Tuesday, 3 July 2012
: Benchmark handicap conditions are to be introduced across all Rating 85, Rating 75 and Rating 65 races in New Zealand from 1 August following New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing's review of the current handicapping and programming template.
The change will support increased opportunities for horses to start and assist Clubs and the Regional Programming Committees to cater for a wider pool of horses in each region.
The provision of the benchmark condition allows horses rated above the respective rating band to be entered for any race. Horses are weighted to carry an additional half-kilogram for every rating point above the stated band e.g. a R78 horse in an R75 Benchmark will carry an additional 1.5kg (3pts).
Benchmark Handicaps were introduced nationally by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing last August having been used successfully in NSW for sometime.
Racing Victoria is currently trialing the use of Benchmark races on selected events. While the Benchmark handicaps are to be expanded in NZ to include all Ratings based Handicap races, the R65 Benchmark races will be open only to one-win horses rated R66 and higher.
The intent of this condition is to remove any disadvantage to maiden winners having to compete with higher rated multiple winners in the R65 Benchmark band.
Horses that have won two or more races will still be eligible to start in a R65 Benchmark race once their rating has fallen below R66.
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