Race tracks under threat of closure will soon find out fate

Race tracks under the threat of closure next season will find out soon whether they have won...
Race tracks under the threat of closure next season will find out soon whether they have won their battles to stay open. Photo: Trish Dunell / NZH
Race tracks under the threat of closure next season will find out soon whether they have won their battles to stay open.

And even if those victories are only temporary it wouldn't surprise to see some given at least a one-season life line.

The three racing codes, thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing, as well as many of the clubs threatened with closure of their venues, have made submissions to the the dates committee of the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA), with the final decision on next season's racing calendar expected in the next 10 days.

What is usually a rubber-stamping job is far more emotive this season as over a dozen racetracks around the country have been deemed surplus to industry needs, a process fast-tracked by the racing industry's finances being in such disarray.

Some high profile racing clubs have not been granted licences to race next season which could mean they eventually cease to exist or be forced to centralise to another track.

But before the axe falls RITA will take into account submissions from the codes and individual clubs, assessing whether meetings can be cost-effectively held at the tracks, an equation which includes likely betting turnover on those meetings and what it costs to actually run them.

Code bosses are staying tight-lipped about their submissions but the Herald understands a handful of tracks around the country could be handed a stay of execution, perhaps as short as just next season, to race on and then make their cases for the future.

What happens to racetracks where clubs fail to convince racing bosses they should race on has become slightly more murky as the Parliamentary Select Committee suggested the Racing Industry Bill should be changed to include more safeguards for club's property, including the ability for club's to appeal any decision on their track's future to the High Court.

What appears likely is the draft calendar for next season proposed on May 15 may not be what become official as early as next week.

 

 

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