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Thread: IDEAS on how we can improve Harness Racing

  1. #11
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year Toohard will become famous soon enough Toohard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Messenger View Post
    Why punters left is worth analysing to move forward
    I will substitute 'punters' for public in some points
    We know there has been more competition in the entertainment industry
    Did they leave because facilities were not good enough? Because transport became an issue? Because viewing at home became so much better?

    The thought of why do people go entered my mind yesterday (I had travelled 75 min to get there and had time to kill between races before travelling 75 min home - admittedly I like driving in the country but hate city snarls [recent weeks spent in Melbourne have proven to me that the city is $*@#^&])
    I don't believe that viewing from home is much better - maybe if you are simply a gambler or are watching Sydney gallops on their Boutique Foxtel channel (I have been tempted)

    Why do people go out to a movie? (Declining too, you say but you get my point - sometimes you just want to get out)

    What if we made it more financially attractive for a punter to be on course (Change the takeout ratios) while improving the total package

    If home is better do we really even need horses. Watching the boutique gallops channels they tell good stories about the horses and people but I could imagine with advances in animation they could produce dog racing that would look as good as the current product (and could come with a 'this is a random draw' message like they do before Tattslotto). I haven't looked at the animated stuff they have in the TABs for a long while - is it nearly there?

    I cannot however imagine the public getting too excited about the animated Winx

    I don't really want us to get into the music business but top quality food and drinks must go hand in hand with any entertainment over a lengthy time slot

    ps Figure 8 racing sounds very interesting although I am guessing it couldn't involve small track excitement but it would seem much better suited to harness than any other code
    They left because it was easier and better to watch/bet from home. You won't get them back.... way of the world.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Colt djgood will become famous soon enough
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    so we need to fix up the handicapping to make the punters want to bet again , easier said than done as when people try change the handicapping to make it fairer and the fields more competitive ,its pitchfork and man the barricades time

  3. #13
    Super Moderator Stallion Messenger will become famous soon enough Messenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toohard View Post
    They left because it was easier and better to watch/bet from home. You won't get them back.... way of the world.
    That of course is in your opinion Paul.
    For a start you are only talking about the 'punter' not somebody who wants a night/day out
    I cannot agree that it is better to watch from home - continuous bombardment of Sky drives me nuts - to the extent I hit the mute button (problem then is not to miss the next race you are interested in LOL), then there is the ordinary picture quality. If I am not there, I more often than not just watch the replays later (not much of a punter anymore) If I never attended a meeting and was a stay at home follower only, I would probably switch to following Sydney gallops on Thoroughbred Central - top pic, right mix of banter, less ads.

    What would it take to get 'punters' back (if that was deemed desirable). What if the on course pool was separate from the off course (maybe for only Win and Place) eg the take from Off course is raised by 2.5% so that the take from on course could be dropped 2.5% or thereabouts so that there was a 5% advantage in betting on course. It would take some figuring but you get the idea
    Or could there be some advantage, smaller fee for on course bookies - which may or may not result in a return of bookies and punters (calculated of course, to not be detrimental to the industry)
    Just brainstorming here of course
    The Thin Green Line - Supporting the Rangers who protect the world's endangered animals against poachers

  4. #14
    Super Moderator Stallion Messenger will become famous soon enough Messenger's Avatar
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    I received the following via pm

    "Agree with Toohard, you won't get the punters back to the track, it is easier for them to punt from home, and the gaps between races are not too long for stay at home punters, they're often punting on something else in the interim.

    Kev we already have a point of difference with the gallops without revisiting the whip issue, our horses are in harness pulling a sulky and you don't have to be a tiny or emaciated human to drive one in races or in training.

    The days of drawing large crowds to race meetings are largely gone and whilst we do need to provide some entertainment during our meetings we, as you said Kev, aren't a music venue and providing alternative entertainment to the racing shouldn't be our first priority, though something/somewhere to entertain/deposit the kids would be helpful to allow their parents to focus on the racing. And a little music between or after races, even if only piped over the PA can't do much harm. And quality affordable food and drink is a must.

    Something that animated racing will never be able to duplicate in the future is the ability for humans to engage first hand, one on one, with that wonderful animal the horse. We need to accept that the large crowds are gone and do more to integrate those people who do come to the races, because of an interest in the races, not because of free alternative entertainment, into our harness racing family.

    Our horses have largely disappeared from urban environments, the ability to see up close, to touch and interact with a horse for so so many people these days is gone. We need to bring that back at our race meetings. To have people be able to get close to a horse, to touch and feel their silky coats and feel their warm breath on the back of their hands, to be able to look into a horses eyes and see the love, trust and bond that they have with humans. We need more people to be able to experience the feel of sitting behind a horse.

    We need to get our people interacting more with those who go to the races to gain and retain their interest, changes need to be made which allow our race day guests to interact with our participants more without compromising or suggesting integrity is compromised on raceday by doing so.

    Stable areas have become sterile zones, with access denied to non participants, drivers aren't allowed to bet anymore so are rarely able to interact with the public for fear of being caught too close to a tote machine ( or these days I guess standing next to anyone with a betting app on their phone could be crossing that line).

    We need our drivers to mingle with the public whilst wearing their colours, how else do we expect newbies to recognise them. Our trainers if not quite adopting "colours" such as American trainers wear should be encouraged to wear embroidered polos or shirts proclaiming their and their stables identity and mingle with the public. We need to modify our stable areas and pre race parades ( on track as in the U.S.) and give the public every opportunity to view our horses and what we do.

    We need locations in the public areas where our human stars can be found and interact with the public during a race meeting. And we need harness racing ambassadors amongst the people at the races who can answer questions from the public on all things from explaining different bet types to how to place a bet. On how to become part of a syndicate, to where to find horses for sale outright, or when our yearling sales are on, to how to find a trainer in their area and an idea of what training costs maybe and what deals can be done with trainers or breeders. How much prizemoney can be won and the bonus schemes available. What the gear on a horse is, why some horses wear more and others less, what happens to former racehorses. What the different license categories are, and how to get one, how to join their local harness club, the identities of our social and regular media outlets, etc etc etc. Paying someone or someones to specifically interact with the public one on one, or one on small groups between races is more important then paying a musician to entertain them.

    In other words we have to stop relying on people knocking on harness racings door of their own volition to get in but go out amongst them and invite them in. We don't need huge crowds in the hope that some get involved, we need to make everyone in our small crowds feel welcomed and keen to be more involved"



    The highlights are my doing
    The HERO program front and centre at the track would certainly fulfill the first highlight
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  5. #15
    Super Moderator Stallion Messenger will become famous soon enough Messenger's Avatar
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    Another I received via email:

    "I don’t think we need another metro centre (unless it was city centric i.e Showgrounds) if we could race 12 Saturday night meets on the MV grass track – with some clever modifications

    I think you could install a 900 metre grass track incorporating the outside running of the MV home straight to get fans close to the action

    The other 40 main Saturday night meetings should be spread between major centres Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and Kilmore (all well established harness racing and breeding centres) where minimum stakes

    should be $15,000 providing an incentive to breed to those with properties (no adjstment costs)

    The other 52 Friday nights should be allocated to non major Club lit tracks plus the 4 Clubs above

    Sundays should be reserved for non lit tracks including their Cup carnivals

    Monday, Tuesday and Thursday day/night meetings split between a combination of lit and non lit tracks that do not qualify for Friday/Saturday meetings

    Consistent days for each Club is important so fans become used to when their local tracks"
    The Thin Green Line - Supporting the Rangers who protect the world's endangered animals against poachers

  6. #16
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year arlington will become famous soon enough
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    Has anyone suggested removing some sprint lanes? Might be time to experiment.

  7. #17
    Senior Member 4YO KTQ will become famous soon enough
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    News coverage of records broke, big races etc, more comfortable facilities with SEATING (I find it so uncomfortable at the trots: too hot, too cold, no seats with a view. No one wants that), make horses, drivers and trainers famous and approachable, teach people how to bet so they feel like they have control rather than betting because "I like its name'

  8. #18
    Senior Member 3YO gutwagon will become famous soon enough gutwagon's Avatar
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    I would like to see glass enclosed grand stands with each seat having a desk and video screen where you can choose which other races you watch.

    Open up the stable areas to the public again.

    Every track needs free wifi so you can bet via your phone or tablet, some tracks have terrible phone coverage.
    No more than 25 minutes between races.

    Standing starts .

    Victoria needs at least one 1400m or 1609m track so owners and breeders can match or better the times they run in NSW.

    Some more betting options, I think we can scrap the "duet" as it always has very small pools. I would like a bet where you pick first and last. I would like to be able to back any horse to beat the favorite home. A bet where you pick the card (pick every winner at the meeting) and who ever picks the most winners gets the pool or shares it, this could be for on course punters and the club or board could put some money into the pool to attract people to the track.

    Try some races without the sprint lane and see how that effects turnover. I think the sprint lane leads to boring racing with less moves being made mid race, I also think it reduces the chance of horses back in the field from wining .

    Sky racing needs an option for us to be able to choose which races we see and we need to see the score up in full screen and the odds further out from start time. Even watch the horses warming up if we want to.

    I would like stewards to explain their decisions to the public eg. why trainer A gets a large penalty and trainer B gets a small penalty for the same offense, why one trainer changes tactics without notification and gets away with it and another gets fined.
    Don't die wondering !

  9. #19
    Junior Member Foal halfyourluck will become famous soon enough
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    Re Wayne's comment on sprint lane.
    Cammie Haughton (son of legend and a man with extensive experience in all areas of US harness) was recently appointed Director of Racing at Yonkers.
    Just about the first thing he has done is to get rid of the sprint lane at Yonkers. The change is scheduled to take effect Jan 7th.

  10. #20
    Member Yearling Pogga will become famous soon enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfyourluck View Post
    Re Wayne's comment on sprint lane.
    Cammie Haughton (son of legend and a man with extensive experience in all areas of US harness) was recently appointed Director of Racing at Yonkers.
    Just about the first thing he has done is to get rid of the sprint lane at Yonkers. The change is scheduled to take effect Jan 7th.
    Brilliant, get rid of the bloody things, and let the drivers race properly. Can only hope for the same in Oz.

    I wish there was still a metro track. Imagine the pulling power with the current investment in marketing/media. One of the main reasons for it's slow death at the Valley in Vic, it was left to die. I attended the trots with my family every Saturday night (unless there was a wedding or something stopping me!) when it was at the Valley. Quick cab ride & away we went! I only go now if I've got a horse running. Maybe I love a beer too much but you can't get to a track easily using public transport or cab from the burbs.

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