Tuesday, July 05, 2005Contact: Simon Cooper
0064 4 576 6270
New Zealand changes racing funding policy

The 2005/06 thoroughbred racing season will see the introduction of a new category of meeting, titled ‘Super Feature,’ together with starter incentives and sponsorship from the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB). These three initiatives are at the forefront of a new funding policy for the thoroughbred code aimed at raising participation and turnover.

Specifically, Super Feature’ meetings are being introduced by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) to provide clubs with an opportunity to upgrade a current Feature licence to offer increased prize money, particularly on Saturdays.

The introduction of Super Feature meetings will see stakes increased from a minimum of $110,000 to $150,000 per meeting in the Northern Region and from $90,000 to $130,000 per meeting in the Central Region. Southern Region Clubs should be in a position to lift minimum stakes for nominated Feature meetings to Super Feature status or alternatively lift minimum stakes for races based on ratings bands comparable to former progressive and intermediate races.

Clubs that run Premier meetings will have the flexibility to either schedule eight PQ races at $27,500 or six PQ races at $30,000 depending upon the make-up of the programme. This flexibility will allow the Club to place stake money where it will work hardest in attracting the best horses to Premier meetings.

Clubs will apply to NZTR for a Super Feature licence based on the criteria that has been set and the funding that is available. Not all Feature licences will be able to be upgraded to Super Feature status in the 2005/06 season but it is anticipated that by the 2006/07 season the majority of Feature meetings will have been upgraded to Super Feature status. The pattern of racing will be taken into account when allocating Super Feature licences.

In addition, the NZRB is committed to making additional funding available for the introduction of starter incentives and sponsorship growth.

Incentives are to be paid to non-stake earning starters in Maiden races and potentially some other races to be determined. This incentive is aimed at increasing the number of starters by meeting some of the costs associated with starting horses in these races. It is intended that this will help to encourage owners and trainers to run their horses in races instead of in trials.

With regard to sponsorship growth, the NZRB has made an amount of $2m available in the 2005/06 season, across the three racing codes, to support initiatives, which will encourage investment in the industry at every level. Based on market share the thoroughbred code share will be approximately $1.1m.

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