Message to Industry: Group feature races from Hastings now to be run at Matamata

2 October 2022

The continued wet weather in Hawke's Bay unfortunately resulted in the abandonment of Saturday's Arrowfield Stud Plate (G1) Raceday. While this was a very difficult decision, a waterlogged track and continual forecast rain meant racing would not have been able to be safely held. The Hastings track has had continual rain over the past couple of months but had come back well over the past week although the Moisture meter remained high, indicating the level of moisture under the surface. 

The track had only had 3ml of rain by 6pm on Friday evening, which was much lower than had been previously forecast. However, with 17ml of rain falling over Friday night, a Track Inspection was carried out at 6.30am Saturday by John Oatham (RIB), Brady Jones (RIB), Darin Balcombe (NZTR) and Richard Fenwick (HBRI Track Manager) along with other HBRI Club Officials. Two horses galloped with senior riders aboard, which were getting well into the track. During the inspection, it continued to rain and the forecast was for this rain to continue throughout the morning. A further 8ml was recorded by 10am. The decision to abandon the raceday was made prior to the scratching deadline to avoid as many horses as possible travelling.

Prior to the raceday, contingencies had been discussed, including postponing a meeting to Tuesday should either of the Central Districts racedays be abandoned over the weekend due to the inclement forecast in the region. Postponing Saturday's Hastings meeting to Tuesday was quickly discounted due to the forecast through to the early part of next week. Consideration was also given to transferring the meeting to another Central Districts venue but due to travel of horses, race distances, other options and indifferent weather forecast across the Central Districts, this was not preferred.

After consulting with the Pattern Committee and considering submissions made by Hawke’s Bay Racing to move the AHD Hawke's Bay Guineas to Saturday 15 October, the decision was made this morning to transfer the Arrowfield Stud Plate to Matamata this coming Saturday, to avoid the bulk of horses having to travel two weeks in a row. In our view, this would provide the best chance for horses not only in the Arrowfield Stud Plate but also those looking to back up into the Livamol Classic on October 15 at Hastings. The AHD Hawke’s Bay Guineas will also be run at Matamata on this day to give the 3yos the opportunity to head to Te Rapa for the Sarten Memorial on October 22 to continue their path towards the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai 50th NZ 2000 Guineas at Riccarton in early November. The current pressure on the pattern ratings of our 3 three year old races was a key consideration in this decision. 

The option of splitting the Matamata and Egmont meetings over next weekend along with running both feature races at Hawera, were also considered but were discounted due to logistics and travel.

The advertised programs for Egmont & Matamata will remain unchanged with the addition of the Arrowfield Stud Plate and the AHD Hawke’s Bay Guineas at Matamata. Nominations for both races will be reopened with preference given to those horses originally accepted for both the Arrowfield Stud Plate & AHD Hawkes Bay Guineas. There will be an additional $50,000 of stakesmoney added to the undercards of both the Matamata and Egmont meetings, with a $30,000 MAAT 1200m race also to be added to the Waverley program on Thursday, to reflect the lost opportunities for participants as a result of the abandonment of the Hastings meeting. 

Whilst with any decision there will be differing views as to whether the correct course of action was taken, priority was given to keeping the status of the respective feature races and keeping pathways open for future targets.

Darin Balcombe

Chief Operating Officer


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