Harness racing will return to Ararat, after the industry's governing body ended a region-based model designed to negate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harness Racing Victoria adopted the landmark racing structure in April, which saw the state divided into six regions and meets hosted at nine tracks - Inner West (Melton and Ballarat), West (Terang and Stawell), East (Kilmore and Cranbourne), North West (Mildura), Central (Bendigo) and North East (Shepparton).
Trainers based in Ararat and its surrounds were assigned to the West region and spent the past three months competing at Stawel, Terang and Melton.
COVID-19 update: Premier Daniel Andrews announces new COVID-19 lockdown measures
While, Harness Racing Victoria moved out of the regional model on July 1, meets will still be restricted to the nine designated tracks for a two-week transition period.
Ararat's first race has been scheduled for July 18.
The Ararat Harness Racing Club had been hosting trails for the past month in anticipation of Harness Racing Victoria restrictions easing.
Harness Racing Victoria general manager of racing Stephen Bell said the industry had united to combat coronavirus' effect on harness racing.
"As an industry we should be immensely proud of what we have achieved during regional racing," he said.
"To be in a position today to deliver competitive fields and a quality metropolitan program straight out of regional racing is a considerable achievement and I congratulate the HRV Racing Office, HRV staff, clubs and their staff and of course the participants."
IN OTHER NEWS TODAY:
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.