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Forums Result in New Racing Board Initiatives

Media release
11 May 2005

Forums Result in New Racing Board Initiatives

Following a series of forums with thoroughbred industry participants, along with a review of the procedures and processes around drug testing and related integrity standards for the racing industry as a whole, the New Zealand Racing Board has decided on a positive course of action for the future.

Chief Executive Graeme Hansen said the forums held at Te Rapa, Ellerslie, Awapuni, Wingatui and Riccarton provided useful and informative feedback to the NZRB, as well as to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing who had representatives, including its Chairman Guy Sargent, at each venue.

“As a result of our combined efforts, the Board has committed to working with the Codes to extend the capability of laboratory processes and equipment. We want to assume direct responsibility for the contractual arrangements with the laboratory service provider,” Mr Hansen said.

As part of the laboratory initiative, the NZRB will work with the Codes to establish an Industry Integrity Unit within the NZRB.

“Our objective in this is to ensure a consistent approach is adopted by all Codes to integrity matters. Our work in this particular area is consistent with our work across the wider industry.”

Mr Hansen said the NZRB would engage both the NZ Racing Laboratory and the Judicial Control Authority in the processes related to these two initiatives.

“It is vital for the future of racing in this country that integrity is beyond question, so we have asked New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing to immediately address random sampling at trials; alignment of penetrometer readings in coordination with Australian Racing work on this matter; and for penetrometer readings in New Zealand to be conducted by Stipendiary Stewards.”

The Board has also asked New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing to implement two changes from the start of the new racing season. The first is that trials in the North Island and selected areas of the South Island be restricted (where practical) to two year old and non-raced horses; and for organised jump outs to be monitored by Stipendiary Stewards who will issue Barrier Certificates.

To complement New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s 2005/06 funding programme, the NZRB has offered to pay a starters’ fee for non-stakes finishers in maiden races. The value is still to be agreed between the two Boards, but is expected to approximate the standard riders’ fee for those races, Mr Hansen said.

A proposal to introduce a limited number of races on Tuesday trial days will not be pursued. However, Mr Hansen said where regions have expressed an interest in such an initiative, the NZRB would work with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing in reviewing specific opportunities.

“During the course of the 2005/06 season, the NZRB will also work with all Codes to identify appropriate minimum safety criteria. In time, these will be prerequisite to licensed meetings being held at the designated venues. It is anticipated that if a venue does not meet the minimum safety criteria, the Club granted the licence would be required to stage the event at an acceptable alternative venue. It is expected that these arrangements will be in place prior to the start of the 2006/07 season.

“We have also asked New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing to consider trialling a Claiming Races initiative to see if it has application in the New Zealand thoroughbred environment,” Mr Hansen said.

A number of other opportunities identified during the thoroughbred forums are still under discussion within the NZRB. At the same time, the NZRB is reviewing opportunities whereby the industry might benefit from the other Codes taking similar reviews toward increased participation.


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