Riccarton racecourse back in the starting gates

Last updated 05:00 12/03/2014

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Riccarton Park Racecourse has been given the all clear to resume racing next week.

It has been out of action since before Christmas, prompting five meetings to be transferred to different venues to allow contractors to install a new drainage system.

The project, which cost close to $500,000, has been completed and two recent inspections have paved the way for the course to stage the South Island Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes meeting on Saturday week.

Following last week's deluge, the track was again inspected on Monday by officials, leading jockey David Walsh, local trainer Kevin Hughes and course manager Alan Chapman and no problems were discovered.

Trackwork and jumpouts on the course proper and the 1200m chute will begin in a restricted format later this week. 

Work had already been done on the track last year, with 14 pipes placed on a section of 1200m chute approaching where the stretch meets the course proper.

That was completed before the Grand National meeting in August. While the changes won't spare the course a heavy 10 or 11 rating, it will make any rainfall on days leading up to a meeting less damaging. 

The new system involves the use of herringbone pipes placed six metres apart with sand-slitting above the pipe to aid draining.


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