The Victoria Racing Club is stepping into the twilight zone with the first of their experimental meetings at Flemington.
The nine race card on Saturday begins at 3pm with the last race run five hours later.
The early part of Saturday’s program will have races spaced 40 minutes apart to fit into the metropolitan schedule before going to 35-minute gaps later in the day.
VRC executive general manager of racing, Leigh Jordon, said Saturday’s meeting was the first of four scheduled twilight meetings.
The others will be on January 18, Sunday February 9 and Wednesday March 4.
“From a members and general public perspective we’re interested to see how the twilight time is perceived,” Jordon said.
“People are doing things all through the year on Saturdays and we thought having the meeting a bit later might give some the chance to come along.
“It will give them the chance to experience racing a little bit differently at Flemington starting a bit later.
“And we’ll be interested to see what wagering impact it has.
“We’re hoping that when people have finished sport for the day they might be at their pub, have a couple of beers, and then with the races on between that 5.30 to 8 o’clock time, they might be popular and people may bet.
“And for the members it might allow them to dine a bit later.”
Selected venues on course, including the Champagne Bar and Rooftop Garden, will be open later.
Jordon said the meeting on February 9 would incorporate a jockeys’ challenge which the club is still putting the finishing touches to, and all races at the meeting would be run on the straight track.
The midweek meeting on March 4 falls between the Group One Australian Guineas and Super Saturday with Jordon saying the club hopes to make it a carnival-type week.