Kaikoura pleased to be returning home

In the past year the annual Kaikoura race meeting has gone full circle.

Twelve months ago Covid restrictions forced its relocation to Addington. It was a one-day closed meeting, with no crowds.

Now it's back at South Bay as a two-day event, on Sunday Oct 30 and Monday October 31, with hopes that upwards of 5000 racegoers will flock to what's considered one of the world's most scenic racing venues.

"We are pretty excited for what lies ahead," says Kaikoura Trotting Club president Ben Smith, "we had no option but to head south last year and we are very grateful for all that Addington did to make the day a success."

"But as they say 'there's no place like home' and it's great to be back.... the track has been re-laid so we will be good to go."

For months now the local committee has been working behind the scenes, with six races scheduled for Sunday before the main event on Marlborough Anniversary Day. Stakes for the two days will top $250,000.

"We are hopeful and confident that everyone will support the meeting. We want capacity fields for all 16 races and showcase the very best Kaikoura has to offer."

Already the buzz is building.

"We have created over 100 caravan and motor home sites, they are all sold out but we do have some smaller gazebos available for hire."

Throughout the two days sponsors and winning owners will be hosted at a marquee at the northern end of the birdcage.

"We will have plenty of crayfish for everyone," says Smith.

There'll also be live music, a special zone for the kids with face painting etc, and contests for the "most appropriately-dressed" racegoers.

The McMillan Equine Feeds New Zealand Junior Drivers Championship will be a feature of Sunday's card. It will be the culmination of that championship, following the opening day at Methven on Friday, October 28.

Monday will feature the Group 2 Alabar Kaikoura Cup, which has a rich history dating back to the early 1950s, and the Group 3 IRT South Bay Trotters Cup which has been won by the likes of I Can Doosit three times and dual winner Bordeaux.

Heading out the field for the Kaikoura Cup will be the recently retired Classie Brigade. He's the only horse to have won the Cup three times, completing the hat-trick last year.

The meeting will also mark the start of the freshly-minted Seddon Trainers competition, that will run through till March. It will feature 11 days of racing in the top half of the South Island with a total prize pool of $10,000.

The prize-money will be divided between public trainers and those who have a licence to train, with $3500 to the winners of each, $1000 to the runner-up and $500 to the third place-getter.

For more information on Kaikoura's two-day meeting click here or email Ben Smith here 

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