THE CORNER WITH GARRY CHITTICK
Well, what a week. After missing our friends and acquaintances for three years we encounter weather conditions that tested everybody’s good will.
I take my hat off to all, the horse handlers were amazing, the buyers did their best in difficult conditions – they stayed, which in itself we are grateful for – and the horses handled the challenging conditions with aplomb. It was an event we will never forget.
How did they sell? Well, it was patchy, to be honest it was about what we at Waikato expected. I won’t speak for others, but we took home a handful. Our $7.75m gross is not to be regarded as disappointing, with the uncertainty at the time of entering our horses we chose to spread our risk offering a number in Australia. At the end of the day, we are traders; no sales, no money, no stud.
The introduction of new blood is so dependent on the type we have to offer. We regarded our Super Seths right up to expectations, his sale confirmed our confidence in his future. Regretfully, investment in replacement sires has never been at a lower ebb. Four new prospects a year for the last two years reflects not a lack of confidence in the NZ markets where our progeny perform but a lack of confidence in where our domestic market is heading. To be fair, this year’s catalogue illustrated a depletion of our mares, the opportunity to sell any black-type performers is too tempting to resist.
Then we have the weather to contend with, every cancellation is nine opportunities to win a race lost. There is no enthusiasm to race on our synthetic tracks with an unacceptable number of horses returning with issues. Then we have the mystery of the Manawatu debacle. With the course proper considered unsafe one would think the investment of probably $12m on their new synthetic would at least fill the gap for the industry days. The scuttlebuck at the sales was riders considered it unsafe and trainers considered it too firm for their horses. My point, Winston offered $6m towards the construction, therefore the club had to find the rest. To invest at such a level and get this result begs the question: Who the hell is running our industry?
We at Waikato love the game, we want to go places and feel the vibe, the vibe that encourages involvement.
But there are better days. The photo of three trophy rugs won in the last couple of months will keep us from throwing in the towel. Even better, our three wins at Wellington were on a $60k day. Now I know that doesn’t compare with Australia but then very few racing jurisdictions do, however more of these days would be appreciated.
As a change of direction, I am disappointed when the only way to manage an economy is to spread confetti everywhere then screw the poor buggers who were encouraged to take their first step into what would normally be their biggest asset. The Government instructed the Reserve Bank to spread $16b among the banks to keep the economy afloat. The interest rate was a paltry 0.25%, it was re lent at an average of 3%. Wonderful, now with the short-term loans that the banks picked up a margin of over 2.5% these new owners will struggle to meet their commitments, but the bank’s margin will not change. Then if required to sell they will be left with a substantial commitment. I know young people in this predicament, this screwing of the scrum won’t affect me, or hopefully those who purchased our horses. I doubt the only way to stem the inflation they created is by hammering those with the least, in a free market the checks and balances work. Governments are simply the arbiters of our endeavours, when they poke their nose outside of their expertise the inevitable happens.
I gave my local club a deserved pat on the back last week, then to my dismay I find they have chased out one of the personalities and club historian from his unpaid hospitality role . Now this person is infused with racing blood and personality, his indiscretion, a slip of the tongue, which 99% of those he hosted would have chuckled at, may have deserved a short lesson in wokedom that I would have facilitated. The offended may or may not return to the club, the personality never missed a day. I know who I would have kept.
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