Raceform column 18 August
Last week provided me with the opportunity to meet with a few of our South Island racing clubs, culminating with an NZTR Board meeting at Riccarton Park on Saturday morning prior to the races.
Joining us at that meeting were TAB NZ Chair Mark Stewart and CEO Mike Tod, who were able to present and share their growth strategy with the NZTR Board. The Minister for Racing Hon Kieran McAnulty also accepted our invitation to meet with the Board which provided the opportunity for an informal conversation around industry issues. The Minister later enjoyed the day’s racing, including taking part in the presentation of the Racecourse Hotel & Motel Grand National Steeplechase.
It was pleasing to see the level of engagement our current Minister has with our sport, shaped by his own previous life experience working in the wagering area and obvious enjoyment of racing. That level of engagement was taken to the next level when the Minister also joined those remembering Taiki Yanagida at Matamata racecourse on Monday afternoon.
The service was extremely moving with MC Tommy Hazlett running proceedings with grace and a light touch. I was pleased to be able to attend representing NZTR, along with others from our organisation.
As readers will be aware, following calls for a central point to donate money for the Yanagida family, NZTR made an account available for donations for Taiki’s mother Kayano and family.
As of Monday, this fund had reached more than $56,000. Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund can do so through the following account 01-0517-0063944-07 using the reference Taiki. This account will close at the end of the month (Wednesday, 31 August) and all donations will be directed to Taiki’s mother.
The support offered to Taiki’s family, both financial and otherwise, has been simply overwhelming and made me very proud to be part of this sport where we care so very deeply for our own. Everyone, from every facet, has given so generously, whether they are fellow jockeys, trainers, owners, clubs, or members of the public.
While that generosity of spirit speaks so well of racing, it also demonstrates how very deeply Taiki’s loss was felt and the measure of the esteem in which he was held.