Racing Victoria (RV) will next week launch three months of race-free Mondays and the first of ten Wednesday twilight meetings across the state.
From 15 January to 26 March inclusive, no race meetings will take place in Victoria on Mondays – with the exception of the Labour Day public holiday on 12 March – to provide a break for racing participants from the busy seven-day schedule.
During the January trial period, the existing Monday meetings will instead be switched to Wednesdays and run between 12.30pm and 4pm; while the existing Wednesday afternoon meetings will be run as twilights, with the first race starting at 4.30pm and the last at 8pm.
In February and March, the finishing time of the twilight meetings will be brought forward to approximately 7.30pm and 7pm respectively, as the available daylight reduces.
The trial, which aims to build on the popularity of night racing, will test whether there is an appetite amongst Victorian racegoers and punters for twilight meetings on Wednesdays.
The first Wednesday twilight meeting will take place at Caulfield Racecourse on 17 January. Six of the remaining nine twilight meetings will be held at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown), with Ballarat Turf Club hosting two and Bendigo Jockey Club the other one.
“We are looking ahead with keen interest to next week’s introduction of three months of race-free Mondays,” said Paul Bloodworth, RV’s Racing Operations Manager.
“This initiative is a first for racing in Victoria, and one which will assist us in future decision-making around the use of twilights and our customers’ preferences.
“We will be closely monitoring the impact this trial has on wagering and participation as we convert the Monday meetings to Wednesday fixtures, with the existing Wednesday afternoon meetings shifting back to twilight.
“Due to the success of our night racing program and the significant turnover growth created by double-header Thursdays and Fridays, we are confident this trial period will be a success.”