The times they are a changin’ in Australian racing, but it doesn’t mean officials will be singing from the same song sheet.
In a move that addresses a clash between the Breeders’ Classic at Randwick and the fourth event at Caulfield on Saturday, Racing NSW has brought forward the starting time of the Sydney race.
Instead of being run at 2.30pm, the Group Two race for fillies and mares will start at 2.27pm.
Racing Victoria’s decision to trial 30-minute gaps between races has created controversy in the thoroughbred industry – and a possible logistical nightmare on the busiest day of the racing week.
Punters who like to bet at multiple venues during what is already a hectic racing schedule will be affected by the decision.
It also threatens to compromise television broadcaster Sky Channel’s wall-to-wall racing coverage.
But while Racing Victoria is committed to a week-long trial of having less time between races, Racing NSW powerbrokers insist a condensed schedule isn’t on their agenda.
“For several reasons, participants at race meetings across NSW need a reasonable time to professionally present race meetings in a timely fashion, without compromising safety,” chief executive Peter V’landys said.
“Additionally, cramped intervals are simply not conducive to wagering nationally on thoroughbred racing.”
In spite of shifting the Breeders’ Classic timeslot, V’landys said the Saturday’s coverage of racing had the potential to turn into a shambles.
“We are able to make this change to separate the two largest wagering race meetings, other clashes appear imminent and the day’s racing could become chaotic,” V’landys said.
“Our customers are the lifeblood of racing and Racing NSW has taken the decision … to ensure that punters can wager on and watch both races.”
The move will also be a welcome one for champion trainer Chris Waller who has runners engaged in both races.
Sydney-based Waller will now be able to watch his quality race mare Amicus resume racing in the Group Two Breeders’ Classic before switching his attention to a television screen for Murphy’s Delight’s return to the track at Caulfield.