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Following a review of the circumstances surrounding Race 3, the Bob Freeman Memorial Monte at Ballarat on 22 February 2015, Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) can confirm the error in failing to review the final 200 metres of the race prior to declaring all clear was attributable to human error. Chief Steward at the meeting Shane Larkins has accepted full responsibility for the error and has been counselled. Ln accordance with the terms of Mr Larkins employment contract appropriate action has been taken by HRV Management. In order to mitigate the risk of such a circumstance occurring in the future, HRV have made a procedural direction to Stewards in regard to all future Monté events, being that all clear is not to be confirmed until the final 200m of each race has been reviewed to ensure that no horse is in breach of Australian Rule of Harness Racing 331. Harness Racing Victoria

When selecting an online wagering platform, you should ask yourself this important question: Does the platform help me maximize my winning potential? For customers, the answer is a resounding “yes.” AmWager takes pride in providing its players with the industry’s most lucrative rewards program and highest referral commissions. That is why AmWager is raising the stakes, and their players ROI, with the introduction of a Daily 10% Winner’s Bonus on gross winning tickets. Additionally, AmWager’s wager pad was designed by professional horseplayers and offers multiple sophisticated, yet user-friendly, money management and wagering tools that will benefit veteran players and newcomers alike. It’s a terrific combination that elevates above the crowd, and the player feedback has been tremendous. "Masterful, brilliant job accomplished by,” says D.Moore, a long-time member. “It’s the first on-line pari-mutuel platform that actually delivers a common sense approach that produces an enjoyable wagering experience. Wager pad construction is efficient and simple whether you are making one wager or multiple wagers.” “Congratulations to Amwager, they listened to their wagering clients and produced the greatest wagering site I have ever used. Thank you for raising the bar as well as my R.O.I.!!! " And now AmWager has upped the ante by providing their new Winner’s Bonus. Forget about signup bonuses. They can be hard to understand and are always short-term. With AmWager’s Winner’s Bonus, it’s simple. On a winning exotic wager, AmWager will deposit the earned additional Winner’s Bonus into a member’s account the very next day. The Winner’s Bonus details: ● Get 10% back on gross winning tickets ● Only exotics wagers are eligible (WPS bets are not eligible) ● All tracks and all breeds ● Bonuses are posted daily to your account ● A maximum daily bonus of $10 The Winner’s Bonus helps further demonstrate that AmWager puts the player first. AmWager, which is owned by AmWest Entertainment, believes that giving players daily incentives is vital to supporting the overall health of this sport we all love. “We extend the most generous rewards while striving to deliver the best economics for all players,” said AmWest CEO Nelson Clemmens, an experienced Thoroughbred owner and breeder. “We also will ensure that AmWager returns the highest possible revenues to support the sport of racing.” Lucrative rewards and referral programs put money back into a player’s pocket. And the Daily Winner’s Bonus is a powerful finishing kick. While these features are terrific, AmWager’s Wager Pad is like Secretariat in the Belmont – the competition is a long way back. AmWager’s impressive array of tools help players make smarter bets and capitalize on the new Win Bonus. Among these tools is the Dutching feature, which enables you to maximize your return on investment (ROI) by removing the inefficiencies from the traditional boxed wager. When you use a traditional box you are essentially spending the same dollar amount on each of your selections, even though they likely have different odds. Thus, you stand to make more money if a selection with the longer odds wins over a selection with shorter odds. But, what if you could improve this wager to maximize your ROI regardless of which of your selections crossed the wire first? That’s exactly what the mathematics behind the Dutching tool can do! With a few simple clicks the Dutching tool, which is unique to AmWager, takes your total wager amount and divides it between your selections based on their current odds to make the best use of your total wager. Selections with shorter odds will get a larger percentage of the total wager while those with longer odds will get a smaller percentage, so that the potential payout in the end is maximized. You might call it a “Smart Box” in that it helps you to exploit the full potential of your dollar. And that’s the very essence of AmWager – maximizing your ROI and ability to win.

The stewards report from Saturday nights Hunter Cup reads like a harness racing report from the front line at a war. Numerous people and horses were examined, censured or fined and we have to say how refreshing it is to see a group of stewards who seem to take their jobs so seriously. There were so many unanswered questions after the race but reading the stewards report has clarified a lot of those issues for us. We here at Harnesslink are never slow to point the finger at a lack of oversight at times of what happens on and off the track by stewards throughout Australasia. In this case we think they have done an outstanding job and hope they continue the standard of Saturday night's report into the future. The one interesting feature of the report which was unclear is the inquiry into the conduct of Emma Stewart towards the stewards after race 9. A little bit more clarity would have been appreciated. Stewards Report RACE 8 –DEL-RE NATIONAL FOOD GROUP HUNTER CUP (GROUP 1) (3280 SS) Arden Rooney NZ, Adore Me NZ, Restrepo, Im Corzin Terror NZ and Washmepockets NZ all began badly and each will be drawn wide for standing start races. Adore Me lost considerable distance while galloping and took no competitive part in the race. Christen Me NZ raced roughly after the start and inconvenienced Guaranteed. Flaming Flutter broke after the start and will be drawn wide in future standing start races. Philadelphia Man over-raced in the middle stages. Easy On The Eye was inclined to pull hard in the middle stages. Driver Joshua Aiken was fined $200 under Rule 168(1) which deals with careless driving in that he drove Smudge Bromac NZ forward at the 250m when held up behind Philadelphia Man resulting in Philadelphia Man carrying a flat tyre for the remainder of the race. Im Corzin Terror NZ was inconvenienced when Terror To Love and Guaranteed gave ground before being held up behind Washmepockets in the early stages of the home straight. Driver Kerryn Manning was fined $500 under Rule 156(2) for using her whip with a free hand prior to the 200m. Ms Manning was also fined $500 under Rule 156(3)(b) for her excessive use of the whip, which included her whip action in the early stages of the home straight and a breach of Rule 156(3)(f) for two strikes after the winning post. In assessing penalty, the level of the breaches and status of the race were major considerations. Driver Luke McCarthy was questioned about the tactics he adopted on Restrepo, particularly his decision to shift three-wide at the 1800m and challenge for the position outside the leader before restraining to the rear. Mr McCarthy explained that he thought Terror To Love would not get the parked position from Guaranteed and made the decision to be the first trailer in the three-wide line. When it became clear that Terror To Love obtained that position, Mr McCarthy had lost his position in the running line and tried for the parked position knowing that Terror To Love had done some work and may surrender. When it became clear driver Ricky May was intent on holding that position Mr McCarthy tried to gain a second three-wide trial which did not eventuate before restraining to the rear of the field. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any significant abnormalities and given Restrepo was beaten 186m, the horse will be required to trial satisfactorily prior to future nominations being accepted. Guaranteed ($6.80) also gave ground over the latter stages after working three-wide between the 2300m and 1400m to be beaten 62m into eleventh place. A post-race veterinary examination revealed Guaranteed to be suffering from a suspected respiratory infection identified by abnormal lung sounds. As such Guaranteed was stood down pending clearance by way of a veterinary certificate. Driver Ricky May could not offer an explanation for the performance of Terror To Love ($7.40), stating that it was one of the worst performances of the horses career. Terror To Love worked three-wide with cover from the 2300m to obtain the position outside the leader for the final mile before giving ground over the latter stages and being beaten 71m into twelfth place.  Mr May advised that he was instructed to work forward when given the opportunity and sit parked. Mr May said that with those tactics in mind he did not consider Restrepo was a suitable horse to surrender to when the opportunity arose. A post-race veterinary examination revealed a delayed recovery. An inquiry was adjourned into the conduct of trainer Emma Stewart upon leaving the Stewards Room after Race 9.

An investigation, commenced by the Harness Racing Victoria Stewards’ Department, and continued by the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit of Victoria Police, culminated yesterday in Victoria Police advising that criminal charges have been issued against licenced harness racing trainers Shayne Cramp and Greg Cramp. Upon receiving this advice, HRV Stewards have invoked the provisions of Australian Rule of Harness Racing 183 and suspended the licences of Shayne and Greg Cramp with immediate effect. No horse trained or owned by Shayne or Greg Cramp is able to race or trial. HRV Stewards have ordered the scratching of all of Shayne Cramp’s runners engaged at the Mildura meeting tonight. Any change of trainer requests from owners who have been impacted by these events must be approved by HRV. Shayne and Mr Greg Cramp have also been excluded under ARHR 15(1)(e) from attending any harness racing racecourse. HRV CEO John Anderson said: “It is important that the tireless work of Integrity Manager Andy Rogers is recognised. He initiated this exercise almost a year ago and has maintained a confidential vigilance throughout. I also commend the Chairman of Stewards Neal Conder and his panel for their ongoing contribution to the investigation. “I also wish to acknowledge the extensive commitment, dedication and tireless efforts of the whole team at the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit led by Detective Sergeant Kieran Murnane.” HRV respect the matters are now before the court and will be limiting any further comment. Harness Racing Victoria

Ex-Harness Racing NZ boss says he set up trust at centre of allegations to help clubs starved of funding. A stalwart of the racing industry among those facing claims of a $30 million pokie fraud has spoken of the sport being starved of cash. Former Harness Racing NZ chairman Pat O'Brien, 82, told the Herald he set up the pokies trust at the centre of the allegations to get cash for race stakes and other purposes after funding dried up. "The taxes the government take out of it don't leave enough for the clubs to exist on," he said. Click here to read the full article written by David Fisher for the New Zealand Herald

In the business environment, fostering the free market is as American as apple pie. When everyone is given an equal chance to develop and sell items of a certain product line, the quality of the items offered are invariably enhanced, while the price tags on the items become competitive, to the benefit of consumers. It is because of this that 125 years ago Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act; the first federal law of its kind promulgated to prohibit monopolistic activity in business that would tend to stifle competition. Yet, not every regulation that limits product development can be considered monopolistic. In the governmental realm, for example, consider that certain states license marijuana sale and use solely for medicinal purposes. While many entrepreneurs see this strict limitation as impinging upon free market retailing and a restraint upon trade, there exists a distinct countervailing state interest in protecting the public health through limiting the sale of cannabis-based products. Like everything else in law, there are few absolutes. What about limitations on the production of horses? Several years ago, our Association limited the stud books of stallions. The regulation was fashioned after genetic research disclosed that lack of diversity in our closed breed could be deleterious to the health of the progeny of a diminishing number of sires. Here, the regulation was not intended to limit production of foals or harm stallion syndicates, but rather to force breeders to make decisions that would ultimately promote healthy hybrids. Our Association has also prohibited cloning. In September 2013, we wrote about a successful challenge to the cloning ban established by American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) on antitrust grounds in a federal trial level court in Texas. At that time, we stated that taking reasonable steps to ensure the longevity of our Standardbred breed and breeders is our obligation, and is hardly monopolistic, and hoped that future judges and juries would recognize this fact when dealing with regulations prohibiting cloning. Click here to read the September 2013 Racing and the Law installment on Cloning: Last month, the federal circuit court of appeals covering Texas unanimously reversed both the jury’s verdict and the judge’s injunction against the AQHA’s cloning ban. The court’s reasoning is as important as their resulting decision. The allegation by plaintiffs, a breeder and veterinarian, was that by refusing to register foals they create through cloning championship Quarter Horses, the AQHA is monopolizing the so-called “elite Quarter Horses” market. First, plaintiffs claimed that members of the Stud Book and Registration Committee (SBRC) of the AQHA actually were in a monopolistic conspiracy with the AQHA itself, because alleged vocal and influential member of the SBRC had strong economic interests in keeping cloned horses out of the AQHA registry. The plaintiffs argued that although the AQHA was a single entity, its members were in competition with one another and that the breeders were being protectionist in their prohibition against cloning. In support of their position, the plaintiffs cited a 2010 United States Supreme Court decision that found 32 National Football League teams to be in potential competition with one another when it came to producing and selling team logo wearing apparel and headgear. While the court agreed that the claim was plausible in a vacuum, it found that the facts simply didn’t support the assertion.  The court declared that the AQHA is more than a sports league and is not a trade association, and that its quarter million members are involved in a variety of non-breeding activities such as ranching, pleasure riding and training. Further, plaintiffs’ own expert conceded that in the breeding segment less than .5% of the yearlings sold each year fall with the plaintiffs’ self-styled “elite Quarter Horse” submarket. Thus, the court concluded: “Under such circumstances, it is difficult to draw the conclusion that because a tiny number of economic actors within AQHA may “pursue their separate economic interests,” the organization has conspired with that minority.” Further, the court pointed out that no other case has yet held an animal breed registry in violation of antitrust laws because of passing qualifications regarding the specific breed. The court recalled its own 1977 ruling in which it found that the AQHA was not being monopolistic by refusing to register the progeny of “elite” lineage because the horses had white markings above the permissible places on its legs. It also discussed decisions involving breed restrictions in the dog registry realm. Plainly, the court grasped the obvious practical ramifications that flow from the actions of a breed registry: “Whenever an organization devoted to the preservation of an animal breed revises its standards, exclusions from the relevant “market” will occur… breed standards for these volunteer groups should often be immune from antitrust scrutiny because they are essential to ‘creating the product’.”  In sum, and the arguable restrictiveness of the cloning prohibition aside, the court found no conspiratorial intent on behalf of the AQHA or its members and components in establishing and repeatedly reaffirming the cloning ban. The court found that SBRC’s members were constantly rotated, that many members had no involvement in breeding and, of those that did, only a handful were involved in so-called “elite” breeding. Finally, the court found that the AQHA is a member organization, and the organization does not itself compete in the “elite Quarter Horse” market. Click on the link below to read the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals decision dated January 14, 2015:,33&as_ylo=2015 It is important to caution that the AQHA case does not stand for the proposition that cloning is bad, or that cloning racehorses should be considered impermissible breeding. Basically, the proof offered by plaintiffs failed to exclude the possibility that the alleged conspiratorial conduct in banning clones was in fact the result of independent action without nefarious intent. In this, the case and its reasoning bears striking similarly to a 1999 federal appeals court decision which fully exonerated our Association from all antitrust allegations when it voted to ban what it found to be an inherently dangerous sulky design. The action was done to, among other things, protect the safety of drivers. The great news is that a high level court has reaffirmed that an otherwise restrictive regulation imposed by an animal breed registry will not be considered an illegal restraint of trade, so long as the regulation has a rational basis and was developed in a non-conspiratorial fashion, the complaints of a few disgruntled folks notwithstanding. Chris E. Wittstruck is an attorney, a director of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and a charter member of the Albany Law School Racing and Gaming Law Network.

Five men have been arrested in raids over race-fixing allegations in Victorian harness racing. Police hit properties in Merbein, Birdwoodton, Irymple, Mildura and Bolinda about 6.45am on Monday, seizing documents and other items. Superintendent Peter Brigham said the 10-month investigation involved owners, trainers and drivers. "Match or race fixing is a crime and police will actively work to target and disrupt it right across the state," Supt Brigham said on Monday. "It doesn't matter if it's happening at major events in Melbourne or events at our smallest country towns." A 29-year-old Merbein man, a Birdwoodton man, 57, a Bolinda man, 54, an Irymple man, 52, and a Mildura man, 34, were arrested and will be interviewed. Reprinted with permission of AAP

Victoria Police officers have raided the properties of top Australian harness racing figures over their alleged involvement in a race-fixing scandal. The Monday morning raids have targeted the racing operations of the Cramp family in Mildura. Shayne Cramp is one of the state's leading harness racing drivers, while both he and his father Greg also run a major training operation as well. Fairfax Media was to publish an investigation about the pair's links to suspect betting activities and alleged corruption a fortnight ago, but was requested by police to stall publication. The Fairfax Media investigation can reveal that Shayne and Greg Cramp are alleged to be involved in a suspected illegal betting syndicate that has been attempting to manipulate the outcome of races for several months. No other members of their family are alleged to be involved. Fairfax Media is seeking comment from the Cramp family. Click this link to read the full article written by Nick McKenzie Richard Baker Matt Taylor in The Sydney Morning Herald

A horse trainer has told how he was at a harness-racing meeting on Friday night when his mother was fatally struck by a hit-run driver only a short distance away. Earlier, Betty McArthur, 84, had watched her son Mick Darling’s horses in two races on the program at Phoenix Park in Port Pirie. She was walking back to her car parked in its usual spot outside a friend’s house, in Grey Terrace, when she was hit by the vehicle about 9.30pm. This is only about 100 metres from the entrance to the trotting park – and Mr Darling was still at the track when he got the news that someone had been hit. “It was straight after race five,” a shocked Mr Darling told The Recorder Editor Greg Mayfield on Saturday afternoon at his home at Bungama on the outskirts of Port Pirie. He spoke just after police released the news that a suspected offender was being interviewed over the hit-run. Mr Darling said he had ”mind-boggling” support from the community after the tragedy. “You don’t know how many friends you have got,” he said. He said it would be difficult on Christmas Day with an empty seat being there for Mrs McArthur. “All Christmases are special,” he said. Mrs McArthur is a former president with the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary and used to make dinners for drivers and trainers at the trotting track until a few years ago. She was a regular supplier of delicious nut rolls to a local delicatessen. Mr Darling agreed his mother was proud of him and always watched his horses go round the track. “I drove one horse in one race and another driver drove one of my other horses in the other race. They were the fourth and sixth races on the program and she watched them both,” he said. Mr Darling is president of the Port Pirie Harness Racing Club and president of the South Australian Country Harness Racing Clubs. “Mum and Dad had horses when we were kids. I originally raced her horses,” he said. “We went to school at Snowtown and Lochiel and shifted to Port Pirie for the last year of high school. “Mum didn’t work – looking after six kids was a big enough job.” It is not the first time that tragedy has truck the family. Mr Darling’s brother Robin died 17 years ago from an asthma attack. Later, Mr Darling’s mother remarried and became Mrs McArthur. “When she remarried there were 13 of us,” he said. “It was a big Christmas and a big day at tea-time. “Everyone knows her. She worked so hard for the trotting club. “She had been president of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital auxiliary for eight or nine years. “She was inspired to do this by her two disabled grandchildren. One of them can’t speak, but recently had a long “conversation” on the phone with Mum’ and was laughing and smiling. “Because my wife and I are shifting to Moonta, Christmas celebrations were going to be at Moonta. “I asked my mother when she wanted to be picked up to travel to Moonta and she said she was going to drive down - at the age of 84 - but we would have driven her anyway.” He said his mother always attended the trotting meetings. “She was actually a life member of the harness racing club,” he said. “I suppose that indicates how much work she did for the club. “She always made nut roll for the delicatessen – one of her loves was cooking. “She was proud of all of us.” A 40-year-old Port Pirie man was charged with causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop and render assistance at a collision, and leaving the scene of a collision.  He will be granted bail to appear in court at a later date. by Greg Mayfield Reprinted with permission of the   Major Crash investigators continue to examine the circumstances surrounding the collision, and ask anyone that may have seen a dark-coloured Ford station wagon in the area to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or online at  

The former chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand and members of a prominent horse racing family, Patrick O’Brien, along with his son, Michael, Nelson’s Paul Max and a former gaming inspector who could not be named, have all been issues summons on charges of fraud in one of the country’s largest gambling sector investigations. Called “Operation Chestnut ” the investigation was started back in June of 2012 according to the Serious Fraud Office, Department of Affairs and the police. The investigation alleges that more than $30 million in gaming grants were made by the New Zealand Community Trust, Infinity and Bluegrass Trusts, dating all the way back to 2006. Scheduled to appear in court in February, the four men could face at least 20 charges of obtaining by deception, which could carry up to seven years in jail. "If you don't think you've done anything wrong, it's a bloody shock to get a summons, said Patrick O’Brien. “I'll be defending the charges." Paul Max also said he would defend the charges against him. "It's before the courts so on that basis it's completely inappropriate for me to make any comment." Michael O'Brien said he had been instructed not to comment by his lawyers, but said the charges would be "vigorously defended". The trusts had its gaming license taken away earlier this year after the Gambling Commission found that it provided false and misleading information to Internal Affairs. Harnesslink media

The Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) today launched an anonymous 0800 number for the racing industry to report integrity concerns. Based on the NZ Police Crimestoppers 0800 number, the 0800 RIU 123 Integrity line will gather information volunteered anonymously from industry participants, employees, punters and anyone with an interest in racing a proactive way to pass on information with guaranteed anonymity. The service will be run through the Crimestoppers operation. All calls are received by trained call takers. They record the information offered and the intelligence provided is then forwarded on to the RIU for investigation. As a new service based on anonymity the integrity line will add to the Racing Integrity Unit’s intelligence gathering. “The guarantee of absolute anonymity provides a way for people to feel safe about passing on what they know, so we are likely to receive information we haven’t had before and from people who in other circumstances would not normally come forward” says Neil Grimstone, Manager of Integrity Assurance for the Racing Integrity Unit. “There is no visibility or record of the phone number the call is being made from, so it cannot be traced back, however the caller is given the opportunity to leave contact details if they wish to be contacted further about the concerns they raise.” For any further information regarding the implementation of the 0800 RIU 123 Integrity line please email or call Neil Grimstone on 021 272 6009

THE Queensland Racing Disciplinary Board has quashed a five-year disqualification for a harness racing trainer who admitted backing his own horses to lose. Justin Abbott pleaded guilty to three charges of laying his horses on Betfair in races at Redcliffe and Albion Park in February and March this year. For each charge, Racing Queensland Stewards Kwan Wolsey and Paul Zimmermann disqualified Abbott for 12 months, to be served cumulatively. Stewards also handed out a two-year disqualification, to be served concurrently, for behaviour prejudicial to the industry and another two-year cumulative stretch for intimidating stewards. Abbott pleaded not guilty to those charges in the initial inquiry and the RDB found in his favour at appeal and quashed both convictions and penalties. “There is nothing to support the contention that the trainer has behaved in a way which was prejudicial or indeed detrimental to the industry,” RDB Chairman Brock Miller wrote in his judgment. In respect to the penalties for laying his own horses, the RDB knocked the penalty down to time already served, dating back to March, when Abbott was stood down by stewards, effectively making it a nine-month penalty. “There are circumstances where one can envisage significant long term disqualifications being imposed. However, those circumstances would demand that there be unmistakably serious contraventions involving significantly large amounts of money that had been wagered and won,” Miller deemed. “That is not the situation in the matters that are currently under review by this board. The three amounts of money that had been wagered and won are all below $1000.” The three lay bets admitted to by Abbott were to win amounts of $235, $97.55 and $811. Evidence was also tendered at the stewards’ inquiry whereby two associates of Abbott’s also layed the horse Foldem at Albion Park on March 10. In that race, Foldem took a sit three back on the marker pegs after starting from barrier one. A week later, Foldem was driven forward to lead from barrier six. Abbott backed the horse to win $810 in this race. Stewards submitted there was an “irresistible inference from these facts that Mr Abbott deliberately caused the horse to race inconsistently”. The RDB did not accept this submission, finding “there is no evidence that there was any such conduct on the part of the trainer or the driver”. The RDB said stewards should have charged Abbott under a merits or reasonable measures rule if the charge of prejudicial behaviour was to stand. By Nathan Exelby Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail 

Integrity will be at a premium for the annual Garrards 2YO Trialling Sale to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Sunday. HRNSW will take a select number of samples in consultation with the Sales organisers including the fastest horse of the morning. In addition to this any buyer will be able to have their purchase tested for Steroids by notifying the HRNSW representative at the sale and paying the appropriate fee. This is the first sale in which buyers have had this opportunity. The 51-head catalogue has brought together two-year-old colts, geldings and fillies from every Australian eastern Mainland State as well as New Zealand. Included in the draft are sons and daughters of such notable sires as Beautide's sire, Bettors Delight, Courage Under Fire, Mach Three, Rocknroll Hanover and Rock N Roll Heaven. HRNSW CEO John Dumesny said the controlling body want to make it clear that all prospective owners, stakeholders, participants and supporters that they can have faith in harness racing in NSW. "As has been acknowledged nationally HRNSW has the strongest approach of any jurisdiction to integrity processes." "The HRNSW commitment covers every aspect and it is with the support of the Ready To Race Sale organisers that swabs will be taken, tested and if required stored for future analysis." Only graduates are eligible to nominate for the associated Group Three feature, the C.J. Garrard Classic, to be held at Tabcorp Park, Menangle, next August. NSW Breeders Challenge Owners Bonus certificates can be used as legal tender at the sale. By Dale Walker  

Everybody involved in harness racing in New Zealand knows that there are major challenges facing the industry. Whatever branch of the industry you look at has issues that are threatening the very existence of the sport we love. From the decline in the number of mares being sent to stud to the difficulty in retaining owners in the game through to a management structure that is more attuned to the 19th century than the 21st century we live in and you have an industry in real difficulty. The two major clubs in New Zealand are the Auckland Trotting Club based at Alexandra Park and the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club based at  Addington Raceway and both deserve credit in the last few years for lifting stake levels and increasing returns to stake holders. Both have achieved this by developing large income streams outside of harness racing and have used those funds to help lift stake levels. The Auckland Trotting Club have now released visionary development plans that if implemented in full will see a huge lift in stakes at Alexandra Park and will definitely give the whole harness racing industry in New Zealand a huge boost when it needs it most. The proposals are for the establishment of a village type concept at the eastern end of Alexandra Park which has an estimated cost of development of $205,400,000. It will involve a nine story apartment complex of 231 apartments with 8 of these being luxury penthouse units and a major retail complex underneath the apartments. It is envisaged that the construction phase will last for 20 months and the Auckland club already has agreements with their neighbours regarding the development. The CEO Dominique Dowding has driven this project and is due a lot of the credit for the progress made to date. Just yesterday the club received consent for the project from the Auckland City Council.  Last night the Auckland president Kerry Hoggard outlined the proposal to over 120 members. The Auckland Trotting Club board this year includes such well respected industry participants as Barry Purdon, John Green, Derek Balle, Bruce Cater and Ross Johnson and they were very supportive of the plan as were the vast majority of the members. If completed to budget, the project will leave the club with $30,000,000 in cash and new assets with a capital value of $27,000,000 On top of that the Club will have a new income stream from the rental of the retail outlets which is projected to bring in $1,670,000 per annum. The last big hurdle for the project is keeping within the budget set for the construction phase and the Club reserves the right to stop the project if costs blow out in the tender for the construction of the village.. If it all goes to plan, the Auckland Trotting Club could eventually expect to be racing for a minimum stake of $20,000 which is a 66% increase on the present minimum. Not only that but it will secure the future of harness racing in the North Island and give the whole industry in New Zealand a real lift. The Auckland club should be congatulated for being so proactive in securing the future of harness racing in the North Island with such an innovative project. Harnesslink Media 

The New Zealand Racing Board has today announced a Net Profit increase of $137.0 million for the financial year ending 31 July 2014. NZRB Chief Executive Officer (Acting) Stewart McRobie says it has been a mixed year for the NZ Racing Board, but the core business is strong, underpinned by solid year on year growth. "The NZ Racing Board achieved record breaking turnover results surpassing the $2 billion mark for the first time in the organisation's history. This was on the back of a highly successful Football World Cup tournament that was the TAB's biggest ever betting event with turnover of $32.3m. "Year on year we achieved growth in Betting and Gaming turnover of 6.8% and 6.5% respectively. Turnover growth from domestic customers is running over three times higher than the compound average of the last four years - a long term negative trend that is beginning to reverse," says Mr McRobie. Mr McRobie says rising Operating Expenses and other factors have meant that while Net Profit was marginally above the prior year result, and a record, it did not meet budget. "Some very positive improvements have been offset by the significant appreciation of the New Zealand dollar against the Australian dollar. Our key initiative projects - broadcasting and the mobile app have also cost more and taken longer to execute, but we expect to see benefits from these projects come through in future results," says Mr McRobie. The three Racing Codes – New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New Zealand and Greyhound Racing New Zealand – and the racing industry, received $137.4 million from NZRB’s operations, while $5.0 million was paid or provided for distribution to National Sporting Organisations, and a record $2.3 million to other sporting bodies from gaming activities.   2013/14 2012/131 % change Turnover $2.088b $1.957b +6.7% Net profit $137.0m $136.7m +0.2% Total Group distribution made from current year profit $137.4m $134.9m +1.8% Note: All figures comprise TAB betting and Class 4 gaming The audited financial statements have been completed. The 2013/14 results exclude the gain realised from the sale of the NZ Racing Board Head Office in Petone, as this transaction was completed early in the 2014/15 financial year. The NZ Racing Board's Statement of Intent is available on the NZ Racing Board website. The annual report, including the financial statements, will be available at the Annual General Meeting on November 24, 2014. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

From today Kiwi racing punters will be able to bet into Hong Kong's multimillion dollar pools following an agreement between the TAB and the Hong Kong Jockey Club. New Zealand Racing Board Wagering Consultant Martin Saunders says the TAB has joined a select group of international agencies approved to commingle into Hong Kong pools. "Our intention has always been to give our customers in New Zealand the opportunity to bet into 'native', or home field, pools and this allows us to do that. "We'll be commingling into win, place and quinella pools initially, then into other pools including trifecta from next year and, in time, the huge dividend-bearing Triple Trio," says Mr Saunders. TAB customers will reap the rewards of the deal, says Saunders. "Most importantly, it will reduce the volatility that can occur in smaller pools, skewing win and place dividends." The arrangement with Hong Kong follows a taxation law change by the region's Legislative Council allowing commingling with overseas operators. "Longer term, the goal is to have Hong Kong customers betting into New Zealand, which will be a real boost to liquidity of our domestic pools," says Saunders. The TAB will be commingling directly into Hong Kong via a hub arrangement with international partner Tabcorp. In addition, the TAB will commingle First4 and Quaddie pools on Hong Kong racing directly with Tabcorp. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

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