In the last issue (July 2020) Beacon covered the Racing Bill which would enable racecourses that are deemed surplus to requirements, to be sold with the proceeds to be transferred from the clubs that owned the assets to the Racing Industry. Essentially, this is property confiscation without compensation.
The Bill has now passed into law and comes into effect on 1st August. In the meantime, clubs cannot sell or transfer assets without permission.
In a surprising about face, the Racing Industry Transition Authority (RITA) granted Avondale Jockey Club (AJC) five more race days while industry restructuring proposals are advanced further. Previously in the draft calendar, no race days were allocated. Resuming racing at Avondale and a few other racecourses also kicks the contentious asset confiscation to touch for the duration of the elections.
AJC chairman Allan Boyle said “AJC has worked hard over the last decade to get into a strong financial position and to plan for the redevelopment of its land. The aim had been to make a strong contribution to the thoroughbred industry by strengthening urban racing in a city that is growing faster, and expand our role. We believe New Zealand must focus on its urban racing scene and make it strong. Anything is possible, even in an industry that has stagnated.”
Recently, the Club held a one-off race date to help out the industry due to wet winter conditions. Beacon attended and observed the racecourse come to life once more with the buzz that surrounds racing. Earlier it had rained heavily, and the wind was so strong that the race commentator said he thought the commentary box may blow off the top of the roof! Despite that racing proceeded successfully, demonstrating the quality of the track.
There are five more race days scheduled at this point, so enjoy racing in Avondale while you can.