Racing NSW on Monday announced changes to TAB Highway races from 1 September 2018 that will provide an opportunity for Canberra trained racehorses to contest these races.
“The Canberra trained horses will now be eligible for Highway races, with NSW country trained horses that have a benchmark higher than 50 getting first preference for these races, in the rare circumstances that there are more acceptances than the field limit” said Racing NSW Chief Executive Mr Peter V’landys.
In August 2017, Racing NSW resolved that Canberra trained horses were to be classified as Provincial rather than country from 3 December 2017, making Canberra trained horses ineligible for Highway races from that time. Racing NSW recently met with trainers from Canberra who presented concerns about the ongoing viability of racing in Canberra which would also impact upon their viability.
“The trainers presented a very strong case that action was required to avoid the demise of Canberra’s racing industry. Racing NSW wants to see that racing in Canberra is viable and strong, as many NSW participants compete in Canberra for prizemoney that is paid by the Canberra Racing Club, and accordingly Racing NSW does not contribute to this prizemoney. NSW participants would be competing for less prizemoney overall if the prizemoney paid by the Canberra Racing Club was no longer available, as this money would be lost to the NSW industry,” said Mr V'landys
“Reverting Canberra trained horses to country status, with NSW country trained horses being first in the order of entry in Highway races, is a sensible resolution” Mr V’landys added.
The Canberra Racing Club has agreed that for Federal Races run by the Club, all prizemoney and bonuses will be open to NSW country trained horses as well as those trained at Canberra. Canberra trained horses will remain ineligible for The Kosciuszko to be held at Royal Randwick on Saturday 13 October 2018.
“The conditions of the Kosciuszko had previously been set and betting has already commenced on the race under those conditions” said Mr V’landys.
The status of Canberra trained horses for the 2019 Country/Provincial Championships will be subject to further assessment by Racing NSW in the coming weeks.