Kaikoura Trotting Club committee "over the moon" after successful meeting

Apart from a few "tweaks here and there" the Kaikoura Trotting Club believe they are close to the event they want it to become as a lead up to IRT New Zealand Cup week.

"The racing was great, we got good crowds and the turnover was exceptional," says Club President Ben Smith.

The South Bay race course, generally acknowledged as one of the most scenic anywhere in the world, hosted eight races under the Ocean Ridge Fast 10 concept on Sunday October 29, followed by the more traditional Alabar Kaikoura Cup meeting on the Monday, which is also Marlborough Anniversary Day. It featured the Group 2 Alabar Kaikoura Cup, the Group 3 IRT –‘Your horse, Our Passion’ South Bay Trotters Cup and the Listed NZB Sales Series Classic Pace.

While the club is yet to debrief the two-day meeting fully Smith says it is clear it was a great success.

"We had around 2000 people there on Sunday and close to 4000 on Monday with 185 campervans and 70 gazebos so it was really well supported," says Smith, "and to have $2.5m turnover over the two days was exceptional."

Total turnover for the two days was $2,524,922, equating to $148,525 per race, with a Gross Betting Margin of 18.8%.

Among the on-track highlights were IRT New Zealand Cup favourite Akuta winning the Alabar Kaikoura Cup and Mystic Max taking out the IRT South Bay Trotters Cup at double figure odds while Jimmy James Maguire led all the way in the NZB Sale Series Classic Pace.

As to improvements in the future?

Smith says there are those "tweaks they will need to make as there are always things we can do better”.

They would like to ensure that all races on the Sunday had capacity fields (10) under the Ocean Ridge Fast 10 concept if they continue to use that format in the future, and to have 10 races on the Monday, rather than the nine they had this year.

"Ten is imperative," says Smith, "it would push turnover from $1.45m on Monday to around $1.6m."

"That would be the biggest improvement we could make."

The two-day meeting is make or break for the club financially, and its success in recent years has been good news for the bottom line.

"It costs us $97,000 a year to run the club so need to perform financially for the two days a year to support the other 363 days" says Smith.

Smith says that success is a tribute to the committee members, the countless volunteers, the local sports clubs who help out and many others who all work tirelessly in the build-up to the big day.

"We also have to thank the trainers for their continued support , with most of them making a huge effort travelling back and forth for the two days".

Prizes of accommodation, flights, dolphin encounters and meals in the tourist hotspot were drawn out to three trainers to reward their loyalty - Mark and Nathan Purdon (in the six and more horse category), Steve and Amanda Telfer (3-6 horses) and Brad Mowbray in the up to three category.

"We are also very grateful to all our wonderfully loyal sponsors. This was Alabar’s 18th year of continued support”.

"There are a lot of moving parts to make the meeting work," says Smith, "and we really want to create a major event here."



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