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Auckland Trotting Club AGM reflects on watershed year

Press Release – Alexandra Park

Media Release

Alexandra Park

Friday, 30 October 2015

Auckland Trotting Club AGM reflects on watershed year

Members of the Auckland Trotting Club formally received and signed off their 2015 Annual Report at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting last night.

A watershed and positive time for the club is how the past financial year has been described by chief executive of Alexandra Park, Dominique Dowding.

Reviewing the year, Ms Dowding highlighted overall growth within the business, members’ approval of the Auckland Trotting Club’s amalgamation with Franklin Trotting Club, and the club’s investment in two developments now under construction – The Blues new base and the urban village redevelopment at 223 Green Lane West.

With the harness racing industry struggling, amalgamating with the Franklin Trotting Club was all about offering the industry an affordable training centre to help attract and retain trainers which was paying early dividends, reported Ms Dowding.

“We have seen an increase in numbers at Franklin Park Training Centre from 160 horses in training to 235 in training and this bodes well to bolstering the numbers that race at Alexandra Park,” she says.

With industry funding static and on-course and off-course betting declining, Ms Dowding stressed that the critical importance of lifting and developing the club’s other revenue opportunities – the crux of club’s entire long-term business plan.

The club reported a net profit for the year of over $17m helped by a substantial increase in the revaluation of its investment property portfolio. The club’s operating profit was reported at $89,614 – significantly better than the budgeted loss of $748,680.

Its overall trading operations improved for the third year running – up 17% on last year’s performance, noting the club’s function centre hosted 873 events up 12% on last year’s 780 events. Revenue from property rentals was up 15%.

Both 223 Green Lane West and The Blues training centre were both reported as “on track and under budget”. Funding arrangements, apartment sales and commercial leases were so far meeting or exceeding expectations for the urban village development, with the project described as being in “great shape”.

On The Blues, the Super 15 rugby franchise is expected to occupy their new base at Campbell Crescent by the end of this year.

The Annual Report reviewed and reconfirmed the club’s three strategic priority pillars: Revitalise and Reposition Harness Racing; Grow the Business; Grow the Value and the Returns within the Property Portfolio. The report noted many strategic objectives were met or exceeded.

The racing report highlighted that stakes continued to increase in the 2014/15 season for the Auckland Trotting Club on the previous financial year to ensure a better return for owners.

From 2015/16 all meetings will be run as ATC meetings – outside Premier Meetings. Such a move will ensure better balance of both metropolitan and country type races, better utilisation of the available horse pool, and will help maximise returns for both owners and trainers.

Formally announced last night was that the trotting club’s Auckland Cup will be moved from March and return to its traditional date of 31 December, with a March Carnival of races continuing.

Overshadowing the AGM was this month’s untimely death of Auckland Trotting Club president Kerry Hoggard with much tribute paid to his exemplary leadership of the club and within the New Zealand harness racing industry.

“Kerry commercially challenged, debated and tested everything we put to him and our board this year thus adding tremendous value to the club and its future. Kerry will be missed tremendously but we are forever grateful for him helping drive the club’s strategic objectives which I’ve been charged to deliver.

“We can all take much from the fact that the our business-focused board of directors remain absolutely committed to delivering our collective vision of building a strong and financially sustainable future for Alexandra Park – in this our 125th anniversary year of racing in Auckland,” said Dominique Dowding after the meeting.

The new president of the Auckland Trotting Club is former vice president Bruce Carter.

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