NZTR Plan to Revitalise Thoroughbred Racing Released

Friday 9 December

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Bigger fields with more mares and fillies are part of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s proposed plan to raise revenue flows and revitalise the gallops industry.

Facing up to what has been a growing gap between falling revenue and increasing costs, NZTR has proposed a comprehensive business plan with 22 separate areas of action and is releasing it to its Clubs this week. Click here for NZTR Business Plan 2012-14.

Among the core objectives detailed in the business plan is an initiative to grow field sizes from an average of 10.7 runners in 2011 to 11.2 by 2013. To achieve this NZTR will attempt to increase the number of times that horses compete each year from 5.7 starts to 6.2 starts by introducing a new programming and handicapping system.

Research shows the size of race fields is the greatest driver of betting revenue and in recent years the number of races with less than eight starters has risen from 364 in 2007 to 484 in 2011.

While fillies and mares comprise approximately 55% of the available horse population, they made up only 46.5% of horses which raced in 2011.  NZTR is aiming to raise the participation of fillies and mares in thoroughbred racing by increasing the gender allowance from 1.5kgs to 2.0kgs, introducing a 90-race annual fillies and mares series, and investigating other potential incentives.

Other initiatives to make far better use of our horse population include a lift in prize money levels from 1 March 2012; a further planned increase from 1 August 2012; smoothing the considerable variations in field size that exist by time of year; better aligning race programmes to horse availability by region and class; recently implemented handicapping reforms to ensure a more even spread of horses through the grades; and a general move to racing later in the day. Finally, NZTR intends to apply considerable focus to the sizeable growth opportunity that lies in exporting our racing to international audiences.

NZTR is moving to reposition the industry in certain key areas. NZTR will work with clubs to put in place benchmarks to ensure they meet customers’ needs and will re-examine funding models so that accurate cost and price signals are sent to clubs to assist them in allocating resources efficiently. NZTR Chairman Matthew Goodson said that, “we must move from a supply-led to a demand-led racing structure.”

The Plan also recognizes the crucial need to return the industry to a path of revenue growth. NZTR Chairman Matthew Goodson stated that, “we intend to use the attributes of our sport to reconnect with mainstream NZ. A key priority is to drive a sea change in the fragmented marketing efforts of our industry.”

Alongside this, the funding of racing is closely linked to wagering revenue which provided more than 70% of racing industry funding in 2011. We see a number of opportunities to work more closely with the NZ Racing Board to turn around the trends of recent years.

While describing the plan as a solid platform on which the industry can move forward, NZTR chairman Matthew Goodson says, “this industry has seen business plans come and go. It will require absolute commitment to actually implement the numerous planned initiatives. Progress will be tracked carefully, with clear targets and delivery dates.”

NZTR is presenting the proposed plan to stakeholders at regional forums over the course of the next two weeks and will provide periodic updates as the implementation of the plan proceeds.

For further information contact Matthew Goodson, Chairman, NZTR:matthew.goodson@nzracing.co.nz or 021-529-430