Karekare horse races postponed

Entries dwindle for historic fundraiser

VANITA PRASAD
Last updated 05:00 20/11/2012
Karekare horse races
TED SCOTT/ Fairfax NZ

POSTPONED: Karekare Horse Races has been called off due to low entry numbers, and will now take place in March 2013.

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One of Auckland's most picturesque horse races has been stopped in its tracks just one week out from the start line.

The Karekare Horse Races, scheduled to take place this Saturday, have been postponed until March because of a lack of entries. The event is a vital fundraiser for the West Auckland community. Last year's race raised more than $15,000 for the surf club and schools.

"It's the first time in the event's 27-year history that it was scheduled to be held in spring, and the timing proved unpopular," organiser Caroline Grove said.

She said they didn't want to run the event with few entries.

''Unfortunately, clashing horse events, the lead-up to Christmas and some regular entries deciding their horses lacked condition after the winter led to the decision.''

The Karekare resident hopes the lack of entries is not a signal of the demise of beach horse racing.

''Holding horse races on the beach has long been a classic part of New Zealand life, yet it's getting harder to watch or participate in such events. It's important to get behind it and the community will be making a concerted effort to ensure the race is even bigger and better come March.''

Karekare Horse Races committee member Kim Conway is hoping to get 12 entrants for the revised event.

Conway said the event, which was established by her horse-training father Clyde Conway, is the only one of its kind still running in Auckland.

''It started in Waiheke when they needed to have a fundraiser and it worked so well they decided to replicate it here,'' she said. ''And when you team it up with Karekare's backdrop, it's pretty fabulous.'' 

She said the date of the races was dependent on getting a low tide and organisers have found a perfect day on March 23.

It will feature the races for hacks and ponies as well as food and craft stalls operated by community members.

''It's a whole-beach festival,'' she said.

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