Racing NSW reschedule causes heat with Victoria

Connor Bennett Roar Guru

By Connor Bennett, Connor Bennett is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger


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    The announcement from Racing NSW in early July of changes to their Sydney Spring Carnival has excited many people, however, Melbourne Racing Club chairman Mike Symons is not one of them.

    The Spring Carnival has been altered with race, distance and prize money changes across a host of events.

    While Symons understands the value of sprucing up a carnival for the benefit of those involved, he believes Racing NSW were ignorant in their communication with Racing Victoria and the Pattern Committee.

    “I’ve got no problem with jurisdictions making their carnivals more attractive but it has got to be done with the blessing and respect of the Pattern Committee,” said Symons.

    “In this instance, the process has been ignored and moving such races around has compromised the Pattern.”

    Racing Victoria upped a bevvy of their own high-profile races with additional prize money to attract stronger fields and international runners in May of this year.

    Racing NSW has made similar changes but to a lesser extent, including bringing the purse for the Craven Plate up to half a million dollars, a race famously won three times by Phar Lap.

    The Plate has also been moved from late September to mid-October as a curtain raiser to the highly anticipated first running of The Everest.

    While the monetary changes made by Racing NSW aren’t an issue according to Symons, there are scheduling clashes that have now impacted the Victorian carnival directly.

    “There’s no issue with lifting prizemoney, that should be welcomed,” said Symons.

    “Our frustration comes with a race like the Hill Stakes, which has been moved to be on the same weekend as the Underwood Stakes, and dropped from 2000m to 1800m.”

    While both the Hill and Underwood Stakes have history dating back to the early 1920s when first run, Sydney’s Hill Stakes has never once been run at 1,800 metres.

    Until now. Not only has the distance been dropped, but to the exact length of one of Victoria’s marquee carnival weight-for-age races, the Underwood.

    The changes are a frustrating factor of the Sydney carnival for Symons who believes the Melbourne race will now struggle because of it.

    “On the Saturday you will have a Hill Stakes in Sydney for weight-for-age horses at 1800m and then on the Sunday we will have the Underwood in Melbourne, which is a weight-for-age race over 1800m.

    “It dilutes the product and splits the pool of horses that both races are likely to attract.”

    There’s no word on whether Symons or any branch of Racing Victoria will challenge these changes, especially the alterations made to the Hill Stakes.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • Roar Rookie

      July 17th 2017 @ 8:08am
      Davico said | July 17th 2017 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Has never stopped Melbourne changing races during the Autumn that compromise the Sydney carnival!

    • Roar Guru

      July 17th 2017 @ 8:25am
      Will Sinclair said | July 17th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Victorian racing officials whinging about Sydney scheduling races without asking them first! Now I’ve seen everything!

    • July 17th 2017 @ 10:15am
      Mike from tari said | July 17th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      I seem to remember that the Victorians increased their Autumn price money on some of their lead in races a few years ago to attract the better horses from NSW away from the Sydney autumn, now NSW has retaliated & the Vics don’t like it mainly because of a horse named Winx.

    • July 18th 2017 @ 5:07pm
      no one in particular said | July 18th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

      Next Melbourne will be whinging that Sydney are racing on Saturdays too

    • July 18th 2017 @ 6:39pm
      Razzar said | July 18th 2017 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

      I’ve been listening to Matt Stewart whinging about Sydney racing for around 15 years. It’s about time he and some of the RSN crew got over it. Having progressive ideas like NSW racing should be addictive.

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