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Have they got it wrong again ?

Have they got it wrong? On a recent trip to the north of NSW for a race meeting, I heard a constant concern muted by trainers and owners in regards to the grading of horses.

One well-travelled trainer stated, that “the grading system is slowly strangling their business.”, and the general consensus is that whilst they agree with the drop back rule and claiming conditions to an extent, in order to prolong their horses racing career. They also identified that there is a need to allow the lower graded horses to have their opportunity’s to earn for their connections as well.

There has been many occasions where a C1/C2 race has been gazette and trainers have utilized there mare or junior driver concession to allow a C3/C4 horse back into this type of race, most trainers / connections appreciate the concessions, and are aware this is what can happen when nominating for this type of race.

What really appears to get their goat in these cases, is that the concessions not only give them access to the race, but further to this exception that they are also in some cases afforded the luxury of a much more favorable gate in doing so.

As in life most things can be manipulated, but the authority has it seems in this case put a further barricade in front of already struggling horses.

In recent weeks we have seen horses that have amassed over $50,000 graded C3 + and with their concessions drop back into a race as mentioned above, pitting them self with genuine C1/C2 horses that have amassed a total of $ 5,000- $10,000 total career earnings, just to find out when the fields are released that the genuine C1/C2 horses have drawn outside the horses already given the concessions or C4 and Bettor claimers.

Thus giving them yet another advantage, so In total they are given the

1) Mares Concession

2) Junior driver’s concession

3) and also a favorable gate to boot

Not bad for horses that have already earnt 5 to 10 times more than there other competitors engaged in the race

By all means in order to allow a race to stand up these concessions are appropriate but the extra advantage of being allowed to draw inside much less credential horses is fraught with danger.

It is acknowledge by most that if you are fortunate enough to utilize these concessions that it is not unpractical to concede that these horses should be drawn outside the front and or back rows.

The consensus being if this continues, this action will eventually create the same problem the authority was trying to prevent by forcing these genuine lower class horses to be moved on or taken out of circulation due to their lack of capacity to pay its way and ultimately becoming a financial burden to connections. As some trainers are telling me once some horses especially entire’s and geldings, have won there C1 they become obsolete, out graded and have to be moved on.

There is also a belief that whilst we are prolonging the racing careers of some of these horses we are neglecting the opportunity for the younger stock to establish a career therefore stifling both breeding production practice’s and yearling sales interest.

Some trainers that I spoke to suggested scheduling two restricted races per meeting for R0/ R1 as well as R1/ R2 per program without any concessions, allowing those horses to race in their own grade before graduating and giving those horses that either missed there juvenile racing career of were not fortunate enough to salute as a juvenile to progress before being exposed to more experienced campaigners. These races could be funded by the authority through its lost and abandoned meetings proceeds conducted throughout the season. Food for thought I say.

I’m sure there are a few ideas out there among the readers regarding these matters and we here at harness bred would like to hear them. But it’s high time the authority start looking at this before they have issues finding horses to come through the grades.

R Smith

Central West


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