Thu, Dec 23, 2021 6:14 AM

Richmond off to the races

The Nelson Races will take place over two days on Friday and Sunday January 7 and 9. Photo: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport

Jonty Dine

The region’s biggest harness festival returns in January with two-days of action-packed racing for punters at the Richmond Showgrounds.

Nelson’s biggest showcase of racing gets underway on January 9 with thousands set to test their luck at the track.

The Nelson Harness Races Summer Festival attracts more than 6000 people to the course over the two-day event.

The big race will get underway at about 5.45pm and Sunday will see the Magic Mile Day with all 10 races over just one mile.

“Entries close the week of the race, I think it’s important people support these community events, we want to show them what racing is about.”

At the start of 2021, Blair Orange claimed Nelson’s most coveted harness racing prize for the second year running.

Blair won the Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup driving six-year-old Kruzir, Blair claimed his win in a time of 3:50.4, just .1 second ahead of No Nukes Skipper driven by Samantha Ottley in a thrilling 3000m race.

Away safely from the standing start, Blair quickly had the Michael House-trained horse in front and dictating the field which included 2020 champion Kendra.

A late run by Gerard O’Reilly and Laver pushed the leader, however Blair held his nerve to defend his crown.

Nelson Harness Racing Club president Kristie Hill says punters came out in force for the event with an increase in turnover of $1 million.

“It was a very successful race meeting, we were pretty excited to turnover $2 million in 2020 but we grew that to $3 million this year.”

Blair broke the track record for a mile 1:51.9 while Madeline Stowe broke the track record for 2400m in 3:02.8.

Summer Harness Racing Festival

Friday and Sunday January 7 and 9

Richmond Park Showgrounds

358 Lower Queen Street

For corporate hospitality and race day transport options go to

https://www.nhrc.co.nz/summer-races