Racing NSW has today announced a number of important changes to handicapping and programming policies in NSW that will take effect for race meetings from 1 September 2018 in conjunction with the prizemoney increases announced on 18 July 2018.
The changes, which follow extensive consultation with industry groups over a period of six months, are summarised below.
Metropolitan Saturday Racing
The benchmark weight for metropolitan Saturday races will be lowered to 60kg, from the existing level of 61kg. This lessens the weight carried by horses in Saturday metropolitan races compared to midweek metropolitan races, providing greater incentive for trainers to start horses in Saturday metropolitan races.
In benchmark races, horses with a benchmark figure above the benchmark level of the race will continue to be allotted a weight above the 60kg benchmark level.
In a further important change, a true weight allowance of up to 2kg in Saturday benchmark and open handicap races is being introduced. Such an allowance may be claimed where the true weight of a horse taking account of its benchmark and sex, is less than the 53kg limit in a race.
For example, if the true weight of a horse is less than the 53kg limit in a race, the connections have the option of carrying the 53kg, or declaring a rider who is able to claim part or all of the true weight allowance down to the horse’s true weight, with a maximum allowance of 2kg.
More examples of how the true weight allowance may be applied are shown in the attachment (click on below) to this release.
“The introduction of a true weight allowance gives trainers and connections the option to race a horse at or near its true weight in Saturday metropolitan races,” said Racing NSW CEO, Mr Peter V’landys AM.
“The change has the potential to open up additional opportunities for lightweight riders and encourage horses to tackle stronger races benefitting from a greater spread of weights. This also provides an interesting new dimension for punters."
Apprentice jockeys will be able to claim both the true weight allowance and their apprentice claim in races, where they are able to ride at the lower weight. Declaration of a rider claiming the true weight allowance must be made at acceptance time for the race.
Discontinue Adjusting Weight at Acceptance Time
The practice of reducing the weights of races at acceptance time will be discontinued for meetings from 1 September 2018. The change will provide greater certainty for all jockeys, particularly those with a riding weight above the limit weight.
Separate Benchmark Number for Country Races
Racing NSW will allocate two benchmark figures for handicapping horses that race between sectors – one benchmark for metropolitan & provincial racing and now a separate benchmark for races in country NSW.
The creation of a separate country benchmark will see horses more appropriately handicapped when they move between metropolitan/provincial to country racing and vice versa.
“The two distinct benchmark figures will better enable country-performed horses to be more competitive in metropolitan and provincial races,” Mr V’landys said.
Streamlining of Benchmark Programmes
Programming of races across sectors will be streamlined to reduce the number of separate benchmark levels. This will provide clearer definition between the strength of races as horses progress. For example, provincial benchmark races will be programmed at Benchmark 64 level, metropolitan midweek races then start at Benchmark 70 and Saturday metropolitan at Benchmark 78.
The streamlining of the structure of programmes will be accompanied by adjustments to the maiden win benchmarks from metropolitan and provincial races, with these generally to be assessed two points or 1kg lower than is presently the case.
With the introduction of a new separate country benchmark, race programmes will be adjusted to see the number of benchmark levels at country race meetings reduced in order to simplify and broaden race planning options for trainers. Starting at Country Benchmark 50, races progress to Country BM 58, 66, and 74.
“All these changes have been tailormade for racing in NSW, allowing maximisation of field sizes and increased competitiveness across all sectors,” Mr V’landys said. “We thank the participants and industry representative groups for their feedback during the consultation process and look forward to the new programme commencing 1 September."
For detail of the changes, please CLICK HERE