No disruption to Harness Million meeting and Karaka Yearling Sale

By Michael Guerin

A hugely busy weekend in northern harness racing will go ahead largely uninterrupted by Cyclone Gabrielle.

The Harness Million meeting at Cambridge on Friday night will be followed by the NZB Standardbred yearling sale at Karaka on Sunday and both are good to go.

“We have had no damage apart from a few trees in the training area but nothing that will affect the public or horses on Friday,” says Cambridge chief executive David Branch.

“It is going to be a really good meeting because the $200,000 race is a beauty and we have been lucky to dodge the worst of the weather so we are going to try and give people an after party but keep it casual and fun.”

The Cambridge track being unscathed by the cyclone is crucial for the harness industry as with Alexandra Park out of play there is nowhere else the meeting could have been staged.

The Manawatu harness meeting that was to be held on Tuesday was abandoned but it is still hoped and expected that Thursday's meeting there can proceed.

The Karaka sales complex will need some damaged trees trimming before Sunday’s boutique harness racing sale but NZBS rep James Jennings says the sale will go ahead as planned.

“We had a few trees lose some branches and some minor surface flooding but nothing too serious thankfully,” says Jennings.

“To be honest the downpour we had on the Friday before the thoroughbred sale two weeks ago affected us worse and even then that sale went ahead without an issue.

“We were also lucky in that while it has been very windy we actually don’t have yearlings arriving on the property until Thursday so we can still have inspections on Friday and Saturday.”

The sale starts at noon on Sunday.


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