The future of harness racing in NSW will be shaped by meetings at Menangle on Sunday.
Harness Racing NSW chief executive Sam Nati will brief trainers about the new training centre to be built at Menangle, but it is the meeting that follows that could change the face of metropolitan racing.
The NSW Harness Racing Club will hold a forum about whether to change the way races are graded at metropolitan meetings.
The present system using number of wins to grade horses is causing horses to be lost to NSW once they get above M2 because they simply can't match it at open class. The number of former NSW horses winning in South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia has not gone unnoticed by officials. The meeting will discuss the introduction of condition-based racing, which is used around the world. It would be similar to the benchmark system in thoroughbred racing, where horses which aren't winning can drop back a grade, therefore extending the racing life of horses. Earlier in the afternoon trainers will be told about the first stage of the training centre, which is let to a veterinary practice and produce shops. The NSWHRC bought the land for the centre for $2.5 million and has leased it to HRNSW at no cost on a long-term basis. HRNSW has lodged a development application with council. The first stage of the project will have 144 boxes in barns of 24, which can split into sections of six giving smaller trainers the ability to have a presence at Australia's best track.
Meanwhile, Caribbean Blaster established himself as the best horse in Victoria by beating Smoken Up at Melton on Friday. He sat three wide for the last lap, recording a 1.55.4 mile rate and running his last 800m in 55.9 seconds.