Tweaking of conditions for Country Races Series

Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria have made some minor alterations to the conditions for next year’s County Mile Race Series.

A total of $700,000 in prize money will be on offer which includes a $250,000 final at Flemington on March 19, All-Star Mile Day.

Five heats carrying $75,000 will run from February 11 at Colac through until Wangaratta on March 5 while there will be a $75,000 Wildcard race at Bendigo on March 11.

Last year’s inaugural Country Mile Race Series, which was taken out by the Ben Brisbourne-trained Fontein Diamond, was open to country trainers only, however the recent relocation of Caulfield trainers to country venues required a review of the race conditions.

For next year’s race, a trainer must be licensed in Victoria and have trained less than 15 Victorian metropolitan winners in the 2020/21 season.

In addition, a horse must be in the care of the eligible trainer from January 1, 2022.

The first three placegetters in each heat qualify for the final, a Benchmark 80 race over 1600m which will have a field safety limit of 16.

The 15 horses who have qualified via the heats will be ineligible to contest the wildcard race at Bendigo.

Eligible horses will be permitted to make their series debut in the wildcard race, but only if there are any positions remaining in the field after the unplaced horses from heats one to five have accepted.

RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter said the introduction of a wildcard race for the 16th position will create some extra theatre.

“The inaugural Country Mile Series was a terrific success with Ben Brisbourne enjoying the biggest moment of his training career,” Carpenter said.

“With the All-Star Mile carrying a minimum handicap rating of 80 for older horses, the Country Mile Final serves to again complement that with a Benchmark 80 rating which will ensure a highly competitive race.”

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