No public at Addington Cup Week, organisers say

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
For the first time in its 117-year history Addington Cup Week will not be open to the public, organisers confirmed this morning.

The sold out hospitality packages will be refunded. Tickets to The Edge Public Village and Lindauer Lawn were due to go on sale in September but had to be put on hold due to Covid-19 alert level restrictions.

Addington Cup Week organisers had hoped the South Island would have dropped to alert level 1 without restrictions by today, but now say there is not enough time to deliver Addington Cup Week to the public this year.  

Said Addington Raceway chief executive Brian Thompson: "The races will still go ahead, but due to the country still being under mass gathering restrictions it will not be possible to hold Cup Week as a public accessible event. 

"Addington Cup Week for many is all about the race day experience, getting dressed up and sharing good times with great friends, hosting clients and mingling with other people all in a party like atmosphere.

"It’s just not an event where anyone wants to social distance from others."

He said the event will be a smaller racing industry day for members, owners, trainers and business partners.

Racing Industry Manager at Addington, Darrin Williams, told Newstalk ZB's John MacDonald they waited as long as they could to make the decision.

"People will be as frustrated as we are. It's gutting for us as a venue. The team here and the wider team, this is what we live and breathe for, this is the heart of harness racing.

"The racing will still happen but it's not the same experience that we wanted to give everyone."

Thompson said due to the large amount of temporary infrastructure required to host the regular crowd of 20,000-plus during Cup Week, it was necessary to make a decision on public attendance three weeks prior to the event commencing.

"We are very disappointed not to be able to share this year’s Cup Week with Canterbury but we have no other option than to turn Cup Week into a smaller racing industry day for members, owners, trainers and business partners given there is no indication when we will come out of level 2."

Addington will now plan to hold the event under alert level 2, where it can safely host and showcase racing while maintaining restrictions for racing industry participants in small pods throughout the facilities. 

"Addington Cup Week 2021 will look different to what we have known in the past. Our wish is to showcase a great industry event that is compliant with all government mandated guidelines. For the safety of our patrons, staff and all industry participants, our expectation is that guests attending will be compliant with all restrictions, so that all can have a good and safe Cup Week.

"Although we won’t be hosting our regular numbers on site at our raceway, we do hope that all New Zealand gets out during Cup Week and supports the hospitality industry.  We are working with ChristchurchNZ, media partners and hospitality outlets to bring New Zealanders other options to celebrate (the) ‘Cup from your place’ and still experience and be a part of our two iconic race days."

All hospitality packages sold will now be refunded. The Crossing Fashion Starts Here competition will run online with new categories and can be entered nationwide. Entries opened on October 15.

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