Jenny - Clean

RACING Victoria (RV) has today released its 2015-16 racing calendar which will feature 557 race meetings across the state from 1 August to 31 July.

The 2015-16 program has been determined by RV following a collaborative process with Clubs and stakeholders which saw feedback considered from a draft of the race dates circulated in December 2014.


Following is a summary of the features and changes of the 2015-16 Victorian racing calendar:

  • Night racing expansion – The expansion of Victoria’s night racing circuit from 36 to 51 meetings with the introduction of Thursday night racing at Park (Pakenham). With the State Government today announcing $5 million in funding for lighting infrastructure at Park, 16 Thursday nights – nine on turf, seven on synthetic – have been programmed at Victoria’s newest racetrack from 21 January 2016 to 26 May 2016;
  • Spring Racing Carnival changes – A restructure of several feature meetings during spring to accommodate the week’s delay in staging of the 2015 AFL Grand Final:
  • Friday night, 25 September – Opening of the night racing season at Moonee Valley
  • Saturday, 26 September – Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes meeting, Caulfield
  • Friday, 2 October – Benalla Gold Cup, Benalla
  • Friday night, 2 October – Group 1 Moir Stakes meeting, Moonee Valley
  • Saturday, 3 October – AFL Grand Final Day meeting, Caulfield
  • Sunday, 4 October – Group 1 Turnbull Stakes meeting, Flemington;
  • Country Cups moved – Date changes for Country Cup meetings at the following venues:
  • Benalla (moves from first Sunday in October to AFL Grand Final eve)
  • Kilmore (moves to Sunday, 22 November, 2015 from a Sunday in February)
  • Pakenham (moves to Sunday, 29 November, 2015 from a Sunday in April*)
  • Mildura (moves to Sunday, 13 March, 2016 from a Sunday in August)
  • Echuca (moves to Sunday, 29 May, 2016 from a Sunday in March)
  • William Hill Park reduction – The number of meetings programmed at William Hill Park (Sandown) has been reduced from 37 to 33 to best manage its workload. Park will become the state’s most active racecourse with 38 meetings – 16 on turf and 22 on synthetic.
  • Meeting breakdown - The 557 race meetings programmed across the 2015-16 season are categorised as follows; 109 metropolitan, 416 country and 32 picnic.

RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said the expansion of night racing was part of the industry’s Strategic Plan and important to the industry’s future growth.

“Exploring opportunities to expand our night racing circuit has been one of the priorities of our Strategic Plan as we believe there are opportunities to build engagement and wagering both locally and into international markets,” Carpenter said.

“We flagged Park as our preferred option for a third Victorian night racing venue when we circulated the draft race dates to Clubs and stakeholders in December and the feedback has been positive.

“We are pleased that the State Government has today announced funding for the lighting infrastructure which allows the introduction of Thursday night racing at Park during the 2015-16 season.

“The 16 night meetings at Park are meetings which have been re-allocated from other Clubs to allow for the night racing expansion without significantly increasing the total number of Victorian meetings.

“When Thursday night meetings are programmed at Park we have programmed the day meetings outside the south east region to maximise participation in both meetings and spread the opportunities for participants.”

Carpenter explained that RV and the Pakenham Racing Club are targeting a 21 January 2016 launch of night racing at Park, but that this would be dependent on the progress of construction works.

“If adverse weather impacts on construction and the new lighting infrastructure is not ready in time for the first programmed night meetings then they will become twilight fixtures at Park,” he said.

Carpenter said that RV is continually striving to enhance the Victorian racing calendar and maximise opportunities to build engagement with racing fans and punters.

“The release of the 2015-16 race dates marks another important step in the innovation of our calendar and one that will provide us with key data to help shape future decisions,” he said.

“The extension of the night racing program aside, we’ll see significant change into next season with the shift of the AFL Grand Final prompting alterations to the Spring Racing Carnival program and a number of date swaps for Country Cup meetings.

“I wish to acknowledge and thank the Clubs and the stakeholder groups who have participated in formulating the 2015-16 race dates. It is always a challenge to balance the wishes of all parties, however the desire to grow and develop the sport remains common to all.”

Carpenter added that a review of Victoria’s late summer, early autumn racing program remains on-going with further changes to the 2015-16 calendar still possible in light of this review.

Irrespective of the review, he confirmed that racing on Good Friday had been ruled out in 2016 and that Moonee Valley will host the finale of its night racing season, featuring the Group 1 William Reid Stakes, on the night prior – Thursday, 24 March.

 (* There will be two Pakenham Cups contested at Park in 2015. The first is on Sunday, 26 April, before the Cup assumes its new annual timeslot on Sunday, 29 November)

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