Harness racing's time honoured New Zealand Trotting Cup Carnival conducted atAddington Raceway is all systems go for 2011 according to Cup Day organisers. While the February earthquake and subsequent aftershocks have left parts of Christchurch worse for wear, the Addington region has come through the seismic events remarkably well with most areas only sustaining minordamage.
Cup Day at Addington is the biggest harness racing meeting in the Southern Hemisphere and traditionally attracts the very best harness horses from New Zealand and Australia to race every year.
However it is more than just a great race meeting. It is a special day iconic to Canterbury where 25,000 people descend upon Addington in their finest Cup day outfits and enjoy a fantastic social day at the races in a great party atmosphere.
Cup Day at Addington is Canterbury's Premier Sporting and Social Event. However, in 2011 the event will take on even greater significance according to Addington Raceway CEO, Shane Gloury.
"Cup and Show Week is a very important event for Christchurch in 2011 as the City rebuilds and moves on from the tragic events from earlier this year. Cantabrians have endured a horrendous year on many levels with most major events including the Rugby World Cup being cancelled or lost from the region.
"Cup Week provides Cantabrians with an event that they can look forward to and an event that they can actually attend and be a part of. It provides an opportunity for Cantabrians to forget about the troubles of 2011 for a period of time and get out and enjoy themselves."
While it is expected that some visitors from outside of Canterbury may be hesitant to attend Cup Week this year, Gloury assures them that Cup and Show Week will provide the same great entertainment offering and excitement that it has always provided.
"We will still have the very best horses from New Zealand and Australia here for the Cup Carnival, we will still have the glamour and excitement associated with the fashion events and we still expect to have 25,000 patrons at Addington enjoying the great party atmosphere here on Cup Day.
"While parts of the CBD will still be affected during Cup Week, it is importantfor visitors to note that Christchurch Casino has been back open and operating in the City since May and that there are still plenty of great restaurants, bars and accommodation options open throughout Christchurch. Visitors that do attend Cup Day at Addington in 2011 won't leave disappointed."
Gloury highlighted that there are over 220 accommodation providers currently operating in Christchurch. To assist visitors in finding suitable accommodation for Cup Week, Addington Raceway has posted a list of these providers and their contact details on www.addington.co.nz.
While it is full steam ahead for Cup Day in 2011, the event this year will be proceeding without the use of the Public Stand. This building suffered extensive structural damage in the February earthquake and its future is currently the subject of negotiations between Addington and its insurers.
"The Public Stand faces an uncertain future and could be demolished prior to Cup Day. We have in recent months been working on a range of contingency plans involving the use of marquees and other temporary structures and facilities to accommodate patrons that frequent the Public Stand during Cup Week," said Gloury.
Despite the challenges that 2011 provides, Addington Raceway officials remain upbeat and optimistic about Cup Day. "Cantabrians are the most passionate harness racing supporters in Australasia and are sure to be out in force on Cup Day at Addington this year to cheer on the greatest harness horses from New Zealand and Australia and to enjoy the social activities, festivities and excitement that Cup Day at Addington is famous for."
Hospitality and dining packages for Cup Day at Addington on Tuesday 8 November 2011 are due to be released and go on sale on Monday 18 July. Allgeneral tickets will be on sale from 1 August.
For further information, please visit www.addington.co.nz or call Addington Raceway on +64 3 338 9094.
by Shane GLOURY (Chief Executive of the New ZealandTrotting Club)
The 2011 New Zealand Trotting cup won by Monkey King: