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Should be superb betting fields, over 100 noms per race

I guess the only down side is, it is at Ruakaka.  I'm wondering why they could not have held it at Avondale

 

NEWS | New winter racing initiative

 

Collaboration between Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, Waikato Racing Club and Whangarei Racing Club has seen the creation of a new racing initiative - the Winter Championships.

 
 
 
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The picturesque Ruakaka Racecourse will hold the finals of the newly-created Winter Championships
 

We've pulled together everything you need to know about the series below...

 
 
 

What are we talking about?

 
 
 

The 2022 ITM/GIB Northern Region Winter Championships is an innovative new concept to raise interest in winter flat racing for owners and racing fans alike.

 
 
 

The Championships kick off with qualifying races in the northern region, culminating at Ruakaka on Saturday 16 July where five Championship finals will be played out. Those finals are:

 
  1. ITM/GIB Stayers’ Final | Open | 2100m

  2. ITM/GIB Sprinters’ Final | Open | 1400m

  3. ITM/GIB Progressive (1win) Final | 1600m*

  4. ITM/GIB 3yo Final | SWP | 1600m

  5. ITM/GIB 2yo Final | SWP | 1200m

* Max weight 60kg / Minimum weight 54kg | Special Conditions for horses that have won not more than one flat race as at 9am, Monday 2 May 2022.

 
 
 

Entry to each Championship final will be subject to qualification in heats across venues that include Te Rapa, Avondale, Pukekohe, Matamata, Ruakaka, Cambridge and Tauranga with great opportunities for all classes of horses.

 
 
 

Where did the idea come from?

 
 
 

Auckland Thoroughbred Racing’s executive general manager of racing and operations - Craig Baker - has led the development of the concept.

 
 
 

He says “the Winter Championships are something that I have been wanting to do for a few years now and are based on the successful Winter Championships that have been running in Victoria for many years.”

 
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Kiwi-bred Mongolian Marshal, ridden by Brett Prebble, won one of the 2021 Winter Championship finals at Flemington. Image: Racing Photos
 
 
 

The goal was to create a flat racing highlight in the middle of winter and as a result of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) Innovation Fund, the stake money was able to be sourced to see it come to life.

 
 
 

Baker goes on to say that “given the level of prize money on offer, we expect there to be strong participation. The five Championship finals will make for a very competitive race meeting at Ruakaka that will encourage punter interest and create some additional hype and interest in winter flat racing in the northern region.”

 
 
 

How did the concept come to fruition?

 
 
 

As mentioned above, the concept has been able to be brought to life in New Zealand due to being able to gain access to NZTR’s Innovation Fund which has provided the necessary monies.

 
 
 

Mike Beazley, chair of Whangarei Racing Club says that “NZTR is to be congratulated on the creation of the Innovation Fund that allows various racing initiatives across New Zealand to be developed from the ground-up by clubs. The clubs are, in many cases, made up of owners and breeders who are passionate about racing and understand their regional needs.”

 
 
 

The $500,000 Innovation Fund was announced when NZTR’s stake increases were flagged in early July 2021 and clubs were invited to apply to the fund to further improve their race meeting performance.

 
 
 

The ITM/GIB Northern Region Winter Championships were developed by Auckland Thoroughbred Racing, Waikato Racing Club and Whangarei Racing Club with the Championships Finals’ race meeting rotated annually between them in the order of: Whangarei Racing Club; Waikato Racing Club; Auckland Thoroughbred Racing.

 
 
 

What sort of money are we talking?

 
 
 

The Winter Championships will see $300,000 of stakes distributed among the five Championship Finals with each worth $60,000.

 
 
 

When are the key dates?

 
 
 

Nominations have just closed with an impressive 520 (more here).

 
 
 

The first qualifying races take place on Saturday 21 May at Te Rapa with a number of races scheduled over May, June and July (at Te Rapa, Avondale, Pukekohe, Matamata, Cambridge, Rotorua and Ruakaka) with the finals taking place on Saturday 16 July at Ruakaka.

 
 
 
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Crystallize has been nominated for the Championships. Photo Credit: Trish Dunell
 
 
 

Keep an eye on the Ellerslie Twitter feed for announcements on those horses that are on their way to qualifying over the next few months and a weekly update will be posted here so you can keep up with those heading to the finals.

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Distance to travel, especially with fuel costs going up.

Great idea, superb idea in fact(there will be the usual knockers), but ideally should have been at Te Rapa, close to the main horse populations.

Full credit to Whangarei though for hatching and progressing the idea with Auckland and NZTR(Love Racing).  Fuck I hate that handle

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Just reading the article(helps), I see it was Craig Baker from Auckland who hatched it, and it runs on a 3 year cycle, Whangarei, Te Rapa, Auckland.

So all good

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Posted (edited)

Distance to travel? Flock off...its an expressway from the mighty Waikato pretty well all the way to where the surf meets the turf...esp when the Puhoi-Wellsford section is opened shortly. No-one seems to care about the distance the Ruakaka-based horses/people have had to travel esp in winter all these years ...with the real risk of meeting abandonment on account of crappy dangerous tracks...

I bet no owners/trainers/jockeys will mind going north on 16 July this year with 5 x $60k flat races to be contested on a track that hardly ever gets worse than a Dead6 (Soft6). Moan about the facilities at Ruakaka all you like, but it would beat that dilapidated shameful eyesore of a grandstand at Avondale any day of the week. They've only had 30 years to do something about it and the damn thing is still there (just)! Which is a shame cos the racing surface is fine by all accounts.

Credit where it's due ...to Craig Baker, Mike Beazley, sponsors from ITM/GIB and the rest who've had the vision, desire and energy to get in first and make it happen. It's called positive leadership.

MM

Edited by Maximus
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Any one seen the business case for NZTR funding the stakes for this? Need about $4million turnover on them to justify the expenditure on stakes alone, let alone owner, trainer, jockey expenses, club costs etc. Just wondering if there might have been a better way the industry could spend that dosh to advance its future?

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, curious said:

Any one seen the business case for NZTR funding the stakes for this? Need about $4million turnover on the 5 races to justify the expenditure on stakes alone, let alone owner, trainer, jockey expenses, club costs etc. Just wondering if there might have been a better way the industry could spend that dosh to advance its future?

 

Edited by curious
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  • 4 weeks later...

Emailed Ellerslie and got this reply, which was just data for the first 2 races in the Stayers Championship.  Pretty poor all round I thought.  At least got a reply

 

Hi Alan and thanks for your email.

 I have been waiting for some time to get an update on points from NZTR which I got through this morning.

 Please find attached.

 Cheers

 

CRAIG BAKER

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