This week the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) announced an altered race programme for Crown Oaks Day 2011, the third meeting of the iconic Melbourne Cup Carnival set to light up Flemington Racecourse on Thursday November 3, 2011.
The day’s racing will be headlined by the spring carnival’s premier race for three-year-old fillies, the 2011 Crown Oaks, which has been moved back on the Flemington card from race six to race seven.
This means the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m), registered as the VRC Oaks, will have the same famous Flemington Race 7 number as the renowned Melbourne Cup.
Alterations to the racing line-up will see the this season’s Crown Oaks jump an hour and a half later than in previous years, this year marking the 150th running of the race.
The 2011 Crown Oaks race time is now set for 4:25pm (local time), while the day’s opening event will kick-off 70 minutes later than last year at 12:20pm (local time).
VRC Chief Executive Dale Monteith said the changes to the Crown Oaks Day schedule were made in response to customer feedback and would ensure a more positive race day experience for all racegoers while also making the trip home from Australia’s most famous racecourse much smoother for commuters.
“We know racegoers tend to arrive later at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day than the other days of the Carnival,” Mr Monteith explained.
“The move is about accommodating our customer’s needs.
“Crown Oaks Day is the only Flemington raceday held on a working day.
“With a later start, racegoers can work a half-day and still attend Ladies’ Day at Flemington, while interstate visitors will be able to fly that morning.
“By starting and finishing later, it will be quicker and easier for all our patrons to travel to and from Flemington, whether by train, tram, car, helicopter or boat.”
While the Crown Oaks is the sole Group race feature at the third Melbourne Cup Carnival race day, there are still plenty of other top-class features for racegoers to enjoy with four Listed features among the nine-race programme.
Accompanying black-type races that will provide plenty of entertainment this Crown Oaks Day are the $150,000 Listed Century Stakes (1100m), $150,000 Listed Batman Handicap (1800m), $150,000 Listed Red Roses Stakes (1200m) and the $150,000 Listed Begonia Belle Stakes (1100m).
As well as the racing action, the November 3 meeting is well-known for its Myer Fashions on the Field competition.
The VRC has moved to improve the whole Crown Oaks Day agenda and experience now in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Fashions on the Field next year.
Record crowds are expected to attend the 2012 Crown Oaks Day to be a part of the milestone Australian final of Myer Fashions on the Field.
“Ladies will have the luxury of more time to prepare for one of the great outdoor fashion events, the national final of Myer Fashions on the Field, or to enjoy an Oaks Day brunch with their friends, colleagues or families,” Mr. Monteith said.
“Hospitality service times will be adjusted slightly but our patrons can rest assured that overall our many dining and hospitality offerings will remain unchanged.
“Each of the four days of our fabulous Melbourne Cup Carnival has its own identity, a point of difference.
“These changes further enhance the reputation of Crown Oaks Day as the ultimate style day of the Carnival.
“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is the world’s greatest racing event.
“The VRC is committed to listening to our customers, and to continually innovating and improving our offering to ensure that the Carnival remains at the forefront of the industry.”
Flemington’s 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival opens on Saturday October 29 with Victoria Derby Day, followed on Tuesday November 1 with the infamous Melbourne Cup Day featuring the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Crown Oaks Day follows on the Thursday before the carnival culminates on Saturday November 5 with Emirates Stakes Day, featuring a double hit of elite levels with the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) and the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) where the world’s best racehorse Black Caviar will be the drawcard contender.