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1st NZ Synthetic Track Moves Closer
NZ Thoroughbred Racing & the NZ Racing Board yesterday announced approval has been given "for the final evaluation stage, which will decide the location for the 1st synthetic track to be built in NZ, to proceed". The decision was based on a detailed review of the venue design briefs prepared with assistance from Racing Victoria. These briefs "set out the key issues & benefits associated with the construction of a synthetic track at each of the 4 short-listed strategic venues identified last year: Awapuni, Cambridge, Matamata & Riccarton". Racing Matamata "will now work with the Synthetic Track Project Team & a Civil Engineering Consultant (to be appointed) to draw up a detailed budget for the construction of a synthetic track at Matamata Racecourse. No decision will be made on the actual construction of the 1st synthetic track at Matamata until the detailed design work has been completed & then considered by the NZTR & NZRB Boards". NZTR chief executive Paul Bittar noted: "We selected Matamata for this final assessment stage principally because it meets the 3 key criteria that we set down. Namely, it provides a racing, trials & training option; it services a large onsite, local & regional horse population; & it is well positioned to deliver the best early measure as to the performance of the synthetic track. Matamata also provides the optimum layout & integration of a synthetic track alongside a turf track. Its proposed 18-metre wide synthetic track on the outside of the course proper allows us to have 14 starters."