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Posted 2020-06-05 06:50:12  
Melbourne Spring Carnival Remains unchanged

The proposal for a revamped Spring Carnival has been rejected.

The Racing Victoria board met on Friday and voted to keep the current schedule, including the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup Carnivals on their traditional dates in October.

The proposal, heavily backed by the Melbourne Racing Club, would have seen 12 Saturdays of consecutive Group 1 racing and the Caulfield Cup pushed back to the final Saturday in November.

But others, notably the Australian Trainers Association, indicated they were against any such move.

RV Chairman Brian Kruger said on Friday afternoon that the Carnival would retain its traditional dates and would kick off with the G1 Memsie Stakes on August 29.

Kruger said staying with the traditional program 'is in the best overall interests of Victorian and Australian racing'.

An announcement regarding potential prizemoney cuts will be made by early July.

"In making its decision, the Board agreed that any case for major change owing to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic did not provide compelling outcomes with enough certainty to outweigh the benefits of retaining the existing structure, particularly when racing on mainland Australia has continued throughout the pandemic," Kruger said.

"Understanding that the situation will continue to evolve, the road to spring glory starts in June for the vast majority of our elite horses and that's why we owed it to owners and trainers to make this decision now.

"Our core product is racing and we need to ensure that we continue to attract the very best horses, trainers and jockeys, where restrictions allow, to Victoria for our feature races.

"We noted that the Australian Trainers Association and Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association both supported the retention of our existing program.

Kruger said the impact of a revamped carnival on the autumn program was also considered.

"We considered the potential impacts on our Festival of Racing in February and March 2021 and whether a later carnival would encourage horses to bypass races here in late summer, early autumn to pursue later opportunities interstate," he said.

"The current pathways and grand finals of the Spring Racing Carnival are well understood, and we believe retaining that existing structure this year will give us the best opportunity for outstanding fields and broad support, both from local and out-of-state competitors.

"Equally, racing fans want to see the very best compete against one another and we know that the Spring Racing Carnival is Australia's leading wagering product having been warmly supported by punters in its current format for many years."

Kruger said competing against other sports in October, namely the AFL, was considered in voting to stay with the current schedule.

"The challenge for publicity and media coverage from additional competition throughout October is a real one, but we were ultimately of the opinion that it couldn't be the primary driver for change in a year in which uncertainty still abounds," he said.

"We are looking forward with optimism at the spotlight that sport will receive in the media landscape this spring and in the knowledge that we have great media partners, in addition to guaranteed free-to-air broadcasts, to showcase our premier races.

"In making its decision today, the RV Board looks forward to all within the industry working together to ensure that the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival is the best that it can possibly be in a unique and compromised year."

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