Racing: Rain means Paeroa has stay of execution until Sunday

By Michael Guerin

Afternoon rain could have led to bad visibility for jockeys. Photo / Alan Gibson
Afternoon rain could have led to bad visibility for jockeys. Photo / Alan Gibson

The Paeroa Racing Club has had its execution delayed - but only by four days.

The financially insolvent club was to have staged its final meeting today but that has been transferred to Sunday because of concerns with the track.

The racing surface was already rated a heavy 11 yesterday morning but was going to be cleared for racing until a heavy shower fell at 4.30pm.

That left racing bosses with little option but to delay the final meeting, even though they were impressed by the state of the track overall.

"Considering how much rain the track has had this week it actually wasn't in bad shape," said stipendiary steward Alan Coles.

"There was an area between the 800m and the 400m that caused us some concern but when I first walked the track at noon I was going to give the okay to race, because the sun was out and I was confident it would dry more.

"But when that heavy shower came late in the afternoon it meant that fresh water wouldn't get a chance to drain away.

"While I didn't think the track itself was dangerous, I had concerns about visibility for jockeys between the 800m and 400m where the track was very slushy.

"And because the track was better before that, it wouldn't have been great having them run full speed into that.

"So I think a delay is the best thing for everybody."

The fields for Sunday's meeting will remain the same as at acceptance time, with scratchings being reinstated.

While the Paeroa club will still disappear after Sunday the transfer is at least good news for any die hard fans who would have missed today's meeting because of work commitments but can now head for a stroll down memory lane at a more convenient Sunday meeting.

It is likely to have little impact on the national jockeys' premiership, which is all locked up between Lisa Allpress and Matt Cameron, with the pair only eligible for three flat races carded on Sunday.

That market remained at $1.87 for either to win the premiership, which culminates at Oamaru on Monday.

Meanwhile, star jockey Vinnie Colgan will return to race riding at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Colgan hasn't ridden in a race since breaking his thumb when being thrown over the running in controversial circumstances in the Telegraph at Trentham in January, a break which suffered further complications.

Colgan has been back riding track work in Matamata for three weeks and expects to have one or two rides on Saturday as he prepares for a full comeback in the new season.

Markets for the first major weight-for-age galloping features of the new season will be released on Saturday.

TAB bookmaker Stephen Hunt will release markets for the Hastings triple crown, consisting of the Makfi Stakes, Windsor Park Classic and Spring Classic.

END DELAYED

* The Paeroa Racing Club's final meeting has been delayed four days.
* It has been transferred from today to Sunday because of the waterlogged track.
* Star jockey Vinnie Colgan returns to riding at Te Rapa on Saturday.
* Opening markets for the Hastings triple crown are set to be released.

- NZ Herald

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