Actions following Trentham Abandonment

22 December 2021

Introduction and Summary

NZTR is responsible for allocating race dates and for setting industry policies and processes. Racing clubs are responsible for preparing a safe track surface in line with their obligations.

On 4 December 2021 the Wellington Racing Club’s Group 1 day at Trentham Racecourse was abandoned due to the track conditions being unsafe after several jockeys reported horses slipping at the barrier, 1000m and 800m marks.

Following the abandonment, NZTR:

  • obtained an independent assessment of the track surface by New Zealand Sports Turf Institute (NZSTI);
  • requested incident reports from RACE (on behalf of the Club), the Racing Integrity Board, and the NZTR Tracks Advisor;
  • convened a meeting with representatives from major racing clubs, track managers, trainers, jockeys and the Racing Integrity Board to discuss and review the current track preparation policy and abandonment protocol; and
  • prepared a report to the NZTR Board incorporating the feedback above, and on which RACE and the RIB had been invited to comment.


The NZTR Board has considered a report and recommendations from NZTR Management. One of the major issues identified in the report was the lack of a clear shared understanding between NZTR, the RIB and Clubs about each organisation’s respective responsibilities and accountabilities to prepare a track surface, and the consequences for those entities where non-compliance is identified.

This is no longer acceptable and the NZTR Board has agreed to a suite of changes to the track preparation and management process so that it is clear what the obligations are and who is responsible for them.

The agreed actions going forward are:

  • NZTR to review and update the Track Preparation Policy and Abandonment protocols by the end of January 2022;
  • NZTR to determine, in consultation with Clubs, an investment plan for track equipment and resources for the next three years by the end of March 2022;
  • NZTR and NZSTI, in consultation with Clubs, fast track the implementation of and compliance with – an online portal for all clubs to regularly monitor track performance, build data comparisons, provide training tools and real time access to track maintenance planning by the end of June 2022;
  • NZTR to implement a more robust compliance program for Clubs that do not adhere to track preparation procedures and annual maintenance plans, including consequences for non-compliance with policies and procedures, by February 2022;
  • NZTR to investigate and arrange a whole-of-industry weather service, with decisions made by March 2022;
  • NZTR, in consultation with Clubs and RIB, to set a communication process to enhance the sharing of track surface information to all participants by the end of February 2022;
  • NZTR, in consultation with clubs, to set a plan to ensure that track renovations are aligned with the annual race date allocation process by the end of February 2022;
  • NZTR, in consultation with RIB and Clubs, to determine a process to manage queries/concerns from participants before and after each race meeting by the end of January 2022; and
  • NZTR to implement a reporting and action framework for clubs to notify track performance issues during race meetings by the end of January 2022.

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