New road as Matamata quits TRAC
significant change is in store for the Matamata Racing Club following the recent decision to withdraw from the TRAC group of clubs and return to an independent model.
The Thoroughbred Racing Action Consortium (TRAC) was formed in 1999 and has comprised the Matamata, Tauranga, Rotorua, Te Aroha, Taupo, Thames and RotoruaBay of Plenty Hunt clubs.
The original concept was based on administrative efficiencies and most effective use of dates allocated to member clubs. Strength of numbers also ensured that clubs shared the benefits of each other’s wellbeing as well as providing a mutually beneficial safety net in instances such as weatherrelated catastrophe.
The decision to withdraw from TRAC is the final outcome of an independent review commissioned late last year by the Matamata Racing Club. The aim of the review was to provide a clear picture of operations within the TRAC model and in particular Matamata’s position.
The review resulted from concerns that had arisen over TRAC’S reduced profitability over recent years and the belief that this was placing an increasing and unsustainable burden on member clubs, not the least of them Matamata. It’s no secret that the racing industry overall is experiencing challenging times but the findings of the review confirmed that rationalisation of the TRAC structure would be in the best interests of all parties.
The committee of the Matamata Racing Club felt so strongly that a need existed for change that notice was given of the club’s decision to withdraw from TRAC. Such notice is a condition of the TRAC constitution and is required no less than six months before the end of the current season, July 31.
‘‘It was a decision that was not made lightly but after weighing up all relevant factors the club committee felt that it was the right one,’’ said MRC president John Moore. ‘‘Matamata has an important role to play in the racing industry and the decision was based on the need to be in the best position to carry out that responsibility.
‘‘Much of the reasoning behind the decision to withdraw from TRAC is to enable the club to have greater control of its management and future. That includes the need to maintain a strong connection with sponsors and the community that have traditionally supported the club.’’
Members and sponsors have been notified this week of Matamata’s renewed direction but it will essentially be business as usual when the new season kicks off in August.
An increasing number of race days across the country has resulted in Matamata playing host to 12 meetings – including the South Waikato Racing Club fixture in March – for the current season and that will increase to 14 racedays in 2012-13.
The new season schedule begins on Monday, August 13, followed by another on Wednesday, August 29.
While the bulk of Matamata’s 2012-13 commitment comprises mid-week meetings, Team Wealleans Matamata Cup day will again be staged on the second Saturday of October and the club’s flagship race day centred on the J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes will take place on the last Saturday in February.
The other significant day on the Matamata calendar is the pre-christmas meeting on December 19.
Last year saw the return to a late afternoon start-time and this year the twilight concept will gain further strength with the club having received permission for racing to commence at 3pm.
Back to the business of current racing, Matamata stables provided the last three winners on Saturday’s big Pick6 race day at Te Rapa, in the form of the Danica Guy-trained Seuss, John Sargent’s Ellie’o and Gunsmoke, prepared by Jason Bridgman.
Danica doesn’t have the profile of the centre’s two leading stables but still holds her own on the score of winners from her much smaller team, with Seuss being her sixth for the season to date.
The win in a special conditions event capped a frustrating run of placings as well as providing jockey Michelle Wenn with cause to smile on the eve of her birthday.
Ellie’o maintained John Sargent’s 20-win lead on the trainers’ premiership – his tally now stands at 87 – while Jason Bridgman’s 66 wins have him well positioned to reassume the runner-up place.
Celebration: Seuss and birthday girl Michelle Wenn notch another win for Matamata trainer Danica Guy at Te Rapa on Saturday.