Many individuals involved in standardbred racing have been focusing their attention on Christchurch, New Zealand and Addington Raceway in light of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake which rocked the city earlier this week. Harness Racing New Zealand Chief Executive Edward Rennell has
commented on the state of HRNZ's head office and Addington Raceway, which is scheduled to host the Inter Dominions from March 25 to April 8.
In an email, Rennell said, “Our office at HRNZ is 10 minutes from town, where the worst carnage is. Our building itself has a number of cracks and we have almost lost a wall down the side. As a result the office is closed until Monday (February 28), hopefully by when we will have had an engineer into check it from a safety perspective."
Rennell went on to explain that the organization's immediate priorities are its computer system so it can service clubs for racing purposes, which is now being done remotely. He also explained in the email that, as of the time he sent it he was not aware of any industry participants which had lost their lives in relation to the quake.
“Addington Raceway has some significant damage to the facilities and the track. The track has a number of cracks and liquefaction in a few places. At this stage there won’t be racing there for the next three weeks while this is all hopefully addressed. In terms of the Inter Dominions which are due to start there on 25 March it will be touch and go with a lot of work required there, and also to the city infrastructure."
An article by ABC.net.au quotes standardbred trainer Chris Lang as saying that his quake experience while attending the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sales was "very scary at the time."
In an audio interview, Lang said, "The horrendous noise of it and massive shaking of the building and probably the thing that sticks with me is that people were getting thrown to the ground the way that they were, it was just like people were on ice.
"Then when we got outside to see cars that were actually shaking and moving from the position where they were parked was an unbelievable experience as well."
(With files from ABC.net.au)