The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club (NZMTC) has announced a number of feature harness racing stake reductions for 2010/11. The feature race cuts totaling $700,000 have been required following the continued downturn in domestic off course turnovers, the reduction in gaming trust distributions and to ensure that the Club continues to operate within its financial means.
In announcing the feature race cuts, NZMTC Chief Executive Officer Shane Gloury explained, "We have to be financially responsible and we have to be realistic. The reality is that in the current economic environment, we can't afford to pay stakes on feature races at former levels."
All of the Clubs feature flagship events in season 2010/11 have been reduced as follows (2010/11- 2009/10):
Christchurch Casino NZ Trotting Cup $750,000 - $1,000,000; Woodlands NZ FFA $200,000 - $250,000; Heller Smallgoods Dominion $200,000 - $250,000; NZ Derby $200,000- $250,000; United Fisheries NZ Summer Cup $40,000- $75,000; Seelite Windows and Doors NZ Trotting FFA $80,000 - $100,00; United Fisheries Trotters FFA $30,000 - $40,000.
The Club also announced that stakemoney for the 2011 Christchurch Casino Inter Dominion Series had also been affected with the stake on the Trotters Grand Final reduced to $250,000 and the stake on all heats and consolations for both pacers and trotters reduced by $10,000.
The Club has also recently advised the NZ Sires Stakes Board that it cannot afford to contribute amounts at previous levels to feature Sires Stakes Board administered races that are conducted at Addington.
Despite the reduction, Gloury remained upbeat and optimistic. "Whilst any reduction in stakes is disappointing, we believe that the stake offered on our feature races is still attractive and that our feature events will continue to draw the best horses from throughout New Zealand and Australia to contest these races. We are grateful for the continued support from the Government under their Racing, Promotions and Sponsorship Scheme."
"We are also conscious of the fact that we need to ensure a healthy basic stake level for the majority of owners and trainers that have horses back in the classes and whom can only dream of getting a horse good enough to contest these feature events.
"To this end, some of the money cut from feature races will be re-invested back into basic stakes with an announcement on basic stake levels to be made by the Club in the next few days."