Bernard's Blog: 18 Apr 19

Bernard Saundry
18 April 2019

The news the New Zealand racing industry has been waiting for was released earlier this week when Racing Minister, the Rt Hon Winston Peters made an announcement regarding the introduction of two pieces of legislation.

The announcement came on the back of the release of the Ministerial Advisory Committee’s (MAC) interim report to the Minister.

The two Bills to be introduced will amend the 2003 Racing Act, with the first to be enacted by 1 July and putting in place the Racing Industry Transitional Authority (RITA) which will drive the transition of the industry over the following months.  RITA effectively replaces the NZRB with new personnel who will be charged with Business As Usual responsibilities combined with the necessary change management to introduce the new look and direction of the industry.

This first Bill will also see the introduction of a racing information charge (Racefields) and a point of consumption charge, with overseas betting operators being required to finally pay for the use of New Zealand racing.

The second Bill, which the Minister said should proceed later in 2019 will, as he stated: “implement the remaining reforms including post-transition governance.”  

The NZTR Board welcomed the announcement on Wednesday coming, as it did, within a relatively short timeframe that MAC had been in place.

We are now looking forward to continuing to work alongside the MAC and, eventually RITA as we enter an exciting period of change for our industry.

While things may be changing on the political and structural front of the industry, what doesn’t change is the New Zealand industry’s ability to continually turn out top performing individuals, both human and horse.

Last Saturday’s racing was all about Winx, no matter what side of the Tasman you were based.  It’s been an amazing run and it came to a fabulously fitting conclusion on Saturday.

The mighty mare’s Kiwi trainer, Chris Waller was, as usual, the consummate professional and it was fitting that his parents, John and Marilyn were on course to share the momentous occasion.

Before Winx made her swansong, the Kiwis had already been to the fore in Sydney with Verry Elleegant, a daughter of Grangewilliam Stud’s Zed, taking out the Group One Australian Oaks.  A stablemate of Winx, Verry Elleegant was ridden by another ex-pat Kiwi in James McDonald, while part-owner (and former trainer) Nick Bishara was on-course to enjoy the celebrations.

Representing the Kiwis in the Group One Sydney Cup was the Auckland Cup winner, Glory Days, who ran a slashing race for third.

The pride and joy of Waverley was the first Australasian horse home, with imports filing the first two positions, and her efforts should give a boost to the rating of the Auckland Cup and ultimately benefit New Zealand thoroughbred racing.

There is certainly plenty to mull over during the Easter break and some wonderful racing to enjoy from Riverton up to Ellerslie.

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