THE 2019 Bathurst Gold Crown finals have a new date: Friday March 29.
A joint decision between Bathurst Harness Racing Club and Harness Racing NSW was made on Thursday to shift the finals one day earlier after the meeting clashes with the recently announced NRL fixture in the city.
Both boards met on Tuesday to discuss plans to move the finals, with the most popular choices being the Friday and Sunday on either side of the original date.
Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said staying put on Saturday wasn’t a viable option.
The board opted to chose Friday, allowing the club to use the NRL clash between the Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm to their advantage.
“The preference of the board was to make the move to Friday. We can use that as an opportunity to enable visitors and the local community to stay for the next night to go to the football or be able to get to both events,” Dwyer said.
“The board was pretty relaxed about the situation.
“It was the clash more than where we needed to make the change which was the concern.
“Because it was so far in advance it allowed us to plan. Our interactions with council had been very productive and it will let us put on a great weekend of sport on in the one town.”
Consultation was needed with HRNSW to determine where meetings around the Gold Crown finals would be moved.
There was no objections from Wagga Wagga to move from Friday to Thursday and Bankstown were happy to send their Friday meeting back to Saturday.
“That was a clean swap for us and Bankstown and it was a real positive for them to keep their race meeting on an equally good night,” Dwyer said.
“Those moves allow participants who want to attend all meetings to still do so.”
Dwyer confirmed that there would be no changes to any of the Gold Crown Carnival’s other race meeting dates.
The two-year-old heats will stay on the previous Friday and Saturday, still allowing a comfortable six day window for recovery.
“We won’t be encroaching on their preparations or asking those young horses to race in a short space of time,” Dwyer said.
“It gives the trainers plenty of time to take their horses home and prepare them for finals.”
The meeting change was a big win for many of Bathurst’s sporting fans due to the large crossover between the harness racing and rugby league communities.
Next year’s carnival gets underway on the weekend of March 22 and 23.
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