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HRNZ is pleased to announce the appointment of Liz Bishop as General Manager - Operations. This position follows an internal restructuring following the resignation of Commercial Development Manager, Pete Ydgren, in January. Liz is currently employed as Senior Consultant in the Transaction Advisory Services team at Ernst Young. An accountant, she has wide management experience across a range of industries, working for major accounting firms in Great Britain and New Zealand. She has also previously been head of finance and commercial operations for a large aquarium and educational charity in the UK. HRNZ Chief Executive, Edward Rennell said “we were very happy with the strength of applicants for this position and believe Liz will add great value to the HRNZ team. Her professional and personal skills will see her make a great contribution in this new role and the wider industry. Liz’s passion for equestrian activities will also add strength and focus to HRNZ’s animal welfare strategies.” "I am delighted to be appointed as General Manager - Operations for Harness Racing New Zealand, and welcome the opportunity to combine my commercial and professional expertise, as a chartered accountant, with my equestrian experience in this exciting new role”, Liz said. “My involvement with Standardbreds commenced within a few months of moving with my family to New Zealand (Canterbury) over 10 years ago, and I have successfully competed my retired pacer at national level during that time”. HRNZ looks forward to welcoming Liz into her new role on 9 April 2018. For further details, contact: Edward Rennell Chief Executive 021 407 596   HRNZ

Racing's co-chief stipendiary steward Ross Neal has resigned for personal reasons and to pursue other interests, he said on Monday. The Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) confirmed the resignation of Neal, whose personal life had been in the public spotlight. The RIU polices the racing industry.  In May, it was revealed he was with Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) employee Lyn O'Connell in a Christchurch motel in February when she suffered a heart attack. She died in hospital a few days later. READ MORE: Racing industry anti-corruption boss should resign over fatal affair, says husband Her husband, Blair O'Connell​, a Motukarara breeder and trainer, in May called for Neal to resign. In a statement Neal, who has been in the role for eight years, said he had chosen to resign. Neal, who recently returned from a period of annual leave, described his decision to resign as "extremely difficult". "I am and continue to be passionate about the integrity and performance of our industry and believe I have been true to the intent and purpose of my role throughout my time in this role.    "My commitment to the reputation of the industry has seen me make the extremely difficult decision to resign. However, I will continue to be an avid supporter."  Blair O'Connell said in May his wife, licensing secretary for HRNZ, wanted to become a stipendiary steward and told him Neal was helping her with that process. In fact, O'Connell believed, Neal had taken the opportunity to conduct an affair with her for more than a year. O'Connell could not be reached for comment on Monday. Attempts to contact Neal on Monday were unsuccessful. It is unknown what his "personal reasons" for resigning are.  His mobile phone went straight to voicemail. A recorded voice message said he was no longer working for the RIU and  directed all work-related calls to its general manager Mike Godber​. Godber​ said he understood Neal did not wish to comment further. Godber said he could not comment when asked whether Neal had jumped, or was pushed. Neal had been an excellent co-chief stipendiary steward and was committed to the industry, Godber said. Mat Kermeen

Harness Racing Waikato was over the moon with the way Jewels Day 2016 unfolded. In fact HRW described the day as the best Jewels meeting it had ever hosted. HRW president and Harness Racing New Zealand executive member Rob Lawson said the brilliant weather conditions in New Zealand and poor weather in Australia ensured a massive off-course turnover. It also meant the largest Australian TV audience for a Jewels meeting. Jewels betting with the Australian TABs on June 4 was up over A$1million on last season, jumping from A$663,013 to a massive A$1,696,1467. On-course Turnover was $311,000 however that is a slightly misleading figure in that it includes inter-track betting. That saw HRW even out-perform the Ellerslie and Wanganui thoroughbred meetings run at the same time, a result Australian harness racing bosses wouldn’t dare dream of in their country. The skyrocketing turnover was enormously boosted by the Queensland Oaks meeting at Eagle Farm as well as other Australian gallops meetings being abandoned because of torrential rain, meaning the entire Jewels meeting moved to the premium Australian racing coverage channel, Sky1. "The weather was spectacular. The Track outstanding and we received many favourable comments from the drivers about the state of the track. The Facilities were again presented in pristine condition which was a real credit to our grounds staff. The racing was of the highest order. We couldn't have asked for anything better," Lawson, a Waikato-based licensed trainer said. "The Sky 1 exposure in Australia ended being a complete bonus that will benefit the entire industry going forward," he added. Lawson said HRW was pleased to be able to present to the entire harness industry a successful event that highlighted our great sport. "We are yet to crunch all of the numbers but are confident that it will be a financial success with benefits flowing through all North Island harness participants. Our predominant staff in Kerry Wells and Mike Weston once again showed how capable they are in presenting an outstanding showcase of harness racing," Lawson said He said total domestic turnover was $2.442 million, which was the second highest in Jewels history. "Export Turnover (Australians betting on the Jewels) was $1.7 million – the highest turnover in New Zealand harness racing history. And in other HRW news, Lawson said former Auckland Trotting Club marketing and assistant racing manager, David Branch will join HRW on August 1 as Business Development Manager. "David is returning from England especially for the job. We are excited to have on board someone of David’s capabilities and knowledge in our team. David’s prime task will be to grow the revenue earning opportunities of harness racing in the Waikato and surrounds, and push us into the future with regards to facilities, income, and entertainment. "This is a fresh new additional position and will see David work alongside Kerry and Mike to project Cambridge Raceway and harness racing in the region into a new era. Lawson said he was also excited that John Coulam has joined him on the HRNZ executive. "I am delighted to have another HRW person on the Executive with me. It will strengthen the representation from this region and also John’s business acumen will be an asset to the Board," Lawson said. "Not to mention that he is a 'good guy’ with a real passion for harness racing," he added. Duane Ranger

Murray Swain has always been passionate about harness racing and now he’s got the chance at the highest level to put some of his ideas on the table. He’s not new to administration having held positions as President of the Winton HRC and as a board of Southern Harness. Although administration at this level has been a passing thought, Swain didn’t expect an opportunity to take a position on the board of HRNZ would come so soon. “Being on the board of Southern Harness was a thought, but not Harness Racing New Zealand. That just came about with Alisa (Smaill) retiring. I’ve been asked over the last few years if I’d give it a go but the timing just hasn’t been right,” he said. The Swain name is well known in harness racing in Southland and Murray mixes farming and commercial eeling with horse training on his Roslyn Bush property.  He farms on 300 acres with mainly dry stock, fattening lambs and cattle. “I’ll probably concentrate on cattle now as they’re less labour intensive if I’m going to do this job so it’s a bit easier instead of dagging sheep.” Being on the HRNZ board means there will have to be other changes at home. “There are about twelve meetings in Christchurch. I haven’t told him yet but Aaron (son) will have to look after the horses when I’m away.” As well as being a breeder, trainer, driver and administrator Swain also likes to have the odd bet and has a very good understanding of racing from a punters viewpoint. He says the key thing in his new role is to listen to all industry players.  “A lot of people out there complain about a lot of things. You just have to sift through it and work out which is worthy or not. I have a lot of ideas I can add to the industry and I think I can pull the clubs together. My intention is to be an asset (on the board).” On the breeding front he currently has nine foals on the ground and six mares in foal with about thirty horses all up. And he’s keen to ensure that other owners continue to breed. “If you do breed to a lesser stallion I want you to get a fair return. My main aim is to look after the grass roots, encouraging people to breed horses and race them more.” Over the years he’s realised that selling is often the only way to remain sustainable in the industry. “If you sell you go again. If you win a good stake it encourages you to go again. I think we’ve got behind (in stakes) and we’ve got some ground to make up.”     Over the years he has also trained and raced a number of handy horses, his best being Scoots a Holmes Hanover mare out of Outspoken which won seven races before she was sold to America in 2000.   “She won another thirty (races) in America against the best Free For All mares over there. At one point she was the fastest mare to leave Australasia. She won a half a million dollars in America.” Other good winners from his stable were Radar Installed, the winner of 10 races. Hayton Brain a Sir Vancelot gelding won nine races and a further thirteen in Australia including the Group Two Celebrity Sprint, the Group Three FHRC Members Sprint, Group Three Village Kid Sprint at Northam and the Group Two Mount Eden Sprint. He also ran third in the Group One Australian Pacing Championship.He ended his career having won $369,672.   Mister Kentucky and Oomph were other good winners Swain has trained.   Although he acknowledges there’s plenty to learn about board protocol he says he’s keen to offer his services on a number of subcommittees.   “I think I’ve got a very good knowledge of handicapping. I’m also interested in setting conditions and rules for age group racing including concessions. I’ll see what’s available but I know where I want to be. I don’t mind sitting out on the edge as long as it’s sustainable. I also don’t mind being wrong.   There’ll be some pretty knowable guys up there. You can’t be scared to try and can’t be scared to fail.Programming is very important too. We need to get every horse on the track every second week with just ten races. Harness Racing is at a very crucial point at the moment and failure isn’t an option.”     Murray Swain will assume his new position following the Annual Conference on 30th July, replacing Ailsa Smaill who is retiring after being on the Board of HRNZ for the past 12 years.   Bruce Stewart

24 February 2015 - Harness racing nominations closed recently with the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club for the running of the 2015 Group One New Zealand Oaks at Addington on Friday 15 May. At the time of closing 34 three year old fillies had been nominated for the prestigious event that this year carries a total stake of $150,000, an increase of $50,000 from 2013. Addington’s Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt was happy with the number of nominations. “The level of nominations was as expected for this important event. Our three year old filly crop this year is of high quality and we’ll be looking forward to hopefully carding a full field on 15 May.” Any horse not nominated, may upon making the first late entry fee of $750 plus GST per horse become eligible. This fee is due no later than 3pm NZ time on Monday 11 March. A fixed odds book on the nominations will be released by Stephen Richardson and his team at the TAB this Thursday around lunchtime. A full list of nominations can be viewed below Ged Mooar

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 admin@riu.org.nz or call Neil Grimstone on 021 272 6009

The New Zealand Racing Board welcomes the commitment of both the Government and Labour party to tackle the issue of offshore betting. Racing Minister Nathan Guy says it's now a priority, and his team intend to work closely with the racing industry to look for practical solutions to the problem after the election. Racing Spokesperson Ross Robertson says Labour will pass legislation to stop offshore betting websites from avoiding tax in New Zealand and denying revenue to the New Zealand racing industry. The TAB estimates that New Zealanders bet up to $300 million per year with overseas agencies that isn't subject to levies or taxes. New Zealand Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes says leakage is increasing and now a major threat to New Zealand's racing industry. "We have long called for measures to level the playing field and ensure the racing industry sees a benefit from their investment." "We have been working with the current government on this issue and we are pleased that both these political parties now see the need to take action." The racing industry plays a critical role in the New Zealand economy contributing $1.6 billion to GDP - on par with the seafood and wine industries. It's a major source of employment, supporting over 17,000 full time jobs across the country. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

The votes have been tallied and the winners announced at the 2014 New Zealand Harness Racing  Awards in Christchurch. Tonight our industry celebrated the many successes of the exciting 2013/14 season. Below are the winners for 2014. Please note a total of 21 voting papers were received. PGG Wrightson 2YO Pacing Filly of the Year  SUPERSONIC MISS 14 Owners: Butterworth Racing Syndicate, K J Riseley, D M Riseley, MacLean Family Syndicate, Kaos Syndicate. (Joanne’s A Delight - 5, Linda Lovegrace - 2) Woodlands Stud 3YO Pacing Filly of the Year VENUS SERENA 21 Owner: R L Sandford, Mrs J A Sandford, G R Dunn Nevele R Stud 4YO & Older Pacing Mare of the Year ADORE ME 21 Owner: Charles Roberts, Paul Kenny, Mary Kenny. McMillan Equine Feeds 2YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year  FOLLOW THE STARS 20 Owners: Mrs G J Kennard, P I Kennard, N Pilcher, G R Douglas, P J Creighton, Mrs M C Creighton (Alta Orlando - 1) Copthorne Commodore 3YO Pacing Colt or Gelding of the Year TIGER TARA 17 Owner: R L Sandford, Mrs J A Sandford, J S Gould, G R Dunn (Locharburn - 3, Isaiah - 1) Christchurch Casino 4YO & Older Pacing Entire or Gelding of the Year TERROR TO LOVE 21 Owner: McDonald Bloodstock Limited (Terry McDonald) Alabar Stud Pacer of the Year TERROR TO LOVE 19 Owner: McDonald Bloodstock Limited (Terry McDonald) (Adore Me - 2) Trotters Crombie Lockwood 2YO Trotting Filly of the Year WANNA PLAY 14 Owner: Trevor Casey, Natalie Rasmussen (Arya - 6, Yagunnakissmeornot - 1) XCM 3YO Trotting Filly of the Year MAJESTIC TIME 21 Owners: J M Ward, Mrs P L Ward, Miss S L Ward, C M Ward Advanced Joinery 4YO & Older Trotting Mare of the Year SUPERBOWLCHEERLEADER 21 Owner: Mrs Sue Grainger, Studholme Bloodstock Limited Lone Star 2YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year MONBET 20 Owners: Greg Hope, Mrs Nina Hope, Maurice Molloy (Prince Fearless - 1) The Caxton Press 3YO Trotting Colt or Gelding of the Year KING DENNY 21 Owner: Butterworth Racing Syndicate NRM 4YO & Older Trotting Entire & Gelding of the Year MASTER LAVROS 20 Owner: Kypros Kotzikas (Peak - 1) Lincoln Farms Trotter of the Year MASTER LAVROS 21 Owners: Kypros Kotzikas Harness Racing New Zealand Horse of the Year TERROR TO LOVE 19 Owner: McDonald Bloodstock Limited (Terry McDonald) (Adore Me - 2)

A victory by Lord Baltimore has helped talented harness racing horsewoman Michelle Neilson snare a last gasp win in the McMillan Equine Feeds NZ Junior Drivers Championship at Addington. Needing victory in the last race of the three-race series as well as some other results to fall her way, Neilson ensured her side of the equation was complete with a heady drive on the heavily backed Geoff Dunn trained winner. Then it was down to fate, or more importantly the placing of championship leader Dylan Ferguson. The North Island hoop needed to finish in 7th position to ensure himself victory but fell agonisingly short with his 8th placing netting him five points which left him one short of Neilson who closed out the championship on 35 points. I knew I had a wee chance going into the last heat,’’ Neilson said. But I needed others to finish well back too, once I got past the line first I tried to have a look back but gave up because it was too hard to tell where they all were. 24-year-old Neilson is originally from Australia but moved over to New Zealand last year, initially to work in the stable of Mark Purdon and good friend Natalie Rasmussen before she joined the stable of Mark Jones. She admitted to not knowing a lot about the series but took an interest when people started talking about it and realising that she was in with a shot of making the championship. Backed into a $3.40 favourite to win, Neilson finished third in the first heat with Billy The Bus and then fifth with Paint The Moon in the second heat. That left her 11 points behind Ferguson who finished second in the first heat with Cullen’s Mercy and then won the second heat with Summer Vacation. Lord Baltimore was sent out a commanding favourite and Neilson didn’t let favourite punters down, taking full use of the passing lane to snare the win. It's a pretty awesome feeling to win to be honest. People have been telling me all week that I had a good chance, but you still have to get that luck. Ferguson finished in second position – a notable achievement considering this his first season of driving while Robbie Close who won the first heat of the night with Hit The Spot. The North Island versus South Island challenge – a separate contest between the 12 drivers was taken out by the Southerners in commanding fashion. By Matt Markham Harness Racing New Zealand

When I talk to overseas harness racing administrators, trainers and owners on my travels and we discuss the management and governance structures of our respective countries and whether they are delivering the best results for participants in our industry, I am frequently having to defend the structure and management of the industry in New Zealand. Northern Hemisphere people struggle to see how you can run harness racing in 2014 with a structure and governance that is a relic of a different time. Northern Hemisphere tracks are owned by either wealthy individuals or companies and they make all the decisions with regards to their tracks. This gives them the ability to adapt their programs and race structure to suit their immediate needs or those of the stakeholders who operate at their tracks. These tracks live or die on the strength of their product and  they try at all times to deliver a superior product to their customers.  As with any structure, there are issues and conflicts but in the main they do a far better job of selling and marketing harness racing to the general public than we do here in New Zealand. Over a period of time I have come to the conclusion that they have a far better management and governance structure than the Southern Hemisphere does. I have given up defending the structure of harness racing in New Zealand and have become a strong advocate for major change in how our industry is governed. How can it be in 2014 that we have a system of governance for our industry that is manifestly inappropriate for a business in the 21st century.  Currently we have a system that is controlled by the trotting clubs of New Zealand. Any major changes to the administration or structure of  ANYTHING  within the trotting industry requires the approval of a majority of those clubs. They meet once a year which means change within the industry happens at a glacial pace. The Executive of Harness Racing New Zealand can tinker at the edges but for anything major they need to take the proposal to the annual meeting of trotting clubs for their approval. Can you imagine any business in 2014 being able to survive and prosper if they were unable to adapt to changing trends and challenges in their business on a regular basis due to the necessity to wait for a once a year meeting for approval. If you speak as I do regularly do to a  lot of the successful businessmen who are involved in the harness racing industry in New Zealand, you quickly appreciate how frustrated they are at the inability to change what many see as a dysfunctional governance and management structure. Both the Auckland and New Zealand Metro trotting clubs have made massive gains in recent years in how they structure and manage their business due to the influence of several successful businessmen on their respective boards. But there is so much more they would like to do both now and in the future but are hamstrung to a certain extent by the current management and governance structure.  So what should any new management and governance structure look like.  First and foremost the clubs should concentrate on what they do best, running their clubs and their race meetings in a professional and profitable manner. That is what they were originally set up to do and most do an exemplary job. But any governance or leadership role in the management structure of harness racing in New Zealand should be withdrawn. The management of the day to day running of harness racing  should remain as it is now. Harness Racing New Zealand employees do a sterling job implementing the current policies and strategies of the industry as set by the executive and we are lucky to have them. The current executive and clubs structure should be replaced by a board that has industry representatives but also has a much stronger business focus and expertise. An eight member board with five business orientated members who have a knowledge of the harness racing industry along with one representative from each of  the three industry groups that have a large monetary investment in the industry; 1)                  Owners 2)                  Breeders 3)                  Trainers/Drivers  Should this board be elected by industry participants or be a mixture of elected /appointed members is something for wiser heads than mine. However the details of how a structure such as this would evolve need to be carefully developed so we don't harm the industry we are trying to help.   Now I can hear the screams emanating from some quarters but I also know from having already had this discussion with many of the major players in the New Zealand Industry that there is a broad consensus on the need for structural change. People involved in the harness racing industry are some of the most passionate people you would  ever come across. Why would you work in this industry with its long hours in any weather if it wasn't for a genuine love of what you were doing. We have some fantastic people in the harness racing industry in New Zealand who do a wonderful job of promoting our sport to the wider public and we have a great racing product that is in my view as good as anywhere in the world. What we don't have is a governance structure that lets this industry flourish. Just have a look at the last twenty years and see how much this industry has changed and progressed. Frozen Semen and Shuttle Stallions have opened our industry up to the very best stallions available worldwide with a result that our equine product has closed the gap enormously with the Northern Hemisphere product. Trackside has taken our racing product to a much wider audience throughout Australasia. Betting options have expanded and harness racing clubs have diversified their income streams. The only thing that has NOT changed for several generations are our governance structures. I have spoken to several government ministers about this issue and the message is always the same. Any change to the present structures must come from WITHIN the industry itself. If this industry is to truly reach its potential and maximize its returns to its stakeholders, then we need a governance structure that is more applicable to the 21st century and not the 19th century. I therefore invite any like minded people who hold a similar view to my own to contact me to see if there is a way we can progress this matter further.  John Curtin JC International jdci@harnesslink.com

The McMillan Equine Feeds 2014 NZ Junior Driver Championship is set to be a great spectacle this year with 12 drivers from all over New Zealand once again competing for supremacy. Sailesh Abernethy, Tony Cameron, Andrew Veint, Dylan Ferguson, Shane Butcher and Andre Poutama make up the North Island team. Sam Ottley, Robbie Close, Michelle Neilson, Katie Cox, Craig Ferguson and Brad Williamson make up the South Island team. The championship will be run over three races at Addington Raceway on Thursday night (July 31). These  fields can be seen below. As the highest point scorers, Sailesh Abernethy and Sam Ottley, will captain their respective islands in the Inter-Island Challenge, a competition which was won last year by the North Island team. Sam Ottley, Andrew Veint, Brad Williamson and Andre Poutama all competed in the Championships last  year.  Fixed odds betting for the Championship will open on Thursday morning with the TAB. Unfortunately Katie Cox and Shane Butcher miss drives in the first heat, but they will be accorded 7 points each under the conditions of the series. For the fields on Thursday night  click here

New Zealand Standardbred Breeders' Association (NZSBA) received some welcomed news this week when their application to the Royal Agricultural Society (RAS) as an Affiliated Breed Society was accepted. This has been a goal of the Association since standardbred classes were excluded from the prestigious Horse of the Year Show in 2013. The affiliation to RAS now means that standardbreds can hold their own breed specific classes at A & P shows, ultimately leading to classes at Horse of the Year (HOY), the Group racing of equestrian circles. Kiely Buttell, NZSBA Executive Manager, was delighted at the news. "I have been an advocate of Life After Racing since joining the Harness Industry back in 2007. When I was alerted to the news that standardbreds were unable to compete in 'breed specific' classes at HOY, I contacted the RAS to see what could be done. "To their credit the RAS have been fantastic to deal with and confirmed yesterday that our application has been accepted. We now start the journey to get standardbred classes back at HOY in 2015." To affiliate with RAS, NZSBA set up a 'pleasure horse membership' aimed at participants who re-home standardbreds after they have retired from racing. NZSBA has members from all over the country who are willing to make the trip to Hastings to compete at HOY. The standardbred as an equestrian prospect is growing in popularity. Previously much ridiculed for being 'jug heads' or 'wobblers', the modern standardbred has developed into a stunning breed in temperament and looks. They can easily hold their own against their thoroughbred cousins and many are enjoying successful careers in a variety of disciplines. Kiely Buttell | Executive Manager  

Sport betting's top executive left his $1 million job for "personal and family" reasons, saying the commute between Auckland and Wellington affected his health and family life. The resignation of NZ Racing Board chief executive Chris Bayliss caused disappointment and surprise in the industry this week, coming just 22 months after he started. Amid calls for explanations, Mr Bayliss said he had enjoyed the job and left behind "great talent" and an "excellent executive team" to continue the work. To read the full story in the New Zealand Herald click n this link.  

The highly paid chief executive of the state-run NZ Racing Board has quit with eight days' notice, leaving the board without a replacement and the public without a reason for his departure. The resignation of former banking executive Chris Bayliss, 47, was announced yesterday, less than two years after he started the job. To read the full article click here.

The recent announcement by New Zealand Sires' Stakes Board (NZSSB) outlined a raft of positive changes and new initiatives to address industry challenges. New Zealand Standardbred Breeders' Association (NZSBA) has been heartened by the willingness of the NZSSB to undertake a review of Group Races with Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ). The Board is to be commended for being forward thinking and open to change. NZSBA Chairman, John Mooney said, "The Sires' Stakes Board should be congratulated for these new initiatives. These series are accessible to all owners and breeders. The prize money is extremely attractive and provides a great incentive to continue breeding." He added, "I especially welcome the increased number of qualifying races for 2YOs, the new 4YO and older races and the new Harness 5000 series. I encourage owners and breeders to participate in the series." Stakes increases are always welcomed. With close to 50% of breeders also retaining ownership in their stock, this financial gain will also filter down to the coal face of the industry. It has been no secret that field sizes are struggling. NZSBA is pleased that entry into the two-year-old Sires Stakes races has been expanded to include form from non-Sires Stakes races. This will encourage greater participation. The creation of five new four-year-old and older conditioned races for pacing mares and trotters is especially welcome. We hope this will encourage the greater retention of horses that have not won Group 1 races. With industry support this will grow into more opportunities for our aged horses. The Harness 5000 is an innovative idea to give greater opportunity to the progeny of stallions who stand for $5000 or less. This allows for the owners of 'grass roots' horses to enjoy racing for a slice of the $40,000 on offer in stakes. NZSBA continues its strong support for NZSSB. The association appoints three members to the Board. We congratulate the Board and staff on the work done to ensure there are optimal racing opportunities for our stock. Kiely Buttell Executive Manager 03 339 4168 | 021 274 4770 | www.harnessracing.co.nz

The free online Dream Team competition is back for another year! The competition offers players the chance to win great prizes and do so in a fun, engaging way by selecting a Dream Team of horses from each of the nine 2014 Har- ness Jewels categories (two-year-olds to four-year-olds) as well as two wild cards, which can be any age. It is a competition based on the stake earnings of your team. The person with the team that has won the most stake money by the closing date is the winner. Entries close at midnight on Thursday April 3, with the competition commencing on Friday April 4 and concludes after the last race on Harness Jewels day (Saturday 31 May). The competition was successful last year, and Harness Racing New Zealand hopes it will continue to grow over the coming years! The winning entry will receive a $1,000 Visa Prezzy Card and a set of 2014 Harness Jewels colours signed by all nine winning drivers. There are prizes down to tenth place, and a prize for the person leading at the end of April. How to enter, competition rules and conditions pertaining to the Dream Team competition can be found online at www.hrnz.co.nz. Stacey Markham Marketing and Communications Executive Harness Racing New Zealand                            

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