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Handicapping Changes Announced By Racing NSW
Racing NSW has announced changes to its benchmark and open handicap weight scale to in a bid to increase metropolitan field sizes. Following an extensive consultation period, the Board of Racing NSW has resolved to implement the following changes from 1 October 2015:
- For benchmark races in NSW, increase the benchmark weight and minimum topweight from 59kg to 61kg.
- For all other non-Group races, except 2YO, maiden and class 1-3 races, increase the minimum topweight to 61kg at the time of weights release, 61kg for benchmark races and increase the minimum topweight to 60kg at acceptance time.
The compression of weights in benchmark and open races has created a disincentive for horses at or near the bottom of weights to contest these races. This is especially the case where a horse may be nominating in stronger or higher benchmarked races. Increasing the benchmark level and minimum topweight level of open handicap races from 59kg to 61kg, achieves a 2kg increase in the spread of weights. This opens up these races to a greater number of horses. “The increase in the benchmark weight and overall spread of weights will make for more competitive races and improve winning opportunities for more horses at the bottom of weights,” said Racing NSW’s Chief Executive, Mr Peter V’landys AM. The Racing NSW Handicapping Panel will also have discretion to weight country-trained and performed horses up to 6kg or 12 points lower than their benchmark level in order to encourage more country horses to tackle metropolitan races. Click here to view the full document.