Auckland Thoroughbred Racing (ATR) has announced it will be contributing over $2 million towards stakes at Ellerslie and Pukekohe Park this season.
The contribution, which is over and above New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s minimums, comprises $930,000 previously committed by ATR and a further $1.1 million, making a total of $2.03m contributed by the Club.
Wilcox said the announcement is the first step towards ATR honouring the commitments it made during the Club’s recent merger process.
“We are pleased to embark on this new era of thoroughbred racing in Auckland by taking immediate action in increasing the level of return to our all-important stakeholders – our owners, trainers and jockeys,” Wilcox said.
“We made it well-known during the merger process that we are firmly-focused on continuing our investment and growth in the industry, and that stakes increases are the first priority for Auckland Thoroughbred Racing.
“This is a great first step on our journey towards rewarding those who choose to race with us, whether that’s at Ellerslie or Pukekohe Park.”
ATR chairman Doug Alderslade said the Club’s investment into stakes further reflects its commitment to the racing industry in New Zealand.
“We are delighted to be in a position to inject much needed stakes increases into our races which will benefit all industry participants,” he said.
“We remain confident that as we continue to implement our new business model, we will be in a position to announce further stake increases in the future.”
The stakes increases will be distributed via:
Non-black type races at ATR’s iconic, premier, feature and industry days between: - 15 December 2021 - 31 July 2022 for industry days - 20 November 2021 - 12 March 2022 for those others listed
ATR’s black type races held between 20 November 2021 – 31 July 2022
In addition to the above, ATR has further enhanced January’s New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million by increasing stakes on the four non-$1m races to:
Westbury Classic - $150,000 (was $110,000)
Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap - $110,000 (was $80,000)
Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy - $110,000 (was $80,000)
Collinson Forex Karaka Cup - $110,000 (was $100,000)
Wilcox said the Club hopes the increases will encourage increased participation at ATR’s meetings.
“We want our racecourses to be the destinations of choice for thoroughbred racing in New Zealand,” he said.
“It is hoped that today’s announcement will assist in not only attracting quality fields for our feature races, but broaden the appeal of our other races throughout the season too.”
Last season, Auckland Racing Club contributed $945,000 of its own monies in stakes, offering a combined total of $10.3 million and Counties Racing Club offered a total of $1.5 million in stakes.
This season, ATR will offer a total of $11 million in stakes between 20 November 2021 - 12 March 2022.