Smoken Up NZ - 2011/2012 Austrralasian Pacers Grand Circuit Champion.
The Australasian Grand Circuit is set for a major overhaul.
A review of the current Grand Circuit by HRA Members highlighted programming clashes, too many races, lack of incentive to compete in multiple races, no actual ‘prize’ to the champions and a criteria based solely on prizemoney when field quality should be a consideration are just a few issues raised.
Overwhelmingly, the view was that the prestige and relevance of the Series had been lost.
At the recent Harness Racing Australia (HRA) Annual General Meeting, outcomes of the review, as well as Member survey responses for future options and details of alternatives considered by HRA’s Feature Race Committee were presented before approval of recommended changes were approved unanimously.
When determining races and format of the new Series, consideration was given to the number of races, timing of races, prizemoney, points system, tradition and prestige, quality of competitors in recent running’s, public interest, sponsorship and promotional activities by the host club.
The new Grand Circuit for pacers will comprise of the Queensland Pacing Championship, New Zealand Cup, Miracle Mile, Victoria Cup, Western Australian Cup, A. G. Hunter Cup, Inter Dominion Championship Grand Final and the Auckland Cup.
While a series name for the trotters is yet to be determined, the revised list of races will feature the Hellers Dominion, Australian Trotting Grand Prix, Great Southern Star, Anzac Cup, NSW Trotters Mile and the Rowe Cup.
The selection criteria for races include historical importance (minimum 20 years), no more than two races per state or NZ Island, competitiveness with feature runners who have figured prominently in prior year Grand Circuit point score, quality of runners including attracting runners from interstate and overseas, and a metropolitan prizemoney weighted support program.
Each race also requires a prizemoney commitment of stepped minimums from $125,000 in 2012/13, $150,000 in 2013/14 and $200,000 in 2014/15 and beyond, plus the opportunity to attract sponsorship at both local and national levels with a major prize to the trainer.
The points system has been re-modelled with 100 points for first, 60 for second, 40 for third, 20 for fourth, 10 for fifth, 5 for sixth, 4 for seventh, 3 for eighth, 2 for ninth and 1 point for tenth and lower placed horses. Horses that did not start, did not finish or were disqualified receive zero points.
These changes to both pacing Grand Circuit and trotting events provide an opportunity to separately brand both series’, with a refresh of profile and associated promotion for each gait.
This could also extend to a possible 3yo series, which remains under deliberation.
For more information, contact Gary Kairn on 03 9227 3000.