RACING Victoria (RV) and the Werribee Racing Club (WRC) have today announced that the Werribee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, 13 November 2013 has been transferred to Ballarat to allow the newly renovated inside section of the track further time to consolidate.

As a result, the TAB Werribee Cup, which was scheduled to be run next Wednesday, will now be conducted at Werribee on Sunday, 15 December 2013 on what will become a major celebration for the local community with free admission and a raft of family entertainment.

The 2000-metre Benchmark 78 race that was to have been run as the Cup on Wednesday will retain its $80,000 stake, but will carry a different name for the new Ballarat meeting. The remainder of the race program remains unchanged.

The inside seven metres of the Werribee track underwent a major renovation following the abandonment of the Club’s meeting on 17 July 2013.

It has remained out of commission during the Spring Racing Carnival so that it could best consolidate for Werribee’s busy summer racing period.

RV’s Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said the decision to reschedule the Cup, made in consultation with the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA), had been made to allow the renovated section of track further time to consolidate.

“It is important for the industry and the local community that racing return to Werribee with the track in peak condition and we are not satisfied that it would be at its optimum for next Wednesday’s meeting,” Saundry said.

“The inside seven metres, which has undergone a major renovation since July, has made pleasing progress over the past fortnight with the warmer weather, but it has not quite consolidated to the standard we would like to commence racing on it next Wednesday.

“We are taking a conservative approach and allowing the inside of the track further time to consolidate and remain confident that it will be of the required standard for racing when the rescheduled Werribee Cup is set to run on Sunday, 15 December.”

Saundry explained that the track outside seven metres has received significant traffic from the visiting international horses for the Spring Racing Carnival with 23 working consistently over the past six weeks.

“Whilst this section of the track is still completely safe and suitable for training we think it would be unfair on our connections and participants to have 100 horses race on it next week given the wear and tear received and the significance of the Cup meeting,” Saundry said.

“By rescheduling the return to December it will ensure the track is perfect for its return and that the Werribee Cup will be the quality event it deserves to be.”

Saundry added that the feedback from the international visitors regarding the Werribee track had been very positive, with horses trained at the track filling second through fifth in the Emirates Melbourne Cup after capturing two feature races at Flemington last Saturday.

He further noted that RV and WRC understood that the decision to transfer was a difficult one when considering the wishes of the local Werribee community, but he explained that it was made in the best long term interests of the WRC and its track.

“We know how frustrating it must be for the Werribee community, who are great supporters of racing, to have their Cup meeting rescheduled to December a week out from the event,” Saundry said.

“Together with the Werribee Racing Club we’ll be throwing open the gates for the rescheduled Cup meeting on Sunday, 15 December and inviting the local community to welcome the return of racing to the track.

“Along with free admission there will be an assortment of free kids’ activities and family entertainment, including live music, plus free shuttle buses in and out of the town centre. We want 15 December to be a great day for the Werribee community.”

The WRC will be contacting people with bookings for next Wednesday in person and working to accommodate alternate arrangements for the 15 December meeting.

Nominations for Wednesday’s transferred Ballarat meeting have been extended to 10am tomorrow, with acceptances to be taken at 9am on Monday, 11 November.