Horse racing: NZB's innovative plan to get Aussie buyers to Karaka sales

Asia's Tech News Daily

Horse racing: NZB's innovative plan to get Aussie buyers to Karaka sales

New Zealand Bloodstock is pulling out all the stops to get Australian buyers to the Karaka yearling sales in March by putting a compelling test case to the Government.

The sales are a key financial driver for the entire racing industry and bring enormous overseas investment into the country, predominantly from Australia and Asia.

They were originally to be held in late January but NZB moved that back to early March where they will now compliment the Auckland Cup meeting at Ellerslie, the two organisations working together to push the Auckland Cup back one day so six days of sales can fit into that week.

Now NZB want the Government to work with them too with a unique idea to let double vaccinated Australian buyers, agents and trainers attend the sale, which starts on March 7.

At this stage, New Zealanders living in Australia will be allowed into the country with a week of home isolation rather than hotel MIQ but Australian citizens won’t have that same option until April 30, meaning many Australians who would like to attend the sales may not be able to.

While the emerging Omnicon variant has thrown some potential uncertainty into our Covid restrictions, if the border restrictions stay as intended then NZB have asked the Government to consider allowing as many as 123 double vaccinated Australians to travel to Auckland then accomodate them and solely them at their new DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on the Karaka sales complex.

The hotel is set to open on February 22 and if the Australian visitors were allowed in they could complete their seven days isolation and required testing there but still inspect yearlings and prepare for the sales without leaving the sales complex and being in the community.

They can complete that research and inspect yearling all while remaining socially distanced from locals.

NZB managing director Andrew Seabrook says while any protocols around that project could be further ironed out, the Australians would be be the only guests at the hotel and would be transported from and back to the airport so pose not risk to the region.

“We have asked the Government to consider it because we are in the fortunate position of having the hotel on the complex to enable a plan like this,” says Seabrook.”We know Australians want to be here to buy our horses and obviously they will all need to be double vaccinated so we think it could be a great test case.”

While other industries are certain to have similar ideas not many have the luxury of a hotel on a secluded section in South Auckland as well as the near guaranteed spend of those who coming to the sales, who would be presumed to be serious buyers if they are willing to go through the one-week hotel quasi isolation.

That could return tens of millions of dollars in foreign expenditure, including a considerable tax take for the Government.

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