Greg O gets The Box Seat back on TV next Wednesday - but it’s last cab off the rank

Harness racing’s weekly television show The Box Seat is set for a surprise return next Wednesday - but you’ll have to stay up late on Wednesday nights to watch it on TV.

The Box Seat was one of the many magazine shows which were axed by the cash strapped Racing Industry Transition Agency earlier in the year.

And with the the newly formed TAB NZ now placing a firm emphasis on live racing and punting, the Box Seat looked certain to fill a permanent back seat.

But co-host Greg O’Connor, who resigned from a new post at Addington Raceway to rekindle the show, has since managed to secure enough funding from inside the industry to produce the show himself.

“It will first screen on Trackside at the close of live racing most Wednesday nights and then be replayed on Thursday,” says O’Connor.

“So that means it could be 9pm or sometimes even later on the Wednesday night.”

O’Connor says that could see many people record the show to watch it when more suitable but it will also be available for viewing on the harness industry’s website, probably late Wednesday afternoon.

“With people getting so used to streaming and watching shows online I think that will be a realistic option for plenty of viewers.”

O’Connor believes The Box Seat has a huge role to play in promoting the industry as well as driving turnover on harness racing.

“It is also a great vehicle for telling people’s stories and putting faces to the names in harness racing, whether they be premiership winners or a junior driving getting their first success.

“So I was thrilled so many people inside the industry wanted to support it to get it back, including HRNZ and some of the clubs.

“We have a really strong family of sponsors and we couldn’t have got the show back without them.”

O’Connor said he had worked closely with the broadcasting arm of TAB NZ around the logistics of getting the show made and back on television.

“We really appreciate being able to use the same studios and sets because they have been a big part of the show.”

The Box Seat, with regular co-host Michael Guerin re-joining O’Connor on the show, will be recorded on Wednesdays, as it always was, so markets are available to preview races in the coming weekend.

The series is expected to run for 33 shows and is likely to include the traditionally popular The Box Seat special New Zealand Cup preview show.

O’Connor is also working with racing channels and websites in Australia to screen the show to drive engagement with the New Zealand harness industry.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Friday night at Auckland

Race 3: Revitalise

“Maurice liked his run last week, he has a better draw this time (five) and I’d like to think there’s a lot of improvement in him. He should go well and hopefully he’ll get a cheque.”

Race 5: Captain Nemo

“It will be very tough for him from the outside of the arm. He didn’t pace the best last week, Andre (Poutama) had to hold on to him the whole way. But I’ll tweak his gear a bit - his hopples might have been a tad long - and hopefully he’ll get round OK.”

Race 5: American Dealer

“It’s difficult to make a plan from four on the second row - you’re relying on pure, unadulterated luck - and that’s not ideal. I can’t imagine anything beating Krug from the one draw - he’ll lead out and I doubt he’ll hand up - but hopefully we can pick up some of the minor money.”

Race 6: Tommy Lincoln

“He’s not really a 2700 metre horse so 2200 this week will suit him a lot better. Seven is not the ideal draw on the mobile but if David (Butcher) gets a good trip I’d say he’ll be the one to beat.”

Race 7: Copy That

“He’s absolutely donkey licked everything so far and they’re all the same horses again except for Mark Purdon’s Another Masterpiece. Now that he’s on the front I can’t see why he wouldn’t flog them again.”

Race 9: Apieceoflou

“He was used a bit early last week, and parked for a while, and hung on well for third. I’d like to see him lead and then I think he’d be a serious chance. This is the best draw he’s had.”

Race 9: Bondi Shake

“He’s been training not bad but he’s out wide again and will need some luck.”

Whales Harness