Industry Update | Resumption of Racing

Resumption of Racing – Stakes Levels through to the end of the 2019-20 Season 

After receiving advice from RITA on funding levels, HRNZ has been able to confirm a stakes structure for the race meetings from May 29 through to the end of the season on July 31. This funding is ringfenced to fund stakes, and is not part of any bulk funding allocation, either to HRNZ or to clubs. HRNZ understands that there has been some frustration for owners and trainers awaiting an update on stakes levels and we are pleased to now be in a position to provide some certainty.

  • The minimum stake at all meetings will be $7,000.
  • NZMTC Friday meetings and all ATC meetings - Maidens and R50 and faster horses will race for a minimum of $8,500. There will be two races at $12,000 at these meetings.
  • All clubs are facing financial hurdles, with income from their commercial ventures under pressure and unlikely to improve significantly for some time. After a period of supporting higher stakes levels, the ATC has confirmed that it is not in a position to top-up stakes at present, however they have signalled a clear desire to do so as their income streams improve.

The stake levels in this transitional period reflects the significant challenges that all racing codes and RITA face due to the way wagering has been curtailed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to compare the stakes to the same period last year, when our industry meetings are generally running at lower stakes levels, with no Premier or Feature racing (outside the Harness Jewels).

HRNZ has had no indication from RITA on proposed funding levels for the 2020-21 season and the stakes levels for this period should in no way be taken as an indication on what next season’s stakes may look like.

All meetings through to the end of the season will be largely run on an open nominations basis, with fields selected to maximise wagering outcomes. It is important to note that the RITA funding is contingent on harness racing running the total scheduled number of races. The aim is to maintain field sizes at pre COVID-19 levels. The information provided by trainers suggests there will be a sizeable pool of fit horses available at the resumption of racing, which may create opportunities for extra races to be run and/or extra meetings added to the schedule.

It has been a real positive for the industry to be back into full scale training this week and we appreciate the effort from our participants to abide by the requirements of Alert Levels Four and Three as we work our way towards a resumption of racing during the weekend of May 29.

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