RACING Victoria (RV) has today revealed Ballarat Turf Club (BTC) has been allocated a standalone Saturday metropolitan meeting for its popular Cup Day in 2014 amongst a suite of preliminary race program and infrastructure enhancements outlined in the initial draft of race dates for the 2014-15 season.

BTC’s popular regional Cup meeting will be staged on Saturday, 22 November 2014 and remain the concluding event of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.

In announcing the change, Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said Ballarat’s Cup meeting would provide an endpoint to the Carnival and showcase country racing to a broader audience.

“Ballarat’s standalone Saturday race meeting provides a great opportunity to showcase the quality Cup program and another opportunity for racing to take its stars to country Victoria in racing’s most popular timeslot,” Carpenter said.

“The announcement reflects Racing Victoria’s desire to create new events in the calendar by restructuring the race program to take advantage of key attendance, media and wagering windows.

“A major review of the calendar is underway, as outlined in the recently released Strategic Plan for 2013-16, and a further series of enhancements will be announced after a review of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and late summer/early autumn period of racing is conducted.”

A second standalone Saturday metropolitan meeting was also allocated with the Mornington Cup to be transferred from its traditional Wednesday timeslot in mid February to Saturday, 28 March 2015, allowing for a natural progression for quality staying horses during the late summer/early autumn period.

While Mornington picks up this important Saturday timeslot for its rich Cup day, in September its AFL Grand Final day race meeting has been moved to Sandown which returns to racing next season after a surface renovation.                                                    

Ballarat and Mornington join Bendigo, which hosts the Golden Mile Raceday in the late summer/early autumn period, as the three regional centres hosting standalone Saturday meetings in the 2014/15 season.

RV will guarantee the new standalonemeetings for three years, with key performance indicators in place for each year to assess success.

One of the major highlights of the dates will be the opening of a new race track in Victoria with Pakenham Racing Club beginning racing at their state of the art racing facility at Tynong.

The new $70 million racecourse development will commence racing over two stages in 2014/15 with the opening meeting on the turf track on Wednesday, 26 March 2015, and the synthetic surface, which will provide an important all-weather option for the state’s south-east, from June 2015. In 2014/15 the Pakenham Racing Club has been allocated 17 meetings, 10 on grass, and seven synthetic meetings transferred from Geelong Synthetic.

Alongside race date changes, RV was pleased to welcome back several venues for a full racing season which have been out of action while renovations were underway;

·         $4.5m major track renovation at Moe racecourse is also nearing completion, with the Moe Racing Club scheduled for its return meeting on its StrathAyr surface on Tuesday, 18 February, 2014.

·         Ballarat to return after its current surface renovation on Sunday, 11 May 2014.

While Moe and Ballarat will return, Caulfield’s race surface will undergo a renovation immediately following the 2014 Caulfield Cup meeting in October with the Melbourne Racing Club to return at Caulfield for its Orr Stakes meeting on Saturday, 14 February 2015.

During this period, RV will reprogram Caulfield meetings to Sandown (six) and Moonee Valley (two).

The Colac Cup will also be shifted as part of RV’s strategy to remove, where possible, country cup clashes and maximise wagering and event opportunities for clubs. It will now be held a week earlier on Sunday, 15 February.

The changes announced today are part of RV’s commitment to strengthening the quality and depth of Victoria’s racing program to better showcase Victorian racing, while delivering growth in wagering, attendance, media reach and whole of industry engagement.

Following another round of industry consultation and the development of further enhancements of the calendar and program the final version of the race dates will be released in March 2014.