The highly-anticipated return of the four-year-old division to the New South Wales Breeders Challenge Series program will be underpinned by an innovative qualification system to produce the ultimate battle between the fastest horses in the state.
Running in alignment with the prestigious two and three-year-old Series’, the four-year-olds will be welcomed back into the Breeders Challenge fold.
And it promises to be the most exciting qualification process yet with finals spots to be determined by the fastest mile rates recorded during the heats.
While the two and three-year-old horses will be limited to 10 horses, all starting from the front-row, the four-year-olds will race under different conditions. 12 places will be up for grabs in the heats and final that will see eight start from the front row and four from the back.
That in itself will add greater intrigue to an already unique barrier draw system, with connections themselves to choose their starting position. First choice will be given to the horse with the fastest individual mile rate in the heats and so on.
The barrier draw for the qualifying heats will be done as a random ballot.
“We are delighted to be bringing the four-year-old division back into what is one of the great Series’ on the Australian harness racing calendar,” Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny said.
“What we have been able to do in the meantime though is take on board feedback from our members and people right across the industry and implement some new innovations that we are confident will produce some high-quality, exciting and extremely fast racing by some of the best Standardbreds in the country.”
In its short absence, the four-year-old division was expanded to include five-year-old pacers and rebranded as the Riverina Championships. That concept has grown significantly and forged a reputation as one of the most significant regional carnivals on the New South Wales racing schedule.
Mirroring the existing two and three-year-old Breeders Challenge Series divisions, the four-year-olds will be contested by both sexes with $50,000 Finals and $25,000 Qualifying Heats.
The 2022 NSW Breeders Challenge Series will be followed by the Menangle Country Club sponsored Breeders Challenge Blue Finals, which has seen prizemoney doubled to $100,000 each for the four finals.
The Regional Series will be held across the state, commencing in late November, with finals to raced in Wagga and Newcastle on 9 December.
CLICK HERE for the 2022 NSW Breeders Challenge Series conditions.
CLICK HERE for the 2022 NSW Breeders Challenge Series dates.