Racing will go synthetic for the first time in New Zealand on May 19 – in Waipā.
A new synthetic track in Cambridge has been booked for 12 race meetings in the 2021-22 season.
The New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing racing dates calendar was confirmed this week and the first meeting will be on a Wednesday.
A second synthetic track at Riccarton Park will be used seven time from May 2022.
The use of synthetic tracks has resulted in licenses being taken from other venues.
“We need to ensure we are maximising the wagering revenue opportunity, as this will positively impact returns to NZTR and, as a result to the wider industry.” NZTR chief executive Bernard Saundry said.
A total of 293 thoroughbred race meetings are scheduled to be held in the 2021-22 season, 13 more than were scheduled for the current season, but 23 fewer than were scheduled to be run in the 2019/20 season.
“One of NZTR’s roles is to ensure we are putting on racing that maximises opportunities for horses to race, and we will continue to add races to meetings when demand requires,” Saundry said.
The number of venues planned to be used for racing for the coming season is 35.
“The introduction of synthetic track racing is a key part of NZTR’s Venue Plan, and its impact was clearly signalled in that plan,” Saundry said.
“The movement of meetings to synthetic tracks will relieve pressure on turf tracks that would otherwise be used in winter.”