Asian markets tempting lure for Wanganui club

By Iain Hyndman

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Offshore opportunities for New Zealand greyhound racing, including emerging markets in Asia, are likely to benefit the industry and Hatrick Raceway in Wanganui, one of the busiest tracks in the country.  PHOTO/FILE
Offshore opportunities for New Zealand greyhound racing, including emerging markets in Asia, are likely to benefit the industry and Hatrick Raceway in Wanganui, one of the busiest tracks in the country. PHOTO/FILE

A move by Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRN) to introduce the Kiwi product into Vietnam is likely to have major spin-offs for Wanganui's Hatrick Raceway.

GRN chairman and long time Wanganui trainer John McArthur was confident small hurdles slowing the process could be cleared sooner rather than later.

"There is a lot of talk about China being a huge untapped market for all New Zealand racing codes and it is, but the Vietnam market is more than likely to open to us sooner than the Chinese," McArthur said yesterday.

"Greyhound Racing New Zealand has been actively working towards beaming our racing product into places like Laos and Cambodia, which are massive even if we were to start with a small percentage of that market.

"Vietnam currently has two tracks. They have set up their own breeding and rearing programme, which I understand is quite impressive.

They have an equalisator betting system similar to what we had many years ago, but we are working very hard to convince the Vietnamese government to introduce totalisator betting.

"We have some quite talented movers and shakers over there lobbying for it to happen. If we could pull that off it would be massive," McArthur said.

Rumours are also circulating about tapping into the lucrative British breakfast market, but that was just talk at this stage and early days, McArthur said.

"That's being looked at by the TAB and Sky. Potential markets to grow the whole New Zealand racing industry are always being looked at."

The rumours suggest if the British breakfast market was to open to New Zealand, greyhound race meetings would have to be held late at night and even the early hours of the morning. The rumours suggest meetings would be held between 9pm and 1am the following morning.

"The British thing is just pie in the sky at this stage, but if initiatives like this were to take off the spin-offs to all New Zealand racing would be great. If it were to happen it would probably mean greyhound racing would race one night a week at those sort of hours being bandied around, but again, this is only being talked about at this stage,' McArthur said.

Any offshore initiatives would have spin-offs for Hatrick Raceway in Wanganui, one of the busiest tracks in the country.

Wanganui Greyhound Racing Club manager Bridget Belsham said 95 Wanganui, five Wellington and one Taranaki meeting - a total of 101 meetings - were held each season at Hatrick.

"Some of these offshore initiatives have been talked about at club conferences, but really we've heard nothing concrete at this stage. I'm not sure if much would change at Hatrick - it really comes down to how the money is divvied up. I guess if the entire industry benefits we benefit too," Belsham said.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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