Harness Racing Returns to the Grass on March 3rd
The last time a harness race meeting was held on the grass track at Ascot Park Raceway in Invercargill was January 1970. Since that time the code has used an all-weather facility that has served the Invercargill Harness Racing Club and other clubs such as the Northern Southland and Riverton Trotting Club’s so well in all conditions.
However the Invercargill Harness Racing Club will turn back the clock when they race on the grass track on their Invercargill Licensing Trust/ILT Foundation Race Day on today Saturday 3 March.
While the all-weather facility is a great asset the March date will give patrons an opportunity to watch the racing close up as harness horses thunder around the grass track once again on the course only used these days for gallops.
The day will feature the ILT Foundation Autumn Cup, a heat of the bMAC Sheetmetal Southern Country Cup Series and a Nugget Final with all races, both stands and mobiles, over 2050 metres.
President of the Invercargill Harness Racing Club, Mark Shirley, says that the question of racing on grass generally gets raised by someone each year at the club’s AGM. “Grass track meetings are popular with horsemen and crowds.
We did look at an option of racing at Cromwell but then thanks to good co-operation from the Southland Racing Club they have been keen to give us a crack after their Christmas At The Races event was over.” Shirley says, “a grass track meeting will give patrons an opportunity to view the action close up. There should be good fields and the starts, whether they are stands or mobiles, will be right in front of the grandstand so the on course public are in for a treat.”
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