It's the gee-gees' official birthday on Monday, so it's time for the season-ender. It could be, though, that it's opportune to look forward rather than back, because the winds of change are in the air.

That's not to say we haven't got excitement to look back on.

But the cold, hard fact is recessions hit racing harder than they do any sport.

That's because horse racing is not a sport, it's an industry, a very big industry, right up there in terms of GNP with the fishing industry and the wine industry.

Sure, the All Blacks are an industry and so are some of the franchises where bums on seats make a huge difference.

But they are funded differently to racing, where 80-something per cent of stakemoney comes from the punt.

When the ability to punt is bitten hard in the pocket by a recession, pressure goes on stakemoney, owners feel the pinch, then trainers who may not get paid and the trickle-down effect doesn't stop.

That's where thoroughbred racing sits.

Racing is still popular, despite what some sports commentators, who should have learned to harness ignorance, will tell you.

What isn't popular is rapidly emptying wallets at the end of the week.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing suddenly has a brilliant new board in place - the best by far it's ever had.

Changes have already been announced this week in increased stakes and there will be more.

The only thing this board will not be able to achieve is to make racing totally recession-proof.

If they can there will be a call for monuments.

* So, 2010-11 high spots: There is no doubt Jimmy Choux stands out. His record is actually amazing and although he ended it on an unplaced run in the Australian Derby, perhaps the surprise was the winning didn't end sooner than that. That it didn't says a lot about Jimmy Choux and the care relative newcomer trainer John Bary gave the horse.

Anabandanna, King's Rose and Scarlett Lady were outstanding and are a trio of fillies who will make their presence felt, hopefully in Australia, this spring. King's Rose is, of course, now trained in Melbourne.

* Perhaps the greatest thing we can look back on is the Melbourne spring carnival, by every measure imaginable, equal to anything in the world.

New Zealand horses didn't so much eat that carnival last spring as devour it.

It started when Anacheeva won the Caulfield Guineas. Whakanui Stud's Tim Bodle sent his Zabeel mare Monroe Magic to Australia to be mated with Anabaa, producing Anacheeva, so we can claim at least 50 per cent of that one.

A week later former New Zealand stayer Descarado won the Caulfield Cup.

Go forward a further seven days and our home product So You Think again destroyed them in the Cox Plate.

A week on again, Kiwi-owned, trained and bred Lion Tamer won the Victoria Derby by so far you couldn't see the placegetters for the torrential rain.

France's Americain was too strong in the Melbourne Cup, but the placegetters Maluckyday and So You Think are from this side of the ditch.

On the Thursday, Mike Moroney's New Zealand product Brazilian Pulse gave them a hiding in the Oaks and 48 hours later New Zealand-trained Wall Street won the final group one of the carnival, the Emirates Stakes.

That list comprises EVERY icon event at the entire carnival.

No wonder the Aussies were falling over themselves to pick up more of the staying-oriented types at Karaka this February.

Long may it continue.

* And no summation of the season would be complete without a pat on the back for James McDonald.

It rarely gets recognised - although this column has said it many times - most don't realise the pressure on a young apprentice at the top of the riding profession.

McDonald wasn't just at the top, he had to endure the crushing pressure of trying to create records.

And he's a fair way from his 21st birthday. Magnificent.

Raise your glass to an equally satisfying 2011-12.