Planned changes leave southern racing clubs reeling

The entire future of Dunedin's Forbury Park is under the spotlight.  Photo: ODT files
The entire future of Dunedin's Forbury Park is under the spotlight. Photo: ODT files
Roxburgh Trotting Club is one of the few racing clubs in the South that owns its track and buildings. Now, it will not be able to use them.

Waikouaiti Racing Club used to have one of the biggest days of the year in racing. Now, it has no race day, and a track with no runners.

And in Dunedin, Forbury Park has lost all its greyhound race meetings along with its harness events.

As the draft New Zealand racing calendar was released yesterday, clubs around the South looked on with a mixture of satisfaction and despair.

The entire future of Forbury Park is under the spotlight. It lost nearly 50 meetings, with both harness and greyhound meetings left off the calendar.

Further afield, Roxburgh Trotting Club kept its early January date but will have to race it at Cromwell.

Roxburgh Trotting Club president David Parker said the club could not understand why the meeting had been moved to Cromwell.

"It is not part of our plan. It was never our intention to go up there. It’s a kick in the guts for us," he said.

"We own the grounds, we own all the facilities - so why do we want to go up to Cromwell to race there?"

He said the lack of fibre internet for Trackside television channel may have been a factor in the switch but the club was willing to help resolve the issue.

Waikouaiti Racing Club representatives were left wondering why their track has lost its regular date on January 1, yet a meeting is now taking place at Riverton on the same day.

Waikouaiti was a popular family picnic meeting, although it took a blow a couple of years ago when it had to abandon the meeting after horses slipped in the first race.

Forbury Park’s future will now be up for debate, though the clubs are not lying down.

Both clubs are set to make submissions to the Racing Industry Transition Agency to try to get meetings back.

Comments

While it may be disappointing to lose the Forbury track, is it likely that Wingatui continues as a racing venue? Looking to the future, there is actually a very real silver lining. We have a shortage of housing...some 30 acres or so transformed into 600m2 sections. That's over 200 homes and room for a park or two and a handful of shops.
A modern, well thought out development, that is both affordable and attractive that pays homage to Dunedin's history and architecture rather than every property looking the same as the next.
Maybe a time has come where consolidating racing facilities and cashing up is the most logical thing to do? The greater need would arguably be homes for people?

Thanks Winston...

 

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