Waikouaiti counts down

Waikouaiti Racing Club president Jim Lawson says the slogan ''Waikouaiti is the place to be on New Year's Day'' will hold true again for the races next week, especially with support from two key visiting trainers.

''Having Michael Pitman and John Parsons based here helps,'' Lawson said.

Pitman trained seven winners on this year's card, although expect the winners to be spread more widely next week.

Lawson said both on-course and off-course aspects of the track had been prepared to the minute.

''Our facilities have been given the A1 tick from NZTR [New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing],'' he said.

The track is being closely monitored to ensure a fair racing surface is presented on January 1.

''We need to keep a bit of water on the track to help that soft base underneath,'' Lawson said.

The return of the train service to Waikouaiti has proved popular over the last two years, and is expected to do so again. It will leave Dunedin at 10am and Waikouaiti at 5.30pm.