As always, a wide range of issues were discussed at the recent meeting, including the appointment of a new Secretary for both the Greater Canterbury Branch and the National Council from 1 August. While approaches had been made to a couple of persons, no decisions had been made, and Catherine McDonald offered to advertise the position on the HRNZ website if required. (Anyone interested in either or both positions can contact the undersigned).
The automatic listing of last start drivers was again raised with an assurance that this was on the list of tasks to be undertaken by the IT department. Catherine McDonald advised that HRNZ was moving towards having all transactions undertaken online.
Chair Jay Abernethy reported on a recent meeting between the Association representatives, the RIB and HRNZ, advising that the reset period for repeat offences was to be reduced to 2 months, with the proviso that after 4 offences in a year, the license-holder should be referred to the Licensing Committee. Other matters covered included insisting on having 2 Clerks of the Course, with questions raised about financing them, having a JCA member on course, which was fully supported, and notifying the RIB who is the first aid person on duty at trials. Discussion took place on what to do if a microchip has moved within a horse and cannot be identified on race-day – should it be allowed to start? The feeling of the meeting was that it should be permitted to start. Other issues discussed included the make-up of Appeal Panels, and a suggestion that a Rule number instead of using the words ‘whip use’ in Stewards Reports was supported by the meeting. Further support was given for the Vet Association to publish the list of with-holding times, which the RIB and HRNZ also support.
Little feedback had resulted from the draft proposals circulated by the recently established Handicapping Review Committee, however various aspects of the draft were discussed, and it was reported that the formation of the Canterbury Programming Committee was progressing. Jamie Gameson advised that the policies involved in transporting horses will be subject to a meeting of interested parties, which it was hoped, would counter
MPI proposals, which were considered unworkable. The ‘Accountable Person’ list needs to be up to date to assist in programming. Moves were underway to make advising this easier.
Discussion continued on other matters led by Catherine McDonald, including funding under the Entain deal, and prospective stake increases focussing on the base rates for all meetings, depending on the status of the meeting. An announcement will be made on this shortly. For obvious reasons, harness will not be able to match the thoroughbreds, as their product is considered a priority, however it is hoped that the CE of Entain, being a harness supporter, could improve this. The dates would still be governed by the TAB, however that could change in the future, particularly to benefit harness. This was currently influenced by the availability of TAB Trackside OB trucks. Other issues discussed included the imminent shift of building for HRNZ offices, aspects of the venue plan, and its’ impact on the Industry overall. It was feasible that new venues could be added, if they were considered viable. Jamie Gameson led discussion outlining the reasons why Rangiora should be retained. This would depend on the results of the criteria which were being prepared for consultation. Catherine reported that the Thoroughbred code had closed tracks too quickly, and we were paying the price currently through abandonments. Various ideas about how to encourage breeding and retaining horses by bonuses and other promotions were discussed.
Matters arising from the recent Canterbury meetings included the pros and cons of using Junior Concessions on Premier meetings, and that senior drivers were being disadvantaged. Those present felt that as Juniors had to have driven 15 winners to race, there was no issue with this. Also raised were, safety limits at Addington, the number of exports in relation to the introduction of the Rating Handicapping System, and holding all Winter meetings at Addington, (this was fully supported).
Scott Phelan suggested forming fields with, say the top six nominations for a meeting, so that they can compete without facing the top echelon horses to encourage their retention in the Country. Catherine advised that six was too few, however the concept would be suggested to the Handicapping Review.
A request was made that meeting turnovers and GBR be published on the News section of the HRNZ website. Catherine agreed to look into this. (Now available)