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The TAB is not planning to shut its retail stores even though it plans to phase out betting operators on track. The days of handing over your cash on track to a betting operator and getting a ticket in return are almost certainly gone at all but the biggest meetings as the racing industry undergoes dramatic changes and enormous cost cutting. Codes and clubs have been told the TAB proposes to remove manned betting terminals from racetracks and replace them will electronic betting terminals, which still produce a paper ticket but work similar, and require similar effort, to a cashflow machine at your bank. The proposal would see no betting staff and less cash being used on track, which the TAB say will also cut down on security costs, the transporting of manned machines to meetings and of course staff. Some racetrack punters, particularly more hardened or regular punters, bet via apps and websites on their phones and will be unphased or won’t even notice the change because in reality the migration away from betting operators started long ago. But for many once a year racegoers or those who are less tech savvy, no betting operator assisted punting will be a major change. The proposal is part of the TAB’s (known as the Racing Industry Transition Agency) change plan in a week where it was granted $72.5million by the Government to re-start the industry and pay debts. But if it is adopted there will still be a provision for the TAB to bring back betting operators or find another similar solution for racing’s biggest carnival days, where once a year punters may struggle with electronic betting. If that doesn’t mean hands on betting operators it could mean EBTs having human assistants to help punters place bets. As radical as the loss of betting operators from racetracks sound it won’t be an issue in coming months when race meetings won’t have crowds. And the crowds are so small for most mid-week meetings (known as industry days) the expense of betting operators may be hard to justify. One of the other proposed changes will be the total shut down the TAB’s telephone betting service, which has been on the way out for years. But just because TAB operators are set to disappear at almost all race meetings, doesn’t mean you local TAB agency is going to close. “No, there will still be TAB agencies and a retail network in the future and some of those are reopening this week,” says RITA (TAB) executive chair Dean McKenzie. “Four out of something like 80 retail outlets are going to close but there isn’t going to be a wholesale closure of them.” The move away from having betting operators on track is going to be unpopular initially, and with some for quite a while, but McKenzie says he and his board have little option but to look at all areas in which costs can be cut. “Everybody in racing wants change, well change means change. We can’t just change the things that will be popular because then nothing will get done,” he said. McKenzie promised more, potentially more radical, changes lie ahead.   Michael Guerin

The Racing Industry Transition Agency, today (6 May 2020), confirmed to its staff it would commence consultation about changes to the TAB in response to the impact of COVID-19. The proposal includes a reduction of approximately 30 percent of roles across all areas of the organisation and is in addition to other cost saving measures aimed at reducing total expenditure. The detail of the proposal, which will be presented to staff on Monday, and if progressed, would see the business becoming leaner, more efficient and with increased commercial and customer focus. RITA Executive Chair, Dean McKenzie said the scale of change presented to staff was required to ensure the business was sustainable for the future and best placed to meet the needs of New Zealand racing and sport. “The TAB is a profitable business, however it has taken a major hit from COVID-19 with revenue last month 47 percent below forecast and customer numbers down more than 35 percent. “Despite far reaching efforts to reduce costs across the TAB, including salary reductions, staff taking leave and reducing all non-essential expenses, it simply was not enough to offset the blow COVID-19 has had, and will have, on our industry.  “The implication of the pandemic extends beyond the immediate impact to the TAB, with racing and sport looking very unpredictable over the next year. The reality is the TAB will need to be a leaner, more efficient business with fewer roles, and focused on driving our core wagering and gaming business.  “Our focus now is to discuss this proposal with our people and to listen to their feedback before a final decision is made in late May”.  No further comment will be made until a final outcome is confirmed.   Racing Industry Transition Agency

From today customers of the TAB who want to bet or collect $1,000 or more at a TAB site or at a race meeting will be required by law to verify themselves using their TAB account or 'Punters Pass' - a card the TAB issues to customers who use cash and have had their identity previously verified.   The Punters Pass is one of a range of systems and processes the TAB has put in place to comply with legislative changes to the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT).   "Over the past twelve months the TAB has been working hard to understand where our risks of money laundering are, in preparation for meeting the requirements of the new legislation," says TAB General Manager Customer Gary Woodham.   The law changes were put in place by the New Zealand government to protect businesses and make it harder for criminals to profit from and fund illegal activity. The AML/CFT Act now covers casinos, banks and financial institutions, lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and the TAB.   Under AML legislation the TAB must ensure it can identify its customers, their residential addresses and in some cases the source of their wealth or funds. The amount of information required will vary depending on a customer's betting activity.   "All TAB staff have received the necessary training to support the new procedures and we have new processes in place to ensure we know the identity of our customers who are betting or collecting over $1,000," says Woodham.   Customers who don't have a TAB account and want to bet or collect $1,000 or more at a TAB site or race meeting will now need photo identification and proof of address documentation.   For more information on AML law and how it will affect the TAB log on to     Kate Gourdie Corporate Communications Manager Racing Industry Transition Agency  

Australians are increasingly using mobile phones to place bets - but fewer are taking a punt, according to a study by Australian research company Roy Morgan. Some 3.4 million Australians bet on a sporting event, horse racing, harness racing (trots), greyhound racing or some other event in the 12 months ending in March 2018, Roy Morgan said in figures released on Monday. That figure was down from more than 3.7 million Australians six years ago.  More than one-third of Australians (34.1%), make their bet using the Internet compared to 15.7% six years ago. Tabcorp Holdings was used by 17.4% of bettors, while was second with 12.9% of users. Crownbet had 6.5% of users. While fewer Australians are gambling, those who do place a bet are using their mobile devices more often. "The growth is clearly being driven by the increasing use of mobile phones to place bets," Roy Morgan said, adding that 22.7% use their mobile phone now compared to 5.6% in 2012.  Most bets are not placed online, however. “A majority of Australians who bet still don’t bet via the Internet. Over two-fifths of Australians who bet have not used the Internet to place a bet and these are the key market companies offering online betting need to target to grow their revenue," Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, said in a statement after the results were released. The Australian market has significantly changed over the years.  Tabcorp merged with Tatts Group in late 2017, Sportsbet was bought by the Irish Paddy Power Betfair, and 80% of Crownbet was acquired by the Canadian gaming company, the Stars Group, in March.  By Nicole Gheller Reprinted with permission of The Gambling Insider 

Government backbencher Murray Cowper has spoken out against a building political consensus for selling the TAB. Mr Cowper, whose Murray-Wellington electorate includes significant horse breeding and training operations, claimed there was not the support from the industry that Premier Colin Barnett and leading trainer Michael Grant said there was. Last week,The West Australian revealed the WA Racing Response Group, chaired by Mr Grant and formed to formulate the industry’s response to the privatisation issue, had given the Government the green light to proceed with the sale process. It was done on the basis that the industry would be no worse off financially, that sale proceeds were set aside for an infrastructure fund and that governance issues were settled. But Mr Cowper said Mr Grant did not speak for the whole industry and he remained personally opposed to the sale. “The industry is bigger than just Perth and there are significant elements in country gallops, trots and greyhounds that aren't on board,” he said. The West Australian canvassed opinion of racing leaders across codes and from representatives of regional racing groups and found general support for Mr Grant’s position. Country Racing Association president Kevin Scott said the CRA supported Mr Grant and WARRG “100 per cent”. “We believe the WARRG will do everything to get the best outcome for the industry,” he said. “If we don’t go as one constructive group we might as well not go at all. “All we want is to be no worse off.” Pinjarra Harness Racing Club president Barry Warwick said: “I'm for it as long as we can get the right result out of it. “At first I was pretty anti-selling but I've had a good, hard look at it. “It all comes down to the outcome for the industry.” Gloucester Park president John Burt said WARRG had set parameters for the industry’s support and presented them to Government. “If they're met, we’re happy to see the TAB sold,” he said. Mr Barnett and Nationals Leader and Racing Minister Brendon Grylls have both said they want to sell the TAB and believe they have the support of the industry. Labor says it will sell only if the industry agrees and wants to consult more widely. By Gareth Parker and Jay Rooney - The West Australian Reprinted with permission of The Western Australian

Harness racing punters got back on track last night at Addington with four favourites from the 9 races winning, along with two 2nd favs and three 3rd favs.  The best 'Fixed Odds' opening price on a winner was the first starter in race 4 'Yankee Tara' $5.20 - $1.95   The average winner's opening 'Fixed Odds' on the nine races was $3.92 verse $3.85 on the closing tote price. The average 'Fixed Odds' opening odds on the closing tote favourites was $2.72 compared to $2.66.    Early money at Alexandra Park tonight.   Race 1 - Last start winner CK Spur $2.90 is the best backed with $1,000 at $2.90 the largest bet so far with George $11.50 - $9.50 next best following a $900 bet at $11.50.   CK Spur dominates multi betting with next best Thebestlove $6.20.    Race 2- Rariza has taken a $2,000 bet at $2.30 and easily best backed over Crystal Sparkles $5.50 - $5.00.   In multi betting Rariza leads clearly over Crystal Sparkles and Kaitlyn $2.80 - $3.00.      Race 3- Three runner's have taken early money here with the best backed in order Cowboy N Aliens $3.60 - $3.20, Wrangler $15 - $10 and Shadow Pass $3.40 - $3.00.   No money as yet on Laredo which would suggest punters are waiting for his odds to drift which he is currently doing $2.30 - $2.70 but he does lead multi betting from Cowboy N Aliens and Shadow Pass.    Race 4 - Best backed is No Way Else with $400 at $5.80 the largest bet and the next best backed is Miss Daisy $3.80 - $3.60.   Billy Badger $3.40 leads multi bets over Neighlor $4.00 - $4.30.    Race 5 - A very quiet market early with the best backed Stunning Shadow $8.50 over Alta Michaela $13 - $9.00.   Multi betting shows no clear leader here but best backed is Waingaro Mara $4.40.   Race 6 - The outsider Scarrymcleary $19 - $15 is the best backed early over the $2.20 favourite Blackguard's Corner $2.20 who also dominates multi betting.   Race 7 -  Start Dreaming $4.60 - $3.60 holds 50% of early win money and is going 3 to 1 over the next best backed runners in multi betting Little Rascal $6.20 and Hughie Green $2.60 - $2.80.   This is an early lead to us that she will start closer in final odds to the current favourite Hughie Green.      Race 8 - Easily best backed on the win 'book' is Lovely Bundy the $3.30 favourite over Speedy Lavros $16 but Blood And Whisky $3.60 leads early multi betting.   Race 9 - A very quiet early market here with the best backed Opoutama $4.40 - $4.20 and she also leads multi betting over Kilkeel Lady $4.80 and Alta Valencia $5.00.   Race 10 - Not a lot of interest early in the Claimers race but Stunin Banner $1.55 - $1.45 totally dominates multi betting.     Invercargill Harness race at Ascot Park tomorrow with the first race starting at 12:58pm and the 'Fixed Odds' markets will open tonight around 6:00pm  - 7:00pm along with the Group 3 Alabar DG Jones Trotting Cup to be raced at Motukarara on Sunday at 4:04pm.     Harnesslink Media Courtesy of Stephen Richardson TAB

Punters who chase the big quaddie pools in Australia will be the worst affected by a two-month hiatus in commingling that started on Wednesday. For the last eight years New Zealand punters have enjoyed being able to bet into large Australian pools, with the chance of striking much bigger dividends. But for the next two months at least, while officials negotiate a new agreement, there will be no commingling of quaddies, first4s and quinellas on Australian races, meaning only New Zealand money will be in the pools, making them vastly smaller. On Tuesday, punters were betting into a quaddie pool of more than $125,000 at Geelong. But on Wednesday the pot Kiwis were offered at Warwick Farm was a pitiful $5203 compared to the one Australians chased of more than $70,000. And, while the TAB believes its turnover will hold up pretty well. with win and place pools still combined, punters are saying the opposite. In an announcement that has seen punters vent on social media threatening to give up betting or open an Australian account, the TAB revealed there would be no more commingling of the popular exotic bet types until it reached a new agreement with Tabcorp in Australia. The TAB's agreement, in force since May 30, 2007, expired on Tuesday and with no new deal in place yet, a "transitional" arrangement until August 31 allows commingling into Australian pools only on win and place betting. Wagering consultant Martin Saunders said the TAB had been caught up in the tension between Tabcorp and Sky Channel over broadcasting rights. After Racing Victoria signed a five-year free-to-air deal with Seven West Media, New Zealand's television partner Sky in Australia had blacked out all Victorian racing. Outside 92 TAB outlets in Victoria, New Zealand was the only country watching Victorian racing live, Saunders said. "Our suite of agreements are all linked and the rights to broadcast Victorian racing go through a lot of those agreements," Saunders said. Chief executives and negotiation teams from the New Zealand Racing Board and Tabcorp have been in discussions for the past 18 months and, while Saunders said in an ideal world a new agreement would have been brokered by now, he said the TAB was determined to get the best possible deal for New Zealand racing. It was hoped an agreement could be reached by the end of August. Saunders believed the "short-term compromise" would result in little damage to the industry's crucial turnover. "As much as 70 per cent of our betting in Australia is win and place (plus trifectas, which aren't commingled because we have a higher take-out rate). "The majority of our turnover will be maintained. And there's no change to the New Zealand situation – Australians can still bet into our pools." But if figures from Wednesday's racing are anything to go by, the TAB could be in for a nasty shock. Multiples punters must have been turned off in droves when just $343 was invested here in the first four on the opening race at Ipswich. The trifecta in the same race, picking only the first three home, paid $737. At Ballarat, despite a $14 shot winning the first race, the first four dividend was again less than the trifecta, declared at just $376, the entire pool, while it paid $4747 in Australia.   Later in the day the situation had hardly improved. At the main meeting, Warwick Farm, just $1240 was wagered here on the first four in race four (compared with more than $9300 on Tabcorp), punters obviously wise to the terrible pools and not willing to risk their money on a difficult bet type with no hope of a reasonable return.    Saunders said while the TAB was aware of the appeal of betting into big pools, surprisingly commingling with Hong Kong and its gigantic pools hadn't seen a large jump in betting. And Saunders said some people might argue it was easier to win a quaddie with a $10,000 pool than one with lots more players betting into a $150,000 pool. But that view was quickly dismissed by a few serious quaddie punters. Just like Lotto players were attracted by multi-million dollar pots, racing fans sought big quaddie pools. "I won't be betting into anything in Australia that's not commingled, simple as that," said one punter not prepared to be at the mercy of small, volatile pools. Saunders would not be drawn on the financial benefit to New Zealand of commingling but in the TAB's annual report at the time the deal was signed, it predicted "significant benefit to the industry". "The Board has guaranteed an additional $12 million funding in the first season. Greater earnings are expected to accrue in the following seasons," according to the report. "The projected earnings will flow through to the industry in the form of increased race stakes." Saunders said the push on terminating Pick6 pools this month would help punters who liked chasing big pots – but the initiative was unrelated to the commingling issue. Barry Lichter

At last weeks harness racing meetings, our selectors went okay with the exception of the Addington meeting where after the heavy rain, a lot of the races became a bit of a lottery. There were several selections that were well supported but really struggled in the slushy conditions so we have decided to put a line under last week and move on. For the record our selectors picked four winners via Tony Herlihy, John Dunn, Brad Williamson and Jim Curtin while another seven were first three finishers. This week we only have four meetings and we are a bit light at Auckland where a lot of our regulars are not engaged. Forbury Park - Thursday night John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Blade even from barrier 14 can win race 3  Matthew Williamson - Gives Sage from barrier one a real chance of winning race 5 Nathan Williamson - Thought Sheeza Shark was overdue and could win race 10   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Rates Lady J a big chance of clearing maidens in race 1 Tony Herlihy - Likes The Almighty Johnson to go back to back in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Reckons Paramount Dream can bounce back, also in race 4 Scott Phelan - Thought Happy To Go could leave maidens in race 8   Addington - Friday night Ricky May - Thinks Dalton Bromac will lead and be awfully hard to beat in race 3 Gerard O'Reilly - Reckons Tiger Tara can get a piece of the action, also in race 3 Terry Chimel - Expects improvement with driver change on Little Tess in race 7 Blair Orange - Gives Expresso Martini a good chance of winning race 8 Jim Curtin - Rates Lucky Fortune a big chance of winning race 9 Bob Butt - Waterloo Sunset is my best drive of the week in race 9 Tim Williams - Only drive on the night and will be trying hard in race 10 Sam Ottley - Opting for stable runner Secret Lotion in race 10.   Winton - Sunday afternoon Brad Williamson - Thinks River Patrol can go back to back in race 3 Clark Barron - Thought Mass Invasion could go one better this week and win race 4 Brendon McLellan - Forget Leigh Major's last run, she can win race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Likes Winton and will get the money in race 10 Harnesslink Media

This weeks harness racing meeting at Alexandra Park is one of the best of the season in New Zealand with four Group 1 races on the card. We thought we would do a runner by runner preview of each of the Group 1 races. First up is the $80,000 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby 1) Paramount Dream  -  Starts: 8    Wins: 3     Secs: 0    Thirds: 1    Life: $13,138 Very nice filly who has won three from just eight starts so ability is there. The draw and Tony Herlihy in the bike are a plus but this race while small in number has huge depth. Outside first four chance for us in this field. 2) Habibti Ivy  -  Starts: 8    Wins: 3     Secs: 0    Thirds: 4    Life: $44,484 This filly just continues to get better with every run. Has used plenty of petrol off the gate to lead in her last two starts but this week from barrier two it will be a lot easier for her to grab the early lead before handing up to either Speeding Spur or Monbet. A couple here may be half a metre better but it is a fine line and from the draw she is a big chance. Include in everything. 3) Speeding Spur  -  Starts: 14    Wins: 8    Secs: 2    Thirds: 2    Life: $141,623  Without a doubt the horse to beat in this race. Left a touch fresh last week but still had enough in the tank to hold out a game Monbet. Will be much improved this week and at a distance much more to his liking. Drawn inside his main danger and has gate speed so the one they have to beat. 4) Monbet  -  Starts: 13    Wins: 6     Secs: 2    Thirds: 1    Life: $99,041 Outstanding young trotter who started the season in great fashion but an injury prior to the Southern Derby meant he went into that race underdone so that run full of merit. Great performance last week to sit parked the whole journey and run Speeding Spur to a nose but yet again he has drawn outside that horse. We think the only way Monbet can beat Speeding Spur over 2700 metres is to beat him out of the gate. He does have high gate speed but debatable weather he has enough to cross Speeding Spur. The main danger to the favourite and a definite winning chance. 5) Prince Fearless  -  Starts: 12    Wins: 3     Secs: 4    Thirds: 0    Life: $102,974 The enigma of this years field for sure and hard to know what to expect. More than capable of matching it with Speeding Spur and Monbet but his first start right handed last week was not flash with an early gallop. The funny thing is after the early gallop, Prince Fearless trotted beautifully the Auckland way round and made up a huge amount of ground on a hot pace. From barrier five Natalie can let him settle early over the 2700 metres and then work into the race and for us he is a must have for quinella,trifecta and first four players.  6) Arya   -  Starts: 17    Wins: 10     Secs: 3    Thirds: 1    Life: $161,336 After a handful of starts in Australia this season in which she was unbeaten, Arya disappointed first up back in New Zealand in the Trotting Oaks with an average run for fourth. Much improved last week in the Sires Stakes final where she again ran fourth but in a much stronger field. Did get a lovely run in the one by one the whole way so hard to see her winning this but a trifecta and first four chance for us. 7) Yagunnakissmeornot  -  Starts: 15    Wins: 7  Secs: 2    Thirds: 4    Life: $55,458  Never out of the money in her first thirteen starts but her last two have been a touch disappointing. Should have finished closer than fifth from a soft run on the inner from barrier one last week and hard to see from this weeks draw how she can turn the tables on a few here. Rough first four player for us at best. 8) Rock Tonight  -  14    Wins: 2      Secs: 1    Thirds: 1    Life: $20,666 The ability is not the question here, it is the manners and ringcraft. Broke twice in the score up last week and then once during the race which at this level is terminal. Already handicapped by being on the unruly so hard to see him here as a major player here. Not for us. SELECTIONS Top pick from the draw has to be Speeding Spur who over a distance he loves will be very hard to beat. The clear second pick for us is Monbet who has the all round game to threaten Speeding Spur but needs a touch of luck having drawn outside his main rival. After that Habibti Ivy and Prince Fearless look the main challengers but hard to see either beating both Speeding Spur and Monbet Arya as cover for first four players. Harnesslink Media  

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

  New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) has today announced TAB Trackside Radio is on the move, with all broadcasting set to take place out of its Auckland-based, purpose-built facility from 14 April. The move, which consolidates NZRB's broadcasting operations, is a continuation of wider broadcasting strategic improvements which began last year and enables NZRB to continue to build and enhance its customer experience. Executive GM TAB, Glenn Patrick says "The changes to TAB Trackside Radio are very much in-line with our vision to become the best entertainment business for New Zealand. "Bringing our radio operation in-house alongside TAB Trackside TV allows us to share resources more easily, which in turn will help us to improve and increase our offering. "Having greater access to producers, talent and content that can be sourced from both national and international feeds, as well as expanding our airtime, means we will be better able to serve the needs of our customers. "After receiving fantastic feedback following last year's improvements, including the relaunch of our two television channels, we hope this exciting development will be just as well received," he says. The station has been housed at MediaWorks since its inception 10 years ago. As a result of the move there will be programming changes relating to the air time currently broadcast on TAB Trackside Radio from 6am-11am, under MediaWorks' brand LiveSPORT. Mr Patrick thanks MediaWorks for its contribution to TAB Trackside Radio. The two companies will continue to have a significant commercial relationship. MediaWorks Radio CEO, Wendy Palmer says "I am proud of what LiveSPORT, and our partnership with TAB has achieved over the past 10 years. This is the end of an era, but one that brings new opportunities for MediaWorks in the way we approach sports broadcasting across our radio, television and digital platforms." New Zealand Racing Board

Boom local Guaranteed is now a clear favourite for Victorian harness racing’s two biggest events. Following a weekend of impressive wins and questions raised, Guaranteed is topping TAB’s Fixed Odds markets for the Victoria and A G Hunter Cup. The Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin-trained stallion is $5 for the Victoria Cup, which is scheduled to be conducted at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 31. Guaranteed was $6 when markets opened last month, with Beautide favourite at $4. Beautide is now on the fourth line of betting at $7 after being scratched from last Saturday night’s Bendigo Cup. The James Rattray-trained gelding hasn’t races since his second behind Christen Me in the Miracle Mile last November. Beautide was also nominated for the Ballarat Cup on December 13, but Rattray elected not to accept due to a setback. An ultra-impressive winner of Saturday night’s Bendigo Cup, Christen Me is at $5.50 along with Philadelphia Man – a stablemate of Guranteed – which has come in from $10. Although he hasn’t raced since beating Guaranteed in the Vicbred Final last July, Lennytheshark has been a surprise market mover on the strength of his strong tial. A member of the David Aiken stable, Lennytheshark’s quote has come in from $31 to $21. Beautide was also the early favourite for the Hunter Cup on February 7, but Rattray decided to bypass the event when it became obvious the son of Bettors Delight wouldn’t meet the conditions. To qualify for the time-honoured event, candidates must have completed a satisfactory standing start under race conditions. Beautide hasn’t raced from behind the tapes since April 2013. Originally posted at $6, along with New Zealand mare, Adore Me, Guranteed is a clear favourite at $4.50, with Adore Me next at $5.50 for trainer Mark Purdon. Christen Me and Terror To Love are at $6, with Philadelphia Man on $9. Following his demolition of yesterday’s Hamilton Cup field, proven campaigner, Restrepo, has been the biggest market mover. Also hailing from the Stewart/Tonkin camp, Restrepo had his price slashed from $21 to $12, giving the power couple three of the top six Hunter Cup prospects. There have been several adjustments over the past few days the most notable being Restrepo which firmed from $21 to $12 for the stand-start Hunter Cup following his impressive win in the Hamilton Pacing Cup today. He remains at $21 for the Victoria Cup (unchanged). PAUL COURTS

The TAB has come under an "unprecedented and concentrated cyber attack" that has targeted its website. New Zealand Racing Board acting chief executive Glenn Patrick said the attack began on Boxing Day.  The website has crashed several times since, preventing people from placing bets. "It started on the afternoon of Boxing Day and we've probably had seven or eight occurrences," he said.  Staff have had holiday leave cut short to work on securing the site. "We've pulled all our people back, both ourselves and [online] partners." Customers' data is secured, he said. "We have firewalls which are doing their job effectively ... but it doesn't help when you want to place a bet." Patrick said he could not talk about the nature of the attack or its origin at the moment as the company was concerned about copy-cat attacks. TAB had probably lost some turnover, given the Christmas-New Year period is busy for racing and sport, he said. However, at this point takings remained strong. Patrick sent an email out to staff stating that the company was doing everything it could to stabilise the website and advising how to break the news to customers. "As you know our customers are important to us, so please assure them we are doing everything we can. If customers cannot place bets we do suggest they try again because the issue is intermittent." He also thanked the staff brought in to fix the attack. "I know many of you have been called back from holidays and family time. Hopefully we can get this matter resolved very soon." Anyone who wants to place a bet and has problems with the website can still do so via their phone, at TAB outlets or through the mobile phone app, he said. Reprinted with the permission of The Dominion Post

Today’s Summer of Glory launch at Zinc in Melbourne’s CBD will forever change the way Harness Racing Victoria approaches its summer jewels – the Victoria and Hunter Cups. A two-night harness racing spectacular has been revealed, to be hosted at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday January 31 (TAB Victoria Cup night) and Saturday February 7 (Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup night), with over $1.4 million in stakemoney to be awarded over 20 races. But just as important as the Summer of Glory carnival itself was the announcement of an early nominations cut-off date of December 19 for the Victorian and Hunter Cups, which allows HRV’s wagering partner,, to run futures markets on the two cup races. This opens up enormous promotional opportunities for the Summer of Glory carnival, with all races between December 19 and the Victoria and Hunter Cups potentially impacting long-term markets. “This announcement allows the TAB to set fixed odds markets on the Victoria and Hunter Cup well ahead of time, generating discussion on social media and across traditional forms of media for weeks in the lead-up to the events,” HRV Marketing Manager Brett Boyd said. “Every time a race is run from December 19 involving horses that are nominated for the Hunter Cup or the Victoria Cup, those two big races can be mentioned, because the results of all races can have an impact on the fixed odds markets.” HRV Chief Operating Officer Brant Dunshea said adjusting the nomination dates was an important step in embracing the changing wagering landscape. “The changes were made to facilitate wagering on early fixed odds markets,” Dunshea said. “The growth of fixed odds is becoming more and more significant in the wagering landscape. “These changes also allow for the opportunity to promote these races through the media as the markets adjust.” HRV Communications and Media Manager Cody Winnell said fixed odds markets would secure harness racing more media exposure. “This announcement will help generate conversation about harness racing and that can only benefit the industry,” he said. “We need to have our product front and centre in what is a competitive sporting media landscape here in Victoria. The conversation that comes with fixed odds betting will help facilitate this.” There is no fee for owners to nominate horses for the Victoria or Hunter Cup before December 19. Further details to the conditions are available on Harness Racing Australia’s Industry News page. Harness Racing Victoria

If the overnight TAB fixed odds move for last-start Miracle Mile winner Christen Me is any indication the Cran Dalgety trained harness racing superstar might be unbeatable in Saturday night’s Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup. Christen Me opened odds-on at $1.70 after drawing pole for the race yesterday but was quickly crunched into $1.55 before shortening further overnight to $1.50. Fellow Kiwi Terror To Love is second favourite at $4.50 after drawing gate four, the three-time New Zealand Cup hero coming off a last-start fourth in the Miracle Mile. The leading local chance with the punters early is Andy Gath trained Maximan, who is clear third favourite with fixed odds betting at $7. The fourth pick, Flaming Flutter, is an $18 chance from his inside-back-row draw. Meanwhile, Keystone Del is hot favourite for the Group 1 Bill Collins Mile at $1.40 with fixed odds ahead of Elegant Image ($4.40) and My High Expectations ($5.50). The winner of the Bill Collins Mile automatically qualifies for HRV's Great Southern Star. The Decron Cranbourne Pacing Cup is a leg of Harness Racing Victoria’s Trots Country Cups Carnival. A $1000 bet with the TAB will be given away on the night via the popular Trot Selfies promotion (, while the TAB is also offering a $20,000 First 4 pool Jackpot on the Cranbourne Pacing Cup. There will also be children’s rides and live entertainment. The Carlton Draught Beer Garden will be open for business and dining packages are still available. To book or for more details phone 03 5996 1300. Cody Winnell Harness Racing Victoria

New Zealand Racing Board Chair Glenda Hughes has welcomed the off-shore betting announcement made by Minister for Racing Nathan Guy at the organisation's Annual General Meeting in Petone today. Speaking from the AGM Nathan Guy has announced the creation of a working group to develop recommendations to combat the impact of off-shore betting on racing and sport. "Betting through overseas providers deprives our local industry and sports of the funding they deserve," says Mr Guy. It is estimated that New Zealanders bet up to $300 million per year with overseas agencies. Hughes says this is concerning because overseas bookmakers are benefiting from New Zealand's great racing and sports products without contributing to the industries. "Profits generated from the TAB are returned to the racing and sports industries which is the whole point of the model, but offshore betting is eroding this. "Overseas bookmakers do not pay gambling levies, totalisator duty or GST, or have measures in place to manage problem gambling or corruption that meet New Zealand standards," says Hughes. Ministerial officials are currently preparing membership options and the group's terms of reference. The Minister says he currently expects to see recommendations for change from the working group in late 2015. Hughes says the issue of offshore betting has been a longstanding one for the industry that has created an uneven playing field in an increasingly competitive market. "We welcome the Minister's announcement today and look forward to seeing the recommendations from the working group," says Hughes. The NZ Racing Board posted a Net Profit of $137.0 million for the financial year ending 31 July - a marginal increase on the 2012/13 financial year. The three racing codes - NZ Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing NZ and Greyhound Racing NZ received $134.1 million in distributions. National Sporting Organisations received $5.0 million and a record $2.3 million was paid or provided to other sporting bodies from gaming activities. New Zealand Racing Board

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