The Lexus Melbourne Cup day last year. Picture: AAP/Michael Dodge
The Lexus Melbourne Cup day last year. Picture: AAP/Michael Dodge

Victorian trainers torn over spring racing reshuffle

A number of trainers still need to be convinced about the merits of a revamped spring carnival as Racing Victoria drags out a decision on whether the Caulfield Cup will be held in November.

RV said it would not hand down a ruling until June 10, despite sending out a draft schedule to Melbourne's key racing clubs early last week.

Australian Trainers Association chief executive Andrew Nicholl said the "flow" of the calendar remained the biggest concern.

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The ATA and the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association were involved in a teleconference with RV and the Melbourne Racing Club.

"The pattern is what's important," Nicholl said.

"This is not about a month program or a three-month program, this is a 365-day program.

"There's not much time from November to January before they come back into work for February."

The Herald Sun revealed last week that the revamped schedule would involve running the Group1 Caulfield Guineas on November 21 and the Caulfield Cup a week late on November 28.

This would avoid a clash with marquee Sydney races, the Golden Eagle and The Everest, and potentially allows MRC to welcome back crowds to Caulfield as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

The proposal would result in Group 1 features including the Memsie, Turnbull and Underwood stakes being moved back from traditional timeslots.

The racehorse owners association is in opposition to the change.



Trainer Mick Price. Picture: AAP/Quentin Lang
Trainer Mick Price. Picture: AAP/Quentin Lang


Both the ATA and TROA have until 5pm Wednesday to lodge their "position papers" on the reshuffle.

The Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup will be run in their traditional slots.

Any proposed financial benefits of the clear air which would come with a reshuffled Caulfield carnival will need to be made transparent for trainers' and owners' approval.

"It'd be fair to say there's a broad range of views (within training ranks), there really is, definitely support for picking up the whole carnival and moving the whole carnival back a month," Nicholl said.

"If you ask a definitive question of the trainers: 'Would you like to see the Spring Carnival back they will give you a firm yes, many of them.

"But if you ask about moving bits and pieces, a lot of them go 'well, we don't care really'.

"They would love to see the pattern remain as it is because it is tried and tested … (if the spring was to be) picked up holus-bolus and moved (in the future), a lot are happy with that because they see it as logical."

The ATA will today thrash out any final thoughts and grievances prior the lodgement of its position paper.

Leading trainer Mick Price was ambivalent towards the proposed changes.

"It just gets a bit messy with the VRC not doing it," Price told RSN.

"If they all did it it'd be perfect … it gets messy (otherwise) but it's a messy year."

Originally published as Victorian trainers torn over spring racing reshuffle