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R Smith

Central West



In recent weeks whilst attending a number of meetings in the Central West I have heard more and more rumblings and discontent  from trainers with there frustration regarding the inability to enter there racing stock where they see the horse has its best chance to place.


Whilst the general consciences  is that there is a need for concessions to allow some racing stock to continue on racing. There is a real concern that it’s becoming near impossible to place your horse in a competitive situation to be able to compete, and the balance has tipped the other way.


One owner/trainer highlighted he was assured some time ago when there was a wide spread  reform made by the industry that the racing  nominations and scheduling would insure that there would be like for like racing throughout the state and that they would compare apples with apples when formulating races for the meetings.


This trainer is currently racing a C1 gelding and went on to say that when he nominated his horse for the C1-2 that he was hoping he would draw handy and be competitive still not loosing sight that he was up slightly in grade and was no sure thing but competitive all the same.


Only to find on the drawing of the field that it had been adjusted to include C1-C3 which in turned allowed C4 mares eligible as well as C5 mares with a concessional driver and within a blink of the eye this C1 gelding who has accumulated a mere $8700 in total career earnings was now facing some horses that had amassed in excess of $60,000 in career earnings some horses of which were in career best form.



To further the pain they had drawn in more favourable position following out the 1 and the 2 without raising a sweat to be positioned in a forward position and forcing the lower graded horses to fall back to gain a spot in running. He was understandably frustrated and generally concerned for his horses well being as he was now facing a much hotter field than he envisioned he would on the day of nominations.



Plus the trainer  felt helpless as he was unable to withdraw his horse after the fields have been established without receiving a penalty in doing so.

He remained miffed as why the authority can implement changes without considering the original gazetted race.



Now I understand why races are merged to allow more horses to be eligible to race when there fields are thin. Why is it that the nominator cannot just nominate for the desired race? say a C1  and if they feel the race wont stand up (lack of noms)or that there are too many nominated and risk being balloted out.


Yes they can cross nominate into a higher grade race knowing they would have to race higher grade race horses if the lower assed race doesn’t stand up, or if there are to many nom’s affording the overflow of better credential horses to nom in the higher grade race.


Why are we forced to race in a higher grade race without been granted the ability to withdraw without penalty is concerning?


This includes the great C1 or better race, what a lucky dip that can be, the nominator has absolutely no control over who there horse could end up racing..



Again we all agree that there is place for these types of concessions but it is ludicrous to think a genuine C1 horse has to compete with a Genuine C5 horse that has all these concessions and is a far superior horse and is racing well down in grade and attracts the lions share of the betting market due to these factor’s. this is not like for like racing.



Recently a Trainer was at a loss when he was explaining to connections on how there low graded C1 mare was set to race in a C1 -2 Mares race and had to face a oaks placed 3yo filly who coincidently raced a mind blowing 26.8 third quarter to street her rivals also stifling the betting in doing so thus flatting there mare in order to keep up. This is not apples with apples. And it doesn’t generate good betting turnover.



Whilst we don’t claim to have all the solutions, it is clear to me that there has to be some middle ground with a fairer outcome, as there are  numerous examples of these situations and a growing frustration among trainers and it is apparent that there is a need for a complete overhaul of the grading system maybe a points system or something a lot more manageable to trainers.



Approved By Dean Baring www.harnessbred.com

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