that is solved there can be no miracle recovery or magical increase in stakes.

Put on a good show, with good information, on consistent surfaces and rest will follow.

One problem is that quite a few of the tracks need some money spent on them, but there is no money to be seen for most of them from national bodies and you can hardly blame the clubs for not raising their own funds to undertake improvements. Look what happened to Waimate when they funded their own improvements.

I was amazed that Messara favoured several tracks that only have two start points. I have long been astounded that no one is remotely interested in start points at various tracks. The last significant development I can remember in this respect was the new 1,600m start at Oamaru: about 30 years ago. Timaru desperately needs a 1,400m start, which can just about be squeezed in, but no one seems to find it particularly important.

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To be fair WD most SI tracks look like they were designed by folk from your dominant code.

Could be the answer to all our industry woes? SI exclusively Harness and dogs....gallops only in the north?

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13 minutes ago, wobbly said:

To be fair WD most SI tracks look like they were designed by folk from your dominant code.

Could be the answer to all our industry woes? SI exclusively Harness and dogs....gallops only in the north?

Sadly Wobbly, trotting is a bit of a dying sport. Trotting is embracing this obsession with centralisation with great gusto and the consequences of that will become apparent quite quickly I think.

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18 hours ago, Stables said:

When was the last time you got 30,000 on course for a galloping meeting?

I'm not quite sure what you are talking about. Harness racing in NZ can hardly survive on the back of NZ Cup day, just as Racing in the SI can't survive on the back of Cup Day at Riccarton.

Anyone who thinks all racing in the South is going great guns based on those two days might be in for a big surprise.

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On 7/19/2020 at 2:02 PM, Tony said:

It is less than 2 weeks before the new season starts and even with this announcement we still don't know what money races are being run for. On the NZTR site the Calendar doesn't have stake money along side the proposed races. Everything has $0 They are sticking with Open Entry races so to be consistent with Pre covid will all these Open entry races be 35K. I think rather than consistent the stakes will be similar to pre covid. An Orange is similar to a Mandarin. Just the Mandarin is smaller and can have a bitter taste. 

Stakes  money now showing and looks interesting Open races $30000 on Saturdays and $15000 midweek  Maidens back to $10000  65 $22500 Saturday and $10000 midweek and as stated money split back to 14th

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