Day At The Track

Progress continues on Racetime Raceway

05:30 AM 24 Feb 2019 NZDT
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Racetime Raceway Racetime Raceway
Work continues daily on Racetime Raceway
Thomas Bennett photo
NISA officials feel the track will be in great shape for opening day May 1
Thomas Bennett photo
Work continues unabated in order to get Racetime Raceway in Lisburn, United Kingdom ready for harness racing in 2019.
 
Although the recent inclement weather delayed progress on the resurfacing of the track, management are adamant that the scheduled opening of Saturday June 1st will go ahead as planned. The feature on the day will be the Anto Russell Memorial and a further 13 heavily sponsored race meetings will then take place throughout the summer and on into the autumn.

The venue, leased by the Northern Irish Standardbred Association (NISA) is set to provide a welcome boost for the sport in Northern Ireland.

The NISA collective committee wish to see harness racing in the region return back to its family orientated roots, encouraging younger enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the sport through a youth programme being established Racetime's Headquarters and 18 stable training facility as its base.

The sport needs to attract a new audience in the area and NISA welcome the local youth to become hands-on in developing all the skills necessary to become a successful harness racing driver from basic animal welfare, through to jogging, workouts, training practices and eventually participating in actual races.

Costs to become involved as an owner, trainer or driver of a harness horse in Ireland have sky-rocketed in recent years and NISA intend on making the sport more accessible and cheaper to become involved. Moderate membership fees, cheap entry fees to participate and all prizemoney won paid on the day in cash are just some of initiatives being implemented by NISA.

A number of other innovative concepts are also in the pipeline including a prizemoney bonus every time the track record is broken and a season-long points series with a substantial cash prize awarded at the end of the year for the horse with the most appearances at the venue.

Visiting horses from Southern Ireland and the UK will be accommodated with free stabling on the track being made available for all visiting horses.

Racetime Raceway originally opened for business back in the late 1980s and although current track record holder Saunders Rebound has long since passed on, his time of 2:00 is in danger of falling at the opening meeting on June 1st.

The track will be open for qualifiers, driving tests and work-outs from the middle of March and Racetime promoters NISA are also now seeking licensed bookmakers to stand at the track with generous terms, and for those interested please contact the NISA Facebook messenger page.

by Thomas Bennett, for the NISA

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