Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) has announced a number of modifications to the current Handicapping and Programming protocols following an internal review and industry consultation. TRSA has observed the profile of the South Australian horse population alter significantly in recent years and the programming changes, effective 1 January 2020 are designed to align with this change. The industry receives significant benefit from competitive Saturday Racing with large fields and it is critical that these benefits are maximised so that the entire industry can thrive.
The changes are as follows:
- The Benchmark Top Weight will be increased to 60kg from the current 59kg.
- An additional (ninth) Race will be added to the Saturday Programs in January 2020 for a four week trial period. These races will target the largest section of the horse population.
- Maiden Handicaps will be added to the program from 1 January 2020 on a Six-Month Trial Basis with a viewing to conducting approximately 20% of Maiden Races as Maiden Handicaps. The remaining 80% of Maiden Races will continue to be conducted as Set-Weight Maidens.
- The Racing Program from 1 January 2020 will be significantly altered in order to program effectively for the current status of the horses in the South Australian racing population.
In announcing the changes, TRSA Chair Frances Nelson stated: “the racing industry in South Australia is constantly evolving and it is imperative that TRSA adapts to this changing environment. TRSA has consulted widely with the industry and we look forward to working closely with participants to implement these important changes”
Providing further detail to the changes Chief Operating Officer Nick Redin explained:
“The increase to the Benchmark Weight is designed to increase the spread of weights to 6kg (60kg – 54kg) which provides better opportunities for trainers to place horses effectively while also bringing South Australia in line with other states in providing this 6kg spread.
The trial of adding a ninth race to Saturday Programs will be aimed at increasing Metropolitan Field Sizes at the key meeting of the week. These races will be aimed at the largest section of the racing population in order to attract increased engagement in Saturday Race Meetings.
Maiden Handicaps have been used effectively in other states as a method of providing opportunities for Maiden horses to receive weight relief should they prove unable to win at Set-Weights. TRSA is endeavouring to ensure that participants have every opportunity to keep their horses in the South Australian racing population for as long as possible.”