Insurance holds up racing start

A year on from a string of arson attacks, Foxton Racecourse is no nearer to opening for race meetings.

Between November and December last year, five suspicious fires were lit at the racecourse on State Highway 1.

Two stable blocks were burnt to the ground, another block was targeted, a woolshed was set on fire and part of the main grandstand was set alight.

Foxton Racing Club president Jim Jaggard previously said management hoped to have the racecourse all ready for April race meets. But yesterday he said repairs had not started because the club was still trying to finalise insurance payments.

"Everything is exactly the same [as it was a year ago]."

Equestrian and showjumping events had been held, but no racing meets since October last year.

While the April meets were likely not to be held in Foxton, Mr Jaggard said June was looking promising.

"We're hoping to be ready for our Queen's Birthday meet."

Members and the community were disappointed about the lack of progress but understood the situation, he said.

"They realise the position we're in and that we only have one shot to get it all sorted [with the insurance company]."

Former employee and caretaker Kelvin Mark Webb faces five charges of arson in relation to the fires.

Webb has denied any wrongdoing and is facing trial in the new year.

Manawatu Standard