Weather sinks meeting

Officials were left with little choice to abandon yesterday’s Forbury Park Trotting Club meeting after the track was saturated by heavy rain.

Chairman of stewards Shane Renault said officials monitored the condition of the track and initially hoped the races could be salvaged but persistent rain forced the abandonment just after 1pm.

"The issue we have got is the surface water on the track from the inside. The drainage is not draining [the water] away," he said yesterday.

With more rain forecast to hit Dunedin later in the day there was little hope the track would be safe for racing in time for the first race at 5.36pm.

That was despite pumps being installed to clear the water at the worst-affected part of the track near the 800m mark.

"There is a spot at the 800m where the water is at the moment 2m on to the track, and the pumps are not going to take it away," Renault said early yesterday afternoon.

"With so much rain forecast and also high tide at 4pm, we are in trouble."

It was the second Forbury Park TC meeting to be called off in the past 12 months. In July last year, snow forced the cancellation of a Thursday night race meeting, which was then run the following Saturday.

Harness Racing New Zealand has discussed options to hold the meeting at the another time.

Chief executive Edward Rennell said the already congested harness racing calendar meant it was unlikely it would be run next week.

The organisation would discuss other dates or ways to make up the loss of the meeting next week, he said.

The cancellation did not necessarily give Otago-based trainers time to relax. Instead, some were left to clean up flooded properties.

Westwood Beach trainer Graeme Anderson said he was forced to move horses to higher ground yesterday afternoon.

Waikouaiti trainer Amber Hoffman also had her stable flooded, she said. 

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