A revamped Spring Carnival schedule could see punters treated to 12 consecutive Saturdays of Group one action.
One comprehensive draft schedule prepared by Racing Victoria’s Spring Racing Review Committee and seen by Racing.com, recommends a big re-shuffle to the traditional schedule.
The proposal confirms that the Melbourne Racing Club are interested in moving their two feature days deep into November and the traditional Sandown Zipping Classic Day would run across several Spring meetings to be held at Caulfield.
In return for losing Zipping Classic Day, Sandown would then host the Group 1 Underwood Stakes on September 19.
The revamped carnival would provide 12 consecutive Saturdays of Group 1 racing in Victoria, all beginning with the Makybe Diva Stakes on September 12.
Under the proposed draft, the carnival would still start on August 29 but without a Group 1 race on the card, as the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes will be the feature race on the card in place of the Group 1 Memsie Stakes.
The carnival would then conclude at Caulfield with their two Group 1 feature days: Caulfield Guineas and Caulfield Cup Day. Caulfield Cup Day would then host the Group one Memsie Stakes.
The draft would allow Caulfield to host three consecutive Group 1 meetings from November 14, kicking off with the Toorak Handicap.
Turnbull Stakes would then be delayed by a week and shifting the Feehan, Caulfield stakes as well.
Racing.com are reporting that there are still ongoing discussions surrounding Moonee Valley’s sprint program.
The Committee proposal at one stage shifted the Moir and Feehan Stakes to September 26 and kept the Manikato Stakes on October 23, maintaining the traditional Friday night slot.
Valley CEO Michael Browell said last week the Manikato Stakes could be run on October 24 with the Cox Plate in one mega-day of racing at The Valley. Both RV and the Valley declined to comment, but it’s understood that the Valley’s program is far from set.
The Committee developed the new schedule as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and to avoid a clash with the AFL final’s series, with their being a chance Cox Plate day and the AFL Grand Final may fall on October 24.
Work has also been done to explain how the date changes will affect the Spring Carnival pattern and a number of lead-up races to major Group 1 meetings, trainers and owners have voiced concerns on how they will get their horses up for the feature Group ones throughout the spring.
The Zipping Classic’s proposed move to October 17 at Caulfield could ease concerns about a lack of appropriate lead-up races into the Melbourne Cup if the Caulfield Cup is moved.
Racing.com reports that the three metropolitan clubs and Country Racing Victoria will submit their feedback to Racing Victoria this week.
The RV board will discuss the proposals again on Friday.
Some of the proposed changes circulated include:
• Moving the Memsie Stakes to Caulfield Cup day, proposed to be November 28.
• The Feehan and Moir Stakes run at Moonee Valley on the traditional AFL grand final day, September 26.
• The McEwen Stakes would run on September 5, traditionally when the Feehan was held.
• The Turnbull Stakes would be run a week later than usual, on October 10.
• The Toorak Handicap would move to November 14.
• The Underwood Stakes would be scheduled a week earlier than its traditional timeslot, to September 19.
• Blue Sapphire Day at Caulfield would be run on the new Caulfield Guineas Day, November 21.
• The Zipping Classic would be run at Caulfield on the old Caulfield Cup Day, October 17.
• The Thousand Guineas moves to the new Caulfield Cup Day.
• The Schillaci Stakes and Herbert Power would both be run on November 21 – with the Herbert Power remaining a win and you’re in race for the Caulfield Cup.
• The Sandown Cup would be run on November 21 at Caulfield
• The Ballarat Cup moves to December 5 from November 21, replacing the Pakenham Cup which would still be run at some stage.
• The Melbourne Cup Carnival would retain its traditional dates.
• The Geelong Cup retains its current date, October 21.