BALLARAT and District Trotting Club will lobby to have the Ballarat Pacing Cup reinstated as a leg of the Australasian Grand Circuit.
Harness Racing Australia yesterday announced a new-look grand circuit format, with the Ballarat Pacing Cup one of five races cut.
BDTC chief executive officer Paul Rowse said the club was disappointed with the decision and bewildered by the decision-making process.
“We’re mystified by the rationale behind the changes,” he said.
He said the absence of consultation was also disappointing.
Rowse said a club executive would meet tomorrow to discuss what strategy to adopt in protesting the HRA decision.
The new grand circuit will comprise the Queensland Pacing Championship, New Zealand Cup, Miracle Mile, Victoria Cup, Western Australian Cup, A.G. Hunter Cup, Inter-Dominion Pacing Championship Grand Final and Auckland Cup.
As well as the Ballarat Pacing Cup, the Fremantle Cup, South Australian Cup, NZ Free-For-All and Treuer Memorial (Bankstown) have lost grand circuit status.
SA now joins Tasmania has a state without a grand circuit event.
While the $150,000 Ballarat Pacing Cup comfortably meets the stakemoney criteria – set at a minimum of $125,000 for this season – having no more than two grand circuit races in each state is the stumbling block.
The Ballarat feature event is ranked behind the Victoria Cup and AG Hunter Cup.
An HRA media release yesterday stated that a review by its members highlighted programming clashes, too many races, lack of incentive to compete in multiple races, no actual “prize” to the champion and a criteria based solely on prizemoney when field quality should be a consideration as among issues of concern.
“Overwhelmingly, the view was that the prestige and relevance of the series had been lost,” it said in a statement.