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RACING Victoria (RV) has today released its 2014-15 racing calendar which will feature 555 race meetings across the state from 1 August to 31 July.

The announcement comes as RV takes the first steps to review and restructure its racing calendar as earmarked in the industry’s recently released strategic plan, Racing For The Future.

A total of 13 meetings, being five country TAB, seven non-TAB and one picnic meeting, have been removed to better match the racing calendar with the current horse population and to maximise infrastructure usage.

The majority of the meetings have been removed from Saturdays or Sundays in January to March when field sizes have been most impacted by increased racing over the past five years.

The reduction of meetings will see Victoria return to the volume of racing conducted in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons with club allocations back in line with the industry’s infrastructure plan.

Despite the reductions, total prizemoney will not reduce for the 2014-15 season, with funding for the meetings to be redistributed across the year. Some of the initiatives being considered include;

  • the addition of a ninth race on Saturday metropolitan meetings;
  • the extension of selected Sunday country meetings to nine and 10 race cards; and
  • a commitment to divide further country races should acceptances warrant it.

RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the 2014-15 racing calendar would provide a platform from which future growth can be achieved.

“As forecast in our strategic plan, we are committed to reviewing and restructuring the racing calendar over the next three years to ensure that it’s best placed to foster growth in participation, engagement, wagering and media reach,” Carpenter said.

“As part of that initiative we are not only identifying ways to improve our racing product, but to better utilise our tracks and infrastructure and to build efficiencies in the conduct of race meetings.

“The release of the 2014-15 race dates marks an important first step in the innovation of our calendar and one that will provide us with key data to help shape future decisions.

“In reviewing our calendar, we identified a dramatic reduction in field sizes throughout the months of January to March due to the clutter of racing at this time. We have taken steps to address this next season with the removal of some Saturday and Sunday country meetings during this period.

“We undertook a similar initiative this season when reducing the volume of meetings in the popular pre-Christmas period and, as a result, December saw an increase in the average field size and a reduction in the number of races with less than eight starters.

“Volume of racing aside, the 2014-15 racing calendar has undergone significant changes with the elevation of the Ballarat and Mornington Cups to stand-alone Saturday meetings, the swap of the Makybe Diva Stakes and Dato Tan Chin Nam meetings and the expansion of night racing into May.

“With the opening of the new world-class Pakenham turf and synthetic tracks scheduled next season also, it promises to be an exciting and interesting season for Victorian racing fans and participants.”

Following is a summary of the key features and changes of the 2014-15 Victorian racing calendar;

  • Caulfield track – The track will undergo a major renovation after the 2014 Caulfield Cup Carnival which results in eight meetings being reallocated to Sandown and Moonee Valley between October 2014 and February 2015;
  • New Pakenham – The new Pakenham Racecourse at Tynong will open for racing with the first of eight turf meetings for the season scheduled for Thursday, 26 March, 2015. Synthetic racing will commence on Tuesday, 26 May, 2015 with nine meetings programmed;
  • Spring Racing Carnival swap – The Makybe Diva Stakes (Flemington) and Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (Moonee Valley) meetings have been switched on the first two Saturdays in September to provide a better flow of weight-for-age, three-year-old and mares races;
  • Caulfield Cup Carnival – The Thousand Guineas has been moved to Caulfield Guineas Day thus creating the state’s second raceday with four Group 1 races with the midweek Wednesday meeting to now be headed up by the Blue Sapphire;
  • Night racing expansion – The night racing season will enter a ninth month with four Friday night meetings, running from 5pm to 8.30pm, programmed at Cranbourne in May 2015;
  • Ballarat Cup – The Spring Racing Carnival finale moves from Sunday to become a stand-alone Saturday metropolitan meeting on 22 November 2014;
  • Mornington Cup – The state’s richest regional/country cup moves from a Wednesday in February to become a stand-alone Saturday metropolitan meeting on 28 March 2015;
  • AFL Grand Final Day – The Saturday, 27 September 2014 metropolitan meeting has been moved from Mornington to Sandown;
  • Country Cups - As part of a strategy to reduce the instances of Country Cup clashes, the Colac Cup has been moved forward a fortnight to Sunday, 15 February 2015; while the Horsham Cup has moved from a Sunday in October to Friday, 31 October 2014.
  • Meeting breakdown - The 555 race meetings programmed across the 2014-15 season are categorised as follows; 111 metropolitan, 411 country and 33 picnic.

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