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    • By Wandering Eyes in NZRB Performance 23
      On the third of April 2018 the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) CEO, John Allen, announced a "Good Half Yearly Result."  Content from that press release is in italics below.  BOAY takes an indepth look to find the Devil in the Detail and conclude that it was really a "Terrible Half Yearly Result"!  BOAY has attached the pdf of the full result for your reference.
      The New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) today announced an underlying operating profit for the first half of 2017/18 of $83.4 million, up $2.8 million or 3.4% on last year (excluding the net impact of strategic initiatives costs and benefits of $4.4 million).  Including the planned investment and associated benefits from the strategic initiatives, reported net profit was $79.0 million, $1.1 million (1.4%) below last year however this was $2.9 million above Budget.
      In a nutshell the "good result" was 1.4% BELOW last year or a reduction in profit of $1.1m.
      NZRB Chief Executive John Allen says this good interim financial performance is the result of a strong uplift in digital turnover and customer acquisition combined with ongoing disciplined cost management.
      “Successful customer acquisition campaigns, growth in digital channels and increased betting from high staking Elite customers has seen a growth in total revenue to $188.1 million, up 3.2% on last year and a corresponding growth in total turnover to $1.430 billion, up 3.9% on 2016/17,” says Mr Allen.
      Well that is a bit of spin!  A "strong uplift in digital turnover" we assume means more turnover was achieved via online betting.  Turnover was up 3.9% but this is on the back of low yield Elite customers and low yield Fixed Odd Betting on sports.  Much of the profit from sports gets distributed to sports entities.  Looking at the turnover figures to date as of 22 April 2018 Racing turnover is only up 0.64% ($7m) and total NZRB turnover up just 2%.  We assume that turnover figures have been bolstered by the giveaway voucher promotions e.g. open a new account and get a $20 free bet.
      The "ongoing disciplined cost management" is an amusing statement.  The turnover related expenses have risen 6% which tends to support our assumption that turnover has been bought. Total operating expenses are up 7%.   Granted this increase in cost has been driven by a rise in depreciation and amortisation.  It looks like the poor technology decisions of the past are coming home to roost.
      "Our rolling average monthly active account bettors grew to more than 106,000 per month over the 12 months to January 2018, up 16.4% on the previous 12 month period, and in January 2018 alone there were 112,250 active customers betting, up 19.5% on last year. The Spring customer acquisition campaign run across the second quarter delivered a massive 23,737 new customers, up 28% on target. These newly acquired customers continue to bet regularly with the TAB supported by our CRM initiatives that has contributed to the growth in Betting Turnover and Revenue.
      On the face of it an increase of nearly 20% in active customers should be applauded however there is a devil lurking in there.  How many of these customers were bought through the promotions and are still active?  What does "active" actually mean?  Does it mean they have had a bet since opening the account or that they are active every week?  They can't be betting that much if a 20% increase in customers only equates to a 3.5% increase in turnover.  Three quarters of the way through the financial year and that turnover increase has dropped to only 2%.
      Underlying operating expenses were $68.4 million, up 1.4% on last year largely driven by ongoing investment in technology platforms and PCI regulatory compliance while staff expenses, broadcasting and property costs have all been reduced.
      We are still trying to work out how John got to that $68.4m figure.  
      During the first half of 2017/18, the NZRB increased its distributions to the racing industry by 11.5% or $9.1 million on last year to $88.2 million while funding for national sporting organisations also increased by $1.0 million or 22.3% up to $5.5 million and another $1.3 million in grants were paid to amateur sport from gaming.
      Now BOAY readers this is where the dirty big red devil hides with sharp pointy horns!  So if net profit was down $1.1m (an appalling result) where did the increase in distributions to the codes of $9.1m come from?  It should be noted at this point that the national sporting organisations paid their way and their increase comes from an increase in gambling on their product.  Well there is only one place the extra $9m can come from - capital reserves.  Yes the extra distributions to racing was funded from capital reserves!
      From 31 January 2017 to 31 January 2018 General Reserves have dropped from $75m to $61m - that is a decline in reserves of $14m.  Conceivably in order to meet the promises to the racing codes and an end of year profit that will be not much different to last year the potential decline in reserves may surpass $20m!
      Mr Allen says the NZRB is on track to deliver its challenging full year underlying operating profit target of $153.9 million in the 2017/18 year and remains committed to lifting distributions to the industry.
      Really John?  Which track is that you are on?
      “We remain committed to lifting distributions to racing while facing a number of challenges. The industry continues to be plagued by an unusually high number of abandonments - 19 over the past six months (many of which occurred throughout January at Thoroughbred meetings), equating to $1.5 million in lost profit. The cost of these abandonments is also significant to trainers, jockeys and drivers incomes and returns to owners not to mention the flow on effect to other races,” says Mr Allen.
      More spin that doesn't add up.  Yes there have been abandonments BUT the number of meetings and races held are UP on last year!  But just like the increase in customer accounts this hasn't translated to an increase in revenue.
      In February, NZRB along with the three racing codes launched a process to address the issues our industry faces around infrastructure - leading the development of a future venue plan to help generate maximum benefits for racing’s stakeholders by delivering strategic investment in fit-for-purpose infrastructure and increased financial returns.
      When's the process going to kick in John?  Even if your overly optimistic returns from Racefields legislation comes to fruition you will still be substantially short of cash.  If the DIA estimates are correct then we will be out of reserves inside one racing season.
      The next question......what is the sneaky little devil called Intangible Asset Purchase?  At $16m it seems a big ticket item.  More on that later!
      NZRB Interim Financial Statements 2017-18.pdf
      Turnover Report to 22 Apr 2018.pdf


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  • A little bit of humour!


  • 2018 James Mc Wins at Ascot


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    • Granted a soft first black-type success when bettering two over-matched rivals in Newmarket’s Listed Fairway S. last time, Godolphin’s Old Persian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) had anything but an easy time in the G2 King Edward VII S. but he was man enough to hold off some tough rivals and continue his upward trajectory. Ridden forward from his high draw by William Buick to race in a close-up second, the 9-2 shot earned the lead before the quarter pole and stayed on tenaciously to beat Rostropovich (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) by 1 3/4 lengths, with another Ballydoyle representative in Giuseppe Garibaldi (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) a neck back in third. “He’s done nothing but progress through the spring and I said to William to go forward,” Charlie Appleby commented. “Once he hit the front, I was confident he would see it out well.” OLD PERSIAN (GB), 126, c, 3, by Dubawi (Ire)
      1st Dam: Indian Petal (GB), by Singspiel (Ire)
      2nd Dam: Wood Vine, by Woodman
      3rd Dam: Massaraat, by Nureyev
      1ST GROUP WIN. O/B-Godolphin (GB); T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buick. £127,598. Lifetime Record: 8-5-1-1, £186,611. View the full article
    • Saif Ali’s unbeaten Main Edition (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) entered the G3 Albany S. in the shadow of two TDN Rising Stars from Ballydoyle, but ultimately she proved best in a quality renewal which is sure to have an impact on next year’s Classics. Off the mark at Windsor May 21 before deying a penalty in a Goodwood novice stakes June 1, the 7-1 shot was forced to race away from the early pace set by the Wesley Ward-trained Stillwater Cove (Quality Road) who blazed the trail far side. Pulling the centre-group along throughout under James Doyle, she stayed on gamely to hold Godolphin’s determined La Pelosa (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) by a neck at the line, with the far-side “winner” Fairyland (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) a half length away for Aidan O’Brien and her stablemate and 2-1 favourite Just Wonderful (Dansili {GB}) only 14th. “It wasn’t easy for her from our draw, but I went straight up where the [Royal] carriage went earlier,” Doyle explained. “That’s where I found myself and the pressure going onto the ground meant it must be slightly quicker, but that’s all I had as I was doing it all on my own. I had such a willing partner and she’s so brave.” Trainer Mark Johnston added, “I knew she was pretty useful and we think our 2-year-old fillies are very strong. She is one of the leading bunch, which says a lot for all the others.” MAIN EDITION (IRE), f, 2, Zoffany (Ire)–Maine Lobster, by Woodman. (62,000gns Ylg ’17 TATOCT).
      O-Saif Ali; B-Minch Bloodstock (IRE); T-Mark Johnston; J-James Doyle. £51,039. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, £62,295. View the full article
    • This year’s Royal Ascot meeting has been notable for its lack of Australian influence, but that could be put right on Saturday’s closing card with Redkirk Warrior (GB) (Notnowcato {GB}) entering the fray for the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. Amazingly, the chestnut started out over a mile and a quarter at Yarmouth in the summer of 2014 before beating the eventual G1 Irish St Leger runner-up Agent Murphy (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}) at that trip at this venue. After a spell in Hong Kong, David and Ben Hayeses and Tom Dabernig’s conversion of him into leading sprint powerhouse in his new country of residence is nothing short of inspired. “He’s a lovely, relaxed horse and he’s very easy to deal with,” Ben Hayes said. “He comes here a lovely, fresh horse. When he’s had 100 days-plus off he’s got a great record, so we’re not bothered about him being fresh. It just depends how he handles the day, but he’s definitely got the ability to win.” When last seen, Redkirk Warrior was just able to give 12 pounds weight-for-age away to Merchant Navy (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) in Flemington’s G1 Newmarket H. on Mar. 10 and now he meets that former compatriot on level terms. A head separated them that day, but three months of development with some of that time under the El Dorado influence of Ballydoyle means that Merchant Navy could have closed the gap. His from-behind style, which was demonstrated again on his European debut when upstaging his new stablemate Spirit of Valor (War Front) and last year’s Diamond Jubilee runner-up Tasleet (GB) (Showcasing {Aus}) in The Curragh’s G2 Greenlands S. on May 26, is the right thing for this week with the straight track playing mainly to hold-up specialists. “We ran him at The Curragh hoping for a nice run. It was very good and we couldn’t have been happier with it, really,” Aidan O’Brien said. “It is a very competitive race. We are just delighted to have him here, really.” Both the Antipodean-European switchers have to do business with Harry Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), who is undoubtedly the leading sprinter in this hemisphere but who is worryingly 0-4 at this track. Despite having valid excuses for some of those defeats, the fact that he is unbeaten everywhere else has to cast a shadow over last year’s G1 July Cup and G1 Haydock Sprint Cup hero, who bids to complete a Group 1 sprint double this week for Godolphin. Trainer Clive Cox is unconcerned by that fact and said, “I don’t particularly lose any sleep that he has not got his head in front there. I think it’s more coincidence rather than a serious problem. Although there wasn’t a huge field, it was really pleasing [when he won the May 16 G2 Duke of York S.] at York and he came out of it well. I think, mentally, it’s always nice for most horses, especially sprinters, to get back in the groove. We were pleased he took that first test well and we’re very happy with him.” The supporting cast in a typically strong renewal includes one representing the week’s successful Wesley Ward-Joel Rosario combination in Bound For Nowhere (The Factor), who was fourth in the G1 Commonwealth Cup here last year and who comes into this off a four-length defeat of Bucchero (Kantharos) in Keeneland’s GII Shakertown S. over 5 1/2 furlongs on soft turf on Apr. 7. Bucchero was only beaten just over that margin when fifth in Tuesday’s G1 King’s Stand S., so the form has real substance. “He’s undefeated in the States so far and in his last race he bounded away from the best sprinters in the US,” Ward explained. “I think he’s going to be tough.” Last year’s winner The Tin Man (GB) (Equiano {Fr}), the G1 Qipco British Champions Sprint S. hero Librisa Breeze (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}) and the G3 Prix de Saint-Georges scorer City Light (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) add significant depth and the former’s trainer James Fanshawe said, “He looks fantastic and seems in good form at home, so we cannot ask for much more. It is a hot race, but he loves Ascot and when he is well he always runs a good race.” Moore Success For Stoute? After one of the landmark weeks of his esteemed career, Sir Michael Stoute should be able to seal an 11th success in the G2 Hardwicke S. with Sir Evelyn De Rothschild’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ Crystal Ocean (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}), who would be adding another string to his bow for the upcoming King George. Last year’s G1 St Leger runner-up handled fast ground without issue when winning a substandard renewal of the G3 Aston Park S. by six lengths at Newbury on May 19, and Ryan Moore has been let off duty by Coolmore to retain his partnership. They have done the same thing for the past two years, but 12 months ago it did not work out as his mount Dartmouth (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) was only fourth behind the re-opposing Idaho (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Barsanti (Ire) (Champs Elysees {GB}). Aidan O’Brien, who also saddles Wednesday’s G1 Prince of Wales’s S. fourth Cliffs of Moher (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), said of Idaho, who was last seen finishing a distant fourth in the June 1 G1 Coronation Cup, “He’s in good form and he won well [in the G3 Ormonde S.] at Chester. He was a little disappointing at Epsom. The ground was a little bit on the slow side and maybe that was the reason. Maybe it was the track, we are not sure. He seems to be in good form. I think he is a very straightforward horse. He very rarely runs a bad race. He doesn’t always win, but he is consistent enough.” Young Sires To Shine… The card also includes the meeting’s final juvenile contests, the Listed Chesham S. and Listed Windsor Castle S., with the market for the former dominated by the impressive May 26 Goodwood maiden winner Natalie’s Joy (GB) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) from the Mark Johnston stable. They almost won this with the filly Nyaleti (Ire) (Arch) 12 months ago and there is no Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) or September (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) coming from Ballydoyle this time. Bought into by Merriebelle Stables, Natalie’s Joy’s part-owner Simon Chappell said, “Mark had said she’d been going very well at home before Goodwood. He’s got a good bunch of juveniles this year, but we didn’t expect her to win like that. It’s very exciting going to Royal Ascot with a favourite and she did look special at Goodwood, but the Derby winner [Masar] was beaten in this last year.” If Natalie’s Joy disappoints, it could still be a big-news day for Coolmore if Godolphin’s June 6 Kempton novice stakes scorer Beyond Reason (Ire) (Australia {GB}) benefits to provide their first-season sire with a first black-type win. “She got beat at Newmarket on her first start finishing second before winning impressively last time out at Kempton,” trainer Charlie Appleby said. “Stepping up to seven furlongs will really suit her.” In the Windsor Castle, Ward and Rosario pair up with the Ramseys’ impressive May 24 Belmont maiden special weight scorer Moonlight Romance (Liaison). The usual bunch of first-crop sires are represented in this, with Dom Carlos (Ire) (Gale Force Ten {GB}), James Watt (Ire) (Morpheus {GB}) and Jungle Inthebungle (Ire) (Bungle Inthejungle {GB}) three with sound prospects on recent evidence. There is an unbeaten, unexposed hotpot in the Wokingham H. in Godolphin’s Dreamfield (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), a 1.1-million gns son of Izzi Top (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) that John Gosden has brought back from injury. “Everyone says that Dreamfield is the handicap certainty of the week, but I have never met one in my life, yet,” Gosden said. “He’s in good form and has worked fine at home. He obviously missed a year and a half and is not very experienced. I have been trying to box clever, probably too clever.” View the full article
    • Trainer Roger Attfield has a double-barreled threat in for the $125,000 Singspiel Stakes (G3T) as Danish Dynaformer and Final Copy will go postward in a field of eight for the 1 1/2-mile turf race at Woodbine. View the full article
    • Royal Ascot Day Five: Listed Chesham S. Mark Johnston trains three of the 11-strong field, two of which he bought as yearlings, while the most expensive on public record among some fairly pricey runners is Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s San Donato, a 500,000gns yearling. Arthur Kitt (GB) (Camelot {GB}) Homebred by Andrew Black of Chasemore Farm, he will bid to emulate his Royal Ascot-winning dam Ceiling Kitty (GB) (Red Clubs {Ire}), who landed the G2 Queen Mary S. in 2012 and sadly died foaling this colt, her third foal. B-Chasemore Farm Azhor Ahai (GB) (Sixties Icon {GB}) Another homebred, this time by his trainer Mick Channon, he was a winner at the third attempt on May 20 and is from a family which includes the half-brothers Anabaa and Key Of Luck. B-Mike Channon Bloodstock Ltd Cardini (Magician {Ire}) A solid colt with a lofty reputation on the gallops who has so far failed to live up to that promise in two starts. He was a $95,000 Keeneland pinhook by Michael Fitzpatrick who later sold him through his Kilminfoyle House Stud for 210,000gns at Book 2 of the October Sale to Amanda Skiffington on behalf of MV Magnier. B-Lannister Holdings Duke Of Hazzard (Fr) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) An Arqana August graduate at €130,000, sold to his trainer Paul Cole on behalf of owners Jim and Fitri Hay through Haras d’Etreham. Catesby Clay raced his dam, the Runnymede Farm-bred With Your Spirit (Fr) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), after she was herself unsold as a yearling at Arqana. B-Runnymede Farm Inc & Catesby W Clay Nate The Great (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) Bred by his co-owner Bridget Drew’s Mildmay Bloodstock, he was a winner on his sole start after being bought back at 30,000gns at Tattersalls October Book 3. His dam, Theladyinquestion (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), was bought by Martin Percival as a yearling at 22,000gns and raced for the same partnership. She has twice come home from the sales unsold, first as a 5-year-old, and last year at 10. B-Mildmay Bloodstock On A Session (Noble Mission {GB}) The first winner for his sire back on May 10, his two wins to date have come in the same two races won by Different League (Fr) (Dabirism {Fr}) en route to victory in the G3 Albany S. On A Session was bought as a yearling by Amy Marnane for $50,000 at Keeneland and was bought back at 60,000gns for the Goffs UK Breeze-up Sale. B-Green Lantern Stables LLC San Donato (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) Sold by co-breeder James Hanly through his Ballyhimikin Stud for 500,000gns to trainer Roger Varian. Lady O’Reilly raced his dam Boston Rocker (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) after she was bought at the Orby Sale by her trainer Eddie Lynam for €35,000. B-J Hanly, A Stroud & Skymarc Farm Aussie View (Ire) (Australia {GB}) The first of four fillies in the field and one of two representing freshman sire Australia, she was sold by her breeder Rockfield Farm for €40,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale and won on Sunday on her third start for Mark Johnston. B-Rockfield Farm Beyond Reason (Ire) (Australia {GB}) Bred by the same team responsible for Ascot Gold Cup winner Order Of St George (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and sold through Clare Castle Stud at the October Sale for 370,000gns to Rabbah Bloodstock. A winner on her second start on June 6, she is the second foal of the Grade III-winning Azamour (Ire) mare No Explaining (Ire), who was bought for 220,000gns as a 7-year-old in 2014. B-Paget Bloodstock Natalie’s Joy (GB) (Lope De Vega {Ie}) A six-length winner on her sole start, she was selected by her trainer Mark Johnston at Tattersalls October Book 2 for 35,000gns. Her unraced dam Semaphore (GB) (Zamindar) is a daughter of the high-class Blue Duster (Danzig) and was picked up from the Darley draft at the Goffs November Sale by Summerhill Bloodstock for €52,000. B-Moyns Park Estate And Stud Ltd New Winds (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) A dual winner, this Godolphin homebred is out of the Prix de Diane victrix West Wind (GB) (Machiavellian), whose dam Red Slippers (Nureyev) won the Sun Chariot S. for Sheikh Mohammed and Luca Cumani after being bought privately from Robert Sangster. B-Godolphin View the full article
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  • Race a horse with Michael Pitman


    Currently lying 3rd on the Premiership Table with a comparatively small stable.

    Shares available in 2 colts  and a filly bought at the 2018 South Island Sale.

    Full details here:

    Race With Pitty - Shares available in three nice horses