The Hororata Trotting Club will return to its roots in 2014 with their annual race meeting to be held in the countryside, at the picturesque Mt Harding Racecourse in Methven.
The club has had to look for an alternative venue to Addington Raceway, where they have raced since 2002, due to two large events taking place in the Addington vicinity on the night of Friday, Feburary 21.
The Hollies will be rocking out the stage at the CBS Arena and the Crusaders will kick off their Super Rugby campaign at AMI Stadium against the defending championship side, the Chiefs.
The logistics of holding a race meeting on the same night as both of the events were near impossible, so Hororata sought out to shift their meeting and settled with Methven.
The Mt Harding Track, which is nestled under the Southern Alps, with Mount Hutt as it’s backdrop, closely resembles a return to the norm for the Hororata Club, who until 1984 raced on a grass track surface of their own before shifting to Ashburton, and then onto Addington.
Club president, Bruce Hutton, said the decision to go to Methven was a simple one, once they had approval from the Methven Trotting Club to do so.
“Methven is about as close as we can get to racing at home so it was always a logical option,’’ he said.
Just 20 minutes drive from Hororata, the meeting, which will be held as a Friday afternoon event, is expected to draw a decent sized crowd with plenty of interest already, from both areas.
Hutton said one of the most pleasing parts about the shift was that there was no need to make any changes to their normal racing programme, other than shifting from a night meeting to day, including keeping their heat of the Nevele R Fillies Series.
In a New Zealand first, the series, which has seen some of the best female pacers to grace the track compete, will hold a heat on a grass track racing surface over the speed distance of one mile.
“It’s really pleasing that we could keep that particular race and I think the fact its on the grass will make it a real unique race.’’
Classy filly, Libertybelle Midfrew, who was a gallant third behind top filly, Venus Serena at Ashburton on Saturday is touted as a potential starter in the race as she tries to earn herself a spot in the Group I Final at Alexandra Park.
Also on offer will be the running of the Mountain River Processors Hororata Cup for a stake of $14,999.
First race is set down for 12.25pm with free entry onto the course.
[Matt Markham | The Press [Sports & Racing Journalist]