Addington shuffles dates

MATT MARKHAM
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012

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A clash of rugby and racing next year is causing a reshuffle at Addington.

Two Crusaders' home matches at AMI Stadium during next year's Super Rugby season have fallen on the same date as scheduled race meetings at the neighbouring Addington Raceway.

The first clash, on July 5 when the Crusaders host the defending champion Chiefs, has already been resolved.

Addington has undertaken a direct swap with Dunedin club Forbury Park, who will now race on July 5, with Addington taking their slot the night before, on July 4.

But with no possible domestic options available on July 12, when the Crusaders host the Hurricanes, Addington bosses are having to get a little creative. They will test out the possibility of running a condensed race meeting, which could be conducted before the 7.35pm kick-off, with gaps in between races of around 20 minutes.

The average gap between races around the country is between 25 and 30min, with race meetings run at the track on a Friday night usually conducted between 5.30-10pm.

"It's something we are definitely looking at and we have a couple of meetings in February at which we will test the theory out," Addington boss Dean McKenzie said.

"We were lucky in the fact that we were able to switch the first date with Forbury, meaning we will now race on the Thursday night with them taking our slot on the Friday.

"But there is a lot of work still to be done on the other meeting and we are currently working through all the necessary plans, with both the New Zealand Racing Board and Harness Racing New Zealand.

"Time slots for races are tight, especially on a Friday, so we are trying to come to some sort of arrangement."

Other options available include shifting the meeting to daytime, with the first race around noon and the final race around 6pm.

The park which is reserved for float parking is directly beside the southern-most stand at the stadium and is used for all matches, and the shifting of horses from floats and into the stabling area also provides some difficulties.

"Both events create a high volume of traffic in the same areas so running the two at the same time won't work."

The racing calendar is done three months in advance of the Super Rugby draw being announced and McKenzie said once the clashes had been discovered, he had been in constant contact with Crusaders boss Hamish Riach.

"It's an ongoing process and one which we will continue to work through, but the overall responsibility lies with us to make the change because of the broadcasting and television rights surrounding Super Rugby, and the fact it is streamed all over the world.

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"It makes more sense that we are the ones to adjust our event

"There is a great opportunity for both parties to benefit from the situation."

Should the Crusaders be successful in securing a home qualifier or semifinal berth in the playoffs, there may be further clashes, with contingency plans also to be set in place in case of that outcome.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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