Racing Victoria (RV) on Monday released its 2019-20 Race Dates following extensive consultation with Racing Clubs and industry stakeholders.
The 12-month schedule of meetings will see Victoria host 558 race meetings over 351 days – one more race meeting than the 2018-19 season due to 2020 being a leap year.
The 558 race meetings are split as follows – 115 metropolitan, 390 country TAB, 20 country non-TAB and 33 picnic meetings. Victoria programmed 557 in the 2018-19 season which is 17 less meetings than a decade ago.
In response to industry feedback, the 2019-20 Race Dates contains four additional midweek metropolitan meetings throughout September and October 2019, to be held at country venues.
These meetings will be held at Bendigo (11 September and 9 October), Cranbourne (18 September) and Ballarat (2 October) and carry minimum prizemoney of $50,000 per race, up from $26,000 per race last spring.
To ensure continuity of midweek metropolitan racing in spring, Sandown have also been allocated an additional meeting on Wednesday, 4 September 2019.
Other changes or decisions of note in the 2019-20 Race Dates include:
• The All-Star Mile – The second edition of the world’s richest mile race will take place at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday, 14 March 2020 – retaining its position as a signature race in the Festival of Racing, one week after Super Saturday at Flemington;
• Race-free Mondays and double-header Wednesdays - Based on the strong overall wagering numbers over the past two years, race-free Mondays and double-header Wednesdays will continue from December 2019 to March 2020;
• Night and twilight racing – A total of 56 night meetings and 20 twilight meetings, equating to 13.6% of total meetings, have been programmed in 2019-20 – the same as the current season. Included within are new twilight meetings at Flemington on Sunday, 9 February 2020 and Wednesday, 4 March 2020;
• Country Cups - As a result of the Sunday twilight meeting at Flemington, the Colac Cup will be run one week later than 2019 on Sunday, 16 February 2020. The Yarra Valley Cup meeting has been moved from its traditional Sunday afternoon timeslot in March to the Friday before Christmas, being 20 December 2019, at the request of the Club;
• Synthetic Racing - The synthetic racing season will conclude two weeks earlier than last year on Tuesday, 10 September 2019, providing trainers more turf options leading into the Spring Racing Carnival. As a result, the number of meetings conducted on synthetic has reduced from 37 to 35 of which 18 will be held at Racing.com Park and 17 at Ballarat;
• Ballarat – An increase in the number of meetings programmed at Ballarat from 30 to 36 as a result of the synthetic track being fully operational and the turf track being able to conduct meetings in January and February; and
• Geelong – Geelong has been allocated 25 turf meetings, up from 21 in the current racing season, following the conclusion of synthetic racing at the venue in September 2018.
RV General Manager – International and Racing Operations, Paul Bloodworth, said, “With strong wagering, participation and engagement results and the consolidation and success of night and twilight racing we have not sought to make wholesale changes to the Race Dates in 2019-20.
“We are pleased to offer additional metropolitan midweek meetings at country venues in early spring to provide trainers with more lucrative options to prepare their horses for key races during the Spring Racing Carnival.
“After the successful running of the original The All-Star Mile, we are also pleased to confirm the meeting will retain its timeslot and be run on Saturday, 14 March in 2020. We believe the race fits nicely within the Victorian and national racing calendar at this time and provides a terrific platform to showcase the world’s richest mile race which will now move to Caulfield.
“The continuation of race-free Mondays and double-header Wednesdays is another positive for the industry following strong wagering results. The Wednesday twilight meetings saw a turnover increase of 19.7% compared to the previous season, reaffirming that punters prefer a product held at times that they can engage with it.
“On behalf of RV, I would like to thank our key stakeholders and Race Clubs who engaged in the consultation process and helped deliver a set of Race Dates that are in the best overall interests of the industry.”
To view the full schedule of the 2019-20 Victorian Race Dates click here.
To view the 2019-20 Victorian Race Dates infographic click here.
Following are the key dates of note:
• 31 August 2019 – First Group 1 of the season (Memsie Stakes, Caulfield)
• 27 September 2019 – Start of night racing season (Moonee Valley)
• 19 October 2019 – Stella Artois Caulfield Cup
• 26 October 2019 – Ladbrokes Cox Plate
• 5 November 2019 – Lexus Melbourne Cup
• 2 December 2019 – First race-free Monday
• 22 February 2020 – Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes
• 7 March 2020 – Super Saturday
• 14 March 2020 – All-Star Mile (Caulfield)
• 20 March 2020 – Final Group 1 of the season (William Reid Stakes, Moonee Valley)