Stratford Racing Club is not closing, despite reports to the contrary says club president John Gray.
His comments are in response to the release of Phase One of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing's (NZTR) Venue Plan last week, which still has Stratford earmarked for closure.
In the NZTR Venue Plan consultation document, released in January, Stratford was one of 10 venues to be closed from the 2019/20 season. Feedback on the document was sought, with nine regional meetings held. A total of 75 written submissions were also received.
NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry says the NZTR board considered the feedback and decided the Wairoa, Blenheim and Reefton tracks woud receive a reprieve.
"The NZTR board carefully considered feedback from nine regional meetings and the 75 written submissions received and decided that these three venues should remain, at least for the 2019/20 season."
The Stratford track, however, remains earmarked for closure.
John says the club will continue despite this.
"The club will continue to make a significant contribution to racing in the Central Districts despite decisions like this being made."
He says he is disappointed with the decision by the NZTR board, and does not believe it is in the best interests of racing or the Central Taranaki community.
"A race day at Te Kapua Park in Stratford is a unique country racing experience that race goers have enjoyed for many years. Its been a highly successful day for the club, and as a club we would like to have seen that continue for many more years.
"A Stratford Cup just won't be the same run anywhere else but at Stratford. We do not believe there are any cost savings in moving the race meeting to another venue and we are yet to see any clear evidence of that from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing."
Despite the report meaning the club will lose the race day licence, John says it is still business as usual at the track.
"The club will also continue as a training base for thoroughbred and harness race horses. We currently have 14 trainers and over 70 horses being trained on the track at Stratford Racing Club and over 130 members who still share a great deal of enthusiasm and support for racing in the district.
"The club is currently evaluating a number of options that would have significant benefits for the local community."