Racing: Club's books show improved form

Peter Gillespie
Peter Gillespie
The Forbury Park Trotting Club has recorded a significant turnaround, logging a profit of more than $50,000 for the past financial year.

The club made a $144,585 loss in the 2011 financial year but with tighter margins and improved revenue, its finances have taken a turn for the better.

The club recorded a profit of $50,488, which president Peter Gillespie said was a pleasing result that came from a lot of hard work.

"We have to be pretty happy with that. We had 18 meetings last year, which was a couple down on last year, but, overall, it has been a fairly busy year." The ground floor of the main stand was fully tenanted and a high standard of food meant people were now keen to dine at the races, he said.

A Christmas meeting next month had already attracted 400 diners.

The club and its general manager, Paul Knowles, had settled an employment dispute but Gillespie said the terms of the settlement had to remain confidential. He confirmed Knowles no longer worked there. Zelda Simpson was the acting general manager.

A couple of motions were defeated at the club's annual meeting on Wednesday night.

A motion to scrap the board of management was defeated, along with a suggestion that stabling fees for resident trainers be cut from $70 a month to $35 a month.

Gillespie said the next 12 months would be spent consulting everyone concerned, with the view of rewriting the club's constitution.

The four major harness tracks around the country were set up with a board to run the facility and a committee to run the racing. It was questioned whether this was the appropriate structure for Forbury Park.

Gillespie said he wanted everybody included in the consultation, including Harness Racing New Zealand.

The club had set a goal of hosting the Harness Jewels in 2017 and that meant all facilities had to be up to scratch.

"There is quite a financial commitment to do that. It requires top-class stabling facilities to get the best horses in the country down here."

Gillespie said that previously, decisions were made ad hoc, but he hoped this would change with a more strategic plan developed.

Graeme Anderson, Ken McFarlane and Marty Denton were elected to the club's committee, and Ken Campbell and Kerry Dance were re-elected. Ray Fidow and Leon Crawford did not seek re-election.