Day At The Track

Racing Board spending is out of control

08:40 PM 17 Aug 2014 NZST
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John Wheeler
John Wheeler - "They spend money hand over foot and we get the left-overs."
Jonathan Cameron/Taranaki Daily News Photo

The New Zealand Racing Board has become a despot, says leading Thoroughbred trainer John Wheeler, spending money willy nilly that the industry cannot afford.

Wheeler is incensed about revelations the board has had to revise the over ambitious forecasts of its recently departed chief executive Chris Bayliss, leaving the codes facing more lean years.

"They spend money hand over foot and we get the left-overs," Wheeler said of NZRB.

"I've been saying for 10 years that the funding model is wrong. How much longer do we have to tolerate it?

"We shouldn't be getting the crumbs. The codes should be getting what they need to make racing flourish and the board should be cutting its cloth to suit."

While Bayliss was talking a 50% rise in returns to owners within five years, Wheeler said he gave up believing anything the board said years ago after a succession of ineffectual highly-paid CEOs had come and gone.

"The board has been dysfunctional for a decade and it's time the Racing Minister did something.

"Costs have doubled in the last decade, they've hired more and more staff, it's out of control."

Wheeler said the industry was now paying for the grand spending spree that its just departed CEO Chris Bayliss went on, millions spent on moving to flash new offices in Parnell, a $10 million state-of-the-art Trackside studio and a failed Triple Trio campaign.

Wheeler said he understood the cost of the failed Typhoon betting system was also a lot higher than the $11.1 million the board wrote off in 2012.

"Thoroughbred Racing needs only another $3 million or $4 million to make a go of it."

Courtesy of Barry Lichter and the Sunday Star Times

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