WHILE many people are winding down for the festive season, Southern Harness Racing staff are gearing up for their busiest time of the year.
The Invercargill Harness Racing Club Classic Kiwi Christmas races at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Saturday signifies the start of the peak season for the code. The meeting, timed to start at 11.40am, will feature a relaxed Kiwi-style picnic atmosphere for the whole family with free activities and entertainment for the children.
After that, the team at Southern Harness will focus on a triple treat of trotting at Central Southland Raceway, Winton. The Winton Harness Racing Club Christmas races on Sunday, December 17, will be followed less than a week later by the Wairio Trotting Club Christmas races on Saturday, December 23, at the same venue. On New Year’s Eve, the Winton club will hold another meeting at the course. Great for those who don’t head away to the holiday hotspots, the day will be a relaxing, picnic-type day.
Between the Wairio and New Year’s Eve event, Gore will hold its action-packed day at the Gore Raceway with plenty of free kids’ entertainment and the MLT Gore Cup the feature of the day.
The focus turns to Central Otago early in the new year with the Omakau trots on January 2 with its legendary entertainment programme and the Interislander Summer Festival Roxburgh and Cromwell trots on January 4 and 6, respectively. Those meetings also feature plenty of great activities and attractions.
Southern Harness Racing general manager Jason Broad said although it was a demanding time for staff, it was also a very rewarding time.
“We get some of our best crowds around this period looking for a relaxing day out in the sun and our focus is not only on top class harness racing but also plenty of family fun and free activities for the kids.”
However, for Mr Broad and his staff it means little time off as they run each race day before then turning their attention to the next event, gathering nominations, organising the fields, getting race books printed and taking care of the myriad of logistics before doing it all again for the next event.
With the concentration of racing there is little respite, and time off on Christmas Day is probably as good as it gets for the team.