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Rating 70 Races – A Change for the Better
14 Sep 2010

In July 2009 an NZTR appointed Review Panel considered various aspects of the handicapping process and identified that fixed ratings adjustments for maiden winners resulted in fillies and mares being disadvantaged in Rating 70 races, a fact that was supported by data collected over the previous three racing seasons. The same data indicated that overall female participation in all grades above Rating 70 was significantly less than the percentage of the potential racehorse population that females represent. Performance of female horses in these higher grades was in line with participation.

The Review Panel concluded the best solution to the problem was a Rating 70 Set Weights and Penalties structure that would allow horses to be assessed by a handicapper under set weights conditions before progressing to handicap racing, as occurs in the UK.

The full race conditions for Rating 70 Set Weights with Penalties & Allowances races are as follows:

For horses with a domestic flat rating up to and including 70 at the close of nominations. Set Weights. CG&E 56kg. F&M 54.5kg. Horses that have won two races to incur a 1kg penalty. Horses that have won three races to incur a 2kg penalty. Horses that have won four or more races to incur a 3kg penalty.

Additionally, apprentice allowances can be claimed.

The penalty structure does not mean that a two, three or four win horse remains eligible for a Rating 70 race. Eligibility continues to be determined by rating. Horses rated higher than 65 that win Rating 70 races will generally be re-rated out of the Rating 70 band regardless of the weight carried.

The penalties and allowances determine the weight a horse will have to carry if it drops back into the band, or wins with a low rating and remains in the band. Maiden winners continue to be rated to 68 or 69 and are then assessed by a handicapper at each subsequent run. Fillies and mares will always receive an allowance in Rating 70 races, but there is no change to the way they are weighted in handicap races.

NZTR has recently reviewed and evaluated the effectiveness of these changes during the 2009/10 racing season.

In the three seasons prior to the change, fillies and mares represented 45.0% of the starters and 39.8% of the winners in R70 races. This under performance also had a consequential effect, as fewer fillies and mares progressed to the R80 grade, with only 36.8% of the starters and 38.6% of the winners being fillies and mares.

In 2009/10 fillies and mares no longer under performed in R70 races as they represented 45.3% of the starters and won 47.7% of these races. Importantly, the number of fillies and mares progressing to R80 races increased to 40.4% of starters and won 43.3% of these races. This suggests that notwithstanding the changes to R70 had made it marginally easier for them to progress through this grade; those that progressed to R80 remained at least as competitive as they had been previously on a relative basis.

The over performance of female horses in Rating 70 races is not unreasonable, particularly given the number of well bred male horses that are sold from New Zealand to overseas markets. It can also be anticipated that the level of over performance will reduce marginally over time as previously disadvantaged female horses win races and start to carry greater penalties when they drop back to Rating 70 races.

Three year olds previously represented 9.6% of the R70 starters and won 16.4% of these races. They were therefore statistically dominant in Rating 70 races and as such no age allowance was provided for under the SWP conditions. It was also felt that the penalty conditions tend to favour three year olds as the vast majority of those competing in Rating 70 races have not won more than one race.

In Rating 70 races run under SWP conditions three year olds represented a slightly larger percentage of starters (11.7%) indicating the new conditions have had a positive impact on three year old participation in these races. While their success rate (17.8%) has improved with increased participation, they have not improved the variance between percentage of three year old starters and the percentage of races won by three year olds. This suggests the SWP conditions have not created an anomaly in relation to three year olds.

The SWP conditions have been criticised on the basis that horses that have won four or more races are required to carry 59kg and can never get weight relief regardless of how far their rating may fall. These horses made up 2.69% of starters in Rating 70 SWP races and won 1.80% of the races.

The under performance of these horses is not alarming and they account for a very small participation group. Based on the statistical evidence there is not sufficient justification for changing the conditions either to limit the top weight to 58kg or to allow for weight relief based on a specified number of consecutive poor performances. Given that a horse would have to lose all form before weight relief could be provided, there is in fact little to be gained from such a provision. The type of horse that would be assisted by weight relief is likely to be one that has been running in the money without winning, and that horse would not qualify for weight relief in any event. The option also remains for that (experienced) horse to claim an apprentice allowance to reduce its weight.

In conclusion, the introduction of SWP conditions for Rating 70 races appears to have achieved the objective of redressing the imbalance between the participation level and success rate of fillies and mares in the R70 grade without significantly impacting the success rate or participation level of other groups of horses in these races.

Santa’s Tipping at Christmas at the Races Events
14 Sep 2010

Although it’s only August, hospitality packages at ‘Christmas at the Races’ race meetings are selling fast! This is the fourth year of Christmas at the Races, and this year twenty thoroughbred events between mid-November and Christmas will be part of the franchise. Aimed at attracting small to medium-sized business to have their staff Christmas parties at the track, Christmas at the Races has been very successful at attracting a new audience on-course, with over 50% of previous attendees attending for the first time. And with over 46% of on-course attendees pre-booked into raceday hospitality, Christmas at the Races events are profitable for the Clubs too. With your help as Owners’, we think it could be even better.

Having attracted new customers on-course, we want to engage them in the racing and betting. Our concept is simple - help new customers feel more confident placing a bet and watching the races, have fun and hopefully, have a few collects! Who better to help out at Christmastime than Santa – and hence “Santa's pick”. The jockey for Santa’s pick would wear a special cap cover to make it easy to follow during the race.

For each race, the TAB will select a horse who they think will win. This horse would become "Santa's pick" and promoted on-course as a good chance for a bet. Once the fields have been confirmed and the experts have made their selections, we will contact you, the owners, to seek your permission for your jockey to wear the Santa’s pick cap.

We’d love you to say yes, as we believe this promotion will really deliver for Clubs and customers alike, but we respect your rights as owners. For that reason, we won’t have a Santa’s pick on black-type races. As Christmas is a very busy season, you may like to opt-in or out of Santa’s Pick (for all races) in advance. Feel free to contact me directly on, or 04 576 6319.

For more information about Christmas at the Races events, please visit

Thank you, best of luck on the track and Happy Christmas!

Janice Hill
On-course Marketing and Events Manager
NZ Racing Board

Counties Racing Club Owner's Function
04 Aug 2010

Counties Racing Club will soon be posting Invitations to all Owners of Horses that raced at a Counties meeting during the 2009/2010 season to attend a special Owners Function at their race meeting on Sunday 19 September 2010. Food will be supplied throughout the day with a subsidised bar in operation.


New Zealand Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Federation Bulletin, July 2010
19 Jul 2010
NZTR Funding Policy – What’s the go?
19 Jul 2010

Jo Griffin
I thought it would be a good time to wade through the funding policy for the new season starting 1st of August and focus on the bits Owners are going to be most interested in. I’ve put it into a Q&A format;

Q. How much funding is being made available to all three codes from the NZ Racing Board (NZRB)?
A. The NZRB have indicated that an amount of $110m in funding will be paid out and divided between the three codes in 2010/2011. This compares to $105m in 2009/2010 and $121m in 2008/2009 excluding additional surplus or dividend payments. Approximately $63m of the $110m will come to our code.

Q. What will happen to thoroughbred funding and stakes for next year?
A. Largely they stay the same. NZTR is increasing funding for industry days and pushing up top-end race prizemoney through some small reductions at the bottom end. The funding policy for the previous 12 months was extremely aggressive. However due to two key factors; the down-turn in wagering (due in part to the global economic crisis) and secondly severe cuts in gaming trust income, the overall projected income was well below projected figures for that period. NZTR paid out all its reserves this season to top up reductions in funding and additional financial pressure being felt by racing clubs. These reserves are now exhausted. NZTR has no choice but to limit pay out to the industry to what it receives in funding from the NZRB.

Q. Why are the Industry Day Maiden minimums higher in the South Island compared to the North?
A. NZTR’s Funding Policy has adopted differing philosophies for the North Island and South Island. The feedback from stakeholders in the South Island was that $6k minimums were important to retain interest in horse ownership in the region. South Island maiden horses have 1-2 opportunities per week to run and often only at Industry Days. However, horses in the North have the advantage of 2-3 opportunities per week and consistent choice between Industry Day and Feature Day Maidens.

Q. What’s happening with NZTR’s free racing policy? Is it staying?
A. Yes, it is staying. While we have had amend the categories slightly it stays in place. The amendments have taken place at the top of the range of races from Rating 80 to Open races, where horses also have the opportunity to run for the highest stakes. Owners of horses competing in these races will be charged $50 (plus GST) for nomination fees and 0.75% of the total race stake, plus GST, for acceptance fees. The owners of more than 80% of horses will still have the opportunity to run their horses for free in races run at Rating 75 level and below. NZTR will continue its policy of paying Jockeys’ riding fees on behalf of Owners, which represents savings to Owners of approximately $2.9m per year.

Q. What were the key aims of the 2010-11 model?
A. NZTR has shifted away from funding clubs using off-course wagering turnover and a range of other payments, to one that simply provides minimum prizemoney to racing clubs for each meeting and race category. This will make it easier for racing clubs to plan their race programmes, ensure they are fully funded irrespective of the day that they are racing on, and provide a consistent prizemoney structure for each individual race class and meeting category for Owners, Trainers and Jockeys.

Bomac Lecture Series 2010 - Sore Backs and Current Issues in "Doping"
17 Jul 2010

What you need to know about Backs vs. Sacroiliac problems preventing horses winning and Doping vs. Medication during competition. Guest speaker is Professor Leo Jeffcott.

Venues and Dates
Matamata Sunday August 15 August, Matamata Club Inc.
Palmerston North Wednesday 18 August, Awapuni Racecourse
Invercargill Friday 20 August, Ascot Park Hotel
Christchurch Sunday 22 August, Riccarton Racecourse
Auckland Thursday 26 August, NZ Bloodstock's Karaka Sales Complex

Each session starts at 1.00pm & closes not later than 5.30pm. Registration fee $45.00

For further information and registration enquiries, contact Bev Stern:
Ph 06 356 4940
Fax 06 354 2885


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