Country-trained gallopers cleaned up at Wyong on Sunday running the trifecta in the 1000m Conditional Benchmark 70 Handicap – a new $35,000 special conditions race now being run across the Provincial circuit which is restricted to horses that have started in four or more Provincial and Country races in the previous 12 months.
While Metropolitan-trained gallopers are not excluded from these races (provided they are qualified), the new type of races introduced at the start of this month has been programmed to support Provincial and Country-trained gallopers which might otherwise be struggling to find suitable ratings-based races to be competitive.
Wyong's CEO David Jewell said Country-trained gallopers made up less than 6% of starters at Wyong last season.
“With Provincial field sizes declining in recent years it was very encouraging to see three Country-trained gallopers fight out the finish in the first of the new R70 Conditional races we have run at Wyong.”
In an exciting finish on Sunday, the Luke Thomas, Muswellbrook-trained Princess Lottie, just defeated the Sarah Murray-Leslie Goulburn-trained Stone Cold, with another Muswellbrook trained runner Eminent Duke, trained by Jan Bowen, third.
Country-trained gallopers are able to utilise their Metro/Provincial rating for these new races which means a Country-trained galloper that might otherwise be forced to run in Open type races is generally going to be eligible to compete off its lower benchmark rating in these new events.
Newcastle Jockey Club will run a 1850m R70 Conditional race this Saturday as part of their popular “Nobby’s Series” with a 1500m R70 Conditional race programmed for Hawkesbury on 7 October.