Home away from home

Mr Intelligence is one to watch tomorrow. Photo: Race Images South
Mr Intelligence is one to watch tomorrow. Photo:
It might be a while before Wingatui starts to feel like home, but the Waikouaiti Racing Club is determined to make the best of a difficult situation.

The club will host its feature meeting at the Otago Racing Club's course for a second time tomorrow. It follows the decision, in August 2020, of New Zealand.

Thoroughbred Racing to add Waikouaiti to its list of venues deemed to be surplus to the industry.

The East Otago club had long held a coveted New Year's Day spot, but that has also gone.

With no choice but to accept the opportunity to hold a meeting at Wingatui in mid-January, the club is rolling up its sleeves and getting on with it.

"We would rather be at home, of course. The races at Waikouaiti were a highlight for East Otago for the year," Waikouaiti Racing Club president Andy Denham said.

"But times have changed, and we've taken on this date at Wingatui and we're grateful for getting the day."

Tomorrow is a big day, too. Waikouaiti has been allocated a feature day with a full card of 10 races.

Total stakes are $285,000, well up on the $98,000 on offer at the club's last meeting at home two years ago.

The club has also managed to keep it local in enlisting a new sponsor - Waikouaiti Auto Engineering - for the feature $40,000 Waikouaiti Cup.

The meeting will finish with two more qualifying races in the Otago Daily Times Southern Mile.

"Everything's looking pretty good," Denham said.

"The weather forecast is not too bad, so that might bring some people out.

"We had lots of positive feedback last year. It's a real family day, so we like to have some entertainment for the kids."

Denham said the Waikouaiti club was in discussions with NZTR over the future of the club and the course.

A resolution was expected within the next 12 months.

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