The system that we currently use to determine the winner of each respective category at the annual harness racing awards is a reminder of how archaic the current process is. At present we send out voting forms to people employed by media organisations who cover harness racing.
This year twenty one people employed in the media got to decide who the winners were in each category.
Some of the votes cast would have to cast grave doubts as to the suitability of some of the twenty one to be involved in such deliberations.
As a company with a large presense in harness racing over a long period, even we have struggled to compile a list of twenty one media people who are primarily employed to cover harness racing. Some of the voting figures would suggest that some of the media contigent voting have little knowledge of our industry.
It is time to do away with this outdated and archaic system and go to a system that is fair to everybody and over which there can be no argument.
Whilst looking around the world and here in New Zealand we came to the conclusion that a sliding points scale with emphasis on group racing would be a much better and transperent way of anoiting our best performer in each category.
We envisiage it would work something like this:
Group One race
First - 10 points
Second - 7 points
Third - 4 points and each subsequent placing one point less
Group Two race
First - 8 points
Second - 5 points
Third - 3 points and each subsequent placing one point less
Group Three race
First - 6 points
Second - 4 points
Third - 2 points and fourth 1 point.
It has a lot of advantages over the present system but the one that stands out for us is it would create interest throughout the season with the racing public as we work our way through all the group races.
We thought as a test run we would run this years three year old male division through the sytem as proposed and see what the result was.
Like the Harness Jewels we excluded the sales races as they are not open to all comers.
Tiger Tara - 33 points
Locharburn - 29 points
Isaiah - 22 points
We judge our trainers and drivers and our sires by the results they accumulate over the season and hand the awards out on that basis.
Its time we did something similar for our best horses and stop leaving it up to media people.