Good fields, fine weather for Hokitika Races

By Janna Sherman

The Hokitika Racecourse is all set to host the last meeting of the West Coast new year racing circuit tomorrow, with strong fields and good track conditions.
Westland Racing Club president John Englefield said recent rain had left a heavy track but they were approaching race day with few scratchings and at least eight horses in each of the eight-race fields.
“The track is a little heavy because of the rain but the overall state is superb so it will hold up very well,” Mr Englefield said.
The feature race, the Miss Scenicland Cup, is well represented, with Our Alchemist, placed third in the Kumara Gold Nuggets, one of the top picks to claim the $20,000 stakes. Last year’s winner of the Hokitika Business Cup, Kalgoorlie Bomber, and other Gold Nugget contenders, Electronic Motion and Noble Warrior, are favourites for the $12,000 Hokitika Business Cup.
About 70 horses are expected, many of them already in residence in and around the racecourse. With clear skies forecast he expects punter turnout and spending to be on par with last year, where a crowd of about 1500 pushed $80,000 through the totalisator on-course.
He said the return of Fashion in the Fields was also hoped to be a drawcard for the club’s only race day of the year.
“The turnout on the day is what keeps us alive, so we are hoping for a good crowd.”
Westland Racing Club — which has the only right-handed racecourse in the South Island — recently lodged an application with New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing for a one-off 150th anniversary meeting this year, hopefully to coincide with Hokitika’s 150-year celebrations in December.
Tomorrow, the first race will get under way at 1.10pm.