Rain washes out Omakau meeting
by Jonny Turner
Heavy rain and surface flooding have forced the cancellation of today’s Omakau trots.
Officials were forced to call off the meeting, which they hoped would attract as many as 8000 people, when the racetrack and surrounding areas became waterlogged.
Central Otago Trotting Club president Graham Sinnamon had to make the tough call to cancel today’s popular race day after monitoring the track through the night.
“Head versus heart it was a horrible decision to have to make,” he said.
As early as 3am this morning, Sinnamon was monitoring weather websites and keeping an eye on the condition of the race track.
“It became apparent through the night the rain was going to be a lot more than what we were anticipating.”
Sinnamon inspected the track early this morning with Racing Integrity Unit official Nigel McIntyre and it was then the call was made to call off the races.
“There is water up through the stable block, all through where the vendors would be and behind the administration block.”
“It is so ironic we are in a total fire ban.”
It appears unlikely today’s race meeting will be re-run in the immediate future.
The Central Otago Trotting Club will explore the option, but its focus now is on horsepeople who had travelled to Omakau ahead of the races and were staying at the race track.
“That is a decision for later on at the moment,” Sinnamon said.
“Later today the committee will sit down and discuss what our options could be.”
“But of course that will have to done with Harness Racing New Zealand.”
“Our main focus at the moment is keeping the people that we have here dry and looked after.”
The club is also busy spreading the message of today’s cancellation to a crowd that they hoped would get as big as 8000 people.
Sinnamon said the club had worked with a number of tourism operators in the hope of getting a crowd of “8000-9000”.