Avondale Jockey Club fights back against race course closure

An Auckland race course that's been slated for closure is fighting back.

Avondale Jockey Club (AJC) says it won't let go of its aging west Auckland racecourse without a fight.

It's announced an expensive rebuild even though a major racing industry report last year said it should close, and it could soon lose its racing licence.

Avondale's racecourse is used more for Sunday markets than thoroughbred racing these days, yet the jockey club says it still has life.

"We believe Auckland needs more racing than less," says AJC committee member Bruce Cleland.

Last year a major report into this country's ailing racing industry said Avondale, along with 20 other tracks, should close to cut costs.

The local board and residents have suggested it would the perfect place for more housing.

But instead of selling up the racing club is digging in.

It's planning a major rebuild of its grandstands, day stalls and mounting yards. The demo job alone would cost almost $2 million.

And all this for a club, which could lose its racing licence in the near future.

"We're very keen to meet with the club to understand their views and for us to share New Zealand Thoroughbred's views on the future of the industry," says New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) CEO Bernard Saundry.

By 2020 Auckland may only get three thoroughbred race meets a year, which would be held at Ellerslie.

Avondale locals still think there are better uses for the prime piece of Auckland real estate.

"I'd definitely hope they'd put it into something for Avondale for the community," one person told Newshub.

The jockey club says NZTR has changed its mind on the fate of other clubs and thinks this privately-funded racecourse has a future too.