Brace yourselves for serious stake cuts - RITA to reveal its funding budget on Friday
Funding to the codes for next season’s race stakes will be known on Friday and it could be up to 25% down on this year.
The revelation yesterday, from Harness Racing New Zealand’s interim chief executive Phil Holden, confirmed fears that the industry is on the verge of severe stakes reductions.
The Racing Industry Transition Agency board is meeting today and Holden says it will reveal its budget to the codes on Friday.
“We’ve had some broad conversations with them and it’s fair to say it’s going to be significantly less. It could be anywhere up to 25% less.”
Holden said the three racing codes had yet to come to an agreement on just how RITA’s bulk funding will be divided between them.
But already talk around the traps is that there will be a severe cap placed on prizemoney for all Group races, a move that is sure to see even more horses and trainers abandon New Zealand.
Cambridge Raceway CEO David Branch is hoping that the coming cuts won’t mean that speculation about $5000 races proves to be correct.
Of the four clubs which raced in the last two weeks, Cambridge recorded the lowest turnover of $589,234. Branch, however, said it wasn’t far removed from what he’d expect on a normal mid-winter Thursday.
$7000 on-course turnover
The official on-course turnover was just $7000, though Branch pointed out that another $12,000 was put through its Clubhouse, which as a stand alone TAB comes under off-course turnover.
Cambridge had four operator-assisted terminals open in the grandstand and one self service terminal.
The second lowest turnover, $598,472, was at the other northern meeting at Alexandra Park where, on its first night open to the public, on-course betting was also a pitiful $7000.
The Auckland Trotting Club also has a TAB next to the Alex Bar which would have added more turnover, again grouped under the off-course total.
Total turnover on the ATC’s nine races was $598,472, an average of $66,497.
Invercargill saw a turnover drop on the previous two weeks, its $700,175 last Saturday testimony to competition from the first gallops meeting at Pukekohe.
Addington, with it’s prized Friday nights, continued to post strong figures, with averages per race of $89,886 and $112,870.
Asked if the low on-course turnovers were disturbing, Harness Racing New Zealand racing and marketing manager Darrin Williams said they probably indicated people were already using their own devices to bet.
On-course betting totals in the last two weeks were:
Invercargill: $10,000, $12,000.
Addington: $18,000, $12,000, $11,000, $17,000.
Under the present bulk funding rules, clubs gain no extra income from increased on-course turnover.
Thursday night, June 11 Cambridge (10 races) $589,234, average per race $58,923
On-course $7000, off-course $282,000, fixed odds $300,000.
Friday night, June 12 Addington (12 races) $1,078,639, average per race $89,886
On-course $18,000, off-course $525,000, fixed odds $534,000.
Saturday, June 13 Invercargill (10 races) $754,963, average per race $75,496
On-course $12,000 off-course $477,000, fixed odds $265,000.
Sunday, June 14 Addington (9 races) $671,021, average per race $74,557
On-course $12,000, off-course $376,000, fixed odds $283,000.
Thursday night, June 18 Auckland (9 races) $598,472, average per race $66,497
On-course $7000, off-course $269,000, fixed odds, $322,000.
Friday night, June 19 Addington (10 races) $1,128,700, average per race $112,870
On-course $11,000, off-course $548,000, fixed odds $568,000.
Saturday, June 20 Invercargill (10 races) $700,175, average per race $70,017
On-course $10,000, off-course $382,000, fixed odds, $307,000.
Sunday, June 21 Addington (12 races) $966,098, average per race $80,508
On-course $17,000, off-course $554,000, fixed odds $394,000.
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Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them
Wednesday night at Auckland
Race 1: Apieceoflou
“He’s really only in the field to get experience. He’s not up to the other two at this stage. He’s a big, slow maturing horse. He keeps improving without being spectacular but he’s a real trier.”
Race 1: Captain Nemo
“He’s been going well at the workouts without winning. He and Franco Nandor are both nice colts and I expect them to develop into tidy three-year-olds.”
Race 1: Franco Nandor
“He’s won his last two workouts but has a tricky draw and there are a couple of others in the race who go well. He’ll definitely improve with the outing.”
Race 4: American Dealer
“I like him as a horse and he’s likely to take the most improvement out of his latest trial because of his temperament. He’s a laid back individual and looks the best of our lot.”
Race 4: Larry Lincoln
“Larry’s very fast and he’s as forward as the other fella but I don’t know how tough he is yet. The draw’s a bit tricky.”
Race 4: Man Of Action
“He trialled super last Friday and never goes a bad race. We chucked him in the deep end with the bear cats in his last few runs and I think he’ll go well in this field. He’s on the up and is a much stronger horse now.”
Race 7: Copy That
“He’s the class horse of the field but he won’t be on top of his game yet. I’ll be instructing Maurice not to send him on a mission, especially as it’s over 2700 metres. He’ll still go well but I’m not expecting him to just line up and win. I couldn’t label him first-up.”