The New Zealand Racing Board is keeping schtum over racing’s loudest current rumour, that Tony Lee is set to return to his former role as commentator for lower North Island gallop meetings.
The position became vacant in December when incumbent Tom Wood took a commentating role with the Singapore Turf Club. In late December www.theinformant.co.nz made inquiries with the Racing Board and was told that that the process of finding a replacement for Wood was in progress.
“We feel we have a strong pool of talent at NZRB, so we are running an internal process which is currently underway,” commented the NZRB’s Manager of Media and Corporate Communications Kate Gourdie.
“We have an interim plan in place using our existing team, and we're hoping to have a permanent replacement in place by early February.”
Otago commentator Jason Teaz carried out the bulk of commentating duties in the lower North Island during the busy holiday racing period, but over the past week northern race caller George Simon has been filling the breach.
Lee resigned in October 2012 after nearly three decades calling central districts race meetings and more recently spent time as a commentator in Malaysia before returning to New Zealand last year. Following Wood’s Singapore appointment the Racing Board was approached by central districts racing club representatives promoting Lee as the most suitable replacement, and it is understood that he has subsequently been in discussions with NZRB personnel.
What that translates to is now the subject of widely circulating rumours, but the NZRB is maintaining a ‘neither confirm nor deny’ policy over the matter.
Further inquiries by www.theinformant.co.nz produced the following brief statement yesterday from Gourdie: “We will have an appointment in the CD role within two weeks.”