Dates confirmed for the 2021 Country & Provincial Championships Series
- The dates have been set for the 2021 Country and Provincial Championships Series in New South Wales
- Heats for the Country Championships start on February 13
- Full details & dates can be found below
Gracie Belle winning the 2020 Country Championships Final during The Championship Day 1 Sydney at Royal Randwick . (Getty)
Racing NSW has announced the 2021 dates and venues for the $1.6 million Country Championships and $1.25 million Provincial Championships Series, as well as changes to the conditions that will strengthen the objectives of each series to promote and reward Country and Provincial-trained horses and their connections.
The Country Championships series in 2021 will again be run on six Sundays and two Saturday's before culminating in a $500,000 Final at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, 3 April 2021.
This series commences with a double header on the weekend of 13 and 14 February 2021 of Coffs Harbour (Northern Rivers) and Nowra (South East).
The full list of Country Championships qualifiers are:
- February 13, 2021 - Saturday - Coffs Harbour, Northern Rivers
- February 14, 2021 - Sunday - Nowra, South East
- February 20, 2021 - Saturday - Wagga Wagga, Southern Districts
- February 21, 2021 - Sunday - Taree Mid. North Coast
- February 28, 2021 - Sunday - Mudgee, Central Districts
- March 7, 2021 - Sunday - Tamworth, Hunter & North West
- March 14, 2021 - Sunday - Coonamble, Western
- March 21, 2021 - Sunday - Muswellbrook Wild Card
For the Provincial Championships in 2021, qualifying races of $150,000 each will again be held at provincial racecourses on five consecutive Saturdays leading into The Championships, with the Final run at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, 10 April 2021 for prizemoney of $500,000.
The full list of Provincial Championships qualifiers are:
- February 27, 2021 - Saturday - Newcastle
- March 6, 2021 - Saturday - Hawkesbury
- March 13, 2021 - Saturday - Gosford
- March 20, 2021 - Saturday - Kembla Grange
- March 27, 2021 - Saturday - Wyong
Country and Provincial Championships Conditions
Racing NSW has also updated the conditions applying to both the Country Championships and Provincial Championships.
The qualifying stable return date for raced horses to be trained by a Country or Provincial trainer has been brought forward May 1, 2020 for the 2021 series.
Horses that are stable returned for the first time (previously unraced) must have been legitimately under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer by September 1, 2020.
In addition, the race conditions will now require that horses must remain under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer for a period of twelve months after the respective series Final.
On nominating for the series, owners of horses competing will need to undertake that they will keep the horse in a Country or Provincial stable, depending on the series contested, for a minimum of twelve months.
Failure to comply with this important race condition promoting the key objective of rewarding Country and Provincial-trained horses and their connections may result in penalty and forfeiture of any prizemoney won.