Full credit to the Ashburton Trotting Club for responding to a request from the Trainers & Drivers Assn. to move their 1609m starting point back almost 100 metres to a 1700m start.
From all accounts, as we expected, the change, despite being fairly minor, was well accepted by drivers, and seemingly had the desired effect of giving horses more chance to find a position before hurtling into a bend at top speed. Obviously, there may be those who question such a decision and ask why, however, I would suspect that none of those individuals have ever race driven.
Does it make any difference to times or anything else? Well considering that the horses are probably going slower at the release point than after 100 metres, it should make no difference to times whatsoever. Obviously New South Wales weren’t concerned about that when they reset the distance of their most prestigious event, the Miracle Mile!
There are other start points around the Country that could be adjusted to more suit the racing pattern as opposed traditional distances, hopefully those Clubs will follow Ashburton’s lead and common sense will prevail.