Harness racing still being held at Ascot Park Raceway

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HARNESS racing is still being held regularly at the Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill.
Invercargill Harness Racing Club president Mark Shirley said because there had been so much publicity about the state of the galloping track many people did not realise there was more than one track and that the harness racing track was unaffected by all the problems.
Southern Harness Racing promotions officer Lindsay Beer said he had been approached by many people surprised that the races were still being held.
‘‘Unfortunately, there is a misconcep› tion that because of the condition of the gallops track at Ascot Park that all racing was cancelled.
‘‘Because the gallop track is out of action, people assume it affects all types of racing, but this was not the case,’’ he said.
There are three different race tracks at Ascot Park Raceway; a greyhound track on the inner circuit, a harness racing all›weather track that circles the greyhound track, and the galloping track around the outer perimeter, which was currently not able to be used due to its poor condition.
Invercargill Harness Racing vice› president Peter Kett said the Ascot Park Raceway was run by a consortium of the three clubs — greyhounds, harness and gallops, which sublet the various tracks to the individual tenants.
‘‘The consortium has representatives from the three racing codes and all clubs that race here are tenants,’’ he said.
‘‘This is the only track in New Zealand that hosts all three codes, and that is why it is a Tri›Code Syndicate.’’
Mr Beer said the harness racing track was converted to an all›weather track in 1971, so harness racing could be held all season, from November to June, with about 20 meetings held annually.
But it is not only used for racing, he said.
‘‘The track is also used for other trials and workouts, and is constantly in use as it is a huge training centre as well.’’
Mr Shirley was keen to assure the public the harness club’s all›weather track was in good condition.
‘‘We are looking forward to several more meetings before the end of this season, and, of course, a full programme again next season.’’
Í The Invercargill Harness Racing Club will hold meetings on Sunday, April 3; Sunday, April 17; Friday, April 22; Sunday, May 8; and Monday, June 6

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