Cup Day will go on
By Michael Guerin
The show may not go on but the Cup definitely will.
That is the pledge from Addington bosses who vow the famous New Zealand Trotting Cup meeting will proceed even though Canterbury’s Agricultural Show, the other centrepiece of the region’s biggest week, has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two.
The No Show will be a huge loss for the Christchurch economy as it brings so many people to the region and goes hand in hand with the racing of Cup week at Addington and Riccarton.
But Addington chief executive Brian Thompson says while he feels the pain of the show organisers, his club’s Cup Day will definitely go head.
“We don’t know what it will look like of course but there will be a Cup Day and a Cup week at Addington,” said Thompson.
“Like everybody else we are hoping the whole country is back to level one by then and we can hold the traditional Cup week and give people an experience they can enjoy.
“But if for some reason we are at level two by then or even a level one with restrictions we will be holding Cup Day, we will just within what rules are in place at the time.
“We would even hold the races themselves without a crowd if we have to but thankfully it looks like that won’t be the case.”
While Thompson and his team lack the crystal ball we would all love at the moment they held there first planning for Cup Day this week, with the different scenarios banded around.
“Our dream result will be having Cup Day like usual and it is still six months away so hopefully a lot will change between now and then because we want to give racing people and even those who love the week to something to aim at.”
For the harness racing industry in particular the New Zealand Cup will be even more of a focus after the Inter Dominions, which has followed two weeks after in recent years, were postponed for this year by Sydney harness racing officials.
That could even mean Australian horses who might have stayed home could be lured to the Cup meeting providing travel between the two countries is relatively open by then.
Thompson would not be drawn on the stake for the great race, or the other group ones of Cup week, suggesting there are too many sums to be done before that can even be guessed at.
While it looks certain the 2020 Cup will be worth a lot less than the $750,000 it was run for this season, if the crowds are allowed back to Addington for the second Tuesday in November they really won’t care.
Meanwhile, racing returned to New Zealand’s tracks for the first time in six weeks yesterday with greyhound meetings at
Addington and Whanganui and they went went off without a hitch under strict new Covid-19 protocols.
Harness racing is scheduled to return on May 29 and thoroughbred racing on July 3.