Boxing Day should be winning race day

JESSICA SUTTON
Last updated 12:00 24/12/2010

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Bad weather hasn't kept race day punters away so far this year.

More than 4000 people came through the gates on December 11 and 18 for Awapuni Race Club's Manawatu Cup and Ladies' Days – two of the club's biggest days.

RACE general manager Darin Balcombe said the days went well, despite the rain.

"Unfortunately, the weather played its part. Last weekend the wet weather kept some of the horses away too. We had to have a few small fields of six or seven, which does affect us a bit."

More than 2000 turned out for the Ladies' Day races – about 1300 corporates and more than 1000 through the gates – and about 2000 for the Manawatu Cup Day.

"We hoped for a few more last weekend (for Manawatu Cup Day). We wanted around 3000 but, over the two days, we did pretty much what we thought we would. It just comes down to the weather."

He said turnover from December 8 was down 15 percent, but over both days they were "on a par" with the club's budget.

Last week, the Manawatu Standard reported the region's racing clubs had seen a 3.4 percent drop in betting revenue due to tough financial times.

Mr Balcombe said this weekend's Boxing Day races were expected to draw in a crowd of about 10,000.

"I'm pretty positive about this weekend after seeing the weather report. Not too hot, not too windy so, hopefully, it pulls through. We need a good day to keep profits up."

The first race at the Boxing Day races is scheduled for 12.35pm.

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- Manawatu Standard

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