HRNZ make Handicapping changes

28 July 2021

Harness Racing New Zealand has approved a number of changes to the Ratings Handicapping System.

Some of the changes, approved by the HRNZ Board, will come into effect immediately, others will be introduced from January 1 2022.

The biggest change is that when a horse assessed as a maiden wins its first race, its rating will move from MR to R for the level it was on. For example; MR50 will move to R50, MR46 to R46. Effectively the horse will start in the Ratings system at its current level.

“This is something participants have been wanting for some time so we’re expecting the change to be well received,” says HRNZ’s General Manager – Racing, Catherine McDonald.
The change is effective immediately.

For standard races, from August 2 2021, the Board has also agreed to creating a larger differential between 3rd, 4th and the Also Ran stake.

Fifth placing will now be an Also Ran stake and will attract a 1-point drop in the ratings system. The Also Ran percentage will reduce from 2% to 1.75%.
Group and Listed races remain unchanged (fifth stake remains) except the Also Ran percentage will change from 2% to 1.75%.

Two and three-year-old horses will maintain their current concessions throughout the transition period (1 August – 31 December 2021).

The ratings caps will be removed for the transition period, with the Handicapper given the ability to re-rate horses on 1 January 2022 that have been disaffected by the removal of the rating caps or that have climbed to an artificially inflated rating for performing in age group races.

There will be additional 2YO and 3YO races programmed over the transition period (1 August – 31 December 2021) to encourage this age group to race in their age groups.

Horses 4YO and older, up to rating 70, will be entitled to one free penalty free win per racing calendar year, rather than per lifetime. This is to align with the change of horses’ birthday on 1 January 2022.

Junior concessions are to be introduced for junior drivers from January 1 2022 to encourage owners/trainers to give juniors more opportunity. The concessions will be based on levels according to the number of wins a junior has driven. It will be possible for a junior to outdrive their claim.

Supporting Information

HRNZ Stakes Distribution 2021/2022

Race Winners Matrix 2021/2022

Handicapping System Changes

Draft Transitional Racing Programme

For more information contact:

Catherine McDonald 
Phone 027 241 0021