Current handicapping system - Murray Swain

05:00 PM 13 Aug 2014 NZST
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Murray Swain
Murray Swain

The harness racing handicapping system we have currently with the 2 and 3yrs olds should have been changed at the last handicapping meeting – why it wasn’t is beyond me.  I would like them to tell me why it wasn’t done. 

I believe that my proposed system would work better than the current one as follows:

3yr olds – every 3rd win penalty free – this would free up the clogged 1 win grade which we have at present and would give better dividends to punters as the better 3yr old is now in the 2 win grade.  The 3yr old still has the ability to drop back after 10 starts if not competitive in the 2 win grade.

2yr olds – when re-graded when they turn 3, their first win if under $15,000 would be deemed penalty free then they would drop into the same category as the current 3yr olds.  If for example a current 2yr old has won 4 races under the stakes threshold above he would come back as a 2 win

3yr old.  Any 2yr old who has won 2, 3 or 4 races is obviously a horse with ability and to drop it back into the maiden grade as at present is harming our industry and again clogging up the maiden & C1 grades.

It was mention at our local Trainer’s & Driver’s meeting held recently in Invercargill that this system would mean that owner’s would sell their 3yr olds if my suggested system was in place.  I disagree as owners choose to sell or not to sell their horses.

I believe we are belittling racing by not having these nice horses up in the grades where they should be and competing against each other instead of beating up a C1 field.  We need horses in higher grade races.

We also need Australian racing strong, it is really the only market we have.   Imagine if we couldn’t export our milk or meat, it would be worth next to nothing.    I wouldn’t want the Australian system here because the Australian buyers need to see that they can get out of the horse under their system.  If we had the same system why would they buy our horses?   As an owner you still have the option of racing your horse over there or in partnership with someone there.  With them buying our horses it generates income for our owners to then reinvest which most do whether it is by breeding or purchasing at sales.   Australia are trying to rejuvenate their breeding system with the tax on our horses going towards it which hasn’t helped our lower grade of horses being sold – good luck to them with that.  We are really a partnership with Australia – they need us as much as we need them.

Anyone who has an opinion either for or against I would appreciate hearing from you as we are in this together for the future of our industry.

Murray Swain.

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