WRC president Garrick Emms [left] and general manager Matthew Sherry with the Community Club of the Year trophy. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR



The Wairarapa Racing Club was this week named New Zealand Community Club of the Year.

The award was presented for the first time at Tuesday’s NZ Thoroughbred Racing AGM.

It recognises the club that races up to six times a year, was best performed based on its service arrangements, hospitality, sponsorship, and community involvement.

The club is over the moon to receive the recognition, its general manager Matthew Sherry said.

“We were up against our peers across the country, and for a country club to win this award is brilliant.

“We run a race day that ticks a lot of the boxes. We’ve got everything covered from the racing itself, the sponsorship, the hospitality packages, the kids’ entertainment, and the community backs us.”

Sherry said the Messara Report, a 2018 wide-ranging review of the country’s racing structure, described Tauherenikau an iconic racecourse steeped in history.

The club has two feature race dates each year. The first on January 2 attracts a big crowd, with many patrons from the Wellington region, and Waitangi Day, which offers the club’s feature race – the listed North Island Breeders’ Stakes.

Sherry is planning for two big race days over summer.

“Last year we had 12,000 people for our January meeting, and I’m really excited about this January.”