New Zealand’s premier thoroughbred racecourse, Ellerslie, welcomed horses back for the first time in 20 months on Sunday, 12 November to very positive feedback and today saw 10 horses take to the track to further test the new StrathAyr track.
The 10 horses, from Clotworthy Racing Stables, Marsh Racing, Pike Racing and Forsman Racing, were ridden by senior jockeys, Warren Kennedy, Vinny Colgan, Michael McNab, Sam Spratt and Masa Hashizume.
All the jockeys we’re once again very complementary of the track especially considering the Ellerslie region has seen 43 mms of rain over the weekend with Warren Kennedy commenting that it feels ready to race even now.
“It felt amazing, you could race on it tomorrow,” said Kennedy.
“You wouldn’t know we’ve had any rain, it’s drained exceptionally well.
“When you walk on the track it feels firm underfoot but has a really good spring when the horses are on it.”
Spratt, who felt that it rode a touch firm last weekend, said that the rain on the track had improved the surface and it was great to ride on.
Vinny Colgan was blown away by how the track performed considering the amount of rain received over the weekend.
“I’m just really impressed with the turf, after 43mms of rain,” commented Colgan
“And it feels so safe. Perfect.”
ATR Executive General Manager – Racing & Operations, Craig Baker, was really pleased with the outcome of today’s gallop.
“The 43mms of rain we had since Friday came at exactly the right time as it gave the track the opportunity to highlight one of its key virtues, which is drainage,” said Baker.
“The fact that we had that much rain and the track was a Good 4 this morning is testament to its ability to drain.
“We now push on with confidence to jumpouts then trials next month”.
Phase three will see jumpouts take place in early December followed by the fourth and final phase of trials, also scheduled for December.
All going well, ATR anticipates returning to racing on Sunday, 14 January, ahead of the highly popular TAB Karaka Millions on Saturday 27 January.
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To hear what Vinny Colgan had to say, click below
To hear what Michael McNab had to say, click below