Racing: Late nominations strengthen fields for Wingatui meeting

Andre Klein
Andre Klein
Otago Racing Club chief executive Andre Klein is a relieved man ahead of the club's meeting at Wingatui today.

Initial nominations were very light for the meeting, which coincides with the club's Christmas At The Races promotion, but eventually a seven-race programme was carded.

Late nominations for the meeting beefed up numbers for the seven races after concerns were expressed about the viability of the meeting when the first round of nominations were released on Wednesday''They haven't come up too bad, as long as we don't get hit by scratchings,'' Klein said.

He is not opposed to the number of meetings being staged, as the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) seeks to meet its export agreement with Australia, but feels there are two ways to ensure an even spread across southern meetings in particular.

''For me, the best number of events on any given fixture is seven or eight [races] and this answers the NZRB's desire for `product' for export,'' he said.

A more logical spread of racing would ensure the popular meetings, such as the Christmas At The Races events, and the holiday racing venues did not risk cancellations due to insufficient nominations.

''We should create two tiers of racing down south this time of year, and a more logical and less erratic pattern of events.

''Say from [New Zealand] Cup week onwards, we go fortnightly with high stakes at the likes of Cromwell, Riccarton's [and Invercargill's] Christmas At The Races meeting and Boxing Day, ensuring good numbers and good horses on days when crowds are strong and risks are high.''

Klein suggested the lower-tier meetings could be restricted to seven races, and programmed to ensure the better horses targeted the better meetings, while still meeting the NZRB's export requirements.

The feature at today's meeting, the $8000 rating 75 Christmas Cup, has attracted eight runners.

China Bo Bo comes into the 2100m race with a third behind Robbie Rooster at Cromwell. That was on a good (2) surface, but the Viscount gelding does tend to appreciate a more giving track, placing seven times on a dead or worse surface.

The Murray Hamilton-trained Deceptive drops back from open company at Cromwell, where he was a 4.7-length fifth behind Commanche Gold.

By Matt Smith.