Waikouaiti Racing Club loses traditional race date

Punters enjoy the New Year’s Day race day at the Waikouaiti Racing Club course at the beginning...
Punters enjoy the New Year’s Day race day at the Waikouaiti Racing Club course at the beginning of this year. The club has lost both the January 1 date and any home meeting for next year. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Waikouaiti Racing Club is embracing moving to Wingatui, but there is some disappointment it will no longer be on its home course.

The club has traditionally had one date in the year — on New Year’s Day at its course at Waikouaiti.

But it has lost that date, which has gone to Riverton.

Instead the club has been given a date of January 16 at Wingatui.

In a statement, Waikouaiti Racing Club president Andy Denham said the club was very disappointed it had not been given a licence in the new calendar for the 2020-21 season.

It had been racing at Waikouaiti since 1862, and had been looking forward to having another meeting on the first day of next year.

"There is a long history at the Waikouaiti Racing Club. We have a dedicated, loyal, hardworking committee that were determined to carry on the tradition of racing on New Year’s Day at Waikouaiti, into the future," he said.

"We believe we have always put on an exciting fun day of racing for the whole family to enjoy and be introduced to the fantastic sport of thoroughbred horse racing."

The club, though, is not looking back and will press forward with the new date.

"We will embrace this and endeavour to put on a fun day for the whole family as we would do at Waikouaiti," Denham said.

"There will be entertainment for children, food vendors, live music, Fashions of the Field and a Punters club. There will be no BYO but there are numerous bars."

The club thanked all members, sponsors, local community and all the public that have supported the club over the years.

Denham said the club owned about half of the course.

Parts of the course were used by various local and non-local community groups, which the club accommodates.

Groups that use the race course include the local fire brigade, harrier clubs, a market, pony clubs, horse trainers, darts club, a fitness club and the New Zealand Police.

The club gets income from some of these activities which helps with running costs of the club throughout the year.

The activities show how much the race course is a community asset, the club said.

Under new legislation in the Racing Industry Act, there is a long process to sell any club’s assets, and should the course have some community interest in it, then some payments must be made to the community if the course is sold.

Dunedin City Council records show the land the course sits on is owned by the Department of Conservation.

There is a bright spot for the club; its new January 16 date is good for getting nominations, as it attracts horses being prepared for the Wellington Cup carnival.

Add a Comment




Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter