CONSULTATION: Enhanced Horse Utilisation – removing the inhibitors

The best ways to maximise the horse population is being explored by Harness Racing New Zealand, and it wants feedback from all sectors of the sport.

A newly-established Reference Group, consisting of 15 of the country's leading trainers and administrators, has been set up to take a medium term view of the sport through to 2028.

Its focus is to work out how the horse population can be best used to ensure more races and opportunities for everyone in the industry, as well as driving greater turnover.

"We know that many horses never make it to the races," says Reference Group lead John Mooney, "for instance, only 46% of fillies and mares get to the races and for the colts and geldings it is 56 percent."

"That has to change."

Among the topics now up for discussion include a proposal to do away with the qualification times for pacers and trotters.

"Instead of that we could race horses that meet a behavioural qualification standard rather than a time," says Mooney, a well-known breeder and administrator, "this in turn would increase the pool of horses markedly."

Also up for discussion is how to reverse a number of trends including :

• Horses being retired after the summer circuits for lack of racing opportunities.
• 2YOs and 3YOs leaving the New Zealand after one or two wins
• And lower rated horses being exported when owners would prefer to race here if they saw opportunities.

"We have prepared a report to the HRNZ Board," says Mooney, "and that's why we want as much feedback as we can get from people in the sport."

“We have a window of four years to push significant change within the new partnership with Entain NZ, try new things, move quickly on ideas, trial them, adapt them and pursue growth,” said HRNZ's acting CEO Mauro Barsi.

Since taking over as the operators of the TAB Entain has made no secret of its desire to have more racing, including, for instance, weekly Tuesday meetings for the lower assessed horses.

“The Board has received Entain’s strategy for driving growth and wagering outcomes. We will be studying the proposals and responding quickly. For a sustainable future we need to increase turnover," says Barsi.

Handicapping, 2YO racing, the possible establishment of a National Racing Bureau and Claiming races are other aspects addressed in the report.

To see the Reference group's report click here

Consultation is open until Friday 8 March. Please email your views to [email protected]



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