New series to kick off at Addington tonight

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk 

A brand new series targeted towards lower-rated, older pacers kicks off at Addington tonight.

Called the Canterbury Plains Challenge Series, it is designed for 5YO and older pacers rated R35 to R39. Tonight's first heat (8.56pm) features a capacity 14-strong field.

"The idea was first proposed by Addington Raceway and after some analysis, discussion and wrangling we have come up with this," says Harness Racing New Zealand's handicapper Andrew Morris, "and so far the concept looks to have been well received."

There will be 10 heats, each worth $12,500, between now and Ashburton on May 12. The series will culminate in a $30,000 final at Addington on May 17. All heats will be run as Preferential Barrier Draw based on earnings in the last five starts.

The 10 heats will be held as follows :

April 11 Addington
April 14 Methven
April 18 Addington
April 19 Ashburton
April 28 Rangiora (two heats)
May 1 Addington
May 5 Rangiora
May 8 Addington
May 12 Ashburton

Final :
May 17 Addington

Consolation Final :
May 19 Rangiora

To be eligible for the final a horse must have had at least one start in a heat of this series, and a minimum of two race starts within the qualification period of April 11 - May 12. All heat winners will automatically qualify for the final as long as they have had a minimum of two totalisator race starts within the qualification period. If a horse wins two heats of this series it will be ineligible to contest any further heats.

Points will be as follows :
Second Place – 7 points
Third - 5 points
Fourth - 3 points
Fifth – 2 points
All other starters 1 point.

In the event there is a tie for any position, a countback will be conducted.

Other features of tonight's programme include Race 6, the $25,000 Magness Benrow Sires' 3YO Fillies Heat 1 (7.26pm) and the IRT Sires' Stakes 3YO Trotters Prelude (5.56pm). The lineup has five last start winners including the very classy pairing of Empire City and Tyron Eros. They were the 2YO Trotting Filly and Colt/Gelding of the Year in 2023.

To see Addington's fields tonight click here

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