Good crowd at rescheduled meeting key

The Central Otago Racing Club is hoping to avert a disaster by its rescheduling of yesterday's cancelled Omakau races to tomorrow.

The meeting was called off early yesterday after a wet patch in the track made it unfit for racing.

The nine-race programme remains the same, but the first race has been brought forward to 12.14pm.

Club president Tony Lepper confirmed the wet patch was caused by a malfunction of the course's irrigation system timer.

''It had gone perfectly every morning for three months and then it malfunctioned two days before the races.''

The postponement of the races would have a financial impact on the club as well as horse owners, trainers and jockeys.

The meeting was rescheduled with the help of the TAB and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing.

''We are obviously very upset by what happened but we are glad they found a slot and we just hope everyone turns up on Friday,'' Mr Lepper said.

Had yesterday's meeting not been rescheduled it would have meant a disastrous start to the year for the South Island thoroughbred racing industry.

Three days ago, trainers, jockeys and the public were sent packing when the Waikouaiti races were abandoned after the track was deemed unsafe.

Admission to tomorrow's meeting will be free.

''I think a lot of people are still on holiday until the 8th [of January] and there are plenty of holiday makers still around so let's hope they still turn up,'' Mr Lepper said.

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