Narrabri Harness Racing Club’s two annual racedays are the latest sporting victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year the club hosts two meetings, one of which is a TAB meeting while the other is a non-TAB meeting.

The club’s premier event is the TAB meeting which usually hosts the Narrabri Cup, the John Dean Memorial final, the Kevin and Kay Seymour Ladyship Pace and the Santos Carnival of Cups final.

This year that meeting was scheduled to be run at the local Narrabri track, located at the Narrabri Showground, on Easter Monday, April 13.

However that has been moved to the Tamworth Paceway on the same day following Harness Racing NSW’s announcement that only six tracks would operate for the time being taking into consideration the current circumstances.

The Narrabri Harness Racing Club’s non-TAB meeting, which usually hosts the Wee Waa Cup and both the John Dean Memorial and Santos Carnival of Cups heats, has been cancelled altogether.

The relocation of the club’s TAB meet has fallen in line with Harness Racing NSW’s ‘regionalisation’ which it announced on Sunday, March 26.

“NSW will be split into four recognised regions – Metropolitan, Northern, Western and Southern,” a Harness Racing NSW statement said.

“The regions would be based upon the boundaries which are applied for the purposes of the NSW Breeders Challenge. Race meetings will be conducted out of Tabcorp Park Menangle and Penrith Paceway (Metropolitan), Riverina Paceway Wagga (South) and Gold Crown Paceway Bathurst (West), Newcastle International Paceway and Tamworth Paceway (North).”

Narrabri Harness Racing Club president Peter Shepherdson said that the cancellation of the non-TAB meet, and therefore the John Dean Memorial and Santos Carnival of Cups heats, as well as the TAB meeting’s relocation meant that the April 13 meeting would operate under a new program which was released today.

The Santos Carnival of Cups has actually been scrapped altogether in 2020, so the final has been replaced with what has been named the Santos Cup.

The Shepherdsons have six pacers in work at the moment and while the desire is to have all six racing on April 13, Peter Shepherdson said that it was likely that four would be at this stage.

He added that he hoped successful gelding Kid Montana would compete on the day.

Fellow Narrabri trainer Jarred Hetherington said that he would most likely have eight pacers in action on the day.

Hetherington said that the move to Tamworth actually benefitted his team as it would now be able to race its New Zealand-bred horses which would not have been possible at the Narrabri meet.

“While it’s disappointing for Narrabri and we do lose the home-ground advantage of racing in Narrabri the move is a blessing in disguise for us,” Hetherington said.

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