New Saturday date for Akaroa Trotting Club
The times are changing for the Akaroa Trotting Club.
So often used to having the first Sunday of December on the grass at Motukarara all to themselves this year they will be running their one and only meeting for the year a day earlier, this Saturday.
"We are a tenant club and we have to do what's good for the industry," says Akaroa Trotting Club President Keith Ballantyne, "and it will be interesting to see how we go on Trackside 2 on a Saturday as opposed to Trackside 1 on a Sunday.'
The reason for the change is because its usual timeslot clashes with the new Harness Racing Grand Prix being held at Addington for the first time this Sunday. It features eight Group 1s including the New Zealand Pacing Derby on what is one of the biggest days of the year for the sport.
"We will be on a Saturday for the next three years and hopefully the Grand Prix might work in our favour in the future in terms of promoting our day as well," says Ballantyne.
Akaroa's move comes after similar Saturday dates for the Timaru and Geraldine clubs in November.
In all there will be 12 races, with the feature being the Akaroa Cup, which is part of the Country Cups series.
The Cup's been a club staple for over 30 years with the first Akaroa Businesspersons Akaroa Cup being held as part of an on-course only meeting in 1991. It was won by Victorinox, driven and trained by Robert Dunn.
The first full totalisator meeting was held three years later in 1994 while in 2015 the meeting was abandoned because of a thunderstorm, with a lightning strike knocking out power to the racecourse.
On Saturday there is free entry, entertainment for the children (and adults) and a relaxed country grass track setting before the flag falls on the more glamorous Grand Prix at Addington 24 hours later.