The trotting breed in Australia has taken another step in advancing with the announcement of a new futurity with an eye to the importation of North American yearlings.
Harness Racing Victoria is introducing the Need For Speed Series which will offer up its first actual races in 2015 with two Group One events for colts and fillies. Guaranteed purse will be $60,000 for each.
A special provision has been introduced for North American breeders to nominate their current foals by August 1, 2012 at a fee of $88.
"In short, the trotters have been the poor cousin of the pacers in this country, maybe less so in the state of Victoria but still not on par and we are taking steps to change that," says Brant Dunshea, Chief Operating Officer of Harness Racing Victoria.
"We identified the trotter as being a growth segment of our industry and in 2010 HRV developed a new strategic plan for the next five years to address this. There are a range of initiatives to help grow the trotting segment which has been growing largely on it's own.
"North Americans have probably noticed that there has been a steady number of trotters bought by Australians over the last several years already. We want to foster that."
HRV has also introduced a stand alone yearling sale for trotters with the first scheduled for March 13, 2013.
"Remember, this is just getting going so our numbers are still small but there will be a catalogue of close to 40 head being offered. There are only 500 or so trotting mares in all of Australia so we think it is a good start."
The Need For Speed Futurity is another initiative.
"This event will be for horses bred anywhere in the world which strays from our Australasian Breeders Crown and Vicbred Series which are both closed. But even there we are taking strides with this year staging the Vicbred Futurity with fillies racing against only fillies for the first time ever. The Breeders Crown remains mixed but it too will be split in the near future."
Dunshea says HRV is making a major push for participation in the event with some 200 Australian-bred trotters expected to be nominated.
"Racing is global now. We saw that with the announcement of Somebeachsomewhere coming down here for our breeding season. Who would have thought that could ever happen a few years ago? And there is a great awareness here of what is happening in European trotting. Semen has been imported here so this is a natural fit for us to do this."
Earlier this year it was announced that the Inter Dominion Trotting Championship would be discontinued in favour of a new event that would see a totally different structure. There will be seven heats at different tracks in Australia and New Zealand leading to a 14 horse final at Menangle near Sydney, Australia.
North American breeders can find full details about the Need For Speed Series by clicking on the banner located on the home page of this website.