Big jockey club meeting abandoned

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For the second time in a month, the Oamaru Jockey Club has been forced to cancel a winter meeting.

The club was set to hold its biggest event of the season with the Oamaru Cup Day, however a massive overnight downpour resulted in the meeting being cancelled.

Oamaru Jockey Club president Bevan Crombie said he was disappointed.

“It was decided about 3pm yesterday (Saturday) that the track was too wet for racing and safety is our top priority, so the meeting was cancelled.”

While the underfoot conditions would have been acceptable, the puddles on the track made it impossible for the meeting to take place.

Mr Crombie said he was unhappy about the quality of the fields.

“We had 116 horses set to race, many of which were some of the top in the South Island, so it’s a pain they didn’t get to race.”

What made the cancellation even more frustrating was that there was more than $140,000 up for grabs over the nine races, he said.

“We had two races, the main Oamaru Cup Race and The Waitaki River Trophy and they had a stake of $25,000 each, while three other races had stakes worth $17,500.”

Mr Crombie said such high stakes were hard to come by and that was a largely why they had gathered such a strong field.

While he wouldn’t elaborate on how much money the jockey club was set too lose following their second race meeting cancellation, Mr Crombie said the club was still in healthy shape.

“We are still in good shape and will bounce back strongly from this.”

Meanwhile, Oamaru Jockey Club committee member John Fleming said he was annoyed about the cancellation.

“The South Island Punting competition, which had attracted 48 entries from throughout the South Island, was called off, leaving some punters bitterly disappointed they had no chance of winning $2000.”

Mr Fleming said this was the first time in many years that back-to-back meetings had been cancelled in Oamaru.

“Our reputation as having one of the drier winter tracks has gone out the window,” he said.

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY

PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINDSAY

CLOSED: Oamaru Jockey Club president Bevan Crombie at the Oamaru Racecourse yesterday.