Racing Minister John Carter said yesterday (Wednesday March 2) that moving the 2011 Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Championships from Christchurch to Auckland is a sensible decision and he hopes for a much needed boost to Canterbury from the harness racing event.
"I hope Aucklanders get behind this exciting international racing carnival to help the people in Canterbury affected by the 22 February earthquake. Organisers are looking at ways to boost the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal fund on the race days in March and April," Mr Carter said.
"With 50 percent of the horses nominated for the Inter Dominions trained in Canterbury, the event will be a vital boost to those trainers. It is important they can get on with their jobs despite difficult circumstances at home.
"I know this was going to be a significant event for Canterbury but with a start date of 25 March, the most sensible thing to do is to move to a venue that can adequately stage these races.
"Addington Raceway is one of the many parts of Christchurch that has incurred damage in the 22 February earthquake. The New ZealandTrotting Club (The Met) was facing the possibility of having to abandon the event.
"So I am heartened to see the harness racing industry working together on a solution and the Auckland Trotting Club making the offer to run the Inter Dominions at Alexandra Park in Auckland.
"New Zealand's harness racing fraternity and fans look forward to the times the Inter Dominions are hosted here, rather than Australia, and so I am pleased we are not losing this opportunity.
"The Inter Dominions showcase the best harness racing has to offer, drawing big crowds and generating spending in the host city with many visitors attending the events.
"The Met will still be the host club, racing at Alexandra Park as a tenant without any charges, which is a good solution under the circumstances."
The final of the Inter Dominion pacers and trotters events will be decided at Alexandra Park in Auckland on Friday 8 April. The Inter Dominion Championships are an annual event and were last held in New Zealand in Auckland in 2005.
by the Hon. John CARTER (New Zealand's Racing Minister)