Sad Demise of Paeroa

You have to feel for the Paeroa Racing Club.
The once proud club has struggled for several years to “make ends meet”.
Burdened by crippling debt, the Club boldly decided several years ago to sell its major asset, the Paeroa Racecourse.
It was thought by paying off the debt and leasing the race course back from the purchaser, the Paeroa Racing Club could once again flourish.
Sadly that hasn’t been the case.
Dwindling turnovers from a majority of nondescript mid week race days, soon had the club facing the wall again.
Recently the Committee and Members of the Paeroa Racing Club decided they couldn’t carry on trading.
The decision was made to wind up the club.
Last Wednesday was going to be the last hurrah for the Paeroa Racing Club.
However it seemed Mother Nature was also going to have a say in matters.
Heavy rainfall saw last Wednesday’s meeting postponed until Sunday.
After a few days of clearing weather anticipation was high that at least there would be a decent send off after all.
Unbelievably, after a further deluge on Saturday afternoon, Sunday’s meeting was also called off.
It was the biggest “Clayton’s ” farewell of all time.
The repercussions of a race club closure are far reaching.
There is next to no chance of racing ever returning to Paeroa.
And that is sad.
However, the writing was always on the wall.
If you can’t make money , you really have no right to be in business.
The racing industry suffers from tunnel vision and a healthy dose of parochialism.
And I believe this attitude has hindered our progress.
I am reliably informed the Paeroa Racing Club scoffed at suggestions a few years ago, to race at neighbouring Te Aroha race course.
There were the usual excuses trotted out at the time, including looking after local sponsors and supporters.
Personally, I’ve always believed we have far too many race courses in NZ.
There are some clubs who are struggling in the current financial climate but that is the reality of life presently.
If the hard decisions over the future viability of these clubs are not made soon, maybe Paeroa Racing Club will soon have company.
A case in point over how successful racing “away” from home can work, was last Saturday at Te Rapa.
The Taumarunui Racing Club staged their annual race day at Te Rapa.
Local Taumarunui based sponsors and supporters converged on Te Rapa for their “home” race day.
And what a day it was!
The feature race, the Taumarunui Cup was won by promising stayer High Kin.
Trained by young Te Rapa based trainer David Greene, High Kin only made the field after the scratching of race rival Indicator.
“She was on the ballot, so we were wrapt when she made the field” said Greene.
High Kin, with Cameron Lammas aboard, was too good for The Jungle Boy and race favourite Marea Alta.
There were three local Cambridge winners on the day.
Swarmi scored for Murray Baker, winning over 1400m with promising local apprentice Alex Forbes aboard.
It was just reward for some consistent recent efforts.
The win was the second for Forbes on the day.
Torino scored a notable first up win in NZ for the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young training partnership.
With Michael McNab aboard, Torino landed some inspired support at the juicy odds of 16 to one.
The Lonrho gelding holds nominations for the three Group One races over the up coming Hawkes Bay Carnival.
The other Cambridge winner was Chapinta, trained by Craig Thornton.
Chapinta was again ridden by Tasha Collett, the combination scoring their 3rd win from just five race day starts.
“She’s done a great job in her first campaign and she looks very promising” said Thornton later.
I’ll catch you next week.