NZ FFA reduced to 1609m

J Scott Former News, Latest News




The New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club is to reduce the distance of the Woodlands New Zealand Free-For-All on Show day, 2012, to 1609m (metric mile).

The Group One NZ Free-For-All was previously been run over 2000m (or 1 1/4 miles), but the Met wants to turn the feature Cup week sprint into a mile dash, following improvements to the camber at the 1609m start point.

The NZ Free-For-All has been run over one mile eight consecutive times, but 85 years ago.

Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt said: “Cup week in Christchurch is the greatest week in harness racing in the country and it fits in well that the best pacers throughout Australasia can compete at this carnival over the ultimate speed distance of a mile.”

“We get the top echelon of pacers going for glory on the Tuesday in the cup over two miles (3200m) and now they have the opportunity to compete over a mile three days later.”

“We have been thinking of this concept for some time now and it’s been a while since we’ve staging a flying mile at Addington. Only the best pacers competing at the time will be eligible given the criteria, and this coupled with an attractive bonus should ensure the sparks are flying.”

The race will be run for $150,000, with a special bonus of $5000 each on offer for the trainer and driver of the winner, providing the current NZ mile record of 1:52.1 (shared by Kiwi Ingenuity and Smolda) is broken.


Addington Raceway’s Racecourse Manager John Denton says Addington Raceway is somewhat different now than it was in 1991 when the last mile was run here under normal conditions (before four-quarter miles were run with speed incentives).

“With the introduction of pylons in 1995 and the fact the gradient is significantly better now I’m confident the NZ record could be given a shake given ideal conditions on the day,” Mr Denton said.

The field will be restricted to 10 starters with the provision for one emergency.

The front-line limit for the feature 1609m Addington mile will be a maximum of six off the front row, and four on the second row.

The Met, after a thorough period of consultation within the industry and discussions with leading horsemen, will invite the first six placegetters in the Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup to start in the FFA, along with the winner of the NRM Sires’ Stakes 3YO Final (both races run three days earlier).

The balance of the field will be selected at the club’s discretion.

A catalyst for the change in distance has been the reduction of starters for the NZ FFA in recent years, with nine being the average amount of starters over the last four years.   

The Addington Raceway mile track record is officially 1:56, set by Blossom Lady, in 1991 (Master Musician was hand-timed to run 1:54 to win the 1995 Monsanto 4-Quarter Mile at Addington, but this wasn’t officially recognised as it wasn’t electronically timed).




The NZ Metro TC are calling enrolments for a “Show Day Futurity”, with an estimated stake of $40,000, for maiden 3YO or older pacers, as at July 4, 2012.

The club will guarantee the Futurity stake at $25,000 should the race proceed, but estimates it should have enough funding for a $40,000 stake.

Enrolment payments of $115 (including GST) are required to be eligible for the Futurity, which is designed to offer a good race for a new pool of horses at the NZ Cup meeting.

To remain eligible, horses must start at least one NZ Metro meeting at Addington between August 1, 2012 and November 2, 2012.

A points system will run for qualifiers on a 5 for first, three for second, one for third, basis.

A countback system on the most starts will be used in the event of a tie for points at final acceptance time. If a tie still exists, the club will use its discretion finalising the field.

The Futurity will be be run over a mobile 2600m distance, with a preferential barrier draw to determine starting positions, based on wins, then earnings. There will be no final acceptance fee for the race.

Any horse nominated and selected to race in the Futurity will be ineligible to start in any other race on November 16, 2012.

The Club has a get-out clause to cancel the event and refund all enrolment monies if, in its opinion, enrolments are insufficent to continue with the feature. This will be decided no later than August 31, 2012.

Stake money for the Futurity is to be divided as per the club’s policy.




The NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club will use a ranking system to determine the field for this year’s proposed $600,000 ($300,000 to the winner) Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup on Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

Previously, field selection, apart from automatic Addington qualifiers from designated lead-up races, was at the discretion of the club.

However, a move to the ranking system is considered “desirable” to ensure the most robust, transparent and regularly updated process, available to assist industry participants in determining selection of the Cup field.

Those responsible for the rankings will be HRNZ’s Chief Handicapper and Assisant Handicapper, the NZ Metro TC Racing Manager, and a NZ Metro TC Board Representative.

The HRNZ Chief Handicapper is considered the best person to rank any Australian entries for the race.

Cup Nominations ($172.50 including GST, non-refundable, no sustaining payments), will close on August 31, with initial rankings available on September 5.

Rankings will be updated and published on the HRNZ website weekly, until final rankings are completed.

Final rankings will be released a.s.a.p. after the final late nomination and withdrawal deadline at 2pm on Tuesday, November 6. (late entry fee,  $6900, including GST). The acceptance fee will be $7500 (plus GST).

Horses will be ranked in the following descending order:

Winner 2011 New Zealand Cup _ Terror To Love.

Winner 2012 Auckland Cup _ Sir Lincoln.

Winner 2012 Inter Dominion Final _ (Im) Themightyquinn.

Winner 2012 Maurice Holmes Vase _ to be held, Addington, September 7.

Winner 2012 Avon City Ford Cup _ to be held, Addington, September 28.

Winner 2012 Canterbury Classic _ to be held, Addington, October 12.

Then “competitiveness and performances” in Group races after August 1, 2012.

Then “competitiveness and performances” in Group races in the 2011-12 season.

Then “competitiveness and performances” in non-“black type” races after August 1, 2012.



The NZ Metropolitan TC will reward owners and trainers who start an individual horse, who wins or dead-heats, at a minimum of 15 of its meetings over a 12 month rolling period from August 1, 2012.

The incentive scheme will award $7500 ($5000 to the owner, $2500 to the trainer), of an eligible horse, until a total of $150,000 is paid out in incentives.

A horse can make a start at a later date next season and still be eligible for the next 12 months.

Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt says the scheme is an incentive to ensure strength of numbers at Met meetings throughout the season.

Only one lifetime reward per horse can be won.

Conditions exclude start at all Tuesday graduation meetings, and any such meetings in the 2013-14 season.

The “Met Multiplier” will be trialled for a period up until November 20, 2012, when the Board will conduct a review and consider the future of the scheme.

However, all horses which races at NZMTC meetings from August 1, 2012 until November 16, 2012, will be eligible for the reward, regardless of the review outcome.

Reward payments will be made on the 20th of the month following qualification, and upon the clearance of any raceday swabs taken form any perfomances that contribute to the qualification of winning the award.



The NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club are introducing owner and trainer incentives in attempts to boost August numbers.

To be eligible, the same horse must start on all three NZMTC night meetings in August on Thursday August 2, Friday August 10, and Friday August 24.

Racing Manager Brian Rabbitt has announced details of Addington Events Centre Food and Beverage vouchers (combined value of $300 including GST) to be received by owners of eligible horses, as listed in the Racebook on August 24.

One voucher will be given to the connections of each eligible horse, irrespective of the number of owners.

The vouchers are to be redeemed on each of the three nights of the NZMTC September meetings (Friday, September 7, Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 28), but are limited to one $100 voucher per night through September.

The club is also offering a trainers reward if a trainer, or training partnership, starts a minimum of six indvidual horses in total, and starts a minimum of one horse per night, over the three August meetings.

The same deal applies, with $300 (including GST) Food & Beverage vouchers, to be used at a value of $100 per night at the September meetings.

To be eligible, horses must be registered in the name of the trainer, or training partnership, as at August 1, 2012.