New chairman has deep ties to club
Dennis Ryan has always been keen on horses.
The newly appointed chairman of the Matamata Racing Club has been involved with the club committee for more than 15 years. He has also trained horses and is the editor of racing publication The Informant.
Ryan says he’s simply doing what he thought was his bit for the local racing club and the community.
He was vice president of the club for five years under John Moore, who he says was a very good president who led the club with skill and good vision.
‘‘I hope to continue that to ensure the club continues to prosper.’’
Ryan has strong family links to the racing club, with the first president of the Matamata Racing Club in the early 1920s being his great grandfather, Paddy Quinlan.
Since those days, Ryan says the club has endured many changes.
In the early days the club only celebrated one annual race meeting a year but this season it will host a total of 16 race meetings on course including this weekend’s J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes.
Ryan says there are two sides to the racing club’s business, race days and the training facilities. ‘‘One is as big as the other. We do have good support from the national body, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, who recognise us as a strategically significant venue, both as a race day venue and as a supplier of race horses.’’
An example of this recognition was the financial input the national body had with the recent implementation of the irrigation system on the course proper.
There were 399 winners trained out of Matamata last season, with eight Gr.1 winners out of a total 22 Gr.1 races amongst those.
‘‘And just as importantly we supplied nearly 12 per cent of the national starters in New Zealand racing across the board,’’ Ryan says.
The training facility employs a substantial number of people and as a whole, Ryan says it’s a large operation with more than 50 trainers based at the site. ‘‘It’s a fairly vital part of our local economy.’’
It’s a challenge for Ryan, plus the volunteers and management team, to make it all happen.
But he says it helps to have such a strong support network from the local business community, in particular J Swap Contractors, who are an obvious example of this support.
But Ryan says there are also many others, both large and small, who participate in sponsorship with the club’s racing.
Those that attend the races are also a huge support to the club. ‘‘There is a lot happening in Matamata and the racing industry and the racing club is certainly part of that.’’ Matamata Racing Club has had a change in constitution as it approaches its centenary.
The constitutional document, dated 1925, needed a major overhaul.
The days of large numbers of volunteers has gone, with people becoming time poor.
Newly appointed Matamata Racing Club chairman Dennis Ryan says the racing club must be run as a business with good governance. ‘‘It was a big project that required sional advice.’’
The change in constitution was introduced to the club in October and from that point the club has been managed by a seven-member board with supplementary sub- committees. Most previous committee members have continued with their work at the club.
‘‘ One would hope the new board structure will provide an incentive for people to rise to
profes- that level in the club structure because it is an important part to play by each board member, however, those in the next tier down also make a contribution.’’
Ryan says the training facility at the racing club has a $ 1 million turnover, led by course manager Graeme Styles and eight fulltime staff. An average of 750 horses use the track each month. ‘‘ We’re lucky to have Graeme leading that side of the business,’’ Ryan said.
CHAIRMAN: Dennis Ryan is chairman of the Matamata Racing Club.