NZTR chief executive Greg Purcell stepping down

Chief executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Greg Purcell, has announced he is standing down from the role.
Robert Charles

Chief executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, Greg Purcell, has announced he is standing down from the role.

Greg Purcell, chief executive for the past six years of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), is to step down by the end of the racing season.

Having taken the helm in early 2011, Purcell said the time was now right for the transition to a new chief executive.

NZTR chairman DR Alan Jackson hailed the work Purcell had done.

"Greg has worked with total dedication over the last six years and deserves acknowledgement for the significant improvements to NZTR and our sport which he has led," said Jackson.

Under his tenure NZTR had six successive years of increased aggregate and average prize-money funding.

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Purcell advised the chairman over 12 months ago that after five years in the role he saw a refreshing of the chief executive position as desirable.

"Last June, at the request of Dr Jackson, I agreed to stay on for a further 12 months to work with the NZTR Board on industry-changing pathways," Purcell said.

He will continue in his role managing NZTR business for the foreseeable future and will work on industry changing pathways.

Advertising for the position of Chief Executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing will start immediately.

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Purcell was involved in disputes with trainers during the last few years of his tenure.

First, he issued civil proceedings against Pukekohe trainer Leo Molloy, with Molloy eventually settling out of court.

in 2015, Kevin Morton had four charges brought against him by the Racing Integrity Unit - two in racing's most serious category for uttering abusive and insulting language, and two alternative misconduct charges laid late, over a posting he made on Racecafe. All four were dismissed after a full hearing.

Morton's post on Racecafe said Purcell could sue him because he said he knew Purcell had not raced 90 horses and wasn't the leading country bookmaker in New South Wales.

Judicial Control Authority committee chairman Murray McKechnie labelled the prosecution of Morton as "misguided".

McKechnie said Morton's post was not abusive nor insulting, as the charges against him stated.

"Action before the Judicial Control Authority must be with reference to the conduct of racing or behaviour by licensed persons which goes beyond the expression of criticism or scepticism. We do not consider those boundaries have been crossed."

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