Te Akau Shines on "Grand Tour"

Date: 6 Apr 2023

Te Akau Shines on


New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) reports:


This season brought about several exciting initiatives for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), including the launch of a new national marketing campaign designed to introduce a new audience to our industry.

The Grand Tour Racing Festival delivered a fresh and vibrant overarching promotion to celebrate and unify New Zealand's Top 20 premier racing events, across Hawke's Bay, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Waikato and Manawatu.  The Grand Tour concluded on Saturday at RACE Awapuni's Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes raceday.

Working together with the major Clubs, the campaign committed to innovating and growing the domestic thoroughbred sports entertainment market, as well as encouraging an uptake in raceday attendance from the next generation.

NZTR's Head of Marketing, Communications & Wagering Partnerships, Dan Smith, commented on year one of the campaign.

“The Grand Tour was a great way to put the spotlight on the high-profile events on our racing calendar and encourage event-goers outside our racing community to come and experience the thrill of a day at the races.”

“In partnership with highly-respected creative agency, Pitchblack Partners, our core focus this season was on brand build and campaign awareness, supported by a significant media schedule across outdoor, digital and social.

“Overall, we were pleased with the results as we look to continue to grow equity in the brand. There was acknowledgement from Clubs the campaign drove ticket sales and we saw a 9% increase in baseline attendance.

“We would like to acknowledge the participating Clubs, in particular their marketing teams, as well as our major partner SENZ, who helped in bringing the vision of The Grand Tour to life.

“We realised this was going to be a disruptive campaign, and quite different to what racing would generally expect - but we were confident that this is what was required - to engage a different audience with a focus on the experience of a raceday.  It is great to have the NZTR Board support and further endorse the concept last week as we build on year two of the campaign from next Spring,” Smith said.

To complement the Tour, a leaderboard concept was also developed, aiming to create additional interest across the 20 meetings. This included five categories for Jockeys, Trainers and Horses.  The winners by category were:

  1. Jockey - Most Wins, Opie Bosson (22)

  2. Apprentice Jockey - Most Wins, Wiremu Pinn (6) and Tayla Mitchell (6)

  3. Trainer - Most Wins, Mark Walker (28)

  4. Trainer - Strike Rate, Ken and Bev Kelso (4.0, 12 starters), Allan Sharrock (4.0, 28 starters) and Shane Kennedy and Anna Furlong (4.0, 16 starters).

  5. Horse - Accumulated Points, Imperatriz (5 pts, 3x wins, 2x Gr.1's) and Prowess (5 pts, 4x wins, 1x Gr.1)


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