Talking points from week on the track
Not to mention further contributions from the harness and greyhound industries. An estimated 15,000 people are directly employed in the thoroughbred industry in New Zealand, and $500 million is generated in wages and salaries by the sector. Their voices need to be heard along with others who contribute.
TWO: Is regular racing at Ruakaka good for the sport?
Some punters are asking the question with a run of seven meetings at the Northland track since May 17. It’s hardly enticing for punters on a track biased in favour of on-speed horses, and those south of Pukekohe become less inclined to make the trek north due to transportation costs. On the other hand, it is great for trainers in the north and for those from further afield looking for half-decent winter track conditions. At the most recent meeting on September 16, every race was won by horses from north of Pukekohe and in all bar two, horses planted on the pace saluted. No matter how you view it, that’s less than ideal through the winter months while tracks like Ellerslie are largely unused through that period of the season.
THREE: Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry
Let’s be honest, as punters none of us wanted a slow 9 at Hastings on Saturday but there is one thing that would have been worse. New Zealand racing could not afford yet another an embarrassing abandonment because of a shifty track, which happened at this meeting two years ago. Hawke’s Bay Racing could not have been more transparent with what they were doing with irrigation during the week. There were few complaints then but with the benefit of hindsight - when the track was hit with much more rain than was forecast within 12 hours of the first race - the knockers were out in force. But it’s important to remember just how firm the track had got with the warm and windy Bay weather and acknowledge that the club was forced to irri- gate. Did they apply a little too much? The answer is most likely yes but hindsight is a wonderful thing and if they went the other way and the meeting was called off where would we be then?
Is racing at the picturesque Ruakaka track becoming boring?