THE remainder of 2020 National Apprentice Race Series (NARS) has been cancelled, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The opening two legs of the series were held in Tasmania and Western Australia in March, before the final three legs were postponed in the wake of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
However, this week a joint decision was arrived upon to abandon the balance of the NARS series, scheduled for Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s the reality of the situation,” said Thoroughbred Racing South Australia (TRSA) apprentice training supervisor Briony Moore.
“NARS has become a prestigious and genuinely valued annual event, which enjoys plenty of support from around the nation.
“More importantly, it gives apprentice jockeys something to aim for, and those who participate benefit greatly from the experience.”
NARS is Australia’s premier apprentice-only race series and showcases the riding talents of the country’s most exciting young jockeys. First conducted in 2008, the series draws together apprentices from across Australia to represent their state in a collection of races in six states and territories.
Points are awarded for the top five placings in each leg of the series as follows; first – 7, second – 5, third – 3, fourth – 2 and fifth – 1, with the state that accumulates the most points crowned the winner.
The first 2020 round was held in Tasmania and taken out by the home state via Ianish Luximon, whose victory was his first ever race win.
Queensland won the second leg when Adin Thompson was successful in Perth.
“Excitement was really starting to build, thanks to the strong state teams we had and the apprentice line-ups leading into the Queensland leg,” Ms Moore said.
“We had leading New Zealand rider and Group 1-winning apprentice Sam Weatherley involved, SA’s leading apprentice and five-time stakes winner Kayla Crowther, Queensland’s leading jockey and apprentice Baylee Nothdurft, one of Victoria’s rising stars Thomas Stockdale, WA’s Chloe Azzopardi, who finished second in that state’s apprentice title last season, and Hong Kong product Scarlet So to represent Tasmania.
“This year was also the first time we had international teams, namely New Zealand and the Singapore Turf Club.
“Queensland was actually doing very well in the opening two rounds and at the time of cancellation was leading the series.
“But NARS will be back in 2021, and we’re already looking forward to it.”
The decision to cancel the remaining three legs was made jointly between the respective racing jurisdictions involved.
South Australia won the 2019 series.