Day At The Track

All Stars stable “wiping”the rest of the season

03:26 PM 25 Mar 2020 NZDT
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An early morning shot of the All Stars operation-what it will look like most of the time until the virus bans are lifted,Harness racing
An early morning shot of the All Stars operation-what it will look like most of the time until the virus bans are lifted
All Stars photo

All Stars stable is to follow the example of many leading barns in virtually “wiping” the rest of the 2019-2020 season as a result of the corona-virus.

“From now until we hopefully prepare for the new season we are virtually an agistment farm here in Rolleston”Mark said.

“The last of the yearling purchase group is at Steve Boyd’s being educated and we have some here and the racing team. Most of them will just be looked after here until we can hopefully return to our normal programme”

Mark and Natalie met with the staff on Tuesday and as a result have come up with a package which will cost the partners several thousand dollars a week.

“We have applied for grants for them and we will bring up the balance so that they earn 80 per cent of their present wage. In the meantime they will be using holidays and other benefits for the next 4 weeks and we will reassess things then”

“We have to say we think there is more in the Government’s package for the employee than the employer. That’s certainly how it looks to us at the moment as we look at the financial input required”

“But at least we have given our staff reassurance over their greatest concern which was that they would lose their jobs. We will be retaining all of them”

The All Stars operation has been hit hard financially also by the shutdown of racing where the Easter carnival and the Harness Jewels as well as Sales races and the NZ Derby falls within a normally profitable period.

“We probably hope to earn into the 6 figures in percentages over that period and it is a big hit for us”

Mark and Natalie have joined with others in proposals that certain age group races, especially the Sires Stakes and Sales Races where owners have already subscribed toward the stake, could be run in the spring.

“We have made a verbal submission to Harness Racing New Zealand and there seems a positive response. If those races were held in,say, September when many of the horses will be in racing trim again it would be something back for the owners some of whom have taken a big hit with these developments, and trainers even if the horses are officially a year older than their present eligibility. It certainly seems feasiible but that is for others to decide”

While the racing shutdown is for four weeks at this stage there seems to be little optimism inside the industry that it will resume at the end of that period. And with leading stables in both codes spelling their present racing teams the number of horses available to race after that time could be limited.

“We are not alone and appreciate that many people will be hurting over these developments but as a mid range business we are fully aware of the organisation required and the financial impact of the decisions made”Mark said

“We just have to make the best of it like other people have had to do. Our horses are a vital part of our operation of course but our staff is just as important to us and at least they have some certainty about the situation

Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

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