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Canberra trainers are in limbo waiting to hear whether they can continue to participate in Highway races in Sydney for country-trained horses.

The trainers met on Monday amid reports they would be classed as provincial trainers, thereby ruled out of the Highway series in which they have a high success rate.

Leading trainer Matt Dale said they had heard the rumours and discussed the situation but were none the wiser.

Earlier this year, Canberra was moved from the Country Championship series to the Provincial arena, meeting with success when the Philip Courtney-trained Maryore won the final at Randwick.

Dale is the most successful of the locals in the Highway races with nine wins, one less than Matt Dunn who trains at Murwillumbah.

He will attempt an equaliser with Surprise Party at Rosehill on Saturday with the filly one of seven from the area among the 15 entries.

“We had a meeting among the trainers on Monday but haven’t heard anything official about Canberra trainers not being classed as country,” Dale said.

“Surprise Party will run in the Highway race on Saturday.”

Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys will return from holidays on Wednesday and is expected to clarify the situation.

Dale will decide after acceptances are taken on Wednesday whether new stable acquisition Beatniks runs in Sydney or Melbourne.

The mare has been entered in 1200 and 1400 metre races at both Rosehill and two at Caulfield.

“She will run in a 1200 metre race,” Dale said.

“We will accept at both places and look at the fields on Wednesday.

“She was bought by a group including Newgate Farm and Matthew Sandblom at the Magic Millions broodmare sale.

“She is a lovely genuine mare and we are looking to get a good win with her.”

I Am Gypsy was bought by the same group at last month’s sale and will head to Grafton for the Sir James Kirby Quality (1000m) on Thursday rather than the Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

“She’s a bit limited because she has only won up to 1050 metres so we’ll take her to Grafton for the Kirby,” Dale said.

 
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