Spring carnival racegoers may need to set their alarm clocks if they wish to attend the Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington after it was announced that the card will kick off at 10.30 in the morning.
VRC Chief Executive Dale Monteith confirmed the card would be bought forward because of a clash with the Royal Melbourne Show, which is held next door to the Flemington track.
However the decision has caused tension between the VRC and Tabcorp (the official wagering partner of the VRC), who believe they will miss out on betting revenue because of the move.
“We estimate the impact to be up to 30 per cent of the expected turnover on the meeting, which equates to some millions of dollars,” said Tabcorp managing of marketing Ian Mackay.
“The total day turnover impact does depend on what other programming changes are made by Racing Victoria to mitigate the impact of the early start of the Turnbull Stakes meeting. We are aware that they are looking to make some changes to offset the decrease. The impact was advised to RVL and VRC some time back, so they’ve reached their decision factoring this in.”
The Turnbull Stakes day card is set to finish at 2.30 in the afternoon, and it is believed that Racing Victoria will either schedule a regional meeting to kick off on Sunday afternoon, or move the Friday night Moonee Valley meeting to the Sunday.
Despite the protests from Tabcorp, Monteith said his hands remained ties because of the show and the AFL Grand Final.
“We’ve certainly copped it with this meeting. Last year the AFL Grand Final replay forced our hand (the meeting was moved to the Sunday) and this year with the Grand Final being pushed back to October 1, we had to move to the Sunday to avoid a clash,” Monteith said
“About five months ago we became aware the state government had pushed the school holidays back to go into the first week of October, which meant the timing of the Royal Melbourne Show changed.
“We’re expecting 20,000 to 25,000 at the Turnbull Stakes, while that day is probably the biggest day of the show, where they’ll get as many as 75,000.
Monteith went on to say that the VRC had explored all avenues and possible venue changes, and that the time change was the best possible solution.
The 3rd of October is also the first day of daylight savings, meaning it will be an especially early start.