The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) is pleased to release the 2018/19 domestic racing calendar. The calendar, which covers the period from 1 August 2018 to 31 July 2019, has been approved by the NZRB Dates Committee following extensive consultation with Codes, clubs and other recognised racing organisations. A total of 1,031 race meetings will be hosted, down four from last year.
The number of greyhound meetings increases by two and fans will continue to enjoy eight hours of racing most Tuesdays, similar to the current season.
There will be an additional two harness meetings and a change in venue for the Harness Jewels, with the NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club to host at Addington for the first time on 1 June 2019.
New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing have removed eight race meetings across the country to improve the quality of fields. These eight meetings were assessed based on seasonal impacts for specific regions where available starters are less and also considers track conditions.
The 2018/19 racing calendar also accommodates the closure of Ellerslie for a track upgrade. This is due to reopen on 27 October 2018 and sees a change in venue and date for the Pakuranga Hunt meeting, the Auckland Racing Club Great Northern meeting and the Auckland Racing Club Premier meeting.
NZRB estimates this calendar will deliver increased financial benefits to the industry, similar to the additional $3 million forecast for the current season.
Over the past three years, NZRB has been working with the wider racing industry to develop a domestic racing calendar that maximises revenue, improves the quality and competitiveness of racing and optimises the cost of its delivery - the Optimise the Calendar project.
Optimise the Calendar is one of a number of key strategic initiatives currently being progressed - other activities include an automated fixed odds betting platform and forward-looking Customer and Channels strategies. These initiatives will deliver a significant lift in annualised net profit once fully implemented and help NZRB build a long-term sustainable future for racing in New Zealand.
Here is a summary of the key dates, features and changes to the 2018/19 racing calendar:
- Thoroughbred Spring Carnival commences in Hastings on 1 September 2018
- NZ Cup and Show Week runs from 10 to 17 November 2018
- Wellington Cup Day is on 19 January 2019
- Karaka Million Twilight Racing is on 26 January 2019
- Auckland Cup Week runs from 2 March to 9 March 2019
Printed 2018/19 racing calendar booklets will be available free from TAB retail outlets in August.