This Friday will see a particularly fortuitous character of the celestial Zodiac gallop in for the Chinese New Year - the Horse. To celebrate, the TAB will be giving out traditional Chinese 'Red Envelopes' containing betting vouchers in $8 multiples to the first 25 customers who buy a $20 Triple Trio Easybet at Alexandra Park TAB on Friday and Saturday. TAB Triple Trio - a Hong Kong import and one of the region's favourite bets - has already proven lucky for a number of bettors including two people winning six figures in the first two weeks. The third running of the Triple Trio will be this Saturday - the second day of the Year of the Horse. TAB Executive General Manager Glenn Patrick said the TAB definitely expected a spike in betting on horses to mark the Year of the Horse and wished people luck. "Some people don't believe in luck or coincidences - but I can tell you we've already had some very lucky Triple Trio punters, and it wouldn't surprise me if our third Triple Trio sees another massive win during the Chinese New Year holiday." January 31 marks the beginning of the New Year in many Asian countries, and with it a change in the Zodiac animal. It is believed that the horse symbolises momentum, positivity and independence. The latter is particularly evident, as a foal can stand up less than 10 minutes after birth and begins to walk soon after. Characteristics such as speed, bravado and a little bit of attitude come naturally to the equine zodiac. Red Envelopes are traditionally exchanged during important occasions or holidays, to ward off evil spirits, and usually contain money in an even numbered denomination. This week's Triple Trio has a $500,000 pool for the Dunedin Races at Wingatui. The Triple Trio challenges customers to pick the first three place getters in each of the three Triple Trio nominated races. The order of the horses doesn't matter - just that they placed in the top three. Triple Trio bets can be purchased at the racecourse, from local TABs, at www.tab.co.nz and over the phone. Tom Judd Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board
The TAB launches the much anticipated Triple Trio with a $1 million prize pool guaranteed for its debut at the Wellington Races’ Telegraph Handicap Day at Trentham this Saturday. Hugely popular overseas due to the massive pay-outs people receive, this type of bet has been hailed as a potential life-changer for winners. Betting is available from today. Players need to select the first three horses in any order in three consecutive races. If nobody wins, the prize pool jackpots creating the potential for jaw-droppingly huge racing pay-outs. For as little as $8 anyone could become an instant millionaire from a single bet. TAB Executive General Manager Glenn Patrick said the launch was a major milestone for betting in New Zealand and a brand new product for all Kiwis who like to enter competitions with the chance of cashing-in big. “In some ways it’s comparable to Lotto or Instant Kiwi in that it’s very easy. People can pick their own horses or the TAB computer can automatically generate the horses with an ‘Easybet’. A difference is that people can research the horses they pick, or the TAB computer can generate picks based on bets other people are making – so it’s less random than a straight lottery and there is the added excitement of watching the races, whether from home or live at the track. “Globally, lots of people enter lotteries with an infinitesimal chance of winning a big pay-out – and there’s nothing wrong with that – but with Triple Trio all people need to do is pick the first three horses, in any order, in three races and it could potentially change their life forever,” said Mr Patrick. As well as having the option to make a full bet, people can pay a percentage of the cost of the bet and receive the same percentage of the dividend. In addition to winning the huge first prize pool, there is an opportunity to win a second prize pool if people pick the first three horses in the first two races but not the third. Triple Trio will be available on Saturdays, usually on the last three races of the day. The TAB has guaranteed a $1 million prize pool for Triple Trio’s first two outings on Telegraph Handicap at Trentham this Saturday 18 January and Wellington Cup Day at Trentham next Saturday 25 January. There will be a special marquee set up for Triple Trio at the Telegraph Handicap, which also features the popular Trentham Wine & Racing Festival. Triple Trio bets can be purchased at the racecourse, from local TABs, at tab.co.nz and over the phone. ENDS For more information contact: Tom Judd Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board
Chris Bayliss has no idea how to price a horse at the races but held betting slips totalling nearly $2 billion across every sporting event last year. Arguably the former banker turned New Zealand Racing Board head is the country's biggest punter, but running the institution charged with operating the TAB in New Zealand has killed sport for him. "Because now I always know our position, so I can watch sport with my heart, or I can watch it with my brain," Bayliss said. "It is terrible watching the All Blacks, wanting them to lose." Spending at the TAB ran away to a record $1.957b for the year ended July 31, 2013 - roughly 1 per cent of New Zealand's gross domestic product. In October the board, which was established under the Racing Act to run the TAB in New Zealand, announced a net profit of $144.1 million. For Bayliss, who is 17 months into his role as chief executive of the New Zealand Racing Board, this basically means he held a $1.957b betting slip last year. "I've always got a massive bet on every sporting event, a lot more than most Kiwis have got. "This job kills any enjoyment that you used to have of sport." Bayliss is British but has lived in New Zealand for ten years, and said he never imagined he would be in charge of the 62-year-old New Zealand Racing Board. He said he cheers for the All Blacks against England and enjoys watching the Ashes test series, but has no more of an interest in sport than most. The challenge for Bayliss, however, was upgrading and improving an industry which had lost half its active punters in the past decade and is riding on systems that are like "a 20-year-old car". All this despite a year of record spending at the TAB. Bayliss said the board's challenges first sprung about a decade ago, when its turnover first nosed over the $1b line. The organisation failed to understand it had then become a large, rather than medium-sized, company, and its frameworks and procedures had struggled to adapt since. This is why Bayliss believed his 29 years of banking experience, which started when he was just 16, would provide a good return on the industry's wager. "At the end of the day, businesses of this size, agnostic of industry, are about distribution, they're about product, they're about customers. "I would have no idea how to price a horse tomorrow, but I know how a trading book in a bank works. "I know, therefore, when you trade in currencies and you're trading interest rates, it's no different to trading sport, so I know what procedures and frameworks you'd expect to have in place." The 900-person, 690-outlet organisation, which Bayliss said was the biggest retailer in the country, would "easily" rank on the NZX 20, the largest and most liquid companies on the stock exchange, if it listed tomorrow. Furthermore, it was the largest broadcaster in the country, yet somehow flew under the radar. "Everyone knows who the TAB is and everyone knows they've got one in their town. "Somehow they never think about it more than that." Bayliss's more difficult challenge is the fact that the number of active customers has dropped from more than 200,000 in 2003 to about 100,000 today. At the board's annual meeting in Wellington earlier this year, the organisation's systems were compared to a 20-year-old car. The 62-year-old NZRB took the opportunity to outline which elephants would be replaced by runaway horses. The outdated technology, a need for high-definition broadcasting and the lack of a mobile app were identified as the "elephants" at the Racing Board. About 29 per cent of its turnover was generated online, but Bayliss said poor technology had saddled it with about $300m in "leakage"; betting lost to the TAB through offshore providers. It was not illegal for New Zealanders to use overseas bookmakers but it was illegal for them to advertise here. "Our customers are ageing and we haven't been able to attract the new breed of customer, because we haven't had the infrastructure to do that." A mobile app was planned for launch ahead of the Football World Cup in Brazil, an event Bayliss expected would turn over $30m at the TAB - the same as the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Live streaming also become available last month, allowing punters to watch events from their laptop or tablet. As well as people using overseas bookmakers to bet on New Zealand sport, the "leakage" figure included betting on events the TAB did not have an offering for. People were betting on the winner of New Zealand's Got Talent and who the next prime minister would be using overseas agencies. The TAB was not legally able to offer odds on such events, because of the provisions of the Gambling Act. "Brits are interested in it and Aussies are interested in it, so why would Kiwis not be interested in it?" Bayliss said. "They're betting on it, we're just not capturing any tax." One of the board's long-term objectives is to maximise returns to the racing industry, comprising thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound racing. For the year ended July, New Zealand's racing industry gained about $142m in dividends over the year. About $5.7m was also distributed to national sports and other bodies from sports betting and gaming takings. But for the $300m leakage, everybody misses out. Most Kiwis did not appreciate the NZRB had no commercial shareholders, and every single dollar made went back into sport, he said. "They're robbing New Zealand of GST, betting duty, problem gambling levy, and most importantly, any revenue back to the industry. "It's an online world now, customers can find it, and they do." Bayliss said it would target growth in racing stakes of about 50 per cent by 2018, up to $120m. This would be harnessed by a growth in profits as well, which he hoped would hit between $160m and $180m. To do this, the Racing Board also needed to adapt the racing calendar. Bayliss said the calendar was "steeped in history". November through to the end of January was the busiest period of racing in New Zealand, but Kiwis now bet more on Australian horse, harness and greyhound racing than on domestic races. Last year's financial result had been hit by the worst rate of cancellations in a decade, as 12 race meetings were abandoned because of the drought. "It's a concern for the domestic industry; it's a concern for the gate money and the money the clubs get. "Economically I can just switch, because punters will just switch to what's on, but it's the poor clubs here that lose out." As such, the local industry should look to opportunities to capitalise on "exporting" race meetings offshore, Bayliss said. The Auckland Cup was always in March, but the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which runs betting agencies there, had told him it would be interested in the Cup if it was run in January. He expected an exported broadcast of the Auckland Cup during January would be worth about $30m in turnover, the same as the Melbourne Cup - by far the TAB's largest trading day. Sydney bookies were also desperate for content at 10am, when no other sport was on. "That would only mean moving races forward an hour. "It's getting the constituency to understand there's a big world out there, we've got a great product and we've got a time zone we don't think about strategically." Bayliss said it would also look to gain more access to the world's VIP punters to further add to the growth of the betting industry. It was reputed about a dozen customers around the world spent more than $100m a year on betting, of which every betting agency courted a couple. The NZRB did not want them all, Bayliss said, because then half its turnover would be exposed to just 12 customers. But it had a prudential limit in place which included "an appetite to grow these by a couple". For the six months to January 31, 2012, nearly $800m was spent on racing bets alone, compared with sports betting of about $120m. But Bayliss said the sport pool was growing at about 30 per cent a year. Overall tipping would "certainly" be above $2b next year, he said. The 2013 financial year had been the first in many without a marquee sporting event, such as a world cup. He said the America's Cup had received over $1m in bets, and represented the sort of sport the TAB could garner more growth from. "Generally if there's a sport, there are customers that want to bet on it." He expected the growth would come from a younger audience, sitting around a TV watching the All Blacks, having a bet on who was going to score the first try. "Let's just put $10 on it, I'm not going to fall out with my wife, I haven't spent the grocery bill, put $10 on and four or five of your mates all decide we're going to put a different person. "Your enjoyment and excitement in that game, believe me, has exponentially increased." That is, unless you've got $2b riding on it. FAVOURITE FLUTTERS Sport 1. Basketball 2. Rugby Union 3. Rugby League 4. Football 5. Tennis 6. Cricket 7. Baseball 8. American Football 9. Golf 10. Ice Hockey Events Rugby World Cup, 2011 – $30m Melbourne Cup – $30m America's Cup – $1m by Hamish McNichol reprinted with permission by www.stuff.co.nz and Fairfax NZ News
The TAB has launched a new initiative - for the first time in New Zealand, racing fans are now able to watch their favourite racing content online. TAB Watch&Bet Racing will feature all the high quality content that is offered on the Trackside TV channel, meaning New Zealand punters can keep up with all the action when there's no TV around. New Zealand Racing Board CEO Chris Bayliss said, "This is an exciting milestone as we re-architect our IT systems and drive the digitalisation of our business to enhance customer experience. "Customers have asked us for this, and we have delivered a high quality, easy to use product. And there's more to come too. The first piece of work is a foundation release, which we will build on for future enhancements. There are some fantastic possibilities for where we could take this - it's an ongoing project as we look to continually enhance our digital offering and delivery of high quality racing content." Watch&Bet Racing enables anyone in New Zealand with a positive tab.co.nz account balance to watch crystal clear coverage of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing online using PCs, iPhones and iPads. Mr Bayliss said there were a number of additional projects in the digital pipeline including a mobile APP. "The launch of Watch&Bet Racing is the first of a number of exciting initiatives as we enhance our digital offering and ultimately work toward our vision of becoming the best entertainment business in New Zealand. "We are constantly driven by our core purpose, which includes promoting and enhancing the racing industry, and generating long term profit for the racing industry. Our digital projects are all focussed on achieving that, while delivering enhanced customer experience, said Mr Bayliss. TAB Watch&Bet Racing went live today and can be accessed by opening a free TAB account, for those who don't already have one go to www.tab.co.nz Tom Judd Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board
At the NZ Racing Board AGM, held at the Head Office in Wellington today, the NZ Racing Board reflected on a record-breaking financial year and outlined its ambitious vision and goals for the future. Financial achievements in 2013 included a record turnover of $1,956.8m, and record distributions of $147.7m to the racing industry and sporting organisations. Speaking at the AGM, NZ Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes said the organisation and the industry still faced significant challenges, and ongoing transformation and a collaborative approach is key to further, sustained success for an industry that contributes almost 1% of GDP. “2013 was a year of rebuilding, but we were delighted to have delivered a record return for the industry at the same time. We are constantly driven by our core purpose, which includes promoting and enhancing the racing industry and generating long term profit for the industry. “Significant transformation has already occurred. This year a new leadership team was put in place, capability was increased across the organisation at all levels, clarity of accountability and focus was established, an aspirational vision was developed and a five-year corporate strategy was outlined.” Long term strategic organisational goals outlined at the AGM were to: · Achieve a surplus of $160-$180m · Grow stakes by 50% · Grow return to racing owners by 50% · Achieve 30% turnover from new markets and products · Reduce operational cost-to-income ratio to below 30% NZ Racing Board CEO Chris Bayliss said, “We now have a clear vision that gives us an aspirational focus – to be the best entertainment business for New Zealand. With our strategy now in place we have a robust plan to take this business forward, clear metrics for measuring our progress, and clear goals to enable us to achieve our vision for the industry. “We will continue to strive – through open dialogue, transparency and collaboration with the industry – to transform and succeed together,” said Mr Bayliss. Minister of Racing Hon Nathan Guy spoke at the AGM and congratulated the Board and Management on the financial results. Financial result increase 2012/13 2011/12 Turnover $1.957b $1.814b +7.9% Net profit $144.1m $127.3m +13.2% Distribution to Racing Industry $142.0m $135.5m +4.8% Total distribution made from current year profit: $142.4m $135.8m +4.9% Full information and financial statements will be in the NZ Racing Board’s 2013 Annual Report, which will be publically available online from 13 December. Presentations from the NZ Racing Board’s AGM were filmed for subsequent broadcast on the Trackside television channel at 3:00am on Saturday, 7 December and again at 1:00am on Sunday, 8 December 2013. Tom Judd Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board
At the NZ Racing Board AGM, held at the Head Office in Wellington today, the NZ Racing Board reflected on a record-breaking financial year and outlined its ambitious vision and goals for the future. Financial achievements in 2013 included a record turnover of $1,956.8m, and record distributions of $147.7m to the racing industry and sporting organisations. Speaking at the AGM, NZ Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes said the organisation and the industry still faced significant challenges, and ongoing transformation and a collaborative approach is key to further, sustained success for an industry that contributes almost 1% of GDP. "2013 was a year of rebuilding, but we were delighted to have delivered a record return for the industry at the same time. We are constantly driven by our core purpose, which includes promoting and enhancing the racing industry and generating long term profit for the industry. "Significant transformation has already occurred. This year a new leadership team was put in place, capability was increased across the organisation at all levels, clarity of accountability and focus was established, an aspirational vision was developed and a five-year corporate strategy was outlined." Long term strategic organisational goals outlined at the AGM were to: Â· Achieve a surplus of $160-$180m Â· Grow stakes by 50% Â· Grow return to racing owners by 50% Â· Achieve 30% turnover from new markets and products Â· Reduce operational cost-to-income ratio to below 30% NZ Racing Board CEO Chris Bayliss said, "We now have a clear vision that gives us an aspirational focus - to be the best entertainment business for New Zealand. With our strategy now in place we have a robust plan to take this business forward, clear metrics for measuring our progress, and clear goals to enable us to achieve our vision for the industry. "We will continue to strive - through open dialogue, transparency and collaboration with the industry - to transform and succeed together," said Mr Bayliss. Minister of Racing Hon Nathan Guy spoke at the AGM and congratulated the Board and Management on the financial results. Financial result increase 2012/13 2011/12 Turnover $1.957b $1.814b +7.9% Net profit $144.1m $127.3m +13.2% Distribution to Racing Industry $142.0m $135.5m +4.8% Total distribution made from current year profit: $142.4m $135.8m +4.9% Full information and financial statements will be in the NZ Racing Board's 2013 Annual Report, which will be publically available online from 13 December. Presentations from the NZ Racing Board's AGM were filmed for subsequent broadcast on the Trackside television channel at 3:00am on Saturday, 7 December and again at 1:00am on Sunday, 8 December 2013. Tom Judd Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board
The NZ Racing Board will consolidate its broadcasting operations from Petone, Avalon and Ellerslie to a purpose-built facility in Auckland late next year. The facility in Auckland – which will consolidate NZ Racing Board’s broadcasting operations and Auckland-based staff – is one of a number of options which were the subject of extensive research and due diligence by a team comprising internal management and external expert advisors. NZ Racing Board Chief Executive Officer Chris Bayliss said “The NZ Racing Board has been considering the best long term location for its broadcasting operations for several years. “The organisation is also prioritising improved customer experience and business growth from its broadcasting operations. “This consolidation aligns with the corporate strategy we have developed to achieve our ambitious goals and vision for the industry. “A key strategic initiative for our broadcasting operations is to address and resolve platform, studio and ageing infrastructure challenges to allow a high quality comprehensive content and channel plan to be delivered in 2014.The plan includes an upgrade from Standard Definition (SD) to High Definition (HD). NZ Live, proven experts in studio production were selected as the best strategic partner for us to continue our outsourced studio model.” said Mr Bayliss. There will be a range of options available to the NZ Racing Board broadcasting staff based in Avalon and Petone, including moving to Auckland and moving to other divisions within the organisation. The NZ Racing Board has no plans to relocate its Head Office from Petone.
The TAB achieved a record turnover of approximately $9.4m for the Melbourne Cup race yesterday. Full figures for the whole Melbourne Cup Day are still coming in but are likely to double that number. TAB Executive General Manager Glenn Patrick said a major growth area for the TAB was Big Race Packs, with a 108% increase in sales from last year. “Big Race Packs, which are designed to make betting like an expert easy, also proved a winner for bettors, including the six lucky punters who each won over $25,000 through their $20 Big Race Packs. “One of these was a gentleman, who asked the TAB team at a local bar & bistro for some assistance because he wasn’t sure what horse to back. He lives in a rest home and was first going to visit his doctor before collecting his winnings from his Big Race Pack,” said Mr Patrick. Big Race Packs will also be available for Christchurch’s Cup & Show Week next week. One TAB account holder took a $5 percentage Easybet First 4 and won $37,968. Another account holder won $24,916. 5,454 new people took out TAB accounts during the week leading up to the Melbourne Cup. One brave cash punter put a $120 flutter on a First4 bet and walked away with $118,652. Tab.co.nz had over 12,000 visitors at one point – breaking last year’s 10,000 visitor landmark. MEDIA RELEASE November 6, 2013 Punters win big on record-breaking Melbourne Cup The TAB achieved a record turnover of approximately $9.4m for the Melbourne Cup race yesterday. Full figures for the whole Melbourne Cup Day are still coming in but are likely to double that number. TAB Executive General Manager Glenn Patrick said a major growth area for the TAB was Big Race Packs, with a 108% increase in sales from last year. "Big Race Packs, which are designed to make betting like an expert easy, also proved a winner for bettors, including the six lucky punters who each won over $25,000 through their $20 Big Race Packs. "One of these was a gentleman, who asked the TAB team at a local bar & bistro for some assistance because he wasn't sure what horse to back. He lives in a rest home and was first going to visit his doctor before collecting his winnings from his Big Race Pack," said Mr Patrick. Big Race Packs will also be available for Christchurch's Cup & Show Week next week. One TAB account holder took a $5 percentage Easybet First 4 and won $37,968. Another account holder won $24,916. 5,454 new people took out TAB accounts during the week leading up to the Melbourne Cup. One brave cash punter put a $120 flutter on a First4 bet and walked away with $118,652. Tab.co.nz had over 12,000 visitors at one point - breaking last year's 10,000 visitor landmark. ENDS Media contact: Tom Judd Tom Judd Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board m +64 (0)27 654 3430 e email@example.com w www.nzracingboard.co.nz • www.tab.co.nz • www.theraces.co.nz 106-110 Jackson Street, Petone 5012, PO Box 38899, Wellington Mail Centre, Lower Hutt 5045, New Zealand ________________________________ This communication, including any attachments, is confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, any unauthorised use is expressly prohibited. Please contact me immediately, destroy it, and do not copy or use any part of this communication or disclose anything about it. It is your responsibility to check this email and any attachments for viruses or other harmful code before opening or sending on. Please note that this communication does not designate an information system for the purposes of the Electronic Transactions Act 2002. The content of this email does not infer an ongoing contract. Thank you.
The man who at 17 was once New Zealand’s youngest licenced harness racing trainer has just landed what he has termed a “dream job”. There’d be few horsemen or committee men who have more passion for the game than 29-year-old Teaz. And the New Zealand Racing Board has realised that by appointing Teaz as their race-caller in Otago, the West Coast and Tasman. Ohaupo-based Teaz will relocate to Dunedin next month. His first job will be calling the trots at Forbury Park on November 21. “I finally nailed it,” he told HRNZ. “I have dreamt about being a race-caller for as long as I can remember. I am grateful to the Racing Board for putting their faith in me. It’s quite mind-blowing to be honest,” Teaz said. Teaz was formerly employed by the Racing Board several years ago but was let go due to cost cutting. He called several trotting, galloping and greyhound meetings before returning to train full-time. He has trained 11 winners since 2003 and together with his reinswoman wife Megan has trained a further five more since 2011. They currently work a team of seven in the Waikato including the good four-win trotter Mingara. “At this stage Megan will remain at Ohaupo and train our team but I will have to give away the training for now. I’m also going to have to resign from my parent’s scrap metal business. “There might be a few trips back home but for now Megan and I have decided to make a go of it in both Islands. The Racing Board have been quite accommodating on this,” Teaz said. “The Morrinsville Trotting Club also wants me to stay on their committee and I’m keen to carry on helping them out, but it could be difficult from down south,” he added. To say Teaz is committed to race-calling is a big understatement. He calls every Saturday at the Cambridge Trials and also travels the three-hour return trip every Tuesday to call at the Pukekohe Trials and Workouts. “I’m really looking forward to the new job especially the West Coast circuit at Christmas time. This is something I have wanted to do for more than 20 years now.” Teaz called his first trial as a 10-year-old and sometimes filled in for a couple of races when official commentators had their arrival on course delayed. “I’ve spent a lot of my life commentating at trials and workouts and now I've got the chance to do it fulltime on race-day. It still hasn’t really sunk in,'' he said. Teaz takes over from Tom Wood and Dave McDonald. The former now calls in Wellington and the Central Districts, while McDonald will continue to call in Southland and some Central Otago meetings. Teaz married Megan (Shepherd) when he was a cadet commentator and trainer five years ago. He said the possibility of starting a family had already been put on hold once – and now that had to be further postponed due to his appointment. “It will happen one day, but just not yet. We are going to both be so busy,” he said. Teaz was appointed to the position two weeks ago and signed his new contract last week. By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)
Lexington, KY --- Champions of tomorrow are coming to the fore at the Red Mile Grand Circuit meet, which concludes this Sunday (Oct. 6). But just ten miles away from the track live some champions of yesterday who work full time to make friends for Standardbreds. The Kentucky Horse Park (www.kyhorsepark.com) hosts nearly a million visitors a year and many of them come to see the horses who live and work in the Park’s Hall of Champions, greeting tourists and educating them about horse racing. Wes Lanter, director of equine operations at the Horse Park, says the Standardbreds in residence (in order of seniority), Staying Together, Western Dreamer, Mr Muscleman and Won The West, have a life much more relaxed than when they were racing and winning. “It’s pretty simple,” says Lanter. “They come in at night and in the mornings they go in their paddocks. Right now we have more horses than paddocks, so they have to share a little bit. Dreamer and Stanley (Staying Together’s nickname) are both very good sports. Dreamer shares a paddock with Da Hoss, a very talented Thoroughbred, and Stanley shares a paddock with Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. When he comes in, Stanley goes out. “Mr Muscleman and Be A Bono (a Quarter horse) are in the same paddock, they’ve become very attached. When one leaves, there’s usually a little nickering going on, like, ‘Hey, where are you going?’ Won The West has his own paddock. He shares a single fence line with Mr Muscleman and Be A Bono, so those three have buddied up. They meet and talk over the fence, they’re good neighbors.” At least one Standardbred is included in every public show at the Hall of Champions (daily at 10:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.). Only Staying Together, Horse of the Year in both the United States and Canada in 1993, is exempt from the show schedule, as he is now blind, but otherwise healthy, says Lanter. “It’s been a seven year process, it (uveitis, an inflammatory condition that can lead to blindness) started showing itself when he was 17,” he said. “Up until last year, everything seemed manageable, but then the left eye started becoming painful. Dr. (Claire) Latimer (of Rood and Riddle Clinic) was treating him and it got to the point where the best thing we could do to make Stanley comfortable was to have that removed. “He’s been more comfortable ever since. We are happy with how he is now.” Lanter says “Stanley” functions well in his world with some adjustments. “Going through a gate that is wide, like a paddock, you can walk him right through it,” he says. “Going into a stall where the opening is narrower, he appreciates it if you back him in; he seems to be a lot more comfortable with that. There are days when I’m daydreaming and start walking him in a stall. He’ll get halfway in and then he throws it in reverse, so I think he still sees some light or shadows or forms -- he can spook. “I’m looking at him right now, out in his paddock, just grazing. When we turn him out, we take him to the middle of the paddock to give him room and he will, many days, jog off for three or four or five strides. He knows his limitations. “We just moved him into this paddock. He was aware, because when he went to his old paddock he turned left out of the barn and now he turns the other way. In the new paddock, for the first couple days, he was taking stock of where he was. “He walked in circles and we wondered what he was doing, but we figured out he was checking his boundaries. He’s aware of his limitations and lives within them and he’s very trusting of people he knows. He’s a real trooper; I have so much admiration for him and how he handles his situation.” While “Stanley” no longer does shows, he is accepting visitors, Lanter says. “We mention him during the shows because they are turned out while we’re doing the shows and they’re next to the pavilion. We mention that to your left is Western Dreamer, a Triple Crown winner and give a rundown on him. We tell them on the right is Staying Together and give a synopsis and mention his situation of being blind and we have signage that gives a rundown of their race record.” Lanter says all four have adapted well to new careers as goodwill ambassadors. “I think they like their jobs,” he says. “Mr Muscleman is a pleasure to be around; we call him the Gentle Giant. He’s about 17 hands tall and you couldn’t ask for a more pleasant horse to be around and certainly a great competitor and a great racehorse. It’s an honor to be around greatness. “Won The West, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet the Koehlers and some of the other folks who owned him. I love that horse. When it became apparent he was going to come here to the Park, I did my research and learned about him. He was such a competitor, with his off-the-pace style and closing the way he was capable of.” While Lanter has spent much of his career as stallion manager for such high profile Thoroughbreds as Seattle Slew, Storm Cat and Affirmed, he has now visited the Little Brown Jug twice as a representative of the Horse Park and become a fan. “Whether I was bringing a horse there or not, I will always try to go to the Little Brown Jug,” said Lanter. “It’s just such a great experience and slice of America and the race is just amazing. It’s a great day and I would encourage everyone to take a trip to the Little Brown Jug. This year was different because I brought two horses up, Won The West and Western Dreamer. “Mr. Koehler wanted to honor Won The West with a race and have him lead the post parade. It was Mr. Kohler’s idea to have Western Dreamer join us since he was a past winner of the Jug and went on to win the Triple Crown (in 1997). We agreed it would be nice for him to get some appreciation in Delaware. “They had stalls beside each other and signs that showed their accomplishments and video of the boys that showed their careers. The fans appreciated it and loved seeing the stars. It was a pleasant experience to see how happy the fans were to see those past stars.” Western Dreamer, accustomed to the placid environment at the Horse Park, did notice he was not in Kentucky anymore. “It had been a while since he’d been off the park, so he was a bit apprehensive,” says Lanter. “But I stayed close by and took him out for walks, grazed him, anything I could do to make him happy. He was fine, but he didn’t want me to go far away.” Lanter used a diversion of some tasty Ohio hay for Western Dreamer so he could sample the fair’s culinary delights. “I was able to locate some beautiful hay and that allowed me to go get one of those great fish sandwiches and a soda,” he said. Back at his regular job and ready for visitors, Lanter says the Triple Crown winner excels at his job. “Western Dreamer really enjoys the up close adoration. He loves it when kids come up to him when we’re walking him back to the Big Barn. Kids stop and ask about him; he puts his head down so they can pat him on the head. He’s a real star.” Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of The United States Trotting Association Web Newsroom
The New Zealand Racing Board has announced record results for betting turnover and net profit in 2012/13, resulting in a record distribution to the country’s racing industry. The three Racing Codes – New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing New Zealand and Greyhound Racing New Zealand – and the racing industry, received $142.0 million from the NZ Racing Board’s operations, an increase of $6.5 million on 2011/12. In addition, $5.7 million was paid or provided for distribution to National Sporting Organisations and other bodies as a result of sports betting and gaming activities. The final distribution came as a result of record turnover of $1.957 billion in the year to July 31, 2013, with a 13.2% increase in net profit to $144.1 million. NZ Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes said the results were excellent, particularly given challenging conditions during the year. “The business has exceeded expectations, having revised net profit targets higher in December 2012 to $142.5 million. “What’s most pleasing, however, is that we’ve achieved these results despite increasing offshore competition, a lack of major sporting events in 2012/13 to offset the positive impact of Rugby World Cup in the prior year and 12 race meeting abandonments due to extreme weather conditions. “We’ve also seen ongoing pressure on domestic tote performance, in particular, driven by increasing customer preference toward fixed odds betting on racing and sport.” NZ Racing Board Chief Executive Chris Bayliss said the year’s results showed the business had established the momentum required to deliver increasing and sustainable returns to the industry. “While making sure we were working toward reaching our year-end targets we also undertook a major review and restructuring of the business in 2012/13 to set the foundations for change and growth. “With the support of the Board, we examined every aspect of the business to allow for clear decision-making regarding future investment, direction and vision for the business and the industry. By necessity, 2012/13 was a transitional year for the NZ Racing Board as we set about ‘rebooting’ the business to ensure it was best-placed structurally and strategically to deliver increased returns to stakeholders. “So to achieve that, as well as delivering record results, is something we’re all very proud of.” 2012/13 2011/12 % change Turnover $1.957b $1.814b +7.9% Net profit $144.1m $127.3m +13.2% Distribution to Racing Industry $142.0m $135.5m +4.8% Total distribution made from current year profit $142.4m $135.8m +4.9% Note: All figures comprise TAB betting and Class 4 gaming The audited financial statements have been completed. The NZ Racing Board’s annual report, including the financial statements, will be available at the Annual General Meeting on November 28, 2013. Tom Judd Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board
Officials under fire for deciding to invite top Australians into the Harness Jewels say that by raising the profile of harness racing across the Tasman the industry will benefit from stimulated betting turnover. But trainers, almost to a man, fear all that will happen is a large slice of the $1.2 million in prizemoney will be lost to struggling owners here and the code will see very little in return. Leading Canterbury trainer David Butt was so incensed by news last week that one top Australian will be given a free ticket into each of the nine age group categories, he called Harness Racing New Zealand chief executive Edward Rennell to find out exactly how much the industry stood to gain. And just as he suspected there was no financial robustness behind the pie-in-the-sky promises. In a climate where owners are selling their horses because they can’t win enough money to pay their bills, Butt figured there had to be tens of thousands of reasons for scuttling their one big payday. But, incredibly, Butt discovered it would take a massive increase in betting to even see just a few thousand dollars find its way into the code’s coffers. It’s a complicated formula, but in essence for every dollar the Australians bet on the NZ tote, the code gets 2.5%. So even if the Australians bet an extra $100,000 on the Jewels meeting, following their horses, it will lead to only another $2500 being earned by harness racing. The chances of that happening appear slim given the Australians bet $733,382 on the 2012 Jewels and just 1.4% or $10,282 more this year with their two big guns Blitzthemcalder and Allblack Stride running. The figures shoot down the wild, unsubstantiated claims made in some quarters that Australian turnover on this year’s Jewels ‘‘went through the roof ‘‘because of Allblack Stride and Blitzthemcalder. The Australians didn’t even bet proportionately more in the two races that featured their own horses - the $74,934 they wagered on Allblack Stride’s race ranked it only sixth of the nine races. (New Zealanders bet $118,617 on our tote, fourth highest of the day). And the Aussies bet $86,315 on Blitzthemcalder’s race, the fourth highest of the day, compared with the Kiwis tote spend of $118,201, the fifth highest. Butt said while the Harness Jewels was the highlight of the New Zealand season, it hardly rated with the Aussies who had a plethora of feature races to bet on each week. Our races screened only on the Sky2 channel and ran the risk of not being shown at all if they clashed with other Australian races. Rennell said it was wrong to get ‘‘too hung up’’ on Australian turnover increasing, which was only one of the predicted gains of getting Australian horses here. ‘‘The biggest impact on turnover might be domestically if we can raise the profile of the meeting outside the core harness punters. ‘‘If we can turn over another $100,000 here, it would be worth another $16,250 to the club under the payout formula.’’ The chances of that happening also appear remote given off course betting on the Jewels at Ashburton this year was $1,185,344, down $111,593 or 8.6% on 2012 at Cambridge. Fixed odds betting also fell from $534,740 in 2012 to $518,588 this year. Claims that Kiwis bet more with the bookies because of the two Australians also lack foundation. Blitzthemcalder’s seeming domination over Royal Aspirations, Prime Power and co in the Three-Year-Old Trot had the opposite effect - the $41,873 wagered on fixed odds the lowest amount bet of all nine races. By comparison, last year Kiwis bet a lot more on the harness book, $63,355, on the Three-Year-Old trot won by Cyclone U Bolt - with no Australians in the field. Rennell said he believed ‘‘playing on the Kiwi-Aussie rivalry’’ would be crucial in the future marketing of the Jewels. ‘‘Do we want the event to stay the same and not grow? ‘The key motivation in inviting the Australians is to increase the profile and status of the event. ‘‘And if we can do that it will be more attractive to sponsors and the mainstream media. We’ll be able to achieve promotion without paying for advertising. ‘‘The cost of buying space in Australian newspapers is unattainable but we need to find smart ways of exposing our form to punters over there.’’ Harness racing lagged well behind the other two codes in the crucial market of Australian betting, Rennell said. Australians bet $297 million on New Zealand gallops (2954 races) each year compared with $178 million on the greyhounds (4876 races) and just $118 million on the trots (2637 races). The turnover contributed $21 million to the total of $137 million that the New Zealand Racing Board distributed to the industry, he said. Rennell said no travelling subsidy would be paid to Australians who took up the invitations. ‘‘We looked at that but decided no. The travel costs of South Island horses going up to Cambridge next year will be significant, we can’t treat the Aussies any differently.’’ HRNZ would be looking to stagger the naming of Australian invitees, Rennell said, hopefully timing each to allow horses to cross the Tasman earlier and contest other lead-up races. Four-year-olds would be named in time to allow them to contest races like the Taylor Mile and Messenger at Auckland, fillies in time to run in races like the Oaks. Butt, however, says you can kiss goodbye to seeing Australians running here before the Jewels when they no longer have to earn stakemoney here to qualify. Barry Lichter
Experienced media, public relations and corporate communications strategist Glenda Hughes has been appointed Chairperson of the New Zealand Racing Board. Hughes, appointed by Minister for Racing Nathan Guy following consultation with the country's three racing codes, will begin her tenure as Chairperson on August 1. The appointment restores the full complement of seven members to the Board as the business enters the critical phase of implementing its new corporate strategy. Independent Board member Alistair Ryan, who stepped into the NZ Racing Board's primary governance role as Deputy Chairperson following the departure of Dr Alan Jackson in March, said the appointment of Hughes was positive for the business and New Zealand racing. "Glenda is a talented and experienced professional whose skills, knowledge and expertise will complement those of existing Board members. "We're looking forward to working alongside Glenda and executive management as we move into what's an important phase for the New Zealand racing industry." For the past 25 years Hughes has run her own highly-regarded communications and media strategy company, providing strategic communications counsel to many of the country's most high-profile business and political leaders and sportspeople. She is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and the Parole Board. "I'm happy to accept the appointment because I believe in New Zealand racing and recognise the important contribution the industry makes to the country," said Hughes. "There's no doubt that there are challenges we need to address but, to that end, Alistair and the Board have done an exceptional job alongside Chief Executive Chris Bayliss and his management team in putting together a detailed strategy aimed at making sure we're able to realise racing's potential. "We are all looking forward to launching into what is an exciting time for racing in this country." by John Mitchell
Changes to harness handicapping expected to provide a tougher challenge to punters. TAB bosses are hoping changes to the harness racing handicapping system will go some way to stem the demise of the code's Pick6 pools. Harness racing used to be the dream vehicle for Pick6, with its unchallenged Thursday and Friday night spots and regular $100,000 guaranteed pools. But those guarantees have shrunk to a standard $25,000 most Thursdays and just $40,000 on Friday nights. They have been affected to a small degree by the largely novelty Place6 but TAB spokesman Michael Dore says the lack of jackpots in harness racing is the real problem. And pressure on the code won't ease with the news the TAB will hold a special $500,000 turbo Pick6 on the Taumarunui Cup-Ryder Stakes meetings on Saturday week, July 27. That will get close to the $750,000 guaranteed Pick6s which have occurred four times in thoroughbred racing in the past 18 months, a figure harness racing punters can only dream of. Dore says the prevalence of short-priced favourites in harness racing is an issue. "To get decent Pick6 pools you need jackpots and we don't get enough of those in harness racing," said Dore. "How it works is when we have a new pool starting, we guarantee it at what we know will probably be a loss to us. "But we then under-guarantee it the next week if it jackpots, to secure some money for our reserve fund. "But when it keeps getting struck our reserve fund gets lower and lower." The ideal scenario is two or three weeks of Pick6 not being struck and reaching $250,000-$300,000 guaranteed, which creates interest in the entire meeting and often momentum for the following week. "That is why we hope the handicapping changes in harness racing help a little bit," says Dore, who used to work in harness racing before joining the TAB. "If the changes to the concessions for young horses mean less of those $1.10 favourite 3-year-olds that will be a good thing. "And we have found that Pick6 is a very good indicator of overall betting health in a code and I don't think the redhot favourites help." That is why winter thoroughbred racing, while it can be a minefield for punters, actually lends itself to huge Pick6 jackpots. The TAB regularly boosts Pick6 pools in all three codes in winter to try and drive interest at a time when racing struggles but Dore says they simply can't artificially boost pools to their old levels permanently. "Sure, we would love to guarantee Pick6 every Friday night to $75,000 but pretty soon we wouldn't have any money left in the reserve fund." Dore says that while the Place6 has its fans he does not see it is a major contributor to the dwindling Pick6 pools. "I don't think anybody expects to get rich off Place6 like they can get a huge collect off Pick6 and it probably doesn't get that exciting until the last couple of legs. "But it is a really good novelty product." Courtesy of Michael Guerin and the New Zealand Herald
The New Zealand Handicapping System may undergo a revamp, after it was unanimously decided at a Canterbury horsemen’s meeting back in May that changes need to be made.
Up-and-coming talent will join the country's premier race-callers as part of changes to Trackside's commentary line-up for the 2013/14 racing season.