Bernard's Blog - 16 August

Bernard Saundry
16 August 2019

The closure of venues as part of phase one of our venue report saw us promise to enter discussions with those clubs impacted as to how and where they might race this season.

We have lived up to that promise however our approach has met with varying responses from clubs. 

Firstly, the positive with the Thames JC and Wyndham RC both committed to continuing as tenant clubs at Te Aroha and Gore respectively.

On the other hand, while we have offered on a number of occasions to meet with the Dargaville RC to discuss, and assist with, a proposed move to Ruakaka, the club has not been willing to meet with us and does not wish to race at Ruakaka.  Accordingly, the club has not been issued with a licence for the current season.  This is actually consistent with the past two seasons where the club’s licence was allocated to the Whangarei RC instead, as the Dargaville track was not able to host racing.

We have met with the Stratford RC, and communicated with it a number of times, regarding a proposed move to a new venue as part of a regional solution for Taranaki. The Club has, however, decided for now that it does not wish to proceed with a proposed move to racing at New Plymouth. We are continuing to engage with the Clubs in the region and remain supportive of them working together to develop a regional solution for racing, training and trialling themselves. In the meantime, the licence provisionally allocated to Stratford RC for the 2019/20 season has been reallocated to Taranaki RI.

In the South Island we are working with the Marlborough RC regarding the timing, and number of days, of its current two-day April meeting and how that might play out for the 2020/21 season onwards.

The Westland RC’s preference was to race at Omoto from 2019-20 onward, this has now been confirmed.

We have also met with the Winton JC regarding its venue for racing for the 2019/20 season onwards.   It has been determined at NZTR’s direction that the meeting be held at Ascot Park.

The Waimate RC’s licence was issued provisionally as Waimate [email protected] Oamaru for the 2019-20 season.  We have met, and are working with the club to determine their final decision on their preferred venue.

The clubs who have entered willingly into discussions around their future are to be congratulated for putting industry interests first and, if not always embracing the change, at least acknowledging it is necessary if they are to have a healthy future.

The door is always open to those clubs, such as Dargaville and Stratford, who initially decided they would rather not see their club hold a meeting than race at a neighbouring track.

Last weekend I was on course for the final day of the Grand National Festival of racing.  On the Thursday a jumps forum was held at Riccarton which was attended by a wide cross section of participants and supporters of jumping racing.  In addition to the good numbers who turned out in person, others joined the forum by conference call.

The discussion centred around the insufficient numbers of both horses and licence holders to support the current programme of jumps racing in the South Island.  The meeting was advised that unless that changed then NZTR would be forced to reduce the programme.

To their credit the attendees took ownership and, rather than looking to others to solve the problem, determined to credit initiatives which could be led by the South Island jumps community.

The North Island-based licence holders present indicated they would lend their support to the locally led initiatives.

The South Island participants and club representatives have formed a steering group which will be coordinated by National Jumps Coordinator Paul Claridge.  This group will identify initiatives which will be provided as a proposal to NZTR by late September.

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