Codes wait on tenterhooks for indication of stakes but RITA’s bullish about the future
The racing codes should know in the next few days what their distributions for stakes will look like for the new season.
And while Racing Industry Transition Agency executive chair Dean McKenzie says it is still early days, the signs are that the industry can look forward to the future with some confidence with turnover and gross betting revenue for domestic racing tracking ahead of budget, and close to or above pre-COVID levels.
“Right now, we are working with the codes on next year’s distributions and we hope to be able to give them a more accurate forecast in the next few days, prior to confirming a final budget at the end of the month.
“Once this is done they will be able to provide information on stakes for the new calendar which will be released early next month.”
McKenzie said the TAB’s gaming business has also returned strongly with gaming turnover for the first few weeks above the pre lock-down weekly average.
On course totes
McKenzie confirmed while RITA had identified considerable savings for the whole industry by moving away from traditional tote services, it was now working with a group of major clubs and the codes to explore options that would enable some tote services to remain on course for the next 12 months or so, without compromising the savings.
“We know many of our clubs and some customers want to see a more gradual change.
“The on-course betting solution for clubs hosting meetings over the next six weeks are being prioritised, given the lifting of attendance restrictions under Alert Level 1.
“But there is broad agreement among the group that the status quo is not commercially tenable and digital and self service solutions are the way of the future.”
McKenzie said final decisions on changes at the TAB executive leadership level would not be made until July.
“The board has recently undertaken a review of the TAB executive structure to ensure it is fit for purpose for the new operating model, subsequent to the new legislation being passed.
“The board has accepted the recommendations of the independent consultants we engaged to review the structure and we have advised our executive that we will undertake consultation on a proposed new structure later this month.
“The process is being led by myself with appropriate support and a board sub-committee providing additional oversight of this work.”
McKenzie said the board would also revisit the appointment of a new chief executive in the coming weeks.
Racing Industry Bill
On the new racing bill, which came back with recommended changes from the Select Committee yesterday, McKenzie said its overall direction and structure remained the same and was still in line with the direction of the Messara Report.
“There are more than 30 areas where the committee has recommended changes and it will take us some time to work through and understand each of the different proposals.
“But the TAB will be established as a pure betting, broadcasting and gaming entity, and the codes will have greater roles and responsibilities for developing and promoting their sport.”
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Saturday at Awapuni
Race 5: Lincoln’s Kruz
“He has trained on well since his trial. The track is going to be very testing (heavy 11) on Saturday and he is untried in these conditions but there’s not a lot of exposed form in the field and, if he handles the track, I’d expect him to be right in the thick of it.”
Race 8: Platinum Rapper
“We’ve decided to go with the 3kg claim of Temyia Taiaroa in what is a strong field. She will come down to 52kg which will really help her on the heavy track. She has had a jumpout and a trial to prepare for this so, with the right run, should be right in the mix.”
Race 9: Lincoln Dreamer
“He has Kozzi Asano up so will claim 1kg which will be a help. He handles wet tracks and has won on a heavy track before. This may be a bit short of his best distance but I expect him to get back in the running and be doing his best work late. He has been working well and I’m looking forward to seeing him back at the races on a wet track.”
Race 10: Benny Lincoln
“The field isn’t very strong but he has had only one jumpout so I am expecting he will improve a lot from the run. He handled the track well at the jumpouts so I think he will handle wet ground, but he may be one run away. Kozzi Asano will claim 1kg.”