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Small fields at Alexandra Park are stifling turnovers for the embattled Auckland Trotting Club.

ATC introduces Golden Gait race night to attract more starters with 10 $100,000 races

The Auckland Trotting Club has introduced a new loyalty scheme which will see 10 races each run for $100,000 in November.

The ‘Golden Gait race night’, designed to encourage more horses to race at Alexandra Park, will have five races for pacers and five for trotters, all over a mobile mile.

To be eligible, three-year-old and older horses must race a minimum of six times and two-year-olds four times during the qualifying period.

Horses will accrue points - five for first, three for second , two for third and one for also-rans.

In both pacing and trotting, one race will be held for the top 12 points-earning two-year-olds, one for the top 12 three-year-olds and three races for the top 36 four-year-old and older horses.

The older qualifiers will be split based on their ratings at the time of withdrawals for the meeting to create fair, competitive contests.

Preferential barrier draws will apply for all events on ratings and stakes with the two-year-old and three-year-old events also seeing fillies drawing inside colts and geldings.

The prizemoney will be split $50,000 to the winner, $15,000 for second, $10,000 for third, $5000 for fourth and $2500 for all other starters.

Connections of horses must pay a $100 nomination fee for the Golden Gait and the accumulation of points will start on Friday night if the payment and entry form have been submitted in advance.

The loyalty programme will run until November 15 with the Golden Gait race meeting to be held on November 29 at Alexandra Park.

The initiative comes as the heavily in debt club attempts to stem the decline in horses racing at the Park.

Just 70 horses will contest the 10 races there on Friday night and only three of those have enough starters to allow three place dividends - four races have only six runners and three have seven.

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Ray Green

Ray’s comments

Thursday night at Cambridge

Race 2: Commander Lincoln
6.06pm

“I thought he went quite well last time and he’s a chance of getting some of it. Andrew knows the horse well and, while he’s no champion, he tries hard.”

Race 6: Obadiah Dragon
7.46pm

“I can’t fault how he’s racing and he’s been unlucky several times at Cambridge. Yes, the others are higher graded than him but none of them are stars and most of the time at Cambridge the ones who get the good trips win. From the good draw, absolutely he can win. I wouldn’t like to be laying him.”

Dan Costello Race Photography