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.