With all the talk of late surrounding improved prizemoney levels, naming new races, and which state has the best racing carnivals, perhaps it might be prudent to take a step back and look at what we already have.
Not the new stuff or the new debates, but at the races we’ve watched for years.
Could some of them do with a makeover?
And, one that comes to mind, certainly has been the subject of chat via Twitter of late, is the Gr 1 VRC Derby.
The prevailing thought is that the gruelling 2500m race comes to soon for 3YOs.
This is complimented by the fact so much inbreeding has occurred over the past 15 years that its cause and effect is to weaken the bone structure of young horses.
Certainly the days of 2YOs having 32 starts before they turn three (Seabiscuit did that) are gone.
And with the recent spate of deaths in the US, perhaps line and inbreeding is now starting to take a real toll all over the world.
Isolating for scrutiny the Gr 1 VRC Derby, which is run on Super Saturday in early November every year, suggests we should perhaps move that race.
Last year’s winner for example, Extra Brut, has not won a race since the Derby and if you look at ALL the runners last year, only Savvy Oak has won a race since the big race and that was a low key bush BM race!
That race was 9 months ago!
In 2017, Ace High won and he has won just one race in the following two years.
In 2016, Prized Icon won and he has not won a race since his big Flemington victory in three years.
Similarly, Tarzino who galloped away in 2015. He won just once following his Derby win.
Stats don’t lie and while some will mount a case for the hardiness of say 2006 winner Efficient who went on to win the Melbourne Cup at the same track and the Turnbull Stakes, they were his only 2 wins post the Derby.
Breeding is changing the thoroughbred horse and his constitution isn’t as tough as the old days of say Tulloch etc.
Race planners need to see this, acknowledge it and adjust accordingly before we start seeing multiple injuries and falls in these type of races.
Moving it to later in the season, say 2 weeks apart from the Gr 1 ATC Derby would be a better option for the welfare of the horse.
The ATC Derby is on in April each year, some 6 months after its VRC counterpart.