Derby "Plan B" agreed
Industry officials met this afternoon to discuss options for the running of the Vodafone Derby meeting programmed to take place at Ellerslie on Sunday, 7 March.
A conference call comprising New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), the Auckland Racing Club (ARC), the New Zealand Trainers’ Association (NZTA), the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) and TAB NZ agreed that Ellerslie on Sunday is still the preferred option. However, should Auckland remain at COVID Alert Level 3 at that time, the alternative venue will be Hawke’s Bay and the Hastings racecourse.
“While we acknowledge that this is not going to please everyone, Hastings is the only viable option. As the home of our spring triple crown it is a Group One venue and as such a fitting host for the Derby if alert levels do not change,” NZTR CEO Bernard Saundry said.
“The Te Aroha track was inspected earlier today and, following recent racing and the fact the club was not expecting to race again until 21 March, it was not deemed suitable for this weekend.”
The situation with alert levels will continue to be monitored during the week and a final decision will be made following the Prime Minister’s Friday afternoon media conference.
“We understand that these are testing times for trainers and owners leading into a major race day and we will be ensuring we keep them well informed along the way,” ARC CEO Paul Wilcox said.