For many horse racing is hardly more than entertainment or a Saturday afternoon punt. For thousands of New Zealanders it is their job, their only source of income.
For centuries it's been known as the sport of kings, a handle dating back more than 200 years, but in New Zealand racing there are few kings and plenty of paupers and with the global Covid-19 pandemic having shut down racing — like all other professional sport in the country — many participants fear they won't survive in an industry which has been their lives.
The training of racehorses will be able to resume on public tracks, with strict protocols, on Tuesday but the industry's biggest code — thoroughbred (galloping) — won't resume racing for at least another month.
The mooted start date of early July would make racing one of the first codes to return to action — with the NRL seemingly on track for a resumption date of May 28 — with many of the 15,000 jobs the industry accounts for potentially reinstated.
Racing's financial engine, the TAB, admit they have no idea yet how big a hole the enormous loss of domestic racing and almost all sports betting income will leave them in.
As the industry seeks emergency Government assistance to restart and stay open, the Herald speaks to some of the who depend on it to live.
THE TRANSPORTER, Tony Shaw: Tony Shaw knows racing highs and lows better than most.
As a harness driver he won the Inter Dominion and New Zealand Cup but a few years later he suffered a horrific race fall that saw a large portion of his skull removed. He never raced again. These days he runs a business transporting horses.
Without racing he has no income.
"I haven't had any for over a month," says Shaw.
"I got some money from the Government to help with my workers' wages but I don't pay myself a wage so I have been living off savings.
"Hopefully we can start transporting horses soon but my concern is whether any of the racehorse owners will have the money to keep paying bills. That is going to be a real issue for them and us."
THE JOCKEY, Lynsey Satherley: Not much scares Lynsey Satherley.
"I'm happy to ride any horse at the trials or in trackwork.
"I think that is one of my strengths," says the jockey who sits 48th in the national premiership. But racing's uncertain future scares her.
"It has kept me awake at night worrying how we can pay the bills.
"No horses in training to ride has obviously been bad and we won't be back at the races, which is crucial income, until July," says the 36-year-old. "My husband, Derek, works on the starting gates at the races so he has no work either. It is hard now, even though we try and not worry about in when we are with the kids.
"But the worst part [is] it could be worse in the next few months.
"There is a lot of uncertainty for a lot of people in racing, people who love their horses but need to make a living."
THE TRAINER, David Greene: The Hamilton trainer is a parochial Kiwi but admits it is getting harder to stay here.
"Australian racing is flying and kept going through Covid-19 whereas things are only going to get tougher after we stopped here," says Greene.
"We have four kids and love it here but if our situation was different we would be gone to Australia."
It is a common tale, with so many bright racing industry participants leaving for Australia and never returning.
Greene, who won his hometown Waikato Cup this season, worries as for many owners racing a horse is a hobby.
With that discretionary income disappearing he fears for fellow trainers who sometimes already struggle to get all the training bills they send out paid.
"I know it is not an easy time for anybody but the lack of leadership and direction from the top of the industry has been very worrying."
THE PHOTOGRAPHER, Peter Rubery: He shoots horses and is very good at it.
The pictures he and his staff at Race Images take adorn walls around the country, from pubs, to sports clubs and thousands of homes.
"But with no racing we have no real income," he explains
"I am ekeing out some work with pics from my archives cause I have been doing this for 37 years.
"But I was new to this, just starting out, no racing until May or then July would be the end of the business."
BY THE NUMBERS
Racing's economic footprint (Source: Institute of Economic Research, 2018)
Direct value-added impact on economy: $1.63 billion.
Employment: Equivalent of 14,398 fulltime jobs.
Total industry participants: 58,166.
Community: Racing clubs financially assist and support 410 organisations and charities.