Seven of the nine meetings to be held at Ruakaka racecourse in the 2021/22 season fall within the period of the lower tier of stake money.
For the race meetings held from August 28th this year until 2 April 2022 there will be most welcome increases in stake money. The meetings before August 27th and after 2 April 2022 will have their stake money levels frozen at their current Covid restricted levels.
For local owners and trainers who like to target the local winter season of race meetings at Ruakaka it will be a bitter disappointment not to share equitably in the recently announced significant increases of funding to the industry by the TAB.
The contrast is best explained by the difference between the Ruakaka meeting on September 11th and the other five Saturday meetings across winter. At the September meeting the stakes for the open races, rating 65s, and 2year olds will be $7.500 greater; the 3year olds and maiden races will be $5,000 greater and the rating 74s will be $2,500 greater.
No doubt there will be a very heavy demand by Clubs not to race in the winter period and seek more race meetings in the peak stakes period.
Operationally the Club, as did all Clubs, received a marginal increase in its meeting fees to help offset the increased compliance costs since the last increase in meeting payments. This increased funding aligned with the 1% increase in returns on on-course betting is much appreciated by the Clubs.
The Club has expressed very strong opposition to NZTR management but have not been able to convince them, at this stage, to change the policy. The Club does not believe it has been provided with any reasonable basis for the decision.
The change also seriously impacts other winter racing clubs with August meetings, including the three days of the winter carnival at Riccarton.
The Club will continue to push for increased stake money for its winter race meetings because the meetings yield very good betting returns in comparison to many other race meetings and are a significant racing opportunity for those participants in the region.