TERANG Harness Racing Club officials are crossing their fingers for a potential showdown between top pacers Ride High and Lochinvar Art at Saturday week’s metropolitan class meeting at Dalvui Raceway.
Nominations open this Friday for an expected eight race card, which is headlined by the $30,000 Christians Bus Gammalite Pace over 1680 metres.
Club manager Mark Roberts said the club was thrilled to receive the opportunity to stage a metropolitan event.
“The club is excited and probably more so for the local participants,” he said.
“The locals who have had city class horses have had to travel to the likes of Shepparton, Bendigo and Ballarat for runs whereas they now get the chance to run at their back door.
“It also means more exposure for the club to be given a Saturday night meeting and will also give additional exposure to our sponsors.”
Fields for the meeting are set to be released next Tuesday and Roberts said a potential showdown between Ride High and Lochinvar Art would be a “clash of the titans” type event if they both nominate and accept for the $30,000 Christians Bus Gammalite Pace.
The prospect of a match race between the pair has long been spoken about within the industry, with Roberts hoping they clash for the first time at Terang.
“It’s a possibility that’s for sure,” he said.
“They haven’t said that they aren’t coming although they haven’t said that they are either.
“At this stage it’s on the table as a possibility.”
The race will carry additional prize money, which Roberts hopes will convince the connections of both Ride High and Lochinvar Art to make the trek to the western district.
He said Christians Bus Co, the O’Connor family and Terang Harness Owners, Trainers and Supporters Group had joined forces to add an additional $10,000 for the previously proposed $20,000 event.
Roberts said the top-up was planned to not only recognise Gammalite’s achievements once again, but to also attract the sport’s current stars.
“It was an opportunity with a metro class racing meeting to recognise Gammalite,” he said.
“Christians Bus Co has come on board with the O’Connor family and the owners group to all chip in (and boost prize money).
“With region racing, the calendar was only being released on a fortnightly basis but now it’s back to a monthly basis so it’s been hard for trainers to make preparations so we’re trying to dangle a bigger carrot in front of them.”
Roberts said the rest of the card would also allow Terang to showcase quality harness racing.
Currently there is three $20,000 paces, a $20,000 trot, a $14,000 pace, a $10,000 trot and a $7000 pace scheduled for the rest of the event.
“The rule of thumb is the more prize money the better class of horse you’ll get,” Roberts said.
“They’ll come from all across the country region of region-based racing.”
The meeting will be Terang’s 13th since the introduction of region-based racing in March, which has kept harness racing alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Terang has benefitted from regular meetings as part of the industry introduced model.
“Terang being selected as one of the regions has been a positive for local participants,” Roberts said.
Meanwhile, Harness Racing Australia (HRA) has permanently changed the harness racing season to start on January 1 each year.
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