The highly successful The Championships theme spread to the NSW picnic racing arena in September 2016 with the inaugural NSW Picnic Champion Series first kicking off at Harden picnics, providing first points for the series.
To qualify for the NSW Picnic Champion Series final, horses accrue points at every picnic race meeting they attend in NSW and the highest-ranked ranked horses at the end of the season are then eligible to nominate for the NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series Final.
All horses except Maidens are eligible to qualify and picnic clubs must be affiliated with the NSW Picnic Racing Association and must use Approved Riders.
For information on the NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series point score system, please refer to the table above, which outlines what points can be earned at each class of picnic race.
The first Picnic Champion Series final was held on Dubbo Gold Cup Day back in September 2017 with Racing NSW providing $50,000 in prizemoney for the final; the race being won by Security Code, who was ridden by Maddison Wright and trained by Rodney Robb.
Robb made it the perfect score in 2018 when his galloper Austin, who was ridden by Mollie Partridge, bolted in to win the final, scoring by a widening margin of just under five lengths
Then in 2019, Mark Ward prepared Gadfly, who was ridden by the NSWPRA’s newest jockey Brent Evans, to win the now coveted picnic racing event.
In September 2020, the Mark Schmetzer trained Military Bay topped the point’s tally and won the Dubbo final, with brother in-law Ash Boyd booting home the win for connections.
In 2021, the NSW Picnic Champion Series final moved to the Coonamble Jockey Club for the first time.
The Dubbo trained On A Promise for Brett Robb and jockey Brent Evans was the winner, giving Evans his second win in the $50,000 final.
In 2022, the picnic final was impacted by wet weather and was subsequently moved from Coonamble to Coonababran before eventually being held at Dubbo.
Connie Greig won her first NSW Picnic Champion Series final, as Hemsted finished strongly, beating the Gavin Groth-trained favourite, Danspur for jockey Grant Seccombe, while Hemsted’s stablemate and early leader Brooklyn Star for jockey Shaun Cooper finished third.
In 2023, Connie Greig and Leandro Ribero went back-to-back, with Inzaghi proving too classy in the $50,000 race, kicking away for the easiest of three-length wins from the Rodney Robb-trained Sons Of Bourke, ridden by Zara Lewis, while just over three lengths back in third was the Rob Potter-trained Madison Point, ridden by Sebastian Galea.
2024 NSW PICNIC CHAMPION SERIES
The NSW Picnic Champion Series final is scheduled to be run at Coonamble on October 19, 2024.