Racing: Reduced card a concern

There are just seven horses in the Queenstown Cup, and that is a concern for Otago Racing Club chief executive Andre Klein.

There are only eight races on the card at tomorrow's Cromwell meeting. Klein said that was due to decisions made at a higher level, which he had previously warned about.

"It is very disappointing this has happened. This is in the top 10 of attended race days right across the country for the year but now we have been forced to drop down to eight races," he said.

The lack of horse numbers could be blamed on various factors.

A meeting at Timaru on Thursday - described as "Mickey Mouse" by Klein - had drawn Canterbury horses to it, and many of them would not now head south.

"We would turn over on-course in the first race what they [Timaru] would for their entire day."

He said Gallop South used to make sure the Cromwell meeting and this month's Invercargill meeting had similar stakes, so trainers would not pick one over the other.

But authorities in Wellington had decided to up the stakes in Invercargill. More local trainers were subsequently choosing that meeting.

"You can't blame them for that but it is frustrating.

We have good quality horses but it is a shame we don't have more races," Klein said.

Trainer Michael Pitman was usually a big supporter of the Cromwell meeting but was in the process of switching training bases and would have no horses tomorrow.

That eliminated up to a dozen horses.

Klein was still confident of a good day. About 4000 tickets had been sold already and he was hoping for a crowd of about 8000.



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