Racing: Owners to benefit as fees go

Nomination fees have been dropped for lower-grade thoroughbred races in New Zealand from the beginning of March.

The move, announced yesterday by the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing board, removes the $50 nomination fee from all races below rating 75 from March 1. There will be no nomination or acceptance fees for horses that nominate, accept and start in all maiden and rating 65 races. The same rule also applies to non black-type races for 2- to 4-yr-olds, along with special conditions races.

NZTR chairman Matthew Goodson said removing nomination fees from lower-grade races would provide direct savings of more than $1.2 million to owners each year.

The news comes off the back of the New Zealand Racing Board's announcement last week which projected an extra $6 million would be returned to the three racing codes over the next year.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Federation president Neil Oldfield congratulated the board for following through on its stated intent to remove nomination fees for the lower-grade races, and to reduce owners' costs.

Goodson said the new fees continued NZTR's phased new structure of racing and prizemoney which started in last March and was designed to maximise field sizes for domestic and international wagering across the week and to encourage ownership.

Fees will still apply if a nominated horse does not accept for a race and if a horse is accepted but then scratched before the declaration of the rider. There will also be a non-acceptance fee, a scratching fee and a rider's engagement fee when a rider is declared for a horse, which is subsequently scratched, and the rider does not gain a ride on another horse in that race.