Big gains in new sea­son sched­ule

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - DEN­NIS RYAN

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.

SUP­PLIED

Mata­mata Breed­ers??? Stakes day will next sea­son be one of five mid-sum­mer race­days staged by the Mata­mata Rac­ing Club.

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