Benefits promised for all three codes

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files
Harness and greyhound rac­ing barely got a mention when John Messara’s report on the New Zealand Racing Industry was made public last night.

In June, the Otago Daily Times revealed the report, pre­viously thought to be focused on all racing codes, would have a specific thoroughbred outlook.

Messara’s detailed and com­prehensive report did not stray from its objective. There were very few mentions of the two codes in the report or in speeches by Messara or Rac­ing Minister Winston Peters at its unveiling last night.

However, both Messara and Peters assured the audience at last night’s event that both codes would be better off fol­lowing the implementation of its recommendations.

‘‘I can assure you my recom­mendations will havea posi­tive effect on all three codes,’’ Messara said.

Increased funding for har­ness and greyhound racing will be relying on Messara’s recommendations boosting betting revenue.

Messara has recommended a change to the way racing betting revenue is distributed to the three racing codes.

His figures show the per­centage of total funding will drop for harness and greyhound racing under his recommendations.

But if all his recommenda­tions are taken up, it will result in an overall increase in income for the two codes.

Messara said in his report the current fundingmodel, section 16 of the Racing Act 2003, was due for the scrap heap.

The current formula used to distribute money is based on each code’s share of domestic betting.

‘‘The formula may have been appropriate when the legislation wasdrafted. It is no longer relevant in the cur­rent wagering landscape and should be amended to better reflect the respective codes’ contributions towards the NZRB’s profitability and that the distribution shouldbe based on the totality of bet­ting,’’ Messara said.

Messara has recommended a new formula that incorpor­ates international betting turnover and each code’s con­tribution to the economy.

That looks to be a massive boost for thoroughbred rac­ing.

That code has amuch stronger international pres­ence, especially with huge New Zealand interest in carnivals such as the Melbourne Cup.

It also has a stronger breed­ing industry, dwarfing those of the other two codes.

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