Day At The Track

NZ Racing Integrity Unit forks out $1,945,613

01:26 AM 16 Mar 2012 NZDT
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Michael Stiassny
Michael Stiassny

January 31 this year 2012 marked the first six months of the Racing Integrity Unit's (inlcuding harness racing) first full year of operation. This half yearly report details our activities and operations against our budget and Business Plan.

Background - Commenced Operations 1 February 2011

The three codes and the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) each hold a 25% shareholding in the RIU. As required under its constitution the RIU Annual Business Plan and Budget for 2011/12 was approved by the NZRB and the three code governing Bodies In June 2011.

A budget of $3,940,000 was established for the Unit's first full year of operation 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012. This was based on the actual previous operating costs for integrity from the three codes and the NZRB.


* Across all three codes 3 irregular swab results have been reported by the Racing Services Laboratory. This compares with 16 in the first six months of the RIU's operation (1 February 2011 to 31 July 2011) and 14 in total for the full 2009/10 racing season.

* Out of competition testing has been carried out leading up to all the major carnivals.

* Jockey and Driver testing have been stepped up with over 100 tests.

* Race day stable visits have been instigated on a random basis. As a result of this action charges have been laid in one case.

* There have been 42 non race day investigations and charges.

* The steps taken in the first six months to achieve a wider skill base have continued with staff being rostered across codes.


For the half year ended 31 January 2012 total expenditure was $1,945,613, ($28,586 under the budget of $1,974,200). A very positive result with the busy December/January racing period included in the half year. This was uncharted territory for the RIU as we had only commenced operations in 1 February 2011.

Stakeholder Liaison

The Unit continues as far as possible to be transparent in its operations. In following this policy of transparency it has:

* Made press releases on all irregular samples reported from the racing Lab where possible within 48 hours of commencing investigations.

* Operates a web site explaining the RIU's role and operations with contact details. It includes a weekly updated summary of news items.

* Provides monthly reports to its shareholders and as required attends code sub-committee meetings and AGMs.

* Held Industry forums.

* Stewards are where possible available for trackside and other media interviews.

The Business focus for the 2011/12 year encompasses; reviewing, setting standards and introducing innovations for drug testing and race day processes to improve integrity; review staff resources and identifying specialized skill requirements; introduce consistency, efficiency (best practice) and transparency in approaching integrity issues; and meeting all the requirements of the RIU services agreements with our shareholders. These goals have a number of defined action plans and KPI's which are reviewed by the Board.

In the first half of the year we can report:

* The Trainee Steward programme has commenced with three trainees being appointed. The first appointments for a number of years.

* A Betting Analyst has been appointed. This is the first such appointment in NZ.

* Swabbing and TCO2 testing amounts for the half year were above the requirements in the Business Plan which were set against international standards.

* Out of Competition testing in excess of 200 for the year to date.

* Jockey/Driver testing of over 140 tests.

* Race day stable visits and float inspections have been instigated on a random basis.

* The Racing Laboratory has had its International accreditation assessment ISO: 17025 confirmed.

* Review of code Rules are underway to bring consistency.

* The website has been developed and managed in house at virtually no cost.

* Review of all race day integrity processes has been completed. As a result of this:

* The RIU is taking over the ordering and distribution of all swabbing consumables. A review of the process and products has resulted in a reduction in the unit cost per swab of 40% (from $3.95 per swab to $2.50).

* Further as a result of reviewing race day integrity operations the RIU is to take over the management and employment of swabbing and vet services on race day. This will relieve Clubs of the responsibility for managing a function which properly sits with the RIU. The advantages to the industry by this change have been identified as:

* Improvement in the control over the chain of custody for swabbing samples and theapplication of a consistent model over the whole country. o Financial savings will accrue to the industry on Non-Premier and Feature days from this model. The overall savings being in the vicinity of $120,000 p.a. o Better able to monitor performance and introduce training to ensure a consistent approach and standard is achieved across the country. o The process to be followed is that the RIU will first take over the operation in one region (the Central Districts) and then roll out over the rest of the country.

Figures at a Glance

Drug Testing

Swabs YTD: 4,541 +10.2%; Last Year 4,120; TCO2 YTD 1,752 +21.3% Last Year 1,444.

Percentage of Starters Swabbed

Thoroughbred 10.5%, Harness 9.1%, Greyhounds 7.6%

Percentage of Starters Swabbed/TCO2:

Thoroughbred 13.5%, Harness 18.1%.

Finance - Half Year Result

Expenditure $1,945,613, Budget $1,974,200.

Variance (under budget) $28,586.

Website Visits - 6,662

Race Meetings Attended: 585 (6,022 races)

Trial Meetings Attended: 121 (excluding Greyhounds)

Staff Stewards/Investigators - Current Under: RIU 3 Codes: Full time 24, 26. Part time: 8, 11. Trainees: 3, 0.


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