JJ Flash

HRNZ Chair Report- What do you think Keyboard Warriors

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From the Chair

7 September 2021 , News

Industry Update from John Coulam, HRNZ Chair

The last three weeks has once again been a difficult time for the industry and the country as we were plunged into lockdown and racing came to an abrupt halt. The good news is that even without domestic racing, the TAB continued to trade at expected levels and our funding for September is guaranteed.

I know that there was a level of frustration around Orders and Directions during this time. At HRNZ we followed the previous orders to the letter until such time as the appropriate Government departments allowed amendments.  My thanks to Gary and the CEO’s of the three codes, as part of the Racing NZ executive, for their work in getting racing up and going again.  We cannot take this opportunity for granted, all participants must adhere to the Orders and Directions for racing behind closed doors and at different levels. Anything less than a strict enforcement by the clubs hosting the meetings may well see racing halted again.

One of the disappointing aspects of lockdown is that it gives the keyboard warriors time on their hands to throw grenades. Behind the HRNZ brand sit real people, directors, employees, trainers, drivers and other stakeholders and their families. In the words of our Prime Minister, “Be kind to one another.”

As directors we are people of hope, optimistic, willing to dare, to challenge the status quo.  To be content with the status quo and to dwell on negativity is not productive and serves no good at all. These are exciting times for our industry as we reshape and focus on our sustainability and social licence.

I am encouraged by the ongoing consultative work that has gone on this year exploring what the racing calendar might look like from 1 January 2022. Whatever is decided will be open to constant review, to further help us look at the best ways to drive up gross betting revenue for our code. Alongside any proposed changes, HRNZ will be contracting an analyst and working with the TAB to look at every aspect of racing to see where the best returns to the industry are and to further explore opportunities.

The club and kindred body representatives attending the HRNZ Annual Conference on 15/16 October will receive feedback on what’s been achieved as a result of our Industry Day held late last year and what the new racing programme calendar will look like.

Spare a thought for the industry participants in both Westport and Kumeu who have suffered through recent natural disasters. Apart from any personal losses, both clubs have had significant damage to their tracks. These unfortunate events are a timely reminder to clubs to review their insurances.

Provided for your information is the traffic light performance indicators for the season just ended.

Key Performance Indicators

Below are the performance indicators as at end of season 2020/21.

HRNZ-KPI-REPORT-2020-21-Full-Season__Res

John-Coulam-Signature-website.png

John Coulam, Chair
Harness Racing New Zealand Inc
September 2021

 

I have put in bold type what i consider matters of interest.

September Code payout sustained despite no racing due to Covid- Good

Sorry John but we live in a free speech democracy- barring legal requirements we are free to comment on the operational and governance side of Harness racing in NZ. You might be the only Chair who would even bother to make such comments.- not a good look for mine.

Domestic Market share down 6.69% whilst the other codes increased theirs- Offset slightly by increase in F/O yield

 

 

 

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The chair ,board and hrnz are trying hard to get Harness Industry participants behind them ,all on the same page and positively looking forward to a sustainable future.

So currently everyone has opportunity for feedback and having their say in many aspects of the way things are run.

Breeders are being encouraged to breed more horses .....and collect bonuses when they win and connections of the slow slugs will be given more emphasis by way of more and different opportunities with increased stakes even and the dwindling open class horses and classic horses will continue to get plenty of opportunities !

This all and well but in the end it all reverts back to having the money to pay all these extra stakes and breeders bonuses.

And that comes down to the betting on our races.

Tweaking what day the Dominion is run on is hardly a game changer...one or two more 'high profile' days unlikely to change much.

Fixed odds betting is increasing ,but punters call [and MGuerin] for accepting  higher bets will need TAB buy in and who knows what will happen there.

I watched the videos from recent feedback/brainstorming sessions from which the new strategies will emerge.

Greg O was asking the questions and IMO providing the answers at same time so the manicured videos came across as very positive.....a lot of sizzle but will there be any sausage.

Time will tell.

Money will be needed to change things for the better....where will this come from ?

 

Thats my question !

And demand for our better stock will always be high from overseas.Far easier to profit from a sale than by earning stakes which would need a MASSIVE surge to gain parity.

 

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2 hours ago, tasman man said:

Fixed odds betting is increasing ,but punters call [and MGuerin] for accepting  higher bets will need TAB buy in and who knows what will happen there.

Forget Mick, he is one of less than a 100 who are restricted  and probably only in the Harness code. Like most bookies you will be restricted pretty quickly if you are winning  account. most of the time. I'm ok with that as your only robbing the codes in terms of payouts which go towards stakes in the majority of instances. 

Not surprisingly the Fixed odds turnover has increased  faster than tote despite the latter's greater product offerings

I do agree with most of what you say above Tasman Man. Money is in short supply but required to maintain let alone grow the industry. The North Island seemingly has a rapidly declining horse and owner base. Otago bar Anderson, Hoffman and the  Williamson's is almost non existent leaving only Southland and Canterbury to grow the industry. That's not a certainty either.

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1 hour ago, JJ Flash said:

Forget Mick, he is one of less than a 100 who are restricted  and probably only in the Harness code. Like most bookies you will be restricted pretty quickly if you are winning  account. most of the time. I'm ok with that as your only robbing the codes in terms of payouts which go towards stakes in the majority of instances. 

Not surprisingly the Fixed odds turnover has increased  faster than tote despite the latter's greater product offerings

I do agree with most of what you say above Tasman Man. Money is in short supply but required to maintain let alone grow the industry. The North Island seemingly has a rapidly declining horse and owner base. Otago bar Anderson, Hoffman and the  Williamson's is almost non existent leaving only Southland and Canterbury to grow the industry. That's not a certainty either.

Exactly , that is why even positive folk like ourselves have that niggling doubt that it's easier to talk about higher stakes and breeder bonuses but much harder to implement.

Methven are a progressive,enthusiastic club with some good betting numbers but I see on Sunday their stakes still minimal.

Let's be honest , these stakes are miserable.....shocking ! 

In the Northern region where costs overall much higher ,the stakes may be  a little better but there are now less meetings at ATC and even though some fields are on small side most races tend to be very competitive so races are hard to win and the grass track-type has no chance as the rating bands are often wider than ideal...not like v like !

The Owner cops it from all sides.

Breeders are necessary to provide the product/horses so we will hype the Sales ......partly to attract more investors/buyers which should increase demand and prices.

The owners then need to pay more for various sales series etc , Costs no doubt going up for most supplies/services from trainers etc.

Now an emphasis will be put on giving more incentives to the grass roots level of horse.....who pays this ? 

Then the Breeders bonus ....who pays ? Probably all owners as it taken out of stakes.

I guess its a wait and see......yes Harness betting up last year ,but this on 20% more races /horse starts along with DECREASES in recent years which totalled some 30%.So its a catch up !

These betting increases MUST continue , I guess the shaky position of Greyhounds racing future must help Harness unless it not heaped in with the DOGS and also put on hit list.

I can see the Chairs frustration with us Keyboard warriors  , but surely he must realise is that people lash out on-line because their frustration not heard or listened to by the Industry/TAB up to now.

A lot of the most vocal on-line are  biggish Industry participants.....plus the Internet is now used to run and showcase the Industry. Its the shopfloor ,the engine room .

And the moment the Racing Industry rushed to get the police involved with Inca etc they were opening the Industry up to the media's interpretation of what was happening so the whole sordid affair has been played out in public.

I see Dexter now talked about as being the world's best......thats the type of story that should be in media......not Inca BS !

 

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Will add to the narrative, as it would appear that Mr Coulam is at least reading the "grenades". It is accepted that he is looking at the right path to take in several parts of the puzzle that is harness racing. That should see improvements.. He however, needs to justify decisions as often there are positives and ..... negatives  in all actions of change and in the past sometimes the negative has been greater than the positive. He needs to be aware when this happens (eg. last year idea of closing all HR. from Cambridge to Nelson.?) what a crazy foot shooting exercise that was.  He must also remember the Keyboard Warriors have ,in the main . been punters/owners /committee men andwomen/trainers and Harness Racing loyalists,.sometimes for close to 60 years.Just maybe there perception of changes needed may carry some credence. 

Edited by john legend
clarification gender

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3 hours ago, LightsOut said:

 

What's the point of putting figures out when you don't proof read them fist. The Chairman used to be the Finance Chairman of HRNZ so should a no brainer to check figures first.

You don't need an accountancy degree to notice the standout obvious error.  Amateurs!

 

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??????

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Exported turnover as at the end of June 2021 returned $1.3 million which represents 3% of the total for 11 months. 

Quote


From the Chairman a few weeks ago. In terms of the commission on export (off shore betting), which is paid out at 3% of the actual, up to the end of June, Thoroughbreds have received $4.6m, Greyhounds $4.5m and Harness $1.3m. It is clear that we have work to do in this area and the Board is working with an offshore partner to increase our exposure in Australia.

The Chairman has reported that exported turnover was $83 million for last years 12 months. Take off $5 million for July (average month is $6.9 million but obviously less meetings in July) and you have $78,000,000. 3% of that figure is $2,3 million so how or why was only $1.3 reported as the actual amount received?

The $3.2 million difference between Greyhounds and Harness is huge and hard to believe. Maybe with 3 years of on-going Operation Inca and the now known fabricated stories has had a more negative impact than one would think. Punters lose confidence due to possible integrity issues and there are plenty of other betting options to look to.  

image.png.97819af87d633317b4287baf54c36359.png

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19 hours ago, LightsOut said:

Exported turnover as at the end of June 2021 returned $1.3 million which represents 3% of the total for 11 months. 

The Chairman has reported that exported turnover was $83 million for last years 12 months. Take off $5 million for July (average month is $6.9 million but obviously less meetings in July) and you have $78,000,000. 3% of that figure is $2,3 million so how or why was only $1.3 reported as the actual amount received?

The $3.2 million difference between Greyhounds and Harness is huge and hard to believe. Maybe with 3 years of on-going Operation Inca and the now known fabricated stories has had a more negative impact than one would think. Punters lose confidence due to possible integrity issues and there are plenty of other betting options to look to.  

image.png.97819af87d633317b4287baf54c36359.png

To the casual observer who skimmed the article and glanced at the direction the numbers are heading as per the KPI chart , I don't think this is too obvious plus I wouldn't be condemning or ridiculing the Chair on any oversight here !

Do you really believe he has gone out to mislead or fabricate .

AS per the Greyhounds export numbers dwarfing Harness well this has prevailed for several years , no great surprise when there are so many more greyhound races 7 days a week.

When I last looked[ 2017] the Export Turnover was 23% Dogs and 14% Harness......63% Gallops/

Gross Betting Revenue on Export was 23% Dogs and 12% Harness........65% Gallops.

Your query re the difference in your calculations compared with the Chair should go to the Chair and then report back.

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Quote

 

Quote

Do you really believe he has gone out to mislead or fabricate 

Sadly in the Racing Industry that's a common problem over the last few years and obviously Operation INCA is a classic case. Transparency isn't there like it once was. 

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On 9/11/2021 at 8:25 AM, eljay said:

Do we look at forecasts and percentages or actuals??

Actuals for me in the first instance , then forecasts which Woodham has already outlined elsewhere. If all goes to plan at the NZTAB distribution end HRNZ gets 46 mio this season to fund operations and distribute to clubs

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John Coulam has his own name and signature on his post. He has put time and effort to help the whole harness fraternity try and achieve a sustainable result over a long period of time at several levels , now at Chairmans level.

Flash, Tasman, etc, including me as well are keyboard warriors with no target on our shirts.

You guys might know who you all are and your pedigree re club representative, trainer etc but I don't. In my opinion if you don't like what John Coulam says or does get on your local club committee and be part of the process that elected him.

He is at least communicating with everyone to keep us in the picture.

Thank you from an owner but not a breeder, former  club committee person, punter, and racing in general enthusiast.

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Womby, sorry to read you have no enthusiasm or punting interest in harness racing..You also miss the main point of comments re. the Chairman. I said he is looking at ways to help harness racing, but diminish his optimism by not wanting to read/hear any alternative view. This smacks of a person who wants total agreement and praise for his great vision for HR future. sometimes I have seen failed strategies cause real downturn of profits for harness racing and even similar actions repeated. Good Luck to Mr Coulam .I do wish him well in all his endeavours. PS. Womby I can put my name to anything written if anyone gives a........ !!! pps. could write a page with silly decisions of TAB,HRNZ,etc. of the past..... evidence of present state of HR can be seen number of horses virtually being given away and lowest numbers ever being bred. Suggestion send out a simple questionnaire to say 1000 owners/trainers/breeders/punters and  Q1 could be do you own less horses than 10 years ago? have you given up breeding and why?Q2 do you punt less on harness racing and is this now on racing or sports or with aussie outlets and why. do you attend meetings less now. ?etc.etc. Or does Mr Coulam know all the answers and remedies already ? I hope so.

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Sorry John Legend, my last paragraph was badly written.

I still support harness racing, still involved in ownership and punting , still have many friends involved like I am. Still attend at the track , perhaps not quite as regular as previous years. I have never bred a Standardbred though.

Everyone I have known that has been involved in governance has had a passion for the industry, perhaps maybe you too?

Never easy for everyone to agree on the magic formula though.

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