Talk­ing points from week on the track

Cambridge Edition - - WHAT’S ON -

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?

STUFF

Is racing at the pic­turesque Ruakaka track be­com­ing bor­ing?

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