Wingatui track manager Wayne Stevens has been a busy man preparing for today's big meeting at Wingatui. Photo by Gregor Richardson
Wayne Stevens was casting a wary look at the skies on
Christmas Day with his prized piece of turf at Wingatui on
The Wingatui track manager split his Christmas Day between
Christmas dinner at home and a couple of visits to the track
in preparation for the Boxing Day meeting at Wingatui today.
A track reading and maintenance of the training tracks in the
morning was followed by Christmas dinner, before Stevens
returned for a track reading in the afternoon.
The Boxing Day meeting promises to be a huge day for Stevens
and his team.
''We'll be back at 6am [this] morning for another track
reading,'' he said.
''I'll whip home, have a shower and get changed, and then
back again, so it'll be a long day - 15 or 16 hours. We've
got to lock up and tidy things up, and get people out of the
road, so it'll probably be 9.30pm by the time we get home on
A meeting at Wingatui on December 17 did not cause too much
wear and tear to the track.
''We got through that day good and we had a bit of rain
since, but it's just [a matter of] keeping an eye on the
forecast and making sure your track's got enough moisture in
it so if we do have rain on the day, things are safe.''
Stevens trained 15 winners between 2003 and 2010, including
the 2007 Gore Guineas and 2009 Eclipse Stakes winner
Halobelle, but gave training away several years ago as the
track management took up more of his time.
''Trying to look after this track is the thing. You've got to
do a lot of rail movements in the winter.
''It's a lot of fun; you meet a lot of good people. There's
the other side too, where you get a lot of moans and things
like that, but you just deal with it.''
Rain is forecast for this morning but is expected to clear in
The sun has added to the workload of Stevens' ground team,
with rapid grass growth.
''We're mowing three times a week now, so that takes up a wee
bit of our time.''
The first race is at 2.11pm and the last at 7.40pm.