Opening remarks at the 93rd National Yearling Sales Series

2.30pm Sunday 27 January 2019

Karaka Yearling Sales

Good afternoon.

Thank you for your interest and attendance at the 2019 National Yearling Sales.

And particular welcome to the overseas buyers and visitors here today or watching online.

Buyers have every reason to be confident with the quality of the New Zealand bloodstock.

The yearling sales last year were very successful with sales exceeding the 2017 total by $15 million, an outstanding result.

There are 1,284 yearlings for sale this year.

While the 2018 list was impressive this 2019 catalogue may be even stronger. There are 120 sires represented across the three sales sessions, including 20 first season sires.

It is also the 93rd edition of the National Yearling sales. This is a testament to the passion and innovation of New Zealand horse breeders that the horses sold here have had such consistent success over the years, whilst building, against the odds, an exceptional reputation internationally for results.

There were a remarkable 120 stake wins and 18 Group One wins by Karaka yearling sale graduates last season alone.

This government values racing.

The industry is a major employer which makes a significant contribution to the country’s economy.

And regardless of the successes of the National Yearling Sales we also recognise that genuine development is needed for the racing industry to go to the next level.

Since this time last year real progress has been made.

We are not making vague promises to you.

We are out to change this industry for the better and change it we will.

In the last year the government has taken steps on bloodstock tax write-down rules, to promote investment in your industry.

The new rules we are putting in place will apply retrospectively to these yearling sales starting today.

These rules are to encourage new entrants as well as existing investors.

We have excellent big breeders in the country but new entrants are also important to long term growth.

And we want to support them both.

Also, in the last year, the government commissioned the John Messara review of the racing industry. It confirmed what many of us already believed, that the status quo is unsustainable.

The government has received submissions and formed a Ministerial Advisory Group which is working as we speak.

Their focus is on technical, legal, financial and process-oriented decision points for racing industry reform, which is necessary to get outcomes like increased prizemoney.

This is an opportune moment to thank industry stakeholders for their support for the reform programme so far.

There are many positive developments – a government working on racing industry reform, working on synthetic all weather tracks, and events like last night’s show-stopping Karaka Millions races.

And there is much more to come.

This government appreciates your vision of making NZ racing equal with the best in the world.

We’ve got the people, we’ve got the animals, and we’ve got the commitment.

So let’s get out there and do it – lift racing to the level it should be at.

This is a transformational time for New Zealand racing and the future holds many opportunities.

For those participating in this year’s auctions we wish you well.

There is real quality here – so dig deep and bid well.

You won’t regret it.