or the past couple of months, Chairman Ken and the undersigned have attended meetings aimed at resurrecting a Greater Canterbury Awards night, in conjunction with representatives of the local Owners and Breeders Associations. As a result an Awards Dinner will be held on the evening of Saturday 27 September, in the Silks Lounge at Addington Raceway. The plan is for the awards to relate to excellence or exceptional achievements during the past season, and not necessarily for simply season leaders, as these were normally covered in the National Awards. Keep an eye out for more details.
Kevin Townley expressed concern at the handicaps being given in discretionary handicaps, particularly the Country Cup finals and the 4&5 year old Trotters Championship. He suggested that handicaps based on money won would see fairer contests.
A couple of issues surrounding Addington Raceway were raised, and replies from officials have subsequently been received on them. The initial comment was unanimous praise for the excellent condition of the track, and a note of thanks was sent to John Denton and his crew. The urgent need for a new drivers’ room at the venue was expressed, and it is understood that by Thursday 24 April, work will be completed on converting the old stable barbecue area into a drivers facility. Investigations are also underway as to how to solve the historical problem of the shadows from light poles at the Raceway. The initial idea of installing LED lighting has been shelved as the current technology has been found to be unsatisfactory at some other venues, both here and overseas. Tests were carried out involving turning the lights on to eliminate shadows with limited success, and this may be used as a temporary solution while other avenues are explored.
Other matters raised at the meeting included Mark Jones suggesting a reduction in options for trial programmes to eliminate two and three horse fields, a letter was to be sent to the RIU congratulating the Stewards officiating at the recent Westport meeting on their handling of the unfortunate accident, and those present feeling that there were too many false starts, with Kevin Townley suggesting that Starters should be fined for faulty gear (eg. Starting mechanisms and tapes) in a similar way to trainers.
Ken Barron questioned why, in the TAB Racing Calendar, the official starting time for night meetings was 5pm, when an earlier start could be preferable for all concerned. This was to be raised at the upcoming meeting with Racing Board CEO Chris Bayliss.
By Peter T Cook (Courtesy on the NZ Trainers & Drivers Association)