The relief of knowing Saturday's crucial Avondale Cup meeting will be staged at Ellerslie is tempered for ARC boss Paul Wilcox by the financial loss the club will still experience.
The return of Auckland to alert level 2 at midnight tonight means the meeting, a huge lead-up to Cup week at Ellerslie starting on March 6, will stay at Ellerslie rather than being transferred to a Waikato track.
It will now go ahead as planned but with limited numbers of owners and club members allowed at Ellerslie, with the Auckland Racing Club sending out emails to those who want to attend as they must register by Friday.
Those who attend must stay inside areas restricted to 100 people, not interact with the horse people and they will be asked to wear masks.
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But Wilcox says not having public allowed at the meeting is a huge financial blow to the ARC as they had a large student party organised through event group Invades which would have enormously boosted both turnover and more importantly food and beverage takings.
Ellerslie was to have hosted a function for members of the Avondale Jockey Club on Saturday and although that can't proceed, Wilcox asks AJC members to also register and apply to come along on Saturday.
The meeting staying at Ellerslie will be warmly received by trainers as almost all would prefer their Derby and Auckland Cup contenders being put under pressure right-handed on the tracks where those Group 1 races are going to be held rather than on a left-handed track.
The change of alert levels means the Cambridge harness meeting tomorrow night will be run as normal with Auckland trainers and drivers as well as the public allowed to attend, while Waikato horse people are also free to work at the Alexandra Park meeting on Friday but there will be restrictions on who else can attend with those details confirmed tomorrow.
The three days of standardbred yearling sales, which were set to start in Christchurch this Monday, will now only start a week later with northern buyers allowed to travel and attend.