Racing at Hastings today has been abandoned due to safety concerns raised by Hawke’s Bay Guineas runner-up Bostonian slipping just past the winning post.
Following an initial track inspection and groundhog treatment of the section of track heading out of the home straight, and a further inspection by jockeys, stewards, trainers and club officials, the decision was made to abandon the remaining five races.
They include the $250,000 Livamol Classic, which would have been the final New Zealand start for leading Caulfield Cup prospect Gingernuts.
Jockeys appeared to be unanimous in their view that even with the additional groundhog treatment, the track was unsafe to race on.
“We’re as keen as anyone for the day to continue,” said one jockey. “These are the days we live for and it’s as a disappointing to us as anyone that we have to pack up and go home.”
While abjectly disappointed at the outcome, Hawke’s Bay Racing general manager Andrew Castles remained adamant that everything possible was done to ensure a viable racing surface on his club’s biggest day of the season.
“We put the groundhog through the track this morning when rain was forecast, which amounted to 0.8mm before the first and at a guess 2.0 to 2.5mm since,” Castles said. “If it had rained properly I’m quite sure we wouldn’t have had a problem, and I can comfortably say that I could look in the mirror and say we did everything in our power to mitigate the situation.”
While the possibility remains that a race such as the Gr. 1 Livamol Classic could be rescheduled at an as yet unknown date or venue, that is likely to be of no use to the connections of Gingernuts.
“This leaves us up in the air for sure,” said the gelding’s co-trainer Stephen Autridge. “We’ll have to sit down and talk it over with Dave (Ellis, Te Akau principal), but he’s booked on a flight to Melbourne on Wednesday and may be a matter of going ahead with that plan and running him in the Caulfield Stakes next Saturday, then back him up in the (Caulfield) Cup.”