WILL you spend big on the Western region's top driver Amanda Turnbull? Is this the season of Bernie Hewitt or Nathan Turnbull? Who will be a rising star that proves to be great value in 2023?
These are the questions racing fans will be asking themselves as the new fantasy harness racing online game gets set to launch early next year.
The new initiative from Harness Racing NSW sees players asked to put together a team of 22 drivers from across the state for the upcoming 2023 season, and teams will score points based on how those drivers perform during real life meetings.
But with a budget of $14.4 million per player and 22 slots to fill it means players have to carefully craft a balanced team.
Amanda Turnbull is the most expensive option from the Western region (and fourth most expensive overall) at a cost of $1.195 million.
To fill out their team of 22, players need to choose five Hunter, five Western, five Riverina and seven Metropolitan region drivers while staying under budget.
Bernie Hewitt ($945,000), Nathan Turnbull ($935,000), Mat Rue ($925,000) and Mitch Turnbull ($825,000) are the remainder of the Western region's top five most expensive options.
The game's opening round will begin on January 10, with that Tuesday night's Menangle meeting, and runs through over a span of 25 rounds until July 1.
Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said it's great to see people in the community already engaging with the game.
"I had a look at it when it released, and over Christmas and New Year I'll probably put something together. Coming from a footy background, the salary cap makes it quite interesting," he said.
"I think it's a great idea. It's got a lot of people talking. I know at Wednesday's meeting there were a lot of them talking about it."
In most fantasy sporting games the value of competitors fluctuates based on their real world performances, but that's not the case here.
That means people have to think very careful about what the composition of their team will be before the competition gets underway.
Group 1 races, along with the Newcastle Mile and Riverina Championships Finals, will be worth triple points while Group 2 races and Carnival of Cups feature races are worth double points.
"I think it does require a bit of research," Dwyer said.
"I think some might move off a senior driver in some areas for someone like a Liv Frisby, who's going to get plenty of opportunities to race based on her five point handicap. Those are the sorts of things to think about."
Nearly every Bathurst Wednesday meeting will function as the Western round for earning points each week, along with one Forbes and one Parkes meeting during the six-month period.
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