Group 1 glory will be up for grabs across New South Wales when harness racing’s TAB Regional Championships return in May 2022.
It will be the third year of the Regional Championships format, again culminating in a blockbuster state Grand Final at the iconic Tabcorp Park Menangle track on Saturday, 28 May.
Following on from last year’s highly successful campaign, qualifying heats and a regional final will be staged at premier tracks in Newcastle, Bathurst, Wagga and Menangle throughout May.
Boundaries have been defined to form the Metropolitan, Western, Riverina and Hunter regions across New South Wales.
Each regional final and the state Grand Final will carry Group 1 status and a $100,000 purse for the winner.
“The TAB Regional Championships have been one of the genuine success stories in Australian sport, especially the racing industry, through what has been a very challenging couple of years due to the global health pandemic,” Harness Racing New South Wales Chief Executive John Dumesny said.
“To be introducing new, aspirational Group 1 events onto the racing calendar through this period and see them grow to become one of the premier titles in regional racing is a true credit to the industry.”
The 2021 edition of the TAB Regional Championships delivered some of the richest storylines in Australian racing last year.
Leading driver Robert Morris won the Hunter Region final just 24 hours before his wife KerryAnn drove her first Group 1 winner in the Metropolitan Final, only three weeks after giving birth to their daughter.
Gemma Hewitt trained her first Group 1 winner with victory in Bathurst, while young driver Will Rixon drove his first Group 1 winner in the Riverina Final, just hours before his legendary Grandfather Tony “AD” Turnbull passed away.
The state final was won by the Goulburn-based gelding Send It, owned by a syndicate of friends which includes Canberra Raiders captain Jarrod Croker.
“Group 1 racing is its own theatre of dreams and fairytales and last year’s event certainly delivered that in spades. I have no doubt we will see more great stories emerge throughout May,” Mr Dumesny said.
The 2022 TAB Regional Championships are open to Australian Bred four-year-old and older pacers with a National Rating Points up to 70. Horses must be trained by a HRNSW licensed trainer as at 1 February, 2022 and stabled in the region they will be competing in from 1 March, 2022.
The full eligibility criteria is available on the HRNSW website. Click here.
The schedule for Heats, Consolations and Final will be as follows:
Western – Gold Crown Paceway Bathurst
- Round 1 Heats – Wednesday 4 May – Distance 2260m
- Round 2 Heats – Wednesday 11 May – Distance 2260m
- Final & Consolation – Wednesday 18 May – Distance 2260m
Hunter – Newcastle International Paceway
- Round 1 Heats – Friday 6 May – Distance 2030m
- Round 2 Heats – 13 May – Distance 2030m
- Final & Consolation – Friday 20 May – Distance 2030m
Metropolitan – Tabcorp Park Menangle
- Round 1 Heats – Tuesday 3 May – Distance 2300m
- Round 2 Heats – Tuesday 10 May – Distance 2300m
- Final & Consolation – Saturday 21 May – Distance 2300m
Riverina – Riverina Paceway Wagga Wagga
- Round 1 Heats – Tuesday 3 May – Distance 2270m
- Round 2 Heats – Friday 13 May – Distance 2270m
- Final & Consolation – Friday 20 May – Distance 2270m
State Grand Final – Tabcorp Park Menangle
- Final & Consolation – Saturday 28 May – Distance 2400m
From Harness Racing New South Wales