Morning Briefing

New Zealand Latest

Road To Rock gone

Road To Rock (Encosta De Lago), the sire of two-time Hong Kong Horse of the Year Beauty Generation, was euthanised last week, Wellfield Lodge announced yesterday. “He has had laminitis issues, which we have been managing for some time,” Wellfield Lodge director Bill Gleeson said. “It got to the stage last week where we had to make a welfare decision on him, which was unfortunate. His numbers dropped off dramatically over the last couple of years but we have kept breeding to him with specified matings and we expect there to be a few horses in the future to come. He meant a fair bit to us at the farm, he was a real character.” Road To Rock won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and the George Main Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) before retiring to Wellfield Lodge in 2010.

 

Racing expected to restart in July

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) is aiming for a July 1 restart of racing in the country, chairman Dr Alan Jackson and chief executive Bernard Saundry said in an open letter published yesterday. The New Zealand racing industry is currently in the midst of a pandemic-induced shutdown. The July 1 date is part of a four-month calendar that has been developed by the NZTR board and is based on a belief that training may be able to resume in May, with trials starting in late June. At first, it would begin with a single meeting each week in each region, before aiming to build to wider venue use by late spring. Also being considered are incentives to get horses to the races, rather than trialling multiple times, as well as the removal of nomination and acceptance fees.

 

NZTR cuts costs with industry not operating

In addition to a planned return to racing, NZTR has highlighted the measures that it has undertaken to reduce costs while the industry is shut down. Payroll and contractor costs have been reduced by 20 per cent, the salaries of board members have been reduced by 100 per cent, while Saundry has taken a 25 per cent pay cut. There have also been moves to enhance the protocols and actions required when a return to racing and training is possible, ensuring that the path is as easy as possible once the lockdown concludes.

 

Wellwood reflects on stable success

With racing in New Zealand locked down, trainer Robert Wellwood is taking stock of the shortened season and what his stable has achieved in that period. Wellwood trains in partnership with Roger James and believes the duo is set for a strong showing once racing resumes. “We have certainly had a good season to date, probably highlighted by Two Illicit,” Wellwood said. “Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to win the New Zealand Derby but even the fact that we had three horses in the top six of the Derby was something to be pretty proud of. We have got a great team of staff and a good group of owners and it makes the job a lot easier. It was gutting to watch the races from Sydney last weekend, knowing that we had two or three horses primed and ready to go, but I think Covid-19 is bigger than racing and bigger than our stable.”