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New Handicapping System for the Trots

Harness & Greyhounds
Hey Boys,

I have just noticed there are new classes for all trotting races in WA. I part own a couple in Robert the Bruce NZ and Beltane.

I am from the old school of C0 or M0, etc. Could somebody please explain how it works - my understanding is there is a lot of negativity about these changes but being a Victorian I would be rapt if someone can help.

Cheers cisco

+1 -1

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  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Bands or levels based on Win Only Earnings from level 1 to 15....I think....for city racing for example, Level 9 for WOE lifetime of $40,000, level 11 WOE Lifetime of $70,000 etc....plus FFA and Age Specific categories as before (4yo, 3yo etc). Complimented by dollars earned last 5 starts concession races.....one of Junior concession, Westbred or Mare concession lowers your WOE and enables you to nominate in a lower level race. Lower levels for country meetings Level 5, level 7 etc based on WOE plus maidens (Level 1) and lower levels again for "community" meets at Kellerberrin, Collie etc. Not easy to wrap your head around, hope I haven't confused anyone....will be a work in progress as they tweak it, currently a lot of confusion. Others may well correct my very rudimentary understanding of the new system. (Percentages of money won as 2yo and 3yo will now count towards WOE....will knock out the Derby winner fronting up as a 4yo in a CO scenario....I think!!!)

    Gilgamesh likes this post.

  • ciscocisco    806 posts
    Many thanks Jay - hope you are keeping well.
  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Cheers Cisco, all ok at present, trying to find the right races to slot Neighlor and Smackwater Jack into means you have to try and understand how it all works. It will be the same with a lot of Nathans horses, like Robert The Bruce and Arthur. Will have an effect on the types of horses bought over from NZ as well. According to who you listen to, the new system is genius or it is a bigger disaster than the Titanic, it has been introduced smoothly or Barry Hamilton can't run a cold bath, there will be a mass exodus or horses to SA or a mass import of horses from SA, small provincial clubs will prosper or it is a cunning plan to further country track shutdowns, it trims up the big stables and gives the battlers a chance or it favours the big guys and the battler should sell up and convert his stables to aged accommodation.....change is always resisted no matter what, we all hate it...but I guess  we run with it for the moment, await any tweaks that will inevitably be required and which have been promised to be made as the need arises....and see how it pans out. I think some of the forward programming is a bit pie in the sky and am a bit worried about Busso and Collie finding enough lower grade horses to fill their fields, also concerned there may be a lot of "forced retirements" of older horses who simply won't be able to earn a dollar or get a start due to their high stakes accumulated over a long time.
  • BetonmeBetonme    213 posts
    I guess like any changes going to take a while to get head around and iron out issues.
    Seems weird that there is no pure non city grade winning races (like M0) and instead they coupled together with winners. 
  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Need someone to explain to me how Our Max Phactor actually gets into race 1 with a HWOE of $50,000, when it has won 19 races. Since Jan 2015, it won 9 races in NZ totaling $42,342 and from September 11,2018, it has won 8 races in WA totaling $45,788. So, its win only earnings since Jan 2015 are $88,130. The race is restricted to horses with a HWOE of less than $70,000. Now, he didn't win but I don't see how he was even eligible. There must be some calculation/allowance that causes him to be assessed at just $50,000.
  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Race 2 should be a quinella for Courage Tells and Argyle Red.....way above the others in LTE and probably ability. Handicap system suits them.
  • Jayjay. From my understanding only 25% of 2 and 3yo wins are calculated. I stand to be corrected

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  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Yes, just read that.....and there is another calc they do to convert what your assessment was (in C and M terms) into a sort of standardised Win only dollars category....and whatever comes out the lowest when compared to your "real" WOE, is your new HWOE classification. Many horses will do very, very well out of this conversion, others will be very nervous as to whether they are on next months stable return. Dodo and Our Angel of Harlem do very well and the previously mentioned horses like Courage Tells and Argyle Red who, by dropping back through the classes in the last year or two, get in very nicely. Others are up the well known creek and should probably get used to Riding School accommodation or get their passports stamped for a future in SA.....if they are lucky.
  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Just confirming, nothing against Dodo at all.....but she has won $495k and comes across with a HWOE of $57,500, the same as Neighlor......who has won $104k, all to do with juvenile earnings. Hope he likes South Australian water!!!!!!
  • Rocket_ReignRocket_Reign    870 posts
    JayJay said:

    Just confirming, nothing against Dodo at all.....but she has won $495k and comes across with a HWOE of $57,500, the same as Neighlor......who has won $104k, all to do with juvenile earnings. Hope he likes South Australian water!!!!!!

    JayJay weren’t those two either the same M class or very similar anyway?
  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Yes, they had to be to get the same HWOE of $57,500.....if your horse had a great juvenile career winning a packet in either those sale restricted "group 1" races or, in Dodo's case, genuine Group 1 classics, then the new system is a doddle but a slow developer like Neighlor with only 2 minor restricted class wins as a 3yo, and who has done the majority of his earning as a 4 and 5 year old, will probably be "developing  further" at Port Pirie. He will be uncompetitive in the <$70,000 HWOE races, especially RBD races.......he has drawn 12, 8, 7 and 8 last 4 raffles. If he jags 1 and Walkinshaw or similar jag 9, then he is a place chance, otherwise stay home. Probably some PBD races might even up the playing field and make for better turnover .....if Our Maxx Phactor jags gate 1, it will be another $1.04 procession....as it has been under the old system. Anyway, lets see how it pans out, gotta give it a try but at the moment, I am having difficulty getting enthusiastic about paying up for 3 months and earning nothing.

    cisco, curmudgeon likes this post.

  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon    2,417 posts
    Looks like a team of monks will need to be employed to rewrite race conditions as the system beds down to me.  eg The NE Districts Cup a level 9 $10 K race at Kellerberrin had to have conditions rewritten to enable a suitable field to be drawn up. It went from a HWOE $25 K max to HWOE LT $40,000. 3YO and older. HWOE LT $40,000 (CONCESSIONS HWOE LT $43,000) ALSO ELIGIBLE - HWOE LT $50,000 With L5$ LT $1,500. Preference to HWOE $25,000+. RBD.
    Essentially it has doubled its eligibility earnings parameters.
    I think the long winded abbreviation HWOE could be further abbreviated to W$ to give the eyeballs a rest.

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  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    And to illustrate how that affects where you go with your horse, Smackwater Jack is a HWOE $41,366 (W$41,366...I agree @curmudgeon ) and so was initially ineligible, then after the first change still ineligible, second change eligible (I think) but only if we engage a suitable junior driver (if one is actually available at Keller) and in the final incarnation, eligible ......In the end, it is probably a suitable race for him but unless you live on the keyboard following the myriad of changes to entry conditions......K. Hawkins had 4 accepted but two now scratched and just 7 going around. Got to cut them some slack as it is early days but Jack might be another one preparing for travel east as he is in no mans land with a W$ of over $40k. He would get lost in a level 11 $70k race and can't get in to a <$40k race.
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    2,883 posts
    JayJay said:

    Need someone to explain to me how Our Max Phactor actually gets into race 1 with a HWOE of $50,000, when it has won 19 races. Since Jan 2015, it won 9 races in NZ totaling $42,342 and from September 11,2018, it has won 8 races in WA totaling $45,788. So, its win only earnings since Jan 2015 are $88,130. The race is restricted to horses with a HWOE of less than $70,000. Now, he didn't win but I don't see how he was even eligible. There must be some calculation/allowance that causes him to be assessed at just $50,000.

    Full explanation at https://www.rwwa.com.au/home/racing/industry-feedback-on-new-harness-business-model-7118.html

    Juvenile earnings for two and three year olds are heavily discounted hence making Our Max Phactor eligible. In the past 2 year old races were penalty frees as were two 3yo races. The new system will prevent highly performed juveniles getting into the equivalent of the old CO.

    I believe the new nominating precludes you entering a horse for a race for which it is ineligible under HWOE.

    Only one meeting but overall a good result at GP for the new system.
  • licklick    317 posts
    I got a nose bleed reading the new handicapping, and I've been in the game for 40+ years. Prepared to give it ago , hoping the penny drops soon. Pity the newby horse owners getting their scones around it.
  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    edited November 2018
    System is still bedding in and good that they have said they will listen to feedback as they fine tune it but I am still battling to understand the rationale behind some of the programming and conditions. The bands of 40,000 and 70,000 don't seem to line up in this transition phase, far too wide...... with the <70,000 races having M4 horses still eligible (as per the nominations) for what are fundamentally M2 races in the old lingo. Unless you draw a barrier, then may as well stay home, send to the paddock or stamp the SA passports. The L5$ won set at $22,000 is way too high. That's a metro win (at ($13k) and 3 second places (at about $3k each) and you are still eligible.....so Jack with last 5 dollars earned at about $1,100 has to go around against horses that have won $22k???? Globe Derby here he comes. And if Neighlor jags another metro win and moves to over $70k in HWOE....unlikely as they are all RBD's and he would have to draw a barrier to be competitive (and lately, he has drawn Trinity College each week), then he may as well also go out or go on holidays. I can foresee a shortage of horses coming up, owners won't keep paying up to just make up fields. Another anomaly is 3 year olds only having a percentage of open age wins being added to their HWOE. They can go to Kellerberrin or whatever, beat up on lesser ability horses and go back and race the same horses the next week as they are still eligible, with the same result. If they win an age restricted 3yo race, fair enough, but if they win open age races, then record the full winning stake against their HWOE. Otherwise, as we have seen already, community meetings become $1.04 favourite central, hardly conducive to either turnover or the "bush trainer" with his couple of plodders staying in the game.
    Busselton programmes also look very iffy.....a high point of $12,000+ is way too low....a lot of horses that traditionally go to Busso simply won't be able to....even off 20m (or 10m for that matter) with their relatively high HWOE put together over many seasons, they can't be even remotely competitive on that tight little track....coming from behind is very very difficult, so they don't go and the trainers don't go and the noms will drop right off. I fear for the last couple of nights at Busso with maybe 5 or 6 races and 5 or 6 horse fields.
    Facing 3 months of non earning ....I hear BOTRA are going to give it 3 months, fair enough, but a lot of horses will be "retired" or exported by then....would like to be more positive and definitely coming at it from a self interest perspective but there are worse horses out there going around than either Neigh or Jack and I am battling to find reasons why I would keep them going or even contemplate outlaying $45k for another one......even though Neigh was a relatively reasonable purchase, and has won 11 races, as a business proposition after training fees etc, am still way behind the eight ball.  My only reassurance are the statements that fine tuning will happen....from my perspective, it needs to, although I understand some may think it is very positive for them as it currently stands. But I very much fear that it will be exit stage right for me. Probably of little interest to the punting public but gee, the next 3 months could be very tough going.

    cisco, curmudgeon, VillageKid likes this post.

  • ciscocisco    806 posts
    Great summary Jay Jay I hope the powers to be know what they are doing!!

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  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon    2,417 posts
    edited November 2018
    The only way current owners trainers and drivers can assess this genuinely is to scrutinize the impact the overlay of the system has on them and their horses immediately.... and put that assessment out there as general information. Thus your summary is a considered and valid position JJ. We can hypothesize all we like but the chickens come home to roost when you head for the nominate button.
    An interesting period is coming up around Xmas....when historically most of the racing recedes to the lower south west of the state and GP has it's mid week siesta over the period. So apart from GP metro and Bunbury ....it will be Busselton and Albany filling the bill for the most part. How that is going to work out under the tier/circuit system with its current  race parameters I have no idea. 
    I have a feeling that non winning 3 y/o's from NZ are about to become much sought after and this may be the another nail in the coffin for WA breeders. The kiwi' sellers may just plug in to the system at the bottom and have a birthday. 

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  • VillageKidVillageKid    2,296 posts
    Excuse my ignorance but was the old handicap system really that bad or did it just require a bit of tweaking here and there especially around the 2yo & 3yo classic winners assessment when they become a 4yo?
  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    On a positive, I received an invite this morning via my trainer to meet with Barry Hamilton to discuss my concerns....I will happily travel up to Perth early on Friday to take up the offer. I don't profess to be an expert but can only state my case as to how it effects me and we will take it from there but I will need some convincing to remain involved.

    At my time of life, the breeding industry is not really an option but I have (against my better judgement and financial judiciousness) sent Riri Rihanna to stud, being bred with Shadow Play this week, so I am trying to have a foot in both camps in supporting both the racing and breeding side of things.

    Also have great concerns about Busselton, probably the best supported community racing that we have in WA, I just cant see it working under the proposed programming levels and suspect many horses that are traditionally set for their round will end up in paddocks....or an even worse fate. Albany will become a quasi GP midweek meeting with the dominant stables heading down there and cleaning up.

    Prices for non winning 3yo's from NZ are already super inflated and set to rise through the roof  as anything decent is snapped up by the big owners and stables, bought over here with non existent HWOE's and head to wherever and beat up the locals week in week out at $1.04, and  with only partial penalties in open age races, they go back each week and repeat the process. Exit stage right for battling bush owners and trainers.

    But, the invite has been made, so plaudits there and lets see what happens.

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  • ciscocisco    806 posts
    Good luck Jay - You and the other guys on here have the future best interests of harness racing in mind.

  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon    2,417 posts
    edited November 2018
    I am with you on that VK. My original thoughts on this topic were that a policy theme needed to be identified that was inclusive as much as possible to the best interests all participants....be they.... owners of all stratas ...trainers ...drivers ...punters....breeders...and interested trotgoers. Judicious application of conditions to race entry under the old system with appropriate goals would have worked out most kinks I think. 
    However, this is not a premature criticism of the new model nor the process that saw its concepts and goals arise  My fervent hope is that the new version of handicapping achieves its stated aims because they, by and large, will be beneficial to the industry. We need it to work and do so quickly.
    Early feedback to me from friends who punt on the harness race product (including some who done so for 45 years or so) indicates that they have yet to grasp the level/Hwoe and its subjective transition ratings and allowances. For the off the street punter in TABland the new system seems to have fallen from the sky and the glossary of handicap terms hasn't preceded or been widespread enough or simple enough to cut through to the punter in general. The abbreviations accompanying race conditions are confusing in their length ...... eg GPPBD / HWOE ( most harness punters didn't graduate from Bletchley Park)..............should just be PBD/W$. Whether you group the draws into top and bottom half the field or have a straight out W$ preferential placement of horses is inconsequential to the punter in terms of process......all that is needed is an acknowledgement that the race is drawn via  RBD/W$  or PBD/ W$ according to the system approved and utilised by the handicapping body. Simplicity is best and punters work out the system far more easily.
    I like JJ think a key component going forward is still going to be the addition of extra race conditions within bands or levels that allow non competitive horses in any level to draw preferentially more often or find weaker races within the bands set. Otherwise horses will disappear out of the system very quickly. Owners won't mess around with starting raceway type horses perhaps three times a month in races dotted all over the countryside that by example have proven too hard for their horse to compete in successfully.
  • JayJay
    I will give Barry Hamilton his due. He is very open to meeting with participants who have concerns and is very willing to take feedback on the matter.
    He did say that they may not have got it 100% at the moment but then needed a starting point and open to making adjustments if it makes sense.
    I hope for the industry that it works out.

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  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Agree, I sincerely hope it works itself out, and that is why I will be traveling up 350km on Friday to meet Barry with an open mind, and hopefully some adjustments can be made to achieve the purpose of a fairer system .......because at the moment, it isn't and we cant wait for 3 months, going broke in the process, to overcome what are euphemistically referred to as "anomalies in the system. We cant afford to lose horses or trainers who may choose to head to the gallops or interstate...we can't fiddle whilst Rome burns ....and it would be a terrible outcome if owners and trainers had to revert to boycotting meetings and just leave it up to the big guys to duke it out on a Friday night. Waiting 3 months to make changes ala the BOTRA position is simply too long....I would be on sticky bun withdrawal symptons by then and  bread and dripping sandwiches for my main meal each evening lost their appeal 40 years ago. Barry has assured me he will also be open minded to any tweaking of the system and I take that at face value.

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  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Hmm....an "Industry Communique" from RWWA....don't know how this will copy and paste:

    20 November 2018


    RWWA Organisational

    Racing and Wagering Western
    Australia (RWWA) has yesterday and today announced prospective changes to its
    current workforce structure in order to drive greater effectiveness and adapt
    to current market conditions. The proposed changes to personnel numbers reflect
    both responsible management and a deliberate strategic approach to new ways of
    working. RWWA is currently consulting with affected employees on the
    restructure and maintaining ongoing dialogue with all impacted teams.

    With respect to the Racing Division
    the following roles have been impacted along with proposed new roles that will
    better support

    requirements into the future:

    Chief Handicapper Harness;

    Racing Infrastructure & OSH
    Advisor; and

    Manager Corporate Communications

    As you can appreciate, workloads and
    teams relevant to these roles will be worked through in the coming days and
    weeks with considerable support and patience.

    As vital stakeholders you will be
    updated when further information specific to future working structures is appropriate.

    As an interim measure I’d appreciate
    you directing calls to the following regarding matters pertaining to the above
    areas of expertise:

    Harness Handicapping to Barry
    Hamilton, Manager Harness Racing (9445 5311)


    Infrastructure to David Hunter,
    Manager Commercial Racing

    Planning (9445 5279)



  • JayJayJayJay    7,769 posts
    Well, it didn't copy to well but pertinent to this thread......a bit hard to ascertain but looks like Warren Wishart no longer the Chief Handicapper?....I think....not much good at deciphering corporate gobledegook.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon    2,417 posts
    edited November 2018
    Been there a long time Warren Wishart ....can't imagine he leaves his position voluntarily at this point in his life....if that information as it seems is correct. Other wider redundancies occurring is the unconfirmed info seeping through. Not all a bed of roses at HQ ???
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,977 posts
    I dont race pacers - so it doesnt worry me - however you have to give them credit for making changes - even though it might seem complicated at present - at least they have had a go

    And when i used to knock around with Trots owners/trainers - they love to have a whinge - it is like a hobby to some - honestly you could make every Trots race with a $1 million  stake - and there would be still somebody whingeing about something - i will give you the tip- the cost of bell boots or spreaders or some feucken thing

    The biggest problem for WA to have a fair handicapping system- is the geography of the state - as in relation to where trainers are based - plus you have got Hall Bond and  to a lesser extent Oliveri (with Butterworths horses ) dominating proceedings

    The best way to protect small country trainers - and in every other state ( except WA ) there are stacks of those - is have a kilometre restriction ( from the GPO of the Capital ) as a race condition . In NSW - you have often a 20-25k final restricted to horses ( 100ks out of town ) who qualified at Bathhurst Canberra Junnee Newcastle- places miles from each other and all over the joint ) . But you cant do that in WA - because you havent got the spread of trainers - nor the talented horses to work with

    A couple of examples - David Kennedy in Narrandera - NSW Riverina - won a NSW Oaks a couple of years back at Menangle -hes as good a trainer as you get - hes like Aiden Warwick - his horses go . Kelly is another one in the Riverina - he had that great mare -hes had a stackof good horses .

    WA havent got the spread of top trainers and talented horse flesh spread all over the state - thats the problem - plus the 3 dominant trainers - who just leave a few leftover crumbs for the others
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon    2,417 posts
    This bloke from Narrandera finished 4th statewide in NSW in 2014/15 with the attached figures. Promptly gave away training and got a job with HRNSW as a race programmer and handicapper. Too hard to make a quid he reckons....too much travel and associated expense. It is hard everywhere I think.
    Shaun Snudden547116846870$529,465
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,977 posts

    This bloke from Narrandera finished 4th statewide in NSW in 2014/15 with the attached figures. Promptly gave away training and got a job with HRNSW as a race programmer and handicapper. Too hard to make a quid he reckons....too much travel and associated expense. It is hard everywhere I think.

    Shaun Snudden547116846870$529,465
    Big Shaun did dominate - he had Leigh Sutton as his stable driver back then - as a handicapper hes probably getting 80k and a car so it is much easier money - and hes stillinvolved in the sport etc

    However in NSW there are stacks of top trainers all over the place - miles from - the big smoke- in fact some of them are just as close to Melton as they are to Menangle - and will go to country meetings in both states - eg Cobram / Young

    And these blokes consistently get their hands on good horses - it might come back to your point of the demise of WA Breeding scene . In NSW and VIC numerous trainers consistently get good juveniles( and who become open age horses ) where can they consistently take on ( not fear ) Hall/Bond type horses

    Honestly in WA - the local trainers are like the WAFL - taking on Hall and Bond who are the AFL - thats the difference in horse flesh talent they have got to work with
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