Increases to go ahead

By Micheal Guerin

Alexandra Park bosses have guaranteed the huge stake increases promised for next season will go ahead even after one of the real estate developments on the property has been delayed.

The Auckland Trotting Club parted ways last week with construction company Canam, who were building the eight-storey Tower A at Alexandra Park to include both residential and commercial tenants.

A new construction company CMP Construction LTD has been contracted to complete the tower but that will still be far later than originally intended, frustrating and even angering future tenants.

The ATC is obviously disappointed by the delay in one of the two projects, alhough the other development of two smaller towers is on schedule for completion next year.

ATC president Bruce Carter says while the delay is a source of frustration for both his club and the future tenants he won’t discuss the exact reasons and/or details of the Canam contract for legal reasons.

But Carter says he can assure those inside the racing industry the stake increases set for March 1 next season will go ahead.

“They are definitely still going ahead,” says Carter. “While we would like Tower A to be finished and look forward to when that happens, we have had a good year operations wise on the racing front and we have the money to cover those stake increases.”

While nobody as the club is trying to paste over the inconvenience of the real estate development delays, they have to be separated from the racing business, just like any other multi-faceted business suffering delays in one sector.

From March stakes for a normal 10-race Friday night programme at Alexandra Park will total $200,000, whereas the same meeting two years ago would have had total stakes of just $118,000.

That will mean from March non-premier meetings will be expected to consist of two $15,000 maiden races, six lower to mid grade races for $20,000 each and the main pacing and trotting races at each meeting worth $25,000.

“To get to $200,000 stakes per meeting is a very important landmark for the club and the northern industry,” said Carter.

“And we deliberately haven’t aimed our stake increases at our major races but the normal, every week meetings so they can be won by horses who compete at Alexandra Park regularly.”

The ATC executive is aiming to increase stakes again enormously in the next three to four years with a goal of $300,000 in stakes per meeting by the end of that time.

That will of course depend on both developments at Alexandra Park, consisting of the three towers, being finished and the returns they are expected to bring in.

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