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Change of Season

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Assn
Published by Pete Cook in News · 29 October 2020
As you may know, Harness Racing Australia has announced that, in future, their racing season will run from 1 January until 31 December in line with the USA. Obviously the question is now, does this Country follow suit?
There have already been discussions on whether we should or not, and there are a few differing opinions. The major concern that I have heard is that, if we retain the status quo, there is a risk that our two and three year olds will either be sent or sold across the Tasman after 1 August to take advantage of an extra five months of racing in their respective age groups. Presumably that would rob major races here, which are often already struggling to attract large fields, of some serious horse flesh.
One advantage would be that many of the age group races could be staged in the warmer Summer months, as opposed to the current situation where, particularly fillies, are forced to line up in their major events in Winter. This would also apply to the Jewels, which have often come under scrutiny for risking bad weather in June.
Another aspect, that relates to animal welfare, it would mean that two year olds would need to have physically turned two before they can start in a race, with trials maybe starting in mid-November.
I understand that there is no obstacle in taking this action in the Racing Act, the way it could be managed would be similar to what has happened this year after the lockdown period, races could be scheduled, by the Code, to fit in with the requirements.
Discussion continues.
Pete Cook

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