Ellerslie racecourse in Auckland has 21 meetings next season.

Check out where all the gallops meetings are next season and how often they will race

Thoroughbred racing will be held on just 33 racecourses around the country if the draft calendar for next season is approved.

Ten tracks have been slated for closure, an acceleration of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s original plan to introduce change gradually.

The number of meetings has been reduced to 273, a reflection not only on COVID-19 but the foal crop which has declined 28% since 2005, leaving a smaller pool of horses available to race.

The calendar has:


13% fewer meetings in the north, where Avondale, Te Awamutu and Te Teko have not been granted licences.

The number of starts produced from training centres in the Auckland area has fallen by 36% since 2009. Fewer than 25% of all horses trained in the north come from the Auckland sub-region.

The new synthetic track at Cambridge has been allocated six race dates - one in May, three in June and two in July.

Central Districts

16% fewer meetings in the Central Districts where Wairoa, Gisborne and Waipukurau have no licences.

There has been a 29% decline in starts from training centres in the Central region since 2009. The average field size there is now lower than the national average of 10.49.

South Island

14% fewer meetings in the South Island where Blenheim, Motukarara, Waikouaiti and Omakau are listed for closure.

Blenheim was due to celebrate its centenary in April but is located in a region with no horse population and where it is expensive to transport them. Attempts to find a carnival to work around the Blenheim meeting failed.

Few traditional holiday circuits remain with only Reefton, Greymouth and Kumara retaining one day each and, in Central Otago, Crowmell has two.

In the north, Tauherenikau and Taupo each have three meetings.

The draft calendar for 2020-21 - colour coded by region

Our runners this week: How our trainer rates them

Lisa Latta

Lisa’s comments

Saturday at Awapuni

Race 5: Lincoln’s Kruz

“He has trained on well since his trial. The track is going to be very testing (heavy 11) on Saturday and he is untried in these conditions but there’s not a lot of exposed form in the field and, if he handles the track, I’d expect him to be right in the thick of it.”

Race 8: Platinum Rapper

“We’ve decided to go with the 3kg claim of Temyia Taiaroa in what is a strong field. She will come down to 52kg which will really help her on the heavy track. She has had a jumpout and a trial to prepare for this so, with the right run, should be right in the mix.”

Race 9: Lincoln Dreamer

“He has Kozzi Asano up so will claim 1kg which will be a help. He handles wet tracks and has won on a heavy track before. This may be a bit short of his best distance but I expect him to get back in the running and be doing his best work late. He has been working well and I’m looking forward to seeing him back at the races on a wet track.”

Race 10: Benny Lincoln

“The field isn’t very strong but he has had only one jumpout so I am expecting he will improve a lot from the run. He handled the track well at the jumpouts so I think he will handle wet ground, but he may be one run away. Kozzi Asano will claim 1kg.”