Thoroughbred racing returned to the Ruakaka racecourse yesterday after the introduction of newly-imported Simtrack starting barriers. The barrier set has been bought through a joint funding arrangement with NZ Thoroughbred Racing, the Government's Racing Safety and Development Fund and the Whangarei Racing Club. The Australian designed starting barriers have gradually been adopted throughout thoroughbred racecourses in NZ and are becoming the standard.

Yesterday's eight-race programme featured 12 local hotel and clubs involved in a Lion Red Punters Challenge from race 2. Last year's winning team from the Tote'n'Poke will be defending their champion team title.

Bill Rose of Whangarei, a former worker for Ruakaka horse trainers Donna Logan and Kenny Rae, enjoys a return to the track after six years yesterday.
Bill Rose of Whangarei, a former worker for Ruakaka horse trainers Donna Logan and Kenny Rae, enjoys a return to the track after six years yesterday.

The club also recognised the 24 years of dedicated service by David Cairns of Northland Veterinary Group. David has been the on-course vet at the race meetings and a great asset for the local trainers in the welfare of their horses.

The club honoured Mr Cairns' dedicated service by naming a race at yesterday's meeting after him in appreciation of his service.

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Northern Advocate photographer Michael Cunningham went along to capture some images of the day.

Alysha Collett was the winning jockey on Amporo in race 2 at yesterday's Whangarei Racing Club event at Ruakaka.
Alysha Collett was the winning jockey on Amporo in race 2 at yesterday's Whangarei Racing Club event at Ruakaka.