Forbury Park to go out in style

By Jonny Turner

Forbury Park board member Lex Williams admits he doesn’t quite know his club will pack in the massive crowd expected at their track’s farewell meeting on Thursday.

A huge turnout of harness racing fans from across New Zealand are set to turn out for the final chapter in the 110-year history of the Dunedin track.

Williams has fielded phone calls from across the country in the leadup to Forbury Park’s swansong leading the club to expect as many racegoers as they have accommodated in recent history.

“It is going to be a big night of celebration and commiseration.”

“We want to go out with a bang.”

“We are expecting a huge crowd, I have had phone calls from all over the country from people keen to come and wanting to book tables.”

“To be honest, I don’t know how we are going to fit them all in.”

The Forbury Park club has been working on a range of hospitality and entertainment options to make their track’s farewell meeting a night to remember.

Leading Forbury Park drivers Ricky May and Clark Barron will be among the special guests at an after-races celebration.

“We have been digging through the archives and it is amazing what you find, there will be a heap of memorabilia for people to look at.”

“There will be an after-match function where we will have Ricky May and Clark Barron speaking, as well as Colin Harvey.”

“We will be showing old race videos and there will be a complete history of Forbury Park.”

May and Barron are among the many drivers to have enjoyed big success at Forbury Park.

May (258 wins) sits second only to the modern-day king of the Dunedin track in Dexter Dunn (422) on Forbury Park’s all-time winner’s list with Mark Jones (234), Blair Orange (228) and Matthew Williamson behind them.

Many of Forbury Park’s most winning trainers will also have horses running at Forbury Park’s farewell.

The top 5 include Graeme Anderson (179), Cran Dalgety (166), Bruce Negus (140), Phil Williamson (115) and Amber Hoffman (113).

It won’t just be the stars of the racetrack that will farewell Forbury Park.

Familiar voices will ring out for the last time on Thursday night.

Recent regular caller Justin Evans has stepped aside to allow a line-up of former Forbury Park commentators to say goodbye to the track.

Jason Teaz, Kevin Payne and Craig Rail will grace the commentator’s box.

The TAB is also testing technology to enable Tom Wood to be able to commentate a race from Hong Kong.

Thursday night’s meeting will include a feature trot and pace with both to run for a $12,000 purse.

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