The first race run in a clockwise direction in Victoria for 60 years has been embraced by trainers with 20 entries received for Sunday’s Magic Millions-sponsored race at Ballarat.
The $200,000 Magic Millions Victorian Clockwise Classic (1000m) is part of the Ballarat Cup meeting and is an initiative seized on by the Ballarat Turf Club.
The race is restricted to graduates of Magic Millions sales and is being staged as a lead-up to the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast in January.
Races in Queensland and NSW are run in the right-handed direction while Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia are the opposite.
Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox said the showpiece race day at the Gold Coast was well supported by trainers from the southern states and the company wanted to help them prepare their horses.
“We had requests from trainers, owners and jockeys to implement a platform for them to test runners aimed at our January carnival without having to travel to another state to do so,” Cox said.
The final field will be whittled down to 12 plus four emergencies.
Interstate trainers Gai Waterhouse, Anthony Cummings, Sam Kavanagh, Gary Colvin, Stephen Farley and Tony McEvoy have entered youngsters for the race.
Ballarat Turf Club’s Lachlan McKenzie said Victorian stewards and jockeys had declared the course safe after the crossing was replaced with StrathAyr and a temporary winning post put in place.
Magic Millions provided $150,000 of the race prizemoney and paid for the work involved in the switch.
“We’ve run clockwise trials over the same course and distance that the race is over and we’ve had clockwise gallops the morning after each race meeting here since the start of October,” McKenzie said.
He said 60 years ago the now defunct Port Fairy race club was the only club in Victoria to run all its meetings in the clockwise direction.
The 2200m Ballarat Cup attracted 22 entries headed by Exceptionally who ran second to Tanby in last Saturday’s Zipping Classic at Sandown.