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Synthetic track to be built at Riccarton

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Canterbury Jockey Club
6 November 2020
Preparations for construction of New Zealand’s second synthetic track will begin at Riccarton Park Racecourse on Monday 30 November 2020.

The Board of the Canterbury Jockey Club (CJC), the Trustees of the Christchurch Racecourse and New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) announced today that work on the track would commence following the New Zealand Cup Meeting.

In May the Government approved $20 million from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to construct two new synthetic tracks, one at Awapuni and the other at Riccarton Park.

Following discussions between NZTR and the CJC, arrangements have now been finalised to allow construction to begin, with the new track expected to be operational by 1 August 2021.

CJC Chairman Gordon Fulton welcomed the announcement, saying the establishment of a synthetic racetrack inside the turf Course Proper at Riccarton Park is a significant advancement for training, trialling, and racing in the South.

“It enhances this historic venue and cements its future as one of New Zealand’s critical racecourses. The decision reflects the Canterbury Jockey Clubs commitment to the intent of the Messara report as the blueprint to revitalise racing in our country,” Fulton said.

Mr Fulton also placed on record the appreciation of the industry to the Trustees of the Christchurch Racecourse without whose support the project could not proceed.

Peter Cordner, Chairman of the Trustees, said the project met the requirements of the Trust. “The synthetic track will be a great asset for the Canterbury Jockey Club and thoroughbred racing in the South Island,” he said.

NZTR CEO Bernard Saundry also welcomed the project saying it was a positive move for South Island racing and the industry overall.

New Zealand’s first synthetic track at Cambridge, which received $6.5m in PGF funding, is now operational, with trials scheduled to be held on 24 November.

“Feedback from trainers, jockeys and trackwork riders, in fact anyone who has had the opportunity to view or work on the track, has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic,” Saundry said.

“We are looking forward to hearing similar feedback from stakeholders based at Riccarton once the new track there is operational next season.”
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6 minutes ago, Midnight Caller said:

Mardi, would you have any figures on lost meetings and revenue in NZ  over the last few years?

Cheers  in advance 

Nothing handy - but outside of participant costs, lost meetings were a saving to NZTR as they lost money when they ran a meeting. That probably doesn't outweigh the negative impacts to the industry by way of participant impact etc, but does offset that a little.

Transferring a meeting to an AWT is going to reduce some of the negative impacts, but the costs to NZTR will not be saved. So overall, I don't see the industry being better off overall., although some trainers will have extra training facilities available.

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