Key Race Stake Increases & NZ Involvement in Australian Nationals

The New Zealand Racing Board has contributed to significant stake increases to the New Zealand Cup and the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar, along with the strengthening of the stakes on offer for the North Island and South Island Champs. And in further very welcome news comes confirmation of New Zealand’s participation in both races for the Australian National Championship series.

Pictured: Last season’s Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup carried a $100,000 stake when Nature’s Gent (pictured) won the Group 1 event - he can defend his title while racing for an increased total stake of $125,000.

This November the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup will be raced at the Addington Raceway for a stake of $125,000 an increase of $25,000. Next June the nation’s premier staying race, the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar at the Manukau Stadium will lift from $90,000 to $100,000. Both the Kamada Park North Island Challenge Stakes (Manawatu May 27) and the Barron’s Supplies South Island Champs (Addington June 28) will increase from the current $16,000 to $28,000 with their race status remaining at Group 2 level for at least the current season.

“The New Zealand Cup speaks for itself on the importance the race holds on the New Zealand Racing calendar. The Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar with its strong heritage was an obvious race to increase the stake on,” advised Greyhound Racing NZ’s Head of Racing Greg Kerr.

“The North Island and South Island Championships hold strong strategic places on our racing calendar and the opportunity to enhance their standing was made available to us,” added Kerr.

He also added that he has been working on a new series which would be a new Group 1/Group 2 event strictly for New Zealand bred greyhounds. “There are a lot of top class greyhounds bred in New Zealand and GRNZ feels that now is the time to acknowledge and celebrate those greyhounds in a newly instigated race. It will be at either Group 1 or Group 2 level and if it’s the later the stake will be at least $28,000.”

Ring the Bell Bigtime Levi Fair Pippa
The stakes has been increased for the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar (Ring The Bell 2018 winner); the North Island Challenge Stakes (Bigtime Levi 2018 winner); the South Island Champs (Fair Pippa 2018 winner)

In huge news comes the confirmation of New Zealand representation in the Australian National Championships series. The nationals comprise of a Sprint (middle distance) and a Distance race. Greyhounds from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and West Australia will now been joined by New Zealand trained greyhounds.

State finals are held in each state to select their runners for the finals with the final being rotated between the states. Owing to extreme travel costs involved (and import regulations), New Zealand will not host a “home” final series at this stage. However other States, including Victoria (Sandown Park) and Tasmania have already indicated a wiliness to stage a New Zealand “hosted” final.

“I have been working on our rightful place to be involved in the Australian Nationals and it’s fantastic it has now come to fruition. The co-operation and support GRNZ has had from our Australian administration counterparts has been brilliant. With a total prize package of $140,000 which has been made available from the NZ Racing Board we can now make it a reality for New Zealand greyhounds to be involved.

“We have budgeted for the worse case travel scenario i.e. Perth. The next Nationals will be raced in Sydney,” Kerr said, who added, “We plan to run North Island and South Island heats and then a national final to establish the New Zealand representatives. Our final will be raced on the same night the other Australian states race theirs, therefore making it a full on evening of live TV coverage of all finals.”

The Australian Nationals has been billed as State v State, Island v Island and now it will be Country v Country.

Tornado Tears Ring the Bell
The brilliant Rob Britton trained Tornado Tears won the recent Australian Distance Championship held on Melbourne’s Sandown Park – Batman as he’s affectionally known as, is pictured here with his regular handler Pete Reilly and trainer Rob Britton, who will be the conference key note speaker at the forthcoming GRNZ awards evening in Hamilton; the dual Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar winner Ring The Bell won the 2016 Australian Distance Championship in Adelaide prior to crossing the Tasman

The stakes funding for both the above NZ named races and participation in the Australian Nationals is being provided by the New Zealand Racing Board through a funding policy that GRNZ is entitled to.

This is a brilliant move forward for New Zealand greyhound racing and to be recognised via our inclusion in the Aussie National Championships is an outstanding milestone for Kiwi greyhound racing.

By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 25/09/2018 10:11:12 AM

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