Levin wound back the clock this week to the sound of thundering hooves in scenes reminiscent of a bygone era.

The local racecourse on Mako Mako Road, which once staged race meetings that attracted the best horse flesh in New Zealand, held a jumpout meeting on Wednesday that attracted 140 horses.

Some of the country's leading jockeys were on track, including Lisa Allpress and Rosie Myers, and jumps jockey Buddy Lammas. The only thing missing was hot dogs, flash suits and a commentator's call.

Andre Neil was trackside at Levin this week.
Andre Neil was trackside at Levin this week.

The track was once the home of the Levin Bayer Classic, a prestigious November race meeting that at the time boasted the third highest stake in New Zealand racing, and an oncourse turnover to match.


It stopped the town dead in its tracks and attract thousands. But since the early 1990s, the Levin course was used only as a training facility.

In recent times the Levin Racing Club has found a niche market with its fortnightly jumpouts that leading trainers agreed filled a void in the industry.

Marton trainer Fraser Auret was full of praise for the Levin jumpouts, which he said were an ideal platform to prepare a horse for the rigours of racing and to improve fitness, or to educate young stock for racing or potential sale.

"It's a vital part of our business to educate young horses before they take the next step. We've got 16 horses here today and they're all at different stages of their career," he said.

Auret was one of leading trainers in the central districts and had a team of 40 horses in work. He had brought 16 horses to Levin to trial and said the track always presented in good order.

Levin jockey Sam O'Malley heads the field in heat seven at the Levin jumpouts trials aboard a Nadeem filly.
Levin jockey Sam O'Malley heads the field in heat seven at the Levin jumpouts trials aboard a Nadeem filly.

"It's a really good environment. It's a wonderful and professional service run by the local people here who are passionate about racing and are providing an ideal service to the industry," he said.

Racing personality Andre Neil, who wore many hats in the industry, was a regular visitor to the jumpouts and said he liked the relaxed atmosphere.

A jockey agent, horse trader, syndicator and breeder, he said the jumpouts were a good place to spot talent or a new sire of promising stock.


"There are so many horses involved and it allows you to keep up with the play," he said.

Levin Racing Club president Ian Gray said the club had purchased new starting stalls that meant they no longer had to hire them.

Levin Racing Club president Ian Gray.
Levin Racing Club president Ian Gray.

The jumpouts were held in heats held 12 minutes apart, although that was a loose timeframe to allow for horses that might need patience from staff at the starting barriers, he said.

Gray was full of praise for people who volunteered on the day and those who helped to make it a success. He said the jumpouts were held every fortnight, with good numbers, although sometimes meetings were spaced out in winter months.

There was free tea and coffee and a catered kitchen, as the jumpouts often ran into the afternoon.

Levin Racing Club steward Paul Pearce said all results were collated by secretary Sue McCarrison and posted on the club's webpage, while the card appeared online the night before.

Horses that were as yet unnamed appeared in the book under the name of their sire and trainer, so an impressive performance could still be tracked by the attentive punter.