Invercargill Harness Racing Club "thrilled" with new bonus scheme

As we head towards winter and the end of the 2023-24 season, things are certainly heating up in the first ever Ascot Park Iron Horse Bonus competition.

The new scheme, an initiative by the Invercargill Harness Racing Club, has a total of $27,500 up for grabs.

"As the name implies we want horses racing regularly at Ascot Park during the season," says Invercargill HRC committee member Jason McMath, "and last year we had some meetings cancelled because of poor numbers so we decided to do something about it."

"This scheme both encourages and rewards those who front up."

The concept is simple. The top 10 most raced horses that have started at Ascot Park in the 2023/24 season and have won one or more races there during the qualification period (September 15 2023 to June 15 2024) will be eligible for the bonus.

The top starter gets $5000, with $2500 for those second through to 10th.

There are 13 race meetings at Ascot Park throughout the season, with the 10th being held last weekend. The remaining three meetings are the King's Birthday weekend on Monday June 3, and then Friday June 7, and Saturday June 15.

Currently Magic Sign (pictured above) heads the leaderboard with 10 starts, including two wins, and $14,027 in stakes.

Joanie Magic, Durrant and American Mac are second on nine, followed by Jenny Gump (8) and Superfast, Sherwood Maggie, Sagwitch, Nek Delight and Magnetic Beckers on 7.

If in the case of a tie a countback will be done on most wins, then most seconds and most thirds. If a tie is still held then highest stakes money will determine the final standings.

The bonuses will be paid to the registered owner(s) of the horse after the last Invercargill HRC meeting on June 15, 2024.

"Being the first year we have had feedback that some people haven't quite grasped the criteria so that is something we can work on in the future," says McMath, "but generally we are thrilled with the way it's been received so far."

The scheme will be reviewed after the final race to see if fine tuning is required, but the indication now is that it will become a regular feature of racing in the deep south.



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