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The New Zealand yearling sales are over. Horses bought and sold, passed in and farmed out to new homes. It’s an exciting time for the harness racing industry in general. There are how-many-hundred horses going off to be trained for the track, some will get there, some will not.. one to two might even be champions. So how do you convince people post-sale that they’d be better off parting way with a bit of cash to own a racehorse than spending it on the multitude of other things crying out for their pay packet? At least part of that problem can be solved by fractional syndication or ownership models. It’s become commonplace... it’s also become a necessity. Prospective owners don’t grow on trees,and the times of people owning a horse outright have, unfortunately, disappeared. That’s a shame but with escalating costs of training being past on to owners it’s the inevitable reality.   Fractional ownership is becoming more and more popular. Like most things it has its positive and negative aspects. Harnesslink recently highlighted an article (which can be viewed here) regarding the first Australasian winner, ( a two year old pacer called Girl From Oz) for the The promotes fractional ownership and was created and championed by Anthony and Amy Macdonald, The concept now boasts an 800 -strong ownership group, mostly North American based. A major feat indeed. Closer to home both the Breckon Farms syndicates (Tailored Elegance being among their “Savvy Six syndicate runners) and Alabar Racing syndicate have had their fair share of successes when getting syndicated runners to the track. The celebrated victories of Chase Auckland ,who has amassed more than $740’000 in stakes earnings to date, have resulted in a rush to the birdcage by a sea of owners and a rush to find more glasses for racetrack officials so that everyone can have a glass of bubbly. A new addition to the syndication or ownership “marketplace” is “Off N Racing”. Set up by harness racing man-who-wears-many-hats Andrew Fitzgerald (he’s held various positions within the industry having spent time both in and out of a sulky) Off N Racing can be seen as another entrant to the “small costs-big fun” that syndication implies. In fact the motto of “100% of the fun at a fraction of the price” sums up Off N Racing’s mission quite nicely. If there’s one advantage Fitzgerald has it may lie in his relative youth (he’s 24 years of age ) and his ability to engage an ownership group through use of social media. He currently handles social media communications for a number of stables and is keen to implement newly evolved industry-ready software (think Prism) to further and streamline trainer-to-owner interactions. In other words he’s keen to bring a slightly more professional and structured way of actually letting owners know what the bloody hell is going on with their horse!     A look into the 2020 National Standardbred Yearling Sale results reveals Fitzgerald wasn’t shy to stick his figure in the air. He acquired 4 lots all of which are currently being syndicated. The pick of them, at least to his eye, coming in the form of Lot 90 “Nortie Nortie” A well bred son of Andover Hall whose road to a sales series race, and its relative riches, seemingly the easiest given both the attrition rate (not all that many trotters emerge at two years of age to start with ) and respective differences in abilities of trotting lots on offer in any given crop. He’s ticked the “youthful and motivated” box when locking in trainers with both Michael Purdon (whose started his training career successfully enough with One Guy Hall and Copperfield recent winners of note) and Regan Todd engaged for training duties alongside the proven and steady hand of Graeme Rogerson.    As with most syndication experiences the “Off N Racing” concept will most likely live or die by the quality of its service towards syndicate members. That’s always been the way and always will be. Syndicate members need to feel involved, valued and that their financial input isn’t taken for granted no matter what percentage of ownership they have.   The stable visits and duel sulky events Fitzgerald mentioned when talking to him regarding the venture, while not new, would appear promising ideas that, if conducted well, could provide a slightly different, if not eye-opening, backstage-view to what training involves for syndicate members. Wider “big picture” or out-of-the-box ideas to involve owners should only really be welcomed and tried as what starts out an idea can prove successful but only if given the chance to develop and thrive.       As for the perfect syndication outcome? Fitzgerald is quick to point out that providing “a good experience in harness racing ownership” is at the top of his priorities. That’s a simple enough aspiration most probably shared by all in the syndication game. In the ever-crowding battle for ownership dollars it’s the delivery of it that holds the real promise.   Ben McMillan  

GoHarness is pleased to announce the launch of our latest harness racing syndicate "Hoofin Around". goHarness is a well established syndication company that has had 55 winners and 72 place getters since its launch in 2011 and has established itself as a leading syndication company in NZ.   Now we are looking towards the future with a complete overhaul of our old brand and this starts with our latest syndicate Hoofin Around and new website.   The concept: goHarness is offering you the chance to be involved with three yearlings purchased from the 2019 Yearling Sales throughout their successful career's. The trainers have been expertly chosen for their respective success, professionalism and communication to ensure you the owners have the best possible chance of having fun and success.   You as an owner will be apart of the process before the horses are even bought with the chance to mingle with the trainers and get to know them before heading to the sales to be apart of the selection process. After this, you will be involved in the horses first time in the cart and then the first trial attendance with videos, photos and fun had along the way. For those of you that can not be there, video footage will be provided so you are a part of the experience through every stage.   goHarness is opening their arms out to you to join them in the successful lives of these young horses. We pride ourselves on low investment costs, fun, communication and most importantly a memorable experience that will last a lifetime.   The trainers:   Greg and Nina Hope:   Otherwise known as the masters of trotting. The dynamic duo of Greg and Nina Hope has blossomed into one of the countries leading stables over the past 5 years. With the bold move to establish beach training in Woodend Beach, the partnership has reached heights they could have only dreamed of. Now with 37 Major Race Wins and 16 Group 1 Wins, 13 of those being trotting Group 1's they are the perfect candidates to be looking after the trotter to be purchased. The Hope's are truly a family unit with son Ben now being a successful driver and wife Nina being the master of TLC for all the horses. Greg and Nina are primed to be great representatives of the goHarness brand.   Simon McMullan   One of the up and coming stars of this industry Simon is an asset to the goHarness team. Having had the pleasure of co-training with Steven Reid, Simon has been able to take this experience and use it as a successful foundation for his training today. Through his time with Steven, Simon has been able to be part of major race and group one successes which has been a great thrill for him. Simon understands through the experiences of high- level racing what it takes to be at the top and the requirements he needs in order to be able to be a successful trainer which he now is. Now with Paul Court as stable foreman, he is able to have a small team of his own winning four races already in 2019 with limited numbers. Simon stands out from the rest because of his dedication, communication and attention to small detail that enables him to get each and every horse to reach its full potential. This is why he is a name to look out for the future and a name that is to be well respected.   Katie Cox   One of the few but talented females in the industry Katie is leading the way in terms of female trainers. Not only talented on the track but talented off the track, Katie has achieved a Bachelor of Commerce course in property valuation and management. After completing this Katie has worked under the experienced eye of Dean Taylor and most recently Ken Barron gaining a wealth of knowledge. Since leaving Ken, Katie has cemented her self as well of the most respected yearling breaking iners and has since gone on to build a reputable career as a public trainer for the last 2 seasons. Katie is a trainer on the rise and has been chosen for her knowledge she posses about horses and what is best for them which in the words of fellow drivers and trainers is second to none.   For more info and to get an information pack please email or phone Bella on 021 316 717   Bella Storer Administrator 021 316 717  

We all try to put away money for our kids' education, if we can. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, nurse, teacher, or anything else in life, you need a formal education. I recently read an article by Dean Hoffman about how horsemen need to promote their own industry. I agree. I often preach about horsemen marketing themselves better. But is that really fair? We are asking hard working people to put in long hours to try to get by in this industry, and then put in more time and money to market it? I like Mr. Hoffman's article and agree with much of it, but the reality is that horsemen for the most part aren't that good at marketing. I mean, I could run a marathon, or wrestle a bear. But neither are what you might call "my strong suits". Just because you want to do something, doesn't necessarily mean you can achieve it. I do think the industry does need to market itself better. But that requires education to implement. Who will educate our horsepeople? Look around, I don't think there are an abundance of teachers. Honestly speaking, our industry has employed so-called marketing experts for years. Where has that gotten us? I've said it for four years, and now unequivocally proven that horse racing can attract new people to our industry from all walks of life. This power absolutely lies in the hands of the horsepeople, but they need help to achieve it. Make no mistake, horsepeople aren't alone. The entire industry need to change the way it sees itself and markets itself. In each jurisdiction, for the most part you'll find a failing racetrack. Sure, some are propped up, but they are not profitable on their own from wagering revenues. We have watched our clients leave year after year, with no replacements to speak of from the younger generations. We have lost our understanding of what we actually are, and do not recognize that we are no longer a viable gaming product in the eyes of the general public. Horse racing is interesting, but the entry points into it are complex and often not appealing to the very people we need to attract. This isn't new, we've known it for years. Look around the grandstands for our average fans age group. We can't convince people to become fans of horse racing with the promise of Super Hi Five jackpots, and lower takeouts on the Win Fours. People in the general public don't care about those things. What we need is a way to get people to the track. Much like a bar, you only need to get them there; they'll figure out what they want to drink once they are. Affordable ownership is a promising way to attract them. (Let's not argue if it works; I think we've done more than enough to prove that it does.) But one or two fractional stables means nothing for the future of our sport, and that's why educating and helping our horsepeople with it is invaluable to the entire future and viability of this industry Our other problem: Horsepeople try to convince potential clients that there is a formula to find a return on their investment in racing. (ROI) This is all we have had in the past to attract people, but for the most part this is a fool's errand. That also plays a part in why our owners are leaving. They've been lied to; albeit inadvertently in most cases. Like George Costanza said "it's not a lie if you believe it, Jerry." Most trainers mean well and believe they can turn a profit. They're simply wrong. It's incredibly difficult with the overhead we carry today. To put it simply: it costs more today to race for less that we did in the past. The Goal: What is happening with should not be surprising to anyone. The information gathered to start it was pristine, resounding and emphatic. But people still ask, why, and how does it work? It's simple: we offer only what we can absolutely provide. Entertainment, and an unmatched experience in society. The second part is what we have all missed. Our industry has forgotten how exciting it is to be a part of this industry and how affordable it is when offered in small percentages. The one thing everyone in society wants is affordability, and entertainment has slowly become unaffordable. That's our opening. People spend much more on tickets to a hockey game for their family for one night, than they will to own a percentage of a horse over most of one year (bills included). If you're in it for fun and not for profit, you only need a small percentage. The entertainment attributed to horse ownership is unmatched by any mainstream sports exposure. Simply put, that's why and how works. By changing the way we approach the general public and the message we attract them with, you will see an influx of interest and ownership requests never seen before. Again, this isn't hypothetical jargon, this is reality. just surpassed 600 active clients before Christmas and now sits at 604. Our average client owns no more that 4% of any horse. We don't sell investment, we sell entertainment. And we make good on our promise. The obvious question anyone would ask is: How does that help gaming dollars, because that's what really drives our industry. We found an interesting thing about our clients. Although they professed to not "gamble", guess what they did when they were at the races? When in Rome, do as the Romans do. By attracting people from the general public with a strong message of affordable horse ownership, we strengthen our stables. Those people are exposed to racing in the way that original horse racing enthusiasts and in turn gamblers were. We are bringing the potential of new clients to the doorsteps of our racetracks. These are people that would never attend a race or a casino otherwise. We need to work together to build-up both sides of the racetracks with the promise of an unmatched entertainment experience and heightened customer service, and we deliver on both. This industry is on the cusp of new growth, but without education and help from all facets of racing, none of it can be achieved. I call on all racetracks, horsepeople and every stakeholder in this industry to use the failures of the past to help map the future. What you just read isn't a paper written by a government panel on how it believes the industry can succeed in the future. What you have just read has been battle-tested and thoroughly proven in real life. I tried not to mention my company's name too often in this article, because it's not any one stable that will pave the way for our industry's future. It isn't any one person or model. It is all of us working together, understanding that there is a way forward and collectively persuing it. I simply proved it is possible. It's up to all of us to succeed together. Through education, we will find an understanding, and a profound realization that by changing the way we promote our industry we change the way it's viewed and experienced by the people we have been looking for forever. A New Year's resolution for the entire industry. Happy New year, Anthony MacDonald    

Four years ago Noel Kennard’s dream to introduce an affordable way of horse ownership kicked into gear. And today, on the same day that GoHarness Syndication lined up its first runner – Franco Harrison, the ever-growing brand is in with more than just a runners’ chance of getting their hands on their biggest victory to date. Harriet Of Mot will take on a strong field of trotters in the Lone Star Riccarton Sires’ Stakes Aged Trotting Classic this afternoon at Addington, looking to put the final stamp on what has been a whirlwind season for the exciting four-year-old trotter. Soundly beaten into second last weekend behind the equally as a promising Great Things Happen, Harriet Of Mot tonight gains a 10 metre relief from the handicapper and will head to Addington a lot fitter than what she was last week. “We knew she would probably need the run,” co-trainer Aimee Edmonds said. “But I didn’t think they would go that quick to be honest. If she had happened to win that race with the time she went she would have broken Kincaslough and Habibti’s national record. “So that run will have definitely done her the world of good for this week.” Edmonds, who trains in partnership with her father Craig, said it had been a case of letting the lightly framed mare find her own way in the proceeding last week’s appearance. “She had the next day off, and then an easy time of it for a couple of days. “But she has bounced back from the run really well and I know we are going to be taking a different version of her than what we did last week.” With high speed and just as much staying prowess, John Dunn, who has been astutely placing the mare in her races, will have some decisions to make once he has settled his charge into her work. “Her speed is ridiculous when she is saved up for one run, but she can be just as good doing a little bit of work.” Great Things Happen, who has now won his last five races for Gavin Smith, is there again today and will be sure to make thing interesting. There’s a mutual respect in both camps for each other’s charge too. “I’ve got a lot of time for Harriet Of Mot,” Smith said last week. “She’s an incredible trotter, there’s a lot of respect there.” Edmonds too was complimentary of her biggest rival ahead of today. “Gavin’s horse is going so well at the moment and was very good last week. “He’s going to be awfully hard to beat again.” Bookmakers opened Great Things Happen with a $1.80 quote while Harriet Of Mot opened at $3. The Edmonds combination have a chance at big race success earlier in the day too when Muscles Galore, the half-brother of Harriet Of Mot, tackles the PGG Wrighton New Zealand Yearling Sales Series Final for two-year-old trotters. The son of Monarchy got it all wrong last time out, but Edmonds was prepared to forgive and forget. “Johnny (Dunn) said he got pretty fired up so we have taken the blinds off him this week. “He’s got enough ability to match it with them if things go our way I thought his Rangiora run was great I thought.” The Greg and Nina Hope trained, Enghein, is the warm order favourite for the $65,000 event with the Gavin Smith pairing of Di’z Luck ($5.50) and Miracle Rising ($4.80) the only other two horses in single figure prices on the fixed odds market. Enghein opened at just $1.55 last night. Muscles Galore is a $15 chance. HRNZ MEDIA

TUCSON, AZ --- Innovation is the theme of the 42nd annual Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson and the two-day program got off to a lively start on Tuesday morning with a whirlwind of new ideas for attendees to contemplate. The opening session was titled “45 Ideas in 45 Minutes” and a diverse panel of racing experts tossed out new ideas to the audience in a fast-paced session. “Tracks should hire a Director of Animal Welfare, whose tasks include full public communications on incidents,” said Amy Zimmerman, Vice-President and Director of Broadcasting for the Stronach Group. “It’s time for us in racing to tell our story and how much we really care.” “Racing should take its show on the road,” said Darryl Kaplan, editor of Standardbred Canada’s Trot magazine, “Horses should race down city streets, on beaches, and over frozen canals. Take risks, and bring horse racing to the people.” Steve Byk, host of “At the Races with Steve Byk,” said that racing should emulate the tax-free shopping day concept by offering takeout rollbacks on target days that generally produce lower handle. Byk suggested that tracks try a “Tax Free Tuesday.” The ideas came so fast and furious that attendees were told in advance not to take notes because a synopsis of the 45 ideas would be distributed afterwards. The Racing & Gaming Symposium is sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program and was held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in the foothills north of Tucson. Racing executives and vendors from around the globe gathered in the desert to exchange ideas and to meet students interested in careers in racing. At the awards luncheon, Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah and a graduate of the University of Arizona accepted the “Big Sport of Turfdom” for Team American Pharoah from the Turf Publicists of America. Baffert later reminisced in a conversation with Amy Zimmerman about how he fell in love with racing when he trained Quarter Horses in Tucson and also talked about the 2015 season with American Pharoah. When American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, Baffert said he thought of his now-deceased parents and asked himself, “What did I do to deserve this horse?” He said that the Kentucky Derby is the hardest of the three Triple Crown events to win. “If you win that race, you can’t wait to win it again,” Baffert said. “The winner’s circle at Churchill Downs must be the most expensive real estate in the world because so much money has been spent trying to get there.” A trio of panelists talked about efforts to attract new owners to horse racing. Andrew Offerman, Director of Racing Operations at Canterbury Park, said that the Minnesota track created a Canterbury Racing Club to allow fans to buy into a horse at a reasonable price. “Every time their horse races we have 500 extra people at the track,” said Offerman.  Sophia McKee, Vice President of Marketing at Emerald Downs, said that her track realized in recent years that it didn’t have a horse shortage as much as it had an owner shortage. Emerald borrowed from the Canterbury concept to create its own racing club. There is now a waiting list to get into the Emerald Downs Racing Club. The goal is to give people a taste of horse ownership with minimal expense and risk, McKee said, and hope that they later graduate to ownership of horses on their own. That doesn’t happen all that often, she admits, but said that one couple started with a $500 investment one year and got so enthusiastic that they invested $470,000 in horses the next year. Ellen Harvey of Harness Racing Communications detailed the efforts of the U.S. Trotting Association to appeal to new owners with seminars and camps. One advantage that harness racing offers, she emphasized, is that owners can jog, train, and perhaps drive their own horses which is unlike owning Thoroughbreds. Harvey said that attendees for the seminars hail mostly from the ranks of racing fans and that efforts to recruit pleasure horse owners have been unsuccessful. She said that almost 20 percent of the attendees at the USTA owners seminars have followed up by purchasing a horse. In many cases they purchase more than one horse and also bring in partners. Digital marketing strategies for horse racing were addressed by Sean Frisby and Rob Key. Key spoke about his family’s background in harness racing and the social media efforts of his Manhattan-based firm Converseon for the United State Trotting Association. “Word-of-mouth is the most credible and powerful form of advertising,” Key said. “Social media is word-of-mouth turbocharged.” Key detailed the success of the Harness Racing FanZone and the “Ambassadors” programs in creating more “buzz” for harness racing on social media. Frisby, the founder and principal of Brand Tenet, talked about “big data” and defined that term as “data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools.”   The four drivers of the value of big data are volume, veracity, velocity, and variety. Frisby admitted that some data sets “wind up looking like eye charts,” but said that presenting data in a pictorial format makes it much easier to grasp.  The Racing & Gaming Symposium concludes on Wednesday evening after a day which will be highlighted by the “Innovators’ Circle,” racing’s first “pitch session” where contest finalists will unveil their ideas to a panel of judges. ABOUT THE RACE TRACK INDUSTRY PROGRAM: The University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program offers both a Bachelors and Master’s degree program with an emphasis on the pari-mutuel racing industry and hosts the annual Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming held every December in Tucson, Arizona. Betty Prewitt Administrative Assistant UA Race Track Industry Program

Today - Friday September 7 - sees the launch of New Zealand's newest public harness racing syndicate. YOR! racing - short for Your Own Racehorse is offering shares in a filly by New Zealand's leading sire in Bettor's Delight.

This year, after establishing its 14th harness racing syndicate, the Auckland Trotting Club Syndicates appear to have found another star; Major Star that is, the 2-year-old that has had two starts for two wins in his brief career to date.

The Auckland Trotting Club is currently forming its 14th Syndicate, the Auckland Trotting Club 2013 Syndicate.

Through the first half of 2011 the VIP Internet Stable is on a blistering pace to shatter its own records for wins and earnings in a year by a public partnership group. The harness racing group rocketed out of the gate in the otherwise ordinarily slow winter months to garner repeated Open and Stake wins at multiple major tracks. This has been a record breaking season for VIP and it's about to get that much better.

It is apparent more than ever that for harness racing to exist even a single generation from now as we know it today, the sport needs new faces to lay claim as its support base. As 2007 and 2008 leading driver Tim Tetrick said to me in a published interview not too long ago, "We need to get people our age like me and you, out here to watch the races. All we need to do is get a fan base, and I don't care if they bet or not (at first). We just need a fan base."

With nearly all of the Meadowlands regulars either at Woodbine this Saturday for the finals of the "Fall Final Four" stakes or across the river at Yonkers where the grass has become more green (and where the Messenger stakes is), the driving colony looks more like something you might see on a Wednesday at Freehold. With that said, the Meadowlands still provides by far and away the best wagering opportunities in the country and following are a few things to consider for Saturday.

The odds are that if you have an interest in harness racing you will have heard of the Setarip Syndicate in Southland that is believed to be the longest established in the history of New Zealand harness racing.

The Auckland Trotting Club have been doing it for years and now one of the world's leading harness racing trainers together with a former great horseman are now offering an open partnership or syndication in four quality standardbreds.

The value of syndicates as a means to introducing new people to the industry should never be underestimated. In much the same way that school children are exposed to horses and the sport at that level and adults are encouraged to further participate by the hands on involvement of amateur racing, the industry must always be working towards introducing fresh blood and growing its 'fan base'.

On Monday, November 24, Funky Munky Stable's Borilla won the ninth race at Yonkers Raceway. 'It was the stable's historic first win [of hopefully many] and it was fantastic to get that Funky Munky off our backs' said Managing Partner Richie Munk.

On October 30th, a new website representing all the Met syndicates (run out of Addingon in New Zealand) launched. The website aims to provide up to date information and news on how the horses in the syndicates are performing, their upcoming races, career stats, bloodlines, etc.

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