Feedback leads to new initiatives in April schedule

There is a range of new conditions on races throughout April.

Harness Racing
Harness Racing

After trialling race types during the months of February and March, the racing team has been considering feedback and has developed some initiatives that are designed to benefit participants.


A strategy has been developed and will be trialled throughout April and May, which it is hoped will give trainers more confidence in getting their two-year-olds to race level.

The races will be run with a minimum of five starters for pacers and four for trotters. These races will be programmed as $4,500, but if a field of eight or more runners accept for the race, the stakemoney will increase to $7000.


Several meetings have been programmed with tighter bands across the month. An example of the meeting is at Charlton (April 10) for pacers and Bendigo (April 26) for trotters.

The objective is to allow even racing and an opportunity for all horses to race the current comparative level of horse.

Clauses have been added to allow balloted horses from races to flow into adjoining classes. This should assist the race meeting to have fuller fields and allow more horses in that region to race on the day, while balloted horses won't be moving too far out of their "grade".

For example, the balloted horse from the NR 40-42 would then be eligible for the 43-45, which is only minimal change.


Race cards at Geelong (April 3) and Shepparton (April 17) have been designed to extend opportunities for concession drivers across a full meeting.

The concession drivers have limited opportunities to utilise their claims with lower NR horses. Races have been designed with a preferential barrier draw system to claiming drivers.

For example, the NR 30-42 level race will be drawn by driver claims. Five-point concession drivers will draw inside three-point drivers and then all other drivers.

Thorate NR30 Ryan Backhouse (5 point claim)

Brallos Pass NR33 George Chamouras (5)

Jilliby Keayang NR41 Lochie Cook (5)

Wally Walton NR42 Louis Emerson (5)

Catch A Wave NR35 Jordan Leedham (3)

Right Decision NR30 James Herbertson (0)

Golden Reign NR35 Chris Alford

Jane Ellen NR39 Ellen Tormey


At metropolitan level, a significant amount of races - including both for pacers and trotters – now have a clause "also eligible claimers under claiming rules with a claiming price…".

These are not claiming-only races, but just provide an option for a higher-rated horse to be able to compete at a lower level (clearly with the risk of being claimed).

Various levels of claiming price have been assigned to races, mostly being up to $35,000, $25,000 and $15,000.


The two-year-old and three-year-old pacing and trotting Nutrien Equine series will be a highlight of the month of April.

Heats for trotters will run at Bendigo (April 10) and Ballarat (April 11) for pacers, with finals night totalling $1.29 million in prizemoney at Melton (April 20).


Mildura Cup week will kick April off strongly, with the traditional heats night on the Tuesday (April 2) and finals on the Saturday evening (April 6).

The Friday night (April 5) program provides a range of opportunities for both locals and visitors to the region.

The Cup heats have come back to the 2190 metres, which hopefully creates even more exciting racing as the higher-rated horses make their moves throughout the qualifiers to ensure they reach the $50,000 feature final.


The Warragul club has tried a change to their Cup feature and will run it for horses up to NR55 in 2024.

Heats are scheduled at Cranbourne (April 7 and 16) and Ballarat (April 11).

The $17,500 final should be well sought after, and will provide a feature race opportunity to connections of some horses that didn't expect it.

HRV's Racing department will continue to consult with kindred bodies regarding innovative programming to best suit participants. Participants can expect to see more programming initiatives in the coming months.