The Trainers & Drivers National Council met with Catherine McDonald and Gary Woodham from HRNZ this week, with a wide range of topics discussed.
Included were concern that TC02 test results were not currently being published by the RIB, and a request that the list of banned substances be made more accessible, along with regular updates. Inclusion of the latter in an upcoming Trainers handbook was to be considered.
Issues surrounding programming were covered off, with the Kaikoura Trotters Cup (with a 50 point rating band off the same mark), and high ratings for 5 year old and older horses, being used as examples. Catherine advised that, as a result of meetings of a handicapping review panel, including Mark Jones on behalf of the Association, proposals had been made for a reduction in the minimum rating point level from R40 to R35, and the abolition for the R45 low limit for multiple winners. These were supported by those present, and would be put to the HRNZ Board for ratification. However, another suggestion to include 3 year-olds in Junior Driver events was not supported, as it was considered that these horses would dominate, as they had years ago. Various options regarding concessions were discussed, and Ken Barron suggested an overall reduction to a maximum 6 points for all wins.
Gary outlined a number of matters, including the proposed ‘Spot” race in Cambridge in April to be followed by a high-profile Auckland carnival, which it was hoped would attract some interest from Australian horses. While the “Spot” race would cost HRNZ nothing, money from New Zealand’s withdrawal from the Interdominion Council would be put into the Auckland races. Issues surrounding the cost cutting at the TAB were covered off, along with an explanation that TAB payouts were now based on Gross Betting Revenue (profit from fixed odds betting), and not overall turnovers.
He also announced that proposed changes to programming in the Canterbury region and other issues were to be addressed in the near future by the establishment of a long overdue Racing Bureau, along with the equivalent in the North and South of the South Island.
The meeting was considered to be beneficial to both parties and another was to take place early next year.