Waimate Racing Club ready for last hurrah at home track

The Waimate Racing Club has not been issued a licence to hold a meeting at its home course after...
The Waimate Racing Club has not been issued a licence to hold a meeting at its home course after 2019.PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Waimate Racing Club plan to celebrate their proud history on what is set to be their last meeting at their home course tomorrow.

The club has not been issued a licence to hold its annual race meeting during the next season, following the release of the Messara report and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing's subsequent venue plan.

President Mike Cooney said rather than using the meeting to voice their disappointment at that decision or to protest it, the club would be focused on celebrating its rich history.

"We are going to have a celebration of racing in Waimate.

"We have been there for damn near 150 years."

The Waimate club will be relying on a major shift in policy for racing to continue at its course next season or any time in the future.

The club understood the need for change to revitalise the racing industry, Cooney said.

However, the organisation could not see the benefit of closing the Waimate racecourse for thoroughbred racing.

"We are well aware of how things are going in the industry.

"But what difference is it going to make taking out our little race track in Waimate?

"There does not seem to be much advantage in it, really."

The Waimate Racing Club received a heavy blow in 2013 when its racecourse's grandstand was flattened by high winds.

The club and the wider community put in a huge amount of effort in having its facilities rebuilt, Cooney said

That work will effectively go to waste as the club is unable to hold race meetings.

"The most disappointing part is the effort that went into our earthquake proof buildings."

Cooney said the Waimate track was in excellent order ahead of tomorrow's meeting.

It was in far superior order to most South Island tracks - being rated in the dead range - which only added to the frustration that the venue would go to waste in the future.

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