The Harness Jewels has received the cold shoulder from all but one of the nine Australian invitees, but HRNZ CEO Edward Rennell is confident that will change next season.
“We told Harness Racing Australia to invite the best in each age group and if they didn’t accept then we wouldn’t invite another,” said HRNZ boss Edward Rennell.
But next season Rennell says that a lot more consideration will be put into who is invited from Australia, and if the best didn’t accept their invite, another leading charge would get the call up.
It is also likely that a short list will be compiled for each category, and those with horses on it will be quizzed on the likeliness of them heading across to compete in the series if they were to receive an invitation.
Although Padrisimo is the only Australian coming, Rennell is pleased with the coverage the Harness Jewels has received in Australia over the last couple of months.
“There has been a lot of coverage over there and I am certain the awareness of the Jewels is greater in Australia than it would have been,” said Rennell on the HRNZ website.
However, in my opinion, the so called ‘Internationalization’ of the Jewels is likely to struggle as the Jewels fall at a tricky time on the Australian calendar.
Guaranteed, who received an invitation to compete in the 4YO Emerald, was initially coming, but can race for similar stakes in Australia in upcoming weeks without the expense or stress of travel, while Twentyten, who earned himself a spot in the Harness Jewels through winning the Northern Derby, has been lured away by the NSW Trotting Derby.
Star three-year-old Bling It On is another who won’t be coming due to upcoming features in Australia.
Meanwhile, Padrismo’s trainer Andy Gath says we are lucky to even have the one Australian raider.
“It’s lucky that we got the invite as the fact is we are willing to take on Follow The Stars,” Gath tweeted. “The 20 invites after us may not have been so willing,” he added.