Racing: Trots club fast tracks incentives

By Michael Guerin

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

The Auckland Trotting Club has fast-tracked moves to make racing at Alexandra Park the most lucrative in Australasia for all starters.

From August, every starter at any Alexandra Park will earn at least $400 for its connections.

The club has indicated they were looking at incentives for every starter from early next year, but with Harness Racing New Zealand bringing in guaranteed returns for all starters nation-wide, Alexandra Park has brought its move forward.

ATC president Bruce Carter says the returns will be $250 per starter for the owners of each horse and $150 direct to the trainer.

The connections of horses placed first, second or third still get a higher percentage of the stake but it means the industry's battlers gets guaranteed returns.

"The Auckland Trotting Club takes its responsibility of supporting the industry as a whole extremely seriously and as such we need to look after our owners and trainers. They are critical to harness racing's future," says Carter.

He says the scheme will be monitored with the view that if it is supported by the industry, the ATC board will potentially grow the incentives for owners and trainers for the 2017/18 season, and looking to improve stakes in the 2018/19.

The ATC will have more financial flexibility once they start to receive revenue from their comprehensive real estate developments at Alexandra Park and could look to increase the incentive to $500 per starter, made up of $300 to the owners and $200 for the trainers.

That was initially the numbers mooted when the incentive scheme was first announced but it was slightly reduced because of the move to bring the scheme in earlier.

Boosting the incentive further will depend on the support from trainers.

Meanwhile, a fourth Australian has accepted an invite to next month's Harness Jewels at Cambridge, with two-year-old trotter Illawong Byron coming. Illawong Byron joins other Aussies Arms Of An Angel, Heza Bromac and My Kiwi Mate.

- NZ Herald

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