A Message from NZTR CEO Bruce Sharrock - August Update

25 August 2023

Held on Sunday 10 September in Auckland CBD, NZTR’s annual New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards honours the best in the business, showcasing the exceptional athleticism, dedication and passion that defines our sport.

We are excited to celebrate this season’s past champions, with the line-up of finalists shining a spotlight on the remarkable talent throughout New Zealand’s Thoroughbred racing scene. The unique strength of the 3YO crop is one of the best we have seen in decades, with Legarto, Pennyweka, Pier, Prowess, and Sharp ‘N’ Smart all achieving victories at Group 1 level in New Zealand, and all bar Pier also claiming a Group 1 win in Australia. While our horses take centre stage, we will also acknowledge the individuals who make our industry thrive, with the likes of record-breaking trainer Mark Walker and back-to-back Jockey Premiership winner Michael McNab recognised for their abilities.

Our regional winners for the 2022-23 Stablehand of the Year Award – sponsored by Entain Australia and New Zealand have now been determined, with Megan Winter (Trainer: Ken & Bev Kelso) taking out the Northern region title, Amy Clifford (Trainer: Shaun Fannin) as Central Districts winner and Katie Readings (Trainer: Meg Cunneen) winning the Southern accolade. Once again, we were faced with a high calibre of entries from stables around the country and the quality of the regional winners reflects this. We would like to thank all trainers who nominated their Stablehands and Strappers for this Award. We are looking forward to inviting Megan, Amy and Katie to the event, with anticipation of being crowned the 2022-23 overall winner and claiming a trip to the Everest, courtesy of Entain.

In the last week we have also recognised the finalists for the 2022-23 LOVERACING.NZ Award for Contribution to Media, Digital & Content. We were delighted with the number of entries received, proving a difficult decision for our judging panel. We congratulate our finalists, Aidan Rodley, Jones Road Productions, Kirsty Lawrence, Louis Herman-Watt (SENZ) and Paxton Conder (Dunstan Horsefeeds).

To purchase tickets, view our finalists or for general information visit nztr.co.nz/awards.

As we look forward, this month we launched Season Two of The Grand Tour Racing Festival which sets us up for an exciting Spring. The Grand Tour will once again leverage off New Zealand’s Top 20 premier racing events to generate an exceptional raceday experience, with the support of our major Clubs.

Raceday hospitality and entertainment will be at the forefront, as we look to maximise opportunities in relation to headline artists, ambassadors and on-course activations to promote broader mainstream interest in our raceday events. The headline acts have been signed including legendary Australian dance duo Peking Duk, who headlined the 2022 Everest at Royal Randwick and Kiwi icon Sir Dave Dobbyn.

This season TAB has come on board as our major partner, with the wagering operator already bringing some exciting initiatives for our punters to look forward to. TAB have created a The Grand Tour ‘hub’ on its website and app, releasing betting markets for the 20 racedays. This creates some real interest around wagering and brings awareness to both horses and participants with the Top Jockey, Trainer and Horse markets all open. TAB will also be running a promotion on Tarzino Trophy Day whereby if you place a $10 bet in store, you will go into the draw to win one of two trips to The Everest in October.

With the new season now commenced, we look forward to celebrating last year’s achievements and off the back of recent announcements, we have an exciting season ahead.

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