NSWHRC - Curtain to be drawn on Harold Park - final meeting Friday 17th December 2010
The last race meeting to be held at the iconic Harold Park Paceway will be conducted on Friday December 17 this year.
NSW Harness Racing Club Chairman, Rex Horne, today made the announcement at a special meeting attended by members of the Club at the spiritual home of harness racing, Harold Park.
Mr Horne outlined the details of the Club’s plans to cease racing at the legendary Glebe circuit, among other things which included planning for the historic last meeting.
“To some this announcement will be accepted with regret as harness racing has been conducted at the site of Harold Park since the late 1800s – more than 120 years.” Mr Horne said
“But in saying that we have a magnificent track, Tabcorp Park Menangle, to move to fulltime which will be complemented by substantive infrastructure developments on the sale of Harold Park.
“Tabcorp Park Menangle will then be an even greater world class complex ideal for the present and future expectations of the racing public and the participants alike.
“Harold Park has attracted the champion horses and drivers of every decade from throughout Australasia and even the United States of America who have competed in lifetimes of fierce competition and we will commemorate those achievements and events at the final meeting”
“We will welcome everyone to the track for one last time to be swept up in the nostalgia of the halcyon days of Harold Park.
“The records reveal that the aptly-named King Harold won the first race run under the auspices of our Club on November 19, 1902 and will now eagerly await the final winner on December 19, 2010.”
Racing at Harold Park commenced in 1890 and the final meeting on December 17, will signal the end of one era and the beginning of another with permanent sole metropolitan racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle.
The inner city property at Glebe was purchased by the NSW Trotting Club in 1912, although racing commenced in February 1890.
The track had a succession of name changes, Lillee Bridge (1890), Forest Lodge (1901), Epping (1904) and finally Harold Park in 1929.
With the introduction of night trotting to Sydney in 1949, Harold Park became one of the meccas of the social scene, regularly attracting large crowds.
The height of the euphoria concerning night trotting at Harold Park was at the 1960 Inter Dominion Final, when a record crowd of 50,346 people were trackside to cheer home Caduceus.
The Club is planning a sensational farewell to the ‘ancestral home of trotting,’ which includes a gathering of many of those who were intrinsically- involved in the operation of Harold Park over the past decades.
Since the NSWHRC upgraded the Tabcorp Park Menangle facility and re-opened it in mid-2008, plans had been afoot to slowly move racing operations to the outer Sydney circuit full-time.
At the Annual General Meeting in 2008, members of the Club voted on rezoning and offering the Harold Park site for sale in order to sustain the industry into the future, with an overwhelming number voting ‘Yes’ to the Directors’ resolution.
Mr Horne also addressed members today with the latest information regarding the potential sale of the 10.4 hectare Glebe property, including contentious issues associated with the rezoning process with City of Sydney Council.