Turn it up! Officials deserve praise

Firstly, I need to start this week's column with some important news.

The Oamaru Jockey Club meeting scheduled for next Friday at Oamaru has been moved to Wingatui.

Well, effectively that is what has happened.

Technically, the Otago and Oamaru clubs have swapped raceday licences.

The Wingatui meeting scheduled for October 23 will now be run at Oamaru and it will be conducted by the Oamaru club.

Next week's meeting will be run under the licence of the Otago Racing Club.

All I can say is hallelujah.

It's a well done from me to the officials at both clubs, the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) for making this happen.

Regular readers will be well aware I was not nearly as complimentary of the moves officials made regarding rescheduling of Oamaru Cup day last month.

I wrote about what I thought should have happened - being proactive and avoiding an 11th-hour cancellation of racing on a suspect track.

Trainers also voiced strong opinions on the matter and many people commented they agreed that the decision to move the Oamaru Cup day to Ashburton came far too late.

I can only applaud the decision now to avoid the same situation happening again.

This has to be the attitude regarding suspect tracks from now on. And when I say suspect tracks, I mean tracks that are in a vulnerable situation.

It is clear that the Oamaru track is a good grass circuit so relax, Oamaru people, especially those who got a bit precious about the cancellation last month.

I do not think I heard any criticism of the track itself: it was obviously a case of timing and an incredible run of weather.

Perhaps, just think of the thousands of dollars that are wasted when meetings are abandoned and rescheduled.

It is clear this winter in North Otago is one out of the bag.

There was barely more than 6mm of rain in Oamaru from the abandonment of racing last month until last weekend, according to MetService figures.

Then, the town copped more than a massive 62mm.

It's clear that amount of rain on a previously dry track, that had been starved of rain for much of the winter, is bad news.

So it seems plainly obvious to me the right decision has been made.

Obviously, I feel for the Oamaru Jockey Club - it's been a less than ideal month for them.

What I do hope is that they can enjoy a highly successful day on their home track in October.

Because of some forward planning and a bit of good logic, there seems no reasons next week's meeting will not be a success, either.

Happy trails.

 

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