New Zealand’s metropolitan city, Auckland is en route to hosting its first thoroughbred racing event this season at Pukekohe Park on November 11.
Ever since the breakout of the coronavirus pandemic, almost everything was put on hold which includes horse racing. Racing was put to a temporary stop in the city of sails as a preventive measure against the covid-19 pandemic.
Now, however, at the bidding of Auckland Thoroughbred Racing (ATR), New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) and TAB, New Zealand agreed to make a schedule of a racing event at the south Auckland racecourse in the following month.
However, this event is expected to house a large number of Auckland-trained horses, which will be serviced also by the Auckland-based officials and jockeys available. Meanwhile, racing bet calculator have already taken this possibility in mind as the event draws near to suit the punters ahead.
Speaking to the media, NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry said: “This meeting is unique in that it is being held purely to provide an opportunity for our participants whose attendance at race meetings has been prohibited during Auckland’s time in lockdown.
“It is also unique as it has been created specifically to cater for our Auckland-trained horses to give them a chance to race in their own region. While nominations will be welcome from all, preference will be given to those local horses and given their situation we expect other licence holders to understand this approach.”
ATR Executive General Manager – Racing & Operations Craig Baker also confirmed to the media that they have looking for ways to cater for local trainers to work perfectly under the current alert level to offer some form of normalcy to this difficult time.
“The opportunity for trainers to travel to the races with their horses and jockeys to get out and ride in races is something ATR felt was important for the well-being of our Auckland participants after weeks of lockdown conditions. This meeting provides a service for those participants,” he said.
Considering the fact that Auckland is still in Alert Level 3 lockdown, and with the regional borders temporarily shut down, trainers, strappers and jockeys that resides outside the Auckland region will have to miss out on the Pukekohe meeting next month.
The limited number of jockeys in the Auckland region translates to the fact that the starting limits will be capped at eight, while there is an option to divide races if required and the races that will be held on that day will be no more than 10 races.
The report has it that the nominations for the meeting will be closing with the National Racing Bureau on Monday, 8 November, while withdrawals will be closing on Tuesday, 9 November.
In other exciting news for horse racing, the UAE is now welcoming back horse racing fans for the 2021/22 season on Friday. This news came after the battle of UAE against the coronavirus resulted in a victory, as announced by Sheikh Rashoud bin Dalmouk, the Vice Chairman of the Emirates Racing Authority.
He said: “We greatly missed our fans in the past season, and we look forward to welcoming them back following the go-ahead given by UAE authorities to return to normal operations while comprehensively observing all Covid-19 protocols.
“As we begin to host a series of exciting races and implement new strategic initiatives, we will continue to work with our stakeholders, club management and relevant authorities to ensure that the return to full capacity crowds at our racecourses is done in a controlled environment that prioritises safety.”