Racing NSW announces changes to metropolitan weight scale

Racing NSW
Racing NSW have made changes to the current weight scale and handicapping system in Sydney

RACING NSW has made changes to its weight spread and handicapping system after a detailed review of the Handicapping and Programming changes implemented in October 2015.

With consultation involving the NSW Trainers’ Association, Racing NSW announced the following changes to be implemented immediately:

– Introduction of an 8kg weight spread in NSW metropolitan races with a minimum weight of 53kgs and a topweight of 61kgs.

– A reduction of weights in all NSW non-feature races if there is no horse on the minimum weight in a particular race. For example, if the lowest weighted horse has been allocated 55kgs in a metropolitan race it would be taken down to 53kgs and if the topweight in that race was allocated 61kgs this would be taken down to 59kgs. All weights in such circumstances would be taken down at declaration of weights and again at acceptance time until there is a horse on the minimum weight (subject to the minimum topweight requirements of the Australian Rules of Racing).

There has been plenty of debate as to whether decreasing the maximum weight is a positive for the industry with jockeys struggling to make weight, but Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys believes the new weight scale will increase race numbers which have been struggling for years.

“There is no doubt that the greater spread of weights has worked in improving field sizes and the increase to a possible 8kg spread will provide even greater opportunity for competitive racing in the metropolitan area compared to the previously compressed weight scale,” V’landys said.

Racing NSW also added an initiative to try improve the competitiveness of country horses in the Metropolitan area.

It has added a secondary benchmark rating for country horses and it provides an indication of their likely rating in the metropolitan areas. A country rating will also apply to Metropolitan horses which are nominated for country races. This will come into effect on January 16, 2017.

The board is keeping the current benchmark system in place, but it plans to implement changes to further improve the system, including:

– Setting new criteria for reducing benchmark ratings for unplaced horses, so as to bring the rating down at a quicker rate;

– Setting new criteria for the increase of benchmark ratings, so as a horse’s rating is not increased rapidly; and

– Introducing special conditions two year old races in the metropolitan area.

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