Self-confident winning the race on Thursday night. Photo/File.
After a dazzling opening run of New Zealand’s first slots race, the
The host club is considering adding another next season, this time for trotters.
And the Waikato-Bay Of Plenty Harness Racing Club has the overwhelming support of the coaches as they contemplate what could quickly become one of the most anticipated harness racing gatherings of the year.
Thursday’s first race of The Race for $900,000 was a huge success judged by any metric, with a good crowd, massive media coverage on both sides of the Tasman and a field that was up to the task, with four Aussie horses coming for the event.
At least two of them, runner-up Majestic Cruiser and Mach Dan, will stay on for the Group 1 races at Alexandra Park from this Friday, so there’s already a guaranteed continuing effect, and the meeting left the participants of trotter races.
“It was so good to see the youngsters there enjoying harness racing and skirting the fence,” said champion jockey Mark Purdon.
Turnover at all eight races, many of them lesser grade, topped $1 million domestically, with Australian investment set to rise further above a normal Thursday night meeting.
But the actual support show was put together after The Race was confirmed, with no one really knowing how successful the reunion could be.
Next year, The Race will keep the same date, April 14, but it will be moved to a Friday night and the club’s chief executive, David Branch, will have much more time to schedule a support card to give to the gathering. one more Karaka Million feel of a short but select program.
“We want The Race to be worth a million dollars next year and I think we owe it to the seat holders, so that will be the number one goal,” says Branch.
“But we’re also thinking about a second slot race for the trotters. There are a lot of really passionate trot owners out there and we think that’s the natural next step.”
A trotting slots race of even $300,000 or $350,000 total bet with a slots cost of as little as $20,000 would instantly propel The Race meeting to be one of the biggest offerings in Australasian harness racing and Branch has admitted. that his club could also consider mobile races like the Waikato Guineas to bolster the card.
With guaranteed returns for slot owners, as well as slots having tax advantages like marketing expenses for racing companies, slots at a trotting race wouldn’t be a hard sell.
Any new trotting race worth $300,000 or more could require the Group 1 New Zealand Trotting Champions at Addington to move a week earlier to provide a two-week switch between the two, but after sweeping changes in harness racing calendar in the last six months, almost nothing outside of the NZ Cup week in Christchurch is set in stone.
With Australia’s open class trot calendar slowing down at this time of year and several very high profile Australian trot owners with a massive investment in gait, it would be very surprising if a trot slot race didn’t instantly attract the support from all over the world. the tasmanian
Australia’s best tinkerers could also come to Cambridge and stay until the Rowe Cup at the end of May.
Add to that a vintage local crop of joggers who could see any new slot race headlined by Sundees Son, Bolt For Brilliance and Muscle Mountain, supported by Midnight Dash, Five Wise Men, Cracker Hill and Australia’s Greatest Jogger in Majestic, the concept might even rival The Race for sheer class.
“I think a trotting slot race is the obvious next step for the night and I’m sure he would get a lot of support,” said Purdon, who has little to gain from the addition as he doesn’t have a class trotting star. open and none in the pipe.
Any major moves and changes to the group racing schedule must be approved by Harness Racing New Zealand, but now that the industry has a new meeting that has captured the public imagination, everything must be done to capitalize on it.