The NZ Racing Industry Gets Behind Raising Funds

Zachary Butcher and Samantha Collett in the Daffodil Racedays Silks

The New Zealand horse racing industry is continuing its support of the Cancer Society of New Zealand with the NZRB Daffodil Racedays in 2018.

This is the fifth year that this initiative has been proudly supported by the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) who once again will be making a substantial cash donation for every winner in every Daffodil Raceday across the country. Over the past four years, Daffodil Racedays have raised more than $150,000 for the NZ Cancer Society and are supported by a partnership between NZRB, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) and Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) to raise awareness of and celebrate the work of the Cancer Society.

New Daffodil Racedays silks have been created and the NZRB announced they would donate $1,000 per winner in the silks on Tarzino Trophy Daffodil Raceday at Hawkes Bay (1st September), with all other events receiving $500 per winner. The club with the most winners on its Daffodil Raceday will receive an additional $2,000 for their local Cancer Society.

“We’re excited to be continuing our partnership with the Cancer Society and supporting the valuable work their team do across New Zealand every day. We’re immensely proud of how the racing industry pulls together for this initiative,” says NZRB CEO John Allen.

Two of the stars of racing – 2018 Jockey Premiership winner Samantha Collett and leading Harness driver Zachary Butcher have thrown their weight behind this incredible cause.

“We’ve had a bit of a wager on this. If a harness club gets the most wins, Sam has to pay me $500. If a thoroughbred club gets the most wins, I’ll pay her $500,” says Zachary Butcher.

“We’re also putting a call out there to all drivers and jockeys who win in the daffodil silks to donate a percentage of their fee to the Cancer Society,” says Sam Collett.

As a sign of the industry’s ongoing commitment to its partnership with the Cancer Society, all six clubs participating have committed to make their Daffodil Raceday events Smokefree.

“It’s fantastic to see the racing community coming together again this year for Daffodil Racedays. The money raised for the Cancer Society will go towards vital cancer research and provide practical help, care and comfort throughout New Zealand,” says Cancer Society of New Zealand CEO Mike Kernaghan.

Daffodil Racedays 2018, which will be the biggest yet, was launched on the 1st September with the Tarzino Trophy Daffodil Raceday at the Hastings Racecourse. This year New Zealand Warriors coaches Stacey Jones and Tony Iro joined Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant as chief guests at the Hawke’s Bay meeting, with the admission charge of $5 going as a donation to the Hawke’s Bay Cancer Society and proceeds from a charity auction, as well as the generosity of others, supporting the charity.

This Daffodil Raceday took on extra meaning for trainer Michael Pitman who was recently diagnosed with bowel cancer. Michael who is based in Christchurch and now trains in partnership with his son Matthew is approaching 1500 wins in his career, had their NZ Oaks-winner Savvy Coup line up in the feature race of the day, the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy, but unfortunately, she could only manage a close-up 5th placing. Pitman senior said, “We were all put on this planet for a certain reason, I think my reason is to make sure people enjoy winning races which I love doing myself. I was one of those blokes that never wanted to know about cancer. You’ve got to keep going. You’ve got to fight.”

The Tarzino Trophy Daffodil Raceday is the mainstay of the initiative and was a huge success, breaking its fundraising record by raising almost $37,000, surpassing the previous record of $31,000 set in 2016. The CEO of Hawke’s Bay Racing Andrew Castles, together with Trackside presenters Brendan Popplewell, Aidan Rodley and Bevan Sweeney all shaved their heads after the last race, raising a fantastic total of $10,000, while the owners of Melody Belle donated $1000 after the explosive mare took out the Tarzino Trophy and trainer Tony Pike donated half of his winnings on the day after claiming the El Roca Sir Colin Meads Trophy.

For the first time since the initiative started two smokefree Daffodil Racedays were held at two separate thoroughbred racecourses on the same day. As well as the Tarzino Trophy Daffodil Raceday at Hawke’s Bay, the Harcourts Daffodil Raceday at Ruakaka was also staged, raising a further $13,000 for the Cancer Society including one very generous donation of $5,000 from the owner of Melt who took out the Tavistock at Cambridge Stud.

The next event in the series was the ITM Group Daffodil Race Night at Addington Raceway on the 7th September. This was another very successful night with two winners wearing the Daffodil silks in Immortal Change taking out the Dyers Road ITM Mobile Pace and Medusa winning the Probuild & Hamptons ITM Handicap Trot.

So far, a Daffodil Racedays Pick, with the jockey or driver wearing the NZRB Daffodil Racedays silks has crossed the line first at every event, with one winner at Hawke’s Bay, five winners at Ruakaka and two winners at Addington.

Further events to be staged are the NZ Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes Daffodil Raceday, at Riccarton on the 22nd September, the Daffodil Race Night, at Alexandra Park Raceway on the 28th September and the Wellington Racing Club Daffodil Raceday, at Tretham Racecourse on the 27th October.

At the upcoming Daffodil Race Night at Alexandra Park, $10 of every ticket sale will be donated to the Cancer Society. Dining packages start from $65 per person, with the event to be hosted in the Tasman Room and the evening will include entertainment, spot prizes, an amazing buffet, plenty of harness racing action under lights, as well as some wonderful guest speakers. There will also be celebrity races with New Zealand rugby legend Stephen ‘The Beaver’ Donald participating. With such a “fun night for a great cause” planned, you are encouraged to get a group together and reserve a table for the big night.

It will be great for the wider racing industry to use this as an opportunity to illustrate the generosity of its participants and the contribution racing makes to New Zealand communities, so let’s get behind the initiative and help this year’s total to surpass that of last year.

Rob Carr

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