Auckland races to be transferred to Cambridge
Alexandra Park will be out of action for the whole of February at least after Auckland's record rainfall in the past few days.
The deluge resulted in widespread flooding at the northern venue and the extent of the damage has now become apparent.
"The track needs a full reconstruction," says Harness Racing New Zealand's GM Racing, Catherine McDonald.
McDonald and Track and Venues Inspector John Denton have been in Auckland to see the impact of the weather event that prompted a state of emergency to be declared. A heavy rain warning remains in place.
"It's incredible to see the impact," says McDonald, "it's hard to fathom without seeing it first hand."
They have been involved in discussions with the Auckland Trotting Club and trainers about how best to manage the situation.
"We have no option but to transfer the next three meetings at Alexandra Park to Cambridge. While this is disappointing for the club they have some major racing coming up in March, April and May and we need to ensure the track is sorted for them.
"We expect the remedial work at Alexandra Park to take between 10 and 12 days," says McDonald, "but just when that work can start is still uncertain."
"There are a number of factors at play - we need dry weather and we also need to sort out the availability of contractors and product required to reconstruct the track."
The three meetings are on February 9, 17 and 24 with the middle meeting being Harness Million night.
It will be headlined by two Listed Harness Million features as well as two Young Guns heats and the Group 3 Northern Trotting Breeders Stakes.