New Zealand Racing Board Confirms 2008/09 Racing Calendar

New Zealand Racing BoardThere are an additional 244 races scheduled for the 2008/09 racing season which will provide increased revenue generating opportunities for the industry, the New Zealand Racing Board announced today.

In determining the 2008/09 racing calendar the New Zealand Racing Board worked in partnership with the Codes and Clubs to allocate licences to fit in with the Board’s internationalisation agreements with Tabcorp. Under the agreement introduced on 1st August 2007, Sky Channel Australia takes Monday to Saturday broadcasts from New Zealand.

The New Zealand Racing Board’s General Manager of Racing and Wagering, Bill Colgan, said “the calendar changes implemented at the start of the 2007/08 racing season, coupled with the Board’s commercial agreements with Tabcorp have delivered significant returns to our industry. We can expect this momentum to continue into the coming season with 972 race meetings scheduled.”

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Bittar, said “the inclusion of the Friday thoroughbred meeting this season has delivered significant benefits to the Thoroughbred Code. We are confident that the calendar template for the season ahead will provide greater opportunities for horses to race, and will therefore, deliver increased returns to owners.”

The majority of traditional race dates for the 2008/09 season remain unchanged. The Kelt Capital Stakes will run on Saturday 4th October, the inaugural running of the Platinum Paws will be on Friday 17th October and New Zealand Cup Week is scheduled for the 8th to 15th November. In 2009, Wellington Cup Day moves forward a week to Saturday 24th January, Auckland Cup Week runs from Friday 28th February to Saturday 7th March and the Harness Jewels returns to Ashburton on Saturday 30th May.

Edward Rennell, Chief Executive Officer of Harness Racing New Zealand, said “the Harness Code has welcomed the introduction of a new Premier meeting at the New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club on Saturday 31st January and the extension to the Tuesday harness programme throughout the month of July.”

There will be significant growth in the number of clubs invited to participate in the New Zealand Racing Board led Destination Summer Holiday Racing and Christmas at the Races franchises this coming season. Added to which, the thoroughbred race programme will be enhanced during the winter months with the introduction of a new Jumps race programme.

“We fully support the New Zealand Racing Board’s commitment to allocating licences to greyhound clubs during December and January for event based activity. We are keen to emulate the success of greyhound racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland where they offer a complete on-course entertainment package,” said Jeremy Kennerley, Chief Executive Officer of Greyhound Racing New Zealand.

A copy of the 2008/09 racing calendar is available on www.tab.co.nz. The traditional racing calendar booklet will be available in July.