ASHBURTON RACING CLUB.
. A public meeting of those interested in racing matters was held in Quill’s Hotel yesterday afternoon. There was a good attendance of the public, and the Mayor occupied the chair. , After some routine business, the Hon. Secretary, Mr. James Wilkie, read the annual report of the Committee as follows
Wc have to report that the past season, although not altogether a success financially, has beeir.rnpre than equal to the events of previous years. The Club paid away a sum of L3OO ss. in added money, and have also spent Ll 5 Bs. ,9(1. on permanent improvements on the course. The Club are at present indebted to the amount of L 22, as per statement in the Treasurer’s balance sheet. During the pastyear the Committee have furthered the interests of the Club with respect to the Racecourse as follows : The ground was found to have he n gazet ed as a recreation, instead of a racecourse, reserve, and the Committee took action to have the title altered. After considerable correspondence it was found that this could not be done except by a private Bill in Parliament, but the General Government offered to place the ground as a recreation reserve in the hands of the County Council. This was done, and the Club then entered into negotiations with the Council, and that body granted the Club a lease at the ren'al of Lio per annum, the said rent to be considered as paid when vouchers were shown for planting trees to the value of Lio per annum. Subsequently the Secretary again was instructed to request the member for the district, E. G. Wright, Esq., to endeavor to have the name of the reserve altered, and his reply was unfavorable. (Letter read.) The Committee then applied for the only other concession they could obtain flora the Council, viz., a grant from that bodv for plantation purposes, and the sum of LSO was granted, which will of course extinguish five years’ rent, and give the Club an indefeasible title to the course for that term. Acting upon this the Committee have let tenders for ploughing, harrowing, and fencing a belt a chain wide on three sides of the course, with a view of planting gums &c., in October. The County Council’s grant will be nearly absorbed by this work, and as the grant is to be specially devoted towards planting, the Club have tlo opportunity of devoting the money to other objects, however desirable. Tenders will be laid before you to-day for leasing the course for cropping, the terms being for one crop of turnips and nine of grain. This will put the ground in sufficiently level condition to lay down in permanent pasture, where, from its contiguity to the new site of the saleyards, it will undoubtedly be of considerable annual value. It will be advisable to clear oft the present debts existing against the Club ; the amount is about L 22, and it would perhaps meet the present state of our finances if the new „ Committee undertook to guarantee an overdraft of say LIOO to one of the local banks, so as to meet present liabilities, and provide for contingent expenses until the annual subscriptions are collected. It will be necessary for the meeting to elect fresh officers for the ensuing year. - The Committee would also ask the meeting to consider the question of amalgamating the local Steeplechase Club with the Racing Club. The programme of last year will be laid before you and a number of alterations suggested for your approval. As there is a probability of the Grand National Steeplechase meeting being held here next year, it would be advisable for the Committee to take some action regarding the initiative -steps in so important a matter. In resigning our charge into the hands of the meeting, we regret that the depression prevailing in this County, and in the colony genetally, has had a depressing effect upon sporting matters ; hut we trust that our successors will see their way to advance matters in a manner worthy the important district wc reside in, and keep up the reputation which Ashburton has hitherto borne in sporling matters. . FOl the Committee, James Wilkie, Hon. Sec.
Mr. Ci’isp desired to add to the report an expx-ession of the Committee’s acknowledgement of the aid received from the County Council members, who had all met the Committee with with the utmost cordiality. On the motion of Mr. S. Saunders, seconded by Mr. J, Scott, the report was adopted, Mr. Crisp said that he and Mr. Wilkie had repeatedly seen the members of the County Council, who had done all in their power to help the Committee in the matter of the racecourse title. Messrs. Wason, Wright, and Saunders, M.H.R.’s, had also done very great service in the matter. He would move a vote of thanks to the County Council and the member for the district for the intei’est they had taken in the Racing Club and the kindness they had shown them.
Mr. Quill seconded, and after the Secretary had spoken on the subject, supporting Mr. Crisp’s remarks, the motion was carried.
Mr. Cameron moved a vote of thanks to the retiring members of the Committee, who had performed their arduous work in a Rfogt satisfactory maimer. Mr. jb'ehsfyirq seconded, and the vote was most unanimously passed, Mr. 0. C. Fooks, Treasurer, read the treasurer’s statement, which showed an available balance of LI ss. 10s., to meet an indebtedness of L 22.
It was resolved that a guarantee for LSO should be given to the bank to cover existing liabilities. l|r,‘ Fooks moved the amalgamation pf jbhe Steeplechase Club witlx the Racing Qlub, quid 'Mr. 'Wilkie se.cqpijeci 0n thjs subject Mr. Crisp expressed an opinion that it was injudicious, ip the present state of the money market, to have an amalgamation. It would be expected of the Racing Club, did this amalgamation take place, that a steeplechase of importance worthy of the Club should be given six months after the No-
vember meeting. He saw no means of getting up such a steeplechase meeting as would be worthy, of the district, and he therefore opposed the motion—not that he was averse to the amalgamation did the times suit, but because he was averse to having to undertake a steeplechase meeting in the face of the scarcity of money in the district, which would be sure to reduce the meeting to a very ordinary affair. He would be willing, however, to aid the Committee in wiping off such deficit as lay against the Steeplechase Club. The motion for amalgamation was withdrawn, but it was decided to pay the liabilities of the Steeplechase Committee. Mr. Quill moved that a two days’ spring meeting bo held in November, which the Mayor seconded. After , some discussion the motion Was carried.
The following officers of the Club were then elected :—President—E. G. Wright, Esq., M.H.R. ; Vice-Presidents—John Grigg. Esq., and W. C. Walker, Esq.; Judge—Mr. M. Stitt; Stewards—Messrs. Duncan Cameron, 0. J. Hawdon, B. S. Coster. Neil McLean, John Carter, Rudolf Friedlander, O. Dowding, Dr. Ross, t. E. Corsbie, James Scott, Wm. Saunders, Joseph Hunt, Hay T. Smith ; Treasurer—Mr. 0. C. Fooks ; Clerk of the Course—Mr. E. Saunders ; Clerk of the Scales—Mr. E. P. Wright ; Handicappers—(left open); Neill McLean , Committee Messrs. E. G. Crisp, S, Saunders, Octavius Digby, Jacobson, Thomas Quill, James Scott, John Carter, F. Sfcandish, W. 13. Denshire, Neil Maclean,, T. A. Winter, Patton, E. S. Coster, M'Coll, R. D. Pullar, J. E. Taylor, Julian Jackson, Thomas. Moffatt, A. J. Daw r son, and all elected officers ex offtc.io, except Stewards. Secretary—Mr. J. Wilkie.
The..following was added to the racing rules : —■*.' That horses walking , over will receive only half the stakes” ; and it was decided to hold a Committee meeting on Thursday, to draw up a programme. The time for receiving tenders for leasing the racecourse for cropping was extended.
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