Racing alive and well at Cromwell

And they’re off: Grassroots support for small-track racing events is alive and well, say organisers | Peter McIntyre

If ever proof was needed that grassroots support for horse racing is alive and well, this year’s Cromwell harness racing event was it, said the organisers. 

Wyndham Harness Racing Club President Russell Ferguson said the support for Cromwell’s only harness racing event each year, held on Wednesday, January 6 at the Cromwell Equestrian Centre facility, was “outstanding.” The crowd turnover for bets was $124,000 on the day, and, through the TAB, $1.6 million. 

“With 2,500 to 3,000 people through the gate, the crowd was certainly up on other years.

“The weather bombs that went through spared us, and it turned out fine and was lots of fun. We were very proud of how well the day went, the holiday crowd supported it and we were able to provide an excellent entertainment package. It couldn’t have gone better,” he said.

This was the 15th year the event had been held, with the Southland club having the licence to run it as part of the holiday racing circuit, which includes Omakau (rained off) and Roxburgh, which also went ahead.

“The three race meetings complement each other nicely. Because there were owners and their horses in the area affected by the rain, we were also able to add a couple of extra races to the meet and take them in as well.” 

“It is well proven, and as communities we’ve always known it, that grassroots support for this industry is still there and people like to go to the smaller venues and tracks,” Ferguson said.

It was also a win for the sponsors and Cromwell businesses and vendors at the 11-race event.

Read edition 1009 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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