Waikouaiti makes most of new date

Andy Denham. Photo: Bill Campbell
Andy Denham. Photo: Bill Campbell
The Waikouaiti Racing Club is not sitting on its hands and moping after being forced to move its racing day.

In fact, thanks to the generosity of a club further north, the new meeting for the club has more meaning for owners and trainers.

The club was allocated a new date in the 2020-21 calendar, moving to January 16, with the races now taking place at the Wingatui track.

Waikouaiti Racing Club president Andy Denham said though it was the end of an era after nearly 160 years of racing on its home course at Waikouaiti on New Years day, it was a chance to reset and start afresh.

The club was determined to put on a fun day of racing at Wingatui for the whole family. There will be food vendors, entertainment for children, games and carnival rides and two or three bars for the public, including a well appointed garden bar. Alcohol is not allowed to be brought on to the venue.

It is a feature day and will attract some of the best horses and the bonus of the day is that the Wellington Racing Club has given the winner of the Waikouaiti Cup free entry into the Wellington Cup, two weeks after the race at Wingatui.

The Waikouaiti club approached the Wellington club and the capital club agreed to the proposal. The Waverley Racing Club, in south Taranaki, has also been given the option of allowing the winner of its feature race to make the trip to Wellington.

There were no lengthy staying events when the races were at Waikouaiti, so that is another bonus in moving to Wingatui.

Horse numbers are also expected to be good, thanks to a better placement of the meeting on the racing calendar and more money should be at stake.

The club was offering special and private venues to families and groups and various packages

were available.

Now all the club was hoping for was for the day to be fine and weather behave itself.

Canterbury trainer Michael Pitman, who was awarded South Island trainer of the year for last season, was set to bring many of his horses south and be based at Waikouaiti over the holiday period, as he has done for many years.


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