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Harness Decline?


Hesi
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Having lived in the Waikato and attended many meetings at Claudelands and Cambridge, also Alexandra Park on a Friday night, I'm wondering what has caused this decline in the Auck/Waikato region, almost to the point of collapse.

I still drive through the Kumeu/Taupaki region most days, there used to be so many training establishments there, and the old Purdon mansion is still there if you drive out the back of Takanini.

I don't follow harness anymore, so excuse me if i have missed the obvious here.

Interested in your thoughts

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On 1/5/2023 at 6:39 AM, Hesi said:

I still drive through the Kumeu/Taupaki region most days, there used to be so many training establishments there, and the old Purdon mansion is still there if you drive out the back of Takanini.

I think mostly the answer is the cost of living being so inflated these days. Racing Horses as a recreation /hobby/ interest is becoming even a little expensive even for the more wealthy horse lovers around. only a small percentage of horses that get to the races return a profit long-term. 

You mentioned Property. yes a lot has been taken up for real estate. Takanini was a Thriving thoroughbred Training Centre that I saw last century,  in the McGinty/ Jillo/ Vance days. was around 70  trainers from memory. must of been dispursed or retired. just for housing. ? blah to that. Auckland trotting Club that far in debt , they are going to 'Sell Off ' the Franklin training Centre. The North will complete their collapse after that. No-where for any young enthusiastic Trainers to train?. I imagine Bernie Hackett trains there now and he supplies a Lot of The 'Trotting Gait' horses that race in Auckland. where will they go.

And People. Nz has lost the great's of harness (or part-thereof) overseas for years. The young Wolfenden's did America, the young Herlihy, Dexter now, Anthony Butt went to Oz , along with his brother Tim Butt and his son, Richard Brosnan and his son in Vic as well .. so the next generation are coming through away from Nz. young Dickie and young Purdon having Vic stints as well........ you just can't Beat that sort of decline of personnel. 

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5 minutes ago, Lightning Blue said:

I think mostly the answer is the cost of living being so inflated these days. Racing Horses as a recreation /hobby/ interest is becoming even a little expensive even for the more wealthy horse lovers around. only a small percentage of horses that get to the races return a profit long-term. 

You mentioned Property. yes a lot has been taken up for real estate. Takanini was a Thriving thoroughbred Training Centre that I saw last century,  in the McGinty/ Jillo/ Vance days. was around 70  trainers from memory. must of been dispursed or retired. just for housing. ? blah to that. Auckland trotting Club that far in debt , they are going to 'Sell Off ' the Franklin training Centre. The North will complete their collapse after that. No-where for any young enthusiastic Trainers to train?. I imagine Bernie Hackett trains there now and he supplies a Lot of The 'Trotting Gait' horses that race in Auckland. where will they go.

And People. Nz has lost the great's of harness (or part-thereof) overseas for years. The young Wolfenden's did America, the young Herlihy, Dexter now, Anthony Butt went to Oz , along with his brother Tim Butt and his son, Richard Brosnan and his son in Vic as well .. so the next generation are coming through away from Nz. young Dickie and young Purdon having Vic stints as well........ you just can't Beat that sort of decline of personnel. 

I guess that is the warning for thoroughbred, decline of skilled personnel

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On 1/5/2023 at 9:39 AM, Hesi said:

Interested in your thoughts

HRNZ can't do the small things right let alone get the big picture stuff.

It would take an age to go through the issues for trainers, owners, breeders, clubs, drivers and punters individually.

It all adds up. The smaller foal numbers coming through now portend to a general weakening in harness racing overall.

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1 hour ago, Happy Sunrise said:

It all adds up. The smaller foal numbers coming through now portend to a general weakening in harness racing overall.

Yes that's A definite reason harness is weak now is this huge drop off in racing numbers. You need a lot of foals on the ground each year to harvest the ones 'fast enough' to race. The speed they go now too, would say you have to be sub 1.58 milerate capable to be competitive? a big ask. 

In the 80's to boost numbers , 2 high quality stallions stood at a very modest fee, SMOOTH FELLA and VANCE HANOVER (sire of Chokin) and so people flocked to them with their mares . Vance Hanover had over 200 individual starters each season for 8 years running (stood at stud for less than $1000 I think) There were Smooth Fella's and Vance Hanovers in every barn . brilliant !

Why can't someone do that again ? stand a quality stallion at a very low fee.? This would boost the numbers dramatically, stud master gets plenty of mares thus plenty of 'attention' ,, owner doesn't lose much if it's a dud foal , plenty of them should still get to the races........ 

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34 minutes ago, vanturk said:

Skill? Define skill

Getting a horse to be competitive on a racetrack

Knowing how to figure out what is wrong with a horse that may not being running well

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16 minutes ago, Hesi said:

Getting a horse to be competitive on a racetrack

Knowing how to figure out what is wrong with a horse that may not being running well

And how many  skilled  trainers have got that right?

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Any way, going back, I still think it is a great skill to get a horse up to a standard where it can race competitively , including assessing and fixing all the hiccups along the way.  Once those skills are lost, it becomes very hard to get them back, which is part of the issue in harness in the northern region.

In the David Ellis video, where he talks about Colin Jillings, he makes mention of his ability to very quickly analyse a horse

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They would be the children of existing harness families?

Harness is a little bit different to thoroughbreds, jockeys are a separate breed, very few if any trainers that ride their horses.

As I said, I have not followed harness for a while, but had a look at the Cambridge fields, and they are going around for 10-12K, a figure that will likely drop in 23/24 

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Whats this one. Hadnt seen. Not all Kidz Kartz are from existing family members.

I dont have the time to answer this one re Hesi thread. Will go offline soon.

But think everyone should calm down & have a mellowpuff.

Remember we are all here are we are all Harness racing fans. Dont lose sight of that. All on the same team. Even if we disagree with each other on things. And all want the best for NZ Harness racing survival.

 

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