The Dubbo Harness Racing Club has received a huge boost with the Red Ochre Mares Classic upgraded to Group 2 status.
With an injection of prizemoney, the time-honoured feature will now be worth $50,000 making it the most lucrative mares race in the state outside of the metropolitan basin.
The enhanced feature has a new date as well and will be run as early as December 1 this year.
Usually held in the cooler month of May, the rescheduled feature is set to attract a number of horses to the Western Districts track.
"All credit goes to the Dubbo Harness Racing Club for their dedication to raising the profile of mares races," Harness Racing New South Wales chief executive John Dumesny said.
"This will be the 20th year of the Red Ochre which was first won by Candyrama when the prizemoney was $8000.
"To be of Group 2 status with $50,000 prizemoney I would expect the best mares in New South Wales and possibly beyond to be at Dubbo on December 1."
The support card for this race will also include $10,000 races.
The highlight of the Dubbo Harness Racing Club calendar, the meeting has always drawn plenty of attention but even stronger crowds are now expected given the summer timeslot.
The running of the race on December 1 means there is also the chance of a rare double on offer.
Doug Hewitt scored the biggest win of his career when driving Scarlet Babe to victory in May for father and trainer Bernie Hewitt and the Bathurst team may be tempted to return for the double.
This feature race meeting is one of five HRNSW has introduced this season across the state with a Group 2 feature and $10,000 support races.
The other meetings include the Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial meeting at Gold Crown Paceway, Bathurst, as well as the elevated Group 2 Golden Guitar meeting at Paceway Tamworth.
In the metropolitan basin, these feature events will be the Renshaw Cup meeting at Penrith and the Treuer Memorial meeting at Bankstown.
This will further enhance a monster calendar in NSW this season and next year, which will also include, for the first time, two $1million races in the Miracle Mile and the TAB $1Million Pace.
There will also be the inaugural Group 1 Riverina Carnival at the new track in Wagga Wagga.
Amongst this will also be the TAB Carnival of Cups series with the next stop being Griffith on Friday, the Gold Crown Carnival at Bathurst in March as well as the lucrative Breeders Challenge series later in the season.
"These are exciting times for participants in NSW," said Dumesny.
"There are feature events in each major region, highlighting harness racing in these areas."