Club making most of new date

Horse numbers are up by more than 60% and, although the club received only half what it wanted, it is planning on a successful day.

The Central Otago Racing Club is all set to host its annual meeting at the Cromwell course tomorrow.

The club traditionally held its meeting at the Omakau track on January 3, a day after the Central Otago Trotting Club at the same venue, making it tougher to draw a crowd.

The new calendar drew a line through the January 3 date and shifted the meeting to tomorrow at Cromwell.

The Otago Racing Club has traditionally run on this Sunday, attracting a decent crowd.

More than 100 horses will line up in eight races after nominations closed yesterday.

Central Otago RC president Geoff McAtamney said to attract that number was great and a large increase on the club’s meeting in January.

The club then had six races featuring just over 60 horses. The feature race, the Central Otago Cup, attracted just six starters.

The fields are much bigger tomorrow and the feature, the Clare Memorial Cup, has attracted 11 runners.

McAtamney said the club had originally wanted this date at Omakau but the move to Cromwell was not worth crying about and the club had to move forward.

"It was too hard on our community to have two race meetings on the same course in two days. Being there on January 3 was not working for us any more and we had to change," he said.

"After the trots, which is a big meeting on a public holiday, was never going to work for us. By moving to Cromwell we have taken the pressure off our community."

The club had attracted sponsors and was hoping for a good crowd.

He said it was the only two days of the year for galloping in Central Otago and hoped punters would get behind it.

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