Major Aussie race dates finalised
THE Sydney Inter Dominion is off, but this year will still end with a bang in Aussie harness.
The race to grab the timeslot vacated by the Inter Dominion in November/December looks to have ended in harmonious agreement between Western Australia and Queensland.
The $300,000 Group 1 Fremantle Cup and $450,000 Group 1 WA Pacing Cup will be brought forward from January. The Fremantle Cup will be run on November 20 and the WA Cup two weeks later on December 4.
That works well for WA to race alongside Perth’s major thoroughbred carnival at the same time.
It would also effectively ensure flights to Perth for the horses, overcoming the issues which denied My Field Marshal and Alta Orlando the chance to compete in the Fremantle and WA Cups earlier this year.
WA will also run its marquee mares’ race, the $100,000 WA Mares’ Championship, on November 27 - in between the Fremantle and WA Cups.
And WA’s new dates also allows for Queensland to stage the Group 1 Blacks A Fake – previously slated for next month – on December 12. Insiders say this is Racing Queensland’s preferred date.
Insiders say Racing Queensland will confirm its newlook calendar in coming weeks.
The resurrection of the Blacks A Fake would significantly bolster Queensland’s Summer Carnival.
Back to WA, and bringing forward the Fremantle and WA Cups means their major four-year-old races will move back to January/February.
Those changes were also necessary with this year’s Australian harness racing season being stretched to December 31.
The preliminaries will be the $25,000 Pinjarra 4YO Classic will be on January 4 and the $50,000 4YO Championship on January 15.
Then the big Group 1 double with the $125,000 4YO Classic on January 29 and the $200,000 Golden Nugget on February 12.