Manawatu favoured over Forbury

The future for Forbury Park is uncertain. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Forbury Park. PHOTO: ODT FILES.
The Manawatu Harness Racing Club, which was on its knees along with Forbury Park last year, has had its number of meetings increased for next season.

The Forbury Park Trotting Club, though, has gone the other way. The club has been given just four meetings, with the track in St Kilda set to close.

The Forbury Park and the Manawatu clubs bore the brunt of the cuts which went through the draft calendar last year, both clubs losing all meetings.

The two clubs pleaded their cases to Harness Racing New Zealand and the TAB and managed to get back 10 race meetings each for the current season.

The two clubs both owned the land where the tracks were situated, although Forbury is set to close to meetings at the end of the season.

The new calendar came out for the 2021-22 season late last week. Forbury Park was allocated only four meetings — two at Wyndham and two at Wingatui. One of the meetings at Wingatui will be a dual code meeting.

In contrast, Manawatu had its meetings increase from 10 to 12, all at its own track..

The lower North Island area will get a third more meetings than last year, a year after it looked like standardbreds would become a rare sight in the region.

Overall there are 257 meetings in the harness code next season, a drop of four from this season.

Forbury Park is set to close after the end of the season, with its final meeting set for July 8.

The club has yet to confirm whether it had the finances to see the season out. Its next meeting is on May 27 and it has four meetings left after that.

Forbury Park Trotting Club chairman Craig Paddon said yesterday nothing has been confirmed about the rest of the dates. He said there was still a large number of issues to be settled.

Wyndham appears to have won out over Forbury Park. Not only is it holding the two Forbury Park meetings but it has a total of nine meetings allocated. This is up from one last season.

The club will race under its own banner five times and will also hold two meetings for the Gore Harness Racing Club.

The Wyndham club will still operate its day meeting in Cromwell in the new year.

A review carried out late last year recommended meetings return to Wyndham. The area has a significant horse population.

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