With this year's race date coming up fast, Stratford Trotting Club president David Jones says racing at Stratford should stay.

His remarks follow the release of a report by The New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), which recommended the Stratford Racing Club track close this year and race meetings be held at the Pukekura Raceway in New Plymouth.

Closure of the Stratford racecourse was also recommended in the Messara Report last year, which named 20 tracks to be closed.

David says he disagrees with both reports.


"We have a race date for next year and a start time but no venue as yet. We don't want to race at New Plymouth, we want to stay here, where our members, community and sponsors have given us huge support over many decades."

David says the club is also disappointed it was unable to secure funding from TET for this year's race day.

With what could be the last Stratford trots event to happen in the town coming up on March 3, David says there have been some encouraging results for local trainers at last week's Manawatū meet.

"Phil Fleming picking up a couple of fourths and his team look to be on track for Stratford. Then Farley Cossey with Sweet Maggie Ryan is keeping pace although since her win two back she has found the next level challenging but holds her own."

Another strong contender is Jason Cosset with Red River Dash, while David has been working Secret of the Sea Smile hard, saying he is giving her every chance to do well at the Stratford event.

"Other local Taranaki trainers are looking strong for Stratford, with ex-Stratford trainer Fred Mitchell (Hāwera) fielding a strong team of five or six horses in his barn. Willy Fleming (Hāwera) with Mr Harris ran a very close second in the Manawatū Cup to The Night Hawk last Thursday and his team are gearing up nicely also, as is Hāwera's Brendan Towers with Phillydotcom."

■ Like the trotting club's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/StratfordTrottingClub for more results, sponsors and updates prior to the race meeting on Saturday, March 2.