Bernard's Blog: 5 Apr 19

Bernard Saundry
5 April 2019

Last Saturday was one out of the box at Awapuni with stunning weather and good, competitive racing.

The Group One Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes race day is one of the highlights of the Central Districts racing calendar.  It also caps off a wonderful tri-code initiative where the Palmerston North City Council gets in behind our sport and recognises its contribution to the local economy.

The City of Palmerston North Festival of Racing celebrated its third year in 2019 and the galloping action on Saturday followed on from a highly successful dual code meeting the previous night at Manawatu Raceway.

The action on the track was dominated by Central Districts owners Chris Rutten, John Norwood and Rod Preston in the day’s Group One feature with their impressive son of Dundeel, Yourdeel.  That CD flavour continued into the City of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup, with the Group Two race falling to local hero Jacksstar from Gary Vile’s stable for Wairarapa owners Chrissie and Peter Algie.

It was also great, earlier in the day, to see the Dennis brothers up from the depths of the South Island to witness The Chosen One take out the Group Three Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic.  We wish them and the rest of the large team which lease the son of Savabeel the very best of luck in this weekend’s ATC Derby.  Their trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman certainly know what it takes to win the race!

From the highs of group racing we were brought back to earth with some sombre news mid-week and the sudden announcement that The Informant was to cease publishing immediately.

It was disappointing news as the independent publication had provided a necessary service to the industry during its lifespan.  At this very early stage we are investigating ways to fill the void the publication’s closure has left and are doing due diligence around how it might be resurrected.

During the past week NZTR has also held its monthly teleconference calls with clubs and key stakeholders where we gave an update on progress with the Ministerial Advisory Council (MAC).  As most readers will be aware the MAC lodged an interim report to the Minister at the end of February and we are awaiting the contents of that report being made public.

NZTR is fully engaged in the process with the MAC, along with HRNZ, GRNZ and the NZRB.  Our chairman, legal counsel and I have been responding to requests from the various working groups which have been set up to progress the recommendations in the Messara Review.

At this stage those working groups are -  Industry Governance; outsourcing evaluation; review of Integrity and Welfare; and Performance and Efficiency.

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