The boss of Harness Racing New Zealand says his shock decision to resign has nothing to do with the difficult times facing the racing industry.
Out-going chief executive Peter Jensen says it is simply for his own benefit.
Jensen resigned yesterday and will leave HRNZ's headquarters in Christchurch on Friday, saying his move is one toward semi-retirement.
"I have underlying health issues and realise these have got to the point where I cannot give 100% to HRNZ at a time when it requires 150%," says Jensen.
"I know the timing is far from ideal, but I also understand that I am not able to give the organisation the energy and guidance that it requires at this time, hence my decision to retire and concentrate on my health."
Jensen leaves with plenty of goodwill from an industry which can be brutal on its leaders and the HRNZ board will cover some of Jensen's duties along with senior staff until a new chief executive is appointed in the new season.
Covid restrictions force new style of sale
The way New Zealand sells its young future racehorses could change forever today.
New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred's mixed sale in May is usually physically held at their Karaka sales complex and has been a rich source of mainly weanling talent who have gone on to become group one winners.
But with the Covid-19 travel restrictions making that impossible this year the sale has moved entirely online starting today on gavelhouse.com.
The platform is like Trade Me for horses, with each horse having a full pedigree page, photos and videos and buyers can register to bid on them over the course of a week, starting today and ending next Wednesday.
There has been huge interest from the South Island and Australia in the sale with large potential percentage profits in weanlings that can be purchased this week and then re-offered as yearlings next February.
While Gavelhouse is now well established as an online sales platform and has already seen large six-figure prices paid for group one winning thoroughbred mares on the site, today is the first time an entire catalogue of horses who would usually be sold in the flesh has migrated to an online sale.
If that is successful then it could see Gavelhouse used for future larger sales, especially as it cuts down on costs for not only the transport to, and care of the horses at, the sales ground but also the expenses of overseas and domestic buyers who might otherwise travel to the saless.
While Karaka's two main yearling sales, the thoroughbreds in January and the standardbreds in February looks certain to remain in the traditional format, Gavelhouse looks likely to play a far greater role in the future of selling young horses in this country.