Three codes urged to work collaboratively

Bernard Saundry
Bernard Saundry
The next step in the regional racing review for the South will take place next week but all parties are being urged to get involved.

As part of the decision to give the Forbury Park Trotting Club in Dunedin dates for the season, a review into the Otago-Southland racing structure had to be undertaken.

It was to be completed by December but that looks like a very tight timetable.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing chief executive Bernard Saundry said the review was about how the racing industry involving the three codes — thoroughbreds, standardbreds and greyhounds — would have a sustainable future in the Otago-Southland region.

"Ultimately clubs in the region can build their own future. It is a really important the three codes work together," he said.

"There is always politics in these sort of things but the sole focus should be how we can make racing the best it can be in the region,"

Saundry said three business consultant companies would come back to the New Zealand Racing board next week and offer ideas on how the review would take place and what methodology would be used to progress the review.

From there the board would study the ideas and map out how the review would take place.

Clubs and stakeholders would be engaged and there would be research and analysis on the economics of racing.

"We want to be engaging the racing community and asking what does racing need to look like in five to 10 to 15 years. It is a very important piece of work and we’ve got to have the three codes working together. There is no use each code working out on its own without understanding what other codes are doing.

"We want an efficient business which works for the benefits of the three codes, driving participation, ownership and improving wagering outcomes."

One suggestion was to build an all-weather track at Wingatui using the proceeds from the sale of the land where Forbury Park was located.

Saundry said nothing would be ruled out and everything was on the table.

He admitted a lot of work had to be done and come December no firm plan on where the next 10 years would lead would be decided upon. It would be a phased process.

The review simply had to be carried out.

"This has to be done... You’ve got to own the future of the sport.

"It’s an exciting opportunity for clubs to revitalise venues in the region and they should be making the most of the opportunity."

He acknowledged there would be parochialism between regions but this could be used in a good way.

The codes had been living in the past for too long and it was time to put parochialism away and work together.

Other parts of the country such as the Auckland region were also undertaking reviews of the sector.


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