Forbury club prepares for spectator-less meeting

Forbury Park dominates the foreground in this 2017 aerial view of Dunedin's south coast. PHOTO:...
Forbury Park dominates the foreground in this 2017 aerial view of Dunedin's south coast. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
The Forbury Park Trotting Club has been busy making sure the province’s first spectator-less race meeting will be a success.

The harness racing club will host a dual code meeting on Monday, in conjunction with the Beaumont Racing Club, that will be off-limits to spectators.

The national bodies for all three racing codes ruled race meetings were to be attended only by essential personnel and participants to adhere to government recommendations on public gatherings in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two clubs will have security staff at each of Wingatui racecourse’s entry points to make sure only those allowed attend enter the gates.

“That is something that is always catered for at that meeting anyway,” Forbury Park general manager Della Henderson said.

“We are upping that resource a little bit.”

“We are just working through how many access points will be open.”

“There will obviously be some for the floats to come through and probably just one main access point for staff and other essential people.”

The club is working with industry participants and officials to make sure essential people have access to the meeting.

Judicial, animal welfare and media representatives will be in attendance alongside drivers, jockeys trainers and their staff.

“For us it is making sure that we adhere to the new conditions and making sure that we keep people safe,” Henderson said.

“We have been doing what we need to do to keep the race meeting going.”

“So, we have have been making sure who we need there that would be termed essential are given access.”

The Forbury Park and Beaumont clubs are set to take a financial hit from any hospitality revenue they would have made if their race day had gone ahead as normal.

The clubs will also be denied any chance to source revenue from oncourse betting at the meeting.

Henderson did not want to speculate on any possible financial ramifications that could follow its ghost race meeting.

The Forbury Park club hopes those that would have attended the races still support it by watching on television and betting off-course.

“I think we can’t speculate on [the financial impact]. There are a lot of sports that can’t go ahead.

“We are obviously disappointed the public can’t attend. Hopefully, people will still support [the meeting] and watch from home through Trackside.”

The first race meeting since new restrictions came into effect was held behind closed doors at Rotorua yesterday.



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