Changes to be made in a bid to improve the Benchmark System & Weights In NSW

Dec 23, 2016

Following a review of the Handicapping and Programming changes implemented in October 2015, Racing NSW has announced immediate changes will be made to Handicapping in NSW.

Working in consultation with the NSW Trainer’s Association and Australian Jockeys' Association, Racing NSW has decided to introduce a greater weight spread as well as addressing other handicapping concerns.

The following changes will be made:

- Introduction of an 8kg weight spread in NSW Metropolitan races with a minimum weight of 53kgs and a top weight 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 top weight 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 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” Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys AM said.

Further, changes will also be made in a bid to improve the Benchmark System in NSW, 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.

A detailed update to the Benchmark Programming and Handicapping Handbook will be available soon.