Turn it up!

Winston Peters.
Winston Peters.
Southerners, get ready to have your say.

Racing Minister Winston Peters is headed our way. And he has thrown the ball directly at anyone with an interest in the industry.

Peters has given his approval to be peppered with questions in a public forum in Invercargill next Wednesday.

Of course, not everyone from the Dunedin region will be able to attend. But our readers from South Otago and Southland have few excuses not to take this rare opportunity.

It's a brilliant chance for Southern racing participants to get direct - well, mostly direct - answers on the sector's most pressing issues.

Let's not think for a second that Peters will drop his guard and tell us everything that is going on. I am expecting many of his answers to reference the Messara strategic report on racing, which the industry is eagerly awaiting.

Hopefully Peters will reveal some hints about what may be in the report and give an insight into some of the conversations he has had with John Messara.

Southerners were certainly left with very few clues when Messara visited Otago and Southland recently. The Australian was intent on what could be described as a very quietly staged reconnaissance mission to visit some of the two province's racetracks. The fact-finding mission was apparently over before many got word it even happened.

Firstly, let me say that it is brilliant to hear Southern racing is a priority to Messara. For him to take the time to come here and inspect racecourses is a reflection of how diligent he must be working on his report.

However, from what I tell he met only with a tiny number of thoroughbred racing officials, which is disappointing.

This newspaper revealed Messara's report would be largely about thoroughbred racing, so it should not be a surprise. But it is not unknown how harness racing and greyhounds will be factored in or how the recommendations he will make will make to the Government affect those two codes.

Perhaps Messara did not have time to meet everyone, perhaps there are very good reasons for it. But none of them are likely to make any harness or dog industry folk any better about how their industry should be treated.

I guess we will find out - hopefully on Wednesday afternoon from Winston Peters.

Happy trails

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