Derby Day used to be the pinnacle for the Australian punter.
Wow! AFL and NRL finals are over and we are straight into one of the highlights of the Spring, and suprisingly only seeing three starters for the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes, with superstar Winx scaring off the opposition.
Next week we’re into the Caulfield Cup, followed by the Cox Plate and then Derby Day!
» Everything you need to know about the 2016 Melbourne Cup
» All the horses: 2016 Melbourne Cup field and nominations
» Melbourne Cup TV guide: How to watch, stream and listen to the big race
» The complete and comprehensive 2016 Melbourne Cup raceday schedule
Well, didn’t that come about quickly?
Racing traditionally enjoyed its time to shine after the footy, but times have changed. Notice this week other major sports such as the A-League and the NBL are very strategically launching in this footy-free zone.
Matt Stewart wrote a thought-provoking piece in the Herald Sun on Monday, lamenting the lack of marketing nous from Racing Victoria, nor a coordinated approach between racing clubs the VRC, Melbourne Racing Club and Moonee Valley.
The Australian reported on the spring launch of Tabcorp “highlighting the Spring Racing Carnival represents 20 per cent of its turnover for the year”.
So that got me thinking – if I were commercially responsible for the returns to the racing industry, what would I do? Racing Victoria is looking for a new CEO, so let’s consider this my open letter application.
Let’s extend the Spring Carnival by one week. The formula remains the same, with the Melbourne Cup staying on the Tuesday. The VRC have instigated some change for this year, with the 2000m weight-for-age Mckinnon swapped to the last Saturday, with a prizemoney hike that will hopefully entice most of the field from the Cox Plate.
So that’s it. Most great ideas have an air of simplicity!
Nothing on in Melbourne racing the following week. Melbourne Cup falls on the second Tuesday in November and everything else falls into line.
What’s going to stop even discussing this option? Only 154 years of tradition with a capital T.
I do love that terminology of the first Tuesday in November. But as I was watching the AFL grand final, I listened to Mike Brady sing that iconic song ‘One Day in September’ and I heard him change the lines to “One day in October”.
And I know it’s sacrilege, but that unknown sports administrator at the AFL put in a bye week before finals and is considering a night grand final.
Sometimes commercial return and new thinking wins out over tradition. Has anybody seen my pink cricket ball? The Test is starting!