Close battle in new trainers' championship

There is a tie at the top of the new Seddon District Harness Racing Group Trainers' championship for those holding a Licence to Train.

After five of the championship's 11 race days North Canterbury's Gerard McCrea and Richmond's Kevin Musso are both tied on 16 points in this category, three ahead of Ashburton's William Lake, and Westport's Phil Beveridge who are two points further back on 11.

Prince Teka, who won at Westport on Boxing day, has been a grand performer for McCrea over the years while Melando Chief has had three placings at Reefton and Westport for Nelson trainer Musso.

After a busy and successful time on the West Coast circuit, Canterbury trainer Mark Jones has a two-point lead among the Public Trainers.

Helped by doubles at Westport on December 28 (Artatac and Tact Teel) and Reefton two days later (Songbird and Helloveamoment), Jones now has 64 points in the championship, with the very busy Michael House two points adrift, on 62.

Robert and Jenna Dunn are currently third on 52, with Greg and Nina Hope on 44, and Steve and Amanda Telfer rounding out the top five on 38 points.

The championship, with a prize pool of $10,000 split between both licence categories, is designed to encourage trainers to race their horses in the top half of the South Island. It started at Kaikoura in late October and will conclude at Reefton on March 12.

The championship's next meetings will be held at Nelson on January 13 and 15.

In all there will be eleven days of racing, with trainers needing to have starters at six of the 11 days to be eligible for the prizemoney.

Trainers receive two points for each race day they attend plus:

6 points for 1st

3 points for 2nd

2 points for 3rd

1 point for 4th.

An additional two bonus points will be allocated to the trainers of all starters in designated feature races – if a trainer starts more than one horse in a feature race they will receive two bonus points for each horse that starts.

The designated feature races are:

Alabar Kaikoura Cup

IRT Trotters Cup

Pulse Energy Westport Cup

Caltex Westport Cup

FT Dooley Kawatiri Cup

Rosco Contracting Reefton Cup

Inangahua Grey Valley Cup

Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup Classic

Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Cup

Marlborough Cup Prelude

Marlborough Cup

The 11 race days are:

Kaikoura Trotting Club, October 30 & 31

Westport Trotting Club, December 26 & 28, March 10 2023

Reefton Trotting Club, December 30, March 12 2023

Nelson Harness Racing Club, January 13 & 15 2023

Marlborough Harness Racing Club, January 20 and 22 2023

The prizemoney, which is funded by Harness Racing New Zealand and each of the Seddon Group Clubs, will be divided between public trainers and those who have a licence to train, with $3500 to the winners of each, $1000 to the runner-up and $500 to the third place-getter.

To see the leaderboard click here

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