Entain and Auckland Thoroughbred Racing embrace new partnership

3 Nov 2023
Auckland Thoroughbred Racing

Entain, the operator of New Zealand’s TAB, has joined forces with Auckland Thoroughbred Racing (ATR) in an exciting partnership that is set to amplify the racing experience for fans at Ellerslie and Pukekohe Park.

The long-term partnership, announced today, includes sponsorship of the New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie, which will now be known as the Trackside New Zealand Derby, as well as the headline sponsorship of the Counties Cup at Pukekohe Park from 2024.

ATR has led an extensive track and facilities renovation project at Ellerslie over the past 18 months, and as part of today’s announcement, racing fans will also benefit from a brand-new TAB Lounge on course at the premier venue. The Lounge is anticipated to be available for TAB customers to use from Trackside Derby Day on Saturday, 2 March 2024.

“We’re thrilled about this partnership, which runs in parallel with our sponsorship of TAB Karaka Millions night. It’s a privilege for us to join as named sponsors of a truly iconic New Zealand race like the New Zealand Derby, and to also be closely involved in Pukekohe Park’s feature meeting in Counties Cup Day,” says Entain Managing Director – New Zealand, Cameron Rodger.

“We’ve had great success with our Entain lounges in Australia, particularly at Moonee Valley, and we think our customers will love our new TAB Lounge at Ellerslie next year. It will be in a great location on-course that will allow them to enjoy some of New Zealand’s finest racing.”

ATR Chief Executive Paul Wilcox is buoyed by the opportunities that the partnership will bring.

“We’re anticipating that racing will return to Ellerslie Racecourse in January, all going well with the final stages of the StrathAyr track installation, and we’re thrilled that Entain will be joining us in partnership as we prepare to welcome racegoers back on course,” Wilcox says.

“ATR is striving to provide a world-class racing experience and our new track, combined with the improved venue facilities at Ellerslie including the TAB Lounge, will offer attendees the chance to enjoy the best of what New Zealand racing has to offer.

“Our partners in Entain share this outlook and I think the TAB Lounge will fast become the place to be on course. We’re excited about what the future holds with this partnership now in place.”

Today’s announcement comes alongside news that the Westbury Classic will receive a significant stakes increase, rising from $300,000 to $500,000 in 2024. The 1400m Group 2 feature for fillies and mares is the latest initiative from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and Entain to provide elite racing opportunities for New Zealand’s future broodmares.

The TAB Karaka Millions night (which also features the Westbury Classic) is scheduled to take place at Ellerslie Racecourse on Saturday, 27 January 2024 with Trackside Derby Day on Saturday, 2 March 2024, the first day of Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup Week.

The announcement regarding Ellerslie’s return to racing is expected before the end of the year.

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