King Island good to go. Lock it in – RSN


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The King Island races have been saved.
Fears that a lack of horses would cause the cancellation of this summer’s festival have been allayed following a pledge of financial support from state government-run Tasracing and support from a handful of mainland trainers who are preparing horses that will be shipped to the island.
Top trainer Ciaron Maher said last week that he would be interested in supporting the meeting if he could find suitable horses.
Club president Audrey Hamer said the support had been “fantastic and a little overwhelming.”
King Island has hosted summer race meetings since 1892.
A dearth of horses, an ageing trainer population on the island and a lack of skilled staff had not only threatened this summer but the future of racing on the island.
The seven meetings will proceed, starting on November 19 and concluding on January 28. The King Island Cup will be run on New Year’s Day.
Just 10 gallopers and 12 trotters had remained on the island but it is now likely that at least 30 gallopers and 14 pacers would compete this summer.
Victorian trainers Chris Diplock and Shane Bottomley are among a handful preparing horses for the entire festival, with Diplock likely to train at least four from the island.
Diplock said competing on King Island had long been on his bucket list.
Hamer said there had been more offers but some potential horses had been deemed unsuitable. “Either not quite ready or too old,” she said. “Maiden horses are the most suitable because they can compete multiple times if they can win their maiden here.”
First prize in gallops races is capped at $2000.
“We have had some really exciting feedback from a number of trainers. It appears there is a real willingness for the races to continue.”
Hamer said there had been interest from a number if islanders to gain strapper accreditation, a process that will now come at no cost courtesy of Tasracing.
“If they can commit even to a couple of weeks of helping out that would be terrific,” Hamer said.
The cost of transporting horses to the island has been heavily discounted by Tasracing.
Hamer said she had been approached by a number of potential sponsors.
Posted in Featured, Horse Racing News, Matt Stewart, Racing News
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