3 Jun 2010

Racing resignations wanted by clubs

10:26 pm on 3 June 2010

A group representing half the galloping clubs in New Zealand is calling for resignations at the industry's governing body.

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act reveal the managers of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) have drawn up plans to close 17 racecourses.

Chair Guy Sargent says it is simply a recommendation that the board does not plan to adopt.

But clubs at the earmarked courses are furious they have been kept in the dark.

The Small Clubs Association says heads should roll at NZTR and the Racing Board.

Papers obtained under the Official Information Act show NZTR the managers have recommended the board close 17 tracks from Dargaville to Winton and, if possible, sell the assets to fund improvements at other venues.

A document drafted in February last year recommended one unnamed Auckland venue be closed, along with the courses at Dargaville, Paeroa, Te Teko, Wairoa, Waipukurau, Woodville, Hawera and Waverley.

In the South Island, Reefton, Hokitika, Ashburton or Timaru, Waimate, Omakau or Kurow, Waikouaiti, Winton or Gore and Wyndham would face the same fate.

The clubs affiliated to those courses say a push by NZTR for gallops, harness and greyhound racing to be merged under a One Racing banner, with super clubs in the larger centres, is behind the move.