Bernard's Blog: 21 Jun 19

Bernard Saundry
21 June 2019

Much of the industry’s focus this week has been on parliament as the Racing Reform Bill went through the legislative process.

The Bill, which will see the Racing Industry Transitional Agency (RITA) come into being, replacing the NZ Racing Board, passed its third reading on Thursday evening.   So, from 1 July the New Zealand racing industry will have new leadership as it works through a transitional period.

The make-up of RITA was also announced by the Racing Minister Winston Peters late this week.  The members of MAC (Ministerial Advisory Committee) – Dean McKenzie, Bill Birnie, Kristy McDonald, Sir Peter Vela and Liz Dawson will continue the transformational work they have been undertaking, complemented by the addition of Anna Stove.

Dean McKenzie, who initially took a sabbatical from the Board of NZTR, has now resigned his position on our Board to take up the chairmanship of RITA.

That position on the NZTR Board will now need to be filled and the NZTR Members’ Council will be calling for nominations.

While on the subject of the NZTR Board, this month’s meeting was held on Wednesday with a full agenda which covered off issues such as the 2019-20 budget.  The Board is extremely conscious of the need to ensure that our future budget continues to return 93 percent of our income back to clubs and industry participants and knows we must cut costs accordingly.

Other items on the agenda included training and development; bio security levy; horse welfare; MAC update; strategic plan framework; Racing Australia; Venue Plan; Jockeys’ riding fees; and the development of a synthetic track.

On the other side of the world the focus is on racing at Royal Ascot and there has been a Kiwi interest with Michael Pitman campaigning Enzo’s Lad; Stephen Gray bringing Lim’s Cruiser from Singapore and James McDonald heading over from Sydney.

It was interesting to see the acknowledgement of grooms at the Royal Ascot meeting, with the respective groom listed under their horse’s name in the official racebook.

It is a timely reminder of the unsung heroes who are often devoted to the animals in their care.  Local trainers have the ideal opportunity to recognise their staff members by nominating them for the Chris Waller sponsored Strapper of the Year award.  Nominations opened this week and details can be found on our website.

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