Standish farce to bring a policy change

The farcical situation where all 11 runners in the Standish Handicap are to carry the same weight will hopefully be avoided in the future.

Weights were raised 4kg at acceptance time on Thursday meaning all horses in the Group Three race at Flemington will carry 58kg.

Original topweight Lucky Hussler was not an acceptor for Sunday’s race and as all other runners were handicapped on 54kg, it meant the weights were all raised to 58kg.

Racing Victoria’s executive general manager of racing Greg Carpenter hopes to introduce a policy change on February 1 that will allow the topweight in all black type races, apart from Group One events, to rise to 58kg should the original topweight not accept and then other runners be re-handicapped according to their rating.

“The Australian rule gives each state the flexibility to either raise the weights for all runners in a race or to raise the weight of the topweight to 58 then only raise the weights of other runners as to their rating,” Carpenter said.

“In Group and Listed races in Victoria the case has always been that the topweight goes to 58 and whatever its weight is raised by, then all other runners are raised by the same amount.

“That was the same throughout Australia until a few years ago when the rule was changed to allow flexibility to allow the topweight to go to 58 and only the weights of those runners that deserved it for their weight to be altered.

“It is something we have applied for non black-type races.”

Carpenter said initial contact with the Australian Trainers Association was favourable to a change in policy but more formal contact with the ATA and the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association was needed before the policy change could be implemented.

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