Thursday, December 9

Addington Cup faces major defeat as crowds thin on race week

Christchurch’s Addington Raceway, with its glittering race track and stands suitable for a crowd of 20,000, will be without any punters.
Cup Week.

Alert Level 2 restrictions on crowd size have forced event organizers into a three-week wait and this country’s largest race day will be behind closed doors for the first time in Addington’s 117-year history. .

Addington Raceway manager Darrin Williams said it was heartbreaking.

“It is very important to Canterbury to be the home of sled racing in New Zealand and probably Addington Raceway recognized all of Australasia as the number one spot,” Williams said.

“This is New Zealand’s biggest race day. So it’s very frustrating. The Cup week itself, with the thoroughbreds and the greyhounds and the A&P show, and the work that the council does, is huge. for the Canterbury region. It’s our party time. “

The highlight of the Christchurch social calendar, famous for its fashion, fun, and drinking during the day, was not alert level 2 friendly.

And although horse racing has not been ruled out, this year will look very different, with groups sitting throughout the premises.

“The social activity of coming to New Zealand cup day with family and friends does not lend itself to social distancing,” Williams said.

“People want to party and we want them to have fun, so it became very, very difficult.

“It means that we will have a small group of people in progress: industry participants, owners, some of our own club members and our business partners, but about 1,200 people instead of about 20,000.”

The Christchurch economic development agency estimated that Cup and Show Week brought nearly $ 4.4 million to the city under normal conditions, as well as more than 22,275 nights of visitors.

Addington Raceway Stands

Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

And it’s not racing without the assistance of the fashion front row, but this year, that has been changed online too.

Christchurch fashion enthusiast Michael Stanton, who was also a judge at this year’s Wellington Cup Day, said it was a major blow to the city.

“We are quite disappointed, but I would say that the government can close the races, but they certainly cannot end the atmosphere and the anticipation of such a fabulous week for Christchurch,” he said.

With the races being screened in pubs and bars across the city, Stanton said it was still a good opportunity to dress up and have some fun with friends in the sun.

“It’s about the vibe, it’s about bringing people together. That’s the most important thing, just the sense of community.”

On the streets of sunny Ōtautahi today, people seemed to agree that large-scale events shouldn’t get the green light at this time.

“I mean, it’s disappointing for people who usually go,” Emma Potter-Hay said.

“Personally, I think public health is more important and there will be other events in the future. That is just the reality of the current climate we find ourselves in.”

“In terms of the organizers, they have to spend more money at the gates to censor people or to control people who come in so they are not happy with it,” said James Aked.

“It’s difficult for large-scale companies, but I think for smaller-scale events, we can make it work, especially in the South Island.”

Williams said Addington Raceway would suffer an estimated 20 percent financial impact as the event wound down.

But he said bars and pubs in the region would likely attract viewers to watch the races on television.

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