NZTR Board endorses pattern recommendations

Racing Desk
22 November 2013

The timing and placement of the country’s current major thoroughbred racing carnivals has been endorsed by the Board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.

The endorsement is one of 15 key recommendations set out by the 2013 Pattern Review Committee which have been supported by the Board as part of the 2014/15 dates planning process.

NZTR will now work with clubs and regional programming committees to implement the recommendations.

The committee, chaired by Mark Freeman, was convened in May this year to review the current pattern and performance of black type racing in New Zealand, with particular emphasis on Group One and Two races. Its final report was released today.

The Board of NZTR backed the committee’s recommendation that existing major racing carnivals – specifically, the Canterbury Jockey Club’s New Zealand Cup Carnival in November, the Auckland Racing Club’s Christmas Carnival, the Wellington Racing Club’s Cup Carnival in January and the Auckland Racing Club’s Cup Carnival in March, together with the three days of the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival – be retained substantially in their current form and in their current place in the Racing Calendar.

NZTR Chairman Matthew Goodson said the Board had acknowledged the committee’s concerns around the decline in the relative quality of many of New Zealand’s traditional Cups races in recent years.

While the pattern was generally working well, it was important to find ways to improve the quality and protect the status of black type races and their value to clubs.

“The Board will look to vary the funding policy next season to underwrite prizemoney levels across black type ‘Cup’ races that will not necessarily be directly linked to the current Group and Listed race funding policy.

“This is to ensure that should the status of a race change, as happened recently with the Waikato and Counties cups, there will be no impact on the minimum funding paid to the club.”

Goodson said NZTR would also investigate developing a Country Cups series next season to support second tier or Cups races that were not black type events.

“NZTR has been supporting major races such as the Auckland Cup, Wellington Cup and the New Zealand Cup through iconic race funding and we’ve also increased the amount of special interest funding provided  to clubs this season on a dollar-for-dollar basis to support a number of country cups, for example the Taupo, Kurow, Greymouth, Waverley and Masterton cups.”

Goodson said the Board had acknowledged the committee’s recommendation that prizemoney for the Group Two City of Auckland Cup on New Year’s Day should be increased to support the Summer Cups pattern.

“We will work with the Auckland Racing Club next season to implement this. The club has clearly demonstrated the commercial value of running the Auckland Cup meeting in March but we endorse the desirability of having another key target early in the New Year.”

The NZTR Board congratulated the committee on its report, while noting a number of the recommended changes were still to be considered by the Pattern Committee and the Asian Racing Pattern Committee.

Preliminary discussions with the clubs and regional programming committees have indicated strong support for the majority of recommendations, said Goodson.

2013 PATTERN REVIEW COMMITTEE

Final report highlights and key recommendations:

  • That the timing and placement of the existing major carnivals be retained.
  • The report did not support the development of a new national carnival at Ellerslie around Karaka Sales Week given the potential impact on the Wellington Cup Carnival and suggestion that one or more Auckland Group races could be shifted from March to a new date around the sales week. However, the committee did see merit in developing the successful Karaka twilight meeting.
  • The committee supported the move of the Group One Levin Classic from November to the first day of the Wellington Cup Carnival and was encouraged by the initial response to this change.
  • The committee recommended the Group Two Wakefield Challenge Stakes (2YO) be transferred from January to Group One Captain Cooks Stakes Day at Wellington in December. As a result, Wellington RC will seek to programme a Premier 2YO to replace the Wakefield Stakes and Waikato RC has indicated it will agree to transfer the Listed Star Way 2YO Stakes from December to the Cambridge JC Premier April meeting at Te Rapa.
  • Wellington RC indicated it would support the transfer the Group Two Wellington Guineas from October to the New Zealand Oaks date at Trentham in March to avoid a clash with the Waikato RC’s Sarten Memorial 3YO and the 3YO Listed race at Riccarton that same weekend. As a result, Auckland RC has signalled the Group Three Mr Tiz 3YO Trophy (1200m) will move to Derby Day – two weeks before the Wellington Guineas, which is expected to be run over 1400m.
  • To further support the development of 3YO black type opportunities in autumn, Auckland RC has indicated that it will support the recommendation to move the Group Two Championship Stakes from New Year’s Day to the Group One Easter Handicap meeting in April.
  • The committee recommended that Auckland’s Group One Easter Handicap meeting move a week later to provide a two-week gap from the Group One Te Aroha Breeders Stakes over the same distance to provide a better opportunity for mares to start in both races.
  • The committee recommended the conditions of a number of major handicaps be changed to set-weight and penalties, including the Wellington Racing Club’s Group One Thorndon Mile and Group One Telegraph, and that Auckland RC’s City of Auckland Cup support the pattern.
  • The committee recommended clubs programme Premier 3YO and Premier fillies and mares races to support the pattern on major days, with a view to some of these events developing into black type races in time.
  • That the Listed Matamata 2YO Slipper move to autumn to avoid a clash with Group Three Taranaki 2YO.

The full report of the 2013 New Zealand Pattern Review Committee can be found at www.nzracing.co.nz.

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