We aspire to do so in a way that captures the imagination of our current stakeholders. At the same time we recognize and understand the need to engage and reach new audiences in a way that encourages or inspires them to want to be a part of our sport/industry.
Sheldon Murtha, a member of the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association and well-known broadcaster, approached The Breeders with the idea of a TV series as a possible gap in the market, and something that could give our breeding industry a much needed push in terms of mainstream coverage.
What has materialised is incredibly exciting, with two seasons of six 30 minute episodes about standardbred breeding to be produced by Sheldon this year with the first season airing on Trackside 1 October 4th (Tuesday) at 7:30pm. It will continue every Tuesday at 7:30pm thereafter.
“Being on the Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association they were looking to allocate some money to marketing such as websites and magazines. I stuck my oar in and said well why don’t we try and fund or make a standardbred breeding show to at least put us alongside the thoroughbreds in terms of mainstream representation.”
“I bumped into Mary Anne Twentyman at the thoroughbred sales and ran it past her to gauge Trackside’s interest. What they were after being strapped for time was for somebody to come up with a concept and the money to push it through. So what started as an idea for getting Trackside to produce a show turned into let’s get Sheldon to do it!”
Sheldon Murtha is no stranger to trackside and the racing public having held various broadcasting roles over the years.
“The shows are being supported by the breeding industry to start with, and the show is a world first which is exciting. There’s no standardbred breeding show anywhere. It’s got plenty of legs and it can go where it likes and potentially go a long way to globalizing the sport. The breeding side of the industry has gone a long way in terms of globalizing the product in the last ten years.
“Places like North America and more recently the trotting in Europe have become more intertwined with down under with the transported semen and access to their top stallions.
“We have become increasingly connected so there is an aim to reflect that and put New Zealand harness racing up there as world class product that is equal to anything anywhere.”
For those who have seen the thoroughbred model of Bred to Win, you can rest assured in the fact you won’t be put to sleep with boring advertorials from our major studs.
“We’ve gone with an approach of making the series more of a Country Calendar style affair, to tell the human interest stories of breeders around the country who often wouldn’t get their time in the sun and allow them to tell their story. It’s a great way of capturing the enthusiasm and passion that is abundant in the breeding industry.”
Doing anything mainstream requires cash in the bank, and without the support of numerous industry participants, HRNZ and the four breeders associations, none of the above would have been possible.
With the show being able to be disseminated through our online channels, and also the likelihood of being picked up in Australia for their Sky Racing channels, we are immensely excited at the prospect of showcasing our product in the modern and professional sphere of television.
A massive thanks must go to the following for their financial support of the series;
Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Assn
Harness Racing New Zealand
Nevele R Stud
North Island Standardbred Breeders Assn
Southland Standardbred Breeders Assn
We have a great sport, a fantastic breed and now we can showcase it to an extra wide audience here and in Australia.