South-west harness racing trainers can take their runners to Ballarat and Melton from Monday, under Harness Racing Victoria's revised regional model.
HRV divided the state into six regions on April 2 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's meant south-west runners have only been allowed to race at Terang and Stawell.
But now they can race at Ballarat and Melton with the state divided into three regions - east, west and north-west.
HRV chief executive officer Dayle Brown has said the body wants to get metropolitan and feature racing back by July 1, as part of a two-step plan to phase out the region-based model.
Australia's 2019/20 racing season has also been extended to December 31.
Experienced trainer Mattie Craven, based at Ecklin South, is excited by what the extended season could bring.
He feels the forced change could be a "blessing in disguise" for the sport.
"It'll be an exciting time for harness racing with lots of racing in the summer months," he said.
"The bulk of feature racing will be between August and New Year's."
Craven said some top races were usually held in winter which was not ideal for trainers or horses due to the cold weather.
He also pointed out crowds aren't as likely to attend meets during winter.
Craven feels there would be a demand for seeing quality runners racing for feature money in warmer conditions.
But his immediate goal is to enjoy success at Terang's twilight meet on Sunday.
Craven and his partner Sofia Arvidsson have been working hard to keep their stable primed for racing.
Craven rates Kowalski Analysis and Crime Writer as his best chances on Sunday.
Kowalski Analysis, driven by Arvidsson, has the chance to even the score with Aaron Dunn-trained Silent Major.
The three-year-old finished just behind Silent Major over 2180 metres at Terang on April 28.
It won't be easy to turn the tables.
Kowalski Analysis will be coming off the back row after an indiscretion at Stawell recently.
"That's going to be pretty tough and will give Silent Major (gate five) the early advantage," Craven said.
But the south-west trainer knows "our fella has improved" in his two starts since battling with Silent Major.
He believes it will be a great test for the gelding which won at Stawell on May 10.
"It'll tell us what he's got going forward, whether he's going to step up when asked more of," Craven said.
Meanwhile, Crime Writer has drawn gate three in race four (2180m).
The pacer, also driven by Arvidsson, won at Terang on April 28.
Crime Writer sustained a flat tyre at the start of its most recent run at Terang in early May.
Craven is expecting a tactical race with three strong runners in the field.
On top of that, the long-time trainer said the regional model had highlighted the quality of horses, trainers and drivers in the west region.
"The competition in our region has been very good," he said.
"It's been one of the best regions as far as even fields."
Craven said tight competition and limited races had made it difficult for trainers to place horses.
He said there weren't as many opportunities to pick a race your horse could win.
But he said the positive was some people were winning races who hadn't tasted victory for a long time.
In a boost for the sport, harness racing received a $24 million package from the state government in the past fortnight to help it through the pandemic.
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