Taxpayers to help boost stake money in horse racing

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Taxpayers will help prop up stakes for some premier horse races under Racing Minister Winston Peters' Budget 2008 initiative.

Peters announced tonight that $9 million would be made available over the next three years to boost prizemoney for some major events.

The increases will see at least one other premier race carry $2 million in stakes as the Kelt Stakes does, and several other group one races offering over $1 million.

Top harness and greyhound races will also receive part of the money to lift their stakes.

"This initiative will help our clubs keep pace with the money on offer overseas. It will also encourage greater bloodstock investment and the retention of quality horses here," Peters said.

"The challenge for racing clubs will be to ensure that this initiative is used to encourage sponsors to maximise their exposure by digging a little deeper into their own pockets, given they could be joining forces with a silent partner."

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"Today's initiative builds on the significant reduction in gaming duty in 2006, which has resulted in annual savings of an estimated $34 million. That money has been redirected into efforts to encourage ownership, reward customers, and improve infrastructure.

"Furthermore, the Safety Development Fund introduced last year has been well received by clubs, with the first year's $1 million pool oversubscribed.

"The challenge now is for racing is to build on these developments and work towards fulfilling the industry's unrealised economic potential," Peters said.

Stakes initiative details will be announced after the Budget but before the new racing season.

NZPA