Cambridge date swap to ease horse numbers pressure

The large numbers of horses racing in the North Island has prompted a dates change for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Harness Racing Club.

Cambridge Raceway’s 10-race meeting, originally earmarked for Tuesday 5 January, will now be held on Sunday 25 October, as a twilight meeting.

“The ability to ensure a continued flow of opportunities for as many horses as possible is crucial to the viability of those horses and the ability to generate income for the industry,” said HRNZ Handicapper Andrew Morris.

“We have a lot of horses around, there were 150 nominations for Saturday night,” says Cambridge Raceway chief executive David Branch, “so it makes sense to have races to cater for them.”

The large numbers are a legacy of COVID pandemic, with the larger-than-usual number of horses coming back into work at a traditional quieter time of the year.

“There’s been no attrition as such,” said Branch, “and we’ve got into a rhythm where there are Cambridge horses and Auckland horses, it’s a once in a lifetime thing.”

The dates change means that Cambridge and Auckland will regularly host meetings throughout October and November.

Cambridge have meetings on October 3, 15, 25 and November 6, while Alexandra Park’s are on October 9, 23, 30 and November 13, 20 and 27.

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