Racing to resume Wednesday with programming changes announced

25 April 2023 Written by VRC

Following consultation with the Victorian Jockeys Association (VJA) and the Australian Trainers Association (ATA), Racing Victoria (RV) wishes to advise that racing will resume in Victoria tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday, 26 April) at Sportsbet-Ballarat.

Today’s ANZAC Day race meetings at Flemington and Moe were cancelled out of respect for the family of jockey Dean Holland who tragically lost his life in a fall in the opening race at Donald Racecourse yesterday. The remainder of the Donald meeting was also abandoned.

The second of seven races at Sportsbet-Ballarat at 2.10pm tomorrow has been renamed the “In Honour of Dean Holland”, with jockeys to wear black armbands throughout the meeting in recognition of their lost colleague and friend.

Following a review of the racing program and consultation with a broad range of participants and stakeholders, RV has also announced the following programming changes in light of the abandonment of three race meetings over the past 24 hours:

Sportsbet-Pakenham – Thursday Night, 27 April

The William Newton VC Handicap (2000m), which had been scheduled for Flemington today, has been added to the program at Sportsbet-Pakenham this Thursday night, 27 April with all scratchings reinstated, the full field and barriers remaining as published, and the race retaining its metropolitan status.

Consideration was given to running the $150,000 race at several other venues in the coming days, including at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown) on Saturday, however a number did not have a 2000m start available for use.

The William Newton VC Handicap is an important lead-up race to the next Lexus Melbourne Cup golden ticket race, the Listed Lexus Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington on 13 May.

With the 2000m chute not lit at Pakenham, the William Newton VC Handicap will be the first of nine races at 4.45pm with the existing eight races all brought forward 30 minutes. The night meeting will now conclude at the earlier time of 8.45pm.

bet365 Geelong – Friday, 28 April

The $80,000 Benchmark 70 Handicap (1300m) programmed at Ladbrokes Park on Saturday, 29 April has been brought forward 24 hours and will now be run at the bet365 Geelong meeting on Friday afternoon, 28 April to help accommodate the transfer of two black type races to Saturday’s metropolitan program.

Nominations for the BM70 race closed yesterday and remain as they stand with acceptances to be taken for the race and bet365 Geelong meeting at 9.15am tomorrow. With the transfer occurring before acceptances, the race will now be considered a country race for the purposes of apprentice claims.

Ladbrokes Park – Saturday, 29 April

The two black type races scheduled on today’s Flemington card, the Listed ANZAC Stakes (1400m) and the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m), have been added to Saturday’s program at Ladbrokes Park to create a 10-race meeting.

Following consultation with trainers, the VRC St Leger has been extended from 2800m to 3000m due to the unavailability of a 2800m start on the Ladbrokes Park Hillside track. The distance for the ANZAC Stakes remains unchanged.

The fields and barriers are to remain as published for both races with all scratchings to be reinstated. Race times will be set when acceptances are taken for the remainder of the Ladbrokes Park program tomorrow.

Horsham – Saturday, 29 April

A $27,000 1400m Benchmark 58 race for Fillies & Mares has been added to the program at Horsham this Saturday (29 April), with nominations to close at 10am tomorrow and acceptances taken at 9am on Thursday.

Priority in the ballot will be given to horses which remained in the field for yesterday’s Benchmark 58 for Fillies & Mares (1350m) at Donald at the time of its abandonment.

Programming Review

RV’s Racing Operations team has today reviewed the broader program and determined that there are sufficient alternative racing options for horses affected by the abandonment of the remaining races at Donald yesterday and the meetings at Flemington and Moe today over the next fortnight.

RV will closely monitor nominations and acceptances over the coming days and run divisions where possible to minimise the impact of the abandonments on owners and trainers.