Friday, February 10, 2006Contact: Simon Cooper, NZTR
+64 - 04 576 6270
Changes in New Zealand Jump Racing Approved

A review held by the Jumping Advisory Committee in December 2005, which was subsequently considered by the New Zealand Jumping Association and the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Board (NZTR) in January, looked at a number of issues for the 2006 jump racing season. This included the final draft of the 2006 Jump Racing Programme and Feature Jumping Races.

The following key points were considered in this review process:

  • 2007 and beyond

    The NZTR Board has initiated a full review of jump racing in New Zealand, looking in particular at the sport’s sustainability for the long term. In commissioning this review the Board was mindful of the fact that the 2006 jumping season represents NZTR’s third year of support for a three-year commitment to additional funding.

    Terms of reference for this review are currently being drawn up. The Board will consider these at its March 2006 meeting. It is intended that this review will report to the Board no later than October 2006.

  • Participation Initiative

    The industry sought NZTR’s help in drawing up options aimed at incentivising more participation and heightening the profile of the jumping season. NZTR are currently drafting options, which will be presented to stakeholders at the end of this month for consultation.

  • Condensed Jumping Season

    It was agreed that the jumping season should commence in earnest from early May and conclude at the National Jumps Day at Paeroa on 8 October 2006. The review took into account that the programmes for the South Island had already been confirmed to July 2006. Particular emphasis was placed on the South Island’s 100th running of the Great Western Steeplechase at Riverton at Easter, with a significant $50,000 stake on offer.

    The decision to conclude the jumping season with the National Jumps Day at Paeroa was taken after due consideration of the negative impact at the end of last season with a number of jumping riders going overseas after the National Jumps Day last season, despite sufficient horses being available.

  • Opportunities for riders

    Despite the condensed jumping season, a comparative number of opportunities to last season have been provided for jumping riders throughout this season, particularly midweek, including highweights. It was emphasised that this initiative will succeed only if jumping riders support it. This may result in more travel during some weeks but Clubs have co-operated to ensure there remains a viable number of races for jumping riders to compete in.

  • Programming to avoid clashes of events

    Clashes of jumping events have been avoided wherever practical. In particular, there will be no clashes between the Northern and Central regions on Saturdays.

    Particular focus was placed on Premier/Feature jumping days and wherever practical, multiple jumping opportunities have been scheduled on a number of racedays.

  • National Jumps Day at Paeroa

    It was agreed to retain National Jumps Day at Paeroa in its early October date in the Calendar, and to focus the programme for the day on emerging horses.

  • Classes of Races

    It was agreed to discontinue the Novice Series, leaving Maidens, Intermediates and the Open grade as it currently applies.

  • Standard of Fences

    A working group has been established to review the standard of fences, the key driver being to increase participation, particularly at the feature jumping meetings.

  • Amateur Riders Series

    A new series of totalisator races for amateur riders, again to increase participation, was agreed to. This is planned to commence at Hawke’s Bay on 3 August and culminate at National Jumps Day at Paeroa. This would include presentation of the Duke Of Gloucester Cup, now to be awarded on a rotational basis, with this season’s event to be held at the Pakuranga Hunt meeting in August 2006.

  • Minimum number of acceptors in jumping races

    Clubs must run a jumping race provided there are a minimum of seven (formerly six) acceptors in the field at the closing time for withdrawals in the Northern and Central Regions and five in the Southern Region.

    This aligns the policy for jumping races with flat races but still provides some variance for the South Island given the numbers in jumping races. This policy would not apply to Prestige Jumping Races, which must be run irrespective of the number of acceptors.

    The NZTR Board approved this amendment at its meeting on 27th January 2006.