The nine clubs that embrace Southern Harness between them recorded a combined financial surplus of $825,000 in the season just ended.
The seven Southland clubs and their Central Otago and Roxburgh counterparts make up Southern Harness.
Despite the on-going recession, the result was "quite outstanding'' the Southern Harness chief executive Russell Freeman said.
The combined total of stakes paid out last season was $2.951 million compared with $2.880 million the previous season, an increase of $71,000.
Mr Freeman added all Southern Harness clubs were consolidating their cash positions with a possible threat developing from the Flavell Bill which could result in the racing industry losing gaming machine grants.
The Bill was presently being considered by a Select Committee, he explained.
"The Racing Industry has lodged a number of submissions outlining the benefits of the industry to the New Zealand economy''.
He predicted that in "two or three years the Racing Industry will receive no Gaming Machines grants for stakes to be paid.''
"However clubs can apply for funding to meet other expenditure commitments,'' he said.
On course turnover of the nine Southern Harness clubs last season amounted to $2.39 million as against $2.46 million the previous season, representing a slight decrease.
Off course figures totalled $22.88 million over the past season against $25.11 million the previous term.
"It is right to point out that the decrease was in keeping with the national trend in galloping and harness.''
Southern Harness racing manager Jason Broad said the nine clubs' surplus of $825,000 last season was "very much a positive development during a difficult and on-going economical climate.''
"Prudent expenditure helped ensure the industry is still in pretty good shape at the moment. Clubs have dug in well at a difficult time,'' he said.
"Also, our promotions and publicity manager Lindsay Beer was a very energetic and livewire man to work with.''
Mr Beer reported another wide array of promotions in the new season including the extension of the Northern Southland Trotting Club's successful $5000 Win A World Trip Promotion and its popular Gold Room promotion.
The progressive club has organised for Trackside presenter Greg O'Connor to speak at its annual meeting at the Balfour Tavern on August 17.
The Wairio Trotting Club will stage its Ladies Day meeting in conjunction with the Robin Dundee Club on Sunday, October 14.
Mini marquees would again be available for three pre-Christmas Invercargill meetings and at Winton on December 22 for the major Wairio fixture.
Mr Beer said Ascot Park featured an exciting new hospitality room deal for all meetings there this season.
"Interislander Summer Festival meetings with their brand of full family entertainment will be held at Gore (December 27), Omakau (January 2), Roxburgh (January 4) and Cromwell (January 6)''.
The Winton club has again arranged for major entertainment programmes at several of its meetings with fashion and tattoo competitions featuring at Wyndham on Kindergarten Stakes day (February 23).
The Punt for Gold concept at Gore on March 10 and extended family entertainment at Ascot Park on Invercargill Cup Day (January 26) and Finals Day (April 21) would be significant summer and autumn attractions.
"We are also working on several new competitions that we want to introduce this season,'' Mr Beer said.
- © Fairfax NZ News