Victorian Programming Guidelines

1. PROGRAMMING – GENERAL

1.1 – Conditions for Races Run as Heats and Final/ Consolation

(a) A race may be conducted as Heats and a Final and may have a Consolation/s in conjunction therewith provided that in Mobile Start races, a horse will become ineligible for any further Heat, Final or Consolation of the race if it is reclassified beyond the published conditions of the race for a win/s in races other than the Heats.

(b) Heats and Finals will be programmed to finish within 15 days of the date of the first Heat unless otherwise approved by Harness Racing Victoria (HRV).

(c) The published conditions of a race where the Heats are conducted in one State and the Final in another State, must be approved by the Controlling Body of each of the States concerned.

(d) Eligible Concession Drivers may claim a concession in Heats and Final/Consolation, unless otherwise stated.

(e) Horses may contest more than one Heat, unless otherwise stated in the race conditions. Preference in the selection of fields will be given to horses that contested the least number of heats. For the purpose of selection of fields, a horse that is disqualified from a Heat will be treated as having been a starter in such Heat.

(f) Horses selected in the Heats are deemed to be final acceptors in all rounds of Heats (if applicable) and the Final and will be liable for any penalties if scratched.

(g) The number of horses which qualify from each Heat will depend upon the field limit for the Final and how many Heats are run (based on finishing position and mile rate). Preference in qualification for a Final will be given to horses which completed the course in their Heat. A horse that is disqualified from a Heat will be ineligible to contest the Final.

(h) Winners of Heats will retain their handicap in any other Heat and the Final, except that if a horse wins a race or races outside the Series between the Acceptance Time for the Heats and the date of the Final, it will be re-handicapped accordingly if it remains eligible for the Final. If a horse becomes ineligible for such Final, the driver cannot be replaced with a Concession Driver in order for the horse to remain eligible for the Final.

(i) If a horse that has already qualified for the Final contests another Heat, and again finishes in a qualifying position, the next placed horse in the latter Heat will be declared the qualifier.

(j) Horses which qualify for a Final will not be permitted to start in any other race on the day the Final is scheduled, excepting a race/series that is designated as Group 1 or is advertised with gross stakemoney of not less than $50,000. Accordingly, horses qualified for a final may make application to scratch without penalty to take their place in feature races mentioned above within 48 hours of such final.

(k) If any qualified horse is unable to take its place in the Final (or next race of the series), the next placed horse in the qualifying race will be declared the qualifier. It is the responsibility of the trainer to ascertain whether or not such horse has qualified for the Final.

(l) Fields for Consolation races will be selected on finishing order in the Heats.

(m) The type of barrier draw applied to the Heats will also apply to the Final, unless otherwise approved by HRV.

(n) Where a horse contests a Heat and qualifies for the Final, the driver for the Final may be changed from the driver in the Heat, providing the change is notified by telephone to the HRV Handicapping Panel in the time prescribed for the notification of drivers.

(o) Where a horse has its class reduced after contesting a Heat (via the heat itself or otherwise), the reduction shall apply in the Final for handicapping purposes should the final field not already be drawn. Accordingly if a driver was claiming a concession and it no longer applies, they can be replaced with a senior driver prior to driver declaration time.

(p) In the event of any Heat being abandoned after the declaration of Acceptances, horses (excluding scratchings) will qualify for the Final in descending order of automatic field selection points for Heats selected under the Automatic Field Selection System, regardless of whether such Heat was a career penalty, graduation penalty or penalty free race. Accordingly, horses (excluding scratchings) will qualify at the discretion of the HRV Handicapping Panel for Heats selected under the Manual Field Selection System.

(q) In the event of there being only ONE Heat of any Series conducted, the Final may be abandoned.

(r) Where a horse contests a Heat and qualifies for the Final, the trainer of such horse is not required to nominate for the Final.

(s) The provisions of Rule 195A shall apply, and be read into the conditions of entry for, races run as heats and finals/consolations.

1.2 – Claiming Races

(a) The winner of a Claiming Race will incur the appropriate penalties in accordance with the Australian Handicapping Rules.

(b) Clubs will be permitted to program Claiming Races in accordance with the following conditions:

(i) Country Meetings – Mobile Starts with Preferential Barrier Draw on Claiming Price:

Claiming Price not exceeding $5,000. Claiming Price not exceeding $9,000.

Claiming Price not exceeding $9,000 with a restriction by class.

Claiming Price not exceeding $12,000.

Minimum Claiming Price of $10,000 but not exceeding $25,000.

Minimum Claiming Price of $10,000 but not exceeding $50,000.

(ii) Metropolitan Meetings – Mobile Starts with Preferential Barrier Draw on Claiming Price:

Claiming Price not exceeding $9,000.

Claiming Price not exceeding $12,000.

Minimum Claiming Price of $10,000 but not exceeding $25,000.

Minimum Claiming Price of $10,000 but not exceeding $50,000.

1.3 – Concession Drivers

(a) A Concession Driver is a licensed driver who has held a licence for a period of less than five years from the date a Grade B licence was first granted.

(b) A Concession Driver may, with the approval of the Controlling Body, claim a concession (subject to the exceptions hereinafter set out) in each of the first five years from the date of first being granted a Grade B licence;

(i) in a career penalty or graduation penalty race, provided the driver has not driven 40 winners in career penalty and graduation penalty races in that year, or

(ii) in a metropolitan penalty race, provided the driver has not driven 10 winners in metropolitan penalty races in that year.

(iii) drivers under the age of 23 are eligible to claim a concession until 31 August in the season in which they turn 23 provided that the five year maximum concession of 200 career penalty winners and 50 metropolitan penalty winners has not been utilised. Note: Effective September 1, 2009, a driver’s concession win total shall be inclusive of all wins in such year irrespective of whether or not a concession was claimed.

(c) An extension to the five year concession term may be granted at the discretion of HRV Stewards if a driver is injured.

(d) The Controlling Body may at any time withdraw its approval for a Concession Driver to claim a concession.

(e) A dead-heat for first placing shall not count as a win.

(f) A horse driven by a Concession Driver claiming a concession will have its classification reduced by one class for that race.

(g) A concession may only be claimed for horses classified M2, TM2, C2, T2, R2 or TR2 and faster, provided that the front of such race is not M0, TM0, C0, T0, R0 or TR0.

(h) A concession may NOT be claimed in the following type of race:

(i) any mobile race combining three or more classes

(ii) a discretionary handicap;

(iii) a 2YO age race;

(iv) a 3YO age race;

(v) a claiming race;

(vi) a conditioned race;

(vii) a Penalty Free race.

(i) When a Concession Driver wins his final concession claim race in a year at a meeting where he has further driving engagements, the driver will be permitted to claim the relevant concession/s for the remainder of such meeting and any other subsequent meetings where drivers have already been declared as per the advertised driver declaration deadline for the meeting. 

(j) When a Concession Driver utilises a concession claim in a Heat and the horse he/she drives in the Heats qualifies for the Final, such driver will be eligible to claim a concession in the Final on the same horse even if such driver has won his/her final concession claim race.

(k) If a horse wins a race prior to Acceptance Time for a meeting thereby having it's class altered, then provided that such race is one in which a concession may be claimed, a Concession Driver who is eligible to claim a concession may be engaged for, or substituted for, the engaged driver of such horse prior to Acceptance Time so that it remains nominated on the mark it was originally entered.

(l) If a horse wins a race after Acceptance Time for a meeting thereby making it ineligible for a race in which it is a starter at that meeting, then a concession may not be claimed for the horse so that it remains eligible for such race.

(m) If a Concession Driver claiming a concession is engaged to drive a horse in a race thereby reducing its class for that race and is subsequently unable to fulfil that driving engagement, then he/she may only be replaced by another Concession Driver claiming a concession.

1.4 – Mares Allowance

A mare nominating for any race not already restricted to mares shall be automatically granted a mares allowance and will have its classification reduced by one class for that race. A Concession Driver claim may not be utilised on a mare which has already benefited from a mares allowance. With the exception of M0 and TM0 or better Free For All races an allowance may NOT be claimed in the following type of race:

i) a discretionary handicap;

ii) a claiming race;

iii) a race with a maiden front.

1.5 – Reductions in Class

(a) A horse 3YO or older that is registered to race in Australia shall have all its classifications simultaneously reduced by one class upon ten (10) consecutive race starts without a win (except that a horse cannot have any class reduced back to a maiden for any classification).

a reduction in class/s shall only be made for horses classified better than:

i) Pacers – 3R1, 3C1, R1, C1, M1;

ii) Trotters – 3TR1, 3T1, TR1, T1, TM1.

(b) A dead-heat for the first placing shall not count as a win.

(c) No time limits shall apply to the accrual of 10 consecutive race starts.

(d) A horse which is a starter in a standing start race (the subject race) will not be re-handicapped in the event of its assessment being reduced as a result of having 10 consecutive starts without a win following barriers being drawn for the subject race.

2. COUNTRY PROGRAMMING – TAB MEETINGS

2.1 – Trotters Racing in Pacers Races

Trotters may race in pacers races with classifications in accordance with the Australian Handicapping Rules.

2.2 – Programming Conditions

Conditions may be programmed into races at the discretion of HRV, for example:

– Career Class.

– Metropolitan Class.

– Graduation Class.

– Age.

– Sex.

– Nil Lifetime Wins.

– Nil Lifetime Wins except in Penalty Free or Graduation Penalty Races.

– Not won this season except in Penalty Free or Graduation Penalty Races.

– Not won in last 6 starts except in Penalty Free or Graduation Penalty Races.

– Stakemoney won this season.

– Stakemoney won last season.

2.3 – Barrier Draws

Barrier draws will be programmed at the discretion of HRV, for example:

– Random Barrier Draw (RBD).

– Preferential Barrier Draw based on:

  • Career Class (PBD/C or PBD/T),
  • Age or Restricted Age Class and Sex (PBD/ CLSex),
  • Metropolitan Class (PBD/M or PBD/TM),
  • Restricted or Restricted Age Class (PBD/R or PBD/TR),
  • Age Class (PBD/C or PBD/T),
  • Sex (PBD/Sex),
  • Claiming Price (PBD/CLAIM),
  • Stakemoney earned at last 4 starts (PBD/$L4),
  • Lifetime stakemoney (PBD/$L),
  • Lifetime wins (PBD/LTW),
  • Field Selection Points (PBD/FSP),
  • Win Only Earnings (PBD/WOE).

Combinations of the above criteria may be applied to races e.g. (PBD/C/$L4).

2.4 – Combination of Classes

The following general principles apply to the programming of a mobile start race for two or more adjoining classes:

– C0 class may not be combined with any other class.

– C1 class may be combined with C2 class in races for Mares only or in races to be run as Heats/Final. – Where the front is slower than C4 no more than two adjoining classes may be combined.

– Where the front for a mares only race is slower than C2 no more than two adjoining classes may be combined.

– Where the front is slower than T2 no more than two adjoining classes may be combined.

From time to time, HRV may approve exceptions to the above.

2.5 – Field Selection

Races will be selected in accordance with the Automatic Field Selection System, except that:

(a) the following races may be selected manually at the discretion of the HRV Field Selection Panel:

(i) A Club’s Principal Annual Cup for pacers.

(ii) A Club’s Principal Annual Cup for trotters.

(iii) Any race with published stakemoney of $15,000 or more (excluding trophies, bonuses and incentives).

(b) races programmed as a Heat, Semi-Final or Repechage of a Series will be divided on a random (not manual) selection basis. Owner and Trainer splits will apply.

(c) A Career Penalty race that is split into divisions or programmed as a Heat, Semi Final or Repechage of a Series will be divided on a random (not manual) selection basis. Owner and Trainer splits will apply.

(d) a Career or Graduation Penalty race that is selected in ascending points score order (i.e. from the bottom up)(excluding Heats, Semi- Finals or Repechages) and split into divisions will be divided based on field selection points only. The lowest points will contest the first division, the next highest point scorers the second division and so on. Owner and Trainer splits will not apply.

2.6 – Description of Races

A race will be advertised with the following details:

– Class.

– Distance.

– Stakemoney.

– Type of Barrier Draw.

– Type of Start.

– Any additional eligibility conditions.

2.7 – Deletion of Races

If after final acceptances a programmed race has less than eight acceptors, such race may be deleted and another programmed race with sufficient acceptors divided and held in substitution. A race cannot be run with five acceptors or less. No other race will be deleted except with the approval of HRV.

2.8 – Invitation Races

In the event of there being insufficient acceptors to conduct a meeting with the desired number of races, HRV may approve a Club to program an Invitation race.

2.9 – Derby and Oaks Trials

A Club may program a race as a Derby Trial or Oaks Trial, provided that such race:

(a) is programmed within a period of 90 days before the running of the Victoria Derby or Victoria Oaks respectively.

(b) has specified stakemoney (excluding trophies, bonuses and incentives) of not less than $15,000.

3 METROPOLITAN PROGRAMMING

3.1 – Eligibility

(a) A pacer of any classification may race in an Open Age Metropolitan race. (b) A trotter of any classification may race in an Open Age Metropolitan race.

3.2 – Programming Conditions

Conditions may be programmed into races at the discretion of HRV, for example:

– Metropolitan Class.

– Career Class.

– Age.

– Sex.

3.3 – Barrier Draws

Barrier draws will be programmed at the discretion of HRV, for example:

– Random Barrier Draw (RBD).

– Preferential Barrier Draw based on:

Metropolitan Class (PBD/M or PBD/TM),

Age Class and Sex (PBD/CLSex),

Age Class (PBD/C or PBD/T),

Career Class (PBD/C or PBD/T),

Sex (PBD/Sex),

Claiming Price (PBD/CLAIM),

Stakemoney earned at last 4 starts (PBD/$L4),

Lifetime stakemoney (PBD/$L),

Win Only Earnings (PBD/WOE).

3.4 – Combination of Classes

The following general principles apply to the programming of a mobile start race for two or more adjoining classes:

– In a Mobile start race M0 class may be combined with M1 class in races for Mares only or in races to be run as Heats/Final.

– In a Mobile start race M1 class may be combined with M2 class.

From time to time, HRV may approve exceptions to the above.

3.5 – Field Selection

All races will be selected manually at the discretion of the HRV Field Selection Panel except for:

(a) races with special qualifying conditions.

(b) races programmed as a Heat, Semi-Final or Repechage of a Series. Such races will be divided on a random (not manual) selection basis. Owner and Trainer splits will apply.

A race that is run as divisions will be divided based on individual horses form. The best performed horses will contest the first division, the next best performed horses will contest the second division and so on. Owner and Trainer splits will not apply.

In the event of an advertised metropolitan penalty bearing race being divided, subsequent divisions of the race may be run for stakemoney of $8,000 and, if so, will incur a career penalty. When nominations are extended, in line with HRV policy, original nominations will take preference over any late nominations, however, should a late nomination gain a start, it will be allocated to any division at the discretion of the Panel.

3.6 – Description of Races

A race will be advertised with the following details:

– Class.

– Distance.

– Stakemoney.

– Type of Barrier Draw.

– Type of Start.

– Any additional eligibility conditions.

3.7 – Deletion of Races

If after final acceptances a programmed race has less than eight acceptors, such race may be deleted and another programmed race with sufficient acceptors divided and held in substitution. A race cannot be run with five acceptors or less. No other race will be deleted except with the approval of HRV.

3.8 – Invitation Races

In the event of there being insufficient acceptors to conduct a meeting with the desired number of races, HRV may program an Invitation race.

4 PENALTY FREE / GRADUATION PENALTY RACES

4.1 Stakemoney

The level of stakemoney determines the applicable handicapping penalties which are set down in the Australian Handicapping Rules as follows;

(a) From a minimum of $1,501 to a maximum of $3,500 will attract the applicable graduation penalties. (b) To a maximum of $1,500 will be deemed penalty free.

4.2 Class of Race

Races may be programmed as:

– Pacers races with a front not faster than R6.

– Trotters races with a front not faster than TR1.

– Heats with a Final at a TAB Meeting:

– Pacers races with a front not faster than C1.

– Trotters races with a front not faster than T0.

4.3 Field Selection

(a) The selection of all race fields, including Heats of a Final to be run for a career penalty, will be based on field selection points in ascending order (i.e. from the bottom up) excepting the following races that will be selected manually at the discretion of the HRV Field Selection Panel:

– A Club’s Principal Annual Cup for pacers or trotters.

(b) The Unfulfilled Engagement Rule shall apply for all races selected in ascending points score order.

5 STAKEMONEY

5.1 Stakemoney Distribution

HRV will pay stakemoney for all races in Victoria except races as advertised in the Vicbred Program and Australasian Breeders Crown races in the following manner:

Stakemoney specified in the published conditions of a race of $5,500 or more be paid as to:

67.5% to the first horse;

15% to the second horse;

10% to the third horse;

5% to the fourth horse;

2.5% to the fifth horse;

each to be divided as to:

87.5% to the owner;

7.5% to the trainer;

5% to the driver.

Stakemoney specified in the published conditions of a race of $3,000 be paid as to:

70% to the first horse;

15% to the second horse;

10% to the third horse;

5% to the fourth horse;

each to be divided as to:

87.5% to the owner;

7.5% to the trainer;

5% to the driver.

HRV pay stakemoney and bonuses for all Vicbred Super Series Finals as advertised in the Vicbred program and all Australasian Breeders Crown Finals as advertised in the conditions.

5.2 Minimum Stakemoney

The specified stakemoney for a race will be not less than the minimum stakemoney applicable to the relevant class as shown on the HRV Stakemoney Schedule.

6 GENERAL

6.1 General HRV reserves the right to delete or vary any of the Guidelines contained herein at its discretion.