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.
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.
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
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Watch Platinum Spirit power home at Otaki - his Wellington Cup hopes depend on it
Our runners this week: How our trainers rate them
Thursday at Wanganui
Race 2: Lincoln Hanover
“The 18 draw is going to make this quite challenging for him but he will move in a few when the ballots come out. He has good gate speed and he has raced well at Wanganui before. He is looking great and is still very settled in his work so I expect him to be competitive.”
Race 4: Platinum Petals
“Because she has drawn gate 20 I’ll wait until race morning to see how many scratchings there are before deciding whether we run. I have taken the blinkers off as these didn’t help her at Ellerslie. She has shown good gate speed and races well when she can get a little handier so we would have to try to get her across early. There is an option for her at Wellington on January 23.”
Race 5: Platinum Impact
“She is a real staying type of filly and from the 18 draw I would like to ride her back and see her finding the line nicely. Eventually she gives the feel that she will need blinkers and we will not see the best of her until we get her up over ground. Ashvin Goindasamy will ride.”
Race 8: Platinum Rain
“I have added a tongue tie since his first-up run at Tauherenikau and he has worked really well in it. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does on Thursday up over ground as this is what he is bred to do. He is still a very immature horse, physically and mentally, but he is certainly working a lot better now.”
Race 8: Lincoln Lane
“He has drawn out again in 13 so Jonathan (Riddell) will go back and get him some cover. He has improved again since his run at Tauherenikau. This does not look an overly strong field but he will need some luck in the running.”
Race 9: Platinum Bordeaux
“She has finally got a decent draw (five) so won’t be stuck as far back. This is her first time over ground but Ashvin Goindasamy thought that this is what she is looking for and she should get a nice trip to see it out.”
Friday at Tauranga
Race 6: Lincoln KIng
“I’m really happy with him. Geez, he’s coming up well - his trial was lovely. He could run a cheeky race, as it’s not an overly strong field, but he really needs a lot further than 1600 metres.”
Saturday at Trentham
Race 1: Princess Amelie
“I’ve elected not to claim this week as she has won only with strong, senior riders on. I think the apprentices aren’t strong enough to get her going as she is very laid back. We didn’t really get a line on whether she would see out 1400 metres last start as it was a slowly run race which made it hard to make up ground. The draw isn’t going to make it any easier, but she has shown good gate speed before.”
Race 2: Platinum Spirit
“I am still undecided about whether to run or wait until next weekend over 2400 metres, which I think will suit him better than the 2200 metres this week, especially drawn out at nine. We will leave him in until race morning as obviously we need to give him the best chance to try to make the Wellington Cup field. He has come through his Otaki run really well and worked nicely this week.”
Race 3: Platinum Dubai
“Unfortunately she has drawn the outside again but there is no race for her at Trentham next week so we’re going to have to line up. She is a better horse when put into the race and Ryan is a good, strong rider who can do that.”
Race 3: Lincoln’s Kruz
“This doesn’t look to be an overly strong field and hopefully he will be run off his feet early again so we can race in midfield, get some cover, and finish strongly. There is good speed in the race which will help him settle.”
Race 5: Father Lenihan
“Being a non claiming race he gets in terribly at the weights when you consider there are other open class horses who have won a lot more races and run group placings who carry the same weight. There is a R74 mile over the next two weekends at Wellington where he will be much better placed.”
Race 9: Platinum Road
“He went great first-up where he wasn’t knocked around too much with an apprentice on. It would be nice to get cover in midfield as we don’t want to be caught wide with the weight he is carrying. He has raced well at Trentham before and has trained on really well.”