Illawarra Turf Club chief executive Peter De Vries believes the industry will continue to build on the success of the inaugural Provincial Spring Series over the coming years.
The series concluded with a $150,000 final last Saturday in front of a healthy crowd at Kembla Grange.
Runners had qualified for the decider through a series of heats across the five provincial tracks.
Hawkesbury trainer Bernie Kelly’s promising five-year-old Bobbing took out the main event, winning by a 1-¾ lengths over Plaisir, with Kris Lees’ High Power a half length back in third.
“It was an extremely successful series,” De Vries said.
“We were really happy with how it went and it’s locked into place for years to come, with sponsorship as well.
“It was only announced late this year so we probably didn’t get the chance to promote it through print and air play as much as we’d like, but that’s something we know we can improve on.”
De Vries expects the number of runners vying for a spot in the field will increase next year as awareness grows for the series.
The series was only launched in late October, but was still able to attract a highly-competitive field from across the five provincial tracks.
“There was 15 horses in the final and there was some talk that the field was better than three or four of the races at Rosehill on Saturday,” De Vries said.
While Kembla is set to host a qualifier again next year, the decider will move from track to track each year.
“We were lucky enough to have it in the first year and it will move to Gosford next year,” De Vries said.
Meanwhile, Bobbing will be ineligible to contest the Provincial Championships as Kelly will make the switch from his base at Hawkesbury to Scone in the coming weeks.
The gelding would have been a leading contender to take out the series based on his performance on the weekend, but is now unable to contest the lucrative series or it’s country counterpart under the event’s current conditions.