2024's first 2YO race, and the first under new Bonus Scheme
Harness racing's brand new 2YO Bonus Scheme will officially kick off this weekend.
The scheme will see payments of $12,000 for any 2YO Trotter or Pacer winning his or her first race, with $8000 going to the owner, and $4000 to the breeder.
The first 2YO race to be held under the new scheme will be Sunday's Diamond Creek Carat 2YO Mobile Pace at Winton.
"It's a major new initiative we are thrilled to be part of," says HRNZ Chief Operating Officer Mauro Barsi, "and we expect it to be very well received."
The new bonus scheme was agreed to last year by HRNZ and Entain.
"It's a win all round," says Barsi, "on one hand it encourages two-year-olds to race and on the other it provides substantial rewards to both owners and breeders who do so."
“The information we have is that many leading stables will have 2YOs hitting the tracks in coming weeks," says HRNZ National Handicapper Andrew Morris.
“It certainly appears, at this early stage, the lure of the $12,000 Entain-sponsored bonuses are having an effect.”
The number of two-year-old races is set to increase markedly this year, and they will be racing only against their own age group, and not in ratings races as they have traditionally. As long as the races attract at least five starters the races will go ahead.
"We are confident there will be a real surge in 2YOs qualifying and racing in the next few weeks and months," says Morris, "and it will create some exciting early season competition."
To see Sunday's field at Winton click here
To find out more about the 2YO Bonus Scheme click here