Newcastle Paceway will host a second group 1 race this year after four new regional series, each with a $100,000 final, were announced on Tuesday to replace the Million Dollar Pace.
A regionalisation of the industry, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and government regulations, forced Harness Racing NSW to abandon the new Million Dollar Pace, which was to include statewide heats and a final at Menangle.
In its place, HRNSW has introduced the Regional Championships. The metropolitan, western districts, Riverina and Hunter regions will each conduct two rounds of $9500 heats and a final.
Menangle, Newcastle, Wagga and Bathurst will host each series, which will have a maximum of five heats per round and also a $14,500 consolation final.
HRNSW chief John Dumesny said the new races would give trainers the chance to place horses set for the now abandoned series.
"From last February all eligible horses must have been located and trained in a specific region, so this aspects remains in place," he said.
"The championships dates have been held to the schedule previously set for the Million Dollar Pace so the training of horses specifically set for that race series is not affected."
Heats start at Menangle on May 5, Bathurst on May 6, Wagga on May 8 and Newcastle on May 9.
The Newcastle second round of heats are on May 15, with the final on May 23. The race, at least for this year, will give the track two group 1 features. The Newcastle Mile was elevated to $100,000, group 1 status last year.