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Vicky Nolan

Horse Racing Enters the New Millennium At Full Gallop

12 November 1999

While horse racing has long been popular, it hasn't always translated well to television and the Internet. In fact, the Australian Financial Review once compared televised horse racing to watching a herd of stampeding squirrels. Things are about to change, however.

Viewers around the world will soon be able to see the power and majesty of the horses as they lunge toward the finish line and watch the jockeys incite greater speed from their steeds. TeleTrak's proposed straight line racing track will use high-speed parallel rail and overhead cable mounted remote control cameras with stabilizing lenses to better showcase horses speeding down the track.

TeleTrak just broke ground on the first of several proposed sites. It's being built in Waikerie, South Australian and will probably hold its first races in about a year, according to John Hodgman, TeleTrak communications manager. The company has acquired exclusive rights to the name, concepts and intellectual property it developed, and have negotiated agreements in Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand, and the Australian states of New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. At this point in time, however, only South Australia has fully agreed to TeleTrak's proposal and allowed a site to be built.

Subscribers will watch the races at and/or, while wagers will be taken by the various licensed betting agencies that have entered into agreements with TeleTrak. Hodgman said the company is currently in discussions with several such agencies around the world, but did not divulge their names.

Putting together a straight track hasn't been easy. "Existing spectator based racing sees us as competitive, and are opposed to us," Hodgman said. The National Office of Australian Racing rejected the TeleTrak proposal back in '96. With the development of a good business plan, perseverance has paid off.

The company used market research by AC Nielsen to find out what racing followers around the world liked. TeleTrak put together an internal business plan that was prepared by KPMG, worked with Goldman Sachs for updates, projections and reworks, financial projections were prepared by William Buck, Chartered Accountants and PriceWaterhouse Coopers handled the oversee due diligence investigation.

"We are commencing as a stand alone activity, our horses will be purchased with our capital but marketed to viewers for racing purposes under a lease racing plan. The TeleTrak company will not race any horses," said Hodgman.

He adds, "TeleTrak will financially underwrite the lease racing plan, but only 50 percent of a budgeted 65,000 annual lease plan participants will provide cost free racing stock for the company." The company hopes to eventually have 300 race meetings a year, six nights a week, held on the straight-line, floodlit, night time, all weather grass racing configuration with six parallel tracks.

Hodgman will be discussing TeleTrak's plans when he speaks at next year's 8th Australian Casino and Gaming Conference.

Horse Racing Enters the New Millennium At Full Gallop is republished from
Vicky Nolan
Vicky Nolan