Ruakaka Abandoned

Wednesday 2 October

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Sand blown on to the course forced the abandonment of the Whangarei Racing Club’s meeting at Ruakaka today.

The meeting was abandoned at 12.10pm for safety and integrity reasons following an inspection of the track by a committee comprising trainers, jockeys and club officials, along with the stipendiary stewards, which determined that it was unfit for racing.

Excess sand from an area of extensive earthworks on the inside of the course proper had been blown on to the track by high winds overnight, accumulating on the home bend and straight.

The course manager raised concerns with the stipendiary stewards, with an initial inspection conducted shortly after 10am while further remedial work was carried out by the club.

A delegation of riders including Leith Innes, Mark du Plessis and Matthew Cameron, along with trainer’s representatives Stephen McKee and Hayden Allen, were asked to inspect the track with club officials and the stewards.

Whangarei Racing Club President Dean Logan said the club was disappointed the meeting had to be abandoned and said it would look help reimburse travel costs for horses engaged at the meeting.

NZTR Chief Executive Greg Purcell said the Board of NZTR Board had recently considered the issue of compensation when a race or meeting was abandoned on raceday.

“NZTR will be making a $200 compensation payment to the connections of all horses that had accepted at 7.30am today with the intention of starting at Whangarei. NZTR has also waived all nomination and acceptance fees for this meeting.”

The $200 NZTR meeting compensation payment would also be paid retrospectively from the start of the 2013/14 season to connections of horses that had missed the opportunity to start at the Egmont meeting on August 29, when racing was abandoned after three races had been conducted, and those engaged in the last race at Hawke’s Bay on September 21.

Mr Logan said the Whangarei Racing Club would pay an additional $100 to the connections of horses from the Auckland region which had travelled on the day and a $200 additional payment to those engaged from the Waikato region.

NZTR has left open all races at Avondale on Monday until 9am tomorrow and will look to divide races as required to provide additional opportunities for horses that missed an opportunity at Whangarei.

As provided in NZTR Standard Regulation 6.3, NZTR will look to exempt those horses engaged at Whangarei from the provision of the 2.5 late nomination entry provision for Avondale, which means any horse nominated for Avondale that was due to start at Whangarei will be treated the same as horses that had been nominated at midday for the Avondale meeting.

In consultation with the Regional Programming Committee, an $8000 Benchmark Rating 85 1400m Handicap will be added to the Taupo programme on Wednesday, October 9, and NZTR will also look to split races at Taupo as required.

NZTR Racing and Operations Manager David Jewell said NZTR would investigate the circumstances leading to the abandonment of today’s Whangarei meeting.

NZTR, in consultation with the club, contractors and NZTR National Venue Inspector Garry Foskett, will review what actions are required to avoid any repeat of today’s issues ahead of the meeting scheduled at Ruakaka on Wednesday, October 16.


For more information, please contact:

David Jewell

NZTR Racing and Operations Manager

027 511 3152