NZ Pattern Review Committee Recommends Significant Changes
17 September 2013, 10:29 a.m.
The New Zealand Pattern Review Committee has recommended a number of significant changes to the Group and Listed race Pattern in its report released today.
The Board of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) established the Pattern Review Committee earlier this year to review the current Pattern and performance of black type racing in New Zealand. This was in response to wider industry concerns around the potential downgrading of a number of Group races as a result of implementation in 2012 of the Asian Racing Federation Ground Rules, which introduced strict criteria around the future upgrade or downgrade of Group One and Two races.
The terms of reference, provided by NZTR, asked the Pattern Review Committee to not only consider changes that would improve the quality and performance of New Zealand’s Group race system, but also to consider the current structure of carnivals and identify any races or opportunities that NZTR and the race clubs should target for development as Pattern races to further improve the performance of the Pattern in New Zealand.
The draft report of the Pattern Review Committee is available on the NZTR website:
The Committee has invited further submissions on any aspect of its report. Submissions will close with NZTR on Monday, 30 September, 2013. The Committee’s final report is expected to be considered by the NZTR Board meeting at its meeting on 25 October 2013. It is intended any recommendations adopted would be introduced as part of the development of the 2014-15 season’s dates schedule.
In advance of its final report being tabled with the NZTR Board, the Review Committee has supported a submission from the Levin Racing Club to have the Group One Levin Classic moved to Trentham and run on the first day of the Wellington Racing Club’s 2014 Cup carnival.
Pattern Review Committee chairman, Mark Freeman, said: “The Committee was keen to shift the Levin Classic away from its late November date, given the race has failed to achieve its required Group One rating benchmark in recent years and it was also impacting on the quality of the 2,000 Guineas.”
“The Review Committee applied a similar rationale to another of its major recommendations, that is the Group Two Wellington Guineas (1500m) be moved from late October, where it is competing with the recently promoted Group Three James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m), to New Zealand Oaks Day at Trentham over 1400m to create an alternative Group Two $100,000 three-year-old option.”
The Committee is also recommending that:
the Auckland Racing Club’s Group Two 3YO Championship Stakes (2000m) is moved from New Year’s Day, where it has struggled, to be run in April on Easter Handicap day at Ellerslie to provide another late autumn 3YO target
the Wellington Racing Club’s Group Two Wakefield Stakes 2YO is moved from January to Captain Cook Stakes day at Trentham in early December to avoid the clash with the Auckland Racing Club’s Karaka Million 2YO the following week
the Auckland Racing Club’s Group One Easter Handicap date is moved a week later to be run two weeks after the Group One Te Aroha Breeders’ Stakes.
In its report, the Committee has signalled the Auckland Racing Club’s City Of Auckland Cup, Group Two, is at risk of a downgrade. Unless there is a significant increase in prizemoney and/or a change of conditions, the Committee has recommended the club consider moving the 3200m Auckland Cup, Group One, back to New Year’s Day to re-establish a Summer Cups pattern. If this does not occur, the Committee advises races such as the Counties Cup and Waikato Cups, which have both been downgraded from Group Two in the past two years, will continue to struggle to meet the required benchmark.
The Committee reviewed the timing and make-up of the major racing carnivals, but did not recommend any changes to the overall structure.
The Committee has called on clubs and NZTR to look to programme more set weight and penalty-type races in the future and has suggested that the conditions for both the Wellington Racing Club’s Group One Thorndon Mile Handicap and Telegraph Handicap should revert to set weight and penalties, given general concerns that both these races and the status of a number of other major handicap races are at risk.
The Committee would also like to see clubs programme additional three-year-old, and fillies and mares races, at the new Iconic and Premier One meetings to better support the pattern, with some of these races likely to achieve black type status in the future.