The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) is pleased to announce it has consolidated its racing strategy until 2025, giving a sense of certainty and excitement to racegoers and industry participants.
VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said following a detailed analysis of different racing scenarios for Flemington by the team and the Board over the past 18 months, a decision has been made to retain the one-track model. This will preserve the high quality of racing that VRC members and the public expect, while still allowing scope to innovate.
“The VRC will focus on optimising each of its 25 race days to a premium level. We have introduced twilight dates across summer and autumn, and are now considering the possibility of lights down the Flemington straight for a day/night program involving our incredible new facilities, and giving our patrons a new experience,” Mrs Elliott said.
“The Board also considered the existing heavy schedule of racing for human and equine participants, and felt that concentrating on taking its 25 meetings to a whole new level was more important than increasing the number of race meetings held at Flemington.
“The next phase of the planning horizon has been designed to leverage the distinctive features and deep history that VRC members and racing enthusiasts value at Flemington. We will place an emphasis on elevating existing black-type races as well as developing new ones with the ambition of having a feature race at every VRC raceday.”
Mrs Elliott said the Club was also pleased to reassure Flemington trainers that training would remain at the track into the next planning phase post-2025.
“We have many of the best trainers in Australia based at Flemington. This decision gives them certainty going forward,” Mrs Elliott said.
This announcement comes off the back of an increase in prizemoney and bonuses for the Melbourne Cup Carnival to a record $27.6 million, and a new multi-million-dollar synthetic training track.
As part of these changes, the VRC will introduce twilight racing on Saturday 14 December, Saturday 18 January, Sunday 9 February and Wednesday 4 March.
Sunday 9 February will mark Flemington’s first straight-course race meeting, with all races held on the famous Flemington straight. The VRC is currently planning some exciting new concepts for this meeting which will be announced once finalised.
The VRC is the industry leader in prize money top-ups. The Club’s annual contribution to prizemoney and bonuses, over and above the industry allocation, sits at $10.5 million.
One of the key focuses of the VRC’s racing strategy was and continues to be the welfare of our horses. This has resulted in the VRC undertaking a body of work aimed at ensuring Flemington has the best facilities for training, racing and recovery.
In addition, owners’ facilities will be elevated at this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival with a new al fresco area adjacent to the Mounting Yard. Planning for an ambitious and modern revamp of the entire jockeys’ precinct is underway.
Racing Victoria’s Chief Executive Officer Giles Thompson commended the VRC on its plans which put equine welfare and the experience of customers and participants at the centre of the strategy.
“I congratulate the VRC for its innovative approach to future planning for the Club and Flemington Racecourse. Participant amenity, equine welfare and customer experience are at the heart of the plans, and I welcome the VRC’s ongoing investment in these important areas.
“I look forward to working with the VRC, metropolitan racing clubs and industry participants to continue to deliver the best racing jurisdiction in the world.”