NZB Kiwi Slots Under Hammer Tonight

Date: 27 Feb 2024

NZB Kiwi Slots Under Hammer Tonight

Nine slots for the exciting new NZB Kiwi slot race go under the hammer at Karaka tonight - five of the slots are already committed to New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and the four racing clubs hosting bonus races.

The exciting evening, and includes the draw for the $1 million Group 1 Trackside Derby, will be televised on Trackside tonight, see below for details.

Michael Guerin, NZ Herald reports:

New Zealand’s richest ever horse race is set to be oversubscribed when nine slots go under the hammer at Karaka tonight.

The $3.5 million New Zealand Bloodstock (NZB) Kiwi was launched last month as New Zealand thoroughbred racing’s first major slot race and will have its inaugural running at Ellerslie on March 8 next year.

It will be for New Zealand-born, or sold at New Zealand Bloodstock sales, three-year-olds over 1500m with 14 starters.

That means 14 slots to be filled with one retained by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and four by the racing jurisdictions around the country, Auckland, Waikato, the Central Districts and Canterbury with the South Island slot.

With those five slots taken, nine will be auctioned tonight with the winning bidders owning those slots for the first three years.

They then have the option to fill that slot with a horse they have own or train, as long as it meets the eligibility criteria, or they can negotiate with the owners of other horses to start in their slot.

That often results in a 50-50 split of the stake money between slot holder and the connections of the horse, although as slot racing has matured in this part of the world more slot holders are finding the connections of high-profile horses may seek more favourable terms.

The NZB Kiwi will start with a $3.5 million stakes in 2025 but rise to $4 million in 2026 and then eventually $4.5 million in 2027 but also has a bonus pool of $1 million for the first three home if they win a designated lead-up race.

Slots are popular for a variety of reasons. Some studs will buy one and attempt to put horses they have bred into the race and therefore the biggest stage.

Trainers or owners may buy them so they have a guaranteed start in the race for their horses while individuals may buy them hoping to have a horse good enough or to try and partner with the right horse up to a year in advance.

The slots auctioned tonight have to reach $450,000 minimum for the three-year term and with every starter guaranteed at least $100,000 no matter where they finish, and slots possibly tax deductible as a marketting expense, the numbers easily add up for those with racing as part of their taxable income.

Which is why New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has had 28 entities, either businesses or individuals, officially register to bid on the nine slots available tonight.

The auction, televised on Trackside TV 1 (Sky Ch62), will start at 7.30pm after the barrier draw for Saturday’s $1 million Trackside NZ Derby is held on the lawn at the Karaka sales complex.

The action will then move into the Sir Patrick Hogan Auditorium and some of the legendary horses of recent racing will be part of the auction.

“We have great horses like Mufhasa and Bostonian one at a time coming in to the sales ring with special dress rugs to represent each available slot,” says NZTR spokesperson Emma Thompson.

“The registrations have been very strong, with really good overseas interest, and those parties all get cleared by NZTR and New Zealand Bloodstock as would anybody bidding at a normal thoroughbred auction."

With a minimum price for the three years of $450,000 what would happen is not all nine slots reach that threshold?

“From the interest we have had and discussions with many of those parties we are not expecting that to happen,” said Thompson.

“We are confident all the slots will could go for more than the $450,000 minimum.”

Recent Karaka Millions winner Velocious is the early favourite for the first running of the NZB Kiwi, which will be the centrepiece of the new Champions Day held for the first time next year.

New Zealand Bloodstock Kiwi

** New Zealand thoroughbred racing’s first big-money slot race.

** Worth $3.5million it will be held at Ellerslie next year as part of Champions Day.

** Five of the 14 slots are taken by NZTR or the major racing clubs/regions.

** The three-year rights to the other nine slots will be auctioned at the Karaka Sales Complex tonight.

** The auction and NZ Derby barrier draw for Saturday will be shown live on Trackside 1.


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