Gold Cup Day a premier event


THE Southland Racing Club has had to think outside the box – or inside the bubbles – to host one of its premium races this weekend.

Club president Sean Bellew said the Invercargill Gold Cup Day on Saturday was one of the club’s most important races as the prizes amounted to more than $320,000.

He felt encouraged to promote an event for 400 people after the club held a successful Christmas at the Races last year, following strict healthy and safe measures.

“Covid is such a challenging pandemic that we had to be creative the whole way through.

“We learnt from the good behaviours and practices in the last Christmas at the Races and we just evolved to what the mandate allowed us to do.”

To achieve that, Ascot Park Raceway would be separated into four 100-people-bubbles.

The top floor of the building would be for members and sponsors, the second would host club’s owners and their support groups and the bottom floor would be for people involved at the races like strappers and competitors, he said.

The grandstand and outside area would be for the general public and Mr Bellew encouraged people to create a picnic atmosphere, bringing their own food and drinks.

Everyone at the event would need to hold a vaccination pass and to register on the club’s website to provide details for contact tracing.

Competitors would also be tested with rapid antigen tests in the morning of the event, he said.

“We worked hard to make the event fun and safe so everybody can have a nice day out at the races.”