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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Southern France taking out the Zipping Classic at Sandown

Racing Victoria has today released the Race Dates for the 2021-22 racing season with a revamped end to the Spring Racing Carnival headlining the list of enhancements.

Following an extensive review, it was determined that a restructure of race meetings would allow for an enhanced feature race calendar and the extension of the Spring Racing Carnival through until the end of November.

Central to the restructure is the Zipping Classic meeting which moves from Ladbrokes Park (Sandown) to Caulfield where it will be held on the new date of Saturday, 27 November 2021 – a fortnight later than its traditional timeslot.

The new feature meeting at Caulfield, which retains the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) and Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) as part of the program, will now mark the end of the 2021 Spring Racing Carnival.

The meeting’s headline race, the Group 2 Zipping Classic run over 2400m under weight-for-age conditions, has also benefitted from a major prizemoney uplift as part of the restructure increasing from $250,000 to $750,000.

As part of the changes, the Underwood Stakes meeting, to be held on Sunday, 26 September 2021, has been relocated from Caulfield to Ladbrokes Park thus providing the metropolitan venue with its first Group 1 raceday since 1996.

As announced earlier this week by the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC), the Caulfield Cup Carnival has also undergone a key change with the Thousand Guineas (1600m) returning to its historical home on day two – Wednesday, 13 October 2021 – thus ensuring Group 1 racing on all three days of the MRC’s Carnival.

With the Zipping Classic meeting vacating its traditional November timeslot, RV has today also announced the introduction of Victoria’s sixth standalone Saturday metropolitan meeting with the TAB Cranbourne Cup moving from a Sunday in October to Saturday, 13 November 2021.

To mark its new metropolitan timeslot and prominence within the Spring Racing Carnival, prizemoney for the Cranbourne Cup has also been boosted by 25% to $500,000, while the race distance has been reduced from 2025m to 1600m.

The change in distance will ensure the Cranbourne Cup best complements the $500,000 Sportsbet Ballarat Cup (2000m) which retains its current timeslot as a standalone metropolitan meeting a week later on Saturday, 20 November 2021.

Other points of note in the release of the 2021-22 Race Dates, which capture the period from 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022, are as follows:

  • Victoria will host 554 race meetings across 348 days with 112 metropolitan, 390 country TAB, 19 country non-TAB and 33 picnic meetings programmed;
  • A total of 54 night meetings have been scheduled – the same number as the current season and one less than Victoria’s five-year average;
  • There will be 17 race free days across the season, up from just two race-free days five years ago. Underpinning this is the retention of race free Mondays in December, January and March;
  • A five-day race free week from Monday, 25 July 2022 to Friday, 29 July 2022 and no racing on Christmas Eve (24 December 2021) again feature as a continuation of a two-year trial centred on the working week for participants;
  • The Valley will host a Friday night meeting on New Year’s Eve (31 December 2021) following the running of the Woodford Cup at Warrnambool and an Echuca meeting that afternoon;
  • A night double-header will be trialled for the first time with meetings programmed at The Valley (metropolitan) and Cranbourne (country) on Friday, 10 December 2021 to review the impact on engagement and to afford each with the opportunity to attract large COVID-safe pre-Christmas crowds;
  • With an additional Friday night meeting afforded for the double header trial, Cranbourne have relinquished their two Saturday night meetings meaning that night racing will be conducted exclusively on Thursdays and Fridays with earlier finishing times of 9.15pm and 9.45pm respectively;
  • Sportsbet-Ballarat will host a Listed 1600m race on Sunday, 10 October 2021 in lieu of the Seymour Cup whilst that track undergoes its renovation. This is a week earlier than the traditional Seymour timeslot to create a two-week gap with the Sale Cup (1600m) on Sunday, 24 October 2021;
  • The fourth running of The All-Star Mile is currently scheduled for Saturday, 19 March 2022 at Flemington, but this will ultimately be subject to the industry’s All-Star Mile review which will be completed prior to the start of the new racing season.

RV Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said, “The 2021-22 Race Dates have been constructed with a focus on continuing to build customer engagement, exploring opportunities to grow wagering returns to the industry, and ensuring we continue to deliver quality racing especially across our peak periods.

“The major change is a revamped end to the Spring Racing Carnival which will provide an enhanced program of feature racing through until the end of November and we expect it will prove attractive to both our customers and participants.

“We are pleased to facilitate the return of Group 1 racing to Ladbrokes Park Sandown for the first time in more than 25 years with the shift of the Underwood Stakes from Caulfield in lieu of the move of the Zipping Classic to the track in November. The Underwood has a star-studded honour roll and is a pivotal race for Spring aspirants.

“The revamped Spring Racing Carnival has also provided the Cranbourne Turf Club with an opportunity to grow Cranbourne Cup Day into one of the best country racedays on the calendar with the launch of our sixth standalone Saturday meeting.

“Cranbourne boasts the state’s largest training centre and the south east is among the fastest growing populations in the country. The standalone Cranbourne Cup on Saturday, 13 November 2021 will be a fantastic event for the local community.

“On behalf of RV, I would like to thank our key stakeholders and Race Clubs for their engagement in our consultation process which has helped deliver a set of race dates that enhance our offering for customers and participants here in Victoria.”

To view the full schedule of the 2021-22 Victorian Race Dates click here.

An announcement on prizemoney for the 2021-22 racing season will be made in the next fortnight.

 

The six standalone Saturday meetings in Victoria are the Ansett Classic meeting at Mornington on AFL Grand Final Day (25 September 2021), Cranbourne Cup (13 November 2021), Ballarat Cup (20 November 2021), Pakenham Cup (4 December 2021), Mornington Cup (26 March 2022), and Bendigo Golden Mile (2 April 2022).

 
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