Spring to Start in September

There will be even more spring carnival this year after Racing Victoria announced that the spring carnival would begin on September 17.

The first day of the spring carnival will be headlined by the Group One Underwood Stakes, which will be the first of eight consecutive Saturdays to feature a Group One race.

There have been a number of changes for the 2011 carnival because of the AFL’s decision to move their Grand Final from the last weekend in September to the first weekend in October.

The Sir Rupert Clark Stakes, the Caulfield Guineas Prelude and the Testa Rossa Stakes will be the feature events of a new meeting, scheduled for September 24. These races have traditionally been held on the same day as the Underwood Stakes, however with the AFL moving their Grand Final, another weekend became available in September.

Night racing at Moonee Valley will continue to kick off on the night before the AFL Grand Final, meaning the night racing schedule has also been put back a week and will now commence on Friday September 30. The Manikato Stakes will again headline the first night meeting of the season at the Valley.

The Group One Turnbull Stakes meeting will kick off the Melbourne Cup carnival on Sunday October 2. The Turnbull was moved to a Sunday last year to accommodate the replayed AFL Grand Final and officials were happy with the outcome and have decided to once again run the Turnbull on a Sunday.

All in all the spring carnival will feature 112 meetings over 65 days. It will all wrap up after the Ballarat Cup on November 20.

Racing Victoria Chief Strategy officer Paul Bittar said that the change in the AFL season had forced Racing Victoria to rethink its scheduling.

He went on to say that changes had been made to the schedule so that similar races were closer together.

“The changes to the start of the spring racing carnival optimise the flow of races at Caulfield in particular, with the Rupert Clarke Stakes now two weeks before the Toorak Handicap and the Caulfield Guineas is now only a fortnight after the prelude instead of three weeks.” Bittar said.