There could be a significant change for New Plymouth trainers in the coming years with the proposed development of a $91 million multi-sport hub.
Originally set to be constructed in the middle of the racecourse, at the behest of Taranaki Racing Inc. the decision has been made to build the centre next to the existing TSB Stadium.
As a result, the racing club’s public stand will need to make way for the complex.
“The latest plan is that it is going to be situated adjacent to the current stadium that is there and not in the middle of the track,” Taranaki Raceway Inc chief executive Carey Hobbs said.
“The racing club is happy with that, we were totally opposed to a big stadium being in the middle of our course.
“We will lose our public stand but the need for a large public stand is not what it was a decade ago and we are talking to the designers of the stadium to see whether the side of the stadium facing the racetrack has the potential to include corporate boxes that will add to the racedays as well as the stadium.
“Of our 13 meetings, there are only three that have a reasonable use of the public stand facilities. With marquees and temporary facilities for three race meetings is not a big loss.”
The proposed changes could also affect local trainers, with training at the track set to cease, however, Hobbs said an alternative venue north of the city needs to be found.
“We have said that we agree to cease training here provided we are provided with at least the facilities that we have got here somewhere handy and north of New Plymouth,” Hobbs said.
“If it all comes together it will be three or four years before we need to cease training here.
“We average about 100 (horses a day), with the likes of Allan Sharrock, Robbie Patterson, Janelle Millar, John Wheeler, and some younger trainers with smaller teams.
“We have talked with them about it. There are some contrary opinions but that is why we have set in place with the development committee that we must have at least the equal of what we have got now.
“We have given them our assurances that they will be moving to something that is at least the equal of what we have got now.
“That has taken a fair bit of worry out of it.”
Meanwhile, Hobbs is looking forward to hosting a twilight meeting at New Plymouth on Wednesday under COVID-19 orange traffic light protocols.
“It is great to be back on a nearly normal raceday,” he said.
“We are really looking forward to it and we have got strong corporates and for December 27, which is our biggest public attendance raceday.
“We are geared up for two very good racedays over the next week.”