NZ Cup Day under way without the crowd

Canterbury horse racing's biggest week of the year kicked off today. Photo: George Heard
Canterbury horse racing's biggest week of the year kicked off today. Photo: George Heard
Canterbury horse racing's biggest week of the year has kicked off today without the usual crowd of 20,000.

The IRT New Zealand Trotting Cup Day is the first of the Addington Cup Week events. The action got under way at 12.15pm. The cup race is expected to start at 5.50pm.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, organisers made the decision last month to go ahead without a crowd for the first time in 117 years.

Addington Raceway chief executive Brian Thompson said they were hopeful the South Island would have dropped down an alert level with enough time to create and deliver the event as usual - but time ran out.

Instead, the event is a smaller racing industry day for members, owners, trainers and business partners.

Everyone on site is being hosted in "bubbles" corresponding to a different coloured wrist band.

Addington Raceway chief executive Brian Thompson arrives at the event. Photo: George Heard
Addington Raceway chief executive Brian Thompson arrives at the event. Photo: George Heard
All guests are required to scan in for contract tracing purposes, and the wearing of masks is compulsory at all times, except when eating and drinking.

Although there will be no punters on-site, Christchurch bars are gearing up for a busier day than usual.

Kaiser Brew Garden is offering champagne specials and their beer steins for today's celebrations.

Director Campbell Parker said they are hoping to see the bar full of people.

"Because there is not 25,000 people on course, they'll still be getting their make-up, doing their hair, going out and having a good time but this time they'll be able to get into a bar and potentially just have to sit and stay.

"We just don't know how this Tuesday is going to go versus our normal."

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Cup Meeting at Riccarton Park will go ahead with a limited number of people this year.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, organisers made the decision last month to go ahead without a crowd...
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, organisers made the decision last month to go ahead without a crowd for the first time in 117 years. Photo: George Heard
Owners of competing horses, event sponsors and members of the Canterbury Jockey Club can attend. If demand for attendance is not be exhausted by the key stakeholders, limited seated tickets may be available for the public.

The New Zealand Cup and Show Week events, at Addington and Riccarton, and the New Zealand Agricultural Show have a big impact on the local economy but each of them has been cancelled or are not going ahead as planned.

ChristchurchNZ told the Herald the total predicted visitor spend for the events is $4.3 million.

That estimate was based on the events, typically running across five days, going ahead while the whole country is at alert level 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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