Harness Racing's New Zealand's chief executive officer, Edward Rennell has spoken out about standing starts following prominent owner and sponsor, John Street withdrawing all of his sponsorship following next month's Franklin Cup.
Rennell said all clubs had the discretion to programme stands and mobiles as they saw fit - with a clear incentive provided to them via Harness Racing New Zealand's ‘Funding Policy' to maximise field sizes and turnover.
"The last time this was reviewed, the turnover on standing starts was slightly higher than mobiles, reflecting the higher average starters in stands. The average turnover per starter was essentially the same, Rennell said.
He also believed that having a mix of stands and mobiles maximised the use of the available horse population as some horses and their trainers clearly preferred standing start events.
"It also allows horses on different assessments to race each other when otherwise a race may fall over due to lack of nominations.
"While HRNZ has a general preference for mobiles, it is all about balance and stands are required to varying degrees within each region to make the best use of the horses available.
"Connections have the prerogative as to whether they nominate and given the numbers nominating for stands, it clearly highlights support within the industry for this form of racing," Rennell said.
By Duane RANGER (editor)