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New Harness Business Model

RWWA has being working towards a new business model which seeks to improve the commerciality of harness racing and provide a more sustainable and positive future.

The Business model has a number of integrated component parts:

  • Race Circuits
  • Stakes Tiering
  • Meeting Schedules
  • Race Programming
  • Race Handicapping
  • Internal business systems and practices

The need for change

There is a need for long term sustainability of the harness code and there are worrying trends in terms of a reduction in horses, owners, participants.  The Code also needs to make itself more commercially viable and increase its market share through higher wagering turnover.

There is little doubt that the current national system of handicapping horses based on the Restricted (R) Career (C) and Metropolitan (M) conditions is no longer serving the Industry well.  Over the years States have “tinkered” with the model to try and get around the obvious shortfalls resu<ing in a handicapping system which clearly is not working. 

The introduction of a national “drop back” system coupled with the anomalies of “penalty free racing” has seen horses being able to compete in races which are far below their standing often resulting in short price favorites, poor wagering and disgruntled owners. 

Accordingly RWWA is proposing a Conditioned Handicapping system based on Wins only.

Establishment of a new handicapping system philosophy

When developing a new handicapping system it was important to assess it against what RWWA believed were a set of non-negotiable points.

The new system should be a conditioned handicap system which focusses on “winning form” only

  • A horse should race like for like where possible 
  • Where possible horses should race with same sex and if pool sizes don’t allow this then concessions should apply
  • Race fields should be framed to ensure competitiveness
  • Trainers/Owners should have options where to place their horses where they believe they will be most competitive 
  • Historic form as well as current form needs to be considered when handicapping
  • Juveniles should be granted some dispensation before reaching open class
  • Mares should be granted a “discount” to assist them enter a race
  • Concession drivers should be granted a “discount” to assist them enter a race
  • Horse is only entitled to receive a single “discount” to assist them enter a race
  • A horse should have a legitimate racing opportunity once in every 10 days
  • Horses out of form need to be provided racing opportunities outside of their allocated class
  • Programs need to be dynamic and reflect the current population of horses
  • Stake levels should reflect the relative class of horses racing by venue and be tiered
  • Prevent horses “creeping” into lower level races by virtue of anomalies in handicapping 

An Explanation of Handicap Win Only Earnings

The previous handicapping system grouped horses together according to the number of wins across a variety of classes.  Unfortunately with drop back rules and penalty free races it was never easy to ascertain just how many wins a horse actually had.  This was particularly the case in maiden races where genuine no win horses may have been competing against other horse’s coming out of successful juvenile seasons.

The new system is a conditioned handicapping system which groups horses together for the purpose of handicapping based on the stakes they have earned for WINNING races.

Put simply each time you WIN a race the dollar value paid for first is accumulated as your WOE (Win Only Earnings)

Place money and payments back to last do NOT get counted in this calculation and Westbred and other Bonuses are also not included.

This amount would be referred to as a horses Win Only Earnings.

It is acknowledged however that two and three years should be treated differently to ensure that when they progress into open company that they are not overly penalised.  That said, we do not believe that horses that win a considerable number of races, particularly group races, should enter the open class system as a maiden.

Accordingly it is proposed that the grouping of horses for the future will be based on a Handicapped Win Only Earnings or HWOE.

This calculation is similar to the WOE EXCEPT the dollar value paid for winning is normalised back to a Win Value using a formula to take into account various situations such as 2YO/3YO earnings and also Feature Stakes Wins.

Discounts for Juveniles

The discounts for two and three year old seasons are below:

  • 2yo wins in races less than $100,000 then 25% of win stake to be considered towards the handicap win only earnings to a maximum of $3,750
  • 2yo wins in races $100,000+ then 25% of win stake to be considered towards the handicap win only earnings to a maximum of $7,500
  • 3yo wins in races less than $100,000 then 75% of win stake to be considered towards the handicap win only earnings to a maximum of $11,250
  • 3yo wins in races $100,000+ then 75% of win stake to be considered towards the handicap win only earnings to a maximum of $22,500
  • 4yo+ wins in races less than $100,000 then 100% of win stake to be considered towards the handicap win only earnings to a maximum of $15,000
  • 4yo+ wins in races $100,000+ then 100% of win stake to be considered towards the handicap win only earnings to a maximum of $30,000

By placing these maximum limits on the races we ensure that successful horses are not overly penalised for winning Group races with large stakes but at the same time protect genuine maidens form having to meet these more successful horses as they progress.

The collection of these stakes against a horse are known as the horses HANDICAP WIN ONLY EARNINGS or HWOE. 

Transitioning horses to their new HWOE

To ensure that horses are not overly penalised in the transition to the proposed system it is intended to make two calculations.  The first is to actually work out your actual HWOE based on the formula above.

It is acknowledged however  that many horses have risen and dropped in class over the years with the current drop back rule and while may only be lowly classed now, may have in fact won a number of races through a  range of classes over the years.  To use ALL their win dollars would see these horses transition at a much higher level than they currently are.

To ensure that this doesn’t happen the second calculation that will be made will be to simply take your horse’s current assessment at a given date and assign an arbitrary HWOE figure based on that classification as per the table below.

We will assign your horses HWOE based on the LOWER of those two amounts.

HWOE Conditioned Races

HWOE races will be programmed at intervals starting at a Maiden Level (Non Winners at any age) through to OPEN/FFA at HWOE > $100,000. 

The intervals have been tailored to the circuits and approximately coincide with the equivalents in the former R, C & M racing depending on the circuit involved. 

HWOE races will have a Preference clause on each of the races. The Preference is set in the template and cannot be altered at Race Level.

Example of a HWOE Race:

HWOE < $40,000 Preference to HWOE $25,000+. 

This is for Horses with a HWOE of LESS THAN $40,000

A horse with a HWOE of Less Than $25,000 CAN nominate for the race but will NOT obtain a start ahead of a preferred horse with a HWOE < $40,000 and Greater Than/Equal to $25,000. 

This ensure horses that have nominated within their class have an opportunity to race in their class and not be pushed out by horses racing out of their class with better form as they may not have another place to go.

HWOE Races with Also Eligible Conditions

Some HWOE Races will be programed with an “Also Eligible condition.

This allows for horses “out of form” to race in a group level below to assist that horse be more competitive.

The also eligible condition is based on the horse last five starts place money

Example of a HWOE Race with Also Eligible Conditions

Race would appear in program as:

PACERS 3YO+ HWOE < $25,000
ALSO ELIGIBLE - HWOE < $40,000 With L5$ < $2,250.

This race is for horses three year and older who have a HWOE of less than $25,000

If a horse that has earned $29,500 is also eligible for this race if it is a Mare OR if a novice driver is used.

Horses with a HWOE less than $40,000 are eligible for this race IF they have earned less than $2,250 in their last five starts.

Rates used for the Also Eligible L5$ are dependent on the circuit:


Also Eligible L5$ Levels





Provincial 2


Provincial 1


Metro Midweek





L5$ Conditioned Racing

The basic concept behind L5$ races is to give horses who may be struggling at their HWOE Level a chance to drop into a race where they might be able to earn again and establish some form. 

Winning form within these conditioned races will allow those horses to then go back into the established HWOE Grouping or UP to the next level of L5$ Conditioned race. 

Consistent placings will allow horses to keep racing at the same level and importantly keep earning money. Horses are grouped together for these races by way of their TOTAL Earnings in their past 5 starts. 

To stop horses dropping down to a lower level too quickly restrictions are enforced by way of the inclusion of Not Eligible Conditions. 

Example of a L5$ Race

Race would appear in program as:

L5$ < $30,000 (Level 14)
(CONCESSIONS L5$ < $32,500)
NE Winners of Level 14+ Last 5 starts

  • In this example the race is for Horses that have earned less than $30,000 in their last five starts.  
  • This is total stakes not just win stakes.
  • This race also allows horses that have earned $32,500 if they utilises a concession driver or perhaps if it is a mare.
  • Race protects eligible horses by not allowing horses into this race who were a winner of this level race or higher within their last five starts.
  • This condition ensures a winner in this class of race in their past 5 start goes back to the standard HWOE races for their class when they win and stays there for a minimum of 5 starts. 
  • Stops a horse who is currently racing in OPEN/FFA's (Level 15) and may have won at that level sometime within their past 5 starts from dropping into this race even if that horses Total earnings in their past 5 starts is less than the threshold for this race($30,000 or $32,500 with a Concession). 


Mares, Novice Drivers, Westbred and West Sired Horses will be offered a Concession on some races within a program.

The amount of the concession changes according to where the race is scheduled.


HWOE Concession Applied





Provincial 2


Provincial 1


Metro Midweek




If for example there was a HWOE < $70,000 race at Gloucester Park and concessions were allowed for that race a horse, , depending on the conditions of the race with $81,000 HWOE would be eligible for that race if it were a mare OR a novice driver was being used OR it was Westbred.

Only ONE concession can be used.  The race conditions will conditions (if any) will apply for a race.

HWOE & L5$ Conditioned Races MOBILES

Document Name

Club Features - HWOE Races - Mobiles

Document Name

Standing Start Races

Levels are assigned from the Front Mark as a Base and then each Handicap Mark until the top Level is reached at which stage all further marks will be the same level.

Standing Starts Handicaps are formulated on a Conditioned basis, grouping horses in similar fashion to the mobile groups in 10 metre increments. As is the case in mobiles, the lower marks are protected from dropdowns by excluding concessions and Also Eligible Letups. The higher marks however, allow for both concession and Also Eligible letups on their natural handicap mark. A variety of front mark standing start races are available to be programmed to allow a natural progression via a front mark handicap. In the higher front mark races it is possible to use a concession or an Also Eligible Letup to gain a front line handicap.

Nominating into a higher class in order to get a front line handicap mark is allowed but a Preference in field selection will be to horses on their true handicap mark to ensure these horses are not excluded from racing in their proper handicap group by lower assessed horses with better form points.

Not Eligible Clauses will be in place at Community, Country and Provincial 2 Circuits to restrict higher classified horses dropping back into a stand on a relatively easy handicap mark. 

Not Eligible Clauses will be in place at Metro Prime to restrict lower classified horses gaining the opportunity to win off a front mark excessively. Preferences will be used in higher front mark races to ensure horses in their legitimate class aren’t denied a start by a horse nominating higher than its legitimate class.

Document Name
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Steps for Harness Web

  • Open Harness Web and Log on as normal
  • Go to MY STABLE
  • There are two changes to the screen in preparation for the New Handicapping System
  • The HWOE Assessment will now be shown for each horses. Displayed as H$0.00
  • There is a new heading ELIGIBLE RACES /VIEW RACES will display ALL the races your horse is eligible for.
  • Until we transition to the new handicapping system in mid-November you will still be able to see your horse’s current M C R classifications by clicking on SHOW GENERAL ASSESSMENT on the top right hand of screen
  • To determine what races your horses is ELIGIBLE for, click VIEW RACES.  This will give you a list of races your horse is eligible for under the NEW system.
  • There are drop down menus options to view race programs for next 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks as well as a full year’s program.  Please note that some race programs may change to better reflect the horse population at the time and will be sent out as part of the rolling 6 week programs
  • The base conditions for the new races will be displayed under CLASS and the level of the Race will be displayed under RACE NAME.
  • Once you have selected the race you wish to nominate for you simply press NOMINATE button which will bring up the normal Nomination Screen.

We understand that change can often be confusing and at times stressful.  If you have any concerns or having trouble navigating your way through Harness Web please ring 94455 283 and we will step you through.

Glossary of Terms

Barrier Draw Configuration

7 x 5 with Max. Field Size of 12:

1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 5, 10, 6, 7, 11, 12

9 x 3 with Max. Field Size of 12:

1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 5, 6, 7, 12, 8, 9

6 x 4 with Max. Field Size of 10:

1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 5, 6, 9, 10

5 x 5 with Max. Field Size of 10:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


Can be for Mares, Novice Drivers Westbred and West Sired depending on the condition of the race:  The HWOE concessions applied are:

  • Community: $3,000
  • Country: $4,500
  • Provincial 2: $4,500
  • Provincial 1: $4,500
  • Metro Midweek: $4,500
  • Metropolitan: $11,000


Grouped Preference Barrier Draw – Best half of field are drawn randomly for the worse half of barrier draws and the lower half draw randomly for best half of barrier draws.


Handicap Win Only Earnings - The amount WON by a horse. Does NOT include placings or bonuses.


Handicap Win Only Earnings Last 2 Race Starts.


Less Than   (NOT LIFE TIME)


Dollars won in last five starts – Includes ALL money not just wins.


Levels are assigned to races NOT horses.   The levels are used in L5$ races as to set as a no eligible ceiling on the race.


Not Eligible

Preference to:

Horses that meet this criteria are given preference in Field Selection.

Race Circuits


  • Meetings on Sundays and Second Meeting to Gloucester Park on a Friday
  • Any day: Busselton, Williams, Collie, Central Wheatbelt, Bridgetown, Williams
  • Friday 2nd Meeting:   Wagin, Narrogin, Northam, Bunbury


  • All Albany Meetings any day

Provincial 2

  • Saturday meetings:  Typically Bunbury Northam Narrogin 

Provincial 1

  • Pinjarra Monday Races


  • Non Prime Gloucester Park Meetings


  • Gloucester Park Friday Meetings

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