Auckland’s iconic Harness Racing track, Alexandra Park has a high-tech new look at the finishing post, although it’s envisaged that this year’s Interdominion winners will be going too fast to notice themselves on the big screen!
The high-tech new board replaces the old one that comprised no less than 5,000 lightbulbs on the outfield. The new, 88.47 sqm (5670mm H x 15360mm W) board will bring racegoers to Alexandra Park their racing in high definition that is fully integrated with the timing equipment, FinishLynx Photo Finish system and the Totalisator using proprietary Graeme Brook software.
The new board was one is just one of the enhancements made by Alexandra Park, together with the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) to ready itself for the upcoming IRT Interdominion 2019 Championships which commences Friday, 29th November. The Interdominion Championships is widely regarded as the Bledisloe Cup of harness racing, pitting the best of the best Australian horses and drivers against their Kiwi rivals. The Championship comprises a series of three heats culminating in the Saturday 14 December final.
Competitors will also enjoy the benefits of a newly surfaced track at Alexandra Park. ‘The Park’ last saw a resurface of the track in 2014 and since then has seen more than 2,500 races run without incident or cancellation of a race meeting. With nothing going to waste, the shell and sand mix surface was carted to Franklin Park and put to good use around the perimeter of the training track.
Alexandra Park CEO, Mauro Barsi says, “Hosting the IRT ID19 Championship offers an international opportunity to showcase the new track, the quality of which is critical to fairness and transparency, whether driving, training, owning, betting or other participant interests.”
Completed on the 2nd October, the new track surface comprises 350 Tonnes of high-quality material and was laid in consultation with John Denton, Track and Venue Inspector for Harness Racing New Zealand, (HRNZ).
Alexandra Park’s sales and marketing manager, Kim Walsh, says “The entire team is under ‘starters orders’ and very ready to run! With a great lineup of racing, entertainment and hospitality, including the one-off, pop up party in Potters Paddock, visitors to Alexandra Park are in a for a real treat as we turn it on for this very special series.”
The “same but very different” moment was not lost on the legendary clerk of the course horse, Casper who gave himself a thorough check over when Clerk of the Course Ron Weller test rode the new finishing post and giant-sized LED indicator board on the infield.
Hospitality and entertainment packages are available to also include IRT ID19 races as part of Alexandra Park’s traditional ‘Christmas at the Races’ series.