THE Riverton Trotting Club will celebrate 60 years of racing when it holds its annual Cup Day meeting at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill on Saturday, February 13.
The event will feature the 31st running of the $15,000 DT King’s Transport Ltd Riverton Cup and the continuation of the club’s $1000 Pick Five competition. There was also an opportunity to own a horse for the day, take part in dual sulky rides, an Under The Helmet competition reminiscent of It’s In The Bag, the Frisbee Fling, Tree Of Treats and Southland’s Best Driver of a Tennis Ball in a day befitting a tremendous milestone for the club.
The club was supporting the Teal Pants Campaign and would run a prize draw selling 50 numbered teal ribbons on a bike wheel for $5, after which Teal Pants Campaign ambassador Ellie Barron would draw three winners from the wheel in the birdcage while blindfolded.
The club’s inaugural meeting with equalisator betting was held on Saturday, January 14, 1961, at the Riverton Racecourse with its first totalisator meeting at Central Southland Raceway, Winton, on December 2, 1978, 43 years ago.
The first winner that day was Hispaniola, owned by the Setarip Syndicate.
He was 11/13 in the betting, paying $45.55 and $10.15.
The trainer/driver was Arthur Thomas, and the race was the IR Kincaid Memorial.
Ian Kincaid part-owned Fort Nelson, the first horse to be sold from Southland for $100,000.
Other winners that day were: Kilbank Rose (Peter Davis), Sly Belle (Dale Cameron), Halcro (Russell Malcolm), Eden Guy (John Cox), Be Sly (Jimmy Bond) and Smoothover (Peter Davis).
The total stakes paid out for seven races in 1978 was $7800 and the on-course turnover, $81,868.
The club moved to Ascot Park Raceway in 1981 (40 years ago) and, with four races, turned over $92,860.
In 1983, the turnover exceeded $100,000 for the first time, recording $170,660.
In 1986, the on-course turnover was $215,375 for nine races.
In 1993, the Riverton Trotting Club received an on-course and off-course license.
The turnover reflected this.
On-course was $82,310, down $60,780 from the previous season, while the off-course turnover was $1.06 million.
The first Riverton Cup of modern times was held in 1989 when the race was won by the Daryl McLellan-trained Justaloco, driven by Brendon McLellan.
This year would be the 31st running of the cup.
The first Aparima Trot was held in 1984 and was won by Cilla’s Pride, trained by Samuel George Black.
She was driven by Bryce Buchanan.
This year would be the 36th running of this trotting feature.
- Lindsay Beer on behalf of the Riverton Trotting Club