THE COVIT-19 pandemic forced their hand . . . and harness racing in NSW has emerged the winner.
While regionalised racing restricted everyone in the industry for months on end, the Group One TAB Regional Championships proved an absolute blessing for horses in all corners of the state.
Indeed, so successful was the series that Harness Racing NSW has decided to run with it again in 2021 – and possibly even for longer.
It enabled the parent body to share the riches around the state with four $100,000 finals in each region giving trainers a chance to win a Group One that might not have been possible before the pandemic hit.
The same concept will be adopted for 2021 with the welcome addition of the ultimate state grand final, worth $100,000 in stakes.
Named ‘The TAB State Final’, the field will comprise horses that were placed in their Regional Championship Finals and will be held at Tabcorp Park Menangle on May 29, 2021.
Leading up to that there will be heats, consolations and $100,000 Regional Championship Finals in May at the Bathurst, Newcastle Wagga and Menangle.
“Out of adverse circumstances our participants have been the beneficiaries of a series of races which will deliver rewards to a greater number of participants,” said Harness Racing NSW chief executive John Dumesny.
“And for that I have to thank the Tabcorp executive.”
“Faced with the calamity of the coronavirus pandemic, Tabcorp’s managing director of wagering and media, Adam Rytenskild, was right behind our proposal to give the industry participants a lift in such daunting times.
“What is even more pleasing is that Tabcorp has confirmed its support of the Regional Championships for an extended period of time, well past the original three years.
“This half-a-million-dollars series of Group One races for lower-grade horses is not available anywhere else in Australia and is another example of the benefits of racing in the premier state . . . NSW.”
Eligibility into these races is for Australian-bred pacers that are four-years-old or older with National Rating Points up to 70.
Horses must be trained by a HRNSW licensed trainer from January 1, 2021, in accordance with the HRNSW Stable Return Policy.
More information on this series is available from www.hrnsw.com.au.
The proposed schedule for the 2021 TAB Regional Championships is:
Round 1 Heats – Bathurst May 5 (2260m);
Round 2 Heats – Bathurst May 12 (2260m);
Final and Consolation Wednesday 19 May (2260m).
Round 1 Heats – Newcastle May 7 (2030m);
Round 2 Heats – Newcastle May 14 (2030m);
Final and Consolation Saturday May 21(2030m).
Round 1 Heats – Menangle May 4 (2300m);
Round 2 Heats – Menangle May 11 (2300m);
Final and Consolation Saturday May 22 (2300m).
Round 1 Heats – Wagga May 7 (2270m);
Round 2 Heats – Wagga May 14 (2270m);
Final and Consolation Sunday May 23 (2270m);
The TAB State Final – Menangle May 29 (2400m).