Big gains in new season schedule
The release of the 2017-18 race dates schedule has been welcomed by the Matamata Racing Club in its recognition of the Matamata track’s value for summer racing.
For more years than the club cares to remember there has been a heavy emphasis in the Matamata dates schedule on what could be described as the less desirable times of the season.
Every New Zealand racing club must carry its share of the annual burden of close to 300 race meetings, but in Matamata’s case there was a feeling – at least locally – that the dates schedule was out of balance, with more ‘‘wet track’’ days than those more favourable.
While that may to some degree have been acceptable in years past, the scenario changed when the Matamata Racing Club installed its track irrigation system in late 2014.
The $500,000 investment took little time to prove its worth and the Matamata track is now recognised as providing one of the kindest and most reliable summer racing surfaces.
The only problem was that even after the irrigation upgrade, Matamata remained stuck with a schedule that made scant use of its best asset. Three summer racedays were hardly adequate, so the MRC decided on a con- certed push during the 2017-18 dates submission process in the hope of addressing the imbalance in its 13-raceday calendar.
Any date or venue changes must be carefully managed given their wider impact, but with the support of the code governing body NZ Thoroughbred Racing, Matamata’s cause was taken seriously.
The result following confirmation by the New Zealand Racing Board of the new season schedule is that Matamata now has two racedays in December, one in January and two in February. Balancing that high summer schedule are just two mid-winter dates in August and next July, plus one each in September, October, March and April, and two in May.
Matamata’s full raceday schedule for 2017-18: Wednesday August 30; Wednesday September 13; Saturday October 14 (Team Wealleans Matamata Cup day); Friday December 8; Wednesday December 20 (Christmas Twi- light); Friday January 12; Friday February 2; Saturday February 24 (J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ Stakes day); Wednesday March 28; Wednesday April 18; Wednesday May 2; Wednesday May 30; Wednesday July 25. Matamata will also host the South Waikato Racing Club meeting on March 14.
Matamata Breeders??? Stakes day will next season be one of five mid-summer racedays staged by the Matamata Racing Club.