02/22/2011 12:45PM

Racing in New Zealand canceled in aftermath of earthquake


Snow, freezing temperatures, and high winds aren’t the only types of extreme weather that can force the cancellation a day’s racing. Friday’s card at Riccarton Park in Christchurch, New Zealand has been called off after an earthquake registering 6.3 on the Richter Scale struck the area on Tuesday afternoon.

Greg Purcell, chief executive of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, said that no serious damage to the racecourse or the grandstand has been reported, but that the facilities will be thoroughly inspected before the next meeting is allowed to proceed.

The most important racecourse on New Zealand’s south island, Riccarton Park is the site of both the New Zealand 2000 Guineas and the New Zealand 1000 Guineas. Friday’s meeting was to be run under the auspices of the Canterbury Jockey Club.

On Jan. 28, racing at Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates was canceled due to a sandstorm. It was made up a week later. Last Friday’s meeting at Sharjah in the UAE was canceled due to an electric failure. It will be made up this Friday.