New road as Mata­mata quits TRAC

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

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.

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