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The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) is deploying Promapp’s cloud-based business process management software to support its transformation to a more customer-led business. “Promapp will support our strategy to transform the business to be more customer-led to ensure our future products, channels and initiatives meet the needs of customers,” says Simon Bunt, head of programme management office at NZRB. Bunt says the Promapp deployment follows a comprehensive market review. NZRB directly employs 820 personnel. The organisation takes betting on more than 78,000 domestic and imported thoroughbred, harness and greyhound races each season, as well as on a rapidly growing number of domestic and international sporting events. In addition to selling racing and sports bets through more than 650 retail outlets, online and telephony channels, NZRB also films, produces and broadcasts racing and racing editorial content via their television, radio and digital channels. To support its growth in both channels and overall business, NZRB wanted to make it easier to facilitate the changes in process management required when new products are introduced. It also wanted all process information to be stored in a central repository in the cloud which would enable staff to access up-to-date processes, thereby supporting overall transactional compliance. “Having a solution like Promapp in the cloud is attractive owing to the number of outlets, and the diversity and skill sets of our staff working in customer-facing channels. You can login from anywhere with a password,” says Bunt, in a statement. “Our frontline staff need to verify customers according to the latest process. Promapp will ensure our users are responsible for their processes, further boosting compliance and accountability across the organisation. “Staff will be able to suggest process updates and quickly implement improvements, boosting overall efficiency and productivity,” says Bunt. Importantly, Promapp will also support transformation of the organisation’s Fixed Odds Betting (FOB) business following deployment this year of new technology which will enable it to meet ever-increasing customer demand and better compete with international wagering organisations. At the same time, a centrally-stored set of processes will enable the organisation to fully comply with its financial risk obligations like anti-money laundering legislation.  

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) today announced an underlying operating profit for the first half of 2017/18 of $83.4 million, up $2.8 million or 3.4% on last year (excluding the net impact of strategic initiatives costs and benefits of $4.4 million). Including the planned investment and associated benefits from the strategic initiatives, reported net profit was $79.0 million, $1.1 million (1.4%) below last year however this was $2.9 million above Budget. NZRB Chief Executive John Allen says this good interim financial performance is the result of a strong uplift in digital turnover and customer acquisition combined with ongoing disciplined cost management. "Successful customer acquisition campaigns, growth in digital channels and increased betting from high staking Elite customers has seen a growth in total revenue to $188.1 million, up 3.2% on last year and a corresponding growth in total turnover to $1.430 billion, up 3.9% on 2016/17," says Mr Allen. "Our rolling average monthly active account bettors grew to more than 106,000 per month over the 12 months to January 2018, up 16.4% on the previous 12 month period, and in January 2018 alone there were 112,250 active customers betting, up 19.5% on last year. The Spring customer acquisition campaign run across the second quarter delivered a massive 23,737 new customers, up 28% on target. These newly acquired customers continue to bet regularly with the TAB supported by our CRM initiatives that has contributed to the growth in Betting Turnover and Revenue. Underlying operating expenses were $68.4 million, up 1.4% on last year largely driven by ongoing investment in technology platforms and PCI regulatory compliance while staff expenses, broadcasting and property costs have all been reduced. During the first half of 2017/18, the NZRB increased its distributions to the racing industry by 11.5% or $9.1 million on last year to $88.2 million while funding for national sporting organisations also increased by $1.0 million or 22.3% up to $5.5 million and another $1.3 million in grants were paid to amateur sport from gaming. Mr Allen says the NZRB is on track to deliver its challenging full year underlying operating profit target of $153.9 million in the 2017/18 year and remains committed to lifting distributions to the industry. "We remain committed to lifting distributions to racing while facing a number of challenges. The industry continues to be plagued by an unusually high number of abandonments - 19 over the past six months (many of which occurred throughout January at Thoroughbred meetings), equating to $1.5 million in lost profit. The cost of these abandonments is also significant to trainers, jockeys and drivers incomes and returns to owners not to mention the flow on effect to other races," says Mr Allen. In February, NZRB along with the three racing codes launched a process to address the issues our industry faces around infrastructure - leading the development of a future venue plan to help generate maximum benefits for racing’s stakeholders by delivering strategic investment in fit-for-purpose infrastructure and increased financial returns. NZRB Interim Results HY18 HY17 % change Total Turnover (Betting and Gaming) $1.430b $1.376b +3.9% Underlying Operating Profit $83.4m $80.7m +3.4% Reported Net Profit $79.0m $80.1m -1.4% Distributions to Racing $88.2m $79.1m +11.5% Funding for National Sporting Organisations $5.5m $4.5m +22.3%   The above table is based on NZRB’s management accounts for the six months to 31 January 2018. The full NZRB Interim Financial Statements 2017/18 are now available on our corporate website Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board  

Racing industry leaders are seeking feedback from industry participants to help inform a future venue plan which will help generate maximum benefit for racing’s stakeholders, participants and investors by delivering increased financial returns, strategic investment in fit-for-purpose infrastructure and a long-term sustainable future for the industry. The CEOs of the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB), New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) and Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) are leading the development of a plan to help shape the future for New Zealand racing. “New Zealand has a rich and successful racing history that is to be cherished - champion animals, quality bloodstock, top class trainers, drivers and jockeys, and an industry full of people passionately devoted to racing. “Our racing industry is a part of local communities, providing jobs, facilities, and social events, the benefits of which extend beyond simply racing,” says NZRB CEO, John Allen. “However, the pace of change and the challenges affecting racing have been rapid over recent decades and show no signs of slowing down. “Many racing venues have significant infrastructure challenges, including unreliable racing surfaces and deteriorating oncourse facilities for both racegoers and our customers and communities,” says Mr Allen. “We recognise that clubs/venues are the decision makers regarding their race tracks; however, the scale of investment required is not an issue that can be solved by the NZRB, one code, club or region,” adds NZTR CEO, Bernard Saundry. “The recent commitment from Racing Minister Winston Peters and the New Zealand Government for an all-weather track is fantastic news, and while the work we do on the Future Venue Plan will support this initiative, it will be a separate process undertaken in partnership with the Minister and will not be dependant on the outcome of this feedback process,” says Mr Saundry. “We need to invest in the right racing, trialling and training infrastructure that will drive greater efficiency and sustained growth over the next 5, 10, 15 plus years, while creating the safest possible environment for our animals and modern facilities for racing participants, customers and communities,” says HRNZ CEO, Edward Rennell. “The first step is to seek the views of clubs and Recognised Industry Organisations (RIOs) on our wider industry infrastructure issues, and encourage ideas on what we, as an industry, must do to address them for the future of racing for decades to come,” says Mr Rennell. Feedback is being sought through an online survey which includes a series of questions as well as providing an opportunity for participants to submit additional thoughts and ideas. “We encourage clubs and RIOs to collaborate with key participants to provide a full range of views. We would also like to see thinking and discussions at a regional level,” adds incoming GRNZ CEO, Mauro Barsi, who takes up his new role on 5 March but has already been involved with this process through his role on the NZRB Board. “Nothing has been predetermined, and industry input is critical to the plan’s development and success. We are providing an open forum where all issues can be raised, and where fresh ideas can be shared and considered - no idea is a bad idea,” says Mr Barsi. The survey has been shared with industry participants this week and is open for contributions until 5pm on Friday, 13 April 2018.  These will be used to inform the development of the draft future venue plan, which will be shared with industry for consultation in mid 2018. General queries regarding the survey can be sent to, or interested parties can visit Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

Minister for Racing David Bennett has appointed Bill Birnie to the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB). “It’s a pleasure to welcome Bill Birnie to the NZRB. Mr Birnie brings a lot of corporate governance experience and will add value to the NZRB,” Mr Bennett says. The purpose of the NZRB is to oversee the racing industry and the TAB, which has a $2.7 billion turnover a year, and returns over $150 million to New Zealand racing and sports each year. The seven-member board is made up of four independent members, including the Chair, who are appointed by the Government, and three code representatives nominated by the Thoroughbred, Harness and Greyhound racing codes. Mr Birnie, an investment banker by trade and former solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, has also held positions on several boards, including NZ Screen Commission, the Hilary Commission, High Performance Sport NZ, Sport New Zealand, NZ Film Commission, NZ Warriors Ltd and Play It Strange, amongst many others. Mr Birnie’s three year tenure begins on 23 June 2017. “I would like to thank outgoing board member Barry Brown for his contributions to the NZRB and industry over the past three years. Mr Brown is passionate about the industry and we thank him for his commitment to racing,” Mr Bennett says. Hon David Bennett Minister of Racing

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has released its 2017/18 racing calendar which will support better placement of domestic thoroughbred meetings and a further increase in Harness racing at both our premier venues on a Friday. The calendar, which covers the period from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018, has been approved by the NZRB Dates Committee following extensive consultation with Racing Industry Organisations, Codes and Clubs. A total of 1,035 race meetings will be hosted, up eight from last year. New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing have further reduced the number of 3 meeting Saturdays from 11 to 4. Analysis has shown that moving the third meeting to other days of the week, typically Sundays, improves customer attraction to the domestic product and supports a schedule that maximises revenue from imported Australian racing on the biggest day of the week. The number of Greyhound meetings increases by just one, but there will be up to eight hours of racing most Tuesdays - double last season. There will be an additional 3 Friday nights with racing at both Addington and Alexandra Park, a move Harness Racing New Zealand believes will boost opportunities for both premier clubs. While some of the changes to the 2017/18 calendar have an impact on a small number of racing clubs, NZRB estimates it will add $3.30 million net in benefits to the industry (made up of changes to NZRB and club costs and revenues), compared to rolling over the standard calendar from the previous season. Over the past two years, NZRB has been working with the wider racing industry to develop a domestic racing calendar that maximises revenue, improves the quality and competitiveness of racing and optimises the cost of its delivery - the Optimise the Calendar project. Optimise the Calendar is one of a number of key strategic initiatives currently being progressed - other activities include an automated fixed odds betting platform, forward-looking Customer and Channels strategies, and working with Government on the introduction of Racefields legislation. All of these initiatives will deliver a significant lift in annualised net profit once fully implemented and transform NZRB to help build a long-term sustainable future for racing in New Zealand. Here is a summary of the key dates, features and changes to the 2017/18 racing calendar: Thoroughbred Spring Racing commences at Hastings on Saturday 2 September 2017 New Zealand Cup and Show Week in Christchurch will run from November 11 - 18 2017 Ashburton Trotting Club Christmas meeting to be run on Sunday 24 December 2017 Wellington Cup Day will be held on Saturday 20 January 2018 Karaka Million Twilight Racing is on Saturday 27 January 2018 Auckland Cup Week runs from March 3 to March 10 2018 The Harness Jewels take place at Cambridge on June 2 2018 Printed 2017/18 racing calendar booklets will be available free from TAB retail outlets in August.   For more information please contact me on 021994151.   Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board m +64 21 994151 e w Level 1, 60 Stanley Street, Auckland, PO Box 37649, Parnell, Auckland 1151   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.  

Key agreements connecting New Zealand and Australian racing have been signed by the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) and Australia's Tabcorp.   The agreements, which relate to race broadcasting, wagering, international marketing and the commingling of racing, reconfirm the close relationship between the racing organisations and wider industries in both countries.   "These new agreements mark the beginning of a new phase in the ongoing partnership between our organisations and NZRB looks forward to continuing to work with Tabcorp to promote and advance our world-class Australasian racing," says NZRB CEO, John Allen.   "New Zealand and Australia have some of the best racing in the world, and these agreements are a key way of ensuring people in both countries have access to see and bet on our quality racing product.   "New Zealand racing will be broadcast in Australia on Tabcorp's Sky Racing TV network, and through the international marketing agreement, we are also able to showcase New Zealand racing to an even bigger, world-wide audience, utilising Tabcorp's extensive international network.   "One of the components of the agreements most popular with our TAB punters is the continuation of commingling of New Zealand and Australian pools. Commingling enables Kiwis to enjoy bigger dividends through larger pools," says Mr Allen.   "These agreements provide a progression from earlier agreements which expired in June 2015, reflecting the changing landscape both NZRB and Tabcorp are operating in, such as the rapid growth of social media and online streaming.   "For example, back when the last agreements were set up, Facebook was barely established - now it's the preeminent social media platform so we needed to look at how developments like this were reflected in the new agreements," says Mr Allen.   Tabcorp chief operating officer of wagering and media Craig Nugent says; "Tabcorp and the NZRB have been working closely together for some years and these new agreements provide the stepping stone for both organisations to find new synergies that will benefit both.   "Our International Team is doing a great job showcasing Australian racing to the world and we are proud to be able to bring New Zealand racing to a bigger global audience through our global communications network," says Mr Nugent.   The agreements confirm terms set out in short form term sheets signed in late October 2016, and will be in place through to 31 October 2019.   Kate Richards Head of Communications, 027 839 0399

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has announced it will provide an additional $4.77 million in funding over the next two and a half years to support the racing industry to improve stakes, address aging infrastructure and encourage the entry of young people to racing. CEO John Allen says the NZRB Pilot Enhancement funds have come as a result of overwhelming feedback from the industry. "Last year I undertook a series of conversations around the country speaking to those at the coal face of the New Zealand racing industry and hearing their concerns. "I received a very clear message that this is an industry under significant pressure; many people are struggling and the industry requires increased financial support now, which is why we have created these enhancement funds to help address these issues," says Allen. More than $2.8 million will be made available to tactically boost stakes, with the aim being to provide greater return to owners, trainers, jockeys and drivers, in turn attracting higher quality racing and improving the overall race experience for industry people and punters alike. The Youth Development fund will aim to help build the next generation of racing by applying more than $645,000 to encouraging the development of career paths into and through the industry. The Infrastructure enhancement fund will help address aging infrastructure of racetracks to improve safety, reliability and the oncourse experience, with more than $1.29 million available across the industry over the current, 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. "The allocation of funding will be made in collaboration with all three racing codes to ensure they are in line with their individual strategic planning," says Allen. While NZRB has identified a number of key initiatives which, once full delivered will provide an estimated $50-55 million in annualised Net Profit per year to racing through increased distributions, Allen says he recognises that many in the industry need help right now. "While these investments aren't a silver bullet, they are an important short term measure to provide the industry with some breathing space until the benefits of the key initiatives are realised. It is also a clear signal to the industry that NZRB will support the long-term growth of racing in New Zealand," says Allen. These initiatives will be funded by Class 4 Gaming proceeds so do not impact NZRB's distributable betting profit to the racing industry. The following table outlines NZRB's investment over the remainder of the current season and the across the next two seasons:   Funding   Stakes Enhancement 2017 (21 Jan - 31 Jul)     $641,000 2017/18     $1,100,000 2018/19     $1,100,000 Total     $2,841,000   Youth 2017 (21 Jan - 31 Jul)     $145,000 2017/18     $250,000 2018/19     $250,000 Total      $645,000   Infrastructure 2017 (21 Jan - 31 Jul)$290,000 2017/18     $500,000 2018/19     $500,000 Total      $1,290,000   Total per year 2017 (21 Jan - 31 Jul)   $1,076,000 2017/18     $1,850,000 2018/19     $1,850,000 Total funding $4,776,000   Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board    

New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has announced a Net Profit before Distributions result of $146.7 million for the year ending 31 July 2016, and the commencement of a new, independent inquiry for greyhound racing in New Zealand at its Annual General Meeting today. "NZRB has continued to increase its support of racing and sports in New Zealand, distributing $136.7 million to the three racing Codes, making commission payments of $8.0 million to National Sporting Organisations, and applying a further $11.7 million to the racing industry and $3.0 million to grassroots sports from gaming," says NZRB Chief Executive Officer, John Allen. "Our initial distributions to the racing Codes of $135.3 million was boosted by a further $1.4 million which was approved by the Board in September from Net Profit after Distributions, demonstrating our commitment to the wider industry. "Removing the impact of gains on sale of our Petone building in 2014/15, and our Christchurch property in 2015/16, our Net Profit before distributions has increased year-on-year by $5.6 million, or 4.1%. Betting Net Profit was $137.3 million, consistent with prior year, while Gaming Net Profit increased by 20.1% to $15.1 million." says Allen. "We have also increased both turnover and revenue, with total turnover of $2.7 billion 11.9% up on 2014/15, and total revenue up 4.6% to $351.9 million. "Our focus on our customers has seen nearly 181,000 account customers placing a bet over the past year, up 9.6%, with our digital channels continuing to grow in popularity and accounting for 55.9% of betting activity and our TAB Mobile App up 214.4% on last year." says Allen. "Economic analysis has shown that the New Zealand racing industry is not self-sufficient and is dependant on international racing income to sustain it. This is simply not a tenable position and we are working to help build a long-term sustainable future for racing in New Zealand. "Since taking up the reins in March 2015, I have focussed on assembling my leadership team with the right skills and experience to ensure NZRB has the foundations and capability to return the industry to a state where it can grow and prosper." says Allen. "We have identified a number of strategic initiatives to achieve this, and have made good progress this year towards their achievement. These initiatives will improve long-term profitability by an estimated $50-55 million in annualised net profit per year once fully delivered, by improving our competitiveness, growing our customer base and lowering our cost base. "We are putting the customer at the centre of our actions, focussing our investment in fit for purpose systems and infrastructure where it will provide the greatest long-term benefit," says Allen. Other key focuses for the racing industry over the next period will be animal welfare, infrastructure, youth development and stakes money. "We are working on a series of pilot enhancement funds to help support and grow the industry by tactically boosting stakes to attract higher quality racing, investing in key infrastructure and helping build the next generation of racing by encouraging and incentivising the development of career paths into and through the industry," says Allen.   The 2016 Annual Report, which can be found here.   Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board m +64 21 994151 e w Level 1, 60 Stanley Street, Auckland, PO Box 37649, Parnell, Auckland 1151

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has released its Statement of Intent for the years 2017-2019. The Statement of Intent sets out NZRB’s strategic focus for the coming years and financial forecast through to 2018/19. Over the next 24 months, NZRB will be driving major change in order to address the challenges facing the New Zealand domestic racing industry. The initiatives identified by NZRB will improve NZRB’s long-term profitability by more than $50 million per year once implemented, and require an investment of ~$60-75 million. These initiatives are: Customer Strategy* Channel Strategy* Offshore Betting Optimise the Calendar Fixed Odds Betting platform In addition, NZRB will continue to prioritise re-engineering the NZRB cost model and ongoing improvements to our core technology. Total Net Profit is forecast to lift from $148.0 million in 2016/17 to $164.5 million by 2018/19, not including the impact of the currently identified key strategic investments, other than the anticipated increases in revenue due to new race fields legislation. NZRB is acutely aware of the fine balance between providing the industry with an assurance of funding in the short term to maintain the industry, while investing in longer-term change to build a sustainable future for all. “We are at a critical point where industry leaders and participants must commit to addressing major decisions on industry governance and structural change. At the same time, NZRB needs to invest, innovate, and deliver a more competitive business or service offering for our current and future customers, and by so doing, continue to generate adequate returns to sustain the industry.” NZRB Chair, Glenda Hughes. “The New Zealand racing industry has enjoyed many individual successes over the past season. The achievements of our animals, breeders, jockeys, drivers, and trainers have underpinned the New Zealand racing industry’s place as a major employer and contributor to the national and regional economies. Ours is an industry that deserves domestic and international support. However, while there is great promise, there are persistent and continuing challenges which must be addressed if we are to capitalise on this success and achieve our full potential.” NZRB CEO, John Allen. * Note - The Customer and Channel Strategy initiatives share some work and costs/benefits so are combined for financial purposes.   Click here to read the Statement of Intent 2017-19.   Courtesy of NZRB

The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) is making changes to its TAB Phonebet service, moving from a manned service to a fully automated one using TAB Touch Tone from 1 August 2016. As a result of this move, NZRB's Christchurch Phonebet site will be closed with 43 roles disestablished, however a consolidated site will remain in Wellington to provide a much smaller manned service for those who are medically exempt. "I would like to thank our Christchurch Phonebet team for their professionalism during the consultation process. We are working closely with them, providing support and guidance - not only for today but throughout the entire change process," said NZRB CEO John Allen. The decision, which follows a consultation period with staff, will provide financial savings to NZRB. "Our profits go back to funding sport and racing, ultimately this is about ensuring we're delivering the best return for an industry that is a significant contributor to New Zealand," said Mr Allen. It will also enable NZRB to focus investment in its growing digital channels to give its customers a better experience. "TAB customers are increasingly shifting online. Over 63% of our customers over 65 are using online channels and we know that only 3% of new customers use the Phonebet service. Betcount through Phonebet is also in decline, dropping by more than 17% a year," Mr Allen said. At its peak in 2001, Phonebet handled more than 30 million calls a year; today there are 27.5 million fewer betting calls a year. Around 10,000 customers use only Phonebet, out of a TAB customer base of approximately 250,000. While the Phonebet service will go, customers who prefer to use the phone will still have the ability to place their bets, check race results and get scratchings information via TAB Touch Tone, and will also be able to use NZRB's other channels, including online, in a retail store or on-course at the races, or through the TAB Mobile App. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) Chair Glenda Hughes has today welcomed the findings of an off-shore betting working group announced by the Minister for Racing, Nathan Guy. Speaking at the organisations' Annual General Meeting in Petone today, Minister Guy outlined recommendations designed to combat the impact of off-shore betting on racing and sport. These include the introduction of an offshore bookmaker fee and changes to the Racing Act designed to make NZRB more competitive. It is estimated that New Zealanders spend with overseas agencies an estimated $58 million of gross betting revenue (turnover less dividends) from a total turnover of up to $518 million per year. Further, corporate bookmakers take an estimated $300 million of betting on New Zealand's domestic racing product. Hughes says offshore bookies are freeloading on quality New Zealand sport and racing products - they contribute nothing back to our domestic racing industry, they give nothing back to our local communities and pay nothing to the New Zealand Government. "The purpose of NZRB is to ensure the benefits from betting go to funding sport and racing, but offshore bookmakers erode this return back to the community," says Hughes. "It is not just for the Government to act, the NZRB also needs to be more competitive, ensure that Kiwis can get the same level of service and product offerings as are available offshore," says Hughes. In 2013/14, NZRB contributed $47.5 million in duties, tax and levies to the Government. NZRB CEO John Allen says the Governments recommendations are pleasing news for an industry that contributes $1.6 billion to the New Zealand economy and employs more than 17,000 people. "Racing is facing challenges, but it is an industry that can and will flourish - we just need to act now." "We are working on a series of projects and innovations designed to make us more competitive, so that we can grow Net Profit for distributions and properly support the racing and sports industries that depend on us." For the financial year ending 31 July the NZ Racing Board posted a Net Profit of $144.0 million - an increase of 5.1% on the 2013/14 financial year. The three racing codes - NZ Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing NZ and Greyhound Racing NZ received $134.2 million in distributions with a further $10.6m applied to the racing industry from gaming. National Sporting Organisations received $6.1 million and a record $2.7 million was paid or provided to other sporting bodies from gaming activities. Click here for a copy of the 2015 NZRB Annual Report. Click here for a copy of the Offshore Racing & Sports Betting Working Group Report. Kate Gourdie Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

The terminal decline of harness racing in New Zealand continues unabated and the future of this industry is looking shakier by the day. The recent announcement by the New Zealand Racing Board that Harness Racing New Zealand has given up another 59 races for next season is yet another nail in the coffin of the industry in New Zealand. The rationale given by Harness Racing New Zealand is that with less races they hope to improve overall field size and improve the quality of the racing. That is about as realistic as me wanting to sleep with Demi Moore. It ain't going to happen. Both the Thoroughbred and Greyhound national bodies have maintained the same number of races as last year and logic would suggest that they will continue to take market share off harness racing as a result. Harness Racing has lost 4% of its races in just two years and that is before the big reductions in foal numbers start to kick in which will really affect the number of races we can conduct each season. So what is our governing body proposing to do to arrest the slide and turn the industry around. Apart from a bit of tinkering around the edges, in my view they are sitting on their hands while this industry goes down the gurgler. The question I would pose is how is the industry travelling in New Zealand at the grass roots level. I talk to scores of industry people each week throughout New Zealand and the feedback is overwhelmingly negative. There are a great many trainers who are looking to cross the Tasman or get out of the industry completely. These include some household names in the industry in New Zealand which leads me to conclude that we are reaching a tipping point in the industry in this country. Auckland is by far the worst area but is not alone in the disillusionment engulfing this industry throughout the country. If the current trends continue and then accelerate when the lower foal numbers kick in shortly, then I don't think harness racing in New Zealand in its present form will exist in ten years time. We need to act now and turn this industry around or prepare ourselves for its demise I know I have been beating this drum for a while but I thought that Harness Racing New Zealand would take up the challenge and they would turn things around. However they have done next to zero and this industry is now living on borrowed time. Several times over the last twelve months I have put forward proposals to change the way we do things in the harness racing industry in New Zealand to help it survive. I don't want to go back over these in detail but I will touch briefly on them here so we are all on the same page.   There are a multitude of structures that need urgent change but I will focus here on the four that I think are critical to any chance of saving this industry. 1) Management Structures The management structure of harness racing in New Zealand is more akin to that of a 1960s sports club than that of an industry that turns over hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The clubs in New Zealand were set up to run race meetings and they do an outstanding job of performing their primary function. No one can tell me that clubs that meet once a year were ever envisaged to be running the multi faceted and complex business that harness racing in 2015 has become. We need a small  business savvy board with representatives elected by the rank and file participants in the industry in conjunction with some appointed members who are there for their business acumen. 2) Breeding Incentives The breeding side of harness racing is in a death spiral at the moment and unless we do something urgently then the breeding numbers will continue to fall. We have just lost 59 races for the coming year due to lack of runners per race and with the significantly smaller crops now starting to come on stream, that reduction in races per year will accelerate in the coming years. There are several models in use worldwide where other countries heavily support their breeders and we need to follow suit and soon. There is no time to argue about the merits of each of the systems, just adopt one and use it before it is too late. 3) Handicapping system The present system for the majority of horses is not working. The system has been tinkered with for many years and it still has major flaws. A lot of trainers I speak to think the handicapping system is worst now than it has ever been. We have had some minor improvements over the last few years but at this rate we will get it fully sorted about 2050 Why have we not tried something like a points system as Richard Brosnan has been promoting for some time? It is simple, easy to follow and would extend the life of a lot of our poorer performed horses. The Australian market for our cheaper horses has virtually disappeared overnight with the tax imposed on our horses by the Australians.  Harness Racing New Zealand is trying to solve the problem by making better usage of the horses that are presently racing. A recent HRNZ quote is " We have started less horses more times".   If you take that solution to its logicial conclusion we are going to have less and less horses racing more often over time. It is the exact opposite to what they should be trying to do. The ideal would be to have more horses racing if the system was working, not less. Less horses means less owners, less trainers, less drivers and so on and so on. At some point we will be down to  just Alexandra Park and Addington if we don't change our present course. 4) New Zealand Racing Board If you want to know where the money is going in the three codes in New Zealand then look no further than the New Zealand Racing Board. The pigs have got there noses that deep in the trough that it is no wonder that the three codes are struggling to survive. I could pinpoint several examples but I think it is just as easy to set out below some of the costs associated with the New Zealand Racing Board. Operational costs of the New Zealand Racing Board - August 2014 - just after the last HRNZ annual conference. - NZRB's running costs have increased by $24.4 million in four years, a rise of 6.2%. - For the same period turnover increased by just 1.5% and income 2.3%. - Since August 2012, staff costs had risen by $2 million or 4%, an April KPMG audit report said. - The NZRB's annual report of 2013 listed staff expenses of $54.98 million. - In the NZRB's more recent half-yearly report its staff expenses for the six months ending January 31,2014, amounted to $30.71 million, up $2.5 million on 2013. - Its total expenses for the same six months were $64 million, up $3.1 million. - The 2013 annual report listed 72 staff that was paid more than $100,000. - Twenty four of those earned more than $150,000, and eight earned more than $250,000. I have been involved with this industry for nearly forty five years and not much has changed to be honest in that time, except the cost of running the Industry. We need to change the structures that run this industry and bring them into the 21st century. Its like Harness Racing New Zealand is aware that the Titanic is going down but instead of taking any action they would rather sit and listen to the band. JC

The New Zealand Racing Board has released its 2015/16 racing calendar with a focus on delivering better value to the community and the wider racing industry. Monetising the calendar is a key strategic focus over the coming year, and the NZ Racing Board is working closely with the Greyhound, Thoroughbred and Harness Codes on further shaping the calendar to maximise the potential from race meetings. Harness Racing New Zealand has decided to consolidate in a bid to increase field sizes and improve the quality of racing. A total of four race meetings and 59 races have been removed from the 2015/16 season and the Auckland Trotting Cup has moved back to New Years Eve. The number of Greyhound and Thoroughbred races is largely unchanged. Two of Thoroughbred's marquee races, the Auckland Cup and the Karaka Million, have moved dates in the calendar in an initiative that will improve community and industry attendance. The 2015/16 calendar, comprising 1,060 meetings and 10,877 races across the three racing Codes, has been devised to optimise returns to the industry while recognising specific requirements for racing to reflect the importance of community engagement and alignment with international meetings. Following is a summary of the key dates, features and changes to the 2015/16 racing calendar: Thoroughbred Spring Racing commences at Hastings on Saturday 29 August 2015 with the first day of the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival New Zealand Cup and Show Week in Christchurch will run from November 7- 14 2015 Auckland Trotting Cup returns to 31December 2015 (from first week of March) Karaka Million Twilight Racing is on January 24 2016 Wellington Cup Day will be held on January 30 2016 Auckland Cup Week runs from March 5to March 12 2016 The Harness Jewels take place at Cambridge on June 4 2016 Printed 2015/16 racing calendar booklets will be available free from TAB retail outlets from mid-July. Kate Gourdie New Zealand Racing Board

New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has today welcomed the appointment of an offshore betting working group announced by the Minister for Racing, Nathan Guy. NZRB Chair Glenda Hughes says "This is a positive step towards what has been a long-standing issue for New Zealand's racing industry and we look forward to seeing progress made on combatting the increasing impact of off-shore betting in New Zealand." New Zealand is unique in that all of the NZRB's profits are returned to the racing and sports industries. However, it is estimated that New Zealanders bet up to $300 million per year with overseas agencies that do not contribute to those industries, or are subject to the same responsibilities as NZRB. "Our industry works hard to provide quality racing and sport that is enjoyed around the world, but there is a problem when it does not get a fair return on its investment as a result of betting taking place offshore," says Hughes. Hughes commented that the rise of digital business has heightened the issue, further increasing the need for Government action. "International corporate bookmakers are increasingly taking bets on our domestic product without any benefit flowing back into the New Zealand racing industry, and without being subject to the same fees and taxes as NZRB. We would like to see a level playing field, where all betting placed on New Zealand racing results in an appropriate contribution back to support the development and growth of this industry. "This is a complex issue experienced the world over, with the likes of United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, France, Australia and Singapore all recently taking action," added Hughes. In the 2013/14 financial year, the three racing codes - thoroughbred, harness and greyhound - received $134.1 million in distributions. National Sporting Organisations received $5.0 million. Olivia Kinley Manager, Media and Corporate Communications New Zealand Racing Board

Harness racing in New Zealand is in a real bind in our opinion and unless our leaders do something very quickly then we could very easily become a "sunset industry" in this country. The breeding figures for the just completed breeding season are now available and the annual decline in mares bred continues unabated with the decline looking to be in the region of 7.5%. This decline has been evident for well over a decade now and if it is not stopped our industry as it is presently structured will cease to exist. We are not saying the harness racing industry as we know it, will disappear but its shape and form will look nothing like what we have at present. That is the cold hard reality we face when the number of foals bred cannot possibly meet the needs of a racing programme set up for foal crops of nearly double what we are going to now produce. A lot of short sighted people have claimed repeatedly that we are only getting rid of the poorer performed mares each year and that the decline is nothing to worry about. Nothing could be further from the truth. With the continuing decline we are seeing it is only a matter of time before the ability of some clubs to conduct meetings will be severely compromised. Regional areas of New Zealand that rely on horses from other provinces will be the first to feel the pinch in our view. We already have a situation in the thoroughbred code where they are absent from some provincial areas in New Zealand where they use to be strong and we think that harness racing will go that way as well if the breeding numbers continue to decline. Many point to the yearling sales as a guide to how healthy the industry is but it only represents 20% of our industry and while good for morale it can't change the basic premise that harness racing is an industry in rapid decline. The strength of harness racing in New Zealand has always been the fantastic spread of our industry throughout the country. In other words the grassroots of our industry has always been our strength. If that base was to be severely weakened, then the whole structure becomes vulnerable.  There are numerous methods used overseas to help the breeder stay in the industry and we have covered these in depth in previous articles. Harness Racing New Zealand and the New Zealand Racing Board have been strangely silent on solutions for this complex problem. There has been plenty of hand wringing and platitudes but no plan of action to help breeders stay in the industry. Time is of the essence in this matter and the longer we dither before doing something, the more chance that the intervention will be too little too late. JC

Just the four winners for the harness racing ringaround last week so we need improvement this week. Blair Orange, Tony Herlihy, Matthew Williamson and John Dunn all produced winners last week. The ringaround did pick four seconds and three thirds as well but we are expecting real improvement this week. There are four meetings this week to cover, they are Auckland and NZ Metropolitan on Friday, Gore on Saturday and Timaru on Sunday. Alexanrda Park - Frday Night Tony Herlihy - Keen on Red Sky Night this week. Thinks she can make it three-in-row, # 1 in race 4. Maurice McKendry - A good each way chance for Arms Of An Angel, # 1 in race eight. Scott Phelan - Le Lua Invasion is Scott's shots eye this week, # 10 in race five. Steven Reid - Easy On The Eye is on target for the Cup meeting will be hard to beat # 5 race six. Ray Green - Lincolns Megastar will be very hard to beat fresh up even from the draw. # 9 race one. Todd Macfarlane - Tarn went good last week and is on the improve. # 2 race three. Todd Mitchell - Cullect The Gold is much improved since his first run back and Todd expects a bold showing. # 8 race two.   New Zealand Metropolitan - Friday Night John Dunn - Return To Sender has trained on good since its first up 4th. # 7 race four. Ricky May - Well you guessed it this week, its Terror To Love  # 9 race seven. John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Tokohoka as a great bet this week. # 10 race 10. Gerard O'Reilly - Thinks that Tiga Tara will be very hard to beat. # 7 race six. Matthew Williamson - Thinks that Yankee One can repeat this week # 5 race three. Steve Richadson (TAB) - Agrees with Ricky May that Terror To Love is the bet.  # 9 race seven Colin DeFilippi - Stent will bounce back after his last start failure. # 8 race five.   Gore - Saturday Dexter Dunn - No hesitation here with Dexter, Oneover is his bet of the week. # 6 race 10 Nathan Williamson -  Aldan's Rocket having its first start back and can run a drum. # 4 race eight. Clark Barron - I believe Mass Invasion will be very hard to beat. # 4 race one.. Brad Williamson - The Silver Fox will start over the odds and be hard to beat. # 5 race three Shane Walkinshaw - Expects a bold first up run from Red Electric # 1 race five   Timaru - Sunday Blair Orange - My best drive and bet of the week is Change Time # 1 race six Jim Curtin - Star Commando is my best chance this week # 14 in race one. Craig Thornley - All Delight was unlucky last start and will be hard to beat. # 7 race eight Robbie Holmes - Driving Nicaela and rates her as a good each way bet. # 1 race one.   Harnesslink media    

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