Rain ma­jor safety is­sue

Herald on Sunday - - RACING -

Li­va­mol Clas­sic race­day, the big­gest meet­ing on New Zealand’s spring rac­ing cal­en­dar, was aban­doned yes­ter­day mid­way through pro­ceed­ings when con­stant rain caused the Hast­ings track to be­come un­safe for fur­ther rac­ing fol­low­ing the run­ning of the Hawke’s Bay Guineas.

Rated a good 3 sur­face at the start of the day, steady driz­zle saw the Hast­ings track down­graded to a dead 4 af­ter the first race and then again to a dead 6 be­fore the Guineas which was carded as race 5 on the day’s pro­gramme.

Con­cerns for the safety of riders and their mounts were im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent af­ter Guineas run­ner-up Bos­to­nian was ob­served to slip badly when pulling up shortly af­ter con­test­ing a dra­matic fin­ish to the three-year-old fea­ture.

Chief stipen­di­ary stew­ard John Oatham out­lined the rea­sons for the aban­don­ment.

“The film footage clearly showed that Mark Du Plessis’ mount [Bos­to­nian] slipped quite badly when pulling up so the riders had con­cern about that part of the track,” he said.

“The track had been ground­hogged at the start of the day af­ter some light rain this morn­ing, how­ever as the day pro­gressed the horses cut into the sur­face and were down to a firmer part of the track again.

“We re-in­spected it again with the riders but it was clear there was a not a lot of con­fi­dence that they could ride com­pet­i­tively into that bend.

“Ac­cord­ingly, in the in­ter­ests of safety for both horse and rider, we didn’t be­lieve we had any other op­tion but to aban­don the meet­ing.

“It is bit­terly dis­ap­point­ing for every­one con­cerned but safety must come first.”

Hawke’s Bay Rac­ing In­cor­po­rated and New Zealand Thor­ough­bred Rac­ing will now hold dis­cus­sions as to the im­me­di­ate fu­ture for the re­main­ing five races carded on the day, in­clud­ing the group one Li­va­mol Clas­sic and the group three Red Badge Spring Sprint.

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