MORE than 100 of the best drivers and horses from Queensland, Victoria and NSW have starred at the NSW Mini-Trots Championships in Tamworth.
The weekend-long competition saw competitors battle it out for trophies, rugs and the opportunity to qualify for inter-dominion races in the future.
Tamworth was well represented during the championships with Secret Mission taking out the top honour in the Shetland category.
Meanwhile, Bella Donna secured victory in the midget category while Velvet's Little Star was the best in the pony category.
NSW Mini-trots Association president Jeff James told the Leader this year's championships were of top quality.
"All up we had 122 drivers and 154 horses taking part in this year's championships," James said.
"Those numbers are down a little bit from last year but I think it is still pretty good considering how much the drought is taking a toll on all of us.
"We had people coming from as far as 12 hours away to take part, which I think shows how good this competition is."
With NSW dominating the recent national mini-trots championships, many of the weekend's competitors were looking to stake their claim to compete at the highest level in the future.
"It is a growing sport and I think the results at a national level reflect that," James said.
"A lot of the accolades should go to Harness Racing NSW, who have thrown so much behind the sport to help get it going.
"We saw a very high quality competition here in Tamworth this weekend and I think that will continue into the future."
James said there were now pathways in place to help encourage new competitors to get involved in the sport.
"At the moment there are weekend camps being run by Harness Racing NSW to help develop young horses and drivers," he said.
"I think a lot of the kids we have had competing this weekend will go towards that now.
"It's just another way Harness Racing NSW is trying to grow the sport and hopefully that will prompt the same sort of growth in the other states."
James said he hoped the championships would return to Tamworth in 2020.
"We do have to have our annual general meeting and we will decide then as to where it will be held next year," he said.
"Hopefully we can come back to Tamworth, it's a great facility, attracts good numbers in terms of quality competitors and always proves to be a great place to hold the championships."