A $500,000 investment in safety improvements at Levin Racecourse was given its first serious hit-out this week.
Brand new tie-up stalls have been built by Levin Track Trust nearby the track itself and were used for the first time when more than 120 horses were entered for 20 heats of jumpout trails at the venue on Wednesday.
It was reminiscent of scenes from a bygone era of racing at Levin, with horses and jockeys everywhere, when the course hosted one of the most popular race meetings in New Zealand, the Levin Bayer Classic.
Horses trainers from throughout the lower North Island bring their horses to the Levin track for the jumpouts and all agreed they were a welcome asset for the club.
Levin Racing Club president Ian Gray said the feedback he got from track users was encouraging, not only from visiting trainers, but also from local track users.
The training facility on Mako Mako Rd was used every morning for more than 100 years by horse trainers, who in past had to saddle up in stalls across the road from the track.
While it had never been a problem in the past when Mako Mako Rd was once a dead-end street, there was an increasing amount of traffic using the road with increased industry in that part of town.
The new development by the trust was a pro-active response to those trends and made in the interests of safety for horse, rider and motorist alike, at considerable cost to the trust.
Gray said it was a step in the right direction and helps cement the training centre as a valuable hub for the racing industry.
"It is an investment in the future of the club."
Gray said while not all motorists had horse sense, the firm that built the stalls were brilliant in that they were quick to develop an awareness of the animal.
Horses were being ridden early each morning and loud noise coming from tools like a nail gun had the ability to make a horse take fright, so those working onsite were always conscious of that.
"They were brilliant," he said.