Racing Victoria (RV) has on Tuesday released the framework for its 2013-14 racing calendar which will feature 568 race meetings across the state from 1 August to 31 July.
This represents a reduction of eight meetings, being four TAB and four non-TAB meetings, on the current season to best cater for the racing population and maximise wagering opportunities.
Four of these meetings have been removed from December when field sizes and consequently turnover were negatively impacted in 2012 due to an abundance of pre-Christmas meetings.
Despite the reductions total prizemoney will remain the same for the 2013-14 season, with funding for the eight meetings to be redistributed across the season.
The 568 race meetings are categorised as follows; 110 metropolitan, 424 country and 34 picnic.
RV General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the reduction of meetings had been made with the support of the Australian Trainers Association and Victorian Jockeys Association.
“Following a review of the current racing season it was determined that a reduction in meetings from 576 to 568 would be in the best interests of the industry,”Carpenter said.
“The ATA and VJA were supportive of the changes on the basis that the reductions would help to address field size issues, particularly in December, and that the total prizemoney made available for 2012-13 would not be reduced in 2013-14.
“The total meeting allocation now more closely aligns the industry’s five-year Tracks & Infrastructure Plan in which we had originally intended to program 566 meetings during the 2013-14 season.
“Importantly, the calendar has been structured such that these reductions will have no impact on turnover which is the lifeblood for our returns to participants.”
Following is a summary of the key components of the 2013-14 Victorian racing calendar;
Four meetings have been removed from December to alleviate the congestion of racing in the Christmas events timeslot and its impact on field sizes. These are;
· Mildura– Friday Twilight
· Bendigo– Friday Twilight
· Moonee Valley – Thursday Night
· Cranbourne– Saturday Night
The following four non-TAB event meetings have been removed from the calendar with host clubs allocated an alternate date during the season;
· Wodonga– Melbourne Cup Day
· Latrobe Valley – Caulfield Cup Day
· Colac– Turnbull Stakes Day
· Stony Creek – Easter Sunday
The Ballarat track is due for infrastructure works to enhance the racing surface. The calendar has been structured to accommodate these works during the 2013-14 season pending detailed discussions and final approval between RV, Ballarat Turf Club and the State Government.
At this time, the course proper will not be available for racing between 25 November 2013 and 11 May 2014. A total of 12 Ballarat meetings will be moved to other venues to accommodate this should the works proceed following the 2013 Ballarat Cup meeting.
Sportingbet Park (Sandown)
The Sportingbet Park track is due for infrastructure works to enhance the racing surface. The calendar has been structured to accommodate these works during the 2013-14 season pending detailed discussions and final approval between RV, Melbourne Racing Club and the State Government.
At this time, the track will not be available for racing between 28 August 2013 and 27 January 2014.
An overall reshuffling of meetings between MRC venues and country clubs across the full year will result in the MRC conducting three less metro Wednesday meetings, with these meetings being transferred to country venues. Pending final approvals for the works, the Sportingbet Sandown Guineas/Zipping Classic meeting on 16 November 2013 will be moved to Caulfield.
Pakenham will conduct an abbreviated season in 2013-14, with racing to conclude at the Club’s current location with their Cup meeting on 9 February 2014. Racing is scheduled to commence at the new Pakenham track in late 2014.
Return to Racing
Three key regional tracks return to full duties during 2013-14 after undergoing major track works;
· Geelong will resume grass track racing on 27 September 2013 after a major track renovation conducted following their 2012 Cup meeting
· Moe will return to racing with their first meeting scheduled on 26 November 2013 and their Cup meeting programmed to run on Friday 13 December 2013
· Yarra Valley will conduct a full season of racing, being nine meetings, after the completion of their major track reconstruction and resumption of racing last month
Melbourne Cup Day
The number of race meetings programmed across the state on Emirates Melbourne Cup Day remains seven with Stawell replacing Wodonga.
Spring Racing Carnival
The Carnival will again commence on Underwood Stakes Day, Saturday, 21 September 2013 at Caulfield and continue through to the Ballarat Cup meeting on Sunday, 24 November 2013.
The calendar reflects the changes made in 2012 with the introduction of a two-day Cox Plate Carnival at Moonee Valley and the return of the Turnbull Stakes to a Saturday at Flemington.
Melbourne Festival of Racing
The programming of feature meetings remains unchanged for RV’s late summer / early autumn showpiece pending a review of the 2013 Festival of Racing following its completion this month.
A total of 31 night meetings are programmed during the 2013-14 season commencing at Moonee Valley on Friday, 27 September 2013 and concluding at Cranbourne on Friday, 11 April 2014.
Moonee Valley will host 17 Friday night meetings, whilst Cranbourne will host 14 night meetings being 12 Fridays and two Saturdays.
Upon request of the host Clubs, the following changes and enhancements have been made to the programming of Country Cup meetings during the 2013-14 season;
· Pakenham Cup will move from its traditional date in March to Sunday 9 February 2014 and will be the last meeting conducted on the current track
· Moe Cup will be run on Friday, 13 December 2013, which will be the Club’s second meeting on their reconstructed track. Moe Cup Day will revert to its traditional October date in 2014
· Terang Cup moves from October to Sunday, 13 April 2014 – the date previously held by the Hamilton Cup for many years. Hamilton Cup will be staged in October for the second year.
· Werribee Cup will be staged on Wednesday, 13 November 2013 with the Club keen to capitalise on interest around the international horses during the Spring Racing Carnival
Stand Alone Saturday
The Yalumba Golden Mile Raceday has been programmed at Bendigo on Saturday, 15 March 2014 and remains the state’s sole stand alone Saturday metropolitan meeting in country Victoria.
The 2014 Golden Mile Raceday will again carry full Saturday metropolitan status meaning that minimum funding will be to the same level as a Melbourne meeting in the same timeslot.
A total of 32 meetings – up from 30 this season – have been programmed on the Geelong Synthetic track during the 2013-14 season.
Geelong Synthetic will again serve as a transfer venue during winter months meaning it is likely to host more than its 32 programmed meetings.
Source : Racing Victoria