There’s no doubt that the concept of night racing as a whole is a good one and it presents a very real new revenue stream for clubs.
Victoria has seen the opportunity for years and the expansion of their night racing program across Moonee Valley and Cranbourne this year shows just how much investment they’re willing to make.
Racing NSW has been a little slower off the mark but they too see an untapped source of revenue and they’re desperate to cash in.
Canterbury was their foray into the world of night racing but this seasons is now drawing to an end.
Tomorrow night will be the sixth of eight meets but the ATC admits it’s fallen short of expectations.
In fact the average turnover of $1.5 million on Friday nights is less than that of the $1.8 million on Thursday’s.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys isn’t giving up on the concept though and we can expect a greater focus on it in the future.
“We want to invest in night racing,” V’landys said.
“Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club are analysing night racing to see how it will work best for Sydney racing.”
This could include expanding to a second Friday night meeting.
“We are also looking at whether there should be a secondary venue for night racing and that might be on the Central Coast,” he said.
ATC chief executive Darren Pearce reiterated this sentiment saying they’ll be closely following the Victoria model.
“There will be a rejuvenation of night racing,” Pearce said.
“NSW and Victoria want to be aligned in a strategy with night racing.
“We want to have the ability to export our product as part of this push to have an Asian racing league, for the want of a better description.”
Indeed the Asian aspect is the part that really excites both Racing NSW and Racing Victoria.
For years they’ve been trying to tap into the lucrative goldmine that is Asian gambling and they see this as their best weapon.
Tonight’s Canterbury broadcast already streams live into New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom and Asia through Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Thailand.
“The export of racing by Sky delivers substantial revenues and exposure to the industry through international wagering,” Sky Racing chief operating officer Brendan Parnell said.
“Night racing provides an opportunity to expand on it.”
They key to any expansion would be complete cooperation between the race clubs, especially given the shorter breaks between events on Friday nights.
Chief executive of the Gosford Race Club James Heddo says his venue would be the perfect choice for a NSW expansion providing they receive assistance.
“We have had a twilight season this summer and the club has been very happy with how well it has been received in the local community,” Heddo said.
“The club sees this as a forerunner to night racing but we also understand the significant costs of lighting and infrastructure.
“If night racing was to go ahead at Gosford, we would need the support and financial assistance of Racing NSW.”