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Changing of the Guard

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Assn
Published by Pete Cook in News · 21 January 2021
As most of the sane World watches and enjoys the ignominious departure of Donald Trump, it signals a very different approach to problems facing the Country he did his best to ruin.
While changes within HRNZ, the NZ Racing Board (NZ Racing) and the now apparently delayed ones concerning the RIU and JCA, can’t be put in quite the same category of importance as those of the USA, for participants in the harness racing industry, they are more relevant. New CEO Gary Woodham comes with an intimate knowledge of how the game works, both from an owner’s and a punters point of view. He is skilled at dealing with people of all walks of life and his enthusiasm for harness racing cannot be questioned. Like Mr. Biden, he is facing some uphill battles, and will no doubt have to make some decisions that won’t be universally popular, however he has the advantage that some of those decisions have already been made during and since the tumultuous happenings of last year. At his side is our version of Kamala Harris, Catherine McDonald, who shares Gary’s enthusiasm and is determined to use her skills to interact with all in the industry, and try to steer things in an upward direction. The Association has already had talks with her and more are in the pipeline.
While the terrible pandemic is shackling both the USA and many other Countries, we at least (everything crossed) don’t currently have to deal with that issue, and it seems likely that Covid-19 is indirectly having a positive effect on turnovers, due to limited opportunities for monied folk to spend their disposable cash on overseas trips etc. Hopefully that trend will also be reflected at the upcoming Yearling Sales. Yes, it may be a temporary false security, but let’s make the most of it and, you never know, some people might just find they enjoy betting on harness racing and continue to do so when things get back to normal, whenever the hell that is!
So, let’s start the new year on a positive note and look forward to bigger better things for the game we love.
Pete Cook

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