Hurunui Race, Gala Day on track

SHARE
Race commentator . . . Ian Chambers, from Rangiora, (right) and Bede Crean, from Hawarden, MC, at the Hurunui Race and Gala Day at the Hurunui Racecourse Reserve last year. PHOTO: SHELLEY TOPP

By AMANDA BOWES

One of the oldest race tracks in the country will come to life again next year in February with the running of the Hurunui Race and Gala Day.

The historic track was first used for racing in April 1874 and on Boxing Day 1894 officially became the Hurunui Race Course.

The track is situated on 40 hectares of recreational reserve and was once part of a 1214 hectare block of Crown land at the fork of the Waitohi and Hurunui Rivers.

Held every two years, the day is organised by a dedicated group of people who make up the Hurunui Race and Gala Association. The races were revived when an ultimatum was given to the residents of Hurunui and Medbury to use it or lose it.

Chairperson, Brian Anderson, says they have made a few changes for the February 10 event next year including staging everything in the oval instead of both sides of the track.

This will mean less people crossing the track between races, with the betting tent also being in the oval.

The races will be kept the same, with the Medbury Handicap Cup starting off at 11am. There are races for harness horses, gallopers, stock horses, ponies and the ever popular clydesdales.

The Lakes Trophy, donated in 2016, by the late Ted Phipps from Lake Taylor Station is awarded for the overall winners of the Station Challenge and is hotly contested.

Other popular events include the human versus horse race, tug of war and Fashion in the Field.

All profits will go to the local Cancer Society.

The event has become a popular one for both locals and those further afield with 2018 set to be another great day to celebrate part of the Hurunui district’s heritage.