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1000/2000 Guineas Moving north?


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Racing: Glamour races set to move north in blow for New Zealand Cup week in Christchurch

17 Apr, 2020 5:00am
 3 minutes to read
The days of thoroughbred heroes like Catalyst racing in the Guineas at Riccarton could be numbered. Photo / Supplied
The days of thoroughbred heroes like Catalyst racing in the Guineas at Riccarton could be numbered. Photo / Supplied
NZ Herald
 
By: Michael Guerin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Two of New Zealand's biggest horse races are set to be taken away from Christchurch's famed Cup week as the industry undergoes radical changes in response to Covid-19.

The Herald understands both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas, two of the glamour races of New Zealand thoroughbred racing, could move north to potentially be held at Ellerslie or Te Rapa, possibly shared between those two tracks.

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That is the suggestion of a working committee put together to look at how racing will look once it returns, which for the thoroughbred code is expected to be in July.

When racing returns it will initially be at a smaller number of tracks and with less travelling for horses and participants, with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing already confirming jockeys will not be allowed to ride in both islands without a quarantine period.

 

If those rules are still in place come November it would severely impact the quality of northern thoroughbreds who race at Cup week, arguably the biggest week of the year in Canterbury sport.

But with the racing calendar set to reshaped, particularly some of the elite races scheduled to be held in the remainder of this year, the Guineas races were always in danger of moving north.

The two classics are usually dominated by North Island-trained horses, with 21 of the 27 horses who started in them this season trained in the north, over half of those in Waikato or further north.

So a Guineas trip could cost as much as $5000 per horse for a week depending or whether the horse is flown both ways and whether their trainers and jockeys also have to travel to the meeting.

That could mean $100,000 in costs to industry participants to have the dominant North Island horse race in two races which could instead be held without two hours of where many of them are trained.

But the push to bring the Guineas races north isn't just financial. There is uncertainty over what travel restrictions will be in place for both horses and humans come Cup week in November while the working party has also looked at a way to streamline the feature-race calendar, making it more cost and travel efficient.

 

For the changes to become reality they will need to be approved by the board of NZTR and then the question will be whether they are transferred just for this year or whether the moves become permanent.

Neither NZTR nor the Canterbury Jockey Club, who stage the Guineas as part of Cup week, would comment yesterday.

 

If Riccarton lose the Guineas races it will probably have minimal effect on the crowd for their biggest day of Cup week, New Zealand Cup day on the last Saturday of the carnival.

It has grown enormously in the last decade and was getting close to challenging New Zealand Trotting Cup day at Addington on the Tuesday as the biggest day of the mega week.

But the Saturday meeting at Riccarton's popularity is more based on the social occasion and the history of the galloping NZ Cup than any great spectator allure in the 2000 Guineas.

There is no suggestion any of the Group 1 harness or greyhound races held at Addington during Cup week will be transferred, with the vast majority of horses who race in the major harness races actually trained in the south.

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Hmm yes,i saw this on one of the other racing forums a few days back.Not really sure what to think of it,as a true blue Cantabrian i think it sucks,if it can't be run during Cup Week then why not just NOT run it this year?,i'm sure i've heard about other Group or listed races that for whatever reason haven't been run in a calendar year?.Next they will be deciding to take Cup Week away from us as well?.As i said i think that it sucks and it's a cruel blow to the CJC,but as i said as well i'm a true blue Cantabrian seeing only thru my red n black coloured glasses,so am most probably missing the 'common sense' factor in all of this,which i'm sure plenty on here will have.

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2 hours ago, mardigras said:

Better off not running it. They should be adjusting the schedule and cutting black type right back, until they have things open. Otherwise they essentially become 'restricted' races - which is not what black type is about.

Exactly.  But [ as I've said elsewhere ]  NZTR will bend over for those bigger stables and demanding breeders-  and always have.   The northern faction have wanted the Guineas races up in their region for a good while now.

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and while I sympathise with South Island-based trainers, under the cruel circumstances we find ourselves in, moving the 3yo spring classics to the upper North Island (where the horse population is strongest and less travel/costs required) seems sensible. Perhaps some thought should be given to establishing a 'South Island only' series in the spring for 3yos as compensation -ie horses must be trained in the South Island -perhaps the winner(s) of such a series would get free entry/travel costs reimbursed to richer event(s) in the North Island later in the season

Edited by Maximus
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9 minutes ago, Maximus said:

and while I sympathise with South Island-based trainers, under the cruel circumstances we find ourselves in, moving the 3yo spring classics to the upper North Island (where the horse population is strongest and less travel/costs required) seems sensible. Perhaps some thought should be given to establishing a 'South Island only' series in the spring for 3yos as compensation -ie horses must be trained in the South Island -perhaps the winner(s) of such a series would get free entry/travel costs reimbursed to richer event(s) in the North Island later in the season

Why run the races - if all horses aren't eligible to compete due to restrictions, it makes a mockery of black type. It's trying to achieve a goal of running races whilst at the same bastardising a classification system. Just run a series of races (call them what you like), no black type status. Just races until the point arrives where some form of normality can resume. You don't have to run a 1000 or 2000 guineas. Doing it for the sake of it is just more of the usual stupidity.

Yes sad for those that have a 3yo worthy of that status. Send them to Australia if necessary. 

Many sports are faced with similar issues. You wouldn't expect them to award a golf major to the winner of the US Masters if they restricted entry to those in Georgia - or would you?

Edited by mardigras
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In terms of years, the 2 guineas races have been going for 46 years, compared with the NZ Cup at 154 years

Now 46 years may seem like a long time, but in terms of tradition, it is not a long period of time.

I think the Bayer Classic started about the same time as the guineas, and i thought that had a lot more tradition, until they screwed around with offering 2 million for the 2000 Guineas, which effectively killed the race 

PS Good to see our arrogant friend ATA can take time out from his busy schedule to read this site:classic_smile:

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