Bernard's Blog - 28 June
There were some encouraging figures around starter numbers and turnover on thoroughbred racing last week. Some $7.36m was bet domestically on NZ Thoroughbred races, add to this approximately $10m in Australian turnover on the same races and it was a positive result.
In the north it was potentially a case of earlier abandonments having a positive spin-off for other clubs this week and demonstrated the importance of keeping field sizes up.
Across the week total turnover over the six meetings held was up 29 per cent compared with the previous year. The number of races with less than eight runners more than halved and a total of 615 lined up, 147 more than the same week last year.
A couple of aspects were different this year, with Oamaru and Counties switching days, Oamaru on Wednesday and Counties on the Thursday. Otaki Maori raced on the Friday, whereas last season the Egmont RC raced at Hawera.
Some of the key points across the week were:
• Oamaru dropped a race this year, as well as a number of starters (81 down to 69). However, the meeting turned over a comparable figure to last season. Turnover on-course increased by a small amount.
• Counties had an additional 77 horses compared with last year, a total of 138 starters over 10 races. This saw an 84% increase in turnover, and a 133% increase in on-course wagering.
• The meeting at Otaki on Friday was comparable to Egmont in the number of races, starters, and on-course figures. Overall wagering the differing variable, an increase of 22.3%. There are a number of drivers of wagering, so is not necessarily caused by the change in venue alone.
• Riccarton on Saturday held 10 races. Starters were up by 28 on last season, to 114 in total. While roughly $15K less was wagered per race (8 races last year), total wagering figures increased by 11.8%.
• Tauranga also raced Saturday, with 103 starters over 9 races; 29 additional horses from last year. Punters wagered $650K more than last season, an increase of 42.9%. On-course was comparable to the prior year, with a small increase pushing the total figure over the $200K mark.
• Te Aroha on Sunday hosted 116 horses over 10 races, another healthy increase of 22 total starters. Wagering up 17.5% on the meeting to $1.13M.
We cannot over emphasise the importance of the owner and the punter in the equation which keeps our industry going. Without the punters betting on our horses we have no prizemoney, and without sufficient owners our numbers drop, and New Zealand thoroughbred racing becomes a less appealing betting option to the punter. It is a truly symbiotic relationship.