Grandstands get all clear for Cup, but claims roll in

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2014

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Two grandstands at Trentham Racecourse have received the green light for the Wellington Cup, after Monday's earthquake rattled some patrons.

Toby Green was in the members' car park for Family Day when the quake struck. He watched as people fled the 90-year-old main stand.

A loudspeaker announcement told people to come down, he said.

"Although they reassured us that [it was] OK, when you look at it from the angle that I was standing, you'd have to say that it must be pretty dodgy."

Mr Green said the stand should be thoroughly checked before the Wellington Cup on Saturday, when thousands were expected to flock to the course.

Race Inc chief executive Alasdair Robertson said he made the announcement on Monday, urging people to come down from the grandstand.

"We thought it would be better to have them a bit closer to the ground."

Engineers had since checked and cleared both the main stand and members' stand, he said.

"They didn't find a single crack or movement."

Both stands would be open on Wellington Cup day, he said.

The main stand, made of reinforced concrete, was completed in 1924. It had undergone earthquake strengthening.

Monday's earthquake, centred 15km east of Eketahuna, was a magnitude 6.2 at a depth of 33km.

GNS duty seismologist Caroline Little said a typical aftershock sequence was following the earthquake.

By yesterday, more than 680 aftershocks had been recorded.

There was a 9 per cent chance of an earthquake between magnitude 6 and 6.9 over the next 30 days, down from 24 per cent on Tuesday.

"Even though the data indicates a normal aftershock sequence with slowly declining frequency of quakes in the coming weeks, it's not possible to rule out a quake of similar or larger magnitude to Monday's main shock in the Wairarapa," Mrs Little said.

An Earthquake Commission spokeswoman said it had received 893 claims from throughout the lower North Island, including Manawatu, Wellington and Wairarapa.

The claims were for mostly minor damage to homes or damaged contents. People have three months to make their claims.

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- The Dominion Post

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