HARNESS Racing NSW has been forced to make a tough decision to cut back prizemoney across the state by 20 per cent from May 11 due to a downturn in wagering revenue amid the coronavirus shutdowns.
Orange annually has two meetings in February, the Banjo Paterson Cup carnival.
In Friday's announcement it was also stated that the Bathurst Training Centre is one of several projects HRNSW have been forced to put on hold due to the reduced income stream.
Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said the drop felt almost inevitable given the flagging wagering figures.
"It's one of those situations that we were hoping wasn't going to eventuate, but with TAB revenues down it was logical that at some stage their was going to be a reduction in prizemoney," he said.
"We can move forward now and maybe make a better plan for how we can split up our meetings, because the biggest issue now is that there's not a big enough gap between the 'A' and 'B' meetings - only $400.
Harness Racing NSW are seeking submissions for how they can spread the prizemoney more effectively.Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer
"We need some new scenarios that can make things easier for trainers to place their horses, and there will be a consultation process with that as well. Harness Racing NSW are seeking submissions for how they can spread the prizemoney more effectively."
The news adds to what has already been a challenging time for Bathurst trainers.
Regionalisation has helped create zones across the state, which would allow racing in non-infected areas to continue, but at the same time has denied some of Bathurst's stronger horses the chance to compete for larger metro prizemoney.
NSW currently stands alone in regards to a 20 per cent prizemoney reduction.
Because of this Dwyer said there has also been discussions surrounding the national rating system.
"The rating system may need to be reviewed. It's been a questions that's been coming up from trainers," he said.
"Horses will still be taking four penalty points for winning a reduced $5,200 race - the same as you would for $6,500. People may see it as beneficial to leave their horses out for the winter."
HRNSW have given no end date for the prizemoney reductions, stating it will only be restored "when wagering revenue has recovered at a sustainable level".
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