Ashburton race meeting benefits from Oamaru Jockey Club’s cancellation

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The recent cancellation of the Oamaru Jockey Club’s July 20 meeting resulted in big entries at the Ashburton Racing Club meeting on Friday.

Two races were added to Ashburton’s programme to cater for increased numbers with the highlight being the $25,000 Winter Cup Trial.

Some high profile horses that missed a run at Oamaru and the increased stakes announced last week turned it into a meeting not to be missed, commentators said.

A smart field of two-year-olds raced over 1200 metres for $15,000 and about 38 runners lined up for two $10,000 maiden races.

Oamaru Jockey Club president Bevan Crombie said that funding provided by the New Zealand Thorougbred Racing Authority for the Oamaru meeting was redirected to Ashburton before July 31, the end of the racing financial year.

He said said it was perfectly fair that Ashburton should benefit from the abandonment of the Oamaru meeting.

“Our meeting had been allocated $142,000 with the Oamaru Cup and the Waitaki Plate each worth $25,000.

“If Wingatui had been cancelled before we held our meeting we would have benefited from their stakes.”

Mr Crombie said a near-record number of 48 trainers had organised to come to Oamaru on July 20 for a good track and stakes before its cancellation due to heavy rain the night before.

The Ashburton cup trial over 1400 metres was bolstered by several runners who would not have lined up had they raced in Oamaru.

Riccarton trainers, Sandy Cunningham and Aaron Taylor, were forced to head to Ashburton to get a run in before Winter Cup Day which is being held in Christchurch early August.

Ms Cunningham said the cancellation of the Oamaru meeting was less than ideal for Keepa Tramp but there was no point in dwelling on it.

“It’s not the club’s fault, it’s nobody’s fault.”

“We just have to deal with it.”

By LINDA MCCARTHY