Following On

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Association
 
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Following On

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Assn
Published by Pete Cook in News · 29 July 2021
Last week I was venting about people in this Country moaning why we can’t be the same as Australia. My mood wasn’t appeased after reading comments from a New Zealand trainer who won more money that anyone at the recent excellent carnival in Brisbane, one who is rather renowned for slagging off at all and sundry when things don’t suit him.

Describing local officials as ‘imbeciles’, he rants that the handicapping system doesn’t allow horses to win enough money to encourage owners to keep them racing here. Given that one of the current favourite hobbies of the media is ’fact checking’, a couple of things come to mind.
 
First of all, to my knowledge, the aforementioned trainer has never offered to be involved in any official discussions on handicapping (except through the media), never been involved at Club level, and basically never done anything for the game that didn’t benefit him personally. That’s fine, there is no compulsion for him to do any of those things, however without that experience he is hardly qualified to criticise the ‘imbeciles’ who are trying to do something that he knows very little about. There is one rule that is paramount in handicapping - if you change the system to benefit one horse, it will almost certainly disadvantage another. We all know there is a shortage of horses where he comes from, but for him to rave on about the number of horses being sold overseas is a bit rich, considering the two major winners for him in Brisbane are already owned overseas. In addition, he sold arguably the best horse in Australia a couple of years ago too. In other words, he has already pocketed his percentage of sizeable purchase prices, yet is still earning a trainers’ percentage on the two recent ones. How many trainers would like to be in that situation?
 
But wait, there’s more. This is a guy who has the support of an extremely rich and generous benefactor, who provides him with expensive sales purchases, and removes the need for him to go out and find owners, which is the main problem in his area, despite it being by far the biggest population base in the Country.
 
The Australian handicapping works well there, because there are many, many more people, and in relative terms, many more horses. If their meetings raced once a week and could only attract under 100 entries, how would they be going?
 
Oh, and just one more little titbit of information. If said gentlemen took the trouble to ask local officials at the Brisbane carnival, he might learn a salient fact about racing there. If it wasn’t for the enormous money being thrown at harness racing in Queensland by Kevin Seymour (current wealth estimated at $663 million) in recent times, the carnival where he has had so much success certainly wouldn’t have happened, and probably the track itself, probably wouldn’t even still exist.
 
Pete Cook
 


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