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$2.4 million prize-money boost for NZ racing
The Board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) has announced further stakes increases of $2.4 million for the period between April 3 to August 26 2022 and includes stakes lifts across the board. The NZTR announced in July that there would be a $7 million injection into stakes and NZTR chairman Cameron George re-emphasised that the NZTR Board has created a rolling funding policy. “As opposed to announcing increases across a full racing season, this policy enables the Board to provide increased funding to the industry off the back of good performance. We are delivering off money earned, not anticipated earnings,” George said. “We are operating in a different environment and our decisions regarding stakes increases are designed to be both strategic and sustainable. In the Board’s view the traditional blanket approach to funding will not generate greater returns to the overall industry. It is important that we invest wisely, into those parts of our racing calendar which will encourage growth in both wagering and participation. This is a strategic pattern, and one that we will continue to execute and ultimately create opportunities from, particularly in our strongest performing times.” George also said that the funding will see an additional increase into stakes at the Grand National Carnival at Riccarton in August.
Waisake primed for Wellington Cup
Allan Sharrock is confident that Waisake (Zed) is ready to record back-to-back victories in the Wellington Cup (Gr 3, 3200m) after a solid gallop at New Plymouth. The seven-year-old is the clear favourite for the feature contest after his win in the Trentham Stakes (Gr 3, 2100m) on January 15. That was the son of Zed’s (Zabeel) first sign of a return to form following four lead-up runs this campaign and Sharrock feels he could be peaking at just the right time once again. “What buoyed me most was that it was a very tidy field, and he ran 33.61 for the last 600 metres,” Sharrock said. “I couldn’t be happier with his work this morning, and his recovery was great. I’ve done my job, and now it’s just keeping him right till the weekend.” Sharrock is also hopeful that he can provide Opie Bosson with a first success in the Wellington Cup, with the jockey coming into the race off the back of a Karaka Million win. “He’s been a good mate for many years, and he hasn’t won a Wellington Cup before, so it would be good to tick that box for him.” Waiksake’s run this weekend will decide where he is to head next. “The Sydney Cup is a possibility, but there are travel constraints potentially there, and he’s also got an Auckland Cup nomination,” Sharrock said. “We’ll just get through Saturday and work out the next option after that.”
Weatherley hoping good form remains
After enjoying his biggest payday yet as a jockey at Ellerslie on Saturday, Sam Weatherley is looking ahead to the possibility of yet another big meeting this weekend. The jockey teamed up with Jamie Richards to ride Pin Me Up (Pins) to success in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (RL, 1600m) and also partnered her Te Akau stablemate Fellini (Belardo) to finish third in the Karaka Million 2YO (RL, 1200m). “It was pretty special and I was very grateful for the opportunities given to me the other night, I was thrilled to get the job done,” Weatherley said. The former champion apprentice will be heading across the country on Saturday as he continues his association with Mali Ston (El Roca), who is trained by his father Darryn, in the Thorndon Mile (Gr 1, 1600m) at Trentham. The 22-year-old has ridden the son of El Roca (Fastnet Rock) in all of his five career wins, including the latest in the Rich Hill Mile (Gr 2, 1600m) on New Year’s Day. “I’m really looking forward to it. To be fair, he never does anything in trackwork. He went to his first trial and ran a nice second and that really surprised us. Since then, he has just kept improving,” Weatherley said. “He will be going out after Saturday win, lose or draw and will come back a better horse. He’s only four and is still a little bit immature mentally and physically.”
Savell thankful Trentham meeting goes ahead
While Trentham will not be able to welcome the usual large crowd that gathers for Wellington Cup Day, the Wellington Racing Club is thankful the meeting is able to go ahead. With the news that New Zealand was entering the red setting of the Covid-19 traffic light system at 11:59pm last Sunday, the club now has to comply with the gathering restrictions that have been imposed by the government. With 10,000 expected to hit the course on Saturday, the club will now have to reduce that to a tenth of the size, with a pod system of no more than 100 people per pod being utilised. RACE INC chief executive Tim Savell, who oversees the club, has said that the club just needs to continue their business in line with the new rules. “We have just to be realistic about the position the country is in and the industry needs to be safe and secure,” Savell said. “You have just got to deal with what is in front of you and make it work. It is fair to say that we have been planning for that eventuality (entering the red traffic light setting). It was in the back of everyone’s mind that it could occur, so it is not a complete surprise. It is extremely disappointing for the thousands of people who were going to come along and have a good time. From a club perspective, the icing on the cake is your big day, so you are not getting the chance to have a bigger bite of the pie.”
Agent Hale to lead Karaka sale stud tour
Bloodstock agent Stuart Hale has announced the dates for his 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale tour. The five-day programme covers both the Auckland and Waikato region, visiting 30 venues with refreshments and meals provided. Some of the studs featured as part of the tour include Haunui Farm, Westbury Stud, Windsor Park Stud, Trelawney Stud, Rich Hill Stud, Valachi Downs, Pencarrow Stud, Waikato Stud, Cambridge Stud, Pencarrow Stud etc. To book a spot on the tour contact Stuart Hale on 0274920975. Tour dates and details can be found here.