Counties Racing Club chairman Mark Chitty went into the most important meeting in his club's history confident his members would support their merger into an Auckland racing super club.
He left the meeting on Monday night certain they will.
That suggests the formation of what could tentatively be called the Auckland Turf Club looks likely to go ahead by August.
Auckland Racing Club members were largely supportive of the amalgamation of their two clubs at the first of Monday's forums to outline the plans, which will include a huge boost to stakes, the installation of a StrathAyr track, and the likely sale of the steeplechase hill.
The second meeting at Counties just hours later met with a similarly positive response.
"I went into the meeting thinking the majority of people would support what we are hoping to do because it is so crucial for the industry," says Chitty. "But even I was pleasantly surprised how well it was received. I think our members realise racing needs to change to survive and thrive and that we have an obligation to the participants in the industry who derive their livelihoods from this."
Chitty says around 70 of the club's 370 members attended the forum and as best he can estimate at least 90 per cent, maybe more, seemed to support the amalgamation.
"We tried to take our members through what we are hoping to achieve respectfully and not talk at them. I really feel like people took it on board.
"The feeling as we came out of the room was very positive."
Crucial in winning over their members was the fact racing will continue at Pukekohe while the new club will try to increase the number of horses trained there.
"We have between 120 and 150 horses trained here at the moment depending on the time of the year and we would love to think that with some development of the training facilities we could have 300 or even 350 horses training here to support racing here and Ellerslie."
Chitty, who is enormously invested in the industry as the owner of Haunui Farm, says the support from those inside the industry has been overwhelming and his dealings with the Auckland Racing Club have been "inspirational".
"The ARC have been amazing to deal with. There has been no grandstanding from Ellerslie because they are the bigger club with more money. We have been treated as equals," says Chitty.
Members of both clubs will soon be notified of the date for their separate special meetings to vote on whether the amalgamation can proceed, with at least 66.6 per cent of Auckland Racing Club members - and more than 60 per cent of Counties members - needing to vote yes for the formation of the super club to continue.
The club, with the working title of the Auckland Turf Club, could be formed by August 1.
Following that, if plans for the installation of the StrathAyr track go ahead next April then the Ellerslie track will likely be closed after Auckland Cup week for 18 months, meaning major meetings like the Karaka Million and even the following year's Auckland Cup meeting could be at Pukekohe.
If the StrathAyr track does start going in next year, this year's Great Northern meeting, featuring both the GN steeples and hurdles, will be the last jumps meeting at Ellerslie.