Grand opening for Cambridge track

Cambridge Jockey Club’s synthetic track may have already had five race meetings, but their Wednesday meeting will mark the official opening of the polytrack.

The synthetic track at the Cambridge Jockey Club.
The synthetic track at the Cambridge Jockey Club. Picture: Trish Dunell

Former Racing Minister Winston Peters, who was instrumental in delivering a $72.5 million emergency support package to the industry last year, which included $20 million in funding towards three synthetic tracks in New Zealand, will be on course to officially open the newly constructed track.

Cambridge Jockey Club chief executive Mark Fraser-Campin has been buoyed by the support the track has received by the industry and its popularity over the winter months.

"It is doing everything it was asked to do – provide a surface through the winter that is an alternative in the Waikato and it has been heavily supported," Fraser-Campin said.

"We are five meetings into it. We have had nine or 10 races every meeting. Tomorrow's meeting there are only seven, but it is quite nice to have four $40,000 races, and we can do something a little bit different.

"The numbers are saying it is heavily supported. I think people are realising it is very handy and is a consistent surface.

"Any myths people were concerned about have proven to be pretty much all wrong. You can win from the front, from last, and you can be wide. There is no real track bias.

"People are seeing that and betting turnover has been increasing every meeting.

"The track has been heavily used. In the next week we have got two race meetings and two trial meetings."

Fraser-Campin is looking forward to Wednesday where the club will hold its richest meeting to date.

"We have got an exciting day planned tomorrow. There are four $40,000 MAAT races, which are pretty strong, so it should be a good day," he said.

"We are going to cut the ribbon with Winston Peters at 12pm and the first race will be at 12:50pm."

Fraser-Campin said the final of a ride to time competition, run in conjunction with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and the New Zealand Pony Club Association will be held between races.

"We have had three rounds of ride to times with a dozen riders in each one. We have six riders competing tomorrow for the final and they range from ages 12 to 15," he said.

Fraser-Campin has also taken a lot of pleasure out of seeing plenty of top trainers using the surface in preparing their topliners for the spring.

"Jamie (Richards, Te Akau trainer) came across and trialled a lot of his better horses like Probabeel and Avantage last week. He is a heavy supporter of the track, which is great
NZ Racing News