Racing NSW today announced the 2021 dates and venues for the $1.6 million Country Championships and $1.25 million Provincial Championships Series, as well as changes to the conditions that will strengthen the objectives of each series to promote and reward Country and Provincial-trained horses and their connections.
The Country Championships series in 2021 will again be run on six Sundays and two Saturdays before culminating in a $500,000 Final at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, 3 April 2021.
Coffs Harbour and Nowra are again scheduled to host their regions qualifier for the first time, after seeing their regional qualifiers transferred to other venues on the first weekend in 2020 as a result of very wet weather.
The Southern Districts qualifier will return to Wagga Wagga in 2021 after being held in Albury over the past two years.
The Country Championships commences with a double-header on the weekend of 13 and 14 February 2021 of Coffs Harbour (Northern Rivers) and Nowra (South East). The second week of the series will also see back-to-back meetings at Wagga Wagga (Southern Districts) and Taree (Mid North Coast) on 20 and 21 February 2020.
The Central Districts qualifier will again be run at Mudgee on Sunday, 28 February 2021, and the Hunter and North-West qualifier a week later at Tamworth on Sunday, 7 March 2021. The regional qualifiers finish with the Western division qualifier being held for the second time at Coonamble on Sunday, 14 March 2021.
The Wild Card race meeting will again be run 13 days prior to the Final at Muswellbrook Racecourse on Sunday, 21 March 2021.
The full list of Country Championships qualifiers follows.
|13 February 2021||Saturday||Coffs Harbour||Northern Rivers|
|14 February 2021||Sunday||Nowra||South East|
|20 February 2021||Saturday||Wagga Wagga||Southern Districts|
|21 February 2021||Sunday||Taree||Mid North Coast|
|28 February 2021||Sunday||Mudgee||Central Districts|
|7 March 2021||Sunday||Tamworth||Hunter & North West|
|14 March 2021||Sunday||Coonamble||Western|
|21 March 2021||Sunday||Muswellbrook||Wild Card|
For the Provincial Championships in 2021, qualifying races of $150,000 each will again be held at provincial racecourses on five consecutive Saturdays leading into The Championships, with the Final run at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, 10 April 2021 for prizemoney of $500,000.
|27 February 2021||Saturday||Newcastle|
|6 March 2021||Saturday||Hawkesbury|
|13 March 2021||Saturday||Gosford|
|20 March 2021||Saturday||Kembla Grange|
|27 March 2021||Saturday||Wyong|
Country and Provincial Championships Conditions
Racing NSW has also updated the conditions applying to both the Country Championships and Provincial Championships.
The qualifying stable return date for raced horses to be trained by a Country or Provincial trainer has been brought forward to 1 May 2020 for the 2021 series.
Horses that are stable returned for the first time (previously unraced) must have been legitimately under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer by 1 September 2020.
In addition, the race conditions will now require that horses must remain under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer for a period of twelve months after the respective series Final.
On nominating for the series, owners of horses competing will need to undertake that they will keep the horse in a Country or Provincial stable, depending on the series contested, for a minimum of twelve months.
Failure to comply with this important race condition promoting the key objective of rewarding Country and Provincial-trained horses and their connections may result in penalty and forfeiture of any prizemoney won.