Addington plans marathon race meet on Sunday if Christchurch Covid restrictions eased

Addington Raceway. Photo: HRNZ
Addington Raceway. Photo: HRNZ
Covid restrictions allowing, Addington Raceway is planning to stage a marathon 17-race meeting on Sunday.

The meeting is essentially a combination of the meeting scheduled for Addington this Friday, and Sunday’s meeting at Ashburton.

It has already been signalled that Auckland the Coromandel will remain in level 4 lockdown until at least Wednesday next week, but the restrictions on the rest the country are due to expire at midnight.

Canterbury will have to be at alert level 3 or less for Sunday's meeting to go ahead. Even if the alert level is downgraded the decision has already been made that there will not be any crowds.

Cabinet is meeting today to decide whether the three-day South Island lockdown will be extended. The Cabinet announcement is due at 3pm today.

“The meeting will be held behind closed doors regardless,” says Addington Raceway’s Racing Industry Manager Darrin Williams.

“It’s easier, safer and avoids any confusion.”

No one other than essential staff - trainers, drivers, those involved in horse movements - will be allowed on course at Addington. No public facilities, including bars, will be open.

Everyone on course will have to register, wear face masks, socially distance and regularly use hand sanitiser, as per the usual Covid protocols.

The decision to go with one 17-race meeting comes after hours of talks between Harness Racing New Zealand, the Ashburton and New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Clubs, the NZ TAB and other affected parties.

“We have discussed so many scenarios,” says HRNZ Chief Executive Gary Woodham.

"And this is the best option all things considered.”

The Ashburton Trotting Club meeting will see seven races at Addington from 10.50am on Sunday, with 10 NZ Metropolitan Club races to follow (2.18pm – 6.22pm).

“It’s going to be a big long day but we are committed to making it work,” says Williams.

“The key though is the alert levels,” says Woodham.

“We need to be at level 3 or better or the meeting will not go ahead.”

"I would also like to thank Ashburton and Addington for their co-operation to allow us to get an outcome like this."

There will be regular updates on www.hrnz.co.nz whenever new and relevant information comes to hand.

-Harness Racing Desk

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