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Chief Stipe

Trotting/Harness Clubs - Financial Reports

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Hi

I've started collating the last published financial accounts for each of the Trotting/Harness Racing Clubs.  

First ones to be posted are for those that have lost race dates.

I'll add more as I get time.  Plus maybe some analysis.

Cheers

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What I've found so far is that these clubs are all solvent and have low cost models of operation.

They all have a decent amount of cash in the bank.  You'd think if those at the coal face Owners, Trainers, Drivers didn't support these clubs then they'd be broke.  🤔

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1 hour ago, Chief Stipe said:

What I've found so far is that these clubs are all solvent and have low cost models of operation.

They all have a decent amount of cash in the bank.  You'd think if those at the coal face Owners, Trainers, Drivers didn't support these clubs then they'd be broke.  🤔

Forbury has been in the newspapers for being on its financial death bed.

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10 minutes ago, Happy Sunrise said:

Forbury has been in the newspapers for being on its financial death bed.

They had a loss in 2018 of $250k.  But that could be attributed to the switch to Bulk Funding and increase in costs to hold their race meetings.  Both these factors are controlled by HRNZ.

They still had money in the back $500k and $2.1m in assets at the end of 2018 season.

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Seems the three codes in Dunedin/Otago have been universally shafted.  Doesn't make sense.  2018 the Dogs had $500k in the bank!

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Reading the above reports the opinion i come to is why do they need to stop racing at these tracks?

Forbury certainly needs some  sorting out given the losses they continue to have, but if they sold it what chance have they got of recouping the significant value of their buildings which are shown as assets. Why not just give them some decent dates at a better time of year to help them out,or change the way of funding them to reflect the poor dates they have had.

Before reading the above financial accounts i thought it would show that most were eating away at their asset base,but quite the contrary.

Given that,and if you accept that some of their funding needed to be redirected to the bigger clubs designated as being essential,then why not just do that, but  throw the clubs mentioned above the lifeline of being given the opportunity to operate and see if they could continue to show reasonable balance sheets.   Or why not reduce the number of race meetings and see how they go.

Looking at a club like timaru. They pay $66,000 to hold those meetings to the trustees of that track to maintain and provide it for racing.    Given the galloping club is still going in timaru,how are the trustees of the track going to be able to maintain the facilities without the trotting clubs contribution? Doesn't make much sense.   

I did note that the total on course turnover at the 7 timaru meeting was a pitiful $153,000.  If you invited the contributors  on here to all of their meetings we could probably turnover the same ourselves.

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As far as Waimate goes. The article says they only have one or two trainers there. Orari is the same.

The reason for that is because those that run those tracks won't rent out their facilities  to harness trainers.  

I feel sorry for a track like Gore as they went out of their way to encourage trainers to train from their track.  

Also,Waimate supposedly spent $400,000  about 3 years ago to get their facilities up to raceday standard at a time when it was being suggested they would eventually close.. 

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4 hours ago, the galah said:

I did note that the total on course turnover at the 7 timaru meeting was a pitiful $153,000

Nobody goes to Timaru meetings and the ones who do, don't bet. Oamaru has poor on course patronage. Asbhurton is weak too.

Any city based course has poor attendance these days. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Happy Sunrise said:

Nobody goes to Timaru meetings and the ones who do, don't bet. Oamaru has poor on course patronage. Asbhurton is weak too.

Any city based course has poor attendance these days. 

 

Nobody has said much about Orari having to go to Methven.

Orari would have run the best Xmas at the Races programme. Big crowds at their November. meetings.  Good track and good racing. They have got shafted. 

I don't see why they have to go to Methven. 

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Posted (edited)

I remember clubs like timaru always used to have on course turnovers between $120,000  to $150,000 at each meeting 30 years ago. Now that takes 7 meetings to get.Shows you how things have deteriorated. I was talking to a bloke who went to the last timaru meeting  and he said he couldn't believe that not one person was in the bar area when he went in. It was only 10 or so years ago they had some meetings where the bar area was a hive of activity.   

 

47 minutes ago, Happy Sunrise said:

Nobody has said much about Orari having to go to Methven.

Orari would have run the best Xmas at the Races programme. Big crowds at their November. meetings.  Good track and good racing. They have got shafted. 

I don't see why they have to go to Methven. 

.

Orari did get a good crowd,but the numbers were shrinking from what they were  6 or so years ago when they started the xmas at the races theme.

I think the novelty aspect was wearing off with those looking to use it as a xmas work function, along with the unfortunate wet weather,the stopping of byo alcohol and the doubling of the cost for those doing the xmas function thing. .Thats the feedback i heard from the many that i spoke to who went. Although everyone always said they had a good day. Having the xmas at the races theme every second year may be a better way to keep its popularity relevant,thats my theory when using the same track with a smaller population base as your customers.

 Maybe methven may struggle to get as good a crowd,but then again if they target christchurch workplaces with the xmas at the races on a grass track event, then they may get more.They certainly have a much greater population to sell it too.

Edited by the galah

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9 hours ago, Chief Stipe said:

What I've found so far is that these clubs are all solvent and have low cost models of operation.

They all have a decent amount of cash in the bank.  You'd think if those at the coal face Owners, Trainers, Drivers didn't support these clubs then they'd be broke. 

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9 minutes ago, the galah said:

I was talking to a bloke who went to the last timaru meeting  and he said he couldn't believe that not one person was in the bar area when he went in.

Everyone working due to the crazy midweek allocation I imagine.

 

11 minutes ago, the galah said:

Having the xmas at the races theme every second year may be a better way to keep its popularity relevant

Xmas at the races is gone isn't it? 

11 minutes ago, the galah said:

Maybe methven may struggle to get as good a crowd,

It is not as big as it was. The grass car park is not as full consistently as it was even 2 years ago. If it is going to have more meetings then HRNZ or whoever needs to invest in its facilities. Toilets are awful. Now that the stand has gone there is no shade and and the viewing is poor on the bank near the winning post because they tend to put marquees in the way. A tidy up of the little things would go a long way there. Even signage.

That sounds like I am complaining but people can handle going to to some country bumpkin race club once a year and piss in a 1920s urinal if you are a fella because it is almost part of the experience but if you have 10 meetings a year then it needs to be better. That is not evening mentioning the women who hate a lack of decent facilities.

Places like Mot and Methven need to step up with the help of HRNZ and RITA (lol...I know I am dreaming) to make their courses more user friendly and make people want to come back. Will Mot get proper cell coverage if the totes are going? If there are no totes / stands are clubs going to create a place for people to congregate or sit down? Will sponsors get treated better as they will be harder to come by in the current climate and with tracks closing.

No clubs do the bouncy castles things anymore for kids. That is gone. Is that Health and Safety or cost?

Oh, hang on, retract all that because there are no totes, no presenters, not even cell coverage, no nothing on course so stay at home people. Must be what they want.

 

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Posted (edited)

Problem is that with the finances of the TAB being basically zilch, these clubs were not going to receive a lot in the coming years.

Looking at the finances of most of these clubs, yes they have asset value but they weren’t making money of any note and going forward they wouldn’t be.

By saying that, it isn’t all about making money more about the fact that they still want to race.

If you were personally the owner of the clubs and running it as a business, it would be a no brainer to close the racing down and sell off the land or develop it yourself!

Harness racing is clearly at a low point in its history and hopefully it can survive in the future as apart from an enjoyable sport, it provides employment for so many.

It is a damn shame that the NZ TAB employed people like John Allen and some other of his assistants that haven’t any business sense and were more concerned about how much they could milk the NZ punters for!!!

Defies logic how they could’ve approved such a lemon of a system that is going to be the downfall of racing in NZ, and yet many on here did question the need for it!

Edited by Brodie
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Posted (edited)

It maybe a bit of a conspiracy theory but the clubs to loose their permits predominately have strong balance sheets with property , reserves or both.

Will the new Act make Waterlea sell or Avondale etc?

I do agree we need rationalisation and a race meeting should standalone and make money without sucking on its reserves but the selection of theses clubs versus say Westport or Nelson or Refton may mean a RITA plan to balance its books by asset striping the asset rich club .

Manawatu books look strong and how can HRNZ tell trainers how to run their business - as an example if Brad Williamson wants to travel to middle of the Nth island for a two day meeting that is his call not HRNZ’s .

Edited by LongOwner
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1 minute ago, Brodie said:

Problem is that with the finances of the TAB being basically zilch, these clubs were not going to receive a lot in the coming years.

They are seemingly on their own. They do a stirling job for little or reward. Certainly, not financial reward. 

They are (were) the lifeblood of harness racing and in spite of little assistance from anybody above them they created really good days for a lot of people. Their resolve, especially of the little clubs who were just denied dates, will be sorely tested now. If that generation of people decide to hang up their boots and watch, instead of run race meetings, then the carnage is not over by a long way. The demise of tracks and clubs may even hasten when you think a lot of hobby trainers are also committee members. That is a double blow.

 

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