Conditions approved for Group 1 $100,000 Invercargill Cup

After much discussion it's been decided the upcoming Group 1 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup will be run as a handicap race, with a back mark of 20 metres.

Just how the 3200 metre feature would be run has been a major talking point since it was confirmed it would have Group 1 status from this year. It was a Group 3 previously.

"It's good news," says Invercargill Harness Racing Club President Craig Heyrick, "the local trainers will be happy as the Cup's a big focal point for them."

"Southern Harness contacted those trainers who had indicated they were interested in nominating for the Invercargill Cup and the overwhelming feeling was that it should be a handicap race with a back mark of 20m," says Catherine McDonald, HRNZ's General Manager - Racing.

By making the race a Group 1 it was seen as a comparative race to the previous Group 1 Easter Cup which was a handicap race rather than the NZ Trotting Cup. Alta Wiseguy and Pembrook Playboy have won the last two editions of the Invercargill Cup off 10m and Classie Brigade won off 30m in 2017.

The $100,000 Group 1 Ascot Park Hotel Invercargill Cup will be held at Ascot Park on December 17, with the likes of Self Assured, B D Joe and Spankem among those likely to front up.

"If it had not been a handicap then some of the local horses would have been scared off," says Heyrick, "I'm really pleased."

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