Bernard's Blog - 9 August
This week’s blog is all about numbers and financial performance – a big thank you to all trainers, jockeys, stable hands, track riders and breeders for your commitment to the sport and entertainment we all enjoy.
Looking back at Thoroughbred Racing’s key performance indicators over the past season there are plenty of positives, starting with prizemoney. An additional 50 races (2582 in total) being run over the 2018-19 season saw funded prizemoney of $56.38m ahead of both budget and the previous year.
Our runner numbers were also well over budget and up on last year with 4812 individual starters and while our average field size was 10.49. this was still above last year. Those individual starters managed to amass a total of 27,098 starts, up on both budget and the 2017-18 season. Starters from our 18 major training tracks came in at 80%, also up on last year. These numbers reinforce our approach to the NZTR Venue Plan – that directionally supports hosting a larger share of race meetings where the horses are located.
The thoroughbred code’s share of the domestic wagering market came in at 54.12% up from 51.92%, with turnover up 0.71%.
The team at NZTR in conjunction with regional programming committees continue to focus on initiatives to decrease the number of races with fewer than eight starters. Our best financial result for betting which funds prizemoney and clubs is to aim for average field sizes of 12 horses. We did have 412 races with fewer than eight starters in 2018/19 an improvement on last year’s 421.
Overall the figures were pleasing in what has been a challenging environment, but we have still a long way to go to build the confidence we need to attract new investment.
The closing month of last season was also a positive one for our digital platform, at a time which is traditionally a quiet one for the industry. The total users of our site were up 18% on the same time last year and we have now crossed the 70,000 total user mark as we march towards that magic 100,000 milestone. Our new users are also up 27% which is another positive sign.
To end on another positive note, it is great to see the wonderful promotion the Counties Racing Club is conducting as part of its race day on Saturday which will see some lucky racegoer walk away with a 10% share in a racehorse. The promotion is open to anyone on course who places a $50 bet on the day. Well done to the club, Mark Chitty and the Chitty family from Haunui Stud, and trainer Nigel Tiley for this initiative, I’m sure the new owner will have an exciting time ahead!