2011/2012 Australasian Pacers Grand Circuit Champion - Smoken Up NZ.
The reaction from sections of the harness racing industry to the changes to the Australasian Grand Circuit was extremely disappointing, HRA chairman Geoff Want said today.
"It is sometimes difficult to embrace change, especially when it directly affects one's own organisation, but it is important to keep an open mind," he said. "I can understand the feelings of the clubs affected by the changes but they have been made with the best interests of harness racing as the primary motivation, rather than self interest".
Want said he was particularly disappointed that there had been denigration of an individual involved in the process, which was grossly unfair.
"It is all too easy to take cheap shots at administrators, but it adds nothing to the quality of the debate or the well-being of our industry," he said.
Contrary to some comments, the changes followed an exhaustive review of the Grand Circuit.
"There had been concern in recent years that the Grand Circuit had lost relevance and there were too many races for what was suppose to be an elite series and this resulted in the formal review earlier this year."
Want said that all HRA members - including every principal club and state controlling body - had input into the review. The findings were considered by the HRA Executive and at the organisation's annual meeting in Melbourne earlier this month and endorsed without dissent.
"It is understandable that some individuals may feel aggrieved, but this is a decision which was made in a genuine attempt to make the Grand Circuit more relevant and to provide a better platform to promote our industry," Want said.
Most importantly, he said, the Feature Race Committee would be reviewing all Grand CIrcuit and group races on an annual basis and the criteria for inclusion in the series could be amended in the coming years.
For more information contact Gary Kairn on 03 9227 3000.