Industry Update - Revised Calendar

Revised Calendar – Balance of the 2019-20 Season

The Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) has released a draft calendar with a revised meeting schedule for the balance of the 2019-20 season. This draft is now in a consultation phase, with all clubs and kindred bodies invited to make submissions if they wish to do so.

Harness racing is due to resume on May 29, with the schedule allowing for three meeting for the first two weeks and then extending to four meetings per week until the end of the season. There are 37 meetings scheduled in this period, which is one more than what was in the pre-lockdown calendar. Our conversations with trainers has made it clear there is a pent up demand for racing and that we will have a pool of fit horses available to run this many meetings.

Meeting are scheduled to be run at four venues during this time - Alexandra Park, Cambridge, Addington, and Ascot Park. Under the proposal,

  • North Island - Cambridge will have its first meeting on Sunday, May 31 and then alternate Thursday meetings with Auckland. These will then move to Wednesday nights in July.
  • Canterbury - Addington will host Friday meetings on May 29 and June 5 and then move to regular Friday and Sunday meetings until the end of the season. Most will be day meetings, though there will be some 5pm starts.
  • Southland - Ascot Park will host weekly Saturday meetings from May 30, until moving to Thursday day meetings in July.

We have worked closely with RITA to determine the best approach to racing on a public-excluded basis. The key issues considered when determining where to race are, wagering outcomes, horse population and cost. The schedule looks somewhat different to a normal calendar in terms of days of the week and start times; this reflects that will be racing without any public or owners in attendance and therefore not having to factor catering revenue etc. into in our thinking.  

We do not yet have any information on what stakes will look like in this period and await more information from RITA before this can be determined.

Clearly, any resumption of racing is contingent on trainers and training centres being able to resume normal operations, subject to the social distancing and sanitation requirements that are required under Alert level three (these will be outlined in a new Order & Direction).

It is important to note, that racing does not yet have clearance from government for training to resume. We are however having productive conversations with WorkSafe and expect to have more clarity by the end of the week. 

You can view the draft dates here

Peter Jensen
Chief Executive - HRNZ

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